Chief neoliberal comprador
|News||Debt enslavement||Recommended Links||The first year of Poroshenko presidency||IMF as the key institution for neoliberal debt enslavement||Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism|
|Nulandgate||Disaster capitalism||Predator state||Civil war in Ukraine||Casino Capitalism||Greece debt enslavement|
|Russian Ukrainian Gas wars||Ukraine: From EuroMaidan to EuroAnschluss||Provisional government as an instrument for Ukraine's debt enslavement||Galicia -- Ukrainian Benghazi, Lvov declares autonomy from Ukraine on February 19||Ukraine's oligarchs||Who Shot down Malaysian flight MH17?|
|Corruption of Regulators||Deregulation as crony capitalism||Cognitive Regulatory Capture||Privatization as a special case of corruption||Corporatist Corruption: Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime||Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite|
|Two Party System as polyarchy||Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few||The Grand Chessboard||Foreign Agents Registration Act||Color revolutions||Etc|
It is probably true that Ukraine was thrown under the bus by the US elite, although the total online hate campaign in Russian press is way over the top. But in reality this is how neoliberalism works. Ukrainian elite, like Greek elite (political and business) completely failed their own country by exploiting the system and people. Since 1991 they were sucking the whole place dry. They are real traitors of the nation in very precise sense. Ukraine was already neoliberal country. And the last thing Ukrainians needed was yet another neoliberal coup d'état organized and financed by foreign powers (listen to Larry Wilkerson's presentation https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=YM_MH_Bfq5c ). In its main events Ukraine neoliberal revolution repeats patterns of Pinochet coup d'état in Chile with only difference that victims among Civilian population are concentrated on the East of the country among Russian speaking population of Donbass.
EuroMaidan was a disaster for the ordinary Ukrainians, who lost their (already low) standard of living and now are forced to exist on the level of Central African poverty (with many categories getting less then $5 a day with food prices on the level close (and in some categories such as chicken meet, exceeding) the prices of the USA supermarkets. Minimum pension in Ukraine which is received by two million of Ukrainian citizens is $43 a month ($1.4 a day); this is really Central African level! Average salary our side Kiev is not much higher (around 2000 grivna, which with exchange rate 22 grivna (UAH) to dollar is around $90 or $3 a day). Many people can afford only bread and milk (the cost on milk is lower then in the USA).
EuroMaydan was the result of cynical manipulation of Ukrainian population by Western powers, which lured them into self-destructive actions by the carrot of European economic integration (which implicitly was associated with Northern Europe standard of living, not Bulgarian standard of living). Nobody tried to warn them about the destiny of Bulgaria and Romania within the EU.
Now it is clear that Ukraine can never repay a mounting amount of debt taking into account its shrinking economy. So population wellbeing dropped dramatically from corrupt Yanukovich days (and he was corrupt, no question about it, but he was yet another US neoliberal stooge). Turchinov tried to play General Pinochet with ATO, encouraged by the USA. ATO brought another round of misery and economic contraction, plus some asset stripping (cronies of Biden, Merkel, and some other figures). And Ukrainian population outside top 1% have found itself in a deeper hole. It's the dame mechanism like in Greece:
How do countries like Greece find themselves in such a debt jam? Here's an example of a typical process. A German company wants to do a project in Greece. It approaches the Greek government, with its lobbyists and debt from a German bank to finance the deal. Since it is coming in with the capital, it overprices the project. Greece gets an overpriced asset and debt - sometimes the asset is indeed worthless for example military white elephants that will never be used. The German company gets the windfall. The German banker is happy at placing more debt, they get paid by the amount of debt they sell. The German and Greek taxpayers ultimately pick up the bill for the overpriced asset. While the overpriced asset doesn't contribute as it should to the Greek economy (if indeed anything, e.g. in he case of a military white elephant), the Greek taxpayer - ironically the middle earners and poor, who don't have offshore tax accounts - is expected to pay for it. Public opinion is whipped up against the Greek pensioner, middle earning worker as if they somehow manipulated the system and pocketed the money, not a crony corporation of the German politicians.
When the Greek taxpayer obviously finds himself going bust trying to pay for an overpriced asset, Germany passes the bad debt to its own taxpayers, i.e. the Greeks now owe German taxpayers. They obviously can't pay this either. So now they are forced to sell assets - let's look at what assets are being proposed. These assets are monopolies like the electricity transmission grid and airports which the Greek taxpayer has to use and pay for in any case. In other words, compulsory taxpayer payments. Who will these assets go to? Foreign companies, cronies of the Troika's decision makers (where they will find jobs, advisory roles after public sector retirement). Will it help Greece grow again? No. Will it help Greek payments to the German taxpayer? Unlikely. But it does help certain opportunists make a lot of money in the short run, while others are left to suffer the consequences in the future.
Now compare with the following plan by the Ukrainian acting prime minister ( American PROFIT )
Recent data of the Ukrainian state statistics are shocking. During the first quarter of 2015, the Ukrainians began to spend on products for 20% less money than before. For a lot of people that means hunger. Real hunger. In the first place then refuse to buy canned fruit, meat and fish products - their sales fell by 37%. The demand for fish decreased 30%. Same decrease for variety of cereals, seafood, prepared meat products, sausage. Almost the same drop with eggs, fresh meat and vegetables - their sales have dropped by 25%. And much less dangerous (which should probably be welcomed) 20% drop of sales of soft drinks, butter, pasta and confectionery. Buyers increased purchases only salt - 11% more, and margarine - 2%.
Arseny Yatsenyuk held a closed meeting in the Ministry of Energy.
First, he instructed the head of the Energy Ministry Vladimir Demchishin resolve the issue of denunciation of the agreement with Russia on the completion of two units of Khmelnitsky nuclear power plant. Though experts have warned that it is impossible to denounce the agreement, for the construction of power is only suitable Russian equipment.
Secondly, Yatsenyuk announced that Ukraine's energy and nuclear power will be sold to US investors. Protection of nuclear facilities will be engaged in PMC.
This looks like well though out plan:
1) Raise the rates several times
2) Get the country to default or close to default (like Greece). r> 3) Sell the energy system and nuclear power plants for pennies on dollar to US investors
4) Move to Florida.
Data on the consumption of eggs, meat and vegetable are scary. It means that people save on the most valuable that could not be replaced - on their health. That is given when people reduced the consumption vital foodstaff. Foodstaff that is basis of any healthy diet. According to nutritionists, people over the age of 35 should consumed meat 2-3 times a week with lots of vegetables. In the remaining days of animal protein can be replaced with poultry and fish. Who among Ukrainian seniors (with average pension around 1000 grivna and exchange rate 25 grivna to one dollar) eat meat three times a week? Very few. Mainly pensioners who still are working.
In other words Yatsenyuk initiated economic shock therapy on already impoverished nation. Killing in process a lot of people. The top 1%, including Mr. Yatsenyuk himself, never feel this pain. It's only rank-and-file 90% Ukrainians who suffer. Yatsenyuk likes to compare himself with Margaret Thatcher, but while he is definitely a reckless neoliberal, not everybody is buying this self-characterization:
The Governor of the Odessa region Mikhail Saakashvili criticised the actions of Prime Minister of Ukraine Arseniy Yatsenyuk.
The cause of his discontent was the situation around the Odesa port enterprise, the management of which Saakashvili had been charged with concluding unfavorable contracts for the supply of gas to the plant.
"in the government's response, announced by the head of state, and compares our attitude to the corrupt contracts at Odessa port plant and to the actions of the Cabinet of Yatsenyuk with the attacks on Margaret Thatcher some time ago. I have the opportunity to meet - in person I knew Margaret Thatcher, and I know premiere Yatsenyuk, and I am obliged to note That Arseniy Yatsenyuk is not Margaret Thatcher, " wrote Saakashvili on his page century
So far from economics view his action were disastrous for the country. Trade between Russia and Ukraine, in terms of overall turnover, fell 80% in 2015 and is likely to worsen in 2016.
In her groundbreaking book The Shock Doctrine The Rise of Disaster Capitalism Naomi Klein has shown how from Chile in 1973 to Iraq today, neoliberals have repeatedly harnessed terrible shocks and violence to implement their radical policies or neoliberalization and debt enslavement of the weaker countries. This concept is closely related to the concepts of Military-Industrial Complex and Predator state. Amazon review of the book states:
Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine advances a truly unnerving argument: historically, while people were reeling from natural disasters, wars and economic upheavals, savvy politicians and industry leaders nefariously implemented policies that would never have passed during less muddled times. As Klein demonstrates, this reprehensible game of bait-and-switch isn't just some relic from the bad old days. It's alive and well in contemporary society, and coming soon to a disaster area near you.
"At the most chaotic juncture in Iraq'' civil war, a new law is unveiled that will allow Shell and BP to claim the country's vast oil reserves… Immediately following September 11, the Bush Administration quietly outsources the running of the 'War on Terror' to Halliburton and Blackwater… After a tsunami wipes out the coasts of Southeast Asia, the pristine beaches are auctioned off to tourist resorts… New Orleans residents, scattered from Hurricane Katrina, discover that their public housing, hospitals and schools will never be re-opened." Klein not only kicks butt, she names names, notably economist Milton Friedman and his radical Chicago School of the 1950s and 60s which she notes "produced many of the leading neo-conservative and neo-liberal thinkers whose influence is still profound in Washington today." Stand up and take a bow, Donald Rumsfeld.
There's little doubt Klein's book--which arrived to enormous attention and fanfare thanks to her previous missive, the best-selling No Logo, will stir the ire of the right and corporate America. It's also true that Klein's assertions are coherent, comprehensively researched and footnoted, and she makes a very credible case. Even if the world isn't going to hell in a hand-basket just yet, it's nice to know a sharp customer like Klein is bearing witness to the backroom machinations of government and industry in times of turmoil. --Kim Hughes
Publishers Weekly review adds to this:
The neo-liberal economic policies—privatization, free trade, slashed social spending—that the Chicago School and the economist Milton Friedman have foisted on the world are catastrophic in two senses, argues this vigorous polemic. Because their results are disastrous—depressions, mass poverty, private corporations looting public wealth, by the author's accounting—their means must be cataclysmic, dependent on political upheavals and natural disasters as coercive pretexts for free-market reforms the public would normally reject. Journalist Klein (No Logo) chronicles decades of such disasters, including the Chicago School makeovers launched by South American coups; the corrupt sale of Russia's state economy to oligarchs following the collapse of the Soviet Union; the privatization of New Orleans's public schools after Katrina; and the seizure of wrecked fishing villages by resort developers after the Asian tsunami. Klein's economic and political analyses are not always meticulous. Likening free-market shock therapies to electroshock torture, she conflates every misdeed of right-wing dictatorships with their economic programs and paints a too simplistic picture of the Iraq conflict as a struggle over American-imposed neo-liberalism. Still, much of her critique hits home, as she demonstrates how free-market ideologues welcome, and provoke, the collapse of other people's economies. The result is a powerful populist indictment of economic orthodoxy.
In Western MSM the 17.6% year to year GDP drop in Ukraine in 2014 is mentioned as a just a number without any context. The IMF’s mission in Ukraine has said the country’s GDP is expected to shrink 9 percent this year, with annual inflation jumping to 46 percent. Ukraine’s national currency, the hryvnia, has two-third of its value . Exchange rate went from 8.5 to 25 per dollar or three times. Unresolved conflict in the country’s east took a big toll on the economy, and with economic ties with Russia severed there is no major market for Ukrainian goods. So the future does not look good, although some of agricultural exports can be absorbed by China.
Please note that during the Great Depression the US GDP contracted "only" 25%. In any given year of that depression it did not drop 17%. Also, in the case of Ukraine, it has already underwent its first Great Depression, which was far worse than the US depression. It happened after the dissolution of the USSR in early 1990th. So we are looking at The Second Great Depression in Ukraine. This is the meaning of this 17.6% drop. Ukrainian pensioners are brought by brave Western neocons with the help of local fifth column to the real starvation level. This is an important story and yet Western neoliberal MSM ignore it and concentrate on coverage of flight MH17 tragedy.
Instead we have overoptimistic "confidence enhancing" forecasts from Moody’s, the World Bank, the IMF, and other western agencies. Which are pure political fluff. When in reality we need to state that USA neocons (see Nulandgate) destroyed the Ukraine economics and plunge the country into another Great Depression.
That was clearly achieved in Ukraine where standards of living dropped to sub-Saharan Africa levels. In 2008, only 47 percent of the population of sub-Saharan Africa lived on $1.25 a day or less. (United Nations 2012). And it is important to note that Germany in this story acted like a real neo-imperial power. It's the same behaviour it demonstrated with Greece: pay the debt poor Ukrainians.
davidt, August 21, 2014 at 4:28 amThe threat to the Bank was explicit enough. Alastair Crooke wrote: “And The Wall Street Journal in a front page tap on Angela Merkel’s shoulder- reminding her to vote “yes” on the next “level-3″ round of Russian sanctions- warned that “Deutsche Bank’s US operations suffer from a litany of problems…” The WSJ article is behind a pay wall.patient observer , August 21, 2014 at 5:22 am
http://www.conflictsforum.org/2014/ukraine-mh17-and-the-struggle-for-europe/Nude pictures? a lesbian? a murky past? Those are nothing that a little spin can’t take care of as pointed out above. Merkel serves at the pleasure of the German elites and she would be thrown under the bus if she became a serious liability. Merkel is not the problem.
The US has Germany by the short hairs for sure but its not through some personal scandal. The US may [have] a kill switch on the Germany/EU financial system. Further speculating, all that NSA spying may have led to discovery of vulnerabilities in the German financial system, again as mentioned above.
The US seems to have the ability to inflict massive pain on Germany, its elites and its general population to account for German obedience. It seems likely to be a financial bludgeon that the US is ready to swing. The blow back could take down the US financial system but, the Anglo elites will still do quite well in a material sense and that is the only thing that matters.
As an example of such views we can cite the opinion of the Pro-Russian leader of the coalition of NGOs "Eurasian choice - Georgia" Archil Chkoidze. Here is what he said about Poroshenko and his cabinet:
"This is controlled by the Americans puppet government, and their hands are used for carrying out genocide of the Russian people. The government Poroshenko is very similar to the former government of Georgia led by Saakashvili.
In 2008, the authorities of Georgia did the same when they bombed Tskhinvali,"
Jul 09, 2018 | www.unz.com
Four years ago, on 17 July 2014, in the midst of a civil war raging in eastern Ukraine, Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 was destroyed with all 298 passengers and crew. On 25 May last, the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) entrusted with the criminal investigation of the downing and composed of the Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and paradoxically, given its possible involvement, Ukraine, presented its second progress report. Like the first report in September 2016, it took the form of a press conference, with video animations supporting the investigation's findings. This time there was even less to report; the main conclusion was that elements from the Russian 53rd Buk missile brigade were the culprits, a claim already made by the London-based investigative group Bellingcat two years before. In February 2016 that assertion had still been dismissed as unfit for evidence by the Dutch chief prosecutor on the JIT, Fred Westerbeke, in a letter to victims' relatives. How can it possibly have become the core component of the case for the prosecution two years and two months later?
The JIT press conference was immediately followed by a formal declaration on the part of the Dutch and Australian governments that held Russia responsible. However, JIT member Malaysia dissociated itself from the accusation, whilst Belgium has remained silent. The obviously over-hasty conclusion, on the heels of the alleged Skripal nerve gas incident in Salisbury and the likewise contested Syrian government gas attack on jihadist positions in Douma, all point in the same direction: Putin's Russia must be kept under fire and there is no time to wait for a court verdict.
ORDER IT NOW
In my book Flight MH17, Ukraine and the New Cold War. Prism of Disaster (Manchester University Press), I have refrained from entering the slippery terrain of making claims about who pulled the trigger, intentionally or by accident, in the late afternoon of 17 July, or even which type of weapon was used. For the downing of the Malaysian plane has become part of a propaganda war that was already heating up prior to the catastrophe. Instead the book is about what we do know about the events surrounding it, in the preceding months, weeks, and days, indeed even on the day itself. Subsequent events have only underlined that it is this context that lends meaning to the tragedy.
Refocusing US Supremacy After the Soviet Collapse
Today, Western imperialism projects its global power, as far as capital is concerned, primarily from the perspective of speculative, financial asset investment. Long gone are the days of class and international compromise forced upon it after World War Two. Instead, the predatory instincts of dominant financial capital require forcibly opening up all states for commodification and exploitation. Given the global spread of product and commodity chains, the continued flow of profits to the West cannot be taken for granted as long as effective state sovereignty elsewhere persists. For the liberal, Anglophone heartland of capital, 'defence' is therefore not merely, or even primarily, a matter of upholding the territorial integrity of the states constituting it, but keeping open the arterial system of the global economy and maintaining the centrality of the West. Regime change is a logical corollary, and from this perspective we must view the coup in Ukraine in February 2014 and all ensuing events, including the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17.
Right from the Soviet collapse in 1991, the US global perspective was articulated in several new strategic doctrines. The first and perhaps foundational one is the Wolfowitz Doctrine, named after Paul Wolfowitz, undersecretary of defence in the Bush Sr. administration, who commissioned a Defence Planning Guidance for Fiscal 1994-'99 (DPG) of 1992. It proclaims the United States the world's sole superpower, which must remain ahead of all possible contenders in arms technology and never again accept military parity, as with the USSR during the Cold War. The newly self-confident European Union, too, was obliquely warned that the US alone would handle global policing.
Additional doctrines, specifying on which grounds armed US intervention might be undertaken and justified, added elements such as humanitarian intervention (a Carnegie Endowment report of 1992, Self-Determination in the New World Order ); it was applied in Yugoslavia and again in Libya. Next, the'War on Terror', originally floated at Israeli Likud/US Neocon conferences between 1979 and 1984, was revived after the collapse of the USSR as the 'Clash of Civilizations' by Cold War strategist Samuel Huntington; Afghanistan and Iraq stand as monuments of the application of this doctrine. Finally, Zbigniew Brzezinski's The Grand Chessboard of 1997 specifically dealt with reorganising the former USSR, including Ukraine.
Through the different episodes, NATO was transformed into a global policing structure serving the interests of Atlantic capital. 'Out of area operations', unthinkable in the Yalta epoch, were first tried out against the Bosnian Serbs in the mid-1990s. The enlargement of the alliance into the former Soviet bloc, which began around that time too, was obviously motivated to prevent European departures from US tutelage, hence its bold forward surge. Already in 1994, Ukraine became the first former Soviet republic to join the Partnership for Peace, the newly created waiting room for NATO membership. To quell Russian concerns about the advancing West, the NATO-Russia Founding Act of 1997 laid down that no nuclear weapons and permanent troop deployments would take place in new member states. Yet Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Moldova not long afterwards joined a low-key organisation of former Soviet republics (after the initials, GUAM), another oblique link up with NATO.
Mobilising Georgia and Ukraine against Resurgent Russia
Russia under Yeltsin had effectively surrendered its sovereignty to transnational capital and the West and as a result was left a social and economic disaster zone. Under his successor, Vladimir Putin, the country began to mutate back to a society led by a directive state, assisted by rising oil prices. After the United States unilaterally withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002 and announced a missile defence system deployed in the CzechRepublic, Poland, and Rumania, Russia shifted to a more robust international position. The Anglo-American invasion of Iraq on a false pretext made abundantly clear that the West was abandoning the rules of the post-war international order. 'Democracy promotion' intended to prevent national sovereignty from being mobilised against Western global governance, was now made a priority. The 'Rose Revolution' in Georgia in 2003 and the 'Orange Revolution' a year later in Ukraine, marked the lengths to which the United States was willing to go.
Yet even a colour revolution means little if there is no accompanying make-over of the fundamental state/society relation. Hence, the incoming policy planning director at the US State Department, Stanford professor Stephen Krasner, and Carlos Pascual, former US ambassador in Kiev, developed a comprehensive regime change doctrine in 2004. This would prove a key element in the subsequent Ukraine intervention. To ensure that countries incorporated into the US-NATO sphere of influence, really became neoliberal client states, Pascual and Krasner devised a strategy for preventive intervention with a rulebook listing the measures by which 'market democracy' was to be established. Ukraine was a key target and battleground, because by now, Russia was beginning to contest Western forward pressure.
At the Munich Security Conference in January 2007, Putin reminded his audience of the promises made to Gorbachev in 1991 not to expand the Atlantic alliance and warned that further attempts at enlargement (the Baltic states having been included in 2004) would imply great risks. Yet NATO and the EU were inexorably pressing forward. At the Bucharest NATO summit in April 2008 the Americans made the offer of NATO membership to Georgia and Ukraine, only to have the offer vetoed by Germany and France. Possibly to force the issue, the pro-Western president brought to power by the Rose Revolution in Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, armed and encouraged by the US and Israel, later that year embarked on a military adventure to recapture the breakaway province of South Ossetia. It ended in a complete debacle, as a Russian army stood ready in North Ossetia to deal the invaders a major, if very costly, blow. This, then, was what Richard Sakwa calls, 'the war to stop NATO enlargement'. From now on, every post-Soviet republic tempted to join the Atlantic alliance would have to reckon with Russian protection for groups resisting such integration, irrespective of whether it concerned actual Russians or any other of the almost two hundred nationalities of the former USSR.
The EU-Russian Energy Equation and Ukraine
The gas from Russia that feeds Europe today was discovered back in the 1960s; the Friendship oil pipeline was built in 1964 and the Soyuz, Urengoi and Yamal pipelines followed after West Germany started purchasing Soviet gas. The link-up culminated in 1980 with the contract for a gas pipeline from Urengoi in north Siberia to Bavaria, signed by a heavy-industry consortium headed by Deutsche Bank.
After the collapse of the USSR, Russian gas had to pass through the pipeline grid of independent Ukraine, which in the meantime had become the prey of rival clans of oligarchs. For most of them, gas was the key source of rapid enrichment -- directly, as in the case of subsequent prime minister Yuliya Timoshenko, 'the Gas Princess', or indirectly, by supplying steel pipes for gas transport, as in the case of president Leonid Kuchma's son-in-law, Victor Pinchuk, the 'Pipeline King'. The economic mismanagement and infighting of the different oligarchic clans in Ukraine led to payment arrears and repeated shutdowns of the gas supply from Russia, and Gazprom, the state-owned Russian gas company, early on began to look for ways to bypass the Ukrainian grid.
After Putin had come to power, he disciplined the Russian oligarchs as part of the restoration of state sovereignty. Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the energy oligarch and richest of all Russian billionaires at the time, at the time was buying support in the Duma to build a trans-Siberian pipeline to China; whilst negotiating with ExxonMobil and Chevron about US participation in his Yukos concern, which he planned to merge with Sibneft into the world's largest oil company. In 2005 he was convicted to a long prison sentence. Yukos was brought back into the Russian patrimony via a proxy construction involving state-owned Rosneft and Gazprom, as part of broader subordination of the economy to the state.
Gazprom meanwhile began building alliances to avoid future disruption of supplies via Ukraine and secure its European market. In 2005 it agreed with the outgoing government of Gerhard Schröder to build a pipeline across the Baltic directly to Germany, 'Nord Stream', with a consortium of German companies. Schröder was made the chairman of the board of the joint venture, Achimgaz, and two years later, a South Stream pipeline across the Black Sea to Bulgaria was contracted with ENI of Italy. It was to be extended into south-eastern Europe as far as Austria. In this way Gazprom and the Russian state were outmanoeuvring various EU projects for pipelines aimed at by-passing Russia. Indeed it was the EU's plan to use a Nabucco pipeline across Turkey to connect to the Caspian energy reserves that prompted the $40 billion South Stream project. Romano Prodi, prime minister of Italy, who first discussed South Stream with Putin in late 2006, was offered the chairmanship, which he declined, perhaps in the knowledge the project would become highly contested.
The Eurasian connection by now posed a direct threat to the cohesion of the enlarged Atlantic bloc. Besides Nord Stream and South Stream, Gazprom's collaboration with NIOC of Iran and a joint venture with ENI in Libya set all alarm bells ringing in Washington. Already in May 2006, a few months after the gas shutdown to Ukraine, the US Senate unanimously adopted a resolution calling on NATO to protect the energy security of its members and have it develop a diversification strategy away from Russia. Senator Richard Lugar in a much-noted speech prior to the NATO summit in Riga, Latvia, in November 2006, argued in favour of designating the manipulation of the energy supply as a 'weapon' that can activate Article 5 of the NATO treaty (common defence).
In a report to the European Parliament in 2008, the director of the EurasianPolicyCenter of the Hudson Institute in the US recommended that the EU should assist in liberalising and modernising the Ukrainian grid instead of supporting South Stream. Tension in the Black Sea area, her report noted candidly, might serve the purpose of blocking that pipeline altogether. However, after the 2010 election of president Victor Yanukovych, the front man of the powerful eastern and southern oligarchs, the lease of Russia's Crimean naval base at Sebastopol, home of its Black Sea fleet, had been extended to 2042, so the prospects for stirring up unrest there were mitigated by Moscow's enduring naval preponderance.
Regime Change in Kiev
One aspect of the resurgence of a sovereign Russia was the plan for a Eurasian economic union to rebuild relations with former Soviet republics (Ukraine obtained observer status early on). The EU's Eastern Partnership was a direct response. It was offered to former Soviet republics in 2008, in a gesture that signalled that Europe now effectively acted as a subcontractor to the larger anti-Russian design drafted in Washington. Concretely, the EU offered Ukraine and other former Soviet republics an Association Agreement that also included provisions for the country's alignment on NATO security policy, besides a neoliberal make-over in the spirit of the Krasner-Pascual doctrine. The envisaged reforms would be devastating for the country's existing power structure, not least for the Donbass oligarchs whose front man was Yanukovych. Their heavy industry assets would be swept away by EU competition, the country turned into an agricultural supplier, and Russian gas cut off.
Hence, when both the EU and Russia sought to win over Yanukovych to join their respective blocs and Brussels ruled out the triangular arrangement by which the Ukrainian president had hoped to postpone the choice, he could not but step back from signing the EU Association Agreement in November 2013 and accept a Russian counteroffer. By then, 'Europe' had become a code word for an end to oligarchic rapaciousness, in which Yanukovych and his sons had become involved as well. The president's decision triggered mass demonstrations and occupations, which this time included an armed insurrection by Ukrainian ultra-nationalists in the historically anti-Russian west of the country. It created the space for actual fascists to hijack the protests and prepare a coup. By their use of deadly force at the Maidan central square (ascribed by the coup plotters and in the West to the riot police), the Ukrainian ultras demonstrated they were ready to kill their own compatriots to achieve their aims.
To prevent the situation from getting out of hand completely, the foreign ministers of Germany, France and Poland flew to Kiev on 20 February 2014. However, whilst they negotiated a deal with Yanukovych and the opposition, the US and other NATO ambassadors met with Andriy Parubiy, the co-founder of the fascist party of Ukraine and former head of its militia, Patriot of Ukraine . Parubiy, today the speaker of the Kiev parliament, was in command of the armed gangs at the Maidan; two days later these took power in the capital, installing a government of Ukrainian nationalist stripe, selected by US diplomats. Parubiy was appointed secretary of the National Security and Defence Council (NSDC), a key post overseeing all military and intelligence operations, which he continued to hold until three weeks after the downing of MH17. With the Russian-Ukrainian half of the country effectively disenfranchised, the coup was responded to by the secession of Crimea and an armed insurrection in the Donbass. Stirrings of revolt in Odessa and Mariupol would be suppressed with deadly violence, in which Parubiy and other far right figures were directly involved.
Confronting the BRICS in Ukraine
From late March onwards the war party in the United States and NATO began to elaborate a strategy that would make Ukraine the testing ground for a trial of strength with Russia and China. The secession of Crimea and its re-incorporation into the Russian Federation was exploited to evoke the spectre of an impending Russian invasion on several fronts. General Philip Breedlove, commander of US Eucom (European Command, one of nine regional US military commands spanning the globe) and NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe (Saceur), coordinated the Western position with General Wesley Clark, a former NATO Saceur at the time of the Yugoslavia wars. Clark was already advising Kiev forces in eastern Ukraine before the Donbass had actually risen in revolt. On 12April he asked Breedlove whether the NATO commander could not arrange a statement blaming Moscow for the violence because ' if the Ukrainians lose control of the narrative , the Russians will see it as an open door'. Clark then elaborated on the general geopolitical situation, giving further insights into why the war party in the US believed that Ukraine was to be 'held' and chosen as a battle ground to confront Russia and China. No time was wasted on market democracy here. Claiming that 'Putin has read US inaction in Georgia and Syria as US "weakness",' Clark went on to explain that
China is watching closely. China will have four aircraft carriers and airspace dominance in the Western Pacific within 5 years, if current trends continue. And if we let Ukraine slide away, it definitely raises the risks of conflict in the Pacific. For, China will ask, would the US then assert itself for Japan, Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, the South China Sea? If Russia takes Ukraine, Belarus will join the Eurasian Union, and, presto, the Soviet Union (in another name) will be back. Neither the Baltics nor the Balkans will easily resist the political disruptions empowered by a resurgent Russia. And what good is a NATO "security guarantee" against internal subversion? And then the US will face a much stronger Russia, a crumbling NATO, and [a] major challenge in the Western Pacific. Far easier to [hold] the line now, in Ukraine than elsewhere, later .
On the weekend of 13 to 14 April, CIA Director John Brennan was in the Ukrainian capital. The Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO, so called because the use of military force within the country is only warranted under that label) began right after Brennan's visit; Parubiy sent out a Twitter message on the 15th that veterans of the Maidan uprising were poised to join the fight. Since NATO had earlier implored Yanukovych not to use force against (armed) demonstrators, Moscow now asked the alliance to restrain the coup leaders in turn. But according to foreign minister Lavrov, the answer they got was that 'NATO would ask them to use force proportionately'.
In fact even the oligarch, Petro Poroshenko, elected president on 25 May 2014 to provide a veneer of legitimacy to the coup regime, proved unable to restrain the hardliners. On 30 June, following a four-hour NSDC meeting with Parubiy, interior minister Avakov, and others whose armed followers were demonstrating outside, Poroshenko declared that the ceasefire would be lifted and a new offensive launched. Three days later NATO naval manoeuvres in the Black Sea commenced with US participation and with electronic warfare a key component. On the ground, Kiev's forces made rapid progress, apparently drawing a ring around the large rebel city of Donetsk. NATO had its own concerns: an upcoming summit in Wales in September was expected to capitalise on the trope of a 'Russian invasion', vital after the Afghanistan debacle, and dovetailing with the emerging contest with the BRICS bloc.
The BRICS, coined first as a banker's gimmick, were never more than a loose collection of '(re-) emerging economies', but from Washington's perspective, sovereign entities not submitting to neoliberal global governance are unacceptable. So when on 16 July, the BRICS heads of state, hosted by the Brazilian president, Dilma Rousseff (removed by a rightwing conspiracy in May 2016), signed the statute establishing a New Development Bank, or BRICS bank, as a direct challenge to the US and Western-dominated World Bank and IMF, the US imposed new sanctions on Russia over Ukraine, specifically targeting the energy link with the EU. The creation of an equivalent of the World Bank with a capital of $100 billion with a reserve currency pool of the same size (an equivalent of the IMF), laid the groundwork of a contender pole in the global political economy challenging the West's austerity regime frontally -- or so it seemed at the time.
Still in Brazil before flying back to Moscow, Russian president Putin on the fringes of the football world cup finals also agreed with German Chancellor Angela Merkel to pursue a comprehensive Land for gas deal. Its tentative provisions included normalising the status of Crimea in exchange for a massive economic rehabilitation plan and a gas price rebate for Ukraine. However, a special European Council meeting convened on the 16th could not reach agreement on whether the EU should follow the American lead this time, since countries with export interests to Russia and dependent on its gas, were balking. Instead, the Council stressed the EU's commitment 'to pursue trilateral talks on the conditions of gas supply from the Russian Federation to Ukraine' in order to 'safeguard the security of supply and transit of natural gas through Ukraine.'
The Downing of Flight MH17 and South Stream
The downing of MH17 on 17 July changed all that. As I said above, who did it and how remains obscure, although there are several pursued by people familiar with local circumstances, or revealed by insiders who know who which military assets were operating that day -- but all that remains inconclusive. The official reports by the Dutch Safety Board and the JIT may be conveniently dismissed although the DSB rightly pointed at the questionable decision by Kiev to allow civilian planes to fly over a war zone. However, irrespective of the actual perpetrator, and whether it was an intentional act or an accident, there is no doubt about the West's intent to exploit the event to the maximum.
Former secretary of state and then-presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton in a TV interview on the 18th called for making 'Russia pay the price' once its culpability had been established. Her to-do list for the EU included, one, 'toughen sanctions'; two, find alternatives to Gazprom, and third, 'do more in concert with us to support the Ukrainians'. The 'Land for gas' negotiations were shelved and on the 22nd Europe dropped the remaining hesitations when it underwrote the US sanctions targeting Russia's role as an energy supplier. As Mark Leonard, founder and director of the European Council on Foreign Relations, noted in a newspaper interview a year later, 'without MH17 it would have been pretty difficult to find sufficient support for the increased sanctions on the Russian economy' .
In 2009 the EU had introduced a new energy policy, dubbed a 'Third Energy Package'. It does not permit gas to be transported to the EU by the company producing it, effectively forcing Gazprom to sell even the gas piped through the Ukrainian grid to other companies before it could enter the EU. Nord Stream had still been exempted from EU competition rules, but the projected South Stream was not, never mind that most contracts with Gazprom had been signed before the Third Energy Package came into force. Even at the time of the Kiev coup, commentators wondered to what extent shale gas from the US might be used to offset Russian deliveries. LNG facilities planned in Florida and Maryland were projected to serve the European market at Gazprom's expense, a prospect meanwhile far more realistic.
The Crimean secession and incorporation into the Russian Federation obviously played its own role here. Crimea is a historically Russian region; having been assigned to Ukraine by a whim of Soviet party leader Khrushchev in 1954, it never reconciled itself to being part of an independent Ukraine. After the nationalist coup in late February, the status of the Russian naval base in Sebastopol was in the balance. In 1991, the Black Sea had been a Soviet/bloc inland sea, with one NATO country (Turkey) bordering it. Now there were two more NATO/EU countries and two pro-Western, aspiring NATO members on its littoral. So when one week after the coup, three former Ukrainian Presidents, Kravchuk, Kuchma, and Yushchenko, called on the coup government in Kiev to cancel the agreement under which the lease of Sebastopol, home to the Russian Black Sea fleet, had been extended to 2042, the question of who would be able to project naval power over the Black Sea became acute. The question now was whether Russia would be able to provide cover for a large-scale project such as South Stream, or not.
South Stream itself came into the firing line directly. The European Parliament, which never raised the issue of why the February agreement with Yanukovych the EU brokered had been sidelined by the coup, on 17 April 2014 adopted a non-binding resolution opposing the South Stream gas pipeline and recommended a search for alternative sources of gas. On 28 April, the United States imposed a ban on business transactions within its territory on seven Russian officials, including Igor Sechin, the CEO of Rosneft, the Russian state oil company, as well as Gennady Timchenko, whose Volga Group controls Stroytransgaz, the company entrusted with building the Bulgarian section of South Stream. Nevertheless the Bulgarian parliament approved South Stream two weeks after the reincorporation of Crimea, circumventing the EU's anti-trust legislation by renaming the pipeline a 'sea-land connection'.The European Commission then instructed Bulgaria to stop work on South Stream and proceeded to cut off tens of millions of much-needed regional development funds, whilst the US ambassador warned Bulgarian companies against working with Timchenko. A final visit of US Senators John McCain and Ron Johnson, in combination with other punitive measures then led to the cancellation in early June. As Eric Draitser commented at the time, 'South Stream has become one of the primary battlegrounds in the economic war that the West is waging against Russia'.
The downing of Flight MH17 also definitively sealed the fate of South Stream. Russian banks financing the project, led by Gazprombank, were hit by new sanctions, so that the necessary capital could no longer be raised internationally. Putin earlier had hinted at moving the transit of gas for the EU to non-European countries; in August, it was reported there was a Plan B in the works to export via Turkey. On 1 December 2014, during a state visit to Ankara, the Russian president announced that in light of Western sanctions and the refusal of construction permits in the EU, South Stream would be replaced by a 'Turkish Stream' pipeline, besides the existing Blue Stream link. However, in November 2015, a Turkish F-16 shot down a Russian fighter jet over northern Syria, throwing relations between Moscow and Ankara into a deep crisis and entailing the cancellation of Turkish Stream. This was only overcome after the July 2016 coup attempt against Erdoğan, in which Russia sided with the Turkish president, possibly even warning him in advance. Since the F-16 that shot down the Russian jet was part of a pro-NATO unit based at Inçirlik airbase that took part in the coup attempt, the incident over Syria would appear to fit in a framework that may also have decided the fate of Flight MH17: a provocation to throw relations with Russia into disarray, but we don't know for sure.
Regime Change in Moscow?
The MH17 disaster occurred in the context of a deep crisis, in which capitalist discipline as imposed from its historic epicentre in the West, has become primarily predatory, relying to an ever-greater extent on violence. Speculative financial operations in combination with the 'War on Terror' have spread economic risk and repression at home, war and regime change abroad. Human survival itself has been turned into a global gamble played out over the head of the affected populations for private gain. The West, led by the effectively bankrupt United States, increasingly relies on force to sabotage the formation of any alternative, something its own social formation can no longer bring forth. Even the most promising, potentially revolutionary IT and media developments coming out of Silicon Valley have been mortgaged by a planetary project of communications surveillance to safeguard US imperial positions.
Back in the 1980s, when it launched the second Cold War, the Reagan administration intended to destabilise the Soviet bloc and bring about regime change in Moscow. This is also the aim of the current, new Cold War. A 2015 Chatham House report, 'The Russian Challenge', discusses this in some detail. Although it concedes that the West cannot have an interest in Russia sliding into complete anarchy, neither should the Putin presidency be protected 'against change, whether managed or violent '. Therefore, 'whether Putin was ousted by an internal coup, by illness or by popular unrest , it would nevertheless be sensible for the West to give further thought to how it might deal with the consequences of regime change in Russia.'
Effective communication with the Russian people and the defence of human values beforehand would be essential for Western credibility Planning for the future ought, lastly, to cover the scenarios from changes of leadership within the current structures, to the emergence of a group ready to pursue structural reform in some sort of accountable dialogue with the Russian population, to regime collapse .
The president of the National Endowment for Democracy, Carl Gershman, in a piece for the Washington Post in October 2016 suggested launching a new, sustained anti-Putin campaign, for which the contract killing of the journalist, Anna Politkovskaya, ten years earlier, might be used as a vignette.
For such a campaign, George Soros' Open Society Foundation can be trusted to have elaborated the 'civil society'/colour revolution scenarios, whilst identifying the groups that might be mobilised for their execution. The OSF plan of action for 2014-17, titled Russia Project Strategy , identifies Russian intellectuals active in Western academic and opinion networks, the Russian gay movement, and others as potential levers for civil society protest against the conservative bloc in power in Moscow. From the OSF documents hacked by the CyberBerkut collective, Alexei Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation emerges as the key beneficiary, and discussion portals and liberal media such as Echo of Moscow radio station, RBK news agency, and the newspaper Vedomosti, as the preferred channels to disseminate content.
There is no need to repeat that all this is part a powerful offensive to derail the loose contender bloc around China and Russia, which had constituted itself in the face of Western aggressiveness and crisis. The seizure of power in Ukraine as well as the secession of Crimea and the civil war in the east, which has meanwhile cost the lives of more than 13,000 people and displaced a million, as well as economic warfare against Russia by the US and the EU, have brought the danger of a large European war several steps closer. Whether the actual downing of Flight MH17 was an intentional, premeditated act or an accident, whether it involved a jet attack, an anti-aircraft missile, or both, ultimately cannot be established with certainty. Yet both the NATO war party and the coup regime in Kiev, which on many occasions has demonstrated that its ultra-nationalist and fascist antecedents are very much alive, would have been perfectly capable of such an act and had the means for it. Most importantly, they had the motive. Those in power in Kiev had several times already attempted to draw Moscow into the civil war, directly and through a NATO intervention. If this indeed was their aim, it would also have served the Atlantic bloc's determined and long-standing commitment to force continental Europe into an antagonistic relation with Russia.
In the current global conjuncture, even the tentative contender coalition combining the Eurasian Union, the BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, constitutes an acute danger to a capitalist West in crisis. Whether the United States and NATO would therefore also be willing to take even greater risks than they are doing now is a prospect too frightening to contemplate. However, it must be confronted, or the fate of the 298 people on Flight MH17 may become that of humanity at large.
Kees van der Pijl is a Fellow, Centre for Global Political Economy and Professor Emeritus of the School of Global Studies at the University of Sussex.
Apr 01, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org
As usual there is amnesia of the ever-recurring big-lie pretext, the need for another crisis to keep the two-billion-dollar a day NATO war machine going, the baleful puppet moves of Canada in the process, the crisis of legitimacy of the lead attacker's government, and the silent diversion from the whole nightmare scenario unfolding by all NATO-member governments, mass media and even 'peace activist' organisations.
This time the big-lie pretext is about the alleged poisoning by the Kremlin/Putin of a double-agent, usually a stock move in the espionage entertainments, but here with no evidence of the claimed origin of the lethal nerve-agent, but rather expert denial within British defence and weapons research itself, with devious political word games to get around the absence of any corroborated evidence in familiar denuciations of Russia full of aggression and hate. Not even a death is recorded while US-led nd UK-armed ally forces are still mass-murdering poor civilian Yeminis, drone-murdering endless targets and civilians abroad, continuing on unblamed for the ongoing NATO-executed eco-genocides of Iraq and Libya societies, and on the 19-years anniversary of the mass bombing of, once again a society, Yugoslavia, with the most evolved social infrastructures of health, education, housing and life security in the region.
What this latest war pretext for US and NATO-backed aggression is really about is justifying more war in the Ukraine now that the massive war preparations along all of Russia's Western borders following the self-declared Nazi-led and proven US- orchestrated and commanded mass-murder coup d'etat in February 2014 . As usual there is amnesia of the ever-recurring big-lie pretext, the need for another crisis to keep the two-billion-dollar a day NATO war machine going, the baleful puppet moves of Canada in the process, the crisis of legitimacy of the lead attacker's government, and the silent diversion from the whole nightmare scenario unfolding by all NATO-member governments, mass media and even 'peace activist' organisations.
This time the big-lie pretext is about the alleged poisoning by the Kremlin/Putin of a double-agent traitor, usually a stock move in the espionage entertainments. Yet here there is no confirmed evidence whatever of the claimed origin of the lethal nerve-agent, but rather expert denial within British defence and weapons research itself that is silence in the press, with devious political word games crafted to get around the absence of any corroborated facts in the familiar denuciations of Russia full of team aggression and hate. Not even a death is recorded while US-led nd UK-armed ally forces are still mass-murdering poor civilian Yeminis, drone-murdering endless targets and civilians abroad, continuing on unblamed for the ongoing NATO-executed eco-genocides of Iraq and Libya societies, and on the 19-years anniversary of the mass bombing of Yugoslavia -- once again a socialist society with the most evolved social infrastructures of health, education, housing and life security in the region.
What this latest war pretext for US and NATO-backed aggression is really about is justifying more war in Ukraine now that the massive war preparations along all of Russia's Western borders following the self-declared Nazi-led and proven US- orchestrated and commanded mass-murder coup d'etat in February 2014 . As always, this US-directed mass murder was reverse-blamed on the ever shifting Enemy face -- Russia's allied but duly elected government of the Ukraine. It was only after this violent-coup Nazi-led and US directed overthrow of the elected government of the very resource-rich Ukraine -- "the breadbasket of Europe" and sitting on newly discovered rich fossil fuel deposits -- that Russia annexed its traditional territory of the Crimea next to Eastern Ukraine, the latter after the violent coup put under the rule of a US-Nazi-led government until its people fought back with Russia assistance for the now NATO-targeted zones of the new Donetsk and Lugansk republics.
What is new now is that we are about to enter yet another NATO-member war build-up against the cornerstone of Western ideology, the designated Enemy Russia. As usual there is amnesia of the ever-recurring big-lie pretext, the need for another crisis to keep the two-billion-dollar a day US-led NATO war machine going, the baleful puppet moves of Canada in the process, the crisis of legitimacy of the lead attacker's UK government, and silent diversion from the whole nightmare scenario unfolding in NATO-member states, mass media and even 'peace activist' organisations.
The UK and the US followed by Canada and some of the EU have by expulsion of Russia diplomats prepared the diplomatic way for war in the Ukraine to seize back these lost coup-territories, and it will be in the name of "freedom", "human rights" and "the rules of civilised nations". But there is much officially suppressed colour to the warring parties political conflict which reveals who the truly heinous suppressor of human rights is. Under mass media and corporate-state cover, the US-UK-NATO axis about to make war in Ukraine is doing so under the factually absurd but non-stop pretext of "Russia aggression" constructed out of the double-agent poisoning affair, with the guilty agents and poison having no proof but the ever louder UK-led and NATO-state assertion of it in unison. Yet there is a clear answer to the cui bono question -- which party does all this benefit? Clearly once the question is posed, as opposed to completely gagged in the corporate press, Theresa May's slow-motion collapsing Tory government -- now even challenged for its fraudulent Brexit referendum protecting the big London banks from EU regulation -- has to have such a war-drum distraction to survive. The old war of aggression pattern reverse-blamed on the official enemy unwinds yet again.
It is revealing in this context how Canada's government has no such ruler need of war -- unless it be its Ukraine-descendent Foreign Minister up front and the very powerful and widely Nazi-sympathizing Ukraine Liberal vote bank and leadership brought to Canada after 1945 to overwhelm the preceding active socialist Ukrainian community in Canada. Canada's government -- not its people -- is in any case used to being a puppet regime in foreign affairs as a twice-colonized rule by big business (why the NDP is not allowed to govern unless so subjugated).
The Human Rights Question
In light of all of this suppressed factual background and motive for more war in Ukraine which is unspeakable in the official news, interaction with the United Nations is of revealing interest. While it has been the cover for US-led NATO executed genocidal wars of aggression in the past as in Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yugoslavia and Korea, the pretexts of 'human rights', 'responsibility to protect' and 'stopping communist aggression', which are in fact always been the spectacular opposite on the ground in terms of diseased, mass-murdered and destituted bodies, these pretexts may not sell well when the background facts are no longer suppressed from public view.
It is worthwhile recalling how Science for Peace leadership used to be against but has since Afghanistan collaborated with these false-pretext wars in sustaining their illusions and thus the war crimes and crimes against proceeding underneath them.
The NATO-executed Ukraine war now being orchestrated is especially revealing in its actual record of 'protecting human rights' through 'international law' and 'norms of civilised nations'. Completely buried in official records is a United Nations resolution n on Ukraine that the US and Canada repudiated on November 20 2015 after the US-led bloody coup d'etat in Ukraine was in full motion of claiming all the vast tracts of land and resources that were Russia-speaking territory in the past.
The resolution was straightforwardly against "Nazi symbols and regalia" as well as "holocaust denial". The Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Affairs Committee of the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly voted for a resolution to enable measures against "the glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that facilitate the escalation of modern forms of racism, xenophobia and intolerance". A total of 126 member-states of the UN voted for it for the second time. Over 100 countries voted for a similar resolution in 2014 including "denial of the holocaust and glorification of the Nazi movement, former members of the Waffen SS organization, including the installation of memorials to them, and post-coup attempts to desecrate or destroy the monuments to those who fought against Nazism in Ukraine during World War II".
How could any civilised state vote against these United Nations Resolutions for human rights as Canada and the US have done and stood by ever since? Well instituted group hatred of the officially designated enemy can justify anything whatsoever, and does so right into next NATO-executed orgy of war crime and crimes against humanity, again inside Europe itself flaunting reverse-blame lies and slogans as red meat for psychotically trained masses. It is not by accident that Canada's Foreign Minister is in this near century-old Nazi loyalist vs Russia-speaking conflict was before her appointment the "proud "granddaughter of a leading Nazi war propagandist during its occupation of Poland and Ukraine described as a "fighter for freedom".
Yet on the other hand, we must not lose ourselves in ad hominem responsibility. Crystina Freeland, her Canada name, is interestingly propagandist in itself from her birth -- Christian Free Land -- but not observed in the corporate press. Minister Freeland is only a symptom of something far deeper and more systemically murderous and evil in state-executed unlimited greed and immiserization of innocent millions of people masked as 'human rights' , 'freedom' and 'rule of law' . Her more sinister double in the US is also a renamed person of the region, Victoria Nuland (read New Land) who orchestrated the whole 2014 mass-murder coup in Ukraine and now tub-thumps on public television for the 'need to teach Putin and Russia a hard lesson', aka another war attack by US-led NATO on Russia's borders.
The difference now is that the absurd pretext and geostrategic mechanisms now in motion beforehand can be seen in front of our eyes -- that is, if we can still see through the engineered prism of the US-UK led NATO war machine. This alone will stop it.
John McMurtry is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada whose work is translated from Latin America to Japan. His most recent book is The Cancer Stage of Capitalism: From Crisis to Cure .
Mar 27, 2018 | www.unz.com
JR , Next New Comment March 27, 2018 at 6:24 am GMTWithin a week after Brennan's 'routine' visit in April 2014 to the Ukraine the Ukrainian army launched a civil war. That was within 2 weeks of the CIA instigated coup an the end of February 2014.
Mar 03, 2018 | www.fort-russ.com
The Ukrainian economy is in a catastrophic state after four years of "euro-reforms," said Viktor Medvedchuk, head of the public movement "Ukrainian Choice – People's Right." "At the end of 2013. Ukraine's state and publicly guaranteed debt was 40% of GDP, and by the end of 2017 it had more than doubled, exceeding 80% of GDP. In 2013, Ukraine's GDP per capita was more than $ 4,075, and in 2016 decreased to $ 2221.
The average monthly salary in 2017 as a whole for the country was $ 267 (in 2013 it exceeded $ 408), pensions are also 2.3 times lower than before the euro reform. Today, it is slightly more than $ 48, while in 2013 it was almost $ 112, " Medvedchuk said.
Feb 25, 2018 | www.unz.com
Dmitry , Next New Comment February 25, 2018 at 7:15 pm GMT@Felix KeverichFelix Keverich , Next New Comment February 25, 2018 at 8:16 pm GMT
Poland's level of GDP per capita is 6 times bigger than Ukraine's. They started out around the same level in 1991 and were supposed to follow the same playbook. To the extent that their paths diverged can be explained by Ukrainian corruption and incompetence.
Poland received hundreds of billions of dollars in EU subsidies and transfers. Not a fair comparison. Even still today they are receiving this transfer of wealth from net contributor countries in the EU (there's another good reason EU became unpopular in net contributor countries like the UK and the Netherlands):
Energy subsidies from Russia to the Ukraine are estimated at hundreds of billions of dollars since 1991. The Ukraine has been well subsidized since independence. What they have been desperately lacking is governance.
Feb 25, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
YankeeFrank , February 25, 2018 at 7:38 amSkip Intro , February 25, 2018 at 11:03 am
Bill mentions the brain drain from Latvia, but I seem to recall a quite massive general emigration from the country during austerity, which also helped to "reduce unemployment" as well. The neoliberal "methodology" for "showing economic success" is moral and economic bankruptcy masquerading as "science". And wow. So we have Latvia to thank for the coming nuclear holocaust as well. A true neoliberal market miracle.
Lambert's two principles of neoliberalism are once again brought to mind:
#1 Because markets.
#2 Go die.The Rev Kev , February 25, 2018 at 8:40 am
All those 'excess' workers who left were helping keep wages low in the EU
In the sense that Latvia's future productivity is sacrificed for short-term benefits on the books, it starts to look like another asset-stripping scheme, and the costs are borne by workers in the EU.DJG , February 25, 2018 at 9:11 am
This is not the first time that Latvia has appeared on NC ( https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/01/latvias-economic-disaster-as-a-neoliberal-success-story-a-model-for-europe-and-the-us.html ) and probably won't be the last. What is it about neoliberalism that that seems to have corruption as part of its DNA?
Latvia already has one of the highest levels of poverty and income inequality in the EU and its population has dropped by about a fifth in the past 18 years which is a bit of a record considering that there was no war, that is, unless you count the neoliberal war on people. Some moved to the capital Riga but most bailed out of the country altogether and are not coming back. You can find whole blocks of empty buildings in some towns.
But don't worry. The Latvians are on the case. The head of the Latvian Central Bank detained for extortion and the Latvian Ministry of Defense both blame, you guessed it, Russia!
Lambert's two principles of neoliberalism may have to be updated. He already has
#1 Because markets.
#2 Go die.
He may have to modify the second one to say
#2 Go die or get the hell outta Dodge.edmondo , February 25, 2018 at 10:53 am
Now I may be prejudiced because the Gs came from deepest darkest Lithuania–and we're talking out in the endless woods in a village along a lake.
When people talk about population decline in Latvia, you are talking about part of the corruption. The native Latvians wanted a way of getting rid of the Russian population, many of whom are considered immigrants. So dropping 20 percent of the population means throwing out the Russians. When your "population policy " is based on something like that, you can image what the country's economic policies are like.
In contrast–although Lithuania, too, has lost some 10 – 15 percent of its population since restored independence–the Lithuanians came to terms, imperfect terms, with their smaller Polish and Russian minorities. Nevertheless, the Lithuanians didn't go whole-hog free-market fundamentalism. And when a recent president was found to be corrupt, they impeached him and threw him out.
So you have different models for how to survive as a Baltic State. Latvia has made a mess of its "model."Altandmain , February 25, 2018 at 12:15 pm
"Now of course that's still in a land where they had really severely repressed wages for the working class and for middle class, and continued to tolerate a fair degree of unemployment and underemployment for folks, as well. So, yeah it works really well for the oligarchs. And they do employ people. The unemployment rate drops, but the country invariably becomes extremely corrupt."
Was he still talking about Latvia or did he switch over to the USA?Massinissa , February 25, 2018 at 12:27 pm
There is a strong correlation between inequality and corruption.
Furthermore, in the medium term there is a causal relationship:
This would suggest that inflicting austerity on a population, which worsens inequality, will set the precedent for corruption in the future.Eustache De Saint Pierre , February 25, 2018 at 12:42 pm
Half a decade ago when Latvia was considered a success story for neoliberal austerity, one animator made this great satire video making fun of how farcical it was to consider it such.
Latvia also being part of that running sore which involves according to the US state department's last global estimate, about 800,000 to a million victims per annum of people trafficking. Of which around 80% are female, with a not stated amount being children, used for both labour & sexual purposes.
I suppose that it comes as little surprise that the 2 main flows of these commodities is from East to West & South to North.
Dec 25, 2017 | theduran.com
On Friday 21st December 2017 the Stockholm Arbitration Court made a ruling in the legal dispute between Ukraine's state owned gas monopoly Naftogaz and Russia's largely state owned gas monopoly Gazprom.
In the hours after the decision – which like all decisions of the Stockholm Arbitration Court – is not published, Naftogaz claimed victory in a short statement. However over the course of the hours which followed Gazprom provided details of the decision which suggests that the truth is the diametric opposite.The Duran recommends using WP Engine >>
Here is how the Financial Times reports the competing claims
Both Ukraine's Naftogaz and Russia's Gazprom both on Friday claimed victory as a Stockholm arbitration tribunal issued the final award ruling in the first of two cases in a three-year legal battle between the state-controlled energy companies, where total claims stand at some $80bn.
An emailed statement from the Ukrainian company was titled:
"Naftogaz wins the gas sales arbitration case against Gazprom on all issues in dispute."Start your own website here >>
The Stockholm arbitration tribunal -- in its final award ruling in a dispute over gas supplies from prior years -- had, according to Naftogaz, struck down Gazprom's claim to receive $56bn for gas contracted but not supplied through controversial "take-or-pay" clauses. They were included in a supply contract Ukraine signed in 2009 after Gazprom dented supplies to the EU by cutting all flow amid a price dispute -- including transit through the country's vast pipeline systems. In a tweet Ukraine's foreign minister
Pavlo Klimkin wrote: "The victory of Naftogaz in the Stockholm arbitration: It's not a knockout, but three knockdowns with obvious advantage."
But later Gazprom countered that arbitors "acknowledged the main points of the contract were in effect and upheld the majority of Gazprom's demands for payment for gas supplies", worth over $2bn. A Naftogaz official responded that the company never refused to pay for gas supplied, but challenged price and conditions.
Given the tribunal does not make its decisions public, doubt loomed over which side was the ultimate winner. Anticipation also grew over the second and final tribunal award expected early next year over disputes both have concerning past gas transit obligations.
Friday's final Stockholm arbitration ruling follows a preliminary decision from last May after which both sides were given time to settle monetary claims outside of the tribunal but failed to reach agreement.
Here is the full Naftogaz statement:
"Today, the Tribunal at the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce has completely rejected Gazprom take-or-pay claims to Naftogaz amounting to USD 56 billion for 2009-2017.
- – Naftogaz succeeded at reducing future contract volume obligations by more than 10 times and made them relevant to its actual import needs.
- – Price for gas off-taken by Naftogaz in 2Q 2014 reduced 27% from USD 485/tcm to USD 352/tcm. – Naftogaz saved USD 1.8 billion on gas purchased in 2014-2015 due to revision of the contract price.
- – Destination clause and other discriminatory provisions were declared invalid to bring the contract in line with current European market standards.
- – Naftogaz estimates the total positive financial effect of the arbitration over the lifetime of the supply contract at over USD 75 billion.
- – Naftogaz claims up to USD 16 billion in transit contract arbitration against Gazprom; decision expected on 28 February 2018."
Gazprom said that in a separate decision on May 31 of this year, the tribunal denied Naftogaz's application to review prices from May 2011 to April 2014, ordered it to pay $14bn for gas supplies during that period, and said that the take-or-pay conditions applied for the duration of the contract. Gazprom claimed that Naftogaz would have to pay it $2.18bn plus interest of 0.03 per cent for every day the payments were late, and then pay for 5bn cm of gas annually starting next year.
When the different sides give opposite accounts of the same decision it obviously becomes difficult to say what the real decision actually is. However Gazprom says that the court upheld (1) the main provisions of the contract; (2) the contract's take-or-pay provisions, these being a particularly contentious issue in the contract; and (3) that Naftogaz has been ordered to pay Gazprom $2 billion, presumably immediately, with interest for every day the amount is unpaid.
By contrast the reduction in the gas price Naftogaz refers to from $485/tcm to $352 tcm which Naftogaz makes much of in its statement appears to apply only to gas supplied to Ukraine by Gazprom in the second quarter of 2014 and still sets the price of gas supplied to Ukraine by Gazprom higher than was demanded by Ukraine during this period.
The key point here is that Russia agreed to reduce the price of gas supplied to Ukraine by an agreement Russia's President Putin reached with Ukraine's President Yanukovich in December 2013. After the Maidan coup the new Ukrainian government went back on the agreement causing the Russians to demand payment of the original price. However over the course of 2014, as energy prices began first to slide and then crashed, and as it became clear that Ukraine was simply not paying for its gas, Russia again reduced the price of the gas Ukraine had to pay.
What seems to have happened is that the Stockholm Arbitration Court decided to smooth out the price of gas payable by Ukraine throughout 2014, which is the sort of thing arbitration tribunals are regularly known to do, whilst leaving the essentials of the contract unchanged.
If so then this is not a victory by Ukraine but a clearcut defeat, which Naftogaz and the Ukrainian government have tried to spin into a victory by citing the reduction in the gas price in the second quarter of 2014 and the reduction in future gas import volumes, neither of which were contentious issues. By contrast it is clear that Ukraine and Naftogaz must pay the full contractual price and abide by the contract's take-or-pay provisions for the whole of the period of the contract prior to the second quarter of 2014.
What this means in terms of hard cash is that Ukraine must now pay Russia a further $2 billion on top of the $3 billion it was recently ordered to pay by the High Court in London. Just as it is holding back on paying the $3 billion it was ordered to pay by the High Court until the appeal process in London is finished, so it will try to hold off paying the $2 billion it has just been ordered to pay to Gazprom until the final decision of the Stockholm Arbitration Court (thus the brave talk of Naftogaz's claims of "up to $16 billion transit contract arbitration against Gazprom") but thereafter payment of the $2 billion will fall due. I say this because the claim Gazprom owes Naftogaz "up to" $16 billion in transit fees looks like it has been plucked out of the air.
What this means is that over the course of 2018 Ukraine will have to pay Russia $5 billion ($3 billion awarded by the High Court in London and $2 billion awarded by the Stockholm Arbitration Court). Since the $2 billion awarded by the Stockholm Arbitration Court is technically an arbitration award, Gazprom will need to convert it into a court Judgment before it can enforce it, but that is merely a formality. At that point this debt will become not merely due but legally enforceable as well.
Ukraine recently borrowed $3 billion on the international financial markets at very high interest almost certainly in order to pay the $3 billion the High Court in London has ordered it to pay Russia. Whilst the $2 billion is technically a debt owed by Naftogaz not Ukraine and its non-payment would does not place Ukraine in a state of sovereign default, Gazprom is in a position to enforce the debt against Naftogaz's assets (including gas it buys) in the European Economic Area. It is difficult to see how Naftogaz and Ukraine can avoid payment of this debt.
Has Ukraine actually gained anything from its long running gas dispute with Russia?
Naftogaz brags that Ukraine has saved up to $75 billion because it is no longer buying gas from Russia. However this begs the question of whether the gas Ukraine is now importing from Europe really is significantly cheaper than the gas Ukraine was buying from Russia? This is debatable and with energy prices rising it is likely to become even less likely over time.
Nov 29, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com
marknesop , , November 28, 2017 at 2:13 pmHa, ha!!! The Victim Of The Aggressor Country seldom fails to entertain. Here we have VR Deputy Chairperson Ira Gerashchenko bossing Europe around , and telling it that the Victim Of The Aggressor Country's parliamentary delegation will continue to insist on Russia not returning to the Council of Europe. Because, she says, Russia has stolen part of the territory of the VOTAC which was a gift from Russia in the first place (although she doesn't mention that last part), thereby setting a precedent for every country which has a province 'liberated' by the west to term it stolen by the west. But that wasn't my favourite part. No; this is – "We live at the time of a certain degrading of European institutions and their external weakening, including by Russia. You can accept it and go with the flow but you can also recognize the fact try to resist it."
Beautiful, Ira!! Inspiring!! And how many degraded European leaders are Billionaires who openly own an impressive slate of businesses and media in their countries, which they continue to operate and profit from while piously declaring their only interest is the welfare of the country? Which is, by the bye, the most corrupt country in Europe ? How many Prosecutors-General has the VOTAC had since its glorious liberation from the yoke of the Moskali? Yes, you can certainly teach Yurrup a thing or two about integrity.
It must be embarrassing to be European these days. To be dressed down by the corrupt country you support on handouts because you are not doing enough to support it. First we had the 'Me' generation. Then we had the 'Me' country.
Nov 07, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com
Patient Observer , November 6, 2017 at 1:02 pmDid not the Kremlin Stooges predict this years ago?marknesop , November 6, 2017 at 1:15 pm
The international organization for migration has published official data which shows that every fourth prostitute in Europe is a citizen of Ukraine.
The article discusses pamphlets that are distributed to young Ukrainian girls/women advising them on how to survive and flourish in new realities of life in the EU.
the Ukrainian labor market is being formed and is growing. Even if there is no other work and none is expected, girls should know that Europe will take care of them. The younger generation of Ukrainian schoolgirls will find out how to apply themselves If you are involved in the sex business, then this brochure is for you," it is said in the introduction. "You have chosen a very dangerous profession, but if you always follow these simple rules, then you will get a chance to live a long life You shouldn't serve several clients alone, you should avoid drunk clients, and also always to take payment in advance. And when you go to the client's apartment, try to learn in what district of the city it is located, give preference to hotels".It's okay if you're a hooker, and all you have to sell is yourself. You have chosen a dangerous profession, but really the writing was on the wall, wasn't it, if only you'd had sense to read it? And the economic calamity which has come to pass in your country is really no concern of ours, while for our part we are not too upset at being offered the choice of some of the most beautiful young women on the planet, who will do anything you say for a handful of euros.
Here's to your bright new future in the EU. Incredible. I wonder if Poroshenko will tout this statistic as another validation of Ukrainians' confidence in his leadership.
Oct 10, 2017 | fish12a.livejournal.com
...The data were officially published on the website of the Ministry of Finance of Ukraine. http://index.minfin.com.ua/index/debt/
Before the revolution, Ukraine's external debt was more than now: 142 billion dollars. Now, as of July 1, 2017 it is slightly less than 114 billion. How this can happen during civil war it is not very clear...
But the country's GDP in three years fell exactly two times. That's what typically happens during civil war. It was 183 billion dollars, and now became 93 billion. That means $2186 per capita in 2016 year... With the average salary around $150 a month and the average pension less then $80 a month.
Aug 26, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com
moscowexile says: August 22, 2017 at 5:25 amDrutten says: August 22, 2017 at 6:49 am
The US has sent to the Ukraine its first consignment of coal
August 22, 11:28 UTC+3
The delivery price was $113 per ton
The beginning of the end for "Novorossiya"?
I am certain that is an interpretation that the resident troll will be eager to spout out.
Не секрет, что российский энергетический уголь Киев раньше закупал по 60-70 долларов за тонну. Донбасский обходился украинцам еще дешевле. Но затем официальный Киев под предлогом "войны с Москвой" отказался от дешевых энергоресурсов.
It is no secret that Kiev used to buy Russian power station coal at $60-70 per tonne. The Donbass made even cheaper deals with the Ukrainians . But then official Kiev, on the pretext of a "war with Moscow," refused cheap energy resources.
see: На Украину отправлена первая партия дорогого угля из СШАWho's paying for it? The IMF? So the money goes back to the U.S?moscowexile says: August 22, 2017 at 6:54 am
I've seen multiple instances of this occuring in Ukraine, i.e. the purchasing of unnecessarily expensive goods, with money they technically don't have. It's not always a "Russian substitution" thing either.
Somebody's laughing all the way to the bank, at least. Good on them.Somebody's laughing all the way to the bankmarknesop says: August 22, 2017 at 9:38 am
Swinish squeals of laughter coming from him above, that's for sure.
Furthermore, the pig is laughing all the way to the bank that he owns.That's their privilege. And they will be able to exercise it, in theory, for so long as the western taxpayer is prepared to see the IMF allot Ukraine money to buy energy at prices far higher than it could obtain it elsewhere. I daresay in the meantime someone else will buy Donbas coal. It's not like this is going to break them. Although the USA will pocket the taxpayers' money – again – which is one of its preferred ways of doing business.
Aug 25, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com
August 23, 2017
Lyttenburgh , August 23, 2017 at 9:51 pm" seem to be smart enough not to concentrate in one region. "
Uh-huh. Thanks for update, et Al! Just recently the Ukrian Foreign ministry revealed data pertaining to the "success" of the Sacred BezViz. They claim that 200 000 of the Ukrainians used it since its inception on 11 June this year. How much is it compared to other years – I have no data ATM. The №1 destination place of these tourists surprised me – it's Barcelona! Second place hold Rome, third one – Paris, 4 – Milan, 5 – Lissabon Not Poland and not Germany though.
Meanwhile rumours abound about "New Europeans" (mostly – from the Baltic states) illegally transporting Ukrainians to Ireland and Britain to work as literally slaves there. Also there was a general noise about the increase of the Ukrainian gasterbaiters in Poland.
The idea that Germany should pay is not a new one. PiS just tries to make Poland enter the elite club of the "suffering nations", browbeat the entire world into accepting their own unique "tragic history" and then beg for monies. Their mistake is twofold. First – they disperse their energy and attention at many "tragedies" at once. Look at Israel and the Ukraine! They get this martyrology business model right – focus on one event (Shoah/Holodomor) and proclaim it as unique and reparations worthy.
And what the PiS does? Kaczynski has suggested to have a monthly anniversary of the Smolensk crash to be hosted in April 2018; for a grand total of 96 months (the number of victims). He also expressed a hopeful notion that "we will learn the truth by then" (aka "Tusk/KGB did it!").
Each progressive monthly anniversary costs more to field and takes more policemen to act as security. It is siad, that the previous monthlyversary required 2000 policemen for about 2.5 thousand people and about 500 people from the countermanifestation. First monthlyversaries only had 50 or so policemen standing guard.
Jul 28, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com
Cortes , July 22, 2017 at 12:21 pmAnother scandal is the deteriorating public health situation in Banderastan.yalensis , July 22, 2017 at 2:01 pm
Do none of the "leaders" have even a smidgeon of shame over the disgraceful dismantling of a system built on lessons learned over two hundred years of advances in measures to improve public health?
Disgusting doesn't come close to summing up the effects of the "reforms.""Unfortunately, experts say that Ukrainian-American health minister Ulana Suprun, who replaced Kvitashvili in April 2016, is too busy lobbying for the closure of hospitals and clinics to pay attention to the looming crisis."
Suprun is the one we talked about before, the offspring of a Canadian Banderite family.
Dubious that her conscious goal is to destroy the Ukrainian people; but in essence, that's what she is doing, brought on by a false ideology.
Jul 28, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com
cartman , July 23, 2017 at 11:38 amG7 Ambassadors Support Cutting of Pensions in the Ukrainemarknesop , July 23, 2017 at 12:13 pmSo when you cut through all the steam and the boilerplate, how do they plan to do it so it's fairer to poor Ukrainians, but the state spends less?Cortes , July 23, 2017 at 4:18 pm
Ah. They plan to raise the age at which you qualify for a pension , doubtless among other money-savers. If the state plays its cards right, the target demographic wil work all its adult life and then die before reaching pensionable age. But as usual, we must be subjected to the usual western sermonizing about how the whole initiative is all about helping people and doing good.
This is borne out in one of the other 'critical reforms' the IMF insisted upon before releasing its next tranche of 'aid' – a land reform act which would allow Ukraine to sell off its agricultural land in the interests of 'creating a market'. Sure: as if. Land-hungry western agricultural giants like Monsanto are drooling at the thought of getting their hands on Ukraine's rich black earth plus a chink in Europe's armor against GMO crops. Another possible weapon to use against Russia would be the growing of huge volumes of GMO grain so as to weaken the market for Russian grains.And pollution of areas of Russian soil from blown in GMO seeds. Creating facts on the ground.Patient Observer , July 24, 2017 at 4:18 amAnother element of the plan to reduce pension obligations is the dismantling of whatever health care system that remain in the Ukraine. That is a twofer – save money on providing medical services and shortening the life span. This would be another optimization of wealth generation for the oligarchs and for those holding Ukraine debt.Jen , July 24, 2017 at 5:03 amI can just see Ukrainian health authorities giving away free cigarettes to patients and their families next!yalensis , July 24, 2017 at 2:30 pm
That remark was partly facetious and partly serious: life these days in the Ukraine sounds so surreal that I wouldn't put it past the Ministry of Healthcare of Ukraine to come up with the most hare-brained "reform" initiatives.Nine out of ten doctors recommend Camels.Patient Observer , July 24, 2017 at 6:09 pm
The other one doctor is a woman, who smokes Virginia Slims.
I recall a news story about the adverse effects of a reduction in smoking on the US Social Security Trust Fund. Those actuaries make those calculations for a living. The trouble with shortening life spans via cancer is that end-of-life treatment tends to be very expensive unless people do not have or have very basic health insurance, then there is a likely net gain. Alcohol, murder and suicides are generally much more efficient economically. I just depressed myself.kirill , July 24, 2017 at 8:09 pmSomething does not add up. Any government expenditure is an economic stimulus. The only potentially negative aspect is taxation. Since taxation is not excessive and in fact too small on key layers (e.g. companies and the rich), there is no negative aspect to government spending on pensions. So we have here narrow-definition accounting BS.Jen , July 25, 2017 at 4:56 amAgree that in a world where the people, represented by their governments, are in charge of money creation and governments ran their financial systems independently of Wall Street and Washington, any government spending would be welcomed as stimulating economic production and development. The money later recirculates back to the government when the people who have jobs created by government spending pay the money back through purchases of various other government goods and services or through their taxes.marknesop , July 25, 2017 at 9:18 am
But in capitalist societies where increasingly banks are becoming the sole creators and suppliers of money, government spending incurs debts that have to be paid back with interest. In the past governments also raised money for major public projects by issuing treasury bonds and securities but that doesn't seem to happen much these days.
Unfortunately also Ukraine is surviving mainly on IMF loans and the IMF certainly doesn't want the money to go towards social welfare spending.In fact, the IMF specifically intervenes to prevent spending loan money on social welfare, as a condition of extending the loan. That might have been true since time out of mind for all I know, but it certainly was true after the first Greek bailout, when leaders blew the whole wad on pensions and social spending so as to ensure their re-election. They then went sheepishly back to the IMF for a second bailout. So there are good and substantial reasons for insisting the loan money not be wasted in this fashion, as that kind of spending customarily does not generate any meaningful follow-on spending by the recipients, and is usually absorbed by the cost of living.Patient Observer , July 25, 2017 at 7:07 pm
But as we are all aware, such IMF interventions have a definite political agenda as well. In Ukraine's case, the IMF with all its political inveigling is matched against a crafty oligarch who will lift the whole lot if he is not watched. Alternatively, he might well blow it all on social spending to ensure his re-election, thus presenting the IMF with a dilemma in which it must either continue to support him, or cause him to fall.In an economy based on looting, it makes perfect sense. Money flows only one way until its all gone.
Jul 28, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com
marknesop , July 25, 2017 at 9:59 amHa, ha, ha!!! "Russia seems to have corrupted rational conversation about foreign policy"!!! I couldn't believe it – that suety smug dick Tucker was doing so well, but he had to blame Russia for the fact that the United States made up so many things that Russia allegedly did, but in fact did not. The reflex was just too strong.
You could almost hear heads exploding in Washington, too, when she said "Our so-called allies like Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar "
Jul 20, 2017 | "https://marknesop.wordpress.com/2017/07/03/the-credibility-gap-that-ought-to-be/comment-page-6/#comment-175430"> marknesop.wordpress.com
Moscow Exile says: July 19, 2017 at 3:35 am The United States has almost tripled the cost of metallurgical coal for the Ukraine compared to 2016 (report of U.S. Department of Energy). In January-March 2017 Kiev bought coal at $206 per tonne, and a year earlier the price was $71 dollars. The volume of supply has increased from 355 thousand to 865 thousand tons over the same period this year the value of American coal for some countries has declined. In particular, Norway has purchased the fuel at $125 per ton, a year, and earlier for $140.
Who can answer the question why the Junta pays nearly twice the price for the same coal pay.
See: ,a href="http://mikle1.livejournal.com/7700305.html">Межгосударственная угольная коррупция
Interstate coal corruption
Тлеющая дружба: США почти в три раза увеличили цены на уголь для Украины в 2017 году
Smouldering friendship: up to 2017 the United States has almost threefold increased the price of coal for the Ukraine
Apr 12, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.comWarren , April 10, 2017 at 4:36 amUkraine's central bank chief resignsLyttenburgh , April 10, 2017 at 10:26 am
The governor of Ukraine's central bank, Valeriya Gontareva, has resigned the post after three years, following intense pressure from tycoons whose banks she shut down for conducting illegal transactions and loans.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-39551699Meanwhile her personal wealth after 3 years in chrage of Ukraine's finances (read: of the Western donors money) MYSTERIOUSLY increased to 7 blns of hryvnias and entire squadron of luxury cars (from 3.5 mln hryvnas upwards each). What can I say? Здобулы!cartman , April 10, 2017 at 11:15 am
http://vesti-ukr.com/svetskie-vesti/90064-gontareva-ezdit-na-pjati-avto-i-uzhinaet-u-bassejnaI wonder if Nabiullina has a pink Barbie car. Probably not to her taste.Jen , April 10, 2017 at 10:43 pmI think we've found Dave Cameron's soul mate.Moscow Exile , April 10, 2017 at 10:47 pmYou are not suggesting that she resembles Miss Piggy, are you?Jen , April 11, 2017 at 12:49 amShe looks the type to put Call-Me-Dave in his place, which is in a pig sty.et Al , April 10, 2017 at 11:18 amNeuters: Ukraine president's grip weakens as central bank chief quits
If Ukraine's central bank chief needed any more incentive to quit, last week she woke up to find the image of a pig draped in a Russian flag spray-painted onto the wall of her house and a gaggle of young protesters calling her a Russian stooge.
After a sustained hate campaign that also included a coffin laid at her door, Valeria Gontareva finally quit on Monday.
Her departure, with no obvious candidate for a successor, leaves President Petro Poroshenko with one fewer ally in power at a time when lenders keeping Ukraine afloat already question his ability to follow through on promised reforms .
Ukraine has faded from the American national consciousness as other, even more recent and far more spectacular foreign policy fiascos - Syria, Libya and the Islamic State - overwhelm our capacity to catalog them.
... ... ...
Obama's delicate carrot-and-stick approach hasn't worked, and the long-simmering Ukrainian kettle threatens to boil into the worst crisis in relations between Moscow and Washington since the Cold War.
... ... ...
The optimism created by the 2013-2014 "EuroMaidan" street demonstrations was short-lived. Prime Minister Arseniy Petrovych Yatsenyuk was forced to resign in April against a backdrop of permanent political crisis and high-profile charges of corruption.
... ... ...
Perhaps most dispiriting of all, even those Ukrainian activists, politicians, and journalists who are portrayed as true reformers appear likewise unable to resist the temptation to engage in the systemic looting of the Ukrainian economy.
In early September, the New Yorker magazine dedicated several thousand words to three citizen-journalists who now serve in the Ukrainian Parliament. Like other western media outlets, the New Yorker portrayed Sergei Leshchenko, Svitlana Zalishchuk, and Mustafa Nayem as dedicated journalists - new faces who sought election to parliament as part of President Poroshenko's bloc in the wake of the Maidan street protests, which Nayem helped organize.
Now, however, Leshchenko's post-election acquisition of high-end housing has attracted the attention of the Anti-Corruption Agency of Ukraine, an investigatory body that was established at the urging of the United States. Last week, the Anti-Corruption Agency forwarded the Leshchenko file to the special prosecutor's office tasked with corruption fighting. Leshchenko could not explain the source of the income that allowed him to buy the residence, loan documents are missing, and the purchase price was allegedly below market
The owner of the building, according to Ukrainian media accounts, is Ivan Fursin, the partner of mega-oligarch Dmytro Firtash.
Recent reports have revealed that Leshchenko's expenses for attending international forums were paid for by the oligarch Viktor Pinchuk who also contributed $8,6 million to the Clinton Foundation While Leshchenko remains the toast of the western media and Washington think tanks, back at home, his fellow reformers in the Parliament are calling on him to resign until his name is cleared.
Meanwhile, the next president is sure to find Ukraine besieged on all sides: With Russian troops and pro-Russian rebels at its throat and corruption destroying it from within -and as the Leshchenko scandal suggests, not all in Ukraine is what it appears to be.
The new president must learn to discern Ukraine's true reformers from those who made anti-corruption crusades into a lucrative business, and be able to distinguish real action from empty words.
If not, the two and a half decades-long Ukrainian experiment with independence may boil over completely.
marknesop.wordpress.commarknesop , July 24, 2016 at 8:05 pmWow; there's still endemic corruption in Ukraine – who knew? And Poroshenko is the richest among the leaders of Europe, while he leads what must be just about Europe's poorest country. Ordinarily, the press would be all over a dichotomy like that. I guess reporting on Ukraine requires a suspension of curiosity.
"Anastasia Krasnosilska of the Anti-Corruption Action Center of Ukraine, said Poroshenko has only tackled abuses because of foreign pressure and then only after lengthy foot-dragging.
"All recent successes in the fight against corruption were made possible because of pressure from the EU, IMF, and civil society," she said to CBC News. "If it weren't for the conditionalities the foreign donors and lenders imposed, and the feeling that the eye of foreign governments is on Ukraine, there would have been no reform."
And it's starting to have an effect.
"According to the Kyiv Post, the IMF is planning to reduce a loan to Ukraine from a planned $1.7 billion to $1 billion over corruption concerns.
Valeria Gontareva, Poroshenko's Porsche-driving political ally and business partner who now heads the National Bank of Ukraine, says she isn't concerned. "It's not a big deal for us," she told the publication, although the shortfall is equal to the total amount Canada has given to Ukraine since the Maidan rebellion ended in February 2014."
And yet the Ukrainian government still keeps on mouthing it up to the country's most likely saviour – Russia. Although things have probably gone too far for that now, thanks to the west trying to muscle into a position where whatever Russia does to benefit Ukraine benefits the west.
Aug 18, 2016 | The New York Times
MOSCOW - The Ukrainian authorities, under pressure to bolster their assertion that once-secret accounting documents show cash payments from a pro-Russian political party earmarked for Donald J. Trump's campaign chairman, on Thursday released line-item entries, some for millions of dollars.
The revelations also point to an outsize role for a former senior member of the pro-Russian political party, the Party of Regions, in directing money to both Republican and Democratic advisers and lobbyists from the United States as the party tried to burnish its image in Washington.
The former party member, Vitaly A. Kalyuzhny, for a time chairman of the Ukraine Parliament's International Relations Committee, had signed nine times for receipt of payments designated for the Trump campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, according to Serhiy A. Leshchenko, a member of Parliament who has studied the documents. The ledger covered payments from 2007 to 2012, when Mr. Manafort worked for the party and its leader, Viktor F. Yanukovych, Ukraine's former president who was deposed.
Mr. Kalyuzhny was also a founding board member of a Brussels-based nongovernmental organization, the European Center for a Modern Ukraine, that hired the Podesta Group, a Washington lobbying firm that received $1.02 million to promote an agenda generally aligned with the Party of Regions.
Because the payment was made through a nongovernmental organization, the Podesta Group did not register as a lobbyist for a foreign entity. A co-founder of the Podesta Group, John D. Podesta, is chairman of Hillary Clinton's campaign, and his brother, Tony Podesta, runs the firm now.
The role of Mr. Kalyuzhny, a onetime computer programmer from the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, in directing funds to the companies of the chairmen of both presidential campaigns, had not previously been reported. Mr. Kalyuzhny was one of three Party of Regions members of Parliament who founded the nonprofit.
The Associated Press, citing emails it had obtained, also reported Thursday that Mr. Manafort's work for Ukraine included a secret lobbying effort in Washington that he operated with an associate, Rick Gates, and that was aimed at influencing American news organizations and government officials.
Mr. Gates noted in the emails that he conducted the work through two lobbying firms, including the Podesta Group, because Ukraine's foreign minister did not want the country's embassy involved. The A.P. said one of Mr. Gates's campaigns sought to turn public opinion in the West against Yulia Tymoshenko, a former Ukrainian prime minister who was imprisoned during Mr. Yanukovych's administration.
The Podesta Group, in a statement, said its in-house counsel determined the company had no obligation to register as a representative of a foreign entity in part because the nonprofit offered assurances it was not "directly or indirectly supervised, directed, controlled, financed or subsidized in whole or in part by a government of a foreign country or a foreign political party."
Reached by phone on Thursday, a former aide to Mr. Kalyuzhny said he had lost contact with the politician and was unsure whether he remained in Kiev or had returned to Donetsk, now the capital of a Russian-backed separatist enclave.
Ukrainian officials emphasized that they did not know as yet if the cash payments reflected in the ledgers were actually made. In all 22 instances, people other than Mr. Manafort appear to have signed for the money. But the ledger entries are highly specific with funds earmarked for services such as exit polling, equipment and other services.
On Monday, Mr. Manafort issued a heated statement in response to an article in The New York Times that first disclosed that the ledgers - a document described by Ukrainian investigators as an under-the-table payment system for the Party of Regions - referenced a total of $12.7 million in cash payments to him over a five-year period.
In that statement, Mr. Manafort, who was removed from day-to-day management of the Trump campaign on Wednesday though he retained his title, denied that he had personally received any off-the-books cash payments. "The suggestion that I accepted cash payments is unfounded, silly and nonsensical," he said.
Mr. Manafort's statement, however, left open the possibility that cash payments had been made to his firm or associates. And details from the ledgers released Thursday by anticorruption investigators suggest that may have occurred. Three separate payments, for example, totaling nearly $5.7 million are earmarked for Mr. Manafort's "contract."
Another, from October 2012, suggests a payment to Mr. Manafort of $400,000 for exit polling, a legitimate campaign outlay.
Two smaller entries, for $4,632 and $854, show payments for seven personal computers and a computer server.
The payments do not appear to have been reported by the Party of Regions in campaign finance disclosures in Ukraine. The party's 2012 filing indicates outlays for expenses other than advertising of just under $2 million, at the exchange rate at the time. This is less than a single payment in the black ledger designated for "Paul Manafort contract" in June of that year for $3.4 million.
Ukrainian investigators say they consider any under-the-table payments illegal, and that the ledger also describes disbursements to members of the central election committee, the group that counts votes.
Correction: August 20, 2016
Because of an editing error, an article on Friday about the political activities in Ukraine of Donald J. Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, misidentified the office once held by Yulia V. Tymoshenko, a rival of Mr. Manafort's client, the former president Viktor F. Yanukovych. Ms. Tymoshenko served as prime minister of Ukraine, not its president.
New documents released by hackers who compromised George Soros' Open Society Foundations raise serious questions about the Hungarian billionaire's role in Ukraine.A leaked document, from the massive 2,500 file dump by DC Leaks of George Soros' most sensitive Open Society Foundations communications, show the inordinate amount of power and authority the Hungarian billionaire wielded over Ukraine in the immediate aftermath of the Maidan government overthrow.
Soros, along with key executives from the Open Society Foundations, held extensive meetings with nearly every actor involved in the Maidan coup including Ukraine's Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Justice, Health and Education as well as US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt and the regional director of USAID. However, the documents do exclude one key official, Victoria Nuland, who was allegedly involved in steering the opposition to the Yanukovych government.
The records focus on plans to minimize and counter Russian influence and cultural ties to Ukraine with a focus towards steering Kiev towards social and economic reforms that Soros favored. The Hungarian billionaire has not been bashful about his acts or intent to influence politics in Ukraine establishing the NGO, International Renaissance Foundation (IRF) to spearhead the formation of the "New Ukraine."
Most troubling in the document leak appears to be a file titled "Breakfast with US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt" to discuss Ukraine's future. In the meeting, which took place on March 31, 2014, just months after the Maidan coup and weeks prior to civil strife following Ukrainian forces assault on Donbass, US Ambassador Pyatt outlines a PR war against Putin, a position George Soros viewed favorably in the meeting.
"The short term issue that needs to be addressed will be the problem in getting the message out from the government through professional PR tools, especially given Putin's own professional smear campaigns," said the US Ambassador.
George Soros responded, "Agreement on the strategic communications issue – providing professional PR assistance to the Ukrainian government would be very useful."
Pyatt seemed open to the idea of guiding Ukraine towards a decentralization of power just short of Lavrov's recommendation for a federalized Ukraine, but George Soros pushed back stating that a federalization model would result in Russia gaining influence over eastern regions of the country which the Hungarian billionaire disapproved of.
The Ambassador noted that Secretary of State John Kerry "would be interested to hear George Soros' views on the situation directly, upon return from his trip" raising the question why one wealthy foreign individual, neither from Ukraine nor Russia, had such access to influence American policy.
Ambassador Pyatt's position towards decentralization also appeared to shake as the correspondence continued saying that the "Russian propaganda machine is telling Kharkhiv and Donbass residents that the government in Western Ukraine is looking to take away their resources and rights through the decentralization process, feeding into Lavrov's line that the Ukrainian government is dysfunctional and not successful as a unitary state, making it a necessity to have federalization.
Then, in a full capitulation, the American diplomat point blank asks George Soros, "what should the US government be doing and what is the US government currently doing."
To which, George Soros responded, "Obama has been too soft on Putin, and there is a need to impose potent smart sanctions." He then called on the US government to "impose sanctions on Russia for 90 days or until the Russian government recognizes the results of the presidential elections."
In a separate meeting, titled "Civil Society Roundtable Meeting," George Soros directly calls for the formation of a Ukrainian "fifth column" – a group whose sole purpose is to undermine a larger group – in order to push Ukraine away from Russia.
"We would rather have people there as fifth column – pivotal thing for future of Ukrainian society – continue to work with Crimean people" said the document regarding the disputed territory only highlighting that there was potentially improper interference by Soros in Ukraine's civil society.
Aug 19, 2016 | Zero Hedge
Submitted by Alex Christoforou via TheDuran.com,
Last week we reported on the DC Leaks hack of what was over 2,500 documents detailing how George Soros and his NGOs influence world leaders, drive foreign policy, and help to create unrest in sovereign nations, that many times leads to chaos and civil war.
One country of particular focus for George Soros and his NGOs is Ukraine. It is now accepted fact that Soros was deeply involved in the Maiden protests in 2014 and the violent coup, that saw a democratically elected government overthrown in the name of "EU values". What is even more troubling, as revealed by the DC Leaks hack, is how Soros and his network of "non-profit organisations" worked to lobby EU member states into not only buying his Ukraine "Maidan" narrative, but to also disavow any ties and support for Russia.
Leaked documents show that George Soros was active in mapping out the Greek media landscape with generous grants, so as to further his Ukraine project, while also using his deep pockets to get Greek media to turn against the Russian Federation…in what can only be described as a well-funded and orchestrated smear campaign.
In one document entitled: "Open Society Initiative For Europe (OSIFE). Mapping the Ukrainian debate in Greece" (Ukraine and Europe-greece-tor ukraine debate mapping greece.docx), Soros offers a consultant a remuneration of $6,500 (gross) for "at least 15 full working days in carrying out this task" plus all expenses paid.
The aim of this task:
The consultant is expected to chart the main players in the Greek debate on Ukraine, outline the key arguments and their evolution in the past 18 months. Specifically, the report will take stock of any existing polling evidence provide a 'who is who?' with information about at least
– 6 newspapers,
– 10 audiovisual outlets (TV and radio),
– 6 internet sites,
– About 50 opinion leaders and trends in social networks.
Categorize the main strains of discussion and eventually identify different sides / camps of the discussion.
Provide a brief account of how Russia has tried to influence the Greek debate on Ukraine through domestic actors and outlets
Include a section with recommendations on
– What are the spaces OSF should engage and would most likely to have impact?
– What are the voices (of reason or doubt) that should be amplified?
Open Society Initiative For Europe (OSIFE) selected Iannis Carras for the Greek media mapping grant. The justification why he was chosen…
All contracts were for the same amount. We needed to find highly specialized researchers to map the debate on Ukraine in Europe, therefore we identified a shortlist of candidates in consultation with colleagues in the Think Tank Fund, OSEPI and in consultation with members of the OSIFE board and chose the most qualified who could produce the report in the time allowed. I n the case of Greece we agreed that Iannis Carras, an economic and social historian of Balkan and Russian relations with expert knowledge of Greece's NGOs and social movements, was the best suited to the task.
What is even more interesting is not the grant from OSIFE, but a letter from grant winner Carras to a person named Mathew (another Greek speaker???), outlining his plan in detail for pushing Soros' Ukraine agenda in Greece.
Of significance is how Carras tells Mathew about Greek society's overall suspicion of The Open Society after the roll in played in seeding unrest in Yugoslavia. Carras even tells Mathew to not mention The Open Society in Greece.
"Do you want your name to appear alongside mine on the paper? Do make comments on all of the below.
In general, and at your discretion, do not say you are doing this for Open Society because it is likely to close down doors. There's a lot of suspicion about Open Society in Greece, mainly because of its positions vis-à-vis the former Yugoslavia. As I am simultaneously writing an article for Aspen Review Eastern Europe that can be used as the organisation for which research like this is taking place."
Carras then goes on to outline his approach in manipulating Greek society, covering topics such as:
2. Political parties and think tanks
3. Opinion polls.
4. Business relations.
5. Religious and cultural ties.
6. Migration and diaspora.
7. Greece and Ukraine in the context of Greece's economic crisis.
8. Greece, Ukraine and the Cyprus issue.
9. Names and brief description of significant actors: a 'who is who?' with information on at least 50 opinion leaders
Carras notes how Russia has much goodwill in Greece, exercising "significant soft power". Carras notes that Greece is, at this moment, a weak player in the Ukraine debate and the Greek Foreign Minister Kotzias realises this.
Summary: I am working on the hypotheses largely born out by the interviews carried out so far that Russia has significant soft power in Greece though this does not easily convert into hard power (e.g. vetoing EU sanctions). Greeks are basically not very interested in Ukraine and the crisis there. They reflect and understand that conflict through their own economic crisis and their relations with Europe (nowadays primarily Europe and not US). To the extent that relations with Europe remain the focus and do not go off the rails, Greece will bark but will not bite. If they improve, Greece might not even bark (as can be seen with Greece's policy on Israel, Kotzias can be very much a realist).
Carras does warn that should Greece's economic situation deteriorate further, than Greece may very well look to Russia for support, and this has implications on the Ukraine plan.
If they deteriorate however, Greece will be looking to Russia for increased support and will alter its Ukraine policies accordingly. Do you agree with these hypotheses? Can you find confirmation for or against them in the media outlets examined?
Carras places extra emphasis on influencing the media in Greece, citing various large news outlets that the Soros NGO can target, including approaching left wing and right wing blogs.
This is the bulk of the work (we have to think about how to divide the work up). We have to provide a 'who is who?' with information about at least 6 newspapers, 10 audio-visual outlets (TV and radio) and 6 internet sites. Some of these will be obvious, but, even in these cases, change over time (at least eighteen months) is an important consideration. Here are some suggestions for newspapers: Kathimerini, Avgi, Ta Nea, Vima, Efymerida Syntakton, Eleutherotypia, Proto Thema, Rizospastis? etc. What else? Protagon? Athens Review of Books? (info on Kotzias). As for TV, we'll just do the main ones. What about left wing blogs? What about commercial radio stations? I think we should cover Aristera sta FM. Sky. What else? Anything from the nationalist and far right? My choice would be Ardin (already looking at this) which at least tries to be serious. Patria is even more unsavoury. I'll deal with the religious web sites in the culture and religion appendix. I think we should interview Kostas Nisenko ( http://www.kathimerini.gr/757296/article/epikairothta/kosmos/viaih-epi8e... ) and Kostas Geropoulos of New Europe to get into the issues involved… not at all sure though that it's advisable to talk to the Russia correspondents Thanasis Avgerinos, Dimitris Liatsos, Achileas Patsoukas etc. (I know all of them). Also if we come across articles with interesting information on any one of the topics, we should mail them to one another.
Attention is placed on influencing political parties. Carras sees this as a more difficult task, as parties in Greece would not be warm towards turning their back on Russia.
Who if anyone deals with Russia / Ukraine within each of the political parties? How important are political parties in formulating policies? (my hunch is totally unimportant). I must admit I have little idea of how to proceed with this one, but I have written to the academic Vassilis Petsinis and I hope I'll get to skype with him soon. Think-tanks are easier, and, I think, more important. I have already interviewed Thanos Dokos (director Greek foreign policy institute, ELIAMEP) in person.
Carras notes how he has approached various religious leaders, academics and actors, to gauge a sense of how deep Russia's influence and "soft power" runs in Greek society and culture.
So far I have interviewed by telephone Metropolitan John of Pergamum (one of the top figures in the inner circle of the Istanbul based Ecumenical Patriarchate). I have read Metropolitan Nektarios of the Argolid's recent book (2014), "Two bullets for Donetsk". I have tried but so far not succeeded in contacting Metropolitan Nektarios himself, and have started work on two of the main religious news websites romfea.gr and amen.gr .
With respect to culture I intend to contact Georgos Livathinos, leading director of Russian and other plays and Lydia Koniordou, actress. Also the management of the Onassis Centre, particularly Afroditi Panagiotakou, the executive vice-director who is quite knowledgeable in this field having travelled to both Ukraine and Russia.
In 2016 Greece and Russia will be hosting each other as the focus of cultural events in the two respective countries. I will be looking to understand the extent to which Russia's unparalleled cultural soft-power might translate into Greek policy making.
Greek military is the final point of influence, with Carras interviewing Ambassadors and policy decision makers.
Foreign policy and the Greek military. So far I have interviewed in person Ambassador Elias Klis (formerly ambassador of Greece to Moscow, advisor to the current Foreign Minister, advisor to the Greek Union of Industrialists. He is perhaps the single most important person for understanding Greek-Russian diplomatic relations at present). Ambassador Alexandros Philon (formerly ambassador of Greece to Washington, to whom I am related). Captain Panos Stamou (submarines, extensive contacts in Crimea, also secretary and leading light of the Greek-Russian historical association) who emphasised the non-political tradition of the Greek armed forces. Tempted to talk to Themos Stoforopoulos for a nationalist left wing view. I have also read foreign minister Kotzias' latest book. All of this has provided me with useful insights for appendices 7 and 8, and particularly for the connection to the Cyprus issue (which at the moment Greece is very keen to downplay).
Carras places an emphasis on Cyprus, perhaps recognising the islands affinity to support Russia and its large Russian diaspora community.
The recommendations will be for the medium and the short term, cited here based on interviews carried out so far. Medium term recommendations will include a cultural event (to be specified later) and a one-day conference on Ukraine and international law, citing precedents for dealing with the situation in Ukraine (particularly Cyprus). Recommendations may include capacity building for local Ukrainian migrant spokesperson(s). Short term recommendations will include an action pack on what Greece has at stake in Ukraine, and ways to narrate parallels in interactions between nation and empire vis-à-vis Greece / Ukraine. Think about whether these work / what else we might recommend?
Both of the documents are below...
marknesop.wordpress.comMoscow Exile , July 26, 2016 at 9:34 am
... ... ...
The other day on the pages of "Correspondent" that quoted figures given by the State Statistics Service there was published data on the Ukrainian demographic catastrophe. It turns out that the population of the Ukraine (excluding the Crimea) as of January 1, 2016, amounted to 42,76,500 people, which is 6.3% or 2,873,000 persons fewer than there were in January 1, 2012 .
That is to say, the number of Ukrainian citizens has been reduced by approximately 3 million people over a period of 5 years. If this sad trend continues, then in 70 years no "Ukrainians" will remain.
Recent opinion polls show 70 percent of Ukrainians supporting Yatsenyuk's ouster and only one percent backing his People's Front parliamentary bloc.
IMF chief Christine Lagarde warned last week that it was "hard to see" how the bailout could continue without Ukraine pushing through the economic restructuring and anti-corruption measures it had signed on to when the package was agreed.
Ukraine's economy shrank by about 10 percent last year while annual inflation soared to more than 43 percent even with the Western assistance in place.
www.unz.comAnd make no doubt about it – a collapse is exactly what it is, and it afflicts way more of the country than just the war-wracked Donbass. Ukraine now vies with Moldova for the country with the lowest average wages in Europe.
Gabon with snow ? Saakashvili is hopelessly optimistic. That would actually be a big improvement!
GDP is at 60% of its 1990 Level
As of this year, the country with the most pro-Western revolutions is also the poorest performing post-Soviet economy bar none. This is a not unimpressive achievement considering outcomes here have tended to disappoint rather than elate. Russia itself, current GDP at about 110% of its 1990 level, has nothing to write home about (though "statist" Belarus, defying neoliberal conventional wisdom, at a very respectable 200% does have something to boast about).
Back in 2010 , although by far the worst performing heavily industrialized Soviet economy, Ukraine was still performing better relative to its position in 1990 than Moldova, Tajikistan, and Georgia. In the intervening 5 years – with a 7% GDP decline in 2014 which has widened to a projected 9% in 2015 – Ukraine has managed to slip to rock bottom .
How does this look like on a more human level?Housing Construction is Similar to That of 5 Million Population Russian Provinces
With a quarter of its population, Belarus is constructing as much new accomodation as is Ukraine. 16 million strong Kazakhstan is building more. Russia – more than ten times as much, even though it has less than four times as many people.
The seaside Russian province of Krasnodar Krai, which hosted the Sochi Winter Olympics, with its 5 million inhabitants, is still constructing more than half as much housing as all of Ukraine. No wonder the Crimeans were so eager to leave.New Vehicle Sales Collapse to 1960s Levels
The USSR might have famously concentrated on guns over butter, yet even so, even in terms of an item as infamously difficult to acquire as cars under socialism, Ukrainian consumers were better off during the 1970-1990 period than today. Now Ukrainians are buying as few new cars as they were doing in the catastrophic 1990s, and fewer even than during the depth of the 2009 recession.
And even so many Maidanists continue to giggle at "sovoks" and "vatniks." Well, at least they now make up for having even less butter than before with the Azovets "innovative tank." Armatas are quaking in fear looking at that thing.Debt to GDP Ratio at Critical Levels
And this figure would have risen further to around 100% this year.
Note that 60% is usually considered to be the critical danger zone for emerging market economies. This is the approximate level at which both Russia and Argentina fell into their respective sovereign debt crises.
To be fair, the IMF has indicated it will be partial to flouting its own rules to keep Ukraine afloat, which is not too surprising since it is ultimately a tool of Western geopolitical influence. And if as projected the Ukrainian economy begins to recover this year, then there is a fair chance that crisis will ultimately be averted.
But it will be a close shave, and so long as the "meet the new boss, same as the old boss" oligarchs who rule Ukraine continue siphoning off money by the billions to their offshore accounts with impunity, nothing can be ruled out.Resumption of Demographic Collapse
Much like the rest of the post-Soviet Slavic world, Russia had a disastrous 1990s in demographic terms, when mortality rates soared and birth rates plummeted. But like Russia – if to a lesser extent – it has since staged a modest recovery, incidentally with the help of a Russian-style "maternal capital" program. In 2008, it reached a plateau in birth rates, which was not significantly uninterrupted by the 2009 recession.
Since then, however, they have plummeted – exactly nine months after the February 2014 coup. The discreteness with which this happened together with the fact that the revolt in the Donbass took a further couple of months to get going after the coup proper implies that this fertility decline was likely a direct reaction to the Maidan and what it portended for the future.
This collapse is very noticeable even after you completely remove all traces of Crimea, Donetsk, and Lugansk oblasts which might otherwise muddy the waters (naturally, the demographic crisis in all its aspects has been much worse in the region that bore the brunt of Maidanist chiliastic fervor). Here are the Ukrstat figures for births and deaths in the first ten months of 2013, 2014, and 2015:
Births Deaths 2013 350658 441331 2014 354622 445236 2015 329308 450763
Furthermore, this period has seen a huge wave of emigration. Figures can only be guesstimated, but it is safe to say they are well over a million to both Russia and the EU.
The effects of this will continue to be felt long after any semblance of normalcy returns to Ukraine.
John Smith -> caliento , 4 Jan 2016 20:28
Jan 4, 2016 | theguardian.comBenladan , 4 Jan 2016 19:12The Guardian is politely silent about of hundreds productions, level of education, population (52 millions in 1991, 42 in 2015), infrastructure and other "products from glorifying communism" which have heard "farewell" too...abecedadeda -> Benladan , 4 Jan 2016 19:42Like if there wasn't for communism then there wouldn't be productions, educated population or infrastructure? How did they manage do build all of that in Western Europe even without communism i am wondering...Benladan -> abecedadeda , 4 Jan 2016 20:09
Communism f*cked up all natural relations and development and consequences are felt until these days.
Also, Ukraine was Russian vassal until two years ago, so almost everything that happened after 1991 in Ukraine is in the responsibility of the same bolshevik-KGB cronies that were in power during official communism.
Maybe it is a time to try to be a normal country like e.g. Czech republic or Slovenia are now (also ex-Bolshevik Moscow´s vassals) finally, even 25 years later, but better later than never.There is only little problem. Ukraine is not a Czech republic or Slovenia and even is not a Poland... Did you ever wondered why some countries live good as Germany, France, Poland, for example but some countries live bad? As South Africa when Europeans left it, Nigeria, Sudan... Why part of Ukraine was a captured by Poland but part of Poland never was captured by Ukraine? And why a you thinking that communism worse than capitalism, you even don't know how many was build in that time of communism.ruudvan -> abecedadeda , 4 Jan 2016 20:18Most of western Europe had about a 1000 year head start....so that is a nonsense comparison.abecedadeda -> Benladan , 4 Jan 2016 22:54
The achievements in a relatively short space of time once all the wars related to 1917 had ended, then in the 25 year period after the catastrophic loss following WW2 were incredible.
....and it is impossible to answer if Britain would have recovered as quickly from WW2 as the Soviets if they had suffered the equivalent (10 million) or the US (25 million ) deaths during this time.Years from the end of ww2 to early 70s were golden ages of world economy and development. Almost all countries heavily affected by ww2 recovered very quickly (Northern France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Poland, Soviet union, Japan, South Korea (not North Korea though), because those were simply very good times (economically and technologically). That has nothing to do with ruling ideology.John Smith , 5 Jan 2016 01:10
However, it was still much more done in capitalist countries (Japan, Germany, South Korea, Netherlands, Italy) than in communist. Just look at economically and culturally similar countries - look how much more developed was (and still is) Western Germany than Eastern Germany, Austria than Hungary, Finland than Estonia, South Korea than North Korea, Capitalist China (Taiwan) than Communist China...
I think from just these comparisations you can conclude all. Communism (or rather bolshevik cronyism) was the break on general development. The fact that under bolshevism there were some dams constructed in Ukraine doesn't change anything.I'll give a simple explanation. Ukraine defaulted on Russian loan. No one would invest any monies there except IMF and they are also reluctant because they stopped their investments because of corruption
Shad O , 4 Jan 2016 23:51CommieWealth , 4 Jan 2016 23:50
law has caused controversy, with many criticising an addendum which states that Ukrainian independence movements during the second world war some of which collaborated with the Nazis and were involved in massacres of Jews and Poles should be respected as "fighters for Ukrainian independence".
I'm beginning to recognise a familiar "Guardian euphmenism" touch there. Just like Syrian "moderate rebels" cause "controversy", as "some" of them call for jihad and eat people's hearts, and may have involved a massacre or two.This rejection of the cultural and political heritage of the Soviet Union (and its flavour of communism) is understandable, many former soviet states have gone through a similar process. However both the timing (amidst a civil war) and the extent (banning peaceful political movements and expression) are questionable. However, I assume some nuances have been lost in translation. What is the Russian word they use for "decommunisation"? Do they say this or "desovietisation"? As for the temptation to compare with post WW2 denazification in Germany, didn't the Soviet Union undergo an equivalent process in rejection of Stalin's heritage (trial and execution of Beria for example) in the late 50s and early 60s?CommieWealth -> luckyjohn , 5 Jan 2016 01:20A civil war does not preclude Russian interference. Apologies if you are offended at my ignorance of the subtle differences between Ukrainian and Russian.HollyOldDog -> luckyjohn , 5 Jan 2016 01:20I only have the Guardian as my source, dubious indeed.
Instead you follow events through dubious sources!!Ukraine = a border, no real identity at all.
How Poroshenko wished that Russia had invaded but it never happened.
The East Ukrainians were disenfranchised with the Regime change in their country but instead of sending in negotiators, the Kiev government sent in tanks and armored personnel carriers. What a way to run a country, they must have been inspired ( or instructed) by the best Regime changers in the business, the USA.gbg , 4 Jan 2016 23:35Seeing as the Ukrainians hate the Communists and Lenin, I trust we can expect them to reverse measures enacted by the Communists e.g. return to Russia the regions moved into the Ukrainian Soviet Republic by Lenin in the 1920s. By the same token, they should probably give Galicia back to Poland.Bosula -> jgbg 5 , Jan 2016 00:42And denounce the Communists gifting of Crimea to Ukraine in the 1950s...AGuenther , 4 Jan 2016 22:47Ukraine is a bit of the loosers aren't they.. borrow money from the EU to pay some relative or friend of those in Kyiv.. who just happens to own a sign, monument or statue company.. to bring about this ridiculously stupid change.. of 108 towns? They haven't got better things to do with whatever money they have?.. like take care of the needs of the people?ID125064 -> AGuenther , 4 Jan 2016 23:01Bosula -> ID125064 , 5 Jan 2016 00:43
And the longer this goes on the stronger Ukrainian identity becomes - symbolism is important.Partially based on fascist support for Hitler in WW2 and the murder of Jews and Poles?hcm1975 , 4 Jan 2016 22:41The old adage "patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel" comes readily to mind. Although perhaps "scoundrel" is too mild a word in this instance.Mark Court , 4 Jan 2016 22:39An incredibly weak article by one of the usual suspects. Walker confuses capitalist re-branding and renaming with de-communisation, a bizarre term he has dreamt up, just like de-nazification.La urence Johnson , 4 Jan 2016 22:39
Presumably, when the Marathon brand of chocolate bars were re-baptised Snickers, they were "de-communised" in the process. The subtle irony is that without suitable Stalinist role models, the mafia power-brokers running Ukraine in cahoots with their morally bankrupt western puppeteers haven't an ideological leg to stand on. Instead, Walker blathers on about how Dnipropetrovsk has, ahem, been re-branded as Dnipropetrovsk. Thanks Shaun.Irrespective of whether or not its a good idea, there must be an EU grant somewhere that would compensate for the damage caused . The Kiev government simply do not understand that in becoming members of the EU it is no good holding out the begging bowl. They need to become far more creative and hire in some experts to advise on the trillions of Euro's Ukraine could receive in grant aid. New railways, roads, bridges, hospitals, schools, are all simply a few forms away from becoming a reality.frombrussels -> Laurence Johnson , 4 Jan 2016 23:24......EU does NOT want Ukraine, we can NOT afford yet another poverty stricken ex soviet country !! If our utterly useless leaders would ever consider this insanity because USA tells us to, and if EU pretends to be a democracy, there should at least be a European referendum on this matter; the answer would be clear : NO WAY jose --John Smith -> Laurence Johnson , 5 Jan 2016 01:14The latest answer from the EU was: " We aren't ready, they aren't ready"DiplomaticImmunity , 4 Jan 2016 22:06
Optimistic one for sure ))The same coat Baroness Ashton wore in February 2014 contains the same belt that now chokes the Kiev puppet government to death. "Glory to Ukraine", yeah ? Oki Doki. No problem. Good luck --CapeBill , 4 Jan 2016 21:35I can only imagine the destruction and/or defacement of many beautiful buildings and structures that will be occurring throughout Ukraine. Many of the metro stations in Kiev will be butchered.Valencia1984 , 4 Jan 2016 21:32obliterate the past and ideas by erasing the visible remnants will have the opposite effect to that desired particulary with the inquisitive youth and is so Talibanesque it's ludicrous.MichaelA12 -> Valencia1984 , 4 Jan 2016 21:41
In Spain, Italy, etc, taking down the dictators' statues, renaming streets, etc has not got rid of fascists and their thinking at all. Besides, the Ukies can't afford it and have they never heard of the sex pistols et al?They are just using the same methods to get rid of the Soviet names as were used to impose them in the first place, except without the shootings, torture, deportations and mass-starvation.EugeneGur , 4 Jan 2016 21:31Putzik -> EugeneGur , 4 Jan 2016 21:51It is not ersatz at all - it is perfectly real and is made in the real methode champenoise . The best champaign is made, of course, in Crimea. There is place there, Novyi Svet (New World) where the Champaign factory makes collection Bruts that can compete with the best of them and are still inexpensive by comparison with the French stuff.
Ersatz champagne with the "Soviet" brand name has been produced since 1937 . . . It is a popular drink on New Year's Eve and at other celebrations, and comes in sweet, semi-sweet and dry versions – and at a fraction of the price of real champagne.What exactly is "the Soviet worldview"? If it means not accepting Fackelzug (torch parade) in your cities Nazi-style, then most people Russia definitely have it, and a good proportion of people in Ukraine, too.
the younger generation who were born after the Soviet Union collapsed, but they are absolutely Soviet and have a totally Soviet world view."
If having the Soviet worldview means not accepting erasing history and collective memory and replacing it with some glorious but, unfortunately, fictitious history of the Ukrainian nation - yes, we certainly do have it. There are real achievements Ukrainians could be proud of - oh, Gosh, I forgot, they all involve Russian in one way or another, and that is, of course, unacceptable - otherwise that would be another manifestation of the Soviet worldview. Like we did it together, Russians and Ukrainians - can't get more Soviet than that.The USSR and Soviet history and the Russian language no more belong to the post soviet Russian Federation than they do to Ukraine. Each country can keep or reject what it likes.EugeneGur -> Putzik , 4 Jan 2016 22:18
But to claim all tsarist and Soviet achievements as somehow the property of today's Russian Federation, is nothing more than lies and theft.
The Russian Federation is, like Ukraine, Belarus and Tajikistan, only25 years old, and just another splinter of the tsarist and Soviet empires.HollyOldDog -> Putzik , 5 Jan 2016 01:56The history is the history - it's not for anybody to chose it. What happened happened, and there is nothing anybody can do about it.
Each country can keep or reject what it likes.
Like Germany, for example, can say that the Nazi past never happened - just reject it like that, and that it? Say, Holocaust never happened because we don't like it? It doesn't work that way, my dear.You want to claim the achievements - then you also claim the responsibilities as well. Ones don't go without the others. Either Ukraine, like Belorussia, is a part of the Russian/Soviet empires and is entitles to all their achievements as well as to all the faults or it is a long suffered colony of both and then it is entitled to none. Can't have it both ways.
But to claim all tsarist and Soviet achievements as somehow the property of today's Russian Federation, is nothing more than lies and theftIn the entrance lobby to the Kiev RADA there was a portrait of Stephen Bandera - that was covered with a black silk shroud when Americans visited. Bandera was not a hero as he actively aided the NAZI in Auschwitz , Poles, Jews and Russians were his favourites. The Ukraine Government hasn't left its past behind, it's only trying to camouflage it, trying to appear civilized.Putzik -> HollyOldDog , 5 Jan 2016 02:25You are rehashing the contemporary Russian propaganda line. The political parties supporting Bandera erc are less popular in Ukraine than UKIP in the UK and the National Front in France.laticsfanfromeurope, 4 Jan 2016 21:30
There may well have been, for a narrow period of time a photo of Bandera during the Maidan. So what? People have been carting around portraits of Stalin for the last 25 years.
Are you seriously suggesting Bandera is worse than Stalin, or that the current Ukrainian govt is run by Nazis? If you are, then I respectfully suggest you are doing so in a conscious effort to discredit Ukraine in Western media.Ukrainian say farewall to Soviet things, but welcome Nazi stuff. Lovely.rasquera -> laticsfanfromeurope , 4 Jan 2016 22:03What a vile, dishonest remark. But, of course, you think the Soviets were not as bad as the Na*is.TomFullery -> rasquera , 4 Jan 2016 22:23Dishonest? In my visits to Ukraine after the US-instigated Nazi putsch I saw more and more Nazi symbolism sprayed all over the city. There was even a shrine to the fascist Bandera on Independence Square.Gary Robinson , 4 Jan 2016 21:16
There is always a heavy paramilitary presence around main administrative buildings in Kiev - surprising that a regime that claims it came to power through a popular revolution should be scared of that same population.Probably passed the laws after "a good old book burning", nothing like the rewriting of history. Next they will be rehabilitating the Ukrainians who fought for the Nazis and staffed the concentration camps.Luschnig , 4 Jan 2016 20:52It is totally bizarre that Ukrainian vandals would deface a statue of Lenin with with the motto, "I am the butcher of Ukraine" since he was the one who had made the Ukraine an independent political entity.Gtardkgb , 4 Jan 2016 20:22Allright democracy on the march. Overthrow elected governments with foreign backing (remember McCain at Maidan). Now you ban one of the largest opposition parties (in 2012 they got 6 percennt of the vote or 2.7 million votes) because they are traitors (that's the language they use) to the revolutionary Maidan government. While banning symbols and names they don't agree with by order of thought police and proclaiming Nazi collaborators as heroes. Just wait for the statues of Stepan Bandera to replace Lenin. The e.u and the rest of the west says nothing cause this is the kind of "democracy" they are fine with get bent hypocritesBabeouf , 4 Jan 2016 20:20In that poor retched shrinking country local street names is all the Coup Crowd in Kyiv can actually control. So they have campaigns, led by fascists, for changing the names of things. Meanwhile it has become impossible to find out if the nitwits still claim to be at war with Russia or not.Putzik , 4 Jan 2016 20:20The author of this article neglects to mention that the Ukrainian laws are targeted both at Soviet and Nazi symbols.John Smith -> Putzik , 4 Jan 2016 20:44
As for the ww2 Ukrainian nationalists, most Ukrainians think of these groups poorly. The vast majority of Ukrainians fought on the Soviet side, and indeed made up more than one third of the Soviet army in ww2. Until recently, this was the source of pride and sorrow, just as in Russia.
So, It is wrong to think of Soviet past as being somehow foreign to Ukraine. But that is now all ancient history. And the Soviet past is also Ukraine's to reject.
There is a military invasion of Ukraine by Russia. Communist symbols are actively used to mobilise Russian fighters and domestic terrorists on Ukrainian territory. with the aim of destroying the territorial integrity of Ukraine.
I note in this regard that ISIS symbols are similarly banned in many high income liberal democracies.
http://m.christianpost.com/news/germany-bans-islamic-state-propaganda-symbols-and-activities-126450 /I don't see anyone is stopping this, that guy on that transparent there is a nazi collaborator. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Weg-QnsTPs0Luschnig -> Putzik , 4 Jan 2016 21:02The WWII history of the Ukraine is full of eye witness accounts of how the German armed forces had to step in to save Jews from Ukrainian savagery because they preferred to eliminate Jews systematically rather than by anarchistic savagery. And incidentally in Western Ukraine a greater proportion of people volunteered for Hitler's armed forces than in Germany proper.mmmhhh888 -> Putzik , 4 Jan 2016 21:09You are wrong. There are numerous monuments dedicated to Stepan Bandera in Western Ukraine (at least in 20 towns). There are also numerous streets named after him.slorter , 4 Jan 2016 20:19
Quite a different situation is in Eastern Ukraine which hates Bandera and which has always weighed toward Russia - that's why that country cannot exist as one entity.Ukraine has bigger problems than street name changes! The IMF own the country it has lost it's sovereignty and has outsiders in its government as well as debts it cannot pay.lkongo , 4 Jan 2016 19:52Dnipropetrovsk was Ekaterinoslav before Communist rule. Off course, Ukraine would not revert to original name, as it points to Katherine the Great.1917bolche , 4 Jan 2016 19:48Nothing about the expiration of the deadline to fulfill the Minsk agreement compromises? The Ukranian government has failed to implement two very important ones: dialogue with the rebel leaders and giving some degree of autonomy to Donetsk and Lugansk. I think that's rather more serious than the champagne news but I have hardly seen any reflection on that subject in the Press.wellmyword , 4 Jan 2016 19:44Flip, I just spent ages writing something and my computer crashed. Bloody computers.EugeneGur , 4 Jan 2016 19:40
Haven't they got anything better to do?
The Ukranian Communists are meant to be a small and marginalised grouping of pensioners. Why pick on them?
Anti-Stalinism. Now, that would be much better. Anti right wing militias, that would be just as good. Saying goodbye to existing despots, that gets my vote.
Free social health care, now that would be even better still.
If Holly Old Dog is online, not that I've actually checked, I'm not American.
Don't like UKIP don't like Le Penn but do like the EU.
How controversial. No, not really.Ukraine wants to get rid of the Soviet past - well, then it has to be happy that Crimea is gone, for Crimea is the clearest vestige of the Soviet past having been "gifted" to Ukraine by the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev over the objections of Crimea itself. Another vestige is as good as gone - Donbass, which agrees well with the removal of Lenin statutes, for it was Lenin himself who added Donbass to Ukraine in 1919. Stalin's legacy is next, which includes Western Ukraine and Transcarpathia.Trust the Guardian to find a very delicate turn of phrase - uneasy . Come on, those in Easter Ukraine hate their guts. Easter Ukraine hates Bandera and "banderovtsi" much more than Russia does. And for a good reason: they did not operate much in Russia but a lot in Ukraine, Belorussia and eastern Europe, where they killed thousands.Many of those in eastern cities who are pro-Kiev are uneasy about Ukrainian nationalist heroes
Poor Ukrainians. Now they are told what to drink, what language to speak, what songs to sing, what movies to watch, what holidays to celebrate, what fairy tales to tell their children. True European freedom finally has arrived as opposed to the Soviet totalitarian regime that somehow in Ukraine alone lasted 25 years past the existence of the Soviet Union.
This past New Year's Eve marked the last time Ukrainians could pop open "Soviet champagne"
BTW Artemovsk they want to rename so much is the site of a Champaign factory that used to make famous "Artemovsky" Champaign. I am not sure it's still operational but if it is, what would it be called now? The factory is yet another soviet "vestige" and did not exist in the "Bakhmut" times.
Putin is busy with his Turkish friends now anyway, his current mission is to deprive Russians of all their traditional holiday destinations:Benladan , 4 Jan 2016 19:12
Georgia - complete
Ukrainian Black sea - complete
Egypt - Done
Turkey - In progress
The Guardian is politely silent about of hundreds productions, level of education, population (52 millions in 1991, 42 in 2015), infrastructure and other "products from glorifying communism" which have heard "farewell" tooBeckow , 4 Jan 2016 18:47
Western media needs to address the economic mess in Ukraine. The name changing, marching and fist fights in Rada are a distraction. What happened in two years is an economic collapse. When is Guardian going to notice?vr13vr , 4 Jan 2016 18:39
Canigou , 4 Jan 2016 18:30
Are they removing the monuments to the same Lenin who created the first state of Ukraine? Whey are weird bunch, those Ukrainians.
Who cares what they call their champagne----the Ukraine is dead, economically----eckow , 4 Jan 2016 18:26
The real issue with Ukrainian champagne is that as of Jan 1 it cannot be called "champagne". With EU Association Agreement, the word "champagne" is reserved for the French stuff. That is by far more important than some "soviet" name games.BMWAlbert -> Beckow , 4 Jan 2016 19:32
In the same way Ukrainian "cognac" cannot use the term cognac. There are hundreds of others. EU AA means following the EU rules. It also means that EU can export to Ukraine at will. Given that Ukraine doesn't have much to sell to EU this will mean additional collapse in Ukr economy. The current markets in Russia are now closed.
Who is running Kiev? Do these people know math and have map? Or is there knowledge limited to knowing where to find a ticket to get out?
Just wait for the PL restitution proceedings in Lviv-Lwow-Lemberg....that will be interesting.Beckow -> BMWAlbert , 4 Jan 2016 20:45
Unfortunately there are many Ukrainians who think that 'restitution' will make them better off. They think that if Western people get rich (even Poles) that will be somehow good for Ukrainians as workers. It is low self-esteem combined with what can only be called servant mentality. The shouting and marching is there just to amuse, deep inside they all can't wait to serve.DiplomaticImmunity -> Beckow , 4 Jan 2016 22:28
Brilliant and insightful.Hanwell123 , 4 Jan 2016 18:11
How does a one party state get so close to the EU? It relies on massive loans from the IMF and EU but by all accounts is regarded, not least by its own citizens, to be getting more corrupt not less. A million are seeking Nationality in Poland to escape inflation set to be 44% this year as wages and jobs crash. Visa free travel to the EU in October might ease the internal pressure. The trade agreement with the EU is another blow to European agriculture, this time in grain, as surplus products flood the market along with even cheaper Turkish fruit and vegetables following their exclusion from the Russian market. One wonders whether the EU ever regrets putting this government in power?Jonathan Stromberg -> Kata L , 4 Jan 2016 19:56
Ukraine's De-communization laws were made by people with their own agenda and they are arguably a dark spot on Ukraine's striving towards some form of functional democracy. Saying that, when it comes to phony parties like the "Communist Party" of Ukraine, it is pretty hard to give a crap.
On the plus side, this anti-Communist law will put an end to corrupt, phony parties using the Communist name and symbols for their own benefit. Any Communist-style party that exists in Ukraine now will have to be genuine.
Exports of goods and services of Ukrainian production in 2015 will fall by about a third. And this is not surprising: as a result of "reforms" in the country almost died the industry lost its main Russian market, where Ukraine has supplied products with high added value. The cumulative figure of industrial production YTD is approximately -15%. The main export product of Ukraine for the first time since the pre-industrial era were products of agriculture. In the first place - corn.
marknesop, December 19, 2015 at 6:43 pmAccording to Madame Jaresko, their decision not to pay the $3 Billion bond to Russia has set Ukraine free, free as a bird, and allowed it to now be in full compliance with the financing requirements of the IMF program.
Start shovelin' in the money, IMF, because Ukraine has the magic formula – just refuse to pay what you owe, call it a 'temporary suspension of payments' instead of 'a default', and reap the reward for your display of responsibility.
I foresee the mileage Russia is going to get out of this will far exceed the value of the $3 Billion.
marknesop, December 19, 2015 at 8:47 pm
How could Ukraine's government deficit only be 4.1% when its currency has crashed, it has lost most of its sources of income and it has just defaulted on its debt? What the fuck are they talking about?
"The proposed budget would work to reduce the government's deficit from 4.1% to 3.7%, with measures including an increase in revenue by widening the tax base."
First, there is no way on God's green earth that there is a negative difference of only 4.1% between Ukraine's annual revenues and its annual expenditures, especially since it has almost no revenues except from taxation.
And now the IMF expects to realize more revenue from widening the tax base – yes, I can imagine what a popular initiative that is. Now you know how Yushchenko felt, Yatsie, when the IMF denied him a second big loan because he refused to eliminate the gas subsidies to residents.
Now the IMF has finally realized that triumph through a different leader, and it wants to see even more tax revenue. You are about to be as popular as a turd in the punch bowl; have fun with that.
kirill, December 20, 2015 at 12:58 pm
I would not trust any GDP numbers from the Kiev regime either. They lost 25% of the economy in the Donbas alone not counting Crimea. This has knock on effects to the rest of Banderastan. Yet they are yapping about some 12% contraction in 2015 after a 7% contraction in 2014. I see no clear indication that they are counting the GDP only for regime controlled Banderastan.
As for the budget, according to regime officials, Banderastan lost 30% of its hard currency revenues with the loss of the Donbass. I estimate the tax loss to Kiev to be about 30% as well.
The Donbass was the industrialized part of the country while western Banderastan is primarily agrarian. So talk about 4% shortfalls in revenue is utter rubbish. In most countries the money making parts of the economy subsidize the rest and sure as hell it was not western Banderastan that was subsidizing the Donbass. That was just virulent blood libel such as the claim that Russians settled eastern Ukraine only after the Holodomor.
marknesop, December 20, 2015 at 1:13 pm
Europe deserves Ukraine. Let them have it, the quicker the better. It's fine when Yats is selling that stinking mess to his simple-minded constituents, but European policymakers will see through it right away. Unfortunately, Brussels knows better than to bring Ukraine any closer into the fold, because if they get a visa-free regime, the place will empty out in a week as Ukrainians flee throughout Europe (which is already, everyone must know, full of refugees) looking for jobs.
December 18, 2015 | naked capitalism
By Michael Hudson, a research professor of Economics at University of Missouri, Kansas City, and a research associate at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College. His latest book isKILLING THE HOST: How Financial Parasites and Debt Bondage Destroy the Global Economy
The nightmare scenario of U.S. geopolitical strategists seems to be coming true: foreign economic independence from U.S. control. Instead of privatizing and neoliberalizing the world under U.S.-centered financial planning and ownership, the Russian and Chinese governments are investing in neighboring economies on terms that cement Eurasian economic integration on the basis of Russian oil and tax exports and Chinese financing. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) threatens to replace the IMF and World Bank programs that favor U.S. suppliers, banks and bondholders (with the United States holding unique veto power).
Russia's 2013 loan to Ukraine, made at the request of Ukraine's elected pro-Russian government, demonstrated the benefits of mutual trade and investment relations between the two countries. As Russian finance minister Anton Siluanov points out, Ukraine's "international reserves were barely enough to cover three months' imports, and no other creditor was prepared to lend on terms acceptable to Kiev. Yet Russia provided $3 billion of much-needed funding at a 5 per cent interest rate, when Ukraine's bonds were yielding nearly 12 per cent."
What especially annoys U.S. financial strategists is that this loan by Russia's sovereign debt fund was protected by IMF lending practice, which at that time ensured collectability by withholding new credit from countries in default of foreign official debts (or at least, not bargaining in good faith to pay). To cap matters, the bonds are registered under London's creditor-oriented rules and courts.
On December 3 (one week before the IMF changed its rules so as to hurt Russia), Prime Minister Putin proposed that Russia "and other Eurasian Economic Union countries should kick-off consultations with members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on a possible economic partnership." Russia also is seeking to build pipelines to Europe through friendly instead of U.S.-backed countries.
Moving to denominate their trade and investment in their own currencies instead of dollars, China and Russia are creating a geopolitical system free from U.S. control. After U.S. officials threatened to derange Russia's banking linkages by cutting it off from the SWIFT interbank clearing system, China accelerated its creation of the alternative China International Payments System (CIPS), with its own credit card system to protect Eurasian economies from the shrill threats made by U.S. unilateralists.
Russia and China are simply doing what the United States has long done: using trade and credit linkages to cement their geopolitical diplomacy. This tectonic geopolitical shift is a Copernican threat to New Cold War ideology: Instead of the world economy revolving around the United States (the Ptolemaic idea of America as "the indispensible nation"), it may revolve around Eurasia. As long as the global financial papacy remains grounded in Washington at the offices of the IMF and World Bank, such a shift in the center of gravity will be fought with all the power of the American Century (indeed, American Millennium) inquisition.
Imagine the following scenario five years from now. China will have spent half a decade building high-speed railroads, ports power systems and other construction for Asian and African countries, enabling them to grow and export more. These exports will be coming on line to repay the infrastructure loans. Also, suppose that Russia has been supplying the oil and gas energy needed for these projects.
To U.S. neocons this specter of AIIB government-to-government lending and investment creates fear of a world independent of U.S. control. Nations would mint their own money and hold each other's debt in their international reserves instead of borrowing or holding dollars and subordinating their financial planning to the IMF and U.S. Treasury with their demands for monetary bloodletting and austerity for debtor countries. There would be less need for foreign government to finance budget shortfalls by selling off their key public infrastructure privatizing their economies. Instead of dismantling public spending, the AIIB and a broader Eurasian economic union would do what the United States itself practices, and seek self-sufficiency in basic needs such as food, technology, banking, credit creation and monetary policy.
With this prospect in mind, suppose an American diplomat meets with the leaders of debtors to China, Russia and the AIIB and makes the following proposal: "Now that you've got your increased production in place, why repay? We'll make you rich if you stiff our New Cold War adversaries and turn to the West. We and our European allies will help you assign the infrastructure to yourselves and your supporters, and give these assets market value by selling shares in New York and London. Then, you can spend your surpluses in the West."
How can China or Russia collect in such a situation? They can sue. But what court will recognize their claim – that is, what court that the West would pay attention to?
That is the kind of scenario U.S. State Department and Treasury officials have been discussing for more than a year. The looming conflict was made immediate by Ukraine's $3 billion debt to Russia falling due by December 20, 2015. Ukraine's U.S.-backed regime has announced its intention to default. U.S. lobbyists have just changed the IMF rules to remove a critical lever on which Russia and other governments have long relied to enforce payment of their loans.
The IMF's Role as Enforcer of Inter-Government Debts
When it comes down to enforcing nations to pay inter-government debts, the International Monetary Fund and Paris Club hold the main leverage. As coordinator of central bank "stabilization" loans (the neoliberal euphemism for imposing austerity and destabilizing debtor economies, Greece-style), the IMF is able to withhold not only its own credit but also that of governments and global banks participating when debtor countries need refinancing. Countries that do not agree to privatize their infrastructure and sell it to Western buyers are threatened with sanctions, backed by U.S.-sponsored "regime change" and "democracy promotion" Maidan-style.
This was the setting on December 8, when Chief IMF Spokesman Gerry Rice announced: "The IMF's Executive Board met today and agreed to change the current policy on non-toleration of arrears to official creditors." The creditor leverage that the IMF has used is that if a nation is in financial arrears to any government, it cannot qualify for an IMF loan – and hence, for packages involving other governments. This has been the system by which the dollarized global financial system has worked for half a century. The beneficiaries have been creditors in US dollars.
In this U.S.-centered worldview, China and Russia loom as the great potential adversaries – defined as independent power centers from the United States as they create the Shanghai Cooperation Organization as an alternative to NATO, and the AIIB as an alternative to the IMF and World Bank tandem. The very name, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, implies that transportation systems and other infrastructure will be financed by governments, not relinquished into private hands to become rent-extracting opportunities financed by U.S.-centered bank credit to turn the rent into a flow of interest payments.
The focus on a mixed public/private economy sets the AIIB at odds with the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and its aim of relinquishing government planning power to the financial and corporate sector for their own short-term gains, and above all the aim of blocking government's money-creating power and financial regulation. Chief Nomura economist Richard Koo, explained the logic of viewing the AIIB as a threat to the US-controlled IMF: "If the IMF's rival is heavily under China's influence, countries receiving its support will rebuild their economies under what is effectively Chinese guidance, increasing the likelihood they will fall directly or indirectly under that country's influence."
Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov accused the IMF decision of being "hasty and biased." But it had been discussed all year long, calculating a range of scenarios for a long-term sea change in international law. The aim of this change is to isolate not only Russia, but even more China in its role as creditor to African countries and prospective AIIB borrowers. U.S. officials walked into the IMF headquarters in Washington with the legal equivalent of financial suicide vests, having decided that the time had come to derail Russia's ability to collect on its sovereign loan to Ukraine, and of even larger import, China's plan for a New Silk Road integrating a Eurasian economy independent of U.S. financial and trade control. Anders Aslund, senior fellow at the NATO-oriented Atlantic Council, points out:
The IMF staff started contemplating a rule change in the spring of 2013 because nontraditional creditors, such as China, had started providing developing countries with large loans. One issue was that these loans were issued on conditions out of line with IMF practice. China wasn't a member of the Paris Club, where loan restructuring is usually discussed, so it was time to update the rules.
The IMF intended to adopt a new policy in the spring of 2016, but the dispute over Russia's $3 billion loan to Ukraine has accelerated an otherwise slow decision-making process.
The Wall Street Journal concurred that the underlying motivation for changing the IMF's rules was the threat that Chinese lending would provide an alternative to IMF loans and its demands for austerity. "IMF-watchers said the fund was originally thinking of ensuring China wouldn't be able to foil IMF lending to member countries seeking bailouts as Beijing ramped up loans to developing economies around the world." In short, U.S. strategists have designed a policy to block trade and financial agreements organized outside of U.S. control and that of the IMF and World Bank in which it holds unique veto power.
The plan is simple enough. Trade follows finance, and the creditor usually calls the tune. That is how the United States has used the Dollar Standard to steer Third World trade and investment since World War II along lines benefiting the U.S. economy.
The cement of trade credit and bank lending is the ability of creditors to collect on the international debts being negotiated. That is why the United States and other creditor nations have used the IMF as an intermediary to act as "honest broker" for loan consortia. ("Honest broker" means in practice being subject to U.S. veto power.) To enforce its financial leverage, the IMF has long followed the rule that it will not sponsor any loan agreement or refinancing for governments that are in default of debts owed to other governments. However, as the afore-mentioned Aslund explains, the IMF could easily
change its practice of not lending into [countries in official] arrears … because it is not incorporated into the IMF Articles of Agreement, that is, the IMF statutes. The IMF Executive Board can decide to change this policy with a simple board majority. The IMF has lent to Afghanistan, Georgia, and Iraq in the midst of war, and Russia has no veto right, holding only 2.39 percent of the votes in the IMF. When the IMF has lent to Georgia and Ukraine, the other members of its Executive Board have overruled Russia.
After the rules change, Aslund later noted, "the IMF can continue to give Ukraine loans regardless of what Ukraine does about its credit from Russia, which falls due on December 20.
Inasmuch as Ukraine's official debt to Russia's sovereign debt fund was not to the U.S. Government, the IMF announced its rules change as a "clarification." Its rule that no country can borrow if it is in default to (or not seriously negotiating with) a foreign government was created in the post-1945 world, and has governed the past seventy years in which the United States Government, Treasury officials and/or U.S. bank consortia have been party to nearly every international bailout or major loan agreement. What the IMF rule really meant was that it would not provide credit to countries in arrears specifically to the U.S. Government, not those of Russia or China.
Mikhail Delyagin, Director of the Institute of Globalization Problems, understood the IMF's double standard clearly enough: "The Fund will give Kiev a new loan tranche on one condition that Ukraine should not pay Russia a dollar under its $3 billion debt. Legally, everything will be formalized correctly but they will oblige Ukraine to pay only to western creditors for political reasons." It remains up to the IMF board – and in the end, its managing director – whether or not to deem a country creditworthy. The U.S. representative naturally has always blocked any leaders not beholden to the United States.
The post-2010 loan packages to Greece are a notorious case in point. The IMF staff calculated that Greece could not possibly pay the balance that was set to bail out foreign banks and bondholders. Many Board members agreed (and subsequently have gone public with their whistle-blowing). Their protests didn't matter. Dominique Strauss-Kahn backed the US-ECB position (after President Barack Obama and Treasury secretary Tim Geithner pointed out that U.S. banks had written credit default swaps betting that Greece could pay, and would lose money if there were a debt writedown). In 2015, Christine Lagarde also backed the U.S.-European Central Bank hard line, against staff protests.
IMF executive board member Otaviano Canuto, representing Brazil, noted that the logic that "conditions on IMF lending to a country that fell behind on payments [was to] make sure it kept negotiating in good faith to reach agreement with creditors." Dropping this condition, he said, would open the door for other countries to insist on a similar waiver and avoid making serious and sincere efforts to reach payment agreement with creditor governments.
A more binding IMF rule is that it cannot lend to countries at war or use IMF credit to engage in warfare. Article I of its 1944-45 founding charter ban the fund from lending to a member state engaged in civil war or at war with another member state, or for military purposes in general. But when IMF head Lagarde made the last IMF loan to Ukraine, in spring 2015, she made a token gesture of stating that she hoped there would be peace. But President Porochenko immediately announced that he would step up the civil war with the Russian-speaking population in the eastern Donbass region.
The problem is that the Donbass is where most Ukrainian exports were made, mainly to Russia. That market is being lost by the junta's belligerence toward Russia. This should have blocked Ukraine from receiving IMF aid. Withholding IMF credit could have been a lever to force peace and adherence to the Minsk agreements, but U.S. diplomatic pressure led that opportunity to be rejected.
The most important IMF condition being violated is that continued warfare with the East prevents a realistic prospect of Ukraine paying back new loans. Aslund himself points to the internal contradictions at work: Ukraine has achieved budget balance because the inflation and steep currency depreciation has drastically eroded its pension costs. The resulting lower value of pension benefits has led to growing opposition to Ukraine's post-Maidan junta. "Leading representatives from President Petro Poroshenko's Bloc are insisting on massive tax cuts, but no more expenditure cuts; that would cause a vast budget deficit that the IMF assesses at 9-10 percent of GDP, that could not possibly be financed." So how can the IMF's austerity budget be followed without a political backlash?
The IMF thus is breaking four rules: Not lending to a country that has no visible means to pay back the loan breaks the "No More Argentinas" rule adopted after the IMF's disastrous 2001 loan. Not lending to countries that refuse in good faith to negotiate with their official creditors goes against the IMF's role as the major tool of the global creditors' cartel. And the IMF is now lending to a borrower at war, indeed one that is destroying its export capacity and hence its balance-of-payments ability to pay back the loan. Finally, the IMF is lending to a country that has little likelihood of refuse carrying out the IMF's notorious austerity "conditionalities" on its population – without putting down democratic opposition in a totalitarian manner. Instead of being treated as an outcast from the international financial system, Ukraine is being welcomed and financed.
The upshot – and new basic guideline for IMF lending – is to create a new Iron Curtain splitting the world into pro-U.S. economies going neoliberal, and all other economies, including those seeking to maintain public investment in infrastructure, progressive taxation and what used to be viewed as progressive capitalism. Russia and China may lend as much as they want to other governments, but there is no international vehicle to help secure their ability to be paid back under what until now has passed for international law. Having refused to roll back its own or ECB financial claims on Greece, the IMF is quite willing to see repudiation of official debts owed to Russia, China or other countries not on the list approved by the U.S. neocons who wield veto power in the IMF, World Bank and similar global economic institutions now drawn into the U.S. orbit. Changing its rules to clear the path for the IMF to make loans to Ukraine and other governments in default of debts owed to official lenders is rightly seen as an escalation of America's New Cold War against Russia and also its anti-China strategy.
Timing is everything in such ploys. Georgetown University Law professor and Treasury consultant Anna Gelpern warned that before the "IMF staff and executive board [had] enough time to change the policy on arrears to official creditors," Russia might use "its notorious debt/GDP clause to accelerate the bonds at any time before December, or simply gum up the process of reforming the IMF's arrears policy." According to this clause, if Ukraine's foreign debt rose above 60 percent of GDP, Russia's government would have the right to demand immediate payment. But no doubt anticipating the bitter fight to come over its attempts to collect on its loan, President Putin patiently refrained from exercising this option. He is playing the long game, bending over backward to accommodate Ukraine rather than behaving "odiously."
A more pressing reason deterring the United States from pressing earlier to change IMF rules was that a waiver for Ukraine would have opened the legal floodgates for Greece to ask for a similar waiver on having to pay the "troika" – the European Central Bank (ECB), EU commission and the IMF itself – for the post-2010 loans that have pushed it into a worse depression than the 1930s. "Imagine the Greek government had insisted that EU institutions accept the same haircut as the country's private creditors," Russian finance minister Anton Siluanov asked. "The reaction in European capitals would have been frosty. Yet this is the position now taken by Kiev with respect to Ukraine's $3 billion eurobond held by Russia."
Only after Greece capitulated to eurozone austerity was the path clear for U.S. officials to change the IMF rules in their fight to isolate Russia. But their tactical victory has come at the cost of changing the IMF's rules and those of the global financial system irreversibly. Other countries henceforth may reject conditionalities, as Ukraine has done, and ask for write-downs on foreign official debts.
That was the great fear of neoliberal U.S. and Eurozone strategists last summer, after all. The reason for smashing Greece's economy was to deter Podemos in Spain and similar movements in Italy and Portugal from pursuing national prosperity instead of eurozone austerity. Opening the door to such resistance by Ukraine is the blowback of America's tactic to make a short-term financial hit on Russia while its balance of payments is down as a result of collapsing oil and gas prices.
The consequences go far beyond just the IMF. The fabric of international law itself is being torn apart. Every action has a reaction in the Newtonian world of geopolitics. It may not be a bad thing, to be sure, for the post-1945 global order to be broken apart by U.S. tactics against Russia, if that is the catalyst driving other countries to defend their own economies in the legal and political spheres. It has been U.S. neoliberals themselves who have catalyzed the emerging independent Eurasian bloc.
Countering Russia's Ability to Collect in Britain's Law Courts
Over the past year the U.S. Treasury and State Departments have discussed ploys to block Russia from collecting under British law, where its loans to Ukraine are registered. Reviewing the repertory of legal excuses Ukraine might use to avoid paying Russia, Prof. Gelpern noted that it might declare the debt "odious," made under duress or corruptly. In a paper for the Peterson Institute of International Economics (the banking lobby in Washington) she suggested that Britain should deny Russia the use of its courts as an additional sanction reinforcing the financial, energy, and trade sanctions to those passed against Russia after Crimea voted to join it as protection against the ethnic cleansing from the Right Sector, Azov Battalion and other paramilitary groups descending on the region.
A kindred ploy might be for Ukraine to countersue Russia for reparations for "invading" it, for saving Crimea and the Donbass region from the Right Sector's attempt to take over the country. Such a ploy would seem to have little chance of success in international courts (without showing them to be simply arms of NATO New Cold War politics), but it might delay Russia' ability to collect by tying the loan up in a long nuisance lawsuit.
To claim that Ukraine's debt to Russia was "odious" or otherwise illegitimate, "President Petro Poroshenko said the money was intended to ensure Yanukovych's loyalty to Moscow, and called the payment a 'bribe,' according to an interview with Bloomberg in June this year." The legal and moral problem with such arguments is that they would apply equally to IMF and US loans. Claiming that Russia's loan is "odious" is that this would open the floodgates for other countries to repudiate debts taken on by dictatorships supported by IMF and U.S. lenders, headed by the many dictatorships supported by U.S. diplomacy.
The blowback from the U.S. multi-front attempt to nullify Ukraine's debt may be used to annul or at least write down the destructive IMF loans made on the condition that borrowers accept privatizations favoring U.S., German and other NATO-country investors, undertake austerity programs, and buy weapons systems such as the German submarines that Greece borrowed to pay for. As Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov noted: "This reform, which they are now trying to implement, designed to suit Ukraine only, could plant a time bomb under all other IMF programs." It certainly showed the extent to which the IMF is subordinate to U.S. aggressive New Cold Warriors: "Essentially, this reform boils down to the following: since Ukraine is politically important – and it is only important because it is opposed to Russia – the IMF is ready to do for Ukraine everything it has not done for anyone else, and the situation that should 100 percent mean a default will be seen as a situation enabling the IMF to finance Ukraine."
Andrei Klimov, deputy chairman of the Committee for International Affairs at the Federation Council (the upper house of Russia's parliament) accused the United States of playing "the role of the main violin in the IMF while the role of the second violin is played by the European Union. These are two basic sponsors of the Maidan – the symbol of a coup d'état in Ukraine in 2014."
Putin's Counter-Strategy and the Blowback on U.S.-European and Global Relations
As noted above, having anticipated that Ukraine would seek reasons to not pay the Russian loan, President Putin carefully refrained from exercising Russia's right to demand immediate payment when Ukraine's foreign debt rose above 60 percent of GDP. In November he offered to defer payment if the United States, Europe and international banks underwrote the obligation. Indeed, he even "proposed better conditions for this restructuring than those the International Monetary Fund requested of us." He offered "to accept a deeper restructuring with no payment this year – a payment of $1 billion next year, $1 billion in 2017, and $1 billion in 2018." If the IMF, the United States and European Union "are sure that Ukraine's solvency will grow," then they should "see no risk in providing guarantees for this credit." Accordingly, he concluded "We have asked for such guarantees either from the United States government, the European Union, or one of the big international financial institutions." 
The implication, Putin pointed out, was that "If they cannot provide guarantees, this means that they do not believe in the Ukrainian economy's future." One professor pointed out that this proposal was in line with the fact that, "Ukraine has already received a sovereign loan guarantee from the United States for a previous bond issue." Why couldn't the United States, Eurozone or leading commercial banks provide a similar guarantee of Ukraine's debt to Russia – or better yet, simply lend it the money to turn it into a loan to the IMF or US lenders?
But the IMF, European Union and the United States refused to back up their happy (but nonsensical) forecasts of Ukrainian solvency with actual guarantees. Foreign Minister Lavrov made clear just what that rejection meant: "By having refused to guarantee Ukraine's debt as part of Russia's proposal to restructure it, the United States effectively admitted the absence of prospects of restoring its solvency. … By officially rejecting the proposed scheme, the United States thereby subscribed to not seeing any prospects of Ukraine restoring its solvency."
In an even more exasperated tone, Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev explained to Russia's television audience: "I have a feeling that they won't give us the money back because they are crooks. They refuse to return our money and our Western partners not only refuse to help, but they also make it difficult for us." Adding that "the international financial system is unjustly structured," he promised to "go to court. We'll push for default on the loan and we'll push for default on all Ukrainian debts."
The basis for Russia's legal claim, he explained was that the loan
was a request from the Ukrainian Government to the Russian Government. If two governments reach an agreement this is obviously a sovereign loan…. Surprisingly, however, international financial organisations started saying that this is not exactly a sovereign loan. This is utter bull. Evidently, it's just an absolutely brazen, cynical lie. … This seriously erodes trust in IMF decisions. I believe that now there will be a lot of pleas from different borrower states to the IMF to grant them the same terms as Ukraine. How will the IMF possibly refuse them?
And there the matter stands. As President Putin remarked regarding America's support of Al Qaeda, Al Nusra and other ISIS allies in Syria, "Do you have any idea of what you have done?"
Few have calculated the degree to which America's New Cold War with Russia is creating a reaction that is tearing up the world's linkages put in place since World War II. Beyond pulling the IMF and World Bank tightly into U.S. unilateralist geopolitics, how long will Western Europe be willing to forego its trade and investment interest with Russia? Germany, Italy and France already are feeling the strains. If and when a break comes, it will not be marginal but a seismic geopolitical shift.
The oil and pipeline war designed to bypass Russian energy exports has engulfed the Near East in anarchy for over a decade. It is flooding Europe with refugees, and also spreading terrorism to America. In the Republican presidential debate on December 15, 2015, the leading issue was safety from Islamic jihadists. Yet no candidate thought to explain the source of this terrorism in America's alliance with Wahabist Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and hence with Al Qaeda and ISIS/Daish as a means of destabilizing secular regimes seeking independence from U.S. control.
As its allies in this New Cold War, the United States has chosen fundamentalist jihadist religion against secular regimes in Libya, Iraq, Syria, and earlier in Afghanistan and Turkey. Going back to the original sin of CIA hubris – overthrowing the secular Iranian Prime Minister leader Mohammad Mosaddegh in 1953 – American foreign policy has been based on the assumption that secular regimes tend to be nationalist and resist privatization and neoliberal austerity.
Based on this fatal long-term assumption, U.S. Cold Warriors have aligned themselves not only against secular regimes, but against democratic regimes where these seek to promote their own prosperity and economic independence, and to resist neoliberalism in favor of maintaining their traditional mixed public/private economy.
This is the back story of the U.S. fight to control the rest of the world. Tearing apart the IMF's rules is only the most recent chapter. The broad drive against Russia, China and their prospective Eurasian allies has deteriorated into tactics without a realistic understanding of how they are bringing about precisely the kind of world they are seeking to prevent – a multilateral world.
Arena by arena, the core values of what used to be American and European social democratic ideology are being uprooted. The Enlightenment's ideals of secular democracy and the rule of international law applied equally to all nations, classical free market theory (of markets free from unearned income and rent extraction by special vested interests), and public investment in infrastructure to hold down the cost of living and doing business are to be sacrificed to a militant U.S. unilateralism as "the indispensible nation." Standing above the rule of law and national interests, American neocons proclaim that their nation's destiny is to wage war to prevent foreign secular democracy from acting in ways other than submission to U.S. diplomacy. In practice, this means favoring special U.S. financial and corporate interests that control American foreign policy.
This is not how the Enlightenment was supposed to turn out. Classical industrial capitalism a century ago was expected to evolve into an economy of abundance. Instead, we have Pentagon capitalism, finance capitalism deteriorating into a polarized rentier economy, and old-fashioned imperialism.
The Dollar Bloc's Financial Iron Curtain
By treating Ukraine's nullification of its official debt to Russia's Sovereign Wealth Fund as the new norm, the IMF has blessed its default on its bond payment to Russia. President Putin and foreign minister Lavrov have said that they will sue in British courts. But does any court exist in the West not under the thumb of U.S. veto?
What are China and Russia to do, faced with the IMF serving as a kangaroo court whose judgments are subject to U.S. veto power? To protect their autonomy and self-determination, they have created alternatives to the IMF and World Bank, NATO and behind it, the dollar standard.
America's recent New Cold War maneuvering has shown that the two Bretton Woods institutions are unreformable. It is easier to create new institutions such as the A.I.I.B. than to retrofit old and ill-designed ones burdened with the legacy of their vested founding interests. It is easier to expand the Shanghai Cooperation Organization than to surrender to threats from NATO.
U.S. geostrategists seem to have imagined that if they exclude Russia, China and other SCO and Eurasian countries from the U.S.-based financial and trade system, these countries will find themselves in the same economic box as Cuba, Iran and other countries have been isolated by sanctions. The aim is to make countries choose between impoverishment from such exclusion, or acquiescing in U.S. neoliberal drives to financialize their economies and impose austerity on their government sector and labor.
What is lacking from such calculations is the idea of critical mass. The United States may use the IMF and World Bank as levers to exclude countries not in the U.S. orbit from participating in the global trade and financial system, and it may arm-twist Europe to impose trade and financial sanctions on Russia. But this action produces an equal and opposite reaction. That is the eternal Newtonian law of geopolitics. The indicated countermeasure is simply for other countries to create their own international financial organization as an alternative to the IMF, their own "aid" lending institution to juxtapose to the U.S.-centered World Bank.
All this requires an international court to handle disputes that is free from U.S. arm-twisting to turn international law into a kangaroo court following the dictates of Washington. The Eurasian Economic Union now has its own court to adjudicate disputes. It may provide an alternative Judge Griesa's New York federal court ruling in favor of vulture funds derailing Argentina's debt negotiations and excluding it from foreign financial markets. If the London Court of International Arbitration (under whose rules Russia's bonds issued to Ukraine are registered) permits frivolous legal claims (called barratry in English) such as President Poroshenko has threatened in Ukrainian Parliament, it too will become a victim of geopolitical obsolescence.
The more nakedly self-serving and geopolitical U.S. policy is – in backing radical Islamic fundamentalist outgrowths of Al Qaeda throughout the Near East, right-wing nationalist governments in Ukraine and the Baltics – the greater the catalytic pressure is growing for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, AIIB and related Eurasian institutions to break free of the post-1945 Bretton Woods system run by the U.S. State, Defense and Treasury Departments and NATO superstructure.
The question now is whether Russia and China can hold onto the BRICS and India. So as Paul Craig Roberts recently summarized my ideas along these lines, we are back with George Orwell's 1984 global fracture between Oceanea (the United States, Britain and its northern European NATO allies) vs. Eurasia.
... .... ....RabidGandhi December 18, 2015 at 9:16 am
My issue with Hudson is that he tends to paint things in a "good guys/bad guys" dichotomy viz. the IMF vs. the AIIB. Personally, I think it's quite positive that the international sovereign finance institutions will now be more international and less unipolar, but his scenario where
Nations would mint their own money and hold each other's debt in their international reserves instead of borrowing or holding dollars and subordinating their financial planning to the IMF and U.S. Treasury with their demands for monetary bloodletting and austerity for debtor countries.
is rather pie-in-the sky. What reason do we have to believe that concentrated Chinese capital would somehow be more benevolent than our current overlords? Oh because AIIB has the word "infrastructure" in its title (just as the Interamerican Development Bank is all about development) /sarc.
Furthermore, if US planners had half a clue about economics, they would be jumping for joy that the AIIB and the CIPS will finally help release them (eventually) from the burden of having the USD as the global reserve currency, thus relieving the US of the albatross of having to ship its internal demand to China and other net exporters.
All in all, yes AIIB should be positive, but as Hudson himself points out, this is not so much about economics as it is geopolitics. The world should tread with the utmost caution.
Dino Reno December 18, 2015 at 9:48 am
I think his main point is not so much about economics or geopolitics, it's about the rule of law, specifically international law and how it applies to the debt collection brokered between counties.
China and Russia harbored the fantasy that would be allowed redress in the Western Courts where international law is metered out. They are now no longer under that delusion.
Even if they come up with a lending facility, the West will thwart their ability to collect on those debts at every turn by simply declaring those debts null and void and extending new funds using the infrastructure build by the bad (Russian/Chinese) debt as collateral. The thirst for power and profit will always be with us, but now it will not be tempered by any international order under the rule of law.
Nick December 18, 2015 at 10:15 am
China is learning the hard way how the game is played. For example, they're discovering that much of the tens of billions in no-strings attached loans given to Africa will not provide the returns initially thought (even accounting for massive corruption on all sides), which is why they have been reduced for the first time in a decade this past year.
Alejandro December 18, 2015 at 10:41 am
Don't see how "economics" and "social" can be de-linked from "politics"…understanding the limits of "local" may provide an awareness of the "quid pro quo" of extending, direction of extension, and what defines (in/inter) "dependency"…how sacrifice is "shared" or imposed, and how "prosperity" is concentrated or distributed…
OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL December 18, 2015 at 2:50 pm
It's not Hudson but the US that has simplified the entire world situation into "good guys vs. bad guys", a policy enshrined in Rumsfeld's statement "you're either with us or you're against us".
It's like a playground with one big bully and lots of kids running scared, now a second bully appears and they all have to ask themselves whether Bully #2 will be nicer to them, in this case it appears Bully #2 is saying he won't tell them how to run their lives or steal their lunch money.
Post-comet in 2000 when everything started going to hell the worst casualty has been the rule of law, from hanging chads through to the Patriot Act, death by a thousand cuts of the Constitution, unprosecuted war crimes, unprosecuted financial crimes, and now the very fabric of international law being rent apart. I'm reminded of the Hunter Thompson scene where he has an expired driver's license and a cop pulls him over, he has two choices, hand over the license and get busted, or drive away and get busted… so he comes up with a third choice: he blows his nose all over the license and hands it over to the cop. The equivalent of Bully #1 taking the only soccer ball on the playground and kicking it over the fence so the game is screwed up for everybody, Pepe's "Empire of Chaos" indeed.
global123 December 18, 2015 at 9:47 am
stellar article michael hudson
1)Western economies depend on ocean transport…if chinese or ruskies destroy it, USA-EU will be bankrupt in weeks..USA-EU are consumers and not producers..their exports to rest of world are tiny..So,their position is very weak at this point
2)The asian countries like china-india will be forced to join hands under joint attack by US financial system and islamic jihadists..Russia and china,former enemies,are now friends…who could have imagines it?
Russo-chinese-iranian alliance is huge failure of US foreign policies
3)Using islamic terrorists and islamic countries like turkey-saudi arabia-pakistan-indonesia-egypt is not going to work for USA because muslims think USA as enemy no.1…
4)A military superiority can not guarantee permanent -everlasting victory against too many opponents
What i see here is USA has made entire islamic world their enemy,alongwith china and russia
In case of real war,USA position will be very weak
camelotkidd December 18, 2015 at 9:49 am
This is an amazing article. Bravo!
Now it's becoming clear just what Margaret Thatcher meant when she told everyone that there was no alternative to neoliberalism.
Steve H. December 18, 2015 at 10:00 am
Thank you for continuing to mark the historical specifics of the finance/legal wing of geopolitical conflict, and the perverse failings of Full Spectrum Dominance.
The Oceana/Eurasia dichotomy is a dangerous frame of reference. It essentially contrasts the transport efficiencies of water to the solid defensive capacity of the frozen steppes. But when things get bloody, they usually crack along language lines. Not only as a proxy for migrations of the gene, but also world-views. How horse-people see things, what metaphors they use, are very different than how cow-people categorize the world.
This highlights that Russia is continuing to operate within the language and legal framework of the Indo-European languages. In other words (!), it is a fight between the U.S. and Russia for European alliances. If this is the case, then the alliance of NATO with Turkic and Arabic lines is of convenience, in that they are not partners but proxies. Europe is faced with the habit of the U.S. in saying, Let's you and him fight. But there's an oceans difference between the U.S. and European interests.
It also means that Russia and China are being pushed together by western exclusion, like drops of oil on the water. I maintain that Russia has doubled down on global warming, to open up northern sea routes and make the steppes arable. China is already a sea-power, but its massive population will need lebensraum as the fossil-fuel support for the energy needs of megapoli decay. The mountains are a formidable barrier for them to take the steppes by force.
The question for the rest of the world then becomes, who do you want to have as a friend in a hundred years. Do you bet on the Wizards of Wall Street, with their Magic Money Wand of Fiat? Or do you think Russia will ground-n-pound the fairy dust into the mud?
SocietalIllusions December 18, 2015 at 11:17 am
what is left unsaid is the choices Russia then faces once their legal options play out and the uneven playing field is fully exposed. Do they not then have a historically justifiable basis for declaring war?
The game of brinksmanship continues…
Jim Haygood December 18, 2015 at 11:18 am
'The Russian and Chinese governments are investing in neighboring economies on terms that cement Eurasian economic integration.'
Whereas the U.S. is 'investing' in new military bases to cement U.S. global domination.
Guess which model actually benefits local living standards, and 'wins hearts and minds'?
Global domination as a policy goal bankrupted the USSR. It's not working for the USSA either, as the U.S. middle class (once the envy of the world) visibly sinks into pauperization.
Thus the veracity of Michael Hudson's conclusion that 'when a break comes, it will not be marginal but a seismic geopolitical shift.'
Steven December 18, 2015 at 1:56 pm
I get the same thrill reading Hudson the religiously devout must experience reading their bibles or Korans – a glimpse of 'truth' as best it can be known. My first encounter was this interview in Counterpunch: An Interview with Michael Hudson, author of Super Imperialism That led directly to "Super Imperialism" (and just about every book since its publication). After reading it, I was left with the uneasy feeling that no good would come from an international monetary system that allowed any one nation to pay its way in the world by creating money 'out of thin air' i.e. as sovereign and private debt or, almost the same thing, Federal Reserve Notes.
The race to the bottom of off-shored jobs and industries freed from all environmental restrictions, AKA 'globalization', had started to really kick in but it was just before Operation Iraqi Liberation (get it?). Fundamentally, it wasn't war for oil, of course, but a war to preserve the Dollar Standard. Recycling petrodollars bought a little time after the 1971 collapse of Bretton Woods. But with the world's treasuries filling up with US dollars and debt, the product of the Congressional-military-industrial-complex running wild and more recently the U.S. 0.01% successfully evading almost all forms of taxation, some kind of control more basic than controlling the world's access to money (which basically means credit) was required.
When people like Alan Greenspan (pretend to) come clean, you really want to look twice:
THOUGH it was not understood a century ago, and though as yet the applications of the knowledge to the economics of life are not generally realized, life in its physical aspect is fundamentally a struggle for energy, in which discovery after discovery brings life into new relations with the original source.
Frederick Soddy, WEALTH, VIRTUAL WEALTH AND DEBT, 2nd edition, p. 49
The world can live without American dollars, especially these days when the U.S. no longer makes much the world needs or can afford but most obviously because it already possesses more of them than can ever be redeemed ('debt that can't be repaid and won't be') What it can't live without is ENERGY.
So long as most of that energy needs to be pumped out of the ground, the nation that ultimately controls access to the pumps – or to the distribution networks required to deliver it to the ultimate user – controls the world. This is most likely why Reagan promptly dismantled Jimmy Carter's White House solar panels. It is why the US and its European vassals have been dragging their feet for a half-century on the development of renewable energy sources and the electrification of transportation. It is why the banks and Wall Street will stand solidly behind the various electrical utilities efforts to discourage the development of any alternative energy sources from which their executives and shareholders can not extract the last pint of blood or has Hudson more politely calls it 'economic rent'.
P.S. Hudson seems to have a dangerous monopoly on economic truth these days. Is there anyone else who even comes close?
Sep 28, 2015 | Zero HedgeAs part of his UN speech seeking to restore a crumbling Pax Americana, president Obama, eager to cover up US involvement in the Ukraine presidential coup of early 2014 (who can forget Victoria Nuland "strategy" interception in which she laid out the post-coup lay of the land, while saying to "fuck the EU"), just said that "America has few economic interest in Ukraine."
Where and what did they do with Ukraine's gold bullion reserves and who is in possession of them right now and why is it such a big secret to everyone that overthrew the Government there?
Who cares? The Ukraine gold and all the rest of their resources are legitimate wartime plunder, booty, if you will. If the Ukrainians are stupid enough to happily allow the USA to barge in and take everything of value from them why should we weep?
"George Soros has long called for the West to pump billions into Ukraine. Now he says he's ready to walk the talk.
The veteran hedge fund investor told an Austrian newspaper he was prepared to invest $1 billion in the collapsing war-ravaged economy under certain circumstances.
"There are concrete investment ideas, for example in agriculture and infrastructure projects. I would put in $1 billion," he told Der Standard. "This must generate a profit. My foundation would benefit from this, not me personally."
The Hungarian-born billionaire said Europe and the U.S. must show strong political leadership over Ukraine -- that would make it more attractive to private investors. The West could provide finance at European interest rates close to zero, for example.
A spokesman for Soros said his investment would depend on the West doing "whatever it takes" to rescue Ukraine."
The Indelicate ...Latina Lover
What do you figure, LL - is the "New Khazaria" theory in any way legit, or is it bullshit?
Israel's Secret Plan for a "Second Israel" in Ukraine
Notwithstanding the heavy presence of dual citizens yadda yadda, I kinda think the "secret report" was tongue-in-cheek and that this is basically bullshit. But in this messed up crazy world... stranger things....
I don't see Crimea going back to Ukraine though.
Since the discussion is now academic (Crimea is not leaving Russia unless Russia itself is destroyed), I will be brief.
Kolomoysky is the president of a European Jewish Group, and active in Chabad. He was promoting Crimea as an alternate Jewish homeland until Crimea rejoined Russia. Kolomoysky then lost his real estate holdings, and Chabad the ability to dominate the Crimea.
If you are interested in further background, check out the following link:
Sep 27, 2015 | marknesop.wordpress.com
et Al, September 26, 2015 at 1:44 pmhttp://blogs.wsj.com/moneybeat/2014/06/30/argentina-vs-bondholders-the-epic-saga/
The Argentine government managed to restructure about 93% of that debt through heavily discounted bond exchanges in 2005 and 2010. But a small group of investors refused to tender their defaulted bonds for new securities, and they have hounded Argentina in courts across the globe for close to a decade seeking full repayment.
As part of the restructuring process, Argentina drafted agreements in which repayments would be handled through a New York corporation and governed by United States law. The holdout bondholders found themselves unable to seize Argentine sovereign assets in settlement, but realized that Argentina had omitted to provide for holdout situations and had instead deemed all bonds repayable on pari passu (equal) terms that prevented preferential treatment among bondholders. The holdout bondholders therefore sought, and won, an injunction in 2014 that prohibited Argentina from repaying the 93% of bonds that had been renegotiated, unless they simultaneously paid the 7% holdouts their full amount due as well. Together with the agreement's Rights Upon Future Offers ("RUFO") clause, this created a deadlock in which the 93% of renegotiated bondholders could not be paid without paying the 7% holdouts, but any payment to the holdouts would potentially (according to Argentina) trigger the 93% being due repayment at full value too; a sum of around $100 billion which Argentina could not afford. The courts ruled that as Argentina had itself drafted the agreement, and chosen the terms it wished to propose, it could not now claim the terms were unreasonable or unfair, and that this could not be worked around by asserting sovereign status since the injunction did not affect sovereign assets, but simply ruled that Argentina must not give preferential treatment of any group of bondholders over any other group when making repayments.
…NML Capital Limited, a Cayman Islands-based offshore unit of Paul Singer's Elliott Management Corporation, purchased many holdings in 2008, paying an estimated USD49 million for one series of bonds whose face value was over USD220 million; with the subsequent boom in Argentine bond values, this face value grew to USD832 million by 2014. They in turn established the American Task Force Argentina lobbying group against Argentine bond restructuring efforts, and sued to enjoin Argentina's ongoing payments to the bondholders who had participated in the earlier restructurings.
Nothing can stop red blooded capitalists! I suspect that death is but a minor inconvenience.
ucgsblog, September 26, 2015 at 1:55 pm
And this is what awaits Ukraine. Welcome to Capitalism Kiev, please read the small font. Oh, you don't read? Wonderful! We shall have a good time doing business together! How much for Dnepropetrovsk?
Warren, September 26, 2015 at 2:24 pm
These hold-out creditors aren't called fondo buitre for nothing!!!!!
Moscow Exile, September 7, 2015 at 8:46 amCortes, September 7, 2015 at 9:37 am
New York conceptual artist David Down has created a new Ukraine flag
I wonder what a "conceptual artist" is?
Everything created by man starts as a concept, from a condom to Concorde – the aeroplane, that is!That's funny. Hope Mr. Down has a safe house somewhere.
Sep 03, 2015 | The Guardian
Another version has it that the explosion outside parliament was orchestrated by the president's administration or the Ukrainian special services in order to discredit Svoboda and other radical nationalists and to "tighten the screws" on the political life of the country thus justifying control over opposition forces.
This version hardly stands up to criticism. The demonstration was led by MPs who are members of Svoboda but got into parliament as independent candidates. In the 2014 elections Svoboda did not win the 5% of the vote necessary to enter parliament. Four months earlier, in the presidential election, the party's leader, Oleg Tyagnibok, won only a little over 1% of the vote. This week he was photographed, together with other Svoboda activists, trying to drag a soldier out of the human chain formed around parliament into the crowd of protesters. It was a moment very reminiscent of the Maidan days, only that then Svoboda members and their leader were inside parliament. Since then the party has found itself increasingly marginalised.
However, there were other groups represented in the demonstration , among them two that deserve special attention: Oleg Lyashko's radical party and Igor Kolomoisky's Ukrop party. T-shirts with the latter party's emblem were given out free at the demonstration, and those willing to take part were paid to protest. Kolomoisky is considered to be an enemy of President Poroshenko since he was sacked from his position as governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region. Kolomoisky's man in Odessa, Igor Palitsa, also lost his job as governor and was replaced by the former president of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili.
Immediately after the blast, Lyashko, who is a radical populist with little in common with the radical nationalists, announced the establishment of a campaign to save the nation. Only three or four hours after the explosion, his party had already registered a bill that would block changes to the constitution at times when the country is under military attack. Lyashko came second in the presidential elections, and over the last year his Radical party has gone up in the ratings. It is interesting that articles in the press regularly claim to have evidence that both the Svoboda party and the Radical party have been financed by the same oligarchs, the above mentioned Kolomoisky, Sergey Levochkin – who was head of the presidential administration under Yanukovich and who fled to Moscow after the Maidan – and Dmitry Firtash, who is now being investigated on corruption charges in Austria.
Still, the violence could have a far more banal explanation. To begin with, volunteers who went off to fight in the Donbass for the sake of maintaining Ukraine's unity were radicals from militant groups such as the Right Sector, which sprang up during the Maidan. There were also volunteers who had no affiliation to any party who went to fight. When the Ukrainian army took over the main role in the fighting, many of the volunteers returned home, taking weapons with them.
nnedjo 3 Sep 2015 16:18
Well, the purpose of the constitutional changes in Ukraine should be that rebels in the southeast stop fighting and accept Ukraine as his country, and not Ukrainian nationalists to stop throwing grenades at the police in Kiev. However, these laws passed by the Ukrainian parliament, can contribute very little that the main objective. Their main goal is just to create the illusion that Ukraine really is trying to comply with the requirement of Minsk 2 agreement, and thus to meet the expectations of their Western friends, which means to prevent lifting of sanctions against Russia. And, on the other hand, these laws need to be completely contrary to the expectations of the rebel peoples in Donbas, or in other words to achieve the same thing that the Ukrainian government unsuccessfully tried to achieve with weapons.
It is particularly interesting that the President of Ukraine Poroshenko himself makes no secret at all that it is true what I've previously written, as can be understood, among other things, also from those of his statements:
According to the president, "the threat of break-up of the international pro-Ukrainian coalition" would have increased if the Verkhovna Rada had not voted in favor of decentralization amendments to the constitution on Monday.
It could also lead to the lifting of sanctions, which "are very painfully hitting the aggressor," he said, apparently, referring to Russia, which Kiev blames for sending troops to war-torn eastern Ukraine....
...But what they [Donetsk and Lugansk Regions] have got instead is a lean line about the features of local self-governance," Poroskenko stressed.
So, even though the law that caused the protests in front of parliament has the name of "decentralization", in fact it needs to further strengthen the competence of the central government. Based on this law, the Presidency received the right to appoint a prefect, who with his hand has the discretionary right to dismiss officials elected at the local elections in certain regions. And if they do not like it, they can appeal to the constitutional court in Kiev, where were apparently is known in advance what may be the decision of the constitutional court.
On the other hand, the law on the special status of Donetsk and Lugansk, which was passed earlier, is practically suspended at this point by the recent decision of the President Poroshenko.
In this respect, it is necessary to emphasize two things.
Although according to the Minsk 2 arrangement, the special status of the Donbas region should have been incorporated as an integral and permanent part of the Ukrainian Constitution, the law, which is now suspended, does not meet any of these two demands.
This law therefore is attached only as an annex to the Ukrainian constitution, and its validity is limited to just three years. And, according to the idea of Ukrainian legislators, the law can come into force only after the local elections in Donbass which would be held under the previous Ukrainian legislation, and when Ukrainian forces take control over the whole territory of Ukraine, including its entire border with Russia.
Until then, they will be consider that Donbas region is temporarily occupied part of Ukrainian territory, and officials of the People's Republic of Lugansk and Donetsk People's Republic will be considered as terrorists. And since with the terrorists must not be negotiations, leaders of the LNR and DNR were completely excluded so far from discussions about the law on the special status, which is also contrary to the Minsk 2 agreement, given that it explicitly requires just that.
All in all, they are asking the pro-Russian rebels that lay down their arms voluntarily, without getting anything in return. Or more accurately, to get just a little bit of what they are looking for and only for a period of three years. So, congratulations on wishful thinking, but the question is whether it is achievable at all.
LimaCPapa -> ridibundus 3 Sep 2015 15:48
I first learned about this when a new Ukrainian student introduced himself, and we asked why the name he gave was not the name on his papers. He explained (with clear annoyance) that he had to use a Ukrainian name. He had to keep it while he was here as well, because it was the name in his passport. Now he's free of all that and uses his Russian name. Needless to say, he did not return to Ukraine. Another Ukrainian has since confirmed that the same thing was true for her passport. In both cases, issued in the early 2000s. So who's lying then?
beakybloom -> gablody 3 Sep 2015 13:34
What's inherited??.. The bankrupt economy, loss of Crimea, loss of Donbass, 6000 dead, civil war, downing of Malaysian airliner with 300 souls on board, Odessa massacre, murders of political opponents, the nazi parliament, stupid laws glorifying Ukraine's nazi past, no visa-free access to EU, Nazis throwing grenades at the police???..
Nothing here is inherited except the absence of visa-free access to EU
a "show on the road" ? On IMF funny money? For how long? It's a shitshow, and unsustainable to boot.
nnedjo -> Chirographer 3 Sep 2015 13:28
The putinposters are still reeling with the news that the Ukrainian government is fighting "Nazis" in Kiev,...
It will be possible to say just when the news arrives that the organizers of these demonstrations were sentenced to a few tens of years in prison, and that guy who threw this grenade from which the Guardsmen killed, was sentenced to life imprisonment.
What is quite unbelievable judging by the past behavior of government from Kiev.
Chillskier -> jezzam 3 Sep 2015 10:43
Apparently Interpol red notices cannot be issued against US stooges.
Chillskier -> jezzam 3 Sep 2015 10:20
The piece of shit she CHOSE to work with.
Jewish neo-con skunk and neo-Nazi thug seems like a match made in heaven.
jezzam -> Chillskier 3 Sep 2015 10:19
Go ahead then. I can't wait. Neither can Poroshenko. His best option is passive resistance when Putin launches his next land grab. Russia will be forced to give it back eventually when they are totally bankrupt
Bosula -> RVictor 3 Sep 2015 08:55
The congregation is mostly made up of ethnic Ukrainians, members of a community that numbers hundreds of thousands and has been growing rapidly since the start of the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
This is what the Guardian reported on 13 May 2015 - this was JUST for Poland:
"Last year Poland issued 331,000 permits for short-term work to Ukrainians, up 50% on 2013, says Marta Jaroszewicz, a migration expert at the Centre For Eastern Studies (OSW), an independent Warsaw thinktank funded by the Polish government.
She estimates that there are now 300,000-400,000 Ukrainians in Poland, as many as twice the officially recognised number. In January and February, the number of residence applications by Ukrainians in the Mazovian voivodeship – the province which includes Warsaw – was up 180% on the same months of 2014."
There are other articles for other neighbouring countries bordering Ukraine, but the Guardian is a pretty authoritative source.
Since this story the number crossing the border to leave Ukraine has increased significantly.
FlappyCat 3 Sep 2015 08:20
Poroshenko to Transnistria..
Yats to Macedonia and
Saakishwilly to Tajikistan.
oleteo -> jezzam 3 Sep 2015 08:12
I read the Gorby's interview where he said 'Yes' about the NATO promises.But he's a fool nevertherless to beleive the promises,written or verbal from his enemy.
elias_ -> jezzam 3 Sep 2015 08:07
>>He's trying to provoke Putin.
Hmm in that case you have proved Poroshenko is a fu##ing idiot. Only an idiot would set out to provoke the leader of a neighbouring country into invading. Is that what you lot voted him in for? No, it isn't. He should be making peace and securing the future for his people. Face it, your leader is taking orders from Pyatt and you know it.
BigBanana 3 Sep 2015 07:50
"Kolomoisky's man in Odessa, Igor Palitsa, also lost his job as governor and was replaced by the former president of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili"
Jeez, Saakashvili is a stupid appointment for a very long list of reasons. He's the idiot who got Georgia dismembered after misjudging the situation terribly.
It's as if Poroshenko is deliberately trying to fuck things up.
HuffingHume -> normankirk 3 Sep 2015 07:41
All of the ex-Soviet Union, with the exception of the Baltic states, are horribly corrupt dysfunctional kleptocracies run by Soviet era bigwigs who carved up their state's assets up for themelves, leaving most of their fellow countrymen in poverty. This is the reason why many Ukrianians want to be more 'European'; because they want to be more like Poland and the Baltic States, rather than in the Russian orbit, in which every state has barely made it out of the 80's.
Dimmus -> Alex Hughes 3 Sep 2015 07:15
"It was the right wing Svoboda Party that started the trouble, definitely not a 'peaceful protest' as you make out. "
I talk about the media coverage. At that time "the right wing Party" was just a Putin lie, troubles were cause by Putin, protesters were peaceful and policemen were killed not in terror attacks but were killed democratically.
RVictor -> jezzam 3 Sep 2015 07:14
Putin has a record of false flag operations, starting with the Moscow apartment block bombing performed by the FSB when he was head and which brought him to power.
And the proof is ... o, yes, - something written by oligarch in exile! Btw., here is a short list of admitted FF operations be US and it's vassals. Remember "Iraq WMD"?
oleteo -> jezzam 3 Sep 2015 07:10
Why being invaded by Putin, Ukraine is trading a discount for gas, [and asks for ] deferral of loan?
irishinrussia -> Alex Hughes 3 Sep 2015 07:03
It's irony. He is implying that when protesters the west likes kill policemen then they at peaceful demonstrators, perhaps defending themselves against brutal security forces, at worst any violence is the action of a few hotheads or extremists among overwhelmingly peaceful, democratic victims of the state. However, when the very same protesters attack our guys (Poroshenko), they are radicals, extremists and terrorists, perhaps abetted by shadowy enemies of freedom and democracy (FSB).
PanoptikonicallyKool -> Briar 3 Sep 2015 06:15
Shhh!!!! You are not supposed to say things like that! 'US backed coup'? That is not part of the story. And it's ancient history history, no connection to current events. In fact it didn't even happen, according to repectable news sites. Or they don't mention it, so it must not have happended . The US, as the article states, or rather doesn't state, or rather doesn't even mention, has nothing to do with political events inside Ukraine, that's why we never read anything about it. Did Russia do it or not do it? That's the only serious question for anything that happens in Ukraine.
US involvement in Urkaine? Harrruuumph! Conspiracy theory! And don't bring it up again!
Dimmus 3 Sep 2015 06:15
"But the media has been busy throwing up theories about who has most to benefit from this terrorist attack. "
- Ehhh... was it a terrorist attack? Not a peaceful protest democratically fighting bad and corrupt police prohibiting them to freely take the parliament? Because at the Euromaidan 17 policemen were killed and more than 200 injured when peaceful protesters were democratically fighting bad and corrupt police prohibiting them to freely take the parliament... and there were no terror attacks...
ositonegro -> BastaYa72 3 Sep 2015 06:11
"Corporatism was one of the ideals of both German Nazism and Italian fascism. They held it as a carrot before the people, as a 'solution' to the class problem. They used it as their 'revolutionary' credentials and in both cases, ditched it completely soon after taking power. The idea of each sector of society being organized to take its place at the high table of the state was always "jam tomorrow." Today's agenda was always "war."
It should also be understood that fascist 'corporatism' has nothing to do with the global corporations that are not often bigger than nation states. Modern 'corporatism' only shares a name with the fascist 'ideal.' Not that it any better.
RVictor -> oleteo 3 Sep 2015 06:01
Poroshenko Blames Russia For Police Deaths
paulrou -> kennyboy 3 Sep 2015 05:21
How can anyone not take the US state department's line. It is the truth. Ergo, everyone else is paid by the Russians.
Калинин Юрий -> elias_ 3 Sep 2015 04:59
He does not answer the questions, he blames Putin in all the world's sins and universe disasters. Global warming - Putin, extreme heat in the EU - Putin, police conflicts in the USA - Putin. Ask him, wh has scratched a car by a shopping mall last month - Putin!
RVictor -> jezzam 3 Sep 2015 04:53
The West has not broken international law since the Iraq invasion.
Support and organization of governments overthrow all around the world? War in Libya? Killing with drones on foreigns territories? Bombing of Syria territory?
Theo Humbug -> normankirk 3 Sep 2015 04:52
Princesss Nuland of the neocons is a nasty murderous piece of work. One to watch. Hopefully somebody will 'putsch' her and her equally loathsome husband. Have they spawned any more little evils?
RVictor -> jezzam 3 Sep 2015 04:49
Why does Georgia not get Interpol to issue an arrest warrant for Saakashvili? Ukraine would have to comply. The answer is obvious. They would not get one because the charges against Saakashvili are politically motivated, like most of the corruption charges in Russia.
Right - like any West institution Interpol is so-o-o independent, exactly like International Court!
Theo Humbug -> jezzam 3 Sep 2015 04:49
I have come to realise that Jizzem is just a Turing Bot.
Theo Humbug -> jezzam 3 Sep 2015 04:48
HAHAHAHAHA... Are you serious? Which planet are you on? Do you think people forget that quickly? A neo-neocon organised and paid for putsch is hardly "democratic", same as any other US sanctioned regime change i.e Mega Nation Theft.
jonsid -> Mark Elliott 3 Sep 2015 04:46
In all matters relating to Eastern Europe the Guardian has pinned its colours to the mast of the "New East Network." Which is essentially controlled by a Mr George Soros, Radio "Free Europe" and the National Endowment for Democracy." All mouthpieces of the state department. Its safest to believe the opposite of everything they tell us.
Theo Humbug -> Chirographer 3 Sep 2015 04:41
You clearly have a very bad memory. The Russian offer of cancelling debt and very reasonable prices for fuel was very attractive to the ELECTED government of Victor Yanukovych and far far better than the EU offer, which was why they were all for accepting the Russian offer and aligning more with Moscow..
But the USA can't have any country deciding it's own fate if it is not in accord with the Lords of this Universe.
The neocon organised and paid for putsch, Maidan Shootings, Odessa burnings, put a stop to any agreement beneficial to the Ukrainians and opened the way for the IMF to come in and steal the wealth of yet another country.
There is no excuse for anybody not to know these recorded and verifiable FACTS.
elias_ -> jezzam 3 Sep 2015 04:36
You are fixated on Putin - you must be a not so secret admirer. Why don't you answer Tomov's question. What has Poroshenko achieved since becoming President?
RVictor -> careforukraine 3 Sep 2015 04:34
It is very hard to enter EU from the East without visa (and rules for visa application were hardened for Ukrainians). It is very hard to get job without working permit, and for money you need to register. Notice, that all these points are not present in case of refugees traveling to Russia/Belarus.
So I show you official numbers of registered refugees in EU - and amount of unregistered cannot be high due to immigration laws and functioning police system.
On over side, number of 400000 is taken from nowhere - go on and proof it.
Salut_Salut -> jezzam 3 Sep 2015 04:32
If you are such a hard-core proponent of sanctions policy, then may be you can name the beneficiaries of it in EU? Farmers? Businesses? Common people? Methinks - only politicians following in the wake of Uncle Sam's guidelines. The President of Russia is no way a role model or a paragon country leader, but seeing him behind every corner is nothing but a bout of anti-Russian paranoia. People of that long-suffering country aren't actually represented by him only.
Theo Humbug 3 Sep 2015 04:29
How far back does history go?
Lat week, last month, Maidan Square, the fall of the Soviet Union?
If taken that far back, then people will surely remember Ronnie Raygun's promises to Gorbachev that no NATO forces would encroach on former Soviet territory. Ehh?? What??
Fast forward to the neo-neocon putsch and princess Nuland boasting of the death and destruction that all those humanitarian $5 billion had purchased as she dispensed biscuits in Maidan, just prior to both sides being shot up by putschist snipers (likely from outside and/or Svoboda, or the Social Nationalists (don't say Nazis don't have a sense of humour!).
So called separatists voted to stay with Russia, with whom they identified, despite the lies and propaganda from the US/West/Nato including premature accusations of responsibility fro the shooting down of MH17 .. funny how 1) the US never released it's data (another Pentagon "plane"?) 2) that has all gone very quiet... Wonder what they found?
Perhaps the putschist regime and/or their neo-neocon pay/puppet-meisters have woken up to the very real danger of putting nazties withing 'Cooee' of nuclear weapons?
Of course, one does not need to be a nazti to call for nuclear mass murder. The blond plaited heroine of the right, the ex jailbird, ex Prime Minister (for ganesh sake!!) Tymoshenko called for the nuking of Donbass, if I remember correctly.
Russian now has the major Western forces and neonazis on their border. President Putin has to deal with these murderers and the great unwashed, living in their encapsulating bubbles of Newspeak and reality cooking shows, are told by the Mudorc press and other propagandists that it is Russia that is pure evil.
I wish there were a god.
Tony Cocks -> danhudders 3 Sep 2015 03:59
" The airliner was almost certainly downed by a Russian crew "
But of course you have not one shred of evidence to support your statement in which case would you agree it is valueless and was a waste of your time posting it in the first place.
RVictor -> careforukraine 3 Sep 2015 03:49
I think he said refugees crossed the border ........i am not sure that all refugees fill out the application form?
400000 ? Look on the current 100000's refugees wave from the Asia/Africa to get an expression how it looks like. Or on the last year summer wave of Ukrainian refugees in Russia - with large refugee camps for temporary placements etc. You cannot get 400000 refugees to go "unseen" - especially in case of relatively good-maintained land border.
martinusher 3 Sep 2015 03:09
Its not really a zero-sum game. Russia always maintained that the coup was engineered by the West by encouraging right wing elements and this is just one of a number of incidents that prove that their view was correct. This makes our life difficult in the West because we only think in polar terms -- if Russia is right then they 'win'. Since we cannot allow any situation where Russia 'wins' we go through all sorts of mental gymnastics to try to prove black is really white. It would be better to ignore Russia's comments and commentaries and just look dispassionately at who the actors are and what they're up to. The answers are staring us in the face.
(If you need any indication that something's not quite right in Ukraine then you only have to look to the appointment of Saakashvili as the governor of Odessa last summer. He's best known for his role as a Georgian politician, someone who, among other things, provoked a disastrous confrontation with Russia.)
SHappens 3 Sep 2015 03:07
To begin with, volunteers who went off to fight in the Donbass for the sake of maintaining Ukraine's unity were radicals from militant groups such as the Right Sector, which sprang up during the Maidan.
February 24, 2014, right extremist forces (Banderists, Right Sector and neo-Nazis Svoboda) implemented a coup during the Maiden. At the time the US government warned the Ukrainian authorities against using force against these 'pro-democracy protestors' even if, according to the pictures we saw, some of them were neo-Nazis who were throwing Molotov cocktails and other things at the police and smashing up statues and setting fire to buildings.
These forces were subsequently beaten in the elections, thus rejected by the Ukrainian people. However the first act of Poroshenko was to legitimate these irregular and illegal militias which, absent in Parliament, have received the far more important power of arms, courtesy of the new mixed Ukrainian-American government. Basically the only difference between the parliamentary majority and the far-right groups is that the first take orders from the West, the latter don't.
These militias became the spearhead of Ukrainian forces in the East and on them falls much of the war effort in the Civil War. But these militias can not yet be lifted, because otherwise the war in the East could not continue.
History always repeats itself. Use low ignorant, racist and violent manpower to take power by force but also to maintain it, but then to dump it as soon as possible because they rare considered, rightly, unpresentable or otherwise dangerous even for those who have instigated, financed and exploited them. Of course, sometimes such situations go out of hand, see the Afghan Mujahidin or ISIS.
Now Poroshenko and Yatsenyuk are receiving their own coin back. They supported and reinforced those they now pretend to discover to be thugs. The real puppets are and remain in power while their useful barbarians have become bothersome: infamous, resistant to the point that one can wonder if the latest riot would not be a false flag from Yats and Poro who used the skills of these criminal thugs. Because the latter are not mere free electrons who just decided to meet that day. There is money, people that structure this, a hierarchy, an efficient network and money at will, in which Russia has no involvement.
Still, Poroshenko and Yatsenuk want more war and call for lethal arms supply. All this while the rating of Ukrainian is now CC with negative outlook.
RVictor -> Bosula 3 Sep 2015 03:02
400,000 refugees crossed the borders from Ukraine into the EU over the past year.
You are lying (surprise, surprise!):
"There were 4,603 applications for international protection in Germany, 3,600 in Poland, 2,956 in Italy, 1,962 in Sweden, 1,763 in France, 200 in Moldova, 60 in Romania, 60 in Hungary and 20 in Slovakia," the UNHCR findings highlighted.
vr13vr 3 Sep 2015 02:16
"Russian TV focused on the events outside the Ukrainian parliament to prove to viewers that chaos reigns in Ukraine. "
And doesn't chaos indeed reign in Ukraine? I thought that was beyond obvious and doesn't need any additional proof.
vr13vr 3 Sep 2015 02:13
How about the more obvious explanation that Maidan, so much encouraged and celebrated by the West, had taught Ukrainians that it is Ok to attack the police, try to pull away their shields (see the photo above), through molotov cocktail at them (there was a picture on Monday) and grenades in order to pass certain laws in their Rada.
vr13vr 3 Sep 2015 02:11
How exactly Russia is "profiting" from this? is this author just throwing the sentences around or is he required to fulfill some anti-Russia quota in his article?
ArtofLies -> Jonathan Stromberg 3 Sep 2015 02:09
There are undoubtedly going to be further problems with these nationalists, oh come on, we can call the neo-nazi's or neo-fascists here, just because the journalists above the line cant be seen to be propagandising for fascists does not mean that we have to play those semantic games.
the fact is this is the second time these fascists have attacked the police, this time with grenades, the last time it was molotov cocktails, but the media wont criticise them because there is money to be made in the ukraine, not everything is privatised yet and i hear there are still dreams of fracking ukraine to prosperity.
nishville -> Jonathan Stromberg 3 Sep 2015 01:43
The far right have done all the dirty work during the coup and still doing it on the frontline and have not got enough in return, in their view. Croatia had a similar problem with their extremist veterans who were used by the Croatian right wing HDZ to destabilize social-democrat government.
Both countries are US clients and US has no use anymore for the nazi dogs of war, i.e. they can protest all they want - they are getting nothing and if they become too obstructive, they will start to disappear one by one.
They might be dangerous but they are nothing compared to money men running the show.
drrust 3 Sep 2015 01:38
Again you are instigating that the Minsk agreements were reached by western or international powers in general, implying that angloamerica was part of this. The agreement was a sole and very sucsessful initiative of Mrs Merkel, who took a reluctant Holland with her who solely sensed a chance to be viewed as a statesman. The UK had already transports of war material underway.
elias_ -> Bosula 3 Sep 2015 01:14
There's million in Russia although many of them may be hiding to avoid military service. Look on the bright side, there's another 40 million of them and I bet most will want to move into the land of milk and honey which is Europe.
MaoChengJi 2 Sep 2015 23:31
"But despite profiting from it, Russia is very unlikely to have perpetrated it"
Oh no, say it ain't so! How can any trouble in this world be caused by something that is not The Dark Lord Putin?
And how is Russia 'profiting' from this, I'd like to know? Isn's this rather a case of the western Russophobe industry suffering a loss?
Well, for sure the Russophobe industry suffering a loss is an undeniable victory for all humanity, but putting it as 'Russia profiting'?.. Oh well, russophobes are weird creatures, I've noticed it a long time ago.
retarius 2 Sep 2015 22:47
Occam's razor: the fascist nationalist nutters orchestrated the whole thing, because they don't want any concessions given to the objects of their hatred.
eric lund 2 Sep 2015 20:43
How the USA rule sway the destinies of Ukraine flooding it with blood
One can get an impression that authorities of Ukraine, totally dependent on State Department of USA, are doing anything – searching for spies, begging for money, getting weapons from USA and Europe, suppressing dissidence, self-advertising and desperate propaganda, but not taking the steps to peaceful regulation of conflict in South-East of the country and its economic rise.
According to the last research of Kiev international institute of sociology the rating of president Petr Poroshenko has fallen three times, down to 13,6%, other candidates don't even get 5%. When authorities are so unpopular, it is only left for them to turn the screws and continue witch hunting at full throttle.
The director of Centre of Eurasian researches Vladimir Kornilov noted: "Everybody perfectly understands where the HR department of Ukrainian policy is. It is in the American Embassy".
In order to strengthen his worthless power Poroshenko fired seemingly over powerful chief of Service of Safety Valentin Nalivaychenko, who had been transmitting information which often put Poroshenko himself in not very bright light, to representatives of USA. And new chief of Service of Safety Vasiliy Gritsak, who is very close to Poroshenko and was the head of his own service of safety, at one dash arrested 40 colonels and generals allegedly for dissidence in his department.
Danger is getting closer for Home Affairs Minister Arsen Avakov. The chief military prosecutor Of Ukraine Anatoliy Matios claimed that members of criminal organization 'Tornado', made on the base of militia and appointed by Avakov from former criminals, had organized secret place in basement floor of school to torture illegally captured people. The Ukrainian patriarch Filareth presented a medal for sacrificing and love for Ukraine, so to say for perverted sadism while torments, which are unofficially legalized by Ukrainian authorities.
At the same time the level of aggression of Ukrainian militaries is only picking up speed. Thus, the Ambassador of Ukraine in USA Valeriy Chalykh without any scruples stated: We are getting weapons, including lethal, and nobody can prohibit it to independent Ukraine. The other thing is that it is not common to disclose these countries, but they are more than 10, only from Europe. We have different level of technical and military cooperation, and at this stage it is only going further.
Chillskier -> Paul Moore 2 Sep 2015 20:42
Here is two examples of Porkoshenko being a head of occupational government:
- He destroyed Ukraine's military industrial complex, for it's ties (very profitable by the way) with Russian military, as any obedient CIA stooge will do.
- He flipped the country geo-politically, from the state that should have benefit from it's position in the middle of the Europe, in to some sort of final frontier, protecting Europe from the hordes of those crazy Russians, all by himself , only crazy person could have come up with this, or an obedient CIA stooge again.
So it is what Ukraine g-ment does, not what putin tells.
EugeneGur -> Chirographer 2 Sep 2015 20:35
everything would have been wonderful if Ukraine had not decided to finally reject the brotherly embrace of Putin's Russia
Not everything, because by that time Ukrainian authorities have already ruined a lot. However, there is little doubt that Ukraine would've been a hell of a lot better off if it hadn't followed the path of the coup and indulged in anti-Russian hysteria. Has your mother ever told you that quarreling with your neighbors is never a good idea?
Looking at the situation objectively, it is a good thing that the Kiev government is trying to follow the Minsk plan.
Objectively? You? It would be a good thing if it were but it doesn't. These constitutional changes have nothing to do with the requirements for the regional autonomy set out in Minsk II. Nor have they been agreed to by the Donbass representatives, which makes the whole thing pointless. But even these miserable changes had to be pushed through by Nuland, because Rada initially refused to approved them. There are 13 points in Minsk II and so far Kiev fulfilled none of them.
Jeff1000 2 Sep 2015 20:30
Some people think the challenges faced by Ukraine's Poroshenko are now too big to overcome. But those who would like to take his place have not shown themselves capable of doing even half of what he has achieved.
Wait...Poroshenko has achieved something? He has done nothing but what he was told.
He waged war in the east because John Brennan told him to. And then stopped when Merkel told him to. He is a non-entity.
Julian1972 -> truk10 2 Sep 2015 19:54
I know! I know!
Still, when the US funds its various Intelligence Agencies and Covert Overseas Operations Organizations to levels beyond that which most of the rest of the world combined spend on their actual militaries, it's hard not see why they end up being suspected of having sticky fingers in various pies.
Poor, innocent US...after all, all that money's just being spent on ergonomic seating and biodegradable paperclips, right? Hahahaha!
nnedjo 2 Sep 2015 19:51
There is one more possible theory, which seems that the author has failed to notice.
Thus, due to the fact that the proposed legislation is far from what was envisaged by Minsk 2 agreement, and in particular is far from what would satisfy the pro-Russian rebels, the following question arises:
Does this event may have been aimed to strengthen the claim that this bill is the most that Ukraine can offer to the pro-Russian rebels, because, "for God's sake, even for this Ukrainians began to kill each other in the middle of Kiev"?
TomFullery -> Chillskier 2 Sep 2015 19:47
You are right about Ukraine's economy. I visit fairly often and each time I get more Hryvnia for my Euros. Plus the restaurants are empty so you are guaranteed good service from serving staff desperate for a tip to supplement their meagre wages (so much for joining the US "democratic" system!).
Strange that the Nazi putsch in Kiev has benefited me (who wouldn't piss on them if they were burning) rather more than 99% of Ukrainians.
Although I do notice that the Kiev Nazis seem to have taken one step in the direction of moderation - the shrine to the Nazi Ukrainian nationalist Stepan Bandera which was there erected about the time of the putsch has now disappeared (most likely moved to a less conspicuous location).
Julian1972 -> desnol 2 Sep 2015 19:44
In penning the written equivalent of 'The Picture That Fooled the World':
maybe, at least, his 'confusion' is a symptom of his conscience trying to find it's voice. Hehehe, maybe there's hope for him yet?
Let's face it, straight reporting on The Ukraine is hard to come by, given that it's labouring under the 3-line whip of the CIA, MI6 and another global I.S. best not to mention.
NorthOfTheM25 2 Sep 2015 19:42
The Ukrainian regime in as much as they try so hard to have a resemblance of 'western values' (whatever that means) & to avoid behaving like the powers that be at the Kremlin. At the end of the day have the same approach in how they apportion blame & deflect attention from their obvious failings.
When you back hard right elements (to further your personal political goals, when both parties share a common antagonist) who are prone to violence. Don't cry victim when they disagree with your political overtures & decisions. Acting out that disagreement the only manner they know how to which is through violence.
I have no sympathy Poroshenko, for the backlash his government is now facing re: his government's constitutional proposals.
TomFullery -> jezzam 2 Sep 2015 19:35
His Ukraine policy has two main prongs.
1. Make Putin realise that military aggression against his neighbours carries too high an economic penalty to be worthwhile.
Nothing got military until the US-instigated Nazi putsch in Kiev. Strategic imperatives trump short term economic considerations and Russia has reacted skilfully to the attack by the US using Ukraine as a proxy (much to Ukraine's detriment)
2. Support Ukraine economically until it becomes a prosperous liberal democracy, like the rest of Europe (Russia excepted of course).
Ukraine will be asset-stripped by US corporations. Ukraine will not be a prosperous, liberal democracy in your lifetime and neither will the US.
His policy seems to be working very well.
Chillskier -> normankirk 2 Sep 2015 19:33
Link to the story that will challenge the spotless mind of jezzam:
Oligarchs in Ukraine are doing extremely well, obviously not a concern for a coup sponsors.
normankirk -> jezzam 2 Sep 2015 19:33
Want an example of a twist?
Kerry warning Poroshenko against resuming hostilities, retaking territory in breach of the Minsk agreement, then less than a week later Nuland rushing to Kiev to egg Poroshenko on, thoroughly endorsing his plans
Hanwell123 -> Knapping 2 Sep 2015 19:28
He was the idiot who jumped the gun in the CIA plan to create a war in 2008. He went before the whistle shelling an unprotected and unwarned city hours before he was supposed to. One of Asias prize fools. So Poroshenko's made him - a non Ukrainian - Governor of Odessa. Great stuff Poro!
TomFullery -> jezzam 2 Sep 2015 19:27
Despite Yanukovich's corruption he did a decent job of steering Ukraine down the middle path between Russia and the US/EU and he was nobody's proxy. As for his corruption he was a mere pickpocket compared to the like of Timoshenko who is not on any Ukrainian, EU or US corruption list!
This wasn't good enough for the neocons in Washington who wanted the whole country - hence their instigation of the Nazi putsch in Kiev. It's gone downhill all the way for the Ukrainian people since then considering they have lost a sizeable chunk of territory and now likely having to move to some sort of federal system.
On top of those miseries they now have Finance and Economics ministers from Lithuania and Poland parachuted in by the US and given Ukrainian citizenship on the day of their inauguration to their respective posts. They also have US stooge and ex-Georgian president Sakaashvili and fugitive from Georgian justice parachuted in as governor of Odessa. Let's not forget Joe Biden's son who was appointed to the board of directors of one of Ukraine's biggest energy companies very shortly after the Nazi putsch.
At least the east of the country is out of the hands of US corporate predators but it's a certainty that agreements will be signed (if not already) to turn massive tracts of Ukrainian farmland in the west of that country to US GM giants. I wonder how those US-loving west Ukrainians are going to react when the horrible reality of US-style "democracy" hits home.
NorthOfTheM25 -> truk10 2 Sep 2015 19:24
Stop it, you are embarrassing yourself & sound like a bitter divorcee who has lost a legal battle. Nothing you have said has little bearing with the article.
But I guess each time the key trigger words Russia, Ukraine, Kremlin, Stalin & Moscow are mentioned then just like Putin bots, you are also activated from your dwelling under the bridge to reel out the tired & repetitive anti Putin bellicose rants.
normankirk -> jezzam 2 Sep 2015 19:22
except it is the oligarchs who are prospering. Kolomoisky is under investigation for diverting 1.8 billion of IMF money to his own Cyprus bank account. Poroshenkos profits have increased astronomically while all Ukrainians are taking pay cuts.
luckyjohn -> alpamysh 2 Sep 2015 19:03
Yanukovych contributed a lot to radicalise Ukrainian society. He planned his survival in office by manipulation - stressing Tyannybok's importance to voters so that in the end there would be a choice - Tyaynybok or himself Yanukovych for president. Of course - Yanukovych then wins because the radical Tyahnybok is too "dangerous" to vote in. So much for your democratically elected president Yanukovych! So the presence of radical elements in Ukrainian society is in fact Yanukovych's doing. He was a very divisive president who played on divisions in Ukraine rather than trying to heal them as well as being thoroughly corrupt.
virgenskamikazes 2 Sep 2015 18:37
I would believe the Western version if, after ousting Yanukovich, they would do a 21st century, EU version of a Marshall Plan. If the EU had said to Yanukovich "we want to flood Ukraine with Euro with very low interest and in long term, for investment in infrastructure and industrialization projects - given that you cut ties completely with Russia" and Yanukovich had said "no" to that, than I think it would be fair for the Ukranian people to oust him.
But the EU offered a humiliating, absurd shock therapy style reform, that's why Yanukovich "no". Even imediate full EU, EZ membership was not on the table.
The thing is, the Ukrainian people bought on the fantasy that they could mass emigrate to central Europe overnight had Yanukovich said "yes", that only them had economic problems, that the West is the promised land, that we are still in the Cold War, etc.
Had Yanukovich hold on tight on power until two months ago, after the Greek tragedy, I doubt there would be political strength for the USA and the Ukrainian far-right to oust him.
Beckow -> ArthurJenkinson 2 Sep 2015 18:32
He wrote a long article with bizarre conspiracy theories in order to confuse a very simple attack by a Ukrainian nationalist mob on the police, killing 3 policemen.
The "theories" are there to obfuscate and confuse. We are close to the end game in Kiev and it will not be pretty. And the angry hysteria among Washington, London and Berlin sponsors of this madness will also get uglier. They don't like to lose so they would prefer just about anything to admitting to being defeated in Ukraine.
Julian1972 2 Sep 2015 17:43
Poroshenko's assertion that Russia is to blame for this week's murder of policemen is of the same Frankenstein DNA as his assertion that Russia was behind the downing of Flight MH17 and that the Eastern part of The Ukraine's population are not democrats rising up against an illegal putsch which brought him to power but are simply 'Kremlin puppets'...and therefore justifiably crushed by the same type of gunfire that otherwise had Maidan martyrs held up as 'heroes'. (Even though it was members of their own side doing the shooting, hahaha).
Disgusting man hailing from a disgusting class of politician/businessmen trained by the US to bring death and chaos to any part of the globe that the powers behind the US Government see fit. Prepare for our own Maidan should this class of parasite-sans-frontieres, (read Mikheil Saakashvili), succeed in bringing The Ukraine under the NATO umbrella.
BastaYa72 -> alpamysh 2 Sep 2015 17:43
You can't even tell the difference between 'neo-fascist' and 'Nazi'.
If either term comes into your tiny mind it obviously defaults to imagining scenes from the last days in the Führerbunbker - whatever turns you on.
Also, the IMF has always favoured right wing corporatist regimes, preferably with as little democracy as possible.
desnol 2 Sep 2015 17:41
The author's puzzlement and confusion are directly proportional to how little he understands the situation in Ukraine. He keeps wondering about various scenario's, each more absurd than the previous.
I chortled with laughter, almost choked, when he suggested that the Kremlin agents are organising the far right nationalists in Ukraine, deliberately causing an outbreak of peace in order to show up the Kiev parties in a bad light! Believe me, Kiev parties can show themselves up all by themselves!
And then, almost at the very end of the article, after all his fanciful, surreal speculation, Andrey Kurkov hits the nail on the head with
"Still, the violence could have a far more banal explanation."
But even then he gets it all skewed up, blaming the fact that Ukranian army went to fight the separatists for the fact that the far right thugs are now armed and throwing bombs in Kiev. Doesn't he realise they were armed and throwing bombs in Maidan 2014 edition? He doesn't ask who armed them in the first place.
The author is giving a good impression of being one very confused bloke.
domeus -> thenewstranger 2 Sep 2015 17:30
At least he is an improvement on all the other Guardian journalists who report on Russia and Ukraine. He connects the right wing group of people behind the killing of the of the policeman in Kiev with those those who volunteered to kill their fellow countrymen in Odessa and throughout the eastern and southern regions. Autonomy for the regions would have solved the problem then and prevented the unnecessary bloodshed and suffering. But Nuland had other plans and the western media acted accordingly.
Jessica Roth -> alpamysh 2 Sep 2015 17:14
The Maidan "protestors" were the ones who broke the cease-fire, shooting at both the Berkut and their own people. The forensic evidence proved it. Did you not listen to the Urmas Paet-Baroness Ashton phone call?
The "impeachment" of Yanukovich was illegal under the Ukraine constitution, which required a 75% vote. Even with the US-trained thugs forcing MPs to the floor at gunpoint, only 72% of the Ukraine parliament was present for the vote. Poroshenko has no more business being President than the burnt and raped corpses of the people his Azov Nazis butchered in Odessa and Mariupol do. (Although the corpses would probably do a better job.)
bonhiver 2 Sep 2015 16:49
I wondered how long it would be for poroshenko to blame putin for the grenade attack. Russia has been a convenient scapegoat for Ukraine to blame for its own failings since the overthrow of yanukovic.
The right wing activists who carried out the grenade attack were at the heart of the maidan protests which also involved violent confrontations with the police. They were also those who tarrgetted ethnic Russians following the overthrow of yanukovic so their actions in opposition to granting extra powers to eastern territories is hardly surprising.
ositonegro 2 Sep 2015 16:44
The Azov battalion also declared they would bring the war to Kiev if not sated in Dombass. You make a fascist revolution and the next move is to institutionalize it. Hitler did this very well, destroying the populist SA movement and assassinating their leaders and incorporating the remainder into the regular army. Then fascism could move forward with the whole state support.
But in Ukraine the EU-US used fascism to make the coup then tried to reign it in. The fascists however cannot be institutionalized. They are still a powerful street movement with the added benefit of having been trained and armed and given military space to grow. Now they are pushing for policy dominance over the regular bourgeois political forces and using bombs to do it. The Azov Battalion always said they would take the war back to Kiev if they felt betrayed.
It has to be understood that Poroshenko is not a fascist, despite coming to power on the back of their efforts. The EU-US do not want the fascists in power. How could Ukraine enter the EU with an outright fascist government? But they are playing with fire, using these street forces and then renouncing them. It will come a time when they do not have either the legitimacy of the power to stop another coup against themselves, and this time with no restraints. Then what will the EU do?
While Greece founders under unsustainable debt and Eurogroup dictatorship, Ukraine is given sweeteners, relieving 20% of their debt - something unimaginable with Greece. But you can't stop a tsunami with Canderel.
Aug 30, 2015 | The Guardian
HollyOldDog -> Bosula 30 Aug 2015 20:28
The rest of Ukraine was descending into chaos, what with police and demonstrators being shot and killed by unknown assalients from rooftops. Odessa , where 45 plus Ukrainian citizens were trapped in a building which was set fire to by outside football supporters, then shot at and clubbed when the citizens climbed out of the burning building seeking help. Would you risk yourself and your family in such a situation or would you seek the protection of a friendly power?
Chillskier -> jezzam 30 Aug 2015 20:00
Ensure that Ukraine does not go under economically and eventually becomes a fully functioning and prosperous liberal democracy.
It seems to be working pretty well..
NO it is not.
You need to talk to people who actually live there, it is a catastrophe
HollyOldDog -> truk10 30 Aug 2015 19:46
Ukraine should be wary of false friends who may lead then down a blind alley. Only today I watched a very interesting TV program that puts the continueing existance of Monsanto into serious doubt. The program was about wheat in terms of the future of Global Warming where presentment her patterns within seasons would vary widely. Is it the right course of action to choose types of GM wheat where seasonal rains would pop up at inconvenient times ( which a farmer would pay 'through the nose for') or to allow your wheats to choose the correct wheat for the growing conditions it encounters. Some of the Wheats on test where from the times of the ancient Egyptians while the oldest variety was around 9000 years old. Instead of gene splicing and growing micro cultures in a lab followed by years of field testing , perhaps we should just look what our ancestors did.
I know this is not exactly on topic but I am trying to suggest Not to believe the latest SPIN, just because it is new. NEW SPIN does not equal TRUTH. IF something looks to be too good to be true then it is too good to be true - Forbes, verify your stories before you publish.
Beckow -> impartial12 30 Aug 2015 18:41
"Ukraine is important to the West because of its encroachment strategy against Russia"
The strategy is to somehow take over Russia by either having Yeltsin-like puppets in power again, or maybe by physically taking it apart (separatism). The "encroachment" is just the means to that end.
Russians had two choices when the coup happened in Kiev on the last day of the Sochi Olympics:
- - do nothing and hope for the best; maybe Ukraine would run into economic troubles, maybe it would collapse into infighting like after the Orange revolution
- - quickly save what could be saved - Crimea, bases, Donbass Russians - and squeeze Ukraine economically until it collapses
The West was surprised that Russia went for the second option and decided to fight. I think Russia decided that this was their best chance to resist, and that facts on the ground in Ukraine were in their favor. So far it has worked for Russia, thus the almost hysterical anger in the West.
Beckow -> Tintenfische 30 Aug 2015 17:55
Stay sober. Russia's economy is down 4%, that's not "go down in flames". E.g. EU economy dropped 6-9% after '09, and people are ok, kind of.
The real issue is with the Ukrainian economy and living standards. Russia's per capita income this year is 10 times higher than Ukraine's. That's very substantial, that's why about 3 million Ukrainians work in Russia and more are coming each month.
The West tried to crash Russian economy ahead of the inevitable Ukrainian collapse, and it failed. So now the death-watch for the Ukraine's economy has started: default on loans, catastrophic drop in living standards and incomes, millions trying to emigrate, and energy dependency on Russia that might turn out to be fatal if there is a cold winter in Europe.
vr13vr -> CedricH 30 Aug 2015 17:55
Yeah, I can imagine Russians being jealous of Ukrainians. The economy is collapsing, the inflation is 40%, the far is going on, the armed Right Sector people are walking in the center of the city, the opposition leaders are suppressed and the actions are taking against the media that disagrees with Kiev. And while all of this, the corruption remains exactly where it used to be. Darn, the entire world is jealous of those lucky Ukrainians.
Beckow -> Tintenfische 30 Aug 2015 17:47
"it denies the Ukrainian people any sort of agency what so ever and at the same time ignores that the elections within the Ukraine have not been called free or fair for a generation"
I wrote 'assisted in an overthrow' - do you get the meaning of the verb "to assist"? Assisting in an overthrow of an elected president is by any definition illegal and unconstitutional - all else that followed has to be examined in that light.
Elections in Ukraine have been free and fair and declared so by EU itself many times. Yanukovitch won fair and square. Russian speakers (or supporters) used to get roughly 50% of the vote, sometimes more, sometimes little bit less. Their party - Party of Regions - was outlawed. So maybe they are listened to, but in a very constrained way - they are certainly not equal to the Western Ukrainians. That's why some of them started a civil war.
You don't address any of the disastrous economic consequences of Maidan and the war: Ukraine is suffering and is much worse off than two years ago. There is no economic prosperity possible in Ukraine without Russian cooperation (energy, imports, food, investments). That is a reality that cannot be wished away. Unless Ukraine adjusts to being a poor, agrarian country, that exports millions of workers, with living standards maybe like in Albania or Tunis (at best), they will have to make peace with Russia and its own Russian leaning population. There is no other way, even Germany and France have officially told Kiev that much.
Only US nutcases don't care about economy or living standards and prefer to play geo-political games with Ukrainians...
SHappens -> Agrajag3k 30 Aug 2015 17:42
Ukraine can prosper perfectly well on its own, just like any other county under the right leadership.
which they dont have. On the other hand when a big part of the country doesn't want to align with the "West" they should be heard. That's what is called democracy
vr13vr 30 Aug 2015 16:09
Clueless. The "low intensity" fight continues, but it's evident that the chances of Kiev to establish full control of the area are non-existent, and it is Kiev who is looking for a grace saving exit at this point.
And as for West "helping Ukraine" by cutting down the debt by 20%, this is the freshest interpretation of the event I've ever heard. It wasn't done to "help" Ukraine. The West agreed to do so to avoid even messier and costlier option of default and loosing even more money in Ukraine. Other than talking about giving some more loans to Ukraine in the future, the help to Ukraine from the West is now minimum.
BastaYa72 -> alpamysh 30 Aug 2015 16:33
Moreover, a country with the agricultural resources of Ukraine
Land that has long since been signed over to Monsanto and DuPont as part payment for earlier loans. Ukraine's economy is in such a state that's it's obvious that it will form the next major refugee crisis, while Svoboda and Privvy Sector will almost certainly launch a coup to over-throw the Kiev government.
Iraq, Libya, Ukraine - you can pretty much guarantee that wherever the West intervenes or interferes, chaos and destruction is pretty much 'nailed-on'.
Laurence Johnson -> Beckow 30 Aug 2015 16:05
You make some very sober points. Ukraine is indeed destined to be a wasteland similar to Libya and Syria. The scorch and burn policy of "if I cant have it, nobody can have it" is very clear.
I suspect that in twenty years time East Ukraine will be an economic miracle that engages with Asia via Russia. As for Kiev I suspect they will still be arguing about which Oligarch has the biggest pair of balls.
normankirk 30 Aug 2015 15:56
under the Minsk agreement, the border comes back under Ukrainian control, only when Ukraine has done the necessary constitutional reform that grants autonomy to the Donbas. So far, Kiev has dragged the chain , and to this day has refused dialogue with the leaders of the DPR and LPR.Poroshenko has openly boasted of using the ceasefire to build up another military assault on the eastern Ukrainians , and has vowed to reclaim all the terrItory by force.All this is in breach of the Minsk agreement Articles like this, with their bias and misinformation destroys the credibility of the guardian
This time the ceasefire may work because Merkel and Hollande have pressured Poroshenko, but I'm not holding my breath.
Parangaricurimicuaro 30 Aug 2015 15:45
I think that Europe is having to much on its plate. Terrorism problems, energy insecurity, bailing out Greece, refugees escaping wars south of the Mediterranean, aging population etc. so maybe it is most than they could possible chew. Reality is sobering everyone.
SHappens Agrajag3k 30 Aug 2015 15:36
Russia has no interest in seeing the war end or seeing Ukraine prosper.
Ukraine cannot prosper without Russia's market, that's an economic truth. Ukraine can even less prosper without the Donbass. The West must accept to share Ukraine with Russia. Federalization can make this possible and fulfill every country's ambitions and will, except for one country overseas, taking part to the events, we dont know why or do we?
Beckow 30 Aug 2015 15:26
Half-truths are by definition not truths. To say:
"deadline for the internationally recognised border to come back under Ukrainian government control"
Minsk also requires that Donbass has autonomy before border is turned over. How does one leave out the other side of the story? It is like reporting on Soviet Union conquest of Berlin in 1945 without mentioning that Germany invaded Russia in 1941. Maybe that's next in the endless search for just the right narrative where friends are friends, and enemies are, well the enemy is Russia, end of story. No need to actually be accurate. About Minsk or anything else.
Ukraine is bankrupt - negotiating to not pay back the full principal is the definition of a default. You can call it a "haircut" all you want, Ukraine has just defaulted - as in: they will not pay their full debts back. Who is going to invest there now? Other than EU taxpayers and IMF funny money men?
Time is definitely not on Ukraine's side: economy is down by 15-17%, inflation is 40-50%, incomes are dramatically down to roughly Senegal-Nepal level, the exports to Russia that Ukraine used to live off are down by more than 50% and dropping - and nothing is replacing the Russian market. With living standards are on sub-African level and with no visa-free access to EU, no investments (see the default above), and energy dependence on Russia, how can time be on Kiev's side? How are they going to grow out of it? What and to whom are they going to export? How is the per capita income going to grow? Today Ukraine income is 1/10 of Russia's per capita income (that's right 10%). How is time on Kiev's side?
West triggered an unnecessary catastrophe in Ukraine by assisting in an overthrow of an elected government. Ukraine is divided, look at all elections, look at language usage, etc... half is pro-West, half is pro-Russian. It is impossible to have a prosperous Ukraine without both having a say in running the country. So sooner or later, Ukraine will either go back to its traditional role as a buffer state, or it will break-up. There is no way one group can permanently dominate the other. And that takes us back to the Minsk treaty that specifies that Donbass gets autonomy. Maybe we should ask Kiev what happened to that part of the treaty. Why isn't it even mentioned?
impartial12 Tintenfische 30 Aug 2015 15:19
That is funny considering the amount of armaments building up among the former nations of the Soviet Union neighboring Russia. The escalation in Ukraine had started with an illegal coup of an elected government. And don't even get me started on the neo-Nazi tendencies of the new regime. It takes two to tango, and the West clearly wants to play this game no matter what negative consequences it may bring.
SHappens 30 Aug 2015 15:14
Kiev, backed by Washington who is using Ukrainian army foot soldiers, paramilitaries, foreign mercenaries, Nazi-infested death squads and others hasn't stopped since initiated back in April 2014. Kiev flagrantly violated the Geneva and two Minsk ceasefire agreements straightaway. Moreover Kiev has repeatedly refused to sit and talk with the people in the East and grant them autonomy as per Minsk.
Surely Russia supports the eastern ukrainians, rightly, in a way or another, preventing in this way a full war offensive by Kiev, however Russian's army is not present in Ukraine. President Putin wants peace and has been calling for it since the very start of the event, that is the ATO launched by Kiev back in 2014.
This is the Donbass who fights against Kiev. It is the US citizens who are forced to devote scarce resources to the dying puppet regime in Kiev (who will not avoid the country's default anyway + they have been downgraded), while Russia can stay away making peace proposals. If the US wants to put the fire, they will put it so it is necessary to be able to quickly turn it off to preserve what is most precious. That's why Putin considers peace of vital importance.
We can only guess who will be most effective - the US with their fuel container or the Russians with their fire extinguisher?
yalensis, August 30, 2015 at 4:31 am
The purges cannibalistically eat their own:
Saakashvili announced 2 days ago that he was initiating a thorough purge of the Odessa police force, whom he called a "criminal syndicate".
Then yesterday the Odessa Chief of Police was fired and arrested: a guy named Oleg Makukha.
A guy whom Saakashvili himself appointed not more than 2 months ago!
Makukha is charged with the following:
(1) Receiving $23,000 worth of bribes,
(2) Providing "krysha" for unlawful businesses; and
(3) Secretly keeping Russian flags and insignia in his home.
The latter which proves, according to Saakashvili, that Makukha was just waiting for the Russian tanks to arrive, after which he would whip out the Russian flags and switch sides.
marknesop, August 30, 2015 at 10:50 am
That's Ukie-style! I just pointed out yesterday on the Kyiv Post that everyone who starts to notice something smelly about the Yatsenyuk government, after they are appointed as a shiny new corruption fighter, is straightaway accused of corruption himself and unceremoniously fired. And the moonies who admire Kiev's uncompromising anti-corruption stance dutifully applaud and say to one another what a stellar anti-corruptionist Yatsenyuk is, he just cuts them off at the knees, just like that.
Gordienko, appointed to fight corruption, promptly reported that Yatsenyuk's government appeared to have misappropriated 7.5 Billion hryvnia.
Shokin, the most recent fire-ee, said that his office had commenced a criminal investigation based on the charges, which was probably the kiss of unemployment for him right there.
Gordienko was sacked, and the charges seemed to disappear.
Then came Bilous, another stellar corruption fighter, in the tax office. Although Yats loved his work for the first 6 months, he suddenly announced he was firing Bilous and his whole department. Corruption, you know. So sad. He couldn't have been too corrupt, though, or perhaps just corrupt enough, because he was re-appointed to head the State Property Fund.
And now Shokin is on his way out with a comet-trail of corruption behind him, just after Yatsenyuk was in the limelight for a shady deal to privatize Odessa Port facilities. I wonder how long it will be before the SBU burst into his office and find him counting a suitcase full of stolen money, while a pair of plane tickets sit prominently on the table beside the suitcase. He was about to blow town, boss! Good thing you had a funny feeling about him.
In Makukha's case, the Russian flags and so forth are necessary only to draw a line between criminal behavior and Russians. Of course he was corrupt – he's a closet Putinist! Crude, but effective if your audience is dozy.
Jen, August 30, 2015 at 3:31 pm
Funny that new appointees are taking their work too seriously, and it doesn't take them very long to do much before they're already on Yatsenyuk's own trail of corruption which must be why they get fired before their probation period is up.
marknesop, August 30, 2015 at 10:50 am
That's Ukie-style! I just pointed out yesterday on the Kyiv Post that everyone who starts to notice something smelly about the Yatsenyuk government, after they are appointed as a shiny new corruption fighter, is straightaway accused of corruption himself and unceremoniously fired. And the moonies who admire Kiev's uncompromising anti-corruption stance dutifully applaud and say to one another what a stellar anti-corruptionist Yatsenyuk is, he just cuts them off at the knees, just like that.
Gordienko, appointed to fight corruption, promptly reported that Yatsenyuk's government appeared to have misappropriated 7.5 Billion hryvnia.
Shokin, the most recent fire-ee, said that his office had commenced a criminal investigation based on the charges, which was probably the kiss of unemployment for him right there.
Gordienko was sacked, and the charges seemed to disappear.
Then came Bilous, another stellar corruption fighter, in the tax office. Although Yats loved his work for the first 6 months, he suddenly announced he was firing Bilous and his whole department. Corruption, you know. So sad. He couldn't have been too corrupt, though, or perhaps just corrupt enough, because he was re-appointed to head the State Property Fund.
And now Shokin is on his way out with a comet-trail of corruption behind him, just after Yatsenyuk was in the limelight for a shady deal to privatize Odessa Port facilities. I wonder how long it will be before the SBU burst into his office and find him counting a suitcase full of stolen money, while a pair of plane tickets sit prominently on the table beside the suitcase. He was about to blow town, boss! Good thing you had a funny feeling about him.
In Makukha's case, the Russian flags and so forth are necessary only to draw a line between criminal behavior and Russians. Of course he was corrupt – he's a closet Putinist! Crude, but effective if your audience is dozy.
Jen, August 30, 2015 at 3:31 pm
Funny that new appointees are taking their work too seriously, and it doesn't take them very long to do much before they're already on Yatsenyuk's own trail of corruption which must be why they get fired before their probation period is up.
Aug 28, 2015 | The Guardian
Ukraine has secured a 20% writedown on $18bn (£11.6bn) of its foreign debts in a deal its finance minister described as win-win...
... ... ...
The hedge funds holding Ukrainian debt will write off around $4bn in return for securities that will pay holders a percentage of Ukraine's economic growth from 2021. But in a move that is likely to dismay many MPs in the Kiev parliament, the government conceded that it must pay a higher interest rate on the remaining debts.
The deal, which still needs to be approved by creditors outside the group, includes a four-year extension on repayments to give Ukraine breathing space. But the interest rate on the bonds will rise 0.5 percentage points to 7.75%. It ended months of tense negotiations aimed at helping to keep the country on track with its International Monetary Fund-led bailout programme, plugging a funding gap and preventing a unilateral debt default.
Ukraine's finance minister, Natalia Yaresko, who had sought a 40% debt haircut, said the deal meets all targets set by the IMF bailout programme and would allow the country to move ahead. "Everyone's done well out of this deal. That's why it's collaborative. It's not one side winning, it's a win-win situation. We're all now moving forward without putting the value of the bonds at any further risk," she said.
Ukraine's sovereign dollar bond prices surged after the news, indicating that traders viewed the remaining debt to be on a more secure footing. Its 2017 issue rose 8.7 cents to trade at 64.5 cents in the dollar, according to Tradeweb data, while the 2022 bond rose 10 cents.
In Moscow, the Russian finance minister, Anton Siluanov, said Russia would not participate in the agreement. Ukraine owes Russia a $3bn eurobond due for full repayment in December. The need to repay Russia represents a dilemma for the IMF as it considers whether to pump further funds into Ukraine, possibly in conjunction with Brussels. It is not officially allowed to continue lending to a country that is in default to another sovereign.
The debt deal should help keep Ukraine's national currency, the hryvnia, stable and allow increased spending on defence in the east,...
... ... ...
The Washington-based lender of last resort has already come up against criticism for its lending policy, which critics believe forces the government to pursue draconian austerity measures that will depress growth and increase its debts. Exotix credit strategist Jokob Christensen said the bondholders were the clear winners. "I have a hard time seeing how this deal will help reduce [Ukraine's] debt to 71% of GDP in 2020, which is one of the crucial targets in the operation," he said.
Gabriel Sterne, head of global macro at Oxford Economics, also cast doubt on whether the deal would make Ukraine's debt levels sustainable and added: "There is a strong likelihood that they will be back at the negotiating table before too many IMF reviews have passed."
Talks had been held up over a disagreement with creditors on whether to provide Kiev with a writedown on the face value of the bonds. Kiev had initially sought a 40% cut. "We started in different places, because the creditor committee didn't believe we had a solvency problem but my goal was not a particular number, it was meeting those IMF targets," Yaresko said. She added that she hoped it was highly unlikely that remaining creditors would reject the agreement and forecast that the process would be wrapped up by the end of October.
Aug 27, 2015 | The Guardian
The debt deal Ukraine has painstakingly negotiated with its creditors is welcome and preferable to the alternative: a default that would have put additional pressure on the country's shaky banks and led to both capital flight and a protracted battle in the courts. But amid all the backslapping a bit of perspective is needed.
Greece has severe problems but Ukraine is the most troubled country in Europe. It has inflation at 55%, its economy is expected to contract by 10% this year, and the government is fighting a war with separatists in the east backed by Russia that is costly in both human and financial terms.
The deal involves a 20% writedown to the face value of $18bn of eurobonds and pushes back the date on which the bonds will be redeemed by four years. Ukraine has some breathing space and the accord means it will continue to be eligible for financial help from the International Monetary Fund. That's the good news.
But the finance minister, Natalia Yaresko, had to scale back her ambitions once it became clear creditors thought Kiev's threat to default was a bluff. She has had to offer higher interest rates when debt payments resume and has had to accept a 20% writedown rather than the 40% she wanted.
Ukraine's debts remain high and its economy is in freefall. This agreement is a stop gap not a game changer.
Aug 08, 2015 | usatoday.com
Moody's Investors' Service rates seven countries Caa1 or worse, several tiers lower than Ba1, which still carries a significant credit risk. These countries are approaching or have narrowly escaped bankruptcy. Ukraine is rated Ca, which is currently the lowest credit rating of any country reviewed by Moody's.
... ... ...
> Moody's credit rating: Ca
> Moody's outlook: Negative
> 2015 Gov't debt (pct. of GDP): 94.1%
> 2015 GDP per capita (PPP): $8,278
Ukraine's conflict with Russia over its annexation of Crimea continues to fuel the country's financial problems. While the IMF approved Ukraine's debt restructuring plan in March, Ukraine has the worst credit rating of any country reviewed, downgraded this year from Caa3 to Ca, the second lowest possible level. Creditors can expect a 35% to 65% recovery rate on loans issued by the country. According to Moody's, "The likelihood of a distressed exchange, and hence a default on government debt taking place, is virtually 100%."
The same day that Moody's issued the downgrade, the National Bank of Ukraine announced the establishment of the Financial Stability Council. According to Governor of the National Bank of Ukraine Valeriia Gonatreva, the Council's function will be to "take a comprehensive and systemic approach to identify and mitigate the risks threatening the stability of the banking and financial systems of the country."
yalensis, August 7, 2015 at 2:54 pmOp-ed by Sergei Markov, a Russian political analyst who is considered to be close to the views of the Kremlin:
According to Markov, Kiev was only interested in the first part of the Minsk Accords, namely in a panic to stop counter-offensive of Novorossiya army, after their debacle at Debaltsevo.
But they have zero interest in carrying out the rest of the accords.
Plus, according to Markov, Kiev is under instructions from their American masters, to continue the war at all costs.
According to Markov, Kiev is actually carrying out a plan called the "Gorbulin-Poroshenko Plan", and I googled Gorbulin, but couldn't get any more information, so I don't know who this person is.
But the main points of this Gorbulin-Poroshenko Plan are said to be:
1. Kiev does not take on any (Minsk) obligations which involve peace-making moves.
2. Full blockade (of Donbass).
3. Continue artillery shelling of residential areas of Donbass, kill as many civilians as possible.
4. This in order to make life unbearable in Donbass.
5. The goal is to turn the residents against their leaders, in DPR and LPR.
6. Weaken Russia with sanctions.
7. Planning a military blitzkrieg against Donbass, on the model of the attack of Croatian army against Serbian Krajina.
8. NATO will station troops in Kharkov, Zaporozhie and Dnipropetrovsk.
9. NATO will beef up Ukrainian army and prepare for fatal strike against Donbass.
10. The police state/dictatorship in Ukraine will be strengthened.
marknesop, August 7, 2015 at 5:45 pm
Volodymyr (Ukraine has to spell it differently so they can all high-five each other, the way the British deliberately misspell "tire") Gorbulin is the former National Defense and Security Council (NDSC) Secretary, now a personal adviser to Poroshenko. Looks a right Himmler type.
Jul 14, 2015 | The Times
A pro-government Ukrainian militia accused of neo-Nazism has fought a gun battle with the country's security forces that left at least three dead and several police vehicles destroyed by rocket-propelled grenades.
The fighting marks the first clash between Kiev and one of the country's "volunteer battalions" who have led the fight against pro-Russian separatists.
The fierce confrontation in the city of Mukachevo, near Ukraine's western border, involved members of Right Sector, a controversial nationalist group. Three policemen were among six injured, officials from the Ukrainian interior ministry said.
A stand-off with Ukrainian police continued yesterday while Right Sector announced that
Jul 14, 2015 | The Guardian
Jul 13, 2015 | The Guardian
Aid agencies at Addis Ababa development finance summit claim UK and others have obstructed talks aimed at enabling poor countries to influence UN tax policy.
Aid agencies on Monday accused the world's richest countries, including the UK, of blocking plans to allow poor countries a greater say on UN tax policies.
The upgrade of the UN tax committee to an intergovernmental body was widely seen as a way for less wealthy nations that have struggled to build effective tax systems to influence policy decisions at the UN.
The UK joined the US and several other wealthy countries at the UN financing for development conference in Addis Ababa in a manoeuvre to limit discussions on tax policy at the UN, arguing that the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) was taking the lead on tax issues.
But a proposal presented to the conference by the OECD, known as a thinktank for the world's 34 richest nations, was also criticised for treating developing countries as an afterthought.
The OECD and the UN Development Programme launched a project entitled tax inspectors without borders to help poorer countries bolster domestic revenues by strengthening the ability of tax authorities to limit tax avoidance by multinationals.
The initiative, which involves providing tax audit experts to work alongside local officials dealing with the affairs of multinationals, has had encouraging results across pilot projects in Albania, Ghana and Senegal. Evidence from Colombia, meanwhile, indicated an improvement in tax revenue from $3.3m (£2.1m) in 2011 to $33.2m in 2014, "thanks to tax audit advice and guidance".
Aid charities believe developing countries should build robust tax systems to prevent them from borrowing heavily and getting into debt, as highlighted in a recent report by the Jubilee debt campaign.
The World Bank has come under heavy fire in the past for encouraging poor countries to cut corporate taxes to boost foreign direct investment. Ethiopia, Mongolia, El Salvador and Puerto Rico are among 38 countries in the report that are slipping dangerously into debt after borrowing on the international money markets to bridge the gap left by large tax shortfalls.
The Addis Ababa conference was expected to produce a series of high-level deals to promote sustainable, self-sufficient development. But the charities fear the UN and the World Bank will promote private finance initiatives that involved either privatisation or greater borrowing to finance investment, improve infrastructure and public services.
Speaking at the conference, a spokeswoman for ActionAid said: "The UK government has positioned itself as a global leader on many aspects of sustainable development, aid and in global efforts to tackle tax avoidance and evasion. It is therefore disappointing that the UK appears to be one of the few governments blocking progress on the important issue of a tax body."
Failure to tackle this question in Addis will not make the urgent need for international tax reform go away. It will simply intensify the challenges ahead for the international community. There is growing recognition that the OECD alone cannot ensure global rules work for all countries, especially the poorest. Blocking agreement on an obvious solution in Addis simply delays the inevitable while putting other critical processes at risk.
Save the Children said the world was "sleepwalking towards failure" at the global finance summit, adding that the UN should create an international body to oversee global tax matters.
A spokesman said: "Tax has never been more under the spotlight as the source of finance for development, but decisions affecting the poorest countries and their ability to recoup money owed to them are taken in an elite club of the most powerful nations. This 20th-century way of doing business is no longer appropriate for the era of sustainable development goals."
The Canadian embassy in Kiev was used as a haven for anti-government protesters during the uprising that toppled the government of former President Viktor Yanukovych, Canadian media reported.
Former Maidan Activists Start Fighting Against Ukrainian Police - Reports
"It began, according to several sources in Kiev and Ottawa, when one of the protesters being chased by riot police waved a Canadian passport at embassy security. Once the door was open, the individual was quickly followed by other demonstrators armed with sticks and paving stones," The Canadian Press reported on Sunday.
Roman Waschuk, the current Canadian ambassador in Kiev, confirmed the account in a recent interview with The Canadian Press.
He acknowledged the protesters were camped in the main lobby for at least a week, which is something neither the country's Foreign Minister nor the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper has ever publicly stated.
"I understand there was a Canadian passport holder associated in some way with the group," Waschuk noted adding that opening of the embassy doors was "a gesture designed to react and to reach out to the people suffering in the turmoil."
But some of Canada's European allies, speaking on anonimity because of the sensitivity of the subject, said the fact protesters were allowed to stay for so long and operate freely made it appear Canada was an active participant in regime change, and not just lending morale support.
HollyOldDog gimmeshoes 13 Jul 2015 20:40
The Georgian authorities have asked Interpol to put a Red notice on Mikheil Saakashvili as the request to Ukraine to return him for trial in Georgia was refused.ww3orbust PrinceEdward 13 Jul 2015 20:22
That does not detract from the fact that the Ukranian cabinet has been chosen by the US state department. Natives of the US, Georgia and Lithuania were hastily granted Ukrainian citizenship in order to maintain an iron grip on Ukraine, while accusing Putin of appointing majors or governors - in his capacity as head of state?ww3orbust 13 Jul 2015 20:16Amazing, nothing at all mentioned by the BBC. It does not fit in to their narrative to see the country descend into a new stage of anarchy, between the people who murdered police and protesters on Maidan square, and the US state department installed cabinet. Presumably if Right Sector refuse to disarm and continue torturing civilians and murdering police, the BBC will continue to ignore it and focus instead on its Russo-phobic narrative, while accusing Russia of propaganda with the self-righteous piety that only the BBC are capable of. Or god forbid, more stories about what colour stool our future king has produced this week.jgbg Omniscience 13 Jul 2015 18:42jgbg Pwedropackman 13 Jul 2015 18:26
Diverse Unity sounds much better than Nazi
The thing is, Ukraine is unique in allowing their Nazi thugs to be armed and have some semi-official status. Everywhere else (including Russia), governments are looking to constrain the activities of Nazis and prosecute them where possible.
If it was not for the right sector, Ukraine would still be one united nation.
Them and Svoboda. If it had just been Orange Revolution II, with a simple change of Jewish oligarchs in charge, there might have been some complaints but little more. It is the Russian-hating far right that has brought about the violence and everything that has happened since.
PrinceEdward GreatMountainEagle 13 Jul 2015 18:22
Last I heard, Ukraine owes China billions for undelivered Grain.
HollyOldDog gimmeshoes 13 Jul 2015 18:11jgbg PrinceEdward 13 Jul 2015 17:54
But the Euro maidan press is just an Ukrainian rag that invents stories to support its corrupt government in Kiev.Vatslav Rente , 13 Jul 2015 17:44
I forget the article, but in the comments I mentioned that multiple Georgians were being appointed to high level positions by Kiev, and some Russophobe called me a liar.
Not a few days later, Shakashvilli was appointed governor of Odessa. An ex-president of another country, as governor of a province in another one! Apparently, none of the millions upon millions of Ukrainians were qualified for the job.
Sakashvilli's former Minister of Internal Affairs in Georgia, Eka Zguladze, is First Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine. Of course, the Georgian people removed these chumps from power the first chance they got but the Ukrainian electorate haven't had any say in the appointments of foreigners in their country.
Well ... when it comes to Ukraine, the need to stock up on popcorn. This bloody and unpredictable plot is not even in the "Game of Thrones." And this is only the middle of the second season.
Today Speaker of the "RS" Andrew Sharaskin, said: Sports Complex in Mukachevo where the shooting occurred, was used as the base of the separatists DNR.
- A place 1,000 kilometers from Donetsk! But it's a great excuse to murder the guard in the café and wounded police officers.
I think tomorrow will say that there have seen Russian Army tanks and Putin - 100%
"Ukraine is part of Europe" - the slogans of the Maidan in action...
jgbg gimmeshoes , 13 Jul 2015 17:42Laurence Johnson, 13 Jul 2015 17:18
Pravyi Sektor were not wrong. However, you cannot have armed groups cleaning up corruption outside the law...that only works in Gotham City.
Right Sector weren't trying to clean up corruption, they were simply trying to muscle in on the cigarette smuggling business. If Right Sector cared about crime and public order, they wouldn't be driving around, armed to the teeth, in vehicles stolen in the EU. (In the video linked in the article, all of their vehicles have foreign number plates. At least one of those vehicles is on the Czech police stolen vehicle database: http://zpravy.idnes.cz/pravy-sektor-mel-v-mukacevu-auta-s-ceskymi-spz-fqj-/zahranicni.aspx?c=A150713_102110_zahranicni_jj)
Right Sector are no strangers to such thuggery - remember their failed attempt to extort a casino in Odessa?The EU and the US have stated on many occasions that there are "No Right Wing Nationalists" operating in Ukraine and its simply propaganda by Putin.
So there shouldn't be anything to worry about should there ?
Stas Ustymenko hfakos 13 Jul 2015 15:15
Yes, yes. You seem to tolerate Medvedchuk and Baloga mafias way better, for years.
Transcarpathian REgion is the most corrupt in all of Ukraine (which is quite a fit). What we see here is a gang war in fatigues.
tanyushka Jeff1000 13 Jul 2015 15:14
sorry i posted the same above... i was just to hasty.. sorry again...
in the main picture of the same article it's interesting to notice the age of most of the conscripted soldiers... they are in their 30's, theirs 40's and even in their 50's... it's forced conscription, they are not volunteers... while all the DPR & LPR soldiers are real volunteers...
an uncle, the father of a cousin, was conscripted in Kherson... my cousin had to run away to South American to say with an aunt to avoid conscription... many men are doing it in Ukraine nowadays... not because they are cowards but because they don't want to kill their brothers & sisters for the benefit of the oligarchs and their NATO masters (and mistresses...)
did you know that all the conscripts have to pay for their own uniforms and other stuff, while in the National Guard and the oligarchs batallions everything is top quality and for free... including bulletproof vests and other implements courtesy of NATO
Demi Boone 13 Jul 2015 15:13
Well finally they reveal themselves. These Ukraine Nationalists are the people who instigated the anarchy and shootings at Maidan and used it as an excuse to wrongfully drive out an elected President and in the chaos that followed bring in a coup Government which represents only West-Ukraine and suppress' East-Ukraine. You are looking at the face of the real Maidan and not the dream that a lot of people have tried to paint it to be.
Stas Ustymenko MartinArvay 13 Jul 2015 15:11
Many Right Sector members are indeed patriots. But it looks like the organisation itself is, sadly, much more useful for providing thugs for hire than "justice".
BMWAlbert PrinceEdward 13 Jul 2015 14:20
But seriously, the naval base is probably the reason, it is too important for some interests to have a less-reliable (Ukrainian) in charge, this is a job only for the most trusted poodles. If things had gone differently, the tie-eatimng chap would have been appointed Mayor of Sebastopol.
BMWAlbert PrinceEdward 13 Jul 2015 14:15
There appears to be a Quisling-shortage in Ukraine at present.
Stas Ustymenko obscurant 13 Jul 2015 13:32
More accurately, Kolomoyskiy is Ukrainian oligarch. Who happens to be ethnically, culturally and, by all accounts, religiously, a Jew.
Stas Ustymenko Kaiama 13 Jul 2015 13:24
Ukrainian Volunteer Corps of the Right Sector fighting in Donbass is two battalions. How is this a "key organization"? They are a well-known brand and fought bravely on some occasions, but the wider org is way too eager to brandish arms outside of combat or training. They will be reigned in, one way or another, and soon.
GameOverManGameOver Jeff1000 13 Jul 2015 12:02
Shh shh shh. This news does not exist yet in the western media, therefore it's nothing but Russian propaganda.
Jeff1000 13 Jul 2015 11:54EugeneGur , 13 Jul 2015 11:21
It gets worse - soldiers from the UA are now refusing to follow orders in protest against the total anarchy sweeping the chain of command, and their lack of rest and equipment.
Story here.Jeremn, 13 Jul 2015 11:16Finally, the Guardian decided to report the actual new after satisfying itself with ample discussion of the quality of Russian cheeses. Right sector "helped" to fight "separatists"? Really? Does Alec Luhn know that there are currently two (!) RS battalions at the front and 19 (!) inside Ukraine? They are some warriors. Now they are occupying themselves fighting as criminals they are for the control of contraband.
Tensions have been rising between the government and the Right Sector militia that has helped it fight pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country.
At the ATO zone, they help consists of plundering, murdering and raping the local population. They enter a village, take everything of value from houses and then blow them up. They rape women and girls as young as 10 years old. They've been doing this for more than a year, and we've been telling you that for more than a year. But apparently in the fight against "pro-Russian separatists" everything is good. These crimes are so widespread, even the Ukrainian "government" is worried this will eventually becomes impossible to deny. Some battalions such as Shakhtersk and Aidar have been officially accused of crimes and ompletely or partially reformed.
http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=bfb_1413804655Stas Ustymenko Jeremn 13 Jul 2015 11:14
Ukraine, what a mess. As though it was ever about the people. It was a grab for resources, 19-century style. But with 21st-century stakes. You can see what the West is after when you look at the US-Ukraine Business Council. It bring NATO, Monsanto and the Heritage Foundation under one roof:
The US-Ukraine Business Council's 16-member Executive Committee is packed with US agribusiness companies, including representatives from Monsanto, John Deere, DuPont Pioneer, Eli Lilly, and Cargill.
The Council's 20 'senior Advisors' include James Greene (Former Head of NATO Liason Office Ukraine); Ariel Cohen (Senior Research Fellow for The Heritage Foundation); Leonid Kozachenko (President of the Ukrainian Agrarian Confederation); six former US Ambassadors to Ukraine, and the former ambassador of Ukraine to the US, Oleh Shamshur.
You'd be surprised, but I like Bandera (controversial as he was) way more than I trust some people who wrap themselves in his red-and-black Rebel banner. Yarosh included. Banderite rebellion ended 60 years ago. Its major goal was establishing a "united, free Ukrainian state"; by contrast, stated ultimate goals of the Right Sector are way murkier; I'm not sure even most of the movement's members are clear on what these are.
With present actions, Right Sector has a huge image problem in the West. If it will come to all-out conflict, no doubt the West will back Poroshenko government over a loose confederation of armed dudes linked by the thin thread of 30ies ideology (suspect even then). And the West will be right.
Stas Ustymenko Nik2 13 Jul 2015 11:03
Methinks you're way overselling a thug turf war as "major political event. Truth is, the region has been long in the hands of organized crime. The previous regime incorporated and controlled almost all organized crime in the country, hence no visible conflict. Now, individual players try to use temporary uncertainty to their advantage. Right Sector claims they were trying to fight the smuggling, but this doesn't sound plausible. The word is, what's behind the events is struggle for control over lucrative smuggling between two individuals (who are both "businessmen" and "politicians", members of Parliament). Both are old-school players, formerly affiliated with Yanukovitch party. One just was savvy enough to buy himself some muscle under Right Sector banner. Right Sector will either have to straighten out its fighters (which it may not be able to do) or disappear as a political player. I fail to see how people see anything "neo-Nazi" in this gang shootout.
PaddyCannuck Cavirac 13 Jul 2015 10:21tanyushka Pwedropackman 13 Jul 2015 10:10
Nobody here is an apologist for Stalin, who was a brutal and cruel despot, and the deportations of the Crimean Tatars were quite indefensible. However, a few observations might lend some perspective.
1. Crimea has been invaded and settled by an almost endless succession of peoples over the millennia. The Crimean Tatars (who are of Turkic origin) were by no means the first, nor indeed the last, and cannot in any meaningful sense be regarded as the indigenous people of Crimea.
2. The Crimean Tatars scarcely endeared themselves to the Russians, launching numerous raids, devastating many towns, including the burning of Moscow in 1571, and sending hundreds of thousands, if not millions of Russians into slavery in the Ottoman Empire.
3. The deportations took place in 1942 - 1943 against the backdrop of World War II, when a lot of bad stuff happened, including -
4. The American (and also Canadian) citizens of Japanese ethnicity who had their property confiscated and were likewise shipped off to camps. Their treatment, if anything, was worse.
Sevastopol, Pearl Harbor. What's the difference? What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.
do these links answer your question?
tanyushka 13 Jul 2015 09:55meanwhile last night & this morning, just to distract the people of what is going on in the West, Kiev launched a massive shelling over Donetsk and other places in Donbass using weapons forbbiden by the Minsk agreements, including Tor missiles, one of which fell at a railway station but didn't explode... it was defused by emergency workers but the proof is there if you care to see... it was thesecond biggest attack since the cease fire...
Nik2 6i9vern 13 Jul 2015 09:53
Not exactly. By now, BBC has made good coverage of these events in Ukrainian and Russian languages, but not in English. It looks like BBC considers that Western public does not deserve the politically sad truth about armed clashes between "champions of Maidan Revolution" and "new democratic authorities, fighting corruption". Western public should not be in doubt about present-day "pro-European" Ukraine. And "The Guardian" still has only one article on the issue that could be a turning point in Ukrainian politics. This is propaganda, not informing about or analyzing really serious political events.
VictorWhisky 13 Jul 2015 09:51
This is the IMF hired guns now going after the very people who helped the Wall Street IMF shysters in the illegitimate coup and the set up of the illegitimate Kiev junta, a mix of half Ukrainian and non-Ukrainian mongrels. Furthermore, instead of bringing in the people who helped overthrow Janukovich into the government fold, the IMF is placing it's foreign collaborators in ministerial positions by making them instant Ukrainian citizens, while keeping the right wing, without whose help the coup would not have succeeded, out of government and slowly trying to eliminate them with their private foreign mercenary force. Madame "F*ck the EU Nuland from the US state department bordello, a devout Zionist, enticed these supposed Ukrainian NAZIs to help her in her dirty deeds, no doubt with promises of power sharing. So madame Nuland was perfectly willing to get in bed with the Ukrainian NAZI devils (her Jewish friend should be proud) and when the dirty deed was done, she is now turning against Ukrainian nationalists in the attempt to have outside forces in control of Ukraine. Madame Nuland is not as intelligent or capable as portrayed, because if she was, she would have known Ukraine has a very delicate and very complicated political structure and history with nearly half the country speaking Russian and more loyal to the Russians than to the US. An intelligent person familiar with Ukrainian history would know any attempt of placing a US stooge in Kiev would certainly result in a civil war. She no doubt got her position not by intelligence but by connections. More than 6000 Ukrainians, human beings, innocent men women and children, have died in madame Nuland's engineered coup, putting her in league with her mentor, Henry Kissinger, aka the butcher of Vietnam. That intelligent idiot's policies resulted in the death of 3 million Vietnamese and 50,000 young Americans. Does madame Nuland intend to sacrifice that many Ukrainians to prove her ultimate stupidity?
Jeremn Luminaire 13 Jul 2015 09:51
The conscripts didn't want to shoot their fellow Ukrainians. The nationalists don't believe the people in the east are their fellow Ukrainians.
Jeremn DrMacTomjim 13 Jul 2015 09:43
Yes. But meanwhile the Atlantic Council tells us this is why more Ukrainians admire nationalists.
Because they were lovely guys, evidently, and their "popularity" has nothing to do with armed thugs beating you up if you say anything against them (or the state prosecuting you for denying or questioning their heroism).
Jeremn jezzam 13 Jul 2015 09:35
Ukrainian media, reporting Ukrainian government official:
In his article for the Dzerkalo Tyzhnia (Weekly Mirror) newspaper Ukrainian Prosecutor General Vitaliy Yarema wrote that 74 peaceful citizens and 12 policemen had been killed in Kyiv downtown on February 18-20, 2014, while 180 citizens and over 180 law enforcers had suffered gunshot wounds.
12 police dead in two days, 180 wounded with gunshot wounds.
Still Kremlin lies?
Jeff1000 13 Jul 2015 09:30
Thank God Ukraine is finally free and democratic. The old autocratic regime actually had the gall to make running street battles illegal - but those dark days are in the past. In the liberated Ukraine you are free spend the dollar a day you get paid on a bullet proof vest so the rampant Nazi street gangs don't kill you.
Jeremn SHappens 13 Jul 2015 09:26
You'd be surprised, there are Bandera-lovers in the UK too. There's a Bandera museum. And there is this lot, teaching Christian values to children. And telling them that Bandera was a hero. Future Right Sector supporters being crafted as we type.
6i9vern 13 Jul 2015 09:24
The Ukrainian sub-saharan African minimum wage is now being accompanied by Somali-style politics.
Luckily, the Russians have liberated Crimea so piracy on the high seas isn't an option for the Ukrainians.
6i9vern 13 Jul 2015 09:18
Apparently, UAVs generously supplied to Ukrainians by the Canadian taxpayers are being put to good use smuggling cigarettes into Slovakia.
6i9vern 13 Jul 2015 09:12
The BBC are bravely sticking to their decision not to report this story. Congratulations are in order for such dedication.
The graun protected its readership from this confusing information for 24 hours and then caved to the temptation to report news. Too bad.
aucontraire2 13 Jul 2015 08:36
Can we officially congratulate Nuland for a crappy job and also for providing Putin with all the tools he needed to bring back Ukraine under his wing.
False flag operations for American private interests must stop now. They are immoral, unethical and only bring death and destruction to otherwise stable societies. The UN should have a say.
SomersetApples 13 Jul 2015 08:25
The country is bankrupt; the Kiev putschists are selling off the country's assets to their New York allies, the oligarchs and Nazis are at war against each other and the illegal putschist government and now toilet mouth Nuland is back on the scene. Looks like a scene form Dante's Inferno.
todaywefight Polvilho 13 Jul 2015 07:54
Which Russian invasion will this be the of he approximately 987 mentioned by Poroshenko and our man Yatz...or are you referring to the people of the AUTONOMOUS REPUBLIC OF CRIMEA's (yes that was what was called after the 1994 referendum) massive wishes to (like Donbass) go against a government who illegally dismissed an elected president a wish that was reflected on a referendum which was allowed by their constitution 18(7)
Bosula Scepticbladderballs 13 Jul 2015 07:38
Yes. Most of the protesters are good people who just want a better deal in life.
monteverdi1610 13 Jul 2015 06:54
Remember all those CIF threads when those of us who pointed to the neo-Nazis in Ukraine were immediately called ' Putinbots ' ?
PS/ Apologies would be the order of the day , perhaps ?
Sturney 13 Jul 2015 06:49
Apparently this conflict is over. Temporarily over. Anyway in ever-contracting economy, in a Mariana trench between Russia and EU, in the most totalitarian country in history, such conflicts will continue. Since Nuland tossed yeast in the outhouse nobody can stop fermentation of sh*t. Help yourself with some beer and shrimps. I am looking forward when these masses splash out to EU, preferably to Poland. Must be fun to watch. (Lipspalm)
Justin Obisesan 13 Jul 2015 06:33
In the run-up to the Euro 2012 football tournament, jointly hosted by Poland and Ukraine, I remember how the media in this country worked themselves into a frenzy harping on about the presence of violent neo-Nazi groups in Ukraine. After the removal of Mr Yanukovych from office, the same media organisations changed their tune by describing any talk of neo- Nazis in Ukraine as "Russian propaganda". The Western media coverage of the Ukrainian crises has been so blatantly pro-Kiev and anti-Donbass that their claims of impartiality and objectivity cannot be taken seriously anymore.
Jeremn jgbg 13 Jul 2015 06:16
It is fine when they are shooting at Donetsk, but not so good when they use the same tactics in western Ukraine.
Azov are the same, violent neo-Nazi thugs given authority, and this article notes that PrivatBank is the bank that services requests for donations to the Azov funds, using J P Morgan as intermidiary.
Neither Azov nor Right Sector want peace. On 3 July 4,000 men from these units protested in Kiev, calling for resumption of the war against the eastern provinces.
They favour ethnic cleansing.
Jeremn William Fraser 13 Jul 2015 06:10
The people who support Bandera are in western Ukraine. They are the ones who say Stalin starved the Ukrainian people.
Trouble is, in the 1930s, western Ukraine belonged to Poland.
It was the Russians, eastern Ukrainians and other Soviet people who starved, not the western Ukrainians.
Kefirfan 13 Jul 2015 06:02
Good, good. Let the democracy flow through you...
Pwedropackman SHappens 13 Jul 2015 05:53
It will be interesting to see which side the US and Canada will support. Probably Poroshenko and the Oligarchs because the Right Sector is not so happy about the ongoing sales of Ukraine infrastructure to US corporates.
SHappens 13 Jul 2015 05:14
Harpers' babies are out manifesting, supporting the good guys:
"Supporters of Ukraine's Right Sector extremist group rallied in Ottawa Sunday amid the radicals' ongoing standoff with police in western Ukraine."
The rally outside the Ukrainian embassy was organized by the Right Sector's representative office in the Canadian capital, 112 Ukraine TV channel reported, citing the Facebook account of the so-called Ukrainian Volunteer Corps.
careforukraine 13 Jul 2015 05:09
I wonder how long it will be before the us denounces nazi's in ukraine?
Kind of seems like we have seen this all before.
Almost like how ISIS were just freedom fighters that needed our support until ?.....
Well we all know what happened there.
Pwedropackman 13 Jul 2015 05:04
If it was not for the right sector, Ukraine would still be one united nation.
GameOverManGameOver Chris Gilmore 13 Jul 2015 04:41
Yes, I agree, they do wreck the economy. That was my point. Russia want's strong economies to do business with, not broken economies that only ask for financial aid.
Like I said, no evidence of Russian troops in Donbass and South Ossetia asked for the presence of Russian troops to deter the Georgian government from trying another invasion.
And organisations like CIS are meant to expand economic ties. Just like the EU I suppose. They function in pretty much the same way with everyone getting a chance to lead. So I don't know why that should be a bad thing. Since the EU is not interested in admitting Russia why can't Russia go to other organisations?
VladimirM Dmitriy Grebenyuk 13 Jul 2015 04:26
It's a poisonous sarcasm, I think. But I've heard that RS accuse the Ukrainian government of being pro-Putin as the govermment accuse them of being Russian agents. Surreal a bit.
stewfen FOHP46 13 Jul 2015 04:24
The west would not have dialogue with Russia because it was not what Washington wanted. Washington wanted to push a wedge between Russia and EU at any cost even 6500 lives and unfortunately they succeeded
GameOverManGameOver Chris Gilmore 13 Jul 2015 03:54
I'll admit that frozen conflicts could be useful to Russia. But only from a security point of view. And why not, exactly? NATO is Russia's biggest threat, so it would make sense for the government to want to avoid it expanding any further. I understand your misgivings since you're speaking from the position that NATO should expand to deter Russi…I mean 'Iran', but surely you understand that Russia wanting to prevent that makes logical sense? Sure, it's at someone else's expense but let's not pretend that big countries doing something at someone else's expense is a new and revolutionary concept reserved only to Russia. And the Georgian conflict dates back to the very early 90's.
From an economic point of view though, no sense at all. Frozen conflicts usually bring economic barriers. Believe it or not Russia's priority isn't expansion, but the economy. And trade with it's neighbours is an important element of the Russian economy. It's very hard to trade with areas that are in the middle of a frozen conflict. So in that sense the last thing Russia would want are profitable areas in a frozen conflict around it's borders hampering it's economic growth.
And none of this has anything to do with Marioupol.
Debreceni 13 Jul 2015 03:38
The Right Sector does not exist, or if it does, it has been created by Moscow. The crisis in Greece is also the work of Russian agents. The ISIS is financed and trained by Putin. Ebola was cooked up in a laboratory in Saint Petersburg. Look for the Russian!
Kaiama PrinceEdward 13 Jul 2015 02:50
We don't know if PS were also doing it as well or just poking their noses into someone else's business. Who started it? I doubt the correct answer will ever be known. Two unsavoury groups arguing about an illegal business. The problem is that the MP is an MP whereas PS is a national organisation.
DrMacTomjim 13 Jul 2015 02:04
"Note to Ukraine: Time to Reconsider Your Historic Role Models" Someone wrote this a bit late.
DrMacTomjim hisimperialmajesty 13 Jul 2015 02:01
"neo-Chekists" That's new to me.... Are you sure they are not "Just doing their jobs" ?
Did you read the Nafeez Ahmed piece someone linked ? Here (if you didn't)
And this from Foreign Affairs
It's never the US....it's never the West.....
(you know, to balance things) : )
todaywefight 13 Jul 2015 01:53
If any one on the other side, the dark side, ever thought that these lot will hold hands with any one, lay down their arms and sing Kumbaya, uou are either utterly naive or willfully ignorant. Apparently, these lot have 23 battalions, armed to their teeth, the added bonus for the Privy Sektor is that , due to expedience and cowardice , they have just made legal and incorporated into the Ukrainian army, Kyiv is in a highway to nowhere.
Incidentally, unlike the maidan demonstrations which essentially were only in Kyiv there are demonstrations in more than a dozen cities, and have established dozen of check points already and Yarosh a member of the VT. have clearly instructed them to fight if necessary.
GameOverManGameOver Omniscience 13 Jul 2015 01:35
So? Yes there are nationalists in Russia, just like everywhere else. You get a gold star for googling. Shall I get some articles with European and American nationalists to parade around to make a vague point? If you want I can get you an article of Lithuanians dressed up as the Waffen SS parading around Vilnius. That's Lithuania the EU and Nato member. Funny how EU principles disappear when it's one of their own violating them.
You seem to be missing the point entirely. While all countries have their nationalists, those nationalists are a very small minority, have no power, have no popular support, have no seats in government, usually derided by the majority of the population and they certainly aren't armed to the teeth roaming around the country killing, torturing and kidnapping people with the blessing of their government
HollyOldDog Joe way 13 Jul 2015 00:09
The Right Sector were / are Ukrains Storm Troopers who have had more advanced training by the Americans. If the Right Sector turn on the Kiev Government they will be difficult to defeat, and who knows if the civilian population of Ukraine may join in the 'fun' by ousting the current unpopular Ukrainian government.
sorrentina 12 Jul 2015 23:35
this is what happens when you play with fire: you get burned. Using Neo-Nazi's to implement Nato expansionist policies was always a very bad idea. It's just a shame it is not people like Victoria 'fuck the EU' Nuland who will have to suffer the blowback consequences- it is the poor Ukrainian people. This is not that different to what has happened in Libya- where Islamic extremists were used as a proxy force to oust Gaddafi.
annamarinja jgbg 12 Jul 2015 23:31
The threshold has been guessed impatiently by the US neocons (while the provocateur Higgins/ Bellingcat fed the gullible the fairy tales about Russian army in Ukraine). The US needs desperately a real civil war in Ukraine, the Ukrainians be damned. Just look what the US-sponsored "democracy on the march" has produced in the Middle East. Expect the same bloody results in eastern Europe.
annamarinja obscurant 12 Jul 2015 23:25
perhaps you do not realize that your insults are more appropriate towards the poor Ukrainians that have been left destitute by the cooky-carrying foreigners and their puppets in Kiev. The Ukrainian gold reserve has disappeared... meanwhile, the US Congress has shamed the US State Dept for collaborating with Ukrainian neo-nazis. Stay tuned. But do not expect to hear real news from your beloved Faux News.
annamarinja quorkquork 12 Jul 2015 23:14
the jihadists in Ukraine are the integral part of Iraqization of Ukraine. The lovers of Nuland's cookies are still in denial that Ukraine was destined by the US plutocrats to become a sacrificial lamb in a fight to preserve the US dollar hegemony.
Bud Peart 12 Jul 2015 22:59
Well we always knew it would end this way. With a stalemate in the war with the East the Right wing paramilitaries and private oligarch militias (whom the west funded and trained) have gone completely feral and are now in fighting directly with whats left of the Ukrainian National Army. This is pretty much the rode to another breakaway in Galacia which would effectively end the Ukraine as a functional state.
The government should move as fast as possible to get a decent federal structure (copy switzerland) in place before the whole of the West goes into revolt as well.
DelOrtoyVerga LostJohnny 12 Jul 2015 22:38
That is what you get when you put fascists in your government.
I rather reword it to
That is what you get when you enable and rely on thugish pseudo-fascist radical para-military groups to impose order by force and violence against dissident segments of your own population (which is armed to the teeth probably by Russia)
Bosula Scepticbladderballs 12 Jul 2015 22:37
What do you think it is?
There were several people identified directly or indirectly in this BBC story whose stories should have been formally pursued by legal authorities in Kiev.
If you lived in the West you would understand that we call these references as possible 'leads' - you follow these 'leads' and see where they take you. That is what Western police do.
The story says that Kiev didn't want to follow up any of these points. Why? What harm could this do?
You state that you do not understand the point that this BBC journalist was making. But I have in a fair way tried to to explain the point that the BBC was making.
This story caused quite a stir went it came out - and the BBC chose to stick with it and support their British reporter. In an edited and shorter form the story is still on the BBC - the editing is also acknowledged by the BBC.
Do you think the BBC should have blocked or not published this investigative piece?
If so - why?
And why hasn't Kiev followed up these issues?
Have I addressed your point yet?
HollyOldDog Scepticbladderballs 12 Jul 2015 21:34
I am just watching a program recorded earlier. Hiroshima: The Aftermath. I have got past the part when the Japanese 'survivors' had to drink from the pools of Black Rain ( highly radioactive) and watched the part when American Army Tourists visited the city to take a few photos ( no medical help though) while gawking at the gooks. In fact the Japanese civilians recieved no medical assistance at all from the Americans. The commentator just said that they were just there to study the effects of nuclear radiation on a civilian population. These nuclear bombs were just dropped on Japan to save One Day of the surrender of the Japanese forces.
The next documtary I will watch another day is the sinking of the Tirpitz by the RAF using Tallboy bombs. At least this had a useful pupose in helping to stop the destruction of the North Atlantic convoys, sending aid to Russia. That aid along with the rebuilding of the Soviet Armies helped the Soviet Union to destroy the invading Nazi forces and provided a Second Front to the Western Allies to invade Normandy. A lot of good can be achieved when the East and West work together - maybe avoiding the worst effects of Global Warming but the Americans only seem to want to spend Trillions $ building more powerful nuclear weapons. Is this all that America has now, an Arms Industry - I can see it now, cooling the planet with a Nuclear Winter.
HollyOldDog Scepticbladderballs 12 Jul 2015 20:33
The USA caused the chaos in Ukraine so they must pay the billions of $ to fix it then leave Ukraine alone.
6i9vern 12 Jul 2015 20:29
One of the amusing features of the Soviet media was the long silences it maintained on possibly embarrassing breaking news until it became clear what the Party Line was.
Eventually, a memo would go out from Mikhail Suslov's office to various media outlets and the silence would be broken.
At least everyone knew exactly how that system worked. What is happening with the British media is much more murky.
The beeb/graun seem to be the Pravda/Izvestia, whilst the torygraph is a sort of Trybuna Ludu - ie real news very occasionally appears in it.
6i9vern 12 Jul 2015 20:08
So, after a mere 24 hours the Graun ran a story on Mukachevo. The Torygraph actually had the nerve to run the AFP wire report more or less straight away.
The BBC are still keeping shtum.
The Beeb/Graun complex have well and truly had the frighteners put on them.
PrinceEdward Kaiama 12 Jul 2015 20:07
There's no doubt. I agree that the MP was probably running cigarettes, but also Right Sektor was going to muscle in.
If you asked somebody 3 years ago if Ukraine would be rocked by armed bands with RPGs and Light Machine Guns fighting in towns, they would have thought you were crazy.
This isn't Russia, this is the Ultranats/Neo-Nazis.
PrinceEdward obscurant 12 Jul 2015 20:05
Right, it's the people in Donbass who bury 14th SS Division veterans with full honors, push for full pensions to surviving Hiwi and SS Collaborators... not those in Lvov. Uh huh.
BMWAlbert 12 Jul 2015 20:04
11 months of investigations by the newKiev regime, attempting to implicate the the prior one for the murder of about 100 people in Kiev early last year was unsuccessful. There may be better candidates here.
fragglerokk ploughmanlunch 12 Jul 2015 19:55
It always amazes me that the far right never learn from history. The politicians and oligarchs always use them as muscle to ensure coup success then murder/assasinate the leaders to make sure they dont get any ideas about power themselves. Surprised its taken so long in ukraine but then the govt is barely hanging onto power and the IMF loans have turned to a trickle so trouble will always be brewing, perhaps theyve left it too long this time. Nobody will be shedding any tears for the Nazis and Banderistas.
hisimperialmajesty Scepticbladderballs 12 Jul 2015 19:54
Why, don't you know? They infiltrated Ukraine, the CIA (and NATO and the EU somehow) created Maidan, their agents killed the protesters, then they overthrew a legitimate government and installed a neo-nazi one, proceeded to instigate a brutal oppression against Russian speakers, then started a war against the peaceful Eastern Ukrainians and their innocent friends in the Kremlin, etc etc. Ignorant question that, by now you should know the narrative!
Kaiama gimmeshoes 12 Jul 2015 19:53
If you think Pryvi Sektor want to "clean up" then yes, but not in the way you imagine - they just want the business for themselves.
Geordiemartin 12 Jul 2015 19:51
I am reminded of AJP Taylor premise that Eastern Europe has historically had either German domination or Russian protection.
The way that the Ukrainian government had treated their own Eastern compatriots leaves little reason to believe they would be welcome back into the fold and gives people of Donbass no reason to want to rejoin the rest of the country.
If government is making an effort to reign in the likes of Right sector it is a move in the right direction but much much more will be needed to establish any trust.
Some Guy yataki 12 Jul 2015 19:45
just because they are nazis doesnt mean they are happy about doing any of this... now. look at greece and the debacle that has unfolded over the past week has been . the west ukraine wanted to be part of the euro zone and wanted some of that ecb bail out money. now they are not even sure if they could skip out on the bill and know they are fighting for nothing . russia gave them 14 bil dollars . the west after the coup only gave the 1 bil
Andor2001 Kaiama 12 Jul 2015 19:44
According to the eyewitnesses the RS shot a guard when he refused to summon the commanding officer. It was the beginning of the fight.
Andor2001 yataki 12 Jul 2015 19:41
Remember Shakespeare "Othello"? Moor has done his job, Moor has to go..
The neo-Nazis have outlived their usefulness.
Bosula caaps02 12 Jul 2015 19:39
The BBC investigative reported earlier this year that a section of Maidan protesters deliberately started shooting the police. This story was also reported in the Guardian. Google and you will easily find it.
The BBC also reported that the Prosecutors Office in Kiev was forbidden by Rada officials from investigating Maiden shooters.
Maybe the BBC is telling us a lie? The BBC investigation is worth a read - then you can make up your own mind.
Bosula William Fraser 12 Jul 2015 19:29
Kazakhstan had the highest percentage of deaths from Stalin's policies in this period when he prevented the nomad herders moving from the mountains to the planes to take advantage of the benefits of seasons and weather.
Stalin forced the nomads to stay in one area and they perished in the cold of the mountains or the heat of the summer plains (whichever zone they were foced to stay in).
Some of my family is Ukrainian and some recognise that Stalin's policies weren't specifically aimed at Ukrainians - the people of Kazakhstan suffered the most (as a percentage of population). Either way, there is no genetic difference between Slavs or Russian or Ukrainian origin in Ukraine or Russia - they are all genetically the same people.
This information should be better taught in Ukraine.
The problem is that it would undermine the holy grail story of right wing nationalism in Ukraine.
quorkquork annamarinja 12 Jul 2015 19:27
There are already jihadist groups fighting in Ukraine!
IN MIDST OF WAR, UKRAINE BECOMES GATEWAY FOR JIHAD
Havingalavrov obscurant 12 Jul 2015 18:33
It's been one of the biggest mistakes ( although Ukraine's military started in a desperately poor condition ) , to allow militia groups to get so powerful. Right sector should not have arms and guns... The national Ukraine military should, If members of Right sector want to fight , they should leave Right sector and join the army.
This was and will happen if they don't disband such armed groups.
annamarinja silvaback 12 Jul 2015 18:18
have you ever studied geography? If yes, you should remember the proximity of Ukraine to Russia (next door) and the proximity of Ukraine to the US (thousands miles away). Also, have you heard about the CIA Director Brennan and his covert visit to Kiev on the eve of the beginning of the civil war in Ukraine? This could give you an informed hint about the causes of the war. Plus you may be interested to learn about Mrs. Nuland-Kagan (Ms. Nudelman), her cookies, and her foul language. She is, by the way, a student of Dick Cheney. If you were born before 2000, you might know his name and his role in the Iraq catastrophe. Mrs. Nuland-Kagan (and the family of Kagans she belongs to) finds particular pleasure in creating military conflicts around the globe. It is not for nothing that the current situation in Ukraine is called Iraqization of Eastern Europe.
Bev Linington JJRichardson 12 Jul 2015 18:10
Ukrainians shot down the plane. East, West does not matter as they were all Ukrainians before the government overthrow. Leaders of the new government could not look past some Ukrainian citizens ethnicity, instead of standing together united, they decided to oppress which lead to the referendum in Crimea and the rise of separatists in the East.
jgbg Chirographer 12 Jul 2015 17:53
And for the Pro-Russian posters the newsflash is that could also describe the situation inside the Donbass.
It certainly describes the situation in Donbass where Right Sector or the volunteer battalions are in charge. In Dnepropetrovsk, Right Sector would simply turn up at some factory or other business and order the owner to sign document transferring the enterprise to them. In other cases, they have kidnapped businessmen for ransom. Some people have simply disappeared under such circumstances.
The Ukrainian National Guard simply break into homes left empty by people fleeing the war and steal the contents. Such was the scale of looting, the Ukrainian postal service have now refused to ship electrical goods out of the ATO area unless the senders have the original boxes and receipts.
jgbg AlfredHerring 12 Jul 2015 17:45jgbg caaps02, 12 Jul 2015 17:34
Maybe Kiev just needs to bomb them some more.
Putin promised to protect the Russian speaking people in Ukraine - but he hasn't really done that. His government has indicated that they would not allow Kiev to simply overrun or obliterate the people of Donbass. Quite where their threshold of actual intervention lies is anyone's guess.
The "pro-Russian" government that you refer to was only elected because it promised to sign the EU trade agreement. It then reneged on that promise...
Yanukovych's government was elected the previous one was useless and corrupt.
Yanukovych wanted to postpone the decision to sign for six months, while he attempted to extract more from both the EU and Russia. Under Poroshenko, the implementation of the EU Association Agreement has been delayed for 15 months, as the governments of Ukraine, the EU and Russia all recognised that Russian trade (with the favourable terms which Ukraine enjoys) are vitail to Ukraine's economic recovery. Expect that postponement to be extended.
.... severely and brutally curtailing freedom of speech and concentrating all power in the hands of Yanukovich's little clan...
As opposed to sending the military to shell the crap out of those who objected to an elected government being removed by a few thousand nationalists in Kiev.
There was no "coup".
An agreement had been signed at the end of February 2014, which would see elections in September 2014. The far right immediately moved to remove the government (as Right Sector had promised on camera in December 2013). None of the few mechanisms for replacing the president listed in the Ukrainian constitution have been followed - that makes it a coup.
The maidan protesters were not armed
This newspaper and other western media documented the armed members of far right groups on Maidan. One BBC journalist was actually shot at by a Svoboda sniper, operating from Hotel Ukraina - the video is still on the BBC website.
....the interim government that was put in place by the parliament in late February and the government that was elected in May and Oct. of 2014 were and are not fascist.
The interim government included several ministers from Svoboda, formerly the Socialist Nationalist Party of Ukraine. These were the first Nazi ministers in a European government since Franco's Spanish government that ended in the 1970's. In a 2013 resolution, the EU parliament had indicated that no Ukrainian government should include members of Svoboda or other far right parties.
pushkinsideburn vr13vr 12 Jul 2015 16:45
There has been a marked change in rhetoric over the last few weeks. Even CiF on Ukraine articles seems to attract less trolls (with a few notable exceptions on this article - though they feel more like squad trolls than the first team). Hopefully a sign of deescalation or perhaps just a temporary lull before the MH17 anniversary this week?
pushkinsideburn calum1 12 Jul 2015 16:38
His other comments should have been the clue that arithmetic, like independent critical thinking, is beyond him.
normankirk 12 Jul 2015 16:19
Right sector were the first to declare they wouldn't abide by the Minsk 2 peace agreement.Nevertheless, Dmitry Yarosh, their leader is adviser to Ukraine's Chief of staff. Given that he only received about 130,000 votes in the last election, he has a disproportionate amount of power.
pushkinsideburn sashasmirnoff 12 Jul 2015 16:13
That quote is a myth
Though doesn't mean it's not true of course
greatwhitehunter 12 Jul 2015 15:47
As predicted the real civil war in ukraine is still to happen. The split between the east and the ordinary ukrainian was largely manufactored . In the long term no body would be able to live with the right sector or more preciselly the right sector cant share a bed with anyone else.
sashasmirnoff RicardoJ 12 Jul 2015 15:44
"When the Guardian claims to be a fearless champion of investigative journalism - as it is, in some areas - why did it obey the dictats of the US neocon media machine which rules all Western mainstream media over the Ukrainian land grab, instead of telling the truth, at that time?"
This may be why:
"The CIA owns everyone of any significance in the major media." - former CIA Director William Colby
Alexander_the_Great 12 Jul 2015 15:43
This was so, so predictable. The Right Sector were the main violent group during the coup in 2014 - in fact they were the ones to bring the first guns to the square following their storming of a military warehouse in west Ukraine a few days before the coup. It was this factor that forced the Police to arm themselves in preparation.
Being the vanguard of the illegal coup, they then provided a useful tool of manipulation for the illegal Kiev government to oppress any opposition, intimidate journalists who spoke the truth and lead the war against the legally-elected ELECTED governments of Donetsk and Lugansk.
Having failed in the war against the east, western leaders have signalled the right sector has now outlived its usefulness and has become an embarrassment to Kiev and their western backers.
The Right Sector meanwhile, feel betrayed by the establishment in Kiev. They have 19 battalions of fighters and they wont go away thats for sure. I think one can expect this getting more violent in the coming months.
SHappens jezzam 12 Jul 2015 15:40
Putin is a Fascist dictator.
Putin is not a dictator. He is a statist, authoritarian-inclined hybrid regime ruler that possesses some democratic elements and space for opposition groups.
He has moderate nationalist tendencies in foreign affairs; his goal is a secure a strong Russia. He is a patriot and has a charismatic authority. Russians stay behind him.
ploughmanlunch samuel glover 12 Jul 2015 15:31
'this notion that absolutely everything Kiev does follows some master script drawn up in DC and Brussels is simplistic and tiresome'
As is everything is Russia's fault.
ConradLodziak 12 Jul 2015 15:26
This is just the latest in a string of conflicts involving the right sector, as reported by RT, Russian media and until recently many Ukrainian outlets. The problem, of course, is that Porostinko has given 'official' status to the right sector. Blow back time for him.
CIAbot007 William Fraser 12 Jul 2015 15:06
Yes, Russia (USSR) from the USSR foundation had been forcing people of the then territory of Ukraine to identify themselves as ukrainians under the process of rootisation - ukrainisation, then gave to Ukraine Donbass and left side Dniepr and Odessa, Herson and Nikolaev, and then decided to ethnically cleane them..It doesn't make sense, does it? Oh, wait, sense is not your domain.
annamarinja William Fraser 12 Jul 2015 15:05
let me help you with arithmetics: 72 years ago Europe was inflamed with the WWII.
There was a considerable number of Ukrainians that collaborated with Hitler' nazis:
Now moving to the present. The US-installed oligarchs in Kiev have been cooperating closely with Ruropean neo-nazis (the followers of the WWII scum): http://rt.com/news/155364-ukraine-nazi-division-march/
In short, your government finds it is OK to glorify the perpetrators of genocide in Europe during the WWII.
Nik2 12 Jul 2015 15:04
These tragic events, when YESTERDAY, on Saturday afternoon, several civilians were unintentionally wounded in gun battles in previously peaceful town near the Hungary and Slovakia borders, vividly exposes Western propaganda. Though mass media in Ukraine and Russia are full of reports about this from the start, The Guardian managed to give first information exactly 1 day later, and BBC was still keeping silence a few minutes ago. Since both sides are allies of the West (the Right Sector fighters were the core of the Maidan protesters at the later stages, and Poroshenko regime is presumably "democratic"), the Western media preferred to ignore the events that are so politically uncomfortable. Who are "good guys" to be praised? In fact, this may be the start of nationalists' revolt against Ukrainian authorities, and politically it is very important moment that can fundamentally change Ukrainian politics. But the West decides to be silent ...
annamarinja William Fraser 12 Jul 2015 14:59
Do your history book tell you that the Holodomor was a multiethnic endeavor? That the Ukrainians were among the victims and perpetrators and that the whole huge country had suffered the insanely cruel policies of multiethnic bolsheviks? The Holodomor was almost a century ago, whereas the Odessa massacre and the bombardments of civilian population in east Ukraine by the neo-nazi thugs (sent by Kiev), has been going during last year and half. Perhaps you have followed Mr. Brennan and Mrs. Nuland-Kagan too obediently.
foolisholdman zonzonel 12 Jul 2015 14:58
Oops, the presumably fascist govt. is fighting a fascist group.
What is a poor troll to do these days??
Antiukrainian copywriting just got more difficult, perhaps a raise is needed? Just sayin.
What's your problem? Never heard of Fascist groups fighting each other? Never heard of the "Night of the Long Knives"? Fascists have no principles to unite them. They believe in Uebermenschen and of course they all think that either they themselves or their leader is The Ueberuebermensch. Anyone who disagrees is an enemy no matter how Fascist he may be.
samuel glover ploughmanlunch 12 Jul 2015 14:55
Y'know, I'm no fan of the Russophobic hysteria that dominates English-language media. I've been to Ukraine several times over the last 15 years or so, and I'm sorry to say that I think that in time Ukrainians will regard Maidan's aftermath as most of them view the Orange Revolution -- with regret and cynicism.
That said, this notion that everything, absolutely everything Kiev does follows some master script drawn up in DC and Brussels is simplistic and tiresome. Most post-revolution regimes purge one end or the other of the current ideological wings. Kiev has already tangled with the oligarch and militia patron Igor Kolomoisky. So perhaps this is another predictable factional struggle. Or maybe, as another comment speculates, this is a feud over cigarette tax revenue.
In any case, Ukraine is a complex place going through an **extremely** complex time. it's too soon to tell what the Lviv skirmish means, and **far** too soon to lay it all on nefarious puppetmasters.
TheTruthAnytime ADTaylor 12 Jul 2015 14:49
The only thing that makes me reconsider is their service to their country,...
Is the CIA their country? So far they've only seemed to serve the interests of American businesspeople, not Ukrainian interests. Also, murdering eastern Ukrainians cannot really be considered such a great service to Ukraine, can it?
annamarinja ID075732 12 Jul 2015 14:44
Maidan was indeed a popular apprising, but it was utilized by the US strategists for their geopolitical games. The Ukrainians are going to learn hard way that the US have never had any interest in well-being of the "locals" and that the ongoing civil war was designed in order to create a festering wound on a border with the Russia. The Iraqization of Ukraine was envisioned by the neocons as a tool to break both Russia and Ukraine. The sooner Ukrainians come to a peaceful solution uniting the whole Ukraine (for example, to federalization), the better for the general population (but not for the thieving oligarchs).
vr13vr 12 Jul 2015 14:38
"Couple of hundred Right Sector supporters demonstrated in Kiev?" Come on! Over the last week, there have been enough of videos of thousands of people in fatigues trying to block access to government buildings and shouting rather aggressive demands. The entire battalions of "National Guard." This is much bigger than just 100 people on a peaceful rally. Ukraine might be heading towards Maidan 3.0.
ID075732 12 Jul 2015 14:26
The situation in Ukraine has been unravelling for months and this news broke on Friday evening.
The Minsk II cease fire has not been honoured by Poroshenko, who has not managed to effect any of the pledges he signed up to. The right sector who rejected the cease-fire from the start are now refusing the rule of their post coup president in Kiev.
Time for Victoria Nuland to break out the cookies? Or maybe it's too late for that now. The country formerly know as Ukraine is turning out to be another outstanding success of American post -imperial foreign policy.
Meanwhile in UFA the BRIC's economic forum is drawing to a close, with representatives from the developing world and no reporting of the aspirations being discussed there of over 60% of the world's population. It's been a major success, but if you want to learn about it, you will have to turn to other media sources - those usually reported as Russian propaganda channels or Putin's apologists.
The same people who have been reporting on the deteriorating situation in Kiev since the February coup. Or as Washington likes to call it a popular up rising.
Dennis Levin 12 Jul 2015 13:29
Canadian interviewed, fighting for 'Right Sector'.
The Right Sector of Euromaidan https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yFqUasBOUY
Lets reflect for a moment on the Editorial directives, that would have 'MORE GUNS' distributed to NAZIS..
The Guarn publishes, 'Britain should arm Ukraine, says Tory donor' - http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/mar/11/britain-should-arm-ukraine
Al Jazeera says,'t's time to arm Ukraine' - http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2015/02/arms-ukraine-russia-separatists-150210075309643.html
Zbigniew Brzezinski: The West should arm Ukraine - http://www.kyivpost.com/opinion/op-ed/zbigniew-brzezinski-the-west-should-arm-ukraine-354770.html
ploughmanlunch ADTaylor 12 Jul 2015 13:06
'The only thing that makes me reconsider is their service to their country'
Don't get me wrong. I detest the fascist militias and their evil deeds.
However, despite their callousness, brutality and stupidity, they have been the most effective fighting force for Kiev ( more sensible Ukrainians have been rather more reluctant to kill their fellow countrymen ).
Deluded ? Yes. Cowardly ? No.
Even more reprehensible, in my opinion are the calculating and unprincipled Kiev Government that have attempted to bully a region of the Ukraine that had expressed legitimate reservations, using those far right battalions, but accepting no responsibility for the carnage that they carried out.
mario n 12 Jul 2015 12:52
I think it's time Europe spoke up about dangers of Ukrainian nationalism. 72 years ago Ukrainian fascists committed one of the most hideous and brutal acts of genocide in the human history. Details are so horrifying it is beyond imagination. Sadly not many people remembers that, because it is not politically correct to say bad things about Ukraine. Today mass murderers are hailed as national heroes and private battalions and ultranationalist groups armed to the teeth terrorise not only Donbas but now different parts of the country like Zakarpattia where there is strong Hungarian, Russian and Romanian minority.
How many massacres and acts of genocide Europe needs before it learns to act firmly?
SHappens 12 Jul 2015 12:49
Kiev has allowed nationalist groups including Right Sector to operate despite allegations by groups like Amnesty International, that Right Sector has tortured civilian prisoners.
You know what, you dont play with fire or you will get burnt. It was written on the wall that these Bandera apologists would eventually turn to the hand that fed them. I wonder how Kiev will manage to blame the russians now.
RicardoJ 12 Jul 2015 12:33
Of course the Guardian doesn't like to explain that 'Right Sector' are genuine fascists - by their own admission!
These fascists, who wear Nazi insignia, were the people who overthrew the elected government of Ukraine in the US / EU-supported coup - which the Guardianistas and other PC-brainwashed duly cheered on as a supposed triumph of democracy.
Since that glorious US-financed and EU-backed coup, wholly illegal under international law, Ukraine's economy has collapsed, as has Ukrainians' living standards.
The US neocons are losing interest in their attempted land grab of Ukraine - and the EU cretins who backed the coup, thinking it would be a nice juicy further territorial acquisition for the EU, are desperately looking the other way, now that both the US and EU realize that Ukraine is a financial black hole.
When the Guardian claims to be a fearless champion of investigative journalism - as it is, in some areas - why did it obey the dictats of the US neocon media machine which rules all Western mainstream media over the Ukrainian land grab, instead of telling the truth, at that time?
jgbg 12 Jul 2015 12:15
The move came after a gunfight broke out on Saturday, when about 20 Right Sector gunmen arrived at a sports complex controlled by MP Mikhail Lano. They had been trying to stop the traffic of cigarettes and other contraband, a spokesman for the group said.
Put another way, one group of gangsters tried to muscle in on the cigarette smuggling operation of another group of gangsters. Smuggling cigarettes into nearby EU countries is extremely lucrative.
Here's some video of some of the events:
Note the registration plates driven by both Right Sector and the other gangsters i.e. not Ukrainian. In all likelihood, these cars are all stolen.
Right Sector and fighters from "volunteer battalions" have become accustomed to muscling in on other people's activities (legal or not) in Donbass. This sort of thuggery is routine when these folk come to town. It is only when since they have continued such activities on their home turf in west and central Ukraine that the authorities have taken any notice.
Jul 12, 2015 | marknesop.wordpress.com
marknesop, July 12, 2015 at 10:59 amThey just love fighting with guns and the thrill of shooting to kill. The front is boring right now, shooting artillery into cities does not have the same gratification. The only way for Ukraine to purge itself of Right Sector is to kill them all. So long as any are left alive they will cling to their guns – which nobody seems to be able to make them give up – and foment armed insurrection.karl1haushofer , July 12, 2015 at 5:27 am
The Ukrainian state is disintegrating and Washington smiles beatifically, having created another Libya, this time on Russia's doorstep."Yarosh hates Avakov even more than he hates the Russians."Pavlo Svolochenko, July 12, 2015 at 5:37 am
Aren't they both Russians themselves? Yarosh does not even speak Ukrainian and Avakov is a Russian name.Yarosh, yes. Avakov (Avakian?) is an Armenian from Baku.et Al, July 12, 2015 at 4:29 am
Neuters: Kerry doesn't view Russia as existential threat: State Department
…"If you want to talk about a nation that could pose an existential threat to the United States, I'd have to point to Russia," Dunford said. "And if you look at their behavior, it's nothing short of alarming."
U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Kerry did not share the assessment, even though Russia's actions in Ukraine posed regional security challenges.
"The secretary doesn't agree with the assessment that Russia is an existential threat to the United States, nor China, quite frankly," Toner told a regular news briefing when asked about Dunford's remarks.
"You know, these are major powers with whom we engage and cooperate on a number of issues, despite any disagreements we may have with them," he said. "Certainly we have disagreements with Russia and its activities within the region, but we don't view it as an existential threat."…
The problem with ignorant blowhards like Dunford is that if their words are to be taken seriously, then seriously needs to be funded with cold, hard dollars. Resources daarlings. The USA has pinned its flag to the Asia Swivel (aka fk China!) as its fundamental future military posture.
That is an expensive proposition.
To then start bivolating (sp?) about Russia means some cash going to contain China would have to go instead to containing Russia, which so far, the USA has been doing on the very cheap by using Ukrainians as willing (or not so) canonfodder and the Europeans paying the economic consequences. To mix a metaphor or three, the US Gorilla shits in an European chinashop and still expects fawning applause for the performance*. Instead, by amping up the rhetoric via NATO and bigging up the Russia threat, the USA is trying to get Europe to pay (new UK budget promises 2% GDP on weapons) for the US' own mess and aggressive anti-Russia policy, squaring the military budget circle if you will. Except, it is not working. Europe as a whole will still not pick up the military tab US wants it to. This is the de facto recognition by Europe that the Russia threat is total bullshit, in total contradiction of all the mass propaganda to the opposite by the pork pie news networks.
* "It's like a jungle some times it makes me wonder how I keep from going under" – Rapper's Delight
Warren, July 12, 2015 at 7:50 amThe Europeans need to free themselves from American yoke, the Americans must have serious leverage on European leaders to explain their servility to the US.
* "It's like a jungle some times it makes me wonder how I keep from going under"
That line comes from Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five – The Message
marknesop, July 12, 2015 at 11:06 am
All that notwithstanding, Kerry is out of favour and the State Department has the bit in its teeth. It likes the cut of Dunford's jib and his willingness to help imprint brand "Russian Aggression". Kerry's demurrals are not going to mean anything in the great scheme of things, and it is much too late for him to assuage his conscience now for all the lies he told and partisan bullshit he spread. He deserves to ride his doomed state down nearly as much as the rest of his government.Jeremn, July 12, 2015 at 5:06 amJust looking at who funds the ECFR.marknesop, July 12, 2015 at 11:20 am
George Soros is the primary funder, and the European Commission also supplies money. Then there's a whole slew of banks, oil firms and foundations. Interesting reading.
It would of course be a generalization, but just about everywhere you find a western agency fomenting revolution and stirring up unrest in the names of freedom and democracy, you will find George Soros's money. It's a wonder Obama has not awarded him the Presidential Gong of Freedom.yalensis, July 13, 2015 at 4:01 amDo they, or don't they?
Some people say, that Right Sektor is withdrawing all their battalions from Donbass and moving them West, back towards Kiev.
Right Sektor denies this, and says, no, all their guys are still in place at the ATO, valiantly fighting the Colorados.
The Donetsk News Agency says that Right Sektor is withdrawing from the front lines. Quoting DPR Deputy Minister of Defense Eduard Basurin.
Basurin reports that the Right Sektor guys truly are leaving, thus providing some blessed relief to the people of Donetsk. Resulting in fewer incidents of shelling, etc.
yalensis, July 13, 2015 at 3:54 am
Ukry starting to get worried about Trans-Carpthian separatism:
Rada Deputy Boris Filatov, who belongs to Igor Kolomoisky's party, was outraged when he read some blogposts written by Trans-Carpathians. Who claimed that Trans-Carpathia was unjustly taken away from Slovaks and Hungarians in the 1950's.
Some of the Rusyns there say they are not Ukrainians, and never have been.
Filatov was outraged at some of this loose talk on blogs. He retorted on his own blog with the following proposed remedy to these separatist inclinations:
"Можете почитать, что публично пишут в своих бложиках некоторые местные деятели. Врачи! Жечь падаль каленым железом. Сажать и лишать имущества", - написал Филатов на своей странице в соцсети.
"You cannot even imagine what some of these local activists are scribbling in their blogs. I would brand these scum with a heated up iron. I would throw them in jail and confiscate their property."
Recall that Filatov made similar threats against Crimeans.
Which just scared them even further into escaping from the tender embraces of Ukrainian nazis.
I am betting most Rusyns also wish they could opt out of this Ukrainian "prison of nations" and become part of Slovakia or Hungary. Unfortunately, they don't have that option, so they are stuck in this abusive relationship.
yalensis, July 13, 2015 at 4:13 am
And what's the plan, once the Right Sektor battalions reach Kiev?
According to this piece, Right Sektor is organizing a massive meeting on the Maidan this coming Sunday, July 19.
Right Sektor spokesperson Dmitry Pavlichenko announced the following:
-He urges everybody to swarm to Kiev on Sunday. The meeting ("veche") will start promptly at noon.
-The purpose is to form "organs of power" to replace the current government.
-A priority will be also to form a "people's court".
Right Sektor has issued ultimatum to Ukrainian government: They want Avakov's head on a platter.
There is constant picket of around 100 persons around President Poroshenko's office building. The picketers wear insigna for parties such as "OUN", "Freedom or Death", and "Right Sektor". The building is protected by around 30 National Guards troops, and there has been a stand-off up until this point.
Jul 11, 2015 | jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.comIt is probably less an issue of ethical responsibility and more an act of self-interest for most. Having come out of the Third World and working into the developed nations, why would anyone assume that Greece would be sufficient for the maw of neoliberal greed."What is at stake is a rather heroic rebellion by a very beleaguered people against a doctrine which has been destroying their lives - the austerity doctrine and the whole neoliberal project. For the rest of us, what is at stake is whether we have the moral courage in the sense of ethical responsibility to stand up to it."
Jamie Galbraith, Greek Revolt Threatens Entire Neoliberal Project
The above interview with Galbraith is worth reading. For one thing it contains the seed of the current spin that Tsipras called the referendum in order to lose it, and to somehow save himself and betray the Greeks. And for another you will be able to read what Jamie Galbraith really thinks, the parts that the friends of the financial establishment have carefully excluded from their versions of the story.
The calling of the referendum was politically brilliant, because it defused the notion of an extremist government standing irrationally against the Troika. This derailed the path towards a scheme to stage a 'color revolution' backed by the oligarchs to take out these mad leftists who were not speaking for the people.
Remember the economic decision involving Europe which provoked the recent coup d'état in the Ukraine? In that case the government did not have the backing of the people, and it took hold, at least in the Western portions of the country. Wash, rinse, repeat.
Of course the referendum was famously too close to predict when first called for Syriza, and surprisingly late in the game for most everyone else as you may recall How soon some choose to forget. But it changed the course of events in a dramatic way. As it was it did not help their bargaining position, but as Galbraith relates they did not expect it to be.
But it put the field of play into better terms if you goal is playing for survival and time. They are knocking down all the rationales and excuses to visit harsh terms on Greece that the Troika and their enablers are using. They are exposing their opponents for what they really are.
Empires founded on unsustainable foundations are like financial bubbles and Ponzi schemes. They are inherently non-productive and consuming, so they must continue to grow, or choke on their own ideologically driven detritus. Transferring wealth as your major economic policy requires a steady source of new supply.
Most of the American media has fallen into line with the neoliberal agenda. It might seem surprising, but power has its attraction under corporatism, even for people who would ordinarily consider themselves to be 'liberal.'
There are concerning things happening in the Western world, and a lack of traction towards individual freedom amongst 'the great democracies,' above and beyond Germany's growing desire to bring their version of order and efficient management of lands and people to the rest of Europe.
The growing militancy in Japan, and Abe's aggressive pushing aside of constitutional restraints, is undernoted in the West, but of concern to those in Asia.
Greece would look to the US for help in vain, given that Obama's representative to the continent is Victoria Nuland, the bearer of color revolutions and the reaping of ancient lands and cultures for profit.
At least in this cycle of the will to power some, including the Pope thank God, are speaking out early, publicly, and strongly against the rising tide of injustice, the senseless abuse of power, and the impulse towards dehumanizing central rule and neo-totalitarianism. Silence is complicity.
Behind Germany's refusal to grant Greece debt reliefPosted on July 11, 2015 by yanisv
Tomorrow's EU Summit will seal Greece's fate in the Eurozone. As these lines are being written, Euclid Tsakalotos, my great friend, comrade and successor as Greece's Finance Ministry is heading for a Eurogroup meeting that will determine whether a last ditch agreement between Greece and our creditors is reached and whether this agreement contains the degree of debt relief that could render the Greek economy viable within the Euro Area.
Euclid is taking with him a moderate, well-thought out debt restructuring plan that is undoubtedly in the interests both of Greece and its creditors. (Details of it I intend to publish here on Monday, once the dust has settled.) If these modest debt restructuring proposals are turned down, as the German finance minister has foreshadowed, Sunday's EU Summit will be deciding between kicking Greece out of the Eurozone now or keeping it in for a little while longer, in a state of deepening destitution, until it leaves some time in the future.
The question is: Why is the German finance Minister, Dr Wolfgang Schäuble, resisting a sensible, mild, mutually beneficial debt restructure? The following op-ed just published in today's The Guardian offers my answer. [Please note that the Guardian's title was not of my choosing. Mine read, as above: Behind Germany's refusal to grant Greece debt relief ). Click here for the op-ed or…
Greece's financial drama has dominated the headlines for five years for one reason: the stubborn refusal of our creditors to offer essential debt relief. Why, against common sense, against the IMF's verdict and against the everyday practices of bankers facing stressed debtors, do they resist a debt restructure? The answer cannot be found in economics because it resides deep in Europe's labyrinthine politics.
In 2010, the Greek state became insolvent. Two options consistent with continuing membership of the eurozone presented themselves: the sensible one, that any decent banker would recommend – restructuring the debt and reforming the economy; and the toxic option – extending new loans to a bankrupt entity while pretending that it remains solvent.
Official Europe chose the second option, putting the bailing out of French and German banks exposed to Greek public debt above Greece's socioeconomic viability. A debt restructure would have implied losses for the bankers on their Greek debt holdings.Keen to avoid confessing to parliaments that taxpayers would have to pay again for the banks by means of unsustainable new loans, EU officials presented the Greek state's insolvency as a problem of illiquidity, and justified the "bailout" as a case of "solidarity" with the Greeks.
To frame the cynical transfer of irretrievable private losses on to the shoulders of taxpayers as an exercise in "tough love", record austerity was imposed on Greece, whose national income, in turn – from which new and old debts had to be repaid – diminished by more than a quarter. It takes the mathematical expertise of a smart eight-year-old to know that this process could not end well.
Once the sordid operation was complete, Europe had automatically acquired another reason for refusing to discuss debt restructuring: it would now hit the pockets of European citizens! And so increasing doses of austerity were administered while the debt grew larger, forcing creditors to extend more loans in exchange for even more austerity.
Our government was elected on a mandate to end this doom loop; to demand debt restructuring and an end to crippling austerity. Negotiations have reached their much publicised impasse for a simple reason: our creditors continue to rule out any tangible debt restructuring while insisting that our unpayable debt be repaid "parametrically" by the weakest of Greeks, their children and their grandchildren.
In my first week as minister for finance I was visited by Jeroen Dijsselbloem, president of the Eurogroup (the eurozone finance ministers), who put a stark choice to me: accept the bailout's "logic" and drop any demands for debt restructuring or your loan agreement will "crash" – the unsaid repercussion being that Greece's banks would be boarded up.
Five months of negotiations ensued under conditions of monetary asphyxiation and an induced bank-run supervised and administered by the European Central Bank. The writing was on the wall: unless we capitulated, we would soon be facing capital controls, quasi-functioning cash machines, a prolonged bank holiday and, ultimately, Grexit.
The threat of Grexit has had a brief rollercoaster of a history. In 2010 it put the fear of God in financiers' hearts and minds as their banks were replete with Greek debt. Even in 2012, when Germany's finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, decided that Grexit's costs were a worthwhile "investment" as a way of disciplining France et al, the prospect continued to scare the living daylights out of almost everyone else.
By the time Syriza won power last January, and as if to confirm our claim that the "bailouts" had nothing to do with rescuing Greece (and everything to do with ringfencing northern Europe), a large majority within the Eurogroup – under the tutelage of Schäuble – had adopted Grexit either as their preferred outcome or weapon of choice against our government.
Greeks, rightly, shiver at the thought of amputation from monetary union. Exiting a common currency is nothing like severing a peg, as Britain did in 1992, when Norman Lamont famously sang in the shower the morning sterling quit the European exchange rate mechanism (ERM). Alas, Greece does not have a currency whose peg with the euro can be cut. It has the euro – a foreign currency fully administered by a creditor inimical to restructuring our nation's unsustainable debt.
To exit, we would have to create a new currency from scratch. In occupied Iraq, the introduction of new paper money took almost a year, 20 or so Boeing 747s, the mobilisation of the US military's might, three printing firms and hundreds of trucks. In the absence of such support, Grexit would be the equivalent of announcing a large devaluation more than 18 months in advance: a recipe for liquidating all Greek capital stock and transferring it abroad by any means available.
With Grexit reinforcing the ECB-induced bank run, our attempts to put debt restructuring back on the negotiating table fell on deaf ears. Time and again we were told that this was a matter for an unspecified future that would follow the "programme's successful completion" – a stupendous Catch-22 since the "programme" could never succeed without a debt restructure.
This weekend brings the climax of the talks as Euclid Tsakalotos, my successor, strives, again, to put the horse before the cart – to convince a hostile Eurogroup that debt restructuring is a prerequisite of success for reforming Greece, not an ex-post reward for it. Why is this so hard to get across? I see three reasons.Europe did not know how to respond to the financial crisis. Should it prepare for an expulsion (Grexit) or a federation?One is that institutional inertia is hard to beat. A second, that unsustainable debt gives creditors immense power over debtors – and power, as we know, corrupts even the finest. But it is the third which seems to me more pertinent and, indeed, more interesting.
The euro is a hybrid of a fixed exchange-rate regime, like the 1980s ERM, or the 1930s gold standard, and a state currency. The former relies on the fear of expulsion to hold together, while state money involves mechanisms for recycling surpluses between member states (for instance, a federal budget, common bonds). The eurozone falls between these stools – it is more than an exchange-rate regime and less than a state.
And there's the rub. After the crisis of 2008/9, Europe didn't know how to respond. Should it prepare the ground for at least one expulsion (that is, Grexit) to strengthen discipline? Or move to a federation? So far it has done neither, its existentialist angst forever rising. Schäuble is convinced that as things stand, he needs a Grexit to clear the air, one way or another. Suddenly, a permanently unsustainable Greek public debt, without which the risk of Grexit would fade, has acquired a new usefulness for Schauble.
What do I mean by that? Based on months of negotiation, my conviction is that the German finance minister wants Greece to be pushed out of the single currency to put the fear of God into the French and have them accept his model of a disciplinarian eurozone.
Jul 10, 2015 | The Guardian
Pope Francis has urged the downtrodden to change the world economic order, denouncing a "new colonialism" by agencies that impose austerity programs and calling for the poor to have the "sacred rights" of labor, lodging and land.
In one of the longest, most passionate and sweeping speeches of his pontificate, the Argentine-born pope used his visit to Bolivia to ask forgiveness for the sins committed by the Roman Catholic church in its treatment of native Americans during what he called the "so-called conquest of America".
The pontiff also demanded an immediate end to what he called the "genocide" of Christians taking place in the Middle East and beyond, describing it as a third world war.
"Today we are dismayed to see how in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world many of our brothers and sisters are persecuted, tortured and killed for their faith in Jesus," Pope Francis said.
"In this third world war, waged piecemeal, which we are now experiencing, a form of genocide is taking place, and it must end."
Quoting a fourth century bishop, he called the unfettered pursuit of money "the dung of the devil", and said poor countries should not be reduced to being providers of raw material and cheap labour for developed countries.
Repeating some of the themes of his landmark encyclical Laudato Si on the environment last month, Francis said time was running out to save the planet from perhaps irreversible harm to the ecosystem.
Francis made the address in the city of Santa Cruz to participants of the second world meeting of popular movements, an international body that brings together organisations of people on the margins of society, including the poor, the unemployed and peasants who have lost their land. The Vatican hosted the first meeting last year.
He said he supported their efforts to obtain "so elementary and undeniably necessary a right as that of the three "Ls": land, lodging and labour".
His speech was preceded by lengthy remarks from the left-wing Bolivian president Evo Morales, who wore a jacket adorned with the face of Argentine revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara. He was executed in Bolivia in 1967 by CIA-backed Bolivian troops.
"Let us not be afraid to say it: we want change, real change, structural change," the pope said, decrying a system that "has imposed the mentality of profit at any price, with no concern for social exclusion or the destruction of nature".
"This system is by now intolerable: farm workers find it intolerable, labourers find it intolerable, communities find it intolerable, peoples find it intolerable. The earth itself – our sister, Mother Earth, as Saint Francis would say – also finds it intolerable," he said in an hour-long speech that was interrupted by applause and cheering dozens of times.
Since his election in 2013, the first pope from Latin America has often spoken out in defence of the poor and against unbridled capitalism but the speech in Santa Cruz was the most comprehensive to date on the issues he has championed.
Francis' previous attacks on capitalism have prompted stiff criticism from politicians and commentators in the United States, where he is due to visit in September.
The pontiff appeared to take a swipe at international monetary organisations such as the IMF and the development aid policies by some developed countries.
"No actual or established power has the right to deprive peoples of the full exercise of their sovereignty. Whenever they do so, we see the rise of new forms of colonialism which seriously prejudice the possibility of peace and justice," he said.
"The new colonialism takes on different faces. At times it appears as the anonymous influence of mammon: corporations, loan agencies, certain 'free trade' treaties, and the imposition of measures of 'austerity' which always tighten the belt of workers and the poor," he said.
Last week, Francis called on European authorities to keep human dignity at the centre of debate for a solution to the economic crisis in Greece.
He defended labor unions and praised poor people who had formed cooperatives to create jobs where previously "there were only crumbs of an idolatrous economy".
In one of the sections on colonialism, he said:
"I say this to you with regret: many grave sins were committed against the native peoples of America in the name of God."
He added: "I humbly ask forgiveness, not only for the offences of the church herself, but also for crimes committed against the native peoples during the so-called conquest of America.
"There was sin and an abundant amount of it."
The audience gave Francis a standing ovation when he put on a yellow miner's hat that was given to him at the end of his speech.
The pope made his speech at the end of his first full day in Bolivia, where he arrived on Wednesday. On Thursday morning he said a mass for hundreds of thousands of people and said that everyone had a moral duty to help the poor, and that those with means could not wish they would just "go away".
Francis praised Bolivia's social reforms to spread wealth under Morales. On Friday, he will visit Bolivia's notoriously violent Palmasola prison.
The pope looked bemused on Wednesday night when Morales handed him one of the more unusual gifts he has received: a sculpted wooden hammer and sickle – the symbol of communism – with a figure of a crucified Christ resting on the hammer.
Francis leaves on Friday for Paraguay, the last stop on his "homecoming" trip.
- Related: Pope's South American tour recalls a divided church – and a dirty war
- Related: Conservatives' collective tantrum over the pope has been a wonder to behold | Dominic Kelly
Westonboy 10 Jul 2015 09:01
The Pope didn't actually say "unbridled capitalism is the dung of the devil" did he?
So why is that the headline of this piece?
valeronfreza 10 Jul 2015 08:46
Actually, I find one of his thoughts really interesting. A lot of us are awaiting the 3rd WW, between Russia and the US, between China and the US, between the West and the East, while the war is on. The whole civilized world takes part in this mess, the thing is that this war looks different from what we're used to see. I mean, we get information, made by those, who wants us to see it different, like something, that happening far away, though it's dangerous as hell.
Is it work of Capitalism? I think that capitalism in it's modern form lies near this war, and both are made by the same people.
cblyth79 10 Jul 2015 08:41
he called the unfettered pursuit of money "the dung of the devil"
He has hit the nail on the head. This is everything that is wrong with society. Every decision is taken with regards to making as much money as possible. However, the great irony is that even if people do make money, their constant desire for more means they are never happy or fulfilled. Meanwhile, socially and environmentally we suffer greatly due to this ultimately fruitless pursuit of as much money as possible.
PM782_ -> Greenshoots 10 Jul 2015 08:40
Generally speaking, you are right of course.
I have very little time for virgin men in silly hats & dresses, carrying crucifixes and expecting everyone to take them seriously when history shows us they cannot be trusted to act in an ethical way, and will (as always) be more concerned about amassing money and influence than doing any good in the world.
The whole thing is ludicrous and you should be ashamed that you believe in it. It is really astonishing.
Greenshoots -> Drew Layton 10 Jul 2015 08:39
Atheist trope. One could as easily say "Religion compels unreasonable people to do reasonable things".
Westonboy -> pol098 10 Jul 2015 08:37
I'm happy to salute the personal contributions you make but, of course, the computer that you will have used to write or test your software is a product of capitalism.
Also, most of the the goods you recycle or give away are no doubt the products of capitalism.
Anti-capitalists don't seem to have any alternative method of wealth creation.
EnglishChapin 10 Jul 2015 08:26
In the article:
Quoting a fourth century bishop, he called the unfettered pursuit of money "the dung of the devil"
In the headline:
"Unbridled capitalism is the 'dung of the devil', says Pope Francis"
kycol1 -> natsirtguy 10 Jul 2015 08:24
As a Unitarian/Universalist I am equally, if not more, wary of that practice. Francis, however, is a public figure who has the right to express his opinion. While he was definitely speaking to a Catholic audience, he was not giving his words the weight of a Papal Encyclical. Also, it is the accepted and expected belief of Catholics that the Pope directs their thinking as far as faith goes. I do not see his words being a act of forcing his will on me, personally. All public figures have the right to express their opinion on that subject. I also believe that regulation should go further than dealing with "negative externalities" unless you view the financial crisis of 2008 as a negative externality . While the causes of the crisis were complex and varied, lax regulatory oversight during the Reagan and Clinton Administrations played a role in creating the conditions for it.
lesmandalasdeniki -> hollyjadoon 10 Jul 2015 08:13
Why do you want poor people to rise up? On what sense? Revolution to topple world governments, what's next? What kind of governmental system will we apply to ensure law and order? Will it be one world government by the Vatican?
GallopingGournmet -> citizen_1111 10 Jul 2015 08:09
I'm glad you set everyone straight on this. We were all thinking capitalism is an economic and political system in which a country's trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state. But clearly capitalism involves greed for money, exploitation and environmental destruction. The very fact you've attempted to pick at this shows you're missing the overarching point. The Pope is criticizing how our unregulated "socioeconomic system" - which was capitalism the last time I looked - for being responsible for ruining society, enslaving men and women and destroying human fraternity. All of which is pretty spot on. Excuse me for having to clarify this for you.
citizen_1111 10 Jul 2015 07:48
Wouldn't it be great if newspapers like the Guardian printed the truth, rather than spin. The pope did not say that "unbridled capitalism is the dung of devil". Here's the actual paragraph. It's nothing like the Guardian's deceptive headline.
Today, the scientific community realizes what the poor have long told us: harm, perhaps irreversible harm, is being done to the ecosystem. The earth, entire peoples and individual persons are being brutally punished.
And behind all this pain, death and destruction there is the stench of what Basil of Caesarea called "the dung of the devil". An unfettered pursuit of money rules.
The service of the common good is left behind. Once capital becomes an idol and guides people's decisions, once greed for money presides over the entire socioeconomic system, it ruins society, it condemns and enslaves men and women, it destroys human fraternity, it sets people against one another and, as we clearly see, it even puts at risk our common home.
So he's actually referring to greed for money - a moral sin .... not capitalism, which is basically meritocratic mechanism of funding businesses.
HobbesianWorld -> Drew Layton 10 Jul 2015 07:41
Wrong, it's a predominantly Christian nation. Christians don't own it. Under the Constitution, all beliefs in matters of religion are equal.
Still, the subject of my comment was not the predominance of Christians, but how much poverty exists in this predominantly Christian nation. They ignore the most fundamental teachings they profess to believe--the admonitions of Jesus to feed, clothe, and generally help the poor.
Capitalism isn't a sacred arm of Christianity, yet many (most?) Christians tend to favor Wall Street's gluttony and greed while millions of children live in poverty. Is that what we should see in a "Christian" nation? It's the epitome of hypocrisy.
PM782_ 10 Jul 2015 07:33
The guy in charge of 1 billion plus devout catholics, with all the riches of the Vatican, preaches to us about how excessive capitalism is a bad thing.
This pope seems more reasonable than his predecessors however until he actually DOES something that makes the world a better place and in some way makes up for the history of atrocious behavior that the Catholic church has engaged in, I'm simply not interested.
It is strange though, seeing how many people are hoodwinked by a few choice words, when the organization he represents has been an utter blight on humanity since it began.
heretoeternity -> natsirtguy 10 Jul 2015 07:32
There is a reason the US has over 900 bases across the world, and that is to insure its business interests.
Laurence W 10 Jul 2015 07:18
Devout capitalists/corporatists may not see the symmetry between John Paul II's defiance of the bankruptcy of unbridled Communism and Francis's defiance of the bankruptcy of unfettered Capitalism. They cling to their irrational faith (and that is what it is) in Adam Smith's "invisible hand." The collapse of Communism does not somehow validate Capitalism. It seems Capitalism's true believers must be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st. Century.
ideation2020 -> PeterAB12 10 Jul 2015 07:11
In the West there is a marked reduction in family size since about 1965. There are also far more women at work, the workforce has adapted to almost full attendance of female workers. We generally have accommodated an increase of 70% by reducing family size and equally as important is the accommodation and full attendance of single a and" won't marry" adults.
SmileyFace2 -> natsirtguy 10 Jul 2015 07:10
But Capitalism has resulted in a Plutocracy which leads to rule by the top 1%. So it is not quite a simple as you seem to think hence the need for a mixed economy.
HobbesianWorld 10 Jul 2015 07:08
While I wouldn't put it that way, the Pope is correct that unfettered capitalism is the major source of injustice, especially the injustice of poverty.
It's a source of dark humor for me to hear Christians call the U.S. a "Christian nation" even as they fight to maintain and enhance the cause of poverty--unbridled corporatism; profit over humanity, wealth over justice and selfishness over honor.
Brian Milne -> Kevin Lim 10 Jul 2015 06:59
How much time have you spent in South America? I spent 18 years going back and forth as part of my job, must admit I have not spoken to a Liberation Theology priest (he was actually a Jesuit originally) since October. So perhaps I am just a little bit out of synch.
Life paths include being allowed to express one's sexuality openly and not risk excommunication and denunciation by the church, to be allowed to have abortions and use contraception without being told that you will go to Hell, to be allowed to 'formally' leave the church (some countries still require religion on official document) and to follow political streams that the church condemns as unchristian to name but just a few. By using the pressure of condemnation in the afterlife people are to this day controlled by fear.
Sure nobody is obliged to put money in the dish but too many still fear the stigma of not doing so. If this man can end that then it would be a job well done, but he will not, will he?
cblyth79 -> Manjush 10 Jul 2015 06:51
I agree that overpopulation is a problem, but to me the real problem is the capitalist consumerism of first-world countries and the damage this is causing to the planet. Even if the populations of third-world countries doubled they would not get anywhere near the CO2 that we produce. And that's not even to mention the fact that we have caused climate change and they haven't. To blame overpopulation is to out the blame on third-world countries, when it should be squarely on us.
VivF -> dysro1 10 Jul 2015 06:50
Animal farm is not about the failure of either Communism or Fascism....it is a commentary on the corruption of power; not a uniquely Communist problem. The machinations of politics also feature quite heavily...divide and rule, propaganda, double standards and the use of language to achieve ones aims...these are abuses of power that both the left and the right have been guilty of. Hitler's Germany was Fascist (right wing extremism), Stalin's Russia was Communist (left wing extremism)...
"Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely."
- Lord Acton
Drew -> Layton 10 Jul 2015 06:48
Yay! Religion has done something that isn't rape, muder, burning at the stake, ripping people's breasts off, implement, beheading, shooting people on beaches, blowing things up, being homophobic, sexist, racist or generally being a complete twat! Let's all jump up and down and burn a pilot! YAY!
Kathy -> Foulds 10 Jul 2015 06:42
We are in very new times....Pope Francis is not afraid to challenge the status quo...Alleluia.
Tony Menezes 10 Jul 2015 06:24
The national interest of the unbridled capitalists has sidelined morality and justice. The third world war has started albeit piecemeal.
This is a strong wake up call from someone that must be listened to.
Greenshoots -> rgrabman 10 Jul 2015 06:23
I can only speak for the UK where I have yet to find a Catholic friend who is not immensely supportive of what the Pope has to say, whatever prominent Tory Catholics may have to say. Catholics on the whole tend to vote Labour.
If you want to see a precursor to what the Pope is now saying, read the Catholic bishops document "The common good" from 1996:
"As at the end of the 19th century, Catholic Social Teaching is concerned to protect the poor and vulnerable from the chill winds of economic forces. The defeat of Communism should not mean the triumph of unbridled capitalism."
"The Catholic doctrine of the common good is incompatible with unlimited freemarket, or laissez-faire, capitalism ...".
Unconstituted -> natsirtguy 10 Jul 2015 06:22
Massively disagree with that bit about him being a non-scientist etc.
If skeptics are still unsure after all the science that has been thrown at them, then perhaps they aren't influenced that way. They follow figures that they personally respect.
And the Pope has a huge following. I am certain that he will have given a lot of people pause for thought recently.
Like many here, as an atheist, I'm no fan of the guy. But causes like social justice, climate change etc need more than just reams of studies. It needs PR.
Greenshoots -> clogexpat 10 Jul 2015 06:17
Which is incorrect because the left is not, and never has been, an identifiable tribe in British politics.
I agree that many people are not tribal about being left wing. They are willing to partner with people whom they disagree with on some issues but where there is a common cause.
However, you just have to read many of the posts in this thread to see that, for many other people, it is a form of tribal allegiance because they, in response to the Pope saying something they probably do agree with, they cannot refrain from attacking him on unrelated issues. They are not interested in supporting the common cause.
Longasyourarm -> MaximTS 10 Jul 2015 06:15
Well spotted but many here are in it for the opportunity to exercise their demons of hatred, bigotry and racism. Most don't even read the article and jump right to the comments in their haste to slag off Catholics, the Pope, Religion in general. I suppose it is still better than invasion of other countries and stealing their stuff, isn't it Tony?
domrice 10 Jul 2015 06:13
Finally, a pontiff brave enough to enunciate the core values of Jesus Christ. Oh that the world had political leaders who weren't shameless slaves to the moneylenders.
discreto -> SmileyFace2 10 Jul 2015 06:11
That is because the Free Trade is not Fair Trade, this is what Pope Francis is talking about. Capitalism is Free Trade it is not Fair Trade with the People who work to ensure the Goods are there to trade are not getting what is a Fair and Just Living wage, they are being used by the Corporations who make Millions out of their hard work. I support Pope Francis and his Courage in speaking up for the People in developing Countries who are made to depend on Capitalism against their will. At last he is the Pope who is acknowledging the sins of the Church both past and present, with a strong voice of Apology. It would be good if he could sit down with The First Nations of America to take part in their native Ritual of Smudging from Smoke of burnt Herbs and grasses for forgiveness and Peace. I pray for Pope Francis's Protection.
kycol1 -> natsirtguy 10 Jul 2015 06:02
An economic system is not a matter of either-or. Those who profit from "Laissez Faire" capitalism like to push the idea that the only alternative is communism. Pope Francis is obviously a proponent of a "mixed economy" as most people in the US on the left are. He is attacking "unbridled capitalism" not an adequately regulated free-market economy.
ID1780902 10 Jul 2015 05:55
Why so many negative comments? Here we have an extremely high profile figure publicly rallying people all over the world to help with climate change, and to oppose some of the excesses of capitalism.
Regardless of what you think of the Catholic church, many people will listen to what he says, and take it very seriously. If he only changes the mind of a single climate-change denier that would be enough, but I think he will do a lot more than that, particularly in the US.
yalensis, July 9, 2015 at 4:11 pmMeanwhile, in Ukrainian political news:
The Yatsenuk government actually came out and declared that UNA-UNSO Party (=the core of "Right Sektor") collaborated with Nazis in WWII.
This is a change from their usual b.s. about how UNA-UNSO fought AGAINST the German invaders. This rewriting of history went to ludicrous extremes, when Ukies claimed the Banderites should be designated as "victors" of WWII, along with England, France, etc.
Instead of the losers that they actually were.
But anyhow, what happened yesterday was that Minister of Justice in Ukraine refused to register UNA-UNSO, stating that "this political party fought on the side of the fascists in 1942″.
Pundits see this strange (strange for Ukies, not strange for normal people) step as part of a plan to discredit Dmitry Yarosh and push him out of public life.
Jul 03, 2015 | OffGuardian
The recent 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz was a reminder of the great crime of fascism, whose Nazi iconography is embedded in our consciousness. Fascism is preserved as history, as flickering footage of goose-stepping blackshirts, their criminality terrible and clear. Yet in the same liberal societies, whose war-making elites urge us never to forget, the accelerating danger of a modern kind of fascism is suppressed; for it is their fascism.
To initiate a war of aggression…," said the Nuremberg Tribunal judges in 1946, "is not only an international crime, it is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole."
Had the Nazis not invaded Europe, Auschwitz and the Holocaust would not have happened. Had the United States and its satellites not initiated their war of aggression in Iraq in 2003, almost a million people would be alive today; and Islamic State, or ISIS, would not have us in thrall to its savagery. They are the progeny of modern fascism, weaned by the bombs, bloodbaths and lies that are the surreal theatre known as news.
Like the fascism of the 1930s and 1940s, big lies are delivered with the precision of a metronome: thanks to an omnipresent, repetitive media and its virulent censorship by omission. Take the catastrophe in Libya.
In 2011, Nato launched 9,700 "strike sorties" against Libya, of which more than a third were aimed at civilian targets. Uranium warheads were used; the cities of Misurata and Sirte were carpet-bombed. The Red Cross identified mass graves, and Unicef reported that "most [of the children killed] were under the age of ten".
The public sodomising of the Libyan president Muammar Gaddafi with a "rebel" bayonet was greeted by the then US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, with the words: "We came, we saw, he died." His murder, like the destruction of his country, was justified with a familiar big lie; he was planning "genocide" against his own people. "We knew… that if we waited one more day," said President Obama, "Benghazi, a city the size of Charlotte, could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world."
This was the fabrication of Islamist militias facing defeat by Libyan government forces. They told Reuters there would be "a real bloodbath, a massacre like we saw in Rwanda". Reported on March 14, 2011, the lie provided the first spark for Nato's inferno, described by David Cameron as a "humanitarian intervention".
Secretly supplied and trained by Britain's SAS, many of the "rebels" would become ISIS, whose latest video offering shows the beheading of 21 Coptic Christian workers seized in Sirte, the city destroyed on their behalf by Nato bombers.
For Obama, David Cameron and then French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Gaddafi's true crime was Libya's economic independence and his declared intention to stop selling Africa's greatest oil reserves in US dollars. The petrodollar is a pillar of American imperial power. Gaddafi audaciously planned to underwrite a common African currency backed by gold, establish an all-Africa bank and promote economic union among poor countries with prized resources. Whether or not this would happen, the very notion was intolerable to the US as it prepared to "enter" Africa and bribe African governments with military "partnerships".
Following Nato's attack under cover of a Security Council resolution, Obama, wrote Garikai Chengu…
confiscated $30 billion from Libya's Central Bank, which Gaddafi had earmarked for the establishment of an African Central Bank and the African gold backed dinar currency".
The "humanitarian war" against Libya drew on a model close to western liberal hearts, especially in the media. In 1999, Bill Clinton and Tony Blair sent Nato to bomb Serbia, because, they lied, the Serbs were committing "genocide" against ethnic Albanians in the secessionist province of Kosovo. David Scheffer, US ambassador-at-large for war crimes [sic], claimed that as many as "225,000 ethnic Albanian men aged between 14 and 59″ might have been murdered. Both Clinton and Blair evoked the Holocaust and "the spirit of the Second World War". The West's heroic allies were the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), whose criminal record was set aside. The British Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, told them to call him any time on his mobile phone.
With the Nato bombing over, and much of Serbia's infrastructure in ruins, along with schools, hospitals, monasteries and the national TV station, international forensic teams descended upon Kosovo to exhume evidence of the "holocaust". The FBI failed to find a single mass grave and went home. The Spanish forensic team did the same, its leader angrily denouncing "a semantic pirouette by the war propaganda machines". A year later, a United Nations tribunal on Yugoslavia announced the final count of the dead in Kosovo: 2,788. This included combatants on both sides and Serbs and Roma murdered by the KLA.
There was no genocide. The "holocaust" was a lie. The Nato attack had been fraudulent.
Behind the lie, there was serious purpose. Yugoslavia was a uniquely independent, multi-ethnic federation that had stood as a political and economic bridge in the Cold War. Most of its utilities and major manufacturing was publicly owned. This was not acceptable to the expanding European Community, especially newly united Germany, which had begun a drive east to capture its "natural market" in the Yugoslav provinces of Croatia and Slovenia. By the time the Europeans met at Maastricht in 1991 to lay their plans for the disastrous eurozone, a secret deal had been struck; Germany would recognise Croatia. Yugoslavia was doomed.
In Washington, the US saw that the struggling Yugoslav economy was denied World Bank loans. Nato, then an almost defunct Cold War relic, was reinvented as imperial enforcer. At a 1999 Kosovo "peace" conference in Rambouillet, in France, the Serbs were subjected to the enforcer's duplicitous tactics. The Rambouillet accord included a secret Annex B, which the US delegation inserted on the last day. This demanded the military occupation of the whole of Yugoslavia – a country with bitter memories of the Nazi occupation – and the implementation of a "free-market economy" and the privatisation of all government assets. No sovereign state could sign this. Punishment followed swiftly; Nato bombs fell on a defenceless country. It was the precursor to the catastrophes in Afghanistan and Iraq, Syria and Libya, and Ukraine.
Since 1945, more than a third of the membership of the United Nations – 69 countries – have suffered some or all of the following at the hands of America's modern fascism. They have been invaded, their governments overthrown, their popular movements suppressed, their elections subverted, their people bombed and their economies stripped of all protection, their societies subjected to a crippling siege known as "sanctions". The British historian Mark Curtis estimates the death toll in the millions. In every case, a big lie was deployed.
Tonight, for the first time since 9/11, our combat mission in Afghanistan is over."
These were opening words of Obama's 2015 State of the Union address. In fact, some 10,000 troops and 20,000 military contractors (mercenaries) remain in Afghanistan on indefinite assignment. "The longest war in American history is coming to a responsible conclusion," said Obama. In fact, more civilians were killed in Afghanistan in 2014 than in any year since the UN took records.
The majority have been killed – civilians and soldiers – during Obama's time as president.
The tragedy of Afghanistan rivals the epic crime in Indochina. In his lauded and much quoted book 'The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives', Zbigniew Brzezinski, the godfather of US policies from Afghanistan to the present day, writes that if America is to control Eurasia and dominate the world, it cannot sustain a popular democracy, because "the pursuit of power is not a goal that commands popular passion… Democracy is inimical to imperial mobilisation." He is right. As WikiLeaks and Edward Snowden have revealed, a surveillance and police state is usurping democracy. In 1976, Brzezinski, then President Carter's National Security Advisor, demonstrated his point by dealing a death blow to Afghanistan's first and only democracy. Who knows this vital history?
In the 1960s, a popular revolution swept Afghanistan, the poorest country on earth, eventually overthrowing the vestiges of the aristocratic regime in 1978. The People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) formed a government and declared a reform programme that included the abolition of feudalism, freedom for all religions, equal rights for women and social justice for the ethnic minorities. More than 13,000 political prisoners were freed and police files publicly burned.
The new government introduced free medical care for the poorest; peonage was abolished, a mass literacy programme was launched. For women, the gains were unheard of. By the late 1980s, half the university students were women, and women made up almost half of Afghanistan's doctors, a third of civil servants and the majority of teachers. "Every girl," recalled Saira Noorani, a female surgeon, "could go to high school and university. We could go where we wanted and wear what we liked. We used to go to cafes and the cinema to see the latest Indian film on a Friday and listen to the latest music. It all started to go wrong when the mujaheddin started winning. They used to kill teachers and burn schools. We were terrified. It was funny and sad to think these were the people the West supported."
The PDPA government was backed by the Soviet Union, even though, as former Secretary of State Cyrus Vance later admitted, "there was no evidence of any Soviet complicity [in the revolution]". Alarmed by the growing confidence of liberation movements throughout the world, Brzezinski decided that if Afghanistan was to succeed under the PDPA, its independence and progress would offer the "threat of a promising example".
On July 3, 1979, the White House secretly authorised support for tribal "fundamentalist" groups known as the mujaheddin, a program that grew to over $500 million a year in U.S. arms and other assistance. The aim was the overthrow of Afghanistan's first secular, reformist government. In August 1979, the US embassy in Kabul reported that "the United States' larger interests… would be served by the demise of [the PDPA government], despite whatever setbacks this might mean for future social and economic reforms in Afghanistan." The italics are mine.
The mujaheddin were the forebears of al-Qaeda and Islamic State. They included Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who received tens of millions of dollars in cash from the CIA Hekmatyar's specialty was trafficking in opium and throwing acid in the faces of women who refused to wear the veil. Invited to London, he was lauded by Prime Minister Thatcher as a "freedom fighter".
Such fanatics might have remained in their tribal world had Brzezinski not launched an international movement to promote Islamic fundamentalism in Central Asia and so undermine secular political liberation and "destabilise" the Soviet Union, creating, as he wrote in his autobiography, "a few stirred up Muslims". His grand plan coincided with the ambitions of the Pakistani dictator, General Zia ul-Haq, to dominate the region. In 1986, the CIA and Pakistan's intelligence agency, the ISI, began to recruit people from around the world to join the Afghan jihad. The Saudi multi-millionaire Osama bin Laden was one of them. Operatives who would eventually join the Taliban and al-Qaeda, were recruited at an Islamic college in Brooklyn, New York, and given paramilitary training at a CIA camp in Virginia. This was called "Operation Cyclone". Its success was celebrated in 1996 when the last PDPA president of Afghanistan, Mohammed Najibullah – who had gone before the UN General Assembly to plead for help – was hanged from a streetlight by the Taliban.
The "blowback" of Operation Cyclone and its "few stirred up Muslims" was September 11, 2001. Operation Cyclone became the "war on terror", in which countless men, women and children would lose their lives across the Muslim world, from Afghanistan to Iraq, Yemen, Somalia and Syria. The enforcer's message was and remains: "You are with us or against us."
The common thread is mass murder
The common thread in fascism, past and present, is mass murder. The American invasion of Vietnam had its "free fire zones", "body counts" and "collateral damage". In the province of Quang Ngai, where I reported from, many thousands of civilians ("gooks") were murdered by the US; yet only one massacre, at My Lai, is remembered. In Laos and Cambodia, the greatest aerial bombardment in history produced an epoch of terror marked today by the spectacle of joined-up bomb craters which, from the air, resemble monstrous necklaces. The bombing gave Cambodia its own ISIS, led by Pol Pot.
Today, the world's greatest single campaign of terror entails the execution of entire families, guests at weddings, mourners at funerals. These are Obama's victims. According to the New York Times, Obama makes his selection from a CIA "kill list" presented to him every Tuesday in the White House Situation Room. He then decides, without a shred of legal justification, who will live and who will die. His execution weapon is the Hellfire missile carried by a pilotless aircraft known as a drone; these roast their victims and festoon the area with their remains. Each "hit" is registered on a faraway console screen as a "bugsplat".
"For goose-steppers," wrote the historian Norman Pollack, "substitute the seemingly more innocuous militarisation of the total culture. And for the bombastic leader, we have the reformer manque, blithely at work, planning and executing assassination, smiling all the while."
Uniting fascism old and new is the cult of superiority. "I believe in American exceptionalism with every fibre of my being," said Obama, evoking declarations of national fetishism from the 1930s. As the historian Alfred W. McCoy has pointed out, it was the Hitler devotee, Carl Schmitt, who said, "The sovereign is he who decides the exception." This sums up Americanism, the world's dominant ideology. That it remains unrecognised as a predatory ideology is the achievement of an equally unrecognised brainwashing. Insidious, undeclared, presented wittily as enlightenment on the march, its conceit insinuates western culture. I grew up on a cinematic diet of American glory, almost all of it a distortion. I had no idea that it was the Red Army that had destroyed most of the Nazi war machine, at a cost of as many as 13 million soldiers. By contrast, US losses, including in the Pacific, were 400,000. Hollywood reversed this.
The difference now is that cinema audiences are invited to wring their hands at the "tragedy" of American psychopaths having to kill people in distant places – just as the President himself kills them. The embodiment of Hollywood's violence, the actor and director Clint Eastwood, was nominated for an Oscar this year for his movie, 'American Sniper', which is about a licensed murderer and nutcase. The New York Times described it as a "patriotic, pro-family picture which broke all attendance records in its opening days".
There are no heroic movies about America's embrace of fascism. During the Second World War, America (and Britain) went to war against Greeks who had fought heroically against Nazism and were resisting the rise of Greek fascism. In 1967, the CIA helped bring to power a fascist military junta in Athens – as it did in Brazil and most of Latin America. Germans and east Europeans who had colluded with Nazi aggression and crimes against humanity were given safe haven in the US; many were pampered and their talents rewarded. Wernher von Braun was the "father" of both the Nazi V-2 terror bomb and the US space programme.
In the 1990s, as former Soviet republics, eastern Europe and the Balkans became military outposts of Nato, the heirs to a Nazi movement in Ukraine were given their opportunity. Responsible for the deaths of thousands of Jews, Poles and Russians during the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, Ukrainian fascism was rehabilitated and its "new wave" hailed by the enforcer as "nationalists".
This reached its apogee in 2014 when the Obama administration splashed out $5 billion on a coup against the elected government. The shock troops were neo-Nazis known as the Right Sector and Svoboda. Their leaders include Oleh Tyahnybok, who has called for a purge of the "Moscow-Jewish mafia" and "other scum", including gays, feminists and those on the political left.
These fascists are now integrated into the Kiev coup government. The first deputy speaker of the Ukrainian parliament, Andriy Parubiy, a leader of the governing party, is co-founder of Svoboda. On February 14, Parubiy announced he was flying to Washington get "the USA to give us highly precise modern weaponry". If he succeeds, it will be seen as an act of war by Russia.
No western leader has spoken up about the revival of fascism in the heart of Europe – with the exception of Vladimir Putin, whose people lost 22 million to a Nazi invasion that came through the borderland of Ukraine. At the recent Munich Security Conference, Obama's Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Victoria Nuland, ranted abuse about European leaders for opposing the US arming of the Kiev regime. She referred to the German Defence Minister as "the minister for defeatism". It was Nuland who masterminded the coup in Kiev. The wife of Robert D. Kagan, a leading "neo-con" luminary and co-founder of the extreme right wing Project for a New American Century, she was foreign policy advisor to Dick Cheney.
Nuland's coup did not go to plan. Nato was prevented from seizing Russia's historic, legitimate, warm-water naval base in Crimea. The mostly Russian population of Crimea – illegally annexed to Ukraine by Nikita Krushchev in 1954 – voted overwhelmingly to return to Russia, as they had done in the 1990s. The referendum was voluntary, popular and internationally observed. There was no invasion.
At the same time, the Kiev regime turned on the ethnic Russian population in the east with the ferocity of ethnic cleansing. Deploying neo-Nazi militias in the manner of the Waffen-SS, they bombed and laid to siege cities and towns. They used mass starvation as a weapon, cutting off electricity, freezing bank accounts, stopping social security and pensions. More than a million refugees fled across the border into Russia. In the western media, they became unpeople escaping "the violence" caused by the "Russian invasion". The Nato commander, General Breedlove – whose name and actions might have been inspired by Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove – announced that 40,000 Russian troops were "massing". In the age of forensic satellite evidence, he offered none.
These Russian-speaking and bilingual people of Ukraine – a third of the population – have long sought a federation that reflects the country's ethnic diversity and is both autonomous and independent of Moscow. Most are not "separatists" but citizens who want to live securely in their homeland and oppose the power grab in Kiev. Their revolt and establishment of autonomous "states" are a reaction to Kiev's attacks on them. Little of this has been explained to western audiences.
On May 2, 2014, in Odessa, 41 ethnic Russians were burned alive in the trade union headquarters with police standing by. The Right Sector leader Dmytro Yarosh hailed the massacre as "another bright day in our national history". In the American and British media, this was reported as a "murky tragedy" resulting from "clashes" between "nationalists" (neo-Nazis) and "separatists" (people collecting signatures for a referendum on a federal Ukraine).
The New York Times buried the story, having dismissed as Russian propaganda warnings about the fascist and anti-Semitic policies of Washington's new clients. The Wall Street Journal damned the victims – "Deadly Ukraine Fire Likely Sparked by Rebels, Government Says". Obama congratulated the junta for its "restraint".
If Putin can be provoked into coming to their aid, his pre-ordained "pariah" role in the West will justify the lie that Russia is invading Ukraine. On January 29, Ukraine's top military commander, General Viktor Muzhemko, almost inadvertently dismissed the very basis for US and EU sanctions on Russia when he told a news conference emphatically: "The Ukrainian army is not fighting with the regular units of the Russian Army". There were "individual citizens" who were members of "illegal armed groups", but there was no Russian invasion. This was not news. Vadym Prystaiko, Kiev's Deputy Foreign Minister, has called for "full scale war" with nuclear-armed Russia.
On February 21, US Senator James Inhofe, a Republican from Oklahoma, introduced a bill that would authorise American arms for the Kiev regime. In his Senate presentation, Inhofe used photographs he claimed were of Russian troops crossing into Ukraine, which have long been exposed as fakes. It was reminiscent of Ronald Reagan's fake pictures of a Soviet installation in Nicaragua, and Colin Powell's fake evidence to the UN of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
The intensity of the smear campaign against Russia and the portrayal of its president as a pantomime villain is unlike anything I have known as a reporter. Robert Parry, one of America's most distinguished investigative journalists, who revealed the Iran-Contra scandal, wrote recently, "No European government, since Adolf Hitler's Germany, has seen fit to dispatch Nazi storm troopers to wage war on a domestic population, but the Kiev regime has and has done so knowingly. Yet across the West's media/political spectrum, there has been a studious effort to cover up this reality even to the point of ignoring facts that have been well established… If you wonder how the world could stumble into world war three – much as it did into world war one a century ago – all you need to do is look at the madness over Ukraine that has proved impervious to facts or reason."
In 1946, the Nuremberg Tribunal prosecutor said of the German media: "The use made by Nazi conspirators of psychological warfare is well known. Before each major aggression, with some few exceptions based on expediency, they initiated a press campaign calculated to weaken their victims and to prepare the German people psychologically for the attack… In the propaganda system of the Hitler State it was the daily press and the radio that were the most important weapons." In the Guardian on February 2, Timothy Garton-Ash called, in effect, for a world war. "Putin must be stopped," said the headline. "And sometimes only guns can stop guns." He conceded that the threat of war might "nourish a Russian paranoia of encirclement"; but that was fine. He name-checked the military equipment needed for the job and advised his readers that "America has the best kit".
In 2003, Garton-Ash, an Oxford professor, repeated the propaganda that led to the slaughter in Iraq. Saddam Hussein, he wrote, "has, as [Colin] Powell documented, stockpiled large quantities of horrifying chemical and biological weapons, and is hiding what remains of them. He is still trying to get nuclear ones." He lauded Blair as a "Gladstonian, Christian liberal interventionist". In 2006, he wrote, "Now we face the next big test of the West after Iraq: Iran."
The outbursts – or as Garton-Ash prefers, his "tortured liberal ambivalence" – are not untypical of those in the transatlantic liberal elite who have struck a Faustian deal. The war criminal Blair is their lost leader. The Guardian, in which Garton-Ash's piece appeared, published a full-page advertisement for an American Stealth bomber. On a menacing image of the Lockheed Martin monster were the words: "The F-35. GREAT For Britain". This American "kit" will cost British taxpayers £1.3 billion, its F-model predecessors having slaughtered across the world. In tune with its advertiser, a Guardian editorial has demanded an increase in military spending.
Once again, there is serious purpose. The rulers of the world want Ukraine not only as a missile base; they want its economy. Kiev's new Finance Minister, Nataliwe Jaresko, is a former senior US State Department official in charge of US overseas "investment". She was hurriedly given Ukrainian citizenship. They want Ukraine for its abundant gas; Vice President Joe Biden's son is on the board of Ukraine's biggest oil, gas and fracking company. The manufacturers of GM seeds, companies such as the infamous Monsanto, want Ukraine's rich farming soil.
Above all, they want Ukraine's mighty neighbour, Russia. They want to Balkanise or dismember Russia and exploit the greatest source of natural gas on earth. As the Arctic ice melts, they want control of the Arctic Ocean and its energy riches, and Russia's long Arctic land border. Their man in Moscow used to be Boris Yeltsin, a drunk, who handed his country's economy to the West. His successor, Putin, has re-established Russia as a sovereign nation; that is his crime.
The responsibility of the rest of us is clear. It is to identify and expose the reckless lies of warmongers and never to collude with them. It is to re-awaken the great popular movements that brought a fragile civilisation to modern imperial states. Most important, it is to prevent the conquest of ourselves: our minds, our humanity, our self respect. If we remain silent, victory over us is assured, and a holocaust beckons.
Jul 05, 2015 | The American Conservative
Responses to Patriotism Begins With Localism
Apolitical, July 3, 2015 at 9:50 am
Dulce et decorum est … to stop believing the "old lie" that appears so promiscuously on Union and Confederate war memorials. If men on all sides always die for country, who puts them up to it?
JonF, July 3, 2015 at 10:44 am
Re: But it is also, crucially, a matter of shared bloodlines, language, history, literature, and cuisine, things that originated long before the time of Rousseau and Voltaire.
At yet France is a glued-together-at-the-seams country too. The whole South of France once spoke a different language, in which the troubadours sang, and which still survives in the local dialects of the inhabitants. Burgundy was once a sovereign and very wealthy duchy whose duke controlled almost the entire Rhineland all the way to the Netherlands. Brittany too was its own nation, albeit torn between France and England. And the English ruled Gascony for 300 years, and were preferred as rulers to the Valois kings so that the Gascons promptly revolted when the French took the land back. The Pope ruled (and for a time dwelt) in Avignon. The Provence was a county of the Holy Roman Empire. Louis XIV knit these disparate lands together by corralling their nobility into velvet captivity at Versailles. The Revolutionaries added an ideology and a national anthem (and spilled the blood of the dissenters) and Napoleon gave the mix a mythology of glory. But the seams are still there under the surface. And indeed, you can find similar fissures in many other European countries too.
Connecticut Farmer, July 3, 2015 at 10:47 am
The concept of a country linked together by a common set of laws was never intended by our revered Founders to be anything more or less than an experiment. An experiment that had never been tried before. Arguably the United States Constitution that was drafted during the height of the Enlightenment and, together with the America's so-called "birth certificate", Jefferson's Declaration, may be considered that era's greatest accomplishment…a little Locke here, a dash of Montesquieu there and…Voila! In that respect "United" States are in no way "united", in the strictest sense of the word, except through the Constitution. And I suspect that is about all the Founders could have hoped for. From the beginning America was– and remains– a culturally Balkanized and, now more than ever, polyglot landmass more reminiscent of pre-World War One Austria-Hungary.
The late Speaker of The House, Tip O'Neill-a Boston Irishman I might add–is reputed to have once said "All politics is local." He got it half right. What he should have said is "All LOYALTY is local". I am also reminded of a line in The Godfather when Sonny Cordleone says to his brother Fredo "Your country ain't your blood".
Patriotism indeed begins on the local level, whether geographical, cultural, familial–or some combination thereof. The author is spot-on.
Gregory, July 3, 2015 at 8:28 pm
That line in Wilfred Owen's poem is supposed to be ironic…
TB, July 3, 2015 at 9:08 pm
"Patriotism Begins With Localism"
I think the last refuge of the scoundrel begins with tribalism fear which, is the cultural anthropologist's way of saying "localism".
Fran Macadam, July 3, 2015 at 11:57 pm
Well written, but full of unexamined assumptions that are more comforting myth than truth.
Like the girls who didn't stay thin, exactly.
"I'd wager that all of us on the roof that night were grateful to live in a place where we can vote, start a business, and express ourselves freely, and grateful towards the ungodly number of young men shot and shredded and killed in our name."
Yet voting's never meant less as policies are completely untethered from public opinion, except as it can be manufactured through what crony capitalism calls PR, more honest oligarchies call propaganda. And participation in voting is a minority activity, meaning real democracy's already given the process a vote of no confidence.
We can express ourselves freely, if we're not among those with proscribed views, but those in charge aren't interested in what we have to say. The main corporate media, the gateways through which most people get their filtered news, prints all the news that fits their status quo interests. No genuinely alternative political opinions that challenge the duopoly establishment are able to be considered, though the corporate donorist class has no solutions to the ill which ail us, except for mendacity. Certainly there have been an ungodly number of young men killed in our name, and an even more ungodly number of foreign civilians of all ages and sexes whom they have killed, also in our name. But truth be told, our name being invoked was our only connection to the purpose of the wars, which wasn't for our interests at all; none of the foreign wars of choice have secured our liberties, only debased them – and violated those of others. Far from making us secure, our very democracy has been endangered by their unaccountable and unconstitutional means, perhaps fatally. Perhaps only the young now can be so deceived, without experience, with heavy student debt focusing their thoughts on more immediate personal concerns, with their docile, untenured instructors carrying their own debt loads, unwilling to intellectually challenge the status quo.
What business will you be grateful to start? In the post-industrial economic desert of America that the donorist elites leveled to keep more of business' rewards for themselves, it's unlikely to be able to provide the stable, well-paying work that manufacturing used to.
I suggest getting another advisor and thesis.
JEinCA, July 4, 2015 at 3:16 am
I think Pat Buchanan said it best. We're no longer a nation in any traditional sense of the word. We are an economy. The best definition of a nation would be Michael Savage's definition of borders, language and culture but more important than all of this would be religion. Unless a nation has a commonly shared faith it can never truly be one. The Russians know this and that is why the Kremlin has thrown its support behind the Russian Orthodox Church. The West used to know this and that is why Europe was up until this last century identifiably Christian civilization with the biggest differances largely arising from the Catholic-Protestant divide.
For awhile America reflected Christian Europe but now we reflect Babylon and our elites are largely cynical atheists who look down on people of faith. Such a house could have never withstood a Great Depression let alone a Soviet style collapse.
Jul 04, 2015 | marknesop.wordpress.com
et Al, July 4, 2015 at 9:27 amMoon of Alabama: Greece: Sane Voices Call For A "No" Vote
…James K. Galbraith is right with his description of those leaders:
[T]he leaders of today's Europe are shallow, cloistered people, preoccupied with their local politics and unequipped, morally or intellectually, to cope with a continental problem. This is true of Angela Merkel in Germany, of François Hollande in France, and it is true also of Christine Lagarde at the IMF. In particular North Europe's leaders have not felt the crisis and do not know the economics, and in both respects they are the direct opposite of the Greeks…
As always, a voice of sanity and common sense. After bailing out West Germany in the 1960s, when the boot is on the other foot, they seem to have a rather short memory…
I have also read commentators on here talk about how Greece lied to get into MU, this has a great deal of truth in it, but one must remember the EU knew what a basket case Greece was financially, therefore they are equally complicit in this debacle.
The question has to be why the EU is doing this to Greece, they know their actions will do nothing other
than cause more misery in the country. The reason this is happening is to protect German banks. Greece
is the domino that could bring the whole system down."
"...No, the original package lent to Greece was to bailout Greek and EU banks. The subsequent bailout (to pay for the bailout) is 60% owned/facilitated by EFSF. It raised it through selling bonds, no doubt to financial institutions. So now we're in the bizarre situation of banks befitting from the bailout of banks with the Greek people carrying the can and Europeans (who are liable to honour EFSF bonds+intererst) blaming Greece and defending the banks! "
Jul 04, 2015 | The Guardian
Banksterdebtslave -> conor boyle 4 Jul 2015 11:15
Yes it should have been, by letting the banks go under as per Iceland. Or were too many people (living in vacuums ?) unprepared to deal with the short term pain ? Now it seems the world of people must suffer to service the Banks' bad debt.....what good slaves we are! The Emperor has no clothes!
Duncan Frame -> Brasil13 4 Jul 2015 11:10
Well that is the rub. Western banks effectively control the cost of credit globally. You either fall into line or you're perpetually behind the curve until you sell all your goods of any value.
W61212 -> Brasil13 4 Jul 2015 11:08
Careful what you wish for. From the EC
'In 2013 the EU recorded a trade surplus in goods (more than double the surplus registered in 2012). The EU also has a surplus in commercial services trade.
The EU is the biggest foreign investor in Brazil with investments in many sectors of the Brazilian economy. Around 50% of the FDI flows received by Brazil during the last 5 years originated in the EU.'
This debacle with Greece demonstrates the EU can't run itself and yet it has huge holdings with Brazil and has recently reversed to a trade surplus in to Brazil, a nation with huge natural, industrial and human resources of its own. Brazil exports mainly agricultural and mining products to the EU and imports manufactured products. See the imbalance? Brazil exports primary products and imports finished products made elsewhere and those jobs are elsewhere. See the problem?
GordonGecko 4 Jul 2015 11:07
There's only one letter difference but choice for the Greeks is to become either the new Ireland (and suffer self-inflicted austerity for decades to come) or the new Iceland (by tearing up the rule book and starting again).
I hope they watch this before voting;
usufruct -> Laurelei 4 Jul 2015 11:07
Germans (for the most part) are not Nazis or terrorists, and should not have to take the blame for this crisis. They are, however, dupes, like people living under capitalism everywhere. They are willing to let the international banksters and their political cronies in the European parliament run their lives and create whatever mischief they believe is in their interest.
ToddPalant -> Scaff1 4 Jul 2015 11:06
Tell us suckers then, about how Ukraine, a run down country that was just made worse by regime change. From bad Yanukovich to much worse American puppet and idiot Poroshenko plus a catastrophic war. Tell us about Lybia and bad Qaddafi, who in his life time killed 3-4000 people and the much worse UK-France that caused at least a 100000 dead with their pet invasion at the behest of our friends from across the Atlantic.
May be you need to dust your mirror.
Duncan Frame -> Laurelei 4 Jul 2015 11:05
Terrorists primary aim is to promote fear rather than harm. That's far more effective in getting their way. You close the banks you show the public what you're capable of.
Saaywar Montana -> thisisafix 4 Jul 2015 11:04
Their economies are naff. Spain and Italy are the two countries most likely to join Greece in a new union. Portugal and Ireland are too far gone but Ireland has been rebelling. Once people see a progressive union to compete with the rubbish EU then these countries will gain support for joining a new southern European union.
These countries are not out of the water and won't get out of it either. Austerity will do what it does and the people will rise up. It's inevitable. The EU doesn't have a monopoly on unions lol.
Greece, as did every other country, got left with the bill of the private banking sector. Yes, it was their fault for running a deficit but a significant proportion of the debt owed by the Greek gov is bank bailouts.
It's the same here. The UK paid £700bn to private banks to make sure they didn't fail. The deficit has nothing to do with that. so around 50% of the debt is a mixture or deficit spending and capital investments made by the government.
Robape Laurelei 4 Jul 2015 10:57
Financial terrorists, just interested in the bottom line, not countries.
elcomm W61212 4 Jul 2015 10:56
When fascist governments get in trouble at home they start wars to distract people. It's not that far out.
Duncan Frame Laurelei 4 Jul 2015 10:56
Yes everything's exceptional. 2008 was the biggest economic collapse since the great depression. And Greece was the most exposed country. No difference.
Alfie Silva karlmiltonkeynes 4 Jul 2015 10:55
My mistake, I thought you were intelligent.
It is common knowledge that only around 10% of bailout monies went to the real economy. You are correct indeed in that creditors got a haircut, mainly hedgefunds and most foreign banks by 2015 had reduced their exposure to Greece. The issue today is sovereign debt. Do you realise that sovereign debt is the senior collatoral for Eurozone banks?
So we are back to banks again Mr Banker.
Duncan Frame ID13579 4 Jul 2015 10:53
I don't have to excuse giving voice to the victims of those in power to you or anyone else. And it seems to me Tsipras is taking the same line. You confuse the Greek people with the people who actually profited from that debt. Why should they be forced to starve on the back of decisions over which they had influence?
usufruct -> HoorayHenrietta 4 Jul 2015 10:44
Like Americans and most other people around the globe, the German people have allowed the international banks to pull the wool over their eyes. There is no reason for taxpayers to bail out the banks as we are still doing here in the U.S. For the past six years my wife and I have been paying down mortgages on real estate hoping to reestablish equity in properties whose value was gutted by cavalier banksters on Wall Steet. A few clicks to gamble away the hard work of millions! These people should be arrested and tried for their crimes. In a fair court they would be sent away for life.
Chris Hindle 4 Jul 2015 10:42
'Yanis Varoufakis accuses creditors of terrorism.'
So what is wrong with that? Financial terrorism is a much more protracted and painful process to the victims than sudden violence, but the end result is the same.
The Vermin Who Would Be Kings have discovered they no longer need the fuss and expense of maintaining a standing army of occupation, far simpler to get countries/continents/ the world in deep debt (via bent politicians making private bankster debt into sovereign debt - just like they did in Greece ) and exert control through that.
BTW the UK has some £9 trillion in foreign debt (much of which is the bad debts of the City - and the highest of any stand-alone country on earth) So now you know what next months austerity drive is all about
InjunJoe -> degardiyen 4 Jul 2015 10:24
The "slovakian tax payer" will not be paying to maintain the Greek standard of living,
but to shore up the ECB, the IMF and the private lenders to Greek banks, as 90% of the "bail-out" goes to serving interest. Haven't you been reading the news?
Duncan Frame -> karlmiltonkeynes 4 Jul 2015 10:20
That's weird because at the same time the banks collapsed in 2008 the deficit went up from 57% to 82%, lots of people lost their jobs or had to take pay cuts. I'm sure it was just a coincidence.
LeftToWrite -> ID6487190 4 Jul 2015 10:17
Yeah the EU has shown itself to want a compromise. All those nice compromised offers it made. Yep we all remember those.
Compromise means both sides giving ground, not one side accepting everything the other demands. Use a dictionary next time.
For once a nation is standing up to EU bullying and we have ignorant fools like you turning it the other way in an attempt to change the narrative.
LeftToWrite 4 Jul 2015 10:11
How can the Troika have fucked up this badly? It seems they forgot that Greece is actually a construct that represents the people who live there, and you can't just impose misery after misery on a people without expecting them to finally have enough. Even if they vote yes, all it does is postpone that that time when they will have had enough.
Honestly, this has shown the true greed at the hearts of Merkel et al, and by extension the people they represent. Save the French and German banks, fuck over the Greek people. If people think anti German rhetoric in Greece is extreme now, decades of resentment is about to follow.
שוקי גלילי Steve Collins 4 Jul 2015 10:09duke_widin -> dniviE 4 Jul 2015 10:06
You probably meant to say "when you ask for it back from someone ELSE, who didn't actually get your money". Are you even aware that this is not actually loans that the Greek people got? If I loan money to your corrupt banker and than ask YOU to return it, will you be less offensive?
Sorry: its Wednesday 8th, I wrote Tuesday ;-))
email from Green Party Brussels office.
TTIP and ISDS - Call to action by Keith Taylor MEP!
Breaking news! We've just been informed that the postponed vote on the European Parliament resolution on TTIP has been put on the agenda for Wednesday 8th July.
MEPs will be voting on the resolution as a whole, but also on a whole array of amendments to the text.
Among these is a compromise amendment on the investor-state dispute mechanism, or ISDS. The compromise amendment suggests replacing ISDS courts with some kind of 'new' system, but there is no further explanation or details. As long as there is any system in place for investors to sue governments, as the compromise calls for, it is still ISDS. The fact that the Parliament's President is trying to spin this as something different by giving it a new name does not change anything.
The compromise amendment has been agreed by the largest groups in the European Parliament: the centre-left Socialists & Democrats (which includes the UK's Labour MEPs), the centre-right European People's Party, and the European Conservatives and Reformists group (which includes the UK's Conservative MEPs) and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (which includes the UK's Liberal Democrat MEP).
On Wednesday, all MEPs will get a chance to vote on this amendment and the resolution as a whole.
The Greens are calling on citizens, trade unions, NGOs, towns and regions and businesses to speak out and contact their elected representatives and hold them to account on this attempt to privatise justice and infringe democratic rights.
How you can help
This is our last chance to make sure that damaging ISDS provisions are not given the green light by the European Parliament. MEPs need to know the full force of public opinion on this threat to our national laws and our democratic rights.
Contact your other MEPs before Wednesday asking them to oppose TTIP and the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS).
- use Write To Them to email your MEPs directly with your own concerns
- use the 38 Degrees campaign to send a quick template email
- call your MEPs in Brussels to let them the reasons you're opposed
- spread the word! Share your concerns on social media, tweet your MEPs, encourage your friends and family to contact their MEPs, use Greens/EFA resources to campaign.
Message from Keith
"I've been extremely heartened to receive so many emails from constituents voicing their opposition to ISDS and the TTIP proposals in the last few weeks. It's clear that there's a powerful and growing democratic movement to protect our laws, our public services and our regulatory standards from potential devastation.
The decision to postpone the vote on TTIP earlier in the month stinks of political parties running scared of the huge public opposition to TTIP.
TTIP represents a monumental power grab by corporations and it must be stopped in its tracks.
The sudden re-scheduling of this vote means we are now short on time to make our voices heard. The Greens need all the help we can get to spread the word and put pressure on other MEPs to do the right thing and represent the views and interests of their constituents."
You can keep up-to-date with the Greens/EFA campaign and what the Greens are doing in the European Parliament via their TTIP campaign website and their twitter feed.
Thank you for your support.
LeftToWrite ID105467 4 Jul 2015 10:14
To bail out German banks, get your facts straight before posting nonsense.
Kalandar 4 Jul 2015 10:14
Propoganda galore from the mainstream media but its fooling no one, except perhaps themselves.
ID345543 4 Jul 2015 10:04
This Is Why The Euro Is Finished
The 2010 bailout was the one that allowed private French, Dutch and German banks to transfer their liabilities to the Greek public sector, and indirectly to the entire eurozone's public sector. There was no debt restructuring in that deal.
Ninetto owl905 4 Jul 2015 10:03
The loans were made by a cabal of high-financiers in Europe to a cabal of corrupt finianciers in Greece. The game of lending rules are: you bet that the party you lend money to will pay back the loan with interest. Which is what the German banks did, making a profit on the interest for quite some time. But now the high-financiers in Europe have lost the game, i.e. Greece/the-old-displaced-guard-in-Greece can no longer pay them back. That's the financiers problem: not the problem of Greece's normal citizens nor other EU taxpayers! Is that so difficult to understand? Class war for beginners... privatize the profit, socialize the loss.
NeverNotHereTV gsxsure 4 Jul 2015 09:59
Syriza does not want "free money". They want a fraction put toward economic growth, and then payments as a meaningful fraction of that growth. It is simple enough.
Alfie Silva 4 Jul 2015 09:50
Please can anyone explain to me why we are letting the bankster cabal turn European against European?
The banksters, multi-national corporations and their political lackeys, have engaged in an extend and pretend fantasy which is passing their private debt onto taxpayers across Europe. Once the shoulders of the Greek taxpayer have been broken, it will pass onto the shoulders of the taxpayers from the rest of Europe. God, I want to shake the anti Greek/pro EU lobby to wake them up. Greece, please, please, please vote NO, so we can begin the long process of getting control of Europe out of the hands of these maniacs.
Finnbolt 4 Jul 2015 09:49
"Debt relief was "politically highly toxic for many eurozone member states"."
Here you have the problem. The creditor state governments are responsible to their voters and many have said that their taxpayers will not finance the Greeks and money lent will be paid back in full.
Syriza says they have a mandate from the Greek people to force other euro countries to continue financing them and take a haircut. In other words, lose most of the money lent to Greece.
EU is a collection of nation states with pretensions of a federation. One of the pretensions about to be busted is a transfer union, meaning taxpayers in richer countries tranferring part of their wealth to poorer countries.
APSAPS 4 Jul 2015 09:49
A $22.6 billion International Monetary Fund and World Bank financial package was approved on 13 July 1998 to support reforms and stabilize the Russian market. Despite the bailout, July 1998 monthly interest payments on Russia's debt rose to a figure 40 percent higher than its monthly tax collections. Additionally, on 15 July 1998, the State Duma dominated by left-wing parties refused to adopt most of the government anti-crisis plan so that the government was forced to rely on presidential decrees. On 17 August 1998, the Russian government devalued the ruble, defaulted on domestic debt, and declared a moratorium on payment to foreign creditors. It was later revealed that about $5 billion of the international loans provided by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund were stolen upon the funds' arrival in Russia on the eve of the meltdown.
Sounds very similar.
Oh, wait, maybe some referendum could have helped?
Insomnijazz hertsman 4 Jul 2015 09:48
Nah - these are just lies for the gullible to swallow.
Without risking depositors' cash, governments had the ability to sit back ready to nationalise any banks whose lending to Greece was so irresponsible that they were unsustainable. This would have wiped out the shareholders and sent a clear message that lending as well as borrowing has to be responsible and that shareholders need to earn their fat returns by exerting oversight.
Instead they chose the worst option: bailing out the bank shareholders by assuming responsibility for their risky lending, but refusing to then pay the price for their political cowardice and shifting the blame onto a largely guiltless Greek population which has already suffered hugely from the economic devastation.
Brent1023 4 Jul 2015 09:46
Debt relief not on the table.
It comes down to the Greek people or the banksters. Who needs a bailout more?
The EU has sided with the banksters.
Not just in Greece but in Ireland, Spain, Portugal.
Only Iceland was able to force banksters to swallow their losses.
Everywhere else bankster fraud was rewarded with a 100% bailout.
Should be renamed the European Bankster Union.
Surprising that the UK does not want it - it also bailed out its banksters.
NWObserver sunnytimes 4 Jul 2015 09:39
The creditors are not looking to get their money back. Debt is the leverage being used to destroy the social and public infrastructure in the country.
So their worst nightmare is Greeks voting 'No', staying in default and surviving or prospering while remaining in the Eurozone. Then they will not be able to use the same fear tactics against another EZ country. They are psychopaths out to destroy, not creditors looking to get their money. So if Greeks vote 'No' , they will spare no effort to destroy Greece, beginning with the continuation of the liquidity freeze. However, there are some simple steps that Greece can take to end the liquidity freeze and I think they have already taken them.
Gottaloveit 4 Jul 2015 09:28
Read this article from 2010 by Michael Lewis and get a glimpse of what a mess Greece is
The people of Greece are not finished paying penance yet
W61212 Fritz72 4 Jul 2015 09:28
Albrecht Ritschl: During the past century alone, though, at least three times. After the first default during the 1930s, the US gave Germany a "haircut" in 1953, reducing its debt problem to practically nothing. Germany has been in a very good position ever since, even as other Europeans were forced to endure the burdens of World War II and the consequences of the German occupation. Germany even had a period of non-payment in 1990....but we were also extremely reckless -- and our export industry has thrived on orders. The anti-Greek sentiment that is widespread in many German media outlets is highly dangerous. And we are sitting in a glass house: Germany's resurgence has only been possible through waiving extensive debt payments and stopping reparations to its World War II victims.'
Enough said now?
W61212 hhnheim 4 Jul 2015 09:21
North2011 kizbot 4 Jul 2015 09:04
Don't worry. The nappy business is doing well in Brussels...
EU sources: possible extra Eurogroup on Monday and EU leaders Summit on Wednesday #Greferendum via GR media http://www.dimokratiki.gr/04-07-2015/pithano-ektakto-eurogroup-ti-deftera-ke-sinodos-korifis-tin-tetarti/ …
They are pissing in their pants the lot of them...
rafela Bogoas81 4 Jul 2015 09:00
Austerity didnt work. In the last five years the economy shrinked by 19%. Unemployment rose to 27%. Tsipras wanted more debt relief. The IMF report sustain that an improvement is impossible without debt relief.
sunnytimes 4 Jul 2015 08:58
German people are industrious and inventive. They play by the rules. Unfortunately they are also rather naive and believe generally what the state tells them. In history the role of such people has always been to pay the bills.
GuillotinesRUs 4 Jul 2015 08:45
Yanis Varoufakis has a point. The proposals put by the EU would cause the Greek economy to contract further, this effectively would increase the debt ratio to GDP. Nowhere have I heard any talk on how to build up the Greek economy, it has all been about collecting taxes.
I have also read commentators on here talk about how Greece lied to get into MU, this has a great deal of truth in it, but one must remember the EU knew what a basket case Greece was financially, therefore they are equally complicit in this debacle.
The question has to be why the EU is doing this to Greece, they know their actions will do nothing other than cause more misery in the country. The reason this is happening is to protect German banks. Greece is the domino that could bring the whole system down.
U77777 -> CassiusClay 4 Jul 2015 08:40
Austerity isn't the answer - but when you have put yourself into the situation that the Greeks have, it is part of the solution. A small part and nothing like the media like to portray, but something has got to give.
As for electing Tsipras and varoufakis......Seriously, stop drinking. They're a bunch of cowboys with some well intended principles and a load of rather deluded ideas. Worse still, neither of them have actually come up with anything like a constructive plan how to stimulate the economy and help Greece stand on its own 2 feet again
Dimitris Chloupis -> sylvester 4 Jul 2015 08:39
Any sensible Greek realizes without deep reforms no economy is going forward. This is not even debatable in my country. We already reduced public sector by 500.000 employes thats a juicy 50%. High pensions of the past are long gone. The result is that now it costs 6 billion to pay for wages in public sector and another 5 billion to pay for pension, total 10 billion. But we need another 10 billion for paying back loans each year. This year alone we paid back 25 billion !!!
Tax evasion should be our next focus, its not reasonable for an economy that makes 200 billions per year to need loans . There is a will to fix all that, because the alternative is far worse.
Of course the same can be said about Germany , why a country that make 3.1 trillion euros per year has a 80% debt ? Tax evasion of course ;) Time to open those swish bank accounts , but does Germany want that ? How many vested Greek interest are connected with German vested interest ?
Denying corruption is to deny the foundation of modern economies.
W61212 -> RussBrown 4 Jul 2015 08:39
I made a point earlier about the birth of a new Brussels based dictatorship which controls all EZ 'national governments', which are national governments by name only, ergo Syriza has to go for straying from the script. Brussels has already proven it would rather deal with corrupt Greek politicians by doing so in the past
Continent Renato -> Timotheus 4 Jul 2015 08:37
Inequality of opportunity in the Eurozone is now so great -- young people in Greece have an unemployment level of 60% and the rate is 33% in the austerity "success story" of Portugal
The systems are different. Northern countries have the dual education system, i.e. only about 10 p.c. of the youth go to college/university, and 90 p.c. go through a 3 or 4 year education "learning by doing".
In addition, the "dirty work" in Greece (farming/harvest/construction) is done by temporary migrants from Macedonia, Albania, Romania, Bulgaria because the Greek parents wanted their children to have a better life and sent them to universities without an employment market for so many acdemics. Many of them land in a job with in the bloated govt.
sunnytimes 4 Jul 2015 08:36
The true parasites are the bond markets of London and New York. The create nothing. All they do is swap pieces of paper with ech other all day long, skimming every transaction. The UK and US have run trade deficits or decades, that is by definition they produce less than they consume. Time to tear down this edifice of debt and get back to a capital-based economy.
LeftOrRightSameShite FOARP 4 Jul 2015 08:35
Greece already has been bailed out
No, the original package lent to Greece was to bailout Greek and EU banks. The subsequent bailout (to pay for the bailout) is 60% owned/facilitated by EFSF. It raised it through selling bonds, no doubt to financial institutions. So now we're in the bizarre situation of banks befitting from the bailout of banks with the Greek people carrying the can and Europeans (who are liable to honour EFSF bonds+intererst) blaming Greece and defending the banks!
Bit thick really innit!
RussBrown 4 Jul 2015 08:35
Myth 1 - Greece do nothing to solve the problem (they have had years of austerity)
Myth 2 - Germany is bailing out the Greeks. The money that goes to Greece goes straight back into the German Banks. But by making it impossible for business to run in Greece the businesses move their resources to Germany and pay taxes their in a massive transfer of wealth from a poor EU country to the richest. This is a capitalist scam and all of lot on here shouting their propaganda should be ashamed of yourselves. The rich bankers are using you to justify the destruction of the poor!
Jul 04, 2015 | Economist's View
Was the creation of the euro a mistake? Should it be eliminated?:Europe's Many Economic Disasters, by Paul Krugman, Commentary, NY Times:anne said...
Or to put it a bit differently, it's reasonable to fear the consequences of a "no" vote, because nobody knows what would come next. But you should be even more afraid of the consequences of a "yes," because in that case we do know what comes next - more austerity, more disasters and eventually a crisis much worse than anything we've seen so far.anne said...
July 2, 2015
Behind the Greek Crisis
The usual narrative of the Greek economic tragedy is that the country is paying for its past profligacy, but there is deeper back story of political repression fueled by major powers intervening in Greece and contributing to a dysfunctional political system.
By William R. Polk
Focusing exclusively on the monetary aspects of the Greek crisis the media misses much of what disturbs the Greeks and also what might make a solution possible.
For over half a century, Greeks have lived in perilous times. In the 1930s, they lived under a brutal dictatorship that modeled itself on Nazi Germany, employing Gestapo-like secret police and sending critics off to an island concentration camp. Then a curious thing happened: Benito Mussolini invaded the country.
Challenged to protect their self-respect and their country, Greeks put aside their hatred of the Metaxis dictatorship and rallied to fight the foreign invaders. The Greeks did such a good job of defending their country that Adolf Hitler had to put off his invasion of Russia to rescue the Italians. That move probably saved Josef Stalin since the delay forced the Wehrmacht to fight in Russia's mud, snow and ice for which they had not prepared. But, ironically, it also saved the Metaxis dictatorship and the monarchy. The king and all the senior Greek officials fled to British-occupied Egypt and, as new allies, they were declared part of the "Free World."
Meanwhile, in Greece, the Germans looted much of the industry, shipping and food stuffs. The Greeks began to starve. As Mussolini remarked, "the Germans have taken from the Greeks even their shoelaces…"
Then, the Greeks began to fight back. In October 1942, they set up a resistance movement that within two years became the largest in Europe. When France could claim less than 20,000 partisans, the Greek resistance movement had enrolled about 2 million and was holding down at least two divisions of German soldiers. And they did it without outside help.
As the war's outcome became apparent, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was determined to return Greece to the prewar rule of the monarchy and the old regime. He was motivated by fear of Communist influence within the resistance movement.
Churchill tried to get the Anglo-American army that was getting ready to invade Italy to attack Greece instead. Indeed, he tried so hard to change the war plan that he almost broke up the Allied military alliance; when he failed, he threw all the soldiers he still controlled into Greece and precipitated a civil war that tore the country apart. The Underground leaders were outsmarted and their movement was smashed. The bureaucracy, police and programs of the prewar dictatorship resumed control.
After the war, with Britain out of money and no longer able to sustain its policy, London turned Greece over to the Americans who announced the "Truman Doctrine" and poured in money to prevent a leftist victory. American money temporarily won the day, but the heavy hand of the former regime created a new generation of would-be democrats who challenged the dictatorship.
This is the theme beautifully evoked in Costa Gavras' film "Z," starring Yves Montagne. As the film shows, the liberal movement of the early 1960s was overwhelmed by a new military dictatorship, "the rule of the colonels."
When the military junta was overthrown in 1974, Greece enjoyed a brief period of "normality," but none of the deep fissures in the society had been healed. Regardless of what political party chose the ministers, the self-perpetuating bureaucracy was still in control. Corruption was rife. And, most important of all, Greece had become a political system that Aristotle would have called an oligarchy.
The very rich used their money to create for themselves a virtual state within the state. They extended their power into every niche of the economy and so arranged the banking system that it became essentially extra-territorialized. Piraeus harbor was filled with mega-yachts owned by people who paid no taxes and London was partly owned by people who fattened off the Greek economy. The "smart money" of Greece was stashed abroad.
The Current Crisis
This state of affairs might have lasted many more years, but when Greece joined the European Union in 1981, European (mainly German) bankers saw an opportunity: they flocked into Greece to offer loans. Even those Greeks who had insufficient income to justify loans grabbed them. Then, the lenders began to demand repayment. Shocked, businesses began to cut back. Unemployment increased. Opportunities vanished.
There is really no chance that the loans will be repaid. They should never have been offered and never should have been accepted. To stay afloat, the government has cut back on public services (except for the military) and the people have suffered. In the 2004 elections, the Greeks had not yet suffered enough to vote for the radical coalition led by the "Unity" (SYRIZA) party. Only 3.3 percent of the voters did.
Then, after the 2008 financial crash came years of worsening hardship, disapproval of all politicians and anger. It was popular anger, feeling misled by the bankers and by their own foolishness. There was also hopelessness as Greeks realized that they had no way out and began to turn to SYRIZA. After a series of failed attempts to secure a mandate, SYRIZA won the 2015 election with 36.3 percent of the vote and 249 out of 300 members of Parliament.
Today, the conditions that impelled that vote are even more urgent: the national income of Greece is down about 25 percent and unemployment among younger workers is over 50 percent. So where does that leave the negotiators?
Faced with German and EU demands for more austerity, the Greeks are angry. They have deep memories of hatred against the Germans (this time, not soldiers but bankers). They have been, time after time, traduced by their own politicians. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras must know that if he is charged with a "sell-out," his career is finished.
And the bail-out package offered by the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank is heavily weighted against Greece. Greeks also see their option of exiting the Euro as similar to stances taken by Britain and Sweden in not joining in the first place – although a painful adjustment for the Greek economy would be expected if Greece undertakes an unprecedented departure from the European currency.
However, unless the IMF and ECB offer a real chance for a better life for Greeks by forgiving most of the debts, I believe that the Greeks might well vote on Sunday to reject the austerity demands and leave the Euro.
William R. Polk is a professor who taught Middle Eastern studies at Harvard. President John F. Kennedy appointed Polk to the State Department's Policy Planning Council.
July 2, 2015
Congress Weighs in on Holding IMF Accountable for Damage Caused by Failed Policies in Greece
By Mark Weisbrot
The battle over the future of Greece will not end on Sunday, no matter how the vote goes or -- if the Greek people vote "no" -- how the European authorities respond to their choice. This is a fight over the future of Europe, and the people who are currently strangling the Greek economy in a transparent attempt to intimidate the Greek electorate understand this very well. That is why they are being especially aggressive and ruthless at this moment: trying to convince Greeks that a "no" vote means leaving the euro, claiming that such a decision would have calamitous consequences, and giving them a taste of the financial crisis and economic disruption that they will suffer through if they refuse to do as they are told.
Last Sunday, the European Central Bank (ECB) made a deliberate decision to limit Emergency Liquidity Assistance to the Greek banking system. The limit was set low enough to force -- for the first time in the six years of depression that the ECB has deepened and prolonged -- the closure of Greek banks.
It is not surprising that the very idea of a referendum would provoke the ire of the eurozone authorities. Unlike the European Union, which has a different history, the eurozone project has become a fundamentally anti-democratic project. It has to be; the people currently running it want to reverse, as much as possible, decades of social progress on issues that are vital to Europeans. But you don't have to take my word for it: there is a paper trail of thousands of pages that spell out their political agenda. The International Monetary Fund conducts regular consultations with member governments under Article IV of its charter, and these result in papers which contain policy recommendations. There were 67 such consultations for EU countries during the four years of 2008 to 2011, and the pattern was striking: budget tightening was recommended in all 27 countries, with spending cuts generally favored over tax increases. Cutting health care and pension spending, reducing eligibility for disability and unemployment compensation, raising retirement ages and increasing labor supply were also overwhelmingly common recommendations.
The European authorities took advantage of the crisis and post-crisis years to impose parts of this agenda on the weaker eurozone economies: Spain, Italy, Portugal, Ireland and most brutally of all, Greece. More than 20 governments fell as a result, until finally, in Greece on January 25, a government was elected that said no. The goal of the European authorities, therefore, is to topple this government. This has been apparent since the ECB cut off itsmain line of credit to Greece on February 4.
Now comes a group of U.S. members of Congress warning the IMF that it could -- perhaps for the first time in decades -- be held accountable for the economic destruction that it's helping to implement. The letter objects to the IMF "taking a hard line with respect to demands that Greece implement further reforms" and notes:
Greece has already reduced its national public sector work force by 19 percent and carried out many of the reforms demanded by the IMF and its creditors. It has gone through an enormous fiscal adjustment, achieving the largest cyclically adjusted primary budget surplus in the euro area last year; and a very large current account adjustment (with a 36 percent reduction in imports). At the same time, as even the IMF has acknowledged in its own research, the austerity imposed by Greece's creditors over the past five years turned out to be far more devastating to the economy than they had predicted.
Senator Bernie Sanders, who joined House members in signing the letter, issued his own blistering statement yesterday. "At a time of grotesque wealth inequality, the pensions of the people in Greece should not be cut even further to pay back some of the largest banks and wealthiest financiers in the world," said Sanders. Among the House signers were the co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Representatives Keith Ellison and Raul Grijalva, and the Dean of the House and Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee, Rep. John Conyers.
Unlike many letters from Congress that are ignored by the executive branch, this one might be taken more seriously by the IMF and the U.S. Treasury department -- which is the IMF's most powerful overseer. One reason is that the IMF has been trying for five years to enact reforms in its governance structure that are very important to the Fund and Treasury -- reforms that can't be enacted unless they are approved by Congress. These reforms would make some small changes in voting representation. They wouldn't shift the balance of power at the Fund, with the U.S. and its allies still likely to maintain a comfortable majority. But the U.S. government and the Fund have lost a lot of credibility in recent years by unilaterally holding up even these largely symbolic changes. They see this hold-up as encouraging developing countries to opt for creating new institutions such as the BRICS Development Bank and Currency Reserve Arrangement. More recently, the Obama administration suffered an embarrassing setback after the U.K., Germany and France ignored their pleas and became founding members of China's new $100 billion initiative to create an Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
From the congressional letter:
"As members of the U.S. Congress, we must also note the unprecedented difficulty that the IMF's proposed quota and governance reform has faced in the U.S. Congress since 2010. As you know, this also has global implications, as some governments in developing countries have begun to lose confidence in this effort to make the IMF's voting structure more representative of its member countries in the twenty-first century and are seeking institutional alternatives. It will be difficult to get a majority of the U.S. Congress on board for these important reforms if the IMF is seen as responsible for further damage to the Greek economy, as well as the currently unforeseeable consequences of any financial collapse."
The IMF will need all the votes it can get for this legislation to pass through Congress. It can choose to ignore this warning at its own institutional risk.
Jul 03, 2015 | M of Aguest77 | Jul 2, 2015 6:20:38 PMMike Maloney | Jul 2, 2015 6:08:06 PM | 27
The Greeks have to make their decision as to what they are going to do. This is not a vote about staying in the EU. If the Greeks are kicked out, there is no one to blame for that decision except the EU masters. The Greeks are making only one decision - wether or not to agree to the terms of the EU for the repayment of the debt - and thereby wether the debt was incurred legally.
All those who claim that this is a referendum on the EU are liars who are not being honest with the Greek people. Those who are trotting out the endless stream of confusion as to what this referendum is about - like the BBC, the New York Times, and even Greek parties like Potomi, etc - are clearly no friends of the Greek people. Because to be a friend is to speak honestly."Your mention of compradors is important because the internal enemies of the Greek people may be more dangerous than the external Troika."The internal and external enemies of the Greek people are one in the same. The Greeks are paying the Troika who gives the money to prop up Greek banking oligarchs. There is no difference between a banker in Athens, a banker in Frankfurt, or a hedge fund vulture in New York City holding Greek debt. All are ghouls who are profiting from the destruction of Greece.
The Greek comprador class supported the Nazis in the Second World War, fought against the United Front in the civil war, made the neo-fascist 1970s regime, and today they support EU/NATO integration and austerity. They are an integral part of the European ruling class that is holding the working and middle classes of across the whole continent by the balls. The ruling class which has divided Europe, once again as they did in the 1930s, into "Germans" and "Greeks" instead of the reality - of workers and rulers. So, there is not one "more dangerous" than the other. They are the same.
To add to the anti-Syriza noise machine, wether from a reactionary stance or a "ultra-leftist" stance, is to do the people of Europe a disservice. Syriza is the only left-wing, anti-austerity party with power inside the EU. It is unique. It fought the Golden Dawn on the streets of Athens. It engaged the Greek people and asked for their vote, and it is living up to their mandate without - and this is key - claiming more of one than they earned.
The referendum vote will be their true mandate. The Greek people have had a chance to see Syriza in action, the referendum will be the Greek people's chance to show or deny their trust in Syriza before embarking on a long struggle for independence, or maintaining the constant drain of austerity.The stakes are clear: Syriza's success means a stake in the heart of the EU debt vampires who are feeding off of not just Greece, but on all of those nations deemed "the periphery". Success for Syriza is success for the very idea of democracy in the 21st Century. It is that cut-and-dried.
If Syriza fails, then the last good hope for European democracy vanishes until, perhaps, the next escalation of crisis, whenever that might be a year or two years down the road. Or perhaps for the foreseeable future. Because this is the simplest question of the referendum: do a people have the right to say "no" to those whom wish them ill, to say "no" to those who, by whatever "legal" power, are seeking to oppress them? As Martin Luther King, Jr stated: "One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws." And clearly this debt - and the refusal of those who imposed it to make any compromise, even for the sickest and the poorest - is unjust. So which is worse - to face the morse losses for ones shattered economy, or the loss of ones national will and democracy? Because after Syriza, there is the abyss. There is no one offering to speak for the Greek people if Syriza falls.
If Syriza succeeds, though, then all over Europe, we could see these sham technocratic, ruling class regimes fall. These regimes whose only reason for staying in power is naked fear. This is a good time to recall the words of Franklin Roosevelt, when the US found itself crushed between a failed economy on one side, and a nest of powerful oligarchs on the other who refused to offer any support to the citizens of the country:This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today. This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself-nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days.
The Greeks are facing a moment of truth as stark and as clear as any in human history. As stark as any 20th Century war for independence. They can choose to continue down their current path, only to have to face the same choice in a year or two years from now with conditions far, far worse (there is no one arguing that there is any hope for their recovery - no one). So it is either continued depression under the "guiding hand" of those who seek only one thing from Greece: the transfer of its wealth. Or they can say "No" and take their destiny, again, into their own hands. Only once they have made their collective will known will Europe decide what course of action to take: compromise, or split Europe. And if it is a split, then the only party responsible will be the masters of the EU.You know, the whole name-calling thing, Comrade X, escapes me. Why people feel like it enhances their persona I don't know. To repeat: the troika has already won this contest because Syriza capitulated. You quote me incorrectly.xxx
I think failure for the troika is if they get the Yes vote they want and then refuse to offer concessions, which will push Tsipras and Varoufakis to resign. Without a deal shortly the ECB will have to step in and expand emergency liquidity assistance to make sure all those retirees who don't use debit cards have enough cash to buy food.As this isn't a vote about EU membership, then the Greek people should have no fear. They should vote as their conscience dictates.
Who knows what form the EU Masters want the Union to take? The Greek people won't have a say in this and they should recognize that. The Greeks should recognize their limits - they do not have the power to vote to stay or leave the EU, they have only the power to vote on to wether or not to pay this odious debt. Europe will do with them, after that, as it will. So they should be clear that they are voting only on the debt, and ignore all those who are trying to cloud the issue.
The real danger, as always, is that we know the USA is busy manipulating every European political system. And we know that US geopolitics will insist on Greece remaining in the EU and in NATO no matter what it means for the Greeks. So the Greek people must be extremely wary of all those going onto the streets, EuroMaidan-style, for "Pro-EU" rallies... they're dishonest at best, and more likely they are pawns of the only power even less interested in the welfare of the Greek people than even the EU - Washington Imperialsim.
ab initio | Jul 2, 2015 6:53:47 PM | 29A, Yes vote would mean that the Syriza government must resign since the implication is that the Greek people have voted a motion of no confidence.
A, No vote would mean the ball is in the Troika court. They can a) choose not to fund the Greek banks anymore which would imply that the banks would collapse immediately and no more pension payments under the current Euro system; b) Choose to give Greece an ultimatum of accept or reject whatever their offer will be. Non acceptance would mean once again they can cause Greek banks to collapse.
The Greek people are caught between a rock & a hard place. Risk the collapse of their banks and a new unknown future in a non-Euro currency system or accept whatever terms the Troika is willing to provide to keep their banks afloat. There is a decent probability that there is a "civil war" in Greece between those that would prefer to be in the Euro currency bloc under whatever terms the Troika offers and those wanting out of the Euro currency system.
BTW, this is not advocacy, only analysis.
Nana 2007 | Jul 2, 2015 7:04:24 PM | 30The real danger, as always, is that we know the USA is busy manipulating every European political system. And we know that US geopolitics will insist on Greece remaining in the EU and in NATO no matter what it means for the Greeks. So the Greek people must be extremely wary of all those going onto the streets, EuroMaidan-style, for "Pro-EU" rallies... they're dishonest at best, and more likely they are pawns of the only power even less interested in the welfare of the Greek people than even the EU - Washington Imperialsim.
guest77 | Jul 2, 2015 6:20:38 PM
Well put. Thanks for your posts.
jo6pac | Jul 2, 2015 8:03:53 PM | 36Very emphatic and stirring, guest77 @26. This is another moment of truth for non-Greek capitalist slaves as well. They are discouraged from seeing the Greek whip as their own.In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory.Oh. Pray I may ask, President Roosevelt, "Why do we not need a leadership of frankness and vigor in good hour?" Perhaps this is why we don't get one in the dark ones?
"Those who claim that this is a referendum on the EU" are propagandists and sowers of confusion and discord. All vigorous capitalist systems need them, good times and bad.
Compradors are distinguished by their divided loyalties and false allegiances. Oligarchs cannot be mistaken for compradors. Compradors are an integral part of capitalist political economy and their false allegiance is more dangerous because it disarms. We could speak as well of German compradors, those who would vote to continue the immiseration of Greece though the bankers and brokers fraudulently saddled German and European taxpayer with their losses. Compradors don the hypocritical morality their oligarchs so affordably produce. They love playing the fools, because it so well pays.
Do the ultra-leftists who critique Syriza do only disservice? I doubt it. Even if "Syriza is the only left-wing, anti-austerity party with power inside the EU", that is not enough. Even Syriza would confirm that they and their pragmatism is not enough to achieve their ends. I agree that "ultra-left" critics risk being confused with dissemblers, but they should not silence themselves for that reason. KKE asks of Greeks, instead of yah or nay, to demand:
* NO TO THE PROPOSAL OF THE EU-IMF-ECB
* NO TO THE PROPOSAL OF THE GOVERNMENT
* DISENGAGEMENT FROM THE EU, WITH THE PEOPLE IN POWER
Is it not clear what Syriza should do with these "votes"? I have seen a Syriza supporter dissemble on KKE's position; that's bigotry.
Can Syriza mobilize the electorate against their oppressors? Have they propagandized enough? This referendum is not on whether "people have the right to say "no" to those whom wish them ill", i.e. a vote for their own oppression, but whether they have mobilized the Greeks, beyond Syriza's election, for the coming fracas.
Syriza cannot bring "these sham technocratic, ruling class regimes" to fall. We must fight on, whether they fail or no.
okie farmer | Jul 3, 2015 3:03:15 AM | 64#57bjmaclac | Jul 3, 2015 2:43:06 AM | 63
Yves Smith et al may not be as loony as you think. Check out this piece by William Engdahl, in which he has identified Varifoukas as a modern version of a Trojan horse, but in this instance, acting in the interest of the Greek oligarchs. It is this particular segment of the Greek population which has in large part been shielded from public view, most because of all the focus on the evil troika. Engdahl quite rightly put much of the blame for the current Greek crisis on a long established practice by the corrupt Greek political class, that has not only plundered and looted the country for the past 70 years (he actually sees that this is a centuries old practice), but has willfully subjected their fellow country folk to never-ending debt enslavement.
An interesting point, and this is on reason that NC could be cut some slack, is that Tsiprias and Varifoukas played nothing other than a game of brinkmanship that was a sure loser. Given that they had no plan-B to fall back on, and that they refused Putin's offer of assistance, it is hard to argue against Engdahls' conclusion that this was a rigged game all the way - one rigged by the Greek oligarchs, with Tsiprias and Varifoukas acting as their proxies.
I was always suspicious of the smile that never ceases to leave Varifoukas' face.RT
IMF and Ukraine agree on terms for release of $1.7 bn in bailout funds
The International Monetary Fund and Kiev's representatives have agreed on a set of measures to be taken by Ukraine in order to receive $1.7 billion in bailout money, according to the IMF press service. The much needed 2nd tranche of a promised $17.5 billion support package will be released when the IMF's Ukrainian mission determines that the requirements of the agreement have been met, though the press release did not specify what those conditions might be. The IMF's management and board will also have to approve the final release of funds.
Initially, the IMF predicated their support on Ukraine reaching a deal with its private creditors to restructure its debt to reduce its payments by $15 billion over four years. This has not proven easy, however, and the IMF now says it may release funds to Kiev even if it defaults on its private creditors.
okie farmer | Jul 3, 2015 3:12:42 AM | 65http://rt.com/op-edge/271003-greece-bailout-default-scenarios/somebody | Jul 3, 2015 3:40:18 AM | 66
Presuming the referendum occurs, the range of outcomes can be distilled thus:
A> Greece votes "Yes": Tsipras resigns (as Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis has already hinted), EU rejoices but unless a technocratic government can be rustled up in Parliament, the ensuing election campaign will waste valuable weeks and add to uncertainty and instability. Any subsequent negotiations will see Greece economically immolated by its unrepentant lenders.
B> Greece votes No:
Technically referenda are considered consultative and need a 40 percent turnout to be deemed relevant.
With Greece in default on its IMF loans, the concept that a strong 'no' vote strengthens its hand in negotiations is a dubious assertion verging on folly. There is no negotiation, thus no strengthened position. Egos may be soothed but that won't feed Greek pensioners.
Neither vote enables a simple resolution. No delivers a poisoned chalice. A petulant EU, rattled by Greece's refusal to be supplicant to the superpower of delusion, won't receive Alexis Tsipras back into the fold prodigal son-style.
2) Greece maintains the euro: Syriza's apparent (self-defeating) choice. Athens must release the currency pressure valve to rebalance Greece, enabling future export and tourist growth fuelled by a cheaper New Drachma.
(Incidentally, this default is Greece's sixth since 1826).
4) Greece introduces parallel currency to pay bills. Thus a New Drachma will emerge and Greece will de facto exit the eurozone. By this stage the EU will be too preoccupied with its own credibility gap to hold Greece within the eurozone's structures.
6) Third party motivated regime change cannot be discounted: Some angry creditors are likely pushing for Syriza to be ousted. However a No vote gives Syriza a mandate to govern, albeit against a very volatile, probably quite chaotic, background.
8) Greece abandons the euro and adopts bitcoin - a lovely idea which would at least guarantee citizens could no longer be subject to summary devaluation at the knee. Alas only slightly more plausible than lenders accepting a No vote is a basis for debt relief.
And what of the eurozone?
The EU has egg on its face and a sickly currency whose sanctity is being undermined. Economically, Greek GDP is barely 1.8 percent of the 335 million citizen eurozone. However contagion risks will be a huge worry. Europe has delayed vital structural reforms and will pay a greater price than the 'mere' high unemployment relative stagnation of recent years where Asia rose and Europe froze. Investors will be spooked to realize the euro is not merely perishable, it is in mortal danger. Greece is a small but debt-laden Mediterranean nation, behind the narcissistic political hubris, the EU remains an, albeit fading, giant of global influence.okie farmer | Jul 3, 2015 3:12:42 AM | 65
Sure, they played this lose lose, that is the part that really worries me. You cannot trust politicians who enter that type of game. And this is all the EU.
somebody | Jul 3, 2015 4:50:22 AM | 67Comrade X | Jul 3, 2015 2:22:41 AM | 62
"smart people now benefit in contraction", sure, as the fire sales concentrate ownership to the very few. This model has been tested and proven politically unsustainable before, it leads to war, where "smart people" are bound to benefit, too.
bjmaclac | Jul 3, 2015 2:43:06 AM | 63
Engdahl certainly is right in that Syriza is made an example of to disencourage (Southern) European national politicians from challenging the system. The result, however, is very much the end of Europe, as there is no way now to sell European initiatives to the - very diverse - national publics. The discussion in Germany has been framed in a way that makes it virtually impossible to transfer any more billions to creditors or agree to a debt cut meaning the billions granted before on saving German and international banks have to be written off.
European politicians got themselves in such a quandary that they depend on the IMF to solve the crisis whilst making the solution more and more expensive themselves. By defaulting on the IMF Greece presumably has taken that option from the table. The BRICS will not pay for the "European problem".
radiator | Jul 3, 2015 5:21:07 AM | 68The earlier declaration from the Monarchs of the European voting commission was telling. They demanded a two week delay to allow their minions to browbeat and propagandize the poor Greeks before a 'fair', read controlled, referendum could take place. Wayoutwest | Jul 2, 2015 1:51:47 PM | 7
I have to say that I totally didn't get that point so far. Of course they're going nuts about a short-noticed referendum, because usually in these cases the public gets brainwashed for months in advance. Can't believe I didn't notice that right away.
It's the essence of western democracy: let people vote, but only the things you want them to choose from. Nice move by Syriza btw! Now that I think about it, it's obvious that they planfully came up with the referendum as suprise! Kudos!
okie farmer | Jul 3, 2015 6:00:23 AM | 69http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-07-02/china-state-official-hints-beijing-may-bailout-greeceJackrabbit | Jul 3, 2015 8:24:26 AM | 71China may help Greece directly through its new financial instruments, director of the Quantitative Finance Department at China's Institute of Quantitative and Technical Economics told Sputnik China.
"The Greek crisis has an undoubtedly seriously influence on China's trade with Greece and investment into the country. But I think that European countries together with China can help Greece overcome the problems that arose," Fan Mingtao said.
"I believe there are two ways to give Greece Chinese aid. First, within the framework of the international aid through EU countries. Second, China could aid Greece directly. Especially considering the Silk Road Economic Belt and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. China has this ability," Fan added
A 'YES' vote is capitulation. A 'NO' vote means negotiation backed by the possibility of GRexit.
GRexit has not been an option so far because Syriza had no democratic authority to contemplate such a move. Allowing for the possibility of GRexit gives the Greek side a much stronger hand.
Both sides are playing games. You can't take what they say at face value. The Greeks are pro-Europe until the are not. Tsipras says that a 'NO' vote is not a vote for GRexit. But a 'NO' allows for GRexit if negotiations fail.
If a GRexit occurs, the Greek side will blame the Troika, pointing to how determined Syriza has been to stay in Europe. This political blame game is meant to raise the stakes.
I think Greece would issue a parallel currency like Tax Anticipation Notes (TANs) during a transition period (maybe starting right after a 'NO' vote). If Greece exits, they will likely get support (loans, trade deals) from BRICS. Russia has an incentive to see that Greece does not fail, while the Troika has an incentive to see that Greece does fail.
I think there will be a 'NO' vote and, armed with the recently released IMF report on the sustainability of Greek debt, Greece will get a favorable agreement. The BIG question in my mind is whether the Troika will insist on Greece to agree to support tighter EU integration. That would then also be asked of other PIGS that seek debt relief.
So this Greek crisis could represent the beginning of the end for the EZ or an significant advance for those that want to see a "United States of Europe".
okie farmer | Jul 3, 2015 9:13:28 AM | 72jfl | Jul 3, 2015 9:17:19 AM | 73Syriza had no democratic authority to contemplate such a move.It's worse than that, there's no mechanism in Monetary Union itself for anyone in to exit.
ADL Poll: 85% of Greeks Believe the Jews Have Too Much Power Over Global Finance
A new poll by the Anti-Defamation League found that the majority of Greeks continue to hold anti-Semitic views about Jewish control over finance and the global economy, despite a recent drop in anti-Jewish attitudes in other parts of Europe.They are desperate! The Greeks are NAZIs! Wow! It is amusing to see them going insane, breaking down right on stage before the audience ... roaring with laughter? I know I am. If you lose your money, good god don't you lose your mind!
Come on Greeks! You've got 'em on the run! As that great stateswoman Nancy Reagan once said with regard to drug dealers - "Just say NO!"
somebody | Jul 3, 2015 9:24:17 AM | 74And now it is Jeffrey D. Sachs coming out for a noGerman Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble has a clear negotiating strategy, aimed at getting Greece to agree to leave the eurozone. Unfortunately for him, Greece does not want to exit, and it cannot be forced to do so under the treaties governing the European Union. What Greece wants is to remain in the eurozone, with a lower debt burden – a position that is both economically astute and protected by treaty.
... ... ...
There are plenty of precedents for such a course. Sovereign debts have been restructured hundreds, perhaps thousands, of times – including for Germany. In fact, hardline demands by the country's US government creditors after World War I contributed to deep financial instability in Germany and other parts of Europe, and indirectly to the rise of Adolf Hitler in 1933. After World War II, however, Germany was the recipient of vastly wiser concessions by the US government, culminating in consensual debt relief in 1953, an action that greatly benefitted Germany and the world. Yet Germany has failed to learn the lessons of its own history.
I propose a four-step path out of the Greek crisis. First, I recommend that the Greek people give a resounding "No" to the creditors in the referendum on their demands this weekend.
Second, Greece should continue to withhold service on its external debts to official creditors in advance of a consensual debt restructuring later this year. Given its great depression, Greece should use its savings to pay pensioners, provide food relief, make crucial infrastructure repairs, and direct liquidity toward the banking system.
Third, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras must use his persuasive powers to convince the public, in the style of US President Franklin D. Roosevelt, that the only thing they have to fear is fear itself. Specifically, the government should make clear to all Greeks that their euro deposits are safe; that the country will remain within the eurozone (despite the false claims by some members of the Eurogroup that a no vote means a Greek exit); and that its banks will reopen immediately after the referendum.
Finally, Greece and Germany need to come to a rapprochement soon after the referendum and agree to a package of economic reforms and debt relief. No country – including Greece – should expect to be offered debt relief on a silver platter; relief must be earned and justified by real reforms that restore growth, to the benefit of both debtor and creditor. And yet, a corpse cannot carry out reforms. That is why debt relief and reforms must be offered together, not reforms "first" with some vague promises that debt relief will come in some unspecified amount at some unspecified time in the future (as some in Europe have said to Greece).
okie farmer | Jul 3, 2015 9:26:48 AM | 75http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/11714655/Greek-banks-down-to-500m-in-cash-reserves-as-economy-crashes.htmlokie farmer | Jul 3, 2015 9:48:31 AM | 76
Greece is sliding into a full-blown national crisis as the final cash reserves of the banking system evaporate by the hour and swathes of industry start to shut down, precipitating the near disintegration of the ruling coalition. Business leaders have been locked in talks with the Bank of Greece, pleading for the immediate release of emergency liquidity funds (ELA) to cover food imports and pharmaceutical goods before the tourist sector hits a brick wall. Officials say the central bank will release the funds as soon as Friday, but this is a stop-gap measure at best. "We are on a war footing in this country," said Yanis Varoufakis, the Greek finance minister. The daily allowance of cash from many ATM machines has already dropped from €60 to €50, purportedly because €20 notes are running out.
Large numbers are empty. The financial contagion is spreading fast as petrol stations and small businesses stop accepting credit cards. Constantine Michalos, head of the Hellenic Chambers of Commerce, said lenders are simply running out of money. "We are reliably informed that the cash reserves of the banks are down to €500m. Anybody who thinks they are going to open again on Tuesday is day-dreaming. The cash would not last an hour," he said. "We are in an extremely dangerous situation. Greek companies have been excluded from the electronic transfers of Europe's Target2 system. The entire Greek business community is unable to import anything, and without raw materials they can't produce anything," he said.Troika Maneuvering to Rig Greek Referendum (Martin Armstrong)
In a TV interview, Mr. Varoufakis said very clearly,
"This is a very dark moment for Europe. They have closed our banks for the sole purpose of blackmailing what? Getting a 'Yes' vote on a non-sustainable solution that would be bad for Europe."
I must admit, most politicians do not come even close to the truth, but Varoufakis seems to be the ONLY finance minister who understands the demands of the Troika are not plausible for any nation. Merkel has tried to skirt any responsibility by saying this is a Troika decision. One must seriously ask, are those in the Troika just totally brain-dead? Their blackmail and economic war against Greece will be evidence to ensure that Britain leaves the EU. The ONLY thing that saved Britain was Maggie Thatcher's effort to keep Britain out of the euro for she knew far too well where it would lead.
The view in Poland is also now anti-euro. Any Brit who now does not vote to get out of the EU and the grips of the Troika is ignorant of world events and the political power play going on. The EU leaders will not travel to Athens until after the referendum. Suddenly they realize that their powers are so off the wall that they dare not expose their own schemes. Hollande of France wants a resolution for he fears a Frexit is gaining momentum. Obama wants a resolution, fearing Greece will be forced into the arms of Russia, breaking down NATO. Yet through all of this, there is no hope because those in power are clueless. The Troika refuses to solve the euro crisis because they only see their own self-interest and assume they can force their will upon all the people.
The Troika is doing everything in their power to rig the Greek referendum to make it appear that the Greek people want Brussels. The Troika deliberately closed the banks to punish the people of Greece, and to show them what exiting the euro means. This appears to be their only way of diverting the crisis with orchestrating a fake "YES" vote to economic suicide. The Troika will attempt to rig the referendum as they did with the Scottish elections. So expect biased vote counting in favor of a "YES" vote to stay in the euro. As Stalin said, "Those who vote decide nothing. Those who count the vote decide everything."
rexl | Jul 3, 2015 9:53:17 AM | 77So, do you think the large banks in the US have any loans still in their vaults or did they sell them all to the FED when it was buying 85 BILLION per month? I mean, most of the real estate loans are FHA, so never show up anyway. And the banks received dollar for dollar value on the exchange of bad and marginal loans and even, why not, good loans?
okie farmer | Jul 3, 2015 9:57:03 AM | 78http://www.smh.com.au/world/when-greece-forgave-germanys-debt-20150703-gi43a0.htmlab initio | Jul 3, 2015 10:40:39 AM | 84
After the hell of World War II, the Federal Republic of Germany – commonly known as West Germany – got massive help with its debt from former foes. Among its creditors then? Greece. The 1953 agreement, in which Greece and about 20 other countries effectively wrote off a large chunk of Germany's loans and restructured the rest, is a landmark case that shows how effective debt relief can be. It helped spark what became known as the German economic miracle.
So it's perhaps ironic that Germany is now among the countries resisting Greece's requests for debt relief. Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis claims debt relief is the key issue that held up a deal with creditors last week and says he'd rather cut off his arm than sign a deal that does not tackle the country's borrowings. The IMF backed the call to make Greece's debt manageable with a wide-ranging report on Thursday that also blames the Greek government for being slow with reforms. Despite years of budget cuts, Greece's debt burden is higher than when its bailout began in 2010 – more than €300 billion, or 180% of annual GDP – because the economy has shrunk by a quarter.
okie farmer @75
The social fabric in Greece is likely to unravel completely providing the fascist New Dawn an even larger opening. Those that want to accept whatever terms the EU/IMF offer to insure their banks get the emergency funding to stay open and will vote Yes in the referendum are neck and neck with the No vote group.
Syriza knows that at the end of the day they have a Hobbesian choice. The majority of Greeks want to be in the Euro. If Syriza want their banks open under the Euro system they have to agree to whatever the EU offers, otherwise they'll have to go against the wishes of the majority of Greeks and move to another currency. They have no other choice.
Comrade X | Jul 3, 2015 10:50:03 AM | 85jfl @73, have ADL acknowledged Israel's reassurances from Ukranian NAZI's?Comrade X | Jul 3, 2015 11:17:38 AM | 86
ADL condemns Greeks for thinking Jews exercise inordinate control over finance and the global economy (implying their resistance arises out of antisemitism). Israel supports fascists where they commit to "oppose all [racist] phenomena, especially anti-Semitism, with all legitimate means." If ADL does not request such commitment from Syriza (which is obviously unnecessary), is that because they don't want it? Do they not want it because the Greeks are right?Re somebody @74: Sachs, ever this schmuck-comprador, concludes "No country – including Greece – should expect to be offered debt relief on a silver platter; relief must be earned and justified by real reforms that restore growth, to the benefit of both debtor and creditor." Why does he neglect the issue of odious debt, you may ask:Comrade X | Jul 3, 2015 12:18:10 PM | 90[SNOWDEN] do you see 'odious debt' as a workable concept?Forgive me, I cannot waste any more time deconstructing that obvious bullshit. SACHS is a legendary good cop. The "NO" possibility must be bracketed and so his "approval" is unsurprising.
[SACHS] That's a tough question. I am sympathetic to the idea but I have taken a
somewhat different view. I of course agree with Michael Kremer that cer-
tain debts need to be forgiven, and his view is that certain debts ought not
to be enforceable at all. There are two aspects that concern me with his
approach. First, even non-odious debt should be forgiven in many circum-
stances. So I don't think that the answer to sub-Saharan Africa's debt prob-
lem depends so much on where the debt came from, as opposed to what
the current implications are of the accumulated debt. Some countries get
themselves into a mess through bad luck or bad governance and in my
view these countries need help. Societies should not be trapped by debt
when it is a life and death issue. Second, I am not sure that we know, or can
define what 'odious' means in a clear-cut, unambiguous way. Tastes vary a
lot about what is or what is not good governance. I worry that rich and pow-
erful countries are likely to manipulate decisions on which debts are to be
defined as odious. I would not want to see the Pentagon deciding whose debts
are odious and whose are not. So the applicability of the concept worries
me. However, there is something particularly troubling about a brutal dic-
tatorship that takes on debt by mortgaging national assets and then the cit-
izens of that country, for decades to come, having to pay for that debt. After
all, in most countries private citizens are not responsible for the repayment
of debt incurred in their name by fraudsters. So I sympathise with the
idea, but have a problem seeing how the idea can be put into operation.Comrade X | Jul 3, 2015 10:27:05 AM | 83
Very simple, because there is no such thing as rational agents.
Smart is different, if you take the - original - UK meaning.
somebody | Jul 3, 2015 11:24:22 AM | 87To okie farmer @76; Armstrong is hysterical: e.g. "One must seriously ask, are those in the Troika just totally brain-dead?" and "there is no hope because those in power are clueless." Blimey, 'e sounds like a fooking war correspondent. 'E must like war.
ben | Jul 3, 2015 12:50:19 PM | 91From TRNN on Greece:somebody | Jul 3, 2015 12:56:55 PM | 92
http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=14132Comrade X | Jul 3, 2015 12:18:10 PM | 90
:-)) Chomsky should have known better. The information in the approval is that there is a transatlantic economist establishment party supporting the "no",
apart from Syriza, Beppe Grillo, Podemos - and British media. Looks like the regime change plot is a German one.
Jackrabbit | Jul 3, 2015 2:04:15 PM | 93Investment Bank RBS has done the mathPM Tsipras said that Euro members will never allow Greece to exit, because it would be too expensive. But what is, really, the cost of Grexit?... ... ... According to the RBS analysis, it makes financial sense for the Troika to help Greece instead of risk GRexit. Its only that other countries might seek debt relief that prevents them from doing so (plus their dislike of the Tsipras government).
We estimate the minimum direct cost of Grexit at around €239bn or 2.4% of Eurozone GDP.
Is Greece too big to fail for the Eurozone, as Tsipras argues? No. Grexit costs are manageable for creditors. Yet, Grexit is twice more expensive than keeping Greece within the Eurozone (even with debt relief). Making Greek debt sustainable again by restructuring it and bringing close to 100% of GDP, would cost roughly half that (€140bn, or 1.4% of Eurozone GDP). The real issue, of course, would be moral hazard for other countries, which may be incentivised to ask for debt relief as well. This issue may be avoided with a conditional form of debt restructuring...
And, we now know that the IMF agrees: Greek debt should be restructured.
somebody | Jul 3, 2015 2:27:08 PM | 95There seems to be an EU climbdownTusk refused to get drawn out on what this alternative solution might look like. "If you imagine too much, you get self-fulfilling prophesies," he said, adding that it was above all necessary to "avoid this dramatic scenario: the breakup of the eurozone."... Berlin dreaming - Gremain scenario - in German
He added that the stakes in Greece go well beyond the debt or future of the euro, and are at heart geopolitical: "Greece and the Balkans are the traditional soft underbelly of Europe," and the EU needs to move "very, very cautiously."
Let Greece go bankrupt within the Euro. ECB control capital flows. Foreign banks to take over bankrupt Greek national banks. Personal hardship to be softened by humanitarian EU programme.
james | Jul 3, 2015 3:44:33 PM | 97official stenographer's viewpoint ...VietnamVet | Jul 3, 2015 4:46:54 PM | 98
Mr. Tsipras's unexpected decision to call the referendum was the equivalent of a frustrated chess player trying to break open a match with a daring last-minute move that his opponent considered to be against the rules.We are witnessing a black swan event. The Greek banks have run out of cash. Either the EU seizes Greece or a failed state in Europe has been born with Ukraine soon to follow. All of the Greek debts are void and trillions in derivative payments will be due. This is 2008 all over again with the collapse of the western financial system possible. This is why everyone is so desperate. Yet, for pennies on the total cost of the default, Greece could be saved. Magnanimity may yet win out but it would mean the end of the current rule of extinction capitalism in the West.
Jul 03, 2015 | The Guardian
omewhere in a Greek jail, the former defence minister, Akis Tsochatzopoulos, watches the financial crisis unfold. I wonder how partly responsible he feels? In 2013, Akis (as he is popularly known) went down for 20 years, finally succumbing to the waves of financial scandal to which his name had long been associated. For alongside the lavish spending, the houses and the dodgy tax returns, there was bribery, and it was the €8m appreciation he received from the German arms dealer, Ferrostaal, for the Greek government's purchase of Type 214 submarines, that sent him to prison.
There is this idea that the Greeks got themselves into this current mess because they paid themselves too much for doing too little. Well, maybe. But it's not the complete picture. For the Greeks also got themselves into debt for the oldest reason in the book – one might even argue, for the very reason that public debt itself was first invented – to raise and support an army. The state's need for quick money to raise an army is how industrial-scale money lending comes into business (in the face of the church's historic opposition to usury). Indeed, in the west, one might even stretch to say that large-scale public debt began as a way to finance military intervention in the Middle East – ie the crusades. And just as rescuing Jerusalem from the Turks was the justification for massive military spending in the middle ages, so the fear of Turkey has been the reason given for recent Greek spending. Along with German subs, the Greeks have bought French frigates, US F16s and German Leopard 2 tanks. In the 1980s, for example, the Greeks spent an average of 6.2% of their GDP on defence compared with a European average of 2.9%. In the years following their EU entry, the Greeks were the world's fourth-highest spenders on conventional weaponry.
So, to recap: corrupt German companies bribed corrupt Greek politicians to buy German weapons. And then a German chancellor presses for austerity on the Greek people to pay back the loans they took out (with Germans banks) at massive interest, for the weapons they bought off them in the first place. Is this an unfair characterisation? A bit. It wasn't just Germany. And there were many other factors at play in the escalation of Greek debt. But the postwar difference between the Germans and the Greeks is not the tired stereotype that the former are hardworking and the latter are lazy, but rather that, among other things, the Germans have, for obvious reasons, been restricted in their military spending. And they have benefited massively from that.
Debt and war are constant partners. "The global financial crisis was due, at least in part, to the war," wrote Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, calculating the cost of the US intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq, pre-financial crash, to have been $3tn. Indeed, it was only this year, back in March, that the UK taxpayer finally paid off the money we borrowed to fight the first world war. "This is a moment for Britain to be proud of," said George Osborne, as he paid the final instalment of £1.9bn. Really?
The phrase "military-industrial complex" is one of those cliches of 70s leftwing radicalism, but it was Dwight D Eisenhower, a five-star general no less, who warned against its creeping power in his final speech as president. "This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence – economic, political, even spiritual – is felt in every city, every state house, every office of the federal government … we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society." Ike was right.
This week, Church House, C of E HQ, hosted a conference sponsored by the arms dealers Lockheed Martin and MBDA Missile Systems. We preach about turning swords into ploughs yet help normalise an industry that turns them back again. The archbishop of Canterbury has been pretty solid on Wonga and trying to put legal loan sharks out of business. Now the church needs to take this up a level. For the debts that cripple entire countries come mostly from spending on war, not on pensions. And we don't say this nearly enough.marsCubed, 3 Jul 2015 12:21
Syriza's position has been stated in this Huffington Post article.
Speaking to reporters in Washington on Tuesday, Yiannis Bournous, the head of international affairs for Greece's ruling Syriza party, heartily endorsed defense cuts as a way to meet the fiscal targets of Greece's international creditors.
"We already proposed a 200 million euro cut in the defense budget," Bournous said at an event hosted by the Center for Economic Policy and Research and the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, referring to cuts in Syriza's most recent proposal to its creditors. "We are willing to make it even bigger -- it is a pleasure for us."
Europe Offered Greece A Deal To Meet Its Obligations By Cutting Military Spending. The IMF Said No Way.
If the report is correct, ideology is playing just as much of a role as arithmetic in preventing a resolution. The IMF's refusal to consider a plan that would lessen pension cuts is consistent with itshistorically neoliberal political philosophy.
Giftedbutlazee 3 Jul 2015 11:52
we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military–industrial complex.
Still as relevant now, 54 years after Eisenhower said it.
BritCol 3 Jul 2015 11:39
And the reason the USA dominated the world after WW2 was they had stayed out of both wars for the first 2 years and made fortunes lending and selling arms to Britain (and some to the Axis). It was the Jewish moneylenders of the Middle Ages who financed the various internal European wars, created the first banks, and along with a Scot formed the Bank of England.
The moral? War makes money for profiteers, and puts those of us not killed or displaced in debt for generations. Yet we morons keep waving flags every time a prime minister wants to send us into another conflict.
barry1947brewster 3 Jul 2015 11:39
28 May 2014 The Royal United Services Institute estimated that since the Berlin Wall fell the UK has spent £35 billion on wars. Now it is suggested that we bomb IS in Syria. Instead of printing "Paid for by the Taxpayer" on medicines provided by the NHS we should have a daily costing of our expenditure on bombs etc used in anger.
real tic 3 Jul 2015 11:23
Finally someone at Graun looks at this obvious contradiction present in the Greek governments opposition to cut in defense spending (when they apparently accept cuts to pensions, healthcare and other social services)! Well done Giles, but what's wrong with your colleagues in CIF, or even in the glass bubbled editorial offices? Why has it taken so long to examine this aspect of Greek debt?
Defense expenditure is also one reason some actors in creditor nations are content to keep Greece in debt, even as far as to see its debts deepen, as long as it keeps on buying. while within Greece, nationalism within the military has long been a way of containing far right tendencies.
It is notable but unsurprising that the current Minister of Defense in Greece is a far right politician, allied to Tsipiras in the Syriza coalition.
Pollik 3 Jul 2015 11:03
"Throughout history, debt and war have been constant partners"
...and someone always makes a profit.
June 30, 2015 | ritholtz.com
Source: Our World In Data
Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.
9 Responses to "Global Deaths in Conflict Since the Year 1400"
CD4P says:June 30, 2015 at 7:45 pm
Saw much of the "Apocalypse WWI" show on The American Heroes Channel recently. 10 million soldiers killed, 20 million wounded. And then there was the major flu influenza which killed another 30 million in 1918 around the world.
RiverboatGambler says:June 30, 2015 at 7:50 pmkaleberg says:
The most interesting thing here is not that we are on all time lows but rather the length of the current downtrend.
We are now going on 70 years of downtrend post WWII. The next closest looks like about 40 years from 1640 – 1680.
What has fundamentally changed that could make this not be an outlier? Lifespan?
Very interesting in the context of cycle theories like The Fourth Turning.
RiverboatGambler: The Thirty Year's War ended in 1648. My guess is that everyone was so disgusted with the war and its effects that it took a while to work up steam for the next fight. Until fairly late in the 20th century you'd hear Germans say that something in miserable shape "was just something the Swedes left." The war was ended when Queen Christina in Sweden decided it had gone on long enough. She later abdicated and retired to the Vatican, probably concerned for her sole.
World Wars I and II were pretty horrific. The Europeans were pretty damned sick of war by 1945. The whole EU, political and economic flow from the European revulsion with those two wars.
July 1, 2015 at 1:44 am
Current downtrend as a result of Medical care?
July 2, 2015 at 12:45 am
Dear Riverboat Gambler: You might want to pull out a magnifying glass because the military deaths are climbing sharply and that's with the latest, greatest (pretty incredible really) medical advances saving lives that would have been lost just a decade ago. Between that and the apparent secular nature of these trends seem to fly squarely in the face of your rose-colored perspective. Care to expound?
Lyle says:June 30, 2015 at 11:02 pm
Note that the web site that this chart comes from has many other interesting charts Here is a link to the root of the site: http://ourworldindata.org/ It provides the charts bundled into a set of presentations. Including ones looking at longer term issues of violet death rates and the like.
Whammer says:July 1, 2015 at 1:42 am
Interesting how the civilian death rate has dropped to the point where it is minimal compared to the military death rate.
NoKidding says:July 1, 2015 at 8:51 ambear_in_mind says:
Nuclear weapons, the easy way to destroy far away enemies, has been avoided because the various costs are so very high.
Large scale conventional bombing suffers from inefficiency and bad optics.
Targeted drone assualts make killing foreigners efficient and inexpensive. For example, one human in the Western world kills one or more specific humans in the not-Western world from across the globe using radio controlled weapons. No radiation, no flattened obstetricians, increasing efficiency, and falling cost of technology.
In combination with recent federalization of decision making power, particularly domestic spying and the non-criminalization of the US government killing its own wayward overseas citizens, I see a wonderous new era on the horizon.
@nokidding: Your thoughts on the deterrent power associated with nuclear weapons assumes a fairly rational world populated with fairly rational homo sapien actors. Sounds like science-fiction to my eyes and ears. I'd welcome you to conduct a 5-10 minute foray using Google or DuckDuckGo on the topic of nuclear near-misses, accidents, live (untriggered) nuclear warheads falling from military aircraft, and take your thesis for another spin.
As U.S.-operated drones rain down Hellfire (missiles) on brown-skinned folks not named Smith, Jones or Thomas, you have to grasp that this too will change. How long can that technology remain under the exclusive control and purview of the US military "intelligence"?! Maybe a decade, at most? Then what shall those military death figures look like?
During the post-Berlin Wall "peace dividend" era, our country has spent infinitely more blood, treasure and prestige on advancing our ability to kill, destroy and incarcerate lives than we have in saving and improving lives. IMHO, it is nearly inevitable that this misspent era will come home to roost in unpredictable ways over the next 20-30 years. We can always pivot and change course, but that may have little or no bearing on what others will do.
Jul 02, 2015 | |zerohedge.com
By now it should be clear to all that the only reason why Germany has been so steadfast in its negotiating stance with Greece is because it knows very well that if it concedes to a public debt reduction (as opposed to haircut on debt held mostly by private entities such as hedge funds which already happened in 2012), then the rest of the PIIGS will come pouring in: first Italy, then Spain, then Portugal, then Ireland.
The problem is that while it took Europe some 5 years to transfer a little over €200 billion in Greek private debt exposure to the public balance sheet (by way of the ECB, EFSF, ESM and countless other ad hoc acronyms) at a cost of countless summits and endless negotiations, which may or may not result with the first casualty of the common currency which may prove to be reversible as soon as next week, nobody in Europe harbors any doubt that the same exercise can be repeated with Italy, or Spain, or even Portugal. They are just too big (and their nonperforming loans are in the hundreds of billions).
And yet, today, in a stunning display of the schism within the Troika, it was the IMF itself which explicitly stated that Greece is no longer viable unless there is both additional funding provided to the country, which can only happen if there is another massive debt haircut.
This is what the IMF said:
Even with concessional financing through 2018, debt would remain very high for decades and highly vulnerable to shocks. Assuming official (concessional) financing through end–2018, the debt-to-GDP ratio is projected at about 150 percent in 2020, and close to 140 percent in 2022 (see Figure 4ii). Using the thresholds agreed in November 2012, a haircut that yields a reduction in debt of over 30 percent of GDP would be required to meet the November 2012 debt targets. With debt remaining very high, any further deterioration in growth rates or in the mediumterm primary surplus relative to the revised baseline scenario discussed here would result in significant increases in debt and gross financing needs (see robustness tests in the next section below). This points to the high vulnerability of the debt dynamics.
And the kicker:
- "these new financing needs render the debt dynamics unsustainable."
Bingo, because that is, in a nutshell, precisely what Tsipras and Varoufakis have been claiming since day one. As expected, a Greek government spokesman promptly said that the IMF report is in line with the Greek government's view on debt.
What makes the IMF report even more odd, is not so much its content and position which have been largely known for quite some time now, but its timing: just three days before the Sunday referendum, Tsipras now has prima facie evidence to wave in front of the Greek people and say "see, we were right all along."
It is exactly the case that only a "No" vote at this point would allow Greece to continue a negotiation which has already seen one of the three Troika members side with the Greek position. Should Greece vote "Yes", it will make any future negotiation with the Troika impossible, and while the country will get a few months respite the resultant bank run after the bank reopen with the ECB's blessing will mean that all Greece will do is buy itself a few months time. Only this time all the debt will still be due.
And, should hey vote "Yes", this time the Greeks will only have themselves to blame for all the future pain, pain which will continue well after the mid-point of this century.
But ignoring Greece for a minute, what the IMF's "debt sustainability analysis" has just done is open the door for every single other comparably insolvent peripheral European nation to knock on Christine Lagarde's door and politely ask: "Mme Lagarde, if Greece is unsustainable, then why aren't we?"
Because as the chart below shows, the debt situations of all the other peripheral European nations is just as "unsustainable."
In this way, while the outcome of the Greek situation is currently unknown, it has also become moot, because at this very moment, politicians from Spain's Podemos to Italy's Five Star movement are drafting memos demanding that the IMF evaluate their own debt sustainability. Or rather unsustainability.
Perhaps more importantly, these same politicians will now dangle the prospect of an IMF admission that they, too, deserve a haircut as the catalyst to be elected into power. After all who can refuse that their life would be made so much better if only the country was permitted to selectively "default" on €50, €100, €200 billion or more in debt? Just elect this politician, or that, and watch your living standard soar...
And since the IMF has no choice but to agree that just like Greece all these nations are accordingly drowning in debt, Syriza's sacrifice (assuming Tsipras fails to outnegotiate Merkel) will not have been in vain. In fact, it may very well end up that today the IMF opened up the Pandora's box, one which, more than a Grexit, will destroy Merkel's "united Europe" legacy.
The domino theory of the fiat money age.
Looks like US is using IMF to mess around a bit with German (and russian) ambitions.
Was thinking the same. The US is trying to foul things up for Europe here.
Just like the 'Dread Pirate Roberts,' Central Banksters must leave no survivors. Otherwise word gets out that they've gone soft, and then it's nothing but 'work, work, work...'
Smith and Wesson sure looks good here.
"You can keep the Ouzo." And the "Ginsu 2" apparently.
The IMF is just a repository for US dollar funding. If the entire Continent of Europe cannot cough up a single US dollar to pay for "Greece" then that is the ECB's problem...not the IMF's problem.
Those dollar sure look pretty expensive right now...on that I would agree.
Can I draft a memo to the IMF requesting if the United States can pay its debts?
Do you think that I'd be taken seriously?
Our arrears are worse than Greece's ever were. The Debt is unpayable.
This is laughable.
I predict 3 countries out of the eu, and the greek guy gets big billing with the pope talking us into the nwo.
greenskeeper carl's picture
Hahaha I fucking called this shit this morning as soon as I saw that first article. We don't need no water let the motherfucker burn... The house of cards is getting flimsy.
One of these is...
+1 for the firewater burn reference.
Contagion from NOT throwing Greece under the bus. The rest want THEIR "write downs" now.
This pits the IMF against Rainbowland. Their actions here imply they want the system to blow up (free shit for Greece (which is affordable) also means free shit for Italy and Spain (which isn't affordable)) however, Greece is now in formal default, and ClG could write her letter and deliver it tomorrow, blowing up Greece beyond recognition tomorrow.
The EU is pretty steadfast in what they desire -- Greece to bend over and keep the system going. Greece is pretty obviously willing to play kamikaze economics.
What I don't get is the IMF. Some of their actions imply they want the system to explode, while their other actions imply they don't. Given Greece and the EU kinda off-set each other right now -- the player at this point to watch is the IMF. ECB can wreck havoc with their collateral requirements, but apart from that this pig is stuffed until 6 PM CST on Sunday.
1) the IMF (US) realizes Greece can't fail for strategic geographic reasons
2) they are trying to save face for Merkel
1) the IMF (US) realizes Greece can't fail for strategic geographic reasons
1.1) Greece must stay inside the EU because it is easier to block Russian gas lines that way, and the EU is too divided to decide how to pay for a gas line through Greece by itself
Greek "euro-debt" WAS paying 18% just last week.
"Ruble MONEY" pays about 14%...give or take.
Brazilian REALES look like the best deal on actual MONEY right now would appear...there just aren't many of those either though.
This debt juggernaut is the planet's most serious threat. World leaders must get a grip on all lending institutions that can place irresponsible/shortsighted/corrupt countries in Greece situations.
We know the cause, symptoms and prognosis but fail to find a cure other than continuous talk, talk and more talk and more debt and we even know why we do this.
The US, G7, G20, UN someone, somewhere must take lead and cure the world of this bankers disease. The bankers caused it; keep them away from the patient.
I totally get the naivity of my comment, but this fixing it with what caused it is ...well.
Greece is now in formal default. Are they though? What I don't get is the IMF. Some of their actions imply they want the system to explode, while their other actions imply they don't.
Considering Germany and France have competing interests to the US this would make sense. All I know is watching this has been a lot more interesting than last seasons game of thrones.
I agree with you again. I'll throw this out there: if the US rattles Europe here, and then even pushes China's markets over, the US would have effectively kneecapped every major economy (inc Russia), all of northern Africa, and the ME in a decade and a half.
But nothing on Japan. It's amazing how they can look at one, Greece and say it is unsustainable, but just because Japan, who is in much worse shape, can print money they don't see a problem. A solvency crisis can not be solved with money printing, and most developed nations are insolvent. When the collective world realizes a printing press makes no difference there will be fireworks, and that realization will happen in the blink of an eye.
Japan does not owe the Troika any money. Japan is not part of the European Union. Madames LeGarde and Merkel don't give a shit about Japan. I agree Japan is hopelessly insolvent, and the fact that JGBs (denominated in Yen) are seen as a "safe haven" in times of global turmoil is insane. Someday soon they are going to melt down into a pool of toxic crap.
Exactly, if you "fuck the EU" and make them so poor they buy less energy products, you inadvertently kill one of Russia's preferred revenue streams. So the US is using the IMF to fuck the EU in its war with Russia.
Hahaha, the "jack in the box flavour of truth"... the IMF now caught in its own cross hairs. DSK made that statement a few days ago that the chief economist of the IMF has now set in stone like a potential time bomb.
And Lady LAgarde, the scheming Milady of Status Quo, (she said no debt restructuring UNTIL they implement full austerity in Greece and kill all those pensioners), is now made to look like what she truly is : A creature of Pax Americana power cabal. The woman who said to Sarkozy; another Neo-con fellow traveller; fais ce que tu voudrais de moi Nicolas...back in 2007 when he got elected to President. And he did!
Now the IMF has turned the tables; probably to follow suit in echoing the declarations of its ex and humbled CEO; DSK. Is this the work of Olivier Blanchard who leaves the IMF or is it the work of his successor? In any case this is a psychological time bomb as the IMF mask comes off!
Pretty clever ...this is where Lew gets a demand for a declaration of unlimited credit to the IMF; then the cycle of destruction moves to the next phase.
Meet the new Mutually Assured Destruction
"Pandora was a woman who lived with her husband in a paradise and was given a beautiful box for safekeeping with the caution that she ought not to ever, ever open it. For a time she remembered and kept her promise to not open the box but eventually succumbed to the temptation and decided to have a peek. The lid flew open as soon as she raised it and a swarm of imprisoned evils flew up and out into the world inflicting pain, greed, envy and manner of suffering on all they found.
Pandora and her husband Epimetheus were also the victims of all these ills, knew they were responsible for the suffering and were grieving their part in it while sitting near the box. In the midst of their lamenting, they heard a small voice crying out from the box, "Open, open, and I will heal your wounds! Please let me out!" and while at first they were afraid to open it and possibly release even more troubles, they eventually decided to see who the plaintive voice came from.
They fearfully opened the box and found a small bright-winged beautiful creature. It was well for Pandora that she opened the box a second thim, for the gods, with a sudden impulse of compassion, had concealed among the evil spirits one kindly creature, Hope, whose mission was to heal the wounds inflicted by her fellow prisoners"
The Delicate Genius
IMF's four steps to damnation -
world government empire
banksters money machine
citizens of earth
somebody is going down or all are
Can't someone just print a $1 trillion Euro bill and hand it to the Greek government to pay everything off and start anew.
I think you mean SDR.
Long story short, the choices left are but two. Endure the pain of a global collapse, or enslave the planet with all of this unpayable debt rolled up into the next global monetary system.
With a few wars along the way to grease the skids.
Cyring "Uncle!" yet?
The IMF is backtracking because the new Chinese-led bank has opened. It is not the only option anymore.
The Chinese could step in any minute, and that would mean the end for the IMF's plundering tactics - worldwide. So, letting go of some of its demented demands on Greece is only cautious.
Germany will take a haircut, especially with a Greek no vote on Sunday.
Germany will have to figure out how to stabilize some of its banks that will go under.
"Germany is king when it comes to debt. Calculated based on the amount of losses compared to economic performance, Germany was the biggest debt transgressor of the 20th century."
How many haircuts?
"That depends on how you do the math. During the past century alone, though, at least three times. After the first default during the 1930s, the US gave Germany a "haircut" in 1953, reducing its debt problem to practically nothing. Germany has been in a very good position ever since, even as other Europeans were forced to endure the burdens of World War II and the consequences of the German occupation. Germany even had a period of non-payment in 1990."
Ritschl: That's what it looks like, but we were also extremely reckless -- and our export industry has thrived on orders. The anti-Greek sentiment that is widespread in many German media outlets is highly dangerous. And we are sitting in a glass house: Germany's resurgence has only been possible through waiving extensive debt payments and stopping reparations to its World War II victims.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: You're saying that Germany should back down?
Ritschl: In the 20th century, Germany started two world wars, the second of which was conducted as a war of annihilation and extermination, and subsequently its enemies waived its reparations payments completely or to a considerable extent. No one in Greece has forgotten that Germany owes its economic prosperity to the grace of other nations.
tom a taxpayer
The Greek referendum is a revolutionary action. It will spread like wildfire across Europe and around the world whereever debt slaves yearn to be free. Over the coming days and weeks it will drag the IMF, ECB and other world-class bankstas to their days of reckoning.
Hopefully, the Greek government will follow the referendum with the arrest and trial of Goldman Sachs and other international bankstas. Justice cries out for a mass trial in the style of the Maxiprocesso (Maxi Trials) of the Mafia in Sicily during the 1980s that resulted in hundreds of defendants convicted.
Wouldn't it just be easier to drone all the Rothschilds and their central banks out of existence, could be done in 24 hours.
Hardly, they own the drones and the drone operators.
I don't claim any great knowledge of high finance, though I have some basic understanding, but, many here on ZH and ZH in general has been miles ahead of all the Media Mouthpieces, all the IMF spokesmen, all the finance ministers of Europe combined.
" "these new financing needs render the debt dynamics unsustainable."
Who in the fuck did not know 3 years ago that the above was true?
And, Greece is the little boy with his finger in the dike. If the default hole begins to leak, the supporting structures will be eaten away very fast, and the leak will become a flood. Allowing haircuts and reducing austerity in one place will call forth the floods of demands for similar treatment.
An Estonian finance minster summed it up. "We have not had years of austerity, cuts in wages, health, retirements, education for years, ONLY in order for Greece to keep their benefits! Play this same thought pattern out across the big problem children SPAIN, ITALY and IRELAND. Spain for example is totally too big to be bailed out, and is too big to fail, Should IT fail, the EU project melts away.
Over in Russia, a nation with NATO massing on it's borders, claiming to be defending against a Russian invasion threat. A Russia under strict sanctions in finance, banking, energy and import export trade. Russia is doing just what they should do. Take all the threats, the lies, the propaganda and accusations from the West, stay mostly silent, stay behind their protected borders and wait. As the EU mounts attack after attack, threat after threat, sanction after sanction, for no good reaon other than Washington wants it, Russia is waiting. They may look to be outnumbered and out gunned by the military and financial powers under Washington's direct control. But holding the line and waiting is their best bet. They have surpluses of well over 300 billion, minimal debts, a fast modernizing military, tens of billions in new gold holdings added to the already large supply. They have energy independence totally. Sanctions have allowed Russian domestic agriculture and manufacturing to instantly be competitive again, with imports being shut down.
The EU and Washington are right now at the very peak of their power to bully and threaten. They look invincible! But a tiny nation like Greece, shows just how rotten the foundations are. Washington, the giant power that also seems totally invincible, is really more rotten than Greece, if you look at the scale of debts and obligations. To top it all off, Washington has declared open war on China, the world's largest economy, and richest nation in terms of Real Money. \
The rot has set in, how fast it spreads is not something I can know, but I do know it will spread!
Submitted by Dan Sanchez via AntiWar.com,
To understand today's crises in Iraq, Syria, Iran, and elsewhere, one must grasp their shared Lebanese connection. This assertion may seem odd. After all, what is the big deal about Lebanon? That little country hasn't had top headlines since Israel deigned to bomb and invade it in 2006. Yet, to a large extent, the roots of the bloody tangle now enmeshing the Middle East lie in Lebanon: or to be more precise, in the Lebanon policy of Israel.
Rewind to the era before the War on Terror. In 1995, Yitzhak Rabin, Israel's "dovish" Prime Minister, was assassinated by a right-wing zealot. This precipitated an early election in which Rabin's Labor Party was defeated by the ultra-hawkish Likud, lifting hardliner Benjamin Netanyahu to his first Premiership in 1996.
That year, an elite study group produced a policy document for the incipient administration titled, "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm." The membership of the Clean Break study group is highly significant, as it included American neoconservatives who would later hold high offices in the Bush Administration and play driving roles in its Middle East policy.
"A Clean Break" advised that the new Likud administration adopt a "shake it off" attitude toward the policy of the old Labor administration which, as the authors claimed, assumed national "exhaustion" and allowed national "retreat." This was the "clean break" from the past that "A Clean Break" envisioned. Regarding Israel's international policy, this meant:
"…a clean break from the slogan, 'comprehensive peace' to a traditional concept of strategy based on balance of power."
Pursuit of comprehensive peace with all of Israel's neighbors was to be abandoned for selective peace with some neighbors (namely Jordan and Turkey) and implacable antagonism toward others (namely Iraq, Syria, and Iran). The weight of its strategic allies would tip the balance of power in favor of Israel, which could then use that leverage to topple the regimes of its strategic adversaries by using covertly managed "proxy forces" and "the principle of preemption." Through such a "redrawing of the map of the Middle East," Israel will "shape the regional environment," and thus, "Israel will not only contain its foes; it will transcend them."
"A Clean Break" was to Israel (and ultimately to the US) what Otto von Bismarck's "Blood and Iron" speech was to Germany. As he set the German Empire on a warpath that would ultimately set Europe ablaze, Bismarck said:
"Not through speeches and majority decisions will the great questions of the day be decided?-?that was the great mistake of 1848 and 1849?-?but by iron and blood."
Before setting Israel and the US on a warpath that would ultimately set the Middle East ablaze, the Clean Break authors were basically saying: Not through peace accords will the great questions of the day be decided?-?that was the great mistake of 1978 (at Camp David) and 1993 (at Oslo)?-?but by "divide and conquer" and regime change. By wars both aggressive ("preemptive") and "dirty" (covert and proxy).
"A Clean Break" slated Saddam Hussein's Iraq as first up for regime change. This is highly significant, especially since several members of the Clean Break study group played decisive roles in steering and deceiving the United States into invading Iraq and overthrowing Saddam seven years later.
The Clean Break study group's leader, Richard Perle, led the call for Iraqi regime change beginning in the 90s from his perch at the Project for a New American Century and other neocon think tanks. And while serving as chairman of a high level Pentagon advisory committee, Perle helped coordinate the neoconservative takeover of foreign policy in the Bush administration and the final push for war in Iraq.
Another Clean Breaker, Douglas Feith, was a Perle protege and a key player in that neocon coup. After 9/11, as Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Feith created two secret Pentagon offices tasked with cherry-picking, distorting, and repackaging CIA and Pentagon intelligence to help make the case for war.
Feith's "Office of Special Plans" manipulated intelligence to promote the falsehood that Saddam had a secret weapons of mass destruction program that posed an imminent chemical, biological, and even nuclear threat. This lie was the main justification used by the Bush administration for the Iraq War.
Feith's "Counter Terrorism Evaluation Group" trawled through the CIA's intelligence trash to stitch together far-fetched conspiracy theories linking Saddam Hussein's Iraq with Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda, among other bizarre pairings. Perle put the Group into contact with Ahmed Chalabi, a dodgy anti-Saddam Iraqi exile who would spin even more yarn of this sort.
Much of the Group's grunt work was performed by David Wurmser, another Perle protege and the primary author of "A Clean Break." Wurmser would go on to serve as an advisor to two key Iraq War proponents in the Bush administration: John Bolton at the State Department and Vice President Dick Cheney.
The foregone conclusions generated by these Clean Breaker-led projects faced angry but ineffectual resistance from the Intelligence Community, and are now widely considered scandalously discredited. But they succeeded in helping, perhaps decisively, to overcome both bureaucratic and public resistance to the march to war.
The Iraq War that followed put the Clean Break into action by grafting it onto America. The War accomplished the Clean Break objective of regime change in Iraq, thus beginning the "redrawing of the map of the Middle East." And the attendant "Bush Doctrine" of preemptive war accomplished the Clean Break objective of "reestablishing the principle of preemption"
But why did the Netanyahu/Bush Clean Breakers want to regime change Iraq in the first place? While reference is often made to "A Clean Break" as a prologue to the Iraq War, it is often forgotten that the document proposed regime change in Iraq primarily as a "means" of "weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria." Overthrowing Saddam in Iraq was merely a stepping stone to "foiling" and ultimately overthrowing Bashar al-Assad in neighboring Syria. As Pat Buchanan put it:
"In the Perle-Feith-Wurmser strategy, Israel's enemy remains Syria, but the road to Damascus runs through Baghdad."
Exactly how this was to work is baffling. As the document admitted, although both were Baathist regimes, Assad and Saddam were far more enemies than allies. "A Clean Break" floated a convoluted pipe dream involving a restored Hashemite monarchy in Iraq (the same US-backed, pro-Israel dynasty that rules Jordan) using its sway over an Iraqi cleric to turn his co-religionists in Syria against Assad. Instead, the neocons ended up settling for a different pipe(line) dream, sold to them by that con-man Chalabi, involving a pro-Israel, Chalabi-dominated Iraq building a pipeline from Mosul to Haifa. One only wonders why he didn't sweeten the deal by including the Brooklyn Bridge in the sale.
As incoherent as it may have been, getting at Syria through Iraq is what the neocons wanted. And this is also highly significant for us today, because the US has now fully embraced the objective of regime change in Syria, even with Barack Obama inhabiting the White House instead of George W. Bush.
Washington is pursuing that objective by partnering with Turkey, Jordan, and the Gulf States in supporting the anti-Assad insurgency in Syria's bloody civil war, and thereby majorly abetting the bin Ladenites (Syrian Al Qaeda and ISIS) leading that insurgency. Obama has virtually become an honorary Clean Breaker by pursuing a Clean Break objective ("rolling back Syria") using Clean Break strategy ("balance of power" alliances with select Muslim states) and Clean Break tactics (a covert and proxy "dirty war"). Of course the neocons are the loudest voices calling for the continuance and escalation of this policy. And Israel is even directly involving itself by providing medical assistance to Syrian insurgents, including Al Qaeda fighters.
Another target identified by "A Clean Break" was Iran. This is highly significant, since while the neocons were still riding high in the Bush administration's saddle, they came within an inch of launching a US war on Iran over yet another manufactured and phony WMD crisis. While the Obama administration seems on the verge of finalizing a nuclear/peace deal with the Iranian government in Tehran, the neocons and Netanyahu himself (now Prime Minister once again) have pulled out all the stops to scupper it and put the US and Iran back on a collision course.
The neocons are also championing ongoing American support for Saudi Arabia's brutal war in Yemen to restore that country's US-backed former dictator. Simply because the "Houthi" rebels that overthrew him and took the capital city of Sanaa are Shiites, they are assumed to be a proxy of the Shiite Iranians, and so this is seen by neocons and Saudi theocons alike as a war against Iranian expansion.
Baghdad is a pit stop on the road to Damascus, and Sanaa is a pit stop on the road to Tehran. But, according to the Clean Breakers, Damascus and Tehran are themselves merely pit stops on the road to Beirut.
According to "A Clean Break," Israel's main beef with Assad is that:
"Syria challenges Israel on Lebanese soil."
And its great grief with the Ayatollah is that Iran, like Syria, is one of the:
"…principal agents of aggression in Lebanon…"
All regime change roads lead to Lebanon, it would seem. So this brings us back to our original question. What is the big deal about Lebanon?
The answer to this question goes back to Israel's very beginnings. Its Zionist founding fathers established the bulk of Israel's territory by dispossessing and ethnically cleansing three-quarters of a million Palestinian Arabs in 1948. Hundreds of thousands of these were driven (sometimes literally in trucks, sometimes force marched with gunshots fired over their heads) into Lebanon, where they were gathered in miserable refugee camps.
In Lebanon the Palestinians who had fled suffered an apartheid state almost as rigid as the one Israel imposed on those who stayed behind, because the dominant Maronite Christians there were so protective of their political and economic privileges in Lebanon's confessional system.
In a 1967 war of aggression, Israel conquered the rest of formerly-British Palestine, annexing the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and placing the Palestinians there (many of whom fled there seeking refuge after their homes were taken by the Israelis in 1948) under a brutal, permanent military occupation characterized by continuing dispossession and punctuated by paroxysms of mass murder.
This compounding of their tragedy drove the Palestinians to despair and radicalization, and they subsequently lifted Yasser Arafat and his fedayeen (guerrilla) movement to the leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), then headquartered in Jordan.
When the king of Jordan massacred and drove out the PLO, Arafat and the remaining members relocated to Lebanon. There they waged cross-border guerrilla warfare to try to drive Israel out of the occupied territories. The PLO drew heavily from the refugee camps in Lebanon for recruits.
This drew Israel deeply into Lebanese affairs. In 1976, Israel started militarily supporting the Maronite Christians, helping to fuel a sectarian civil war that had recently begun and would rage until 1990. That same year, Syrian forces entered Lebanon, partook in the war, and began a military occupation of the country.
In 1978, Israel invaded Lebanon to drive the PLO back and to recruit a proxy army called the "South Lebanon Army" (SLA).
In 1982 Israel launched a full scale war in Lebanon, fighting both Syria and the PLO. Osama bin Laden later claimed that it was seeing the wreckage of tall buildings in Beirut toppled by Israel's "total war" tactics that inspired him to destroy American buildings like the Twin Towers.
In this war, Israel tried to install a group of Christian Fascists called the Phalange in power over Lebanon. This failed when the new Phalangist ruler was assassinated. As a reprisal, the Phalange perpetrated, with Israeli connivance, the massacre of hundreds (perhaps thousands) of Palestinian refugees and Lebanese Shiites. (See Murray Rothbard's moving contemporary coverage of the atrocity.)
Israel's 1982 war succeeded in driving the PLO out of Lebanon, although not in destroying it. And of course hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees still linger in Lebanon's camps, yearning for their right of return: a fact that cannot have escaped Israel's notice.
The Lebanese Shiites were either ambivalent or welcoming toward being rid of the PLO. But Israel rapidly squandered whatever patience the Shiites had for it by brutally occupying southern Lebanon for years. This led to the creation of Hezbollah, a Shiite militia not particularly concerned with the plight of the Sunni Palestinian refugees, but staunchly dedicated to driving Israel and its proxies (the SLA) completely out of Lebanon.
Aided by Syria and Iran, though not nearly to the extent Israel would have us believe, Hezbollah became the chief defensive force directly frustrating Israel's efforts to dominate and exploit its northern neighbor. In 1993 and again in 1996 (the year of "A Clean Break"), Israel launched still more major military operations in Lebanon, chiefly against Hezbollah, but also bombing Lebanon's general population and infrastructure, trying to use terrorism to motivate the people and the central government to crack down on Hezbollah.
This is the context of "A Clean Break": Israel's obsession with crushing Hezbollah and dominating Lebanon, even if it means turning most of the Middle East upside down (regime changing Syria, Iran, and Iraq) to do it.
9/11 paved the way for realizing the Clean Break, using the United States as a gigantic proxy, thanks to the Israel Lobby's massive influence in Congress and the neocons' newly won dominance in the Bush Administration.
Much to their chagrin, however, its first phase (the Iraq War) did not turn out so well for the Clean Breakers. The blundering American grunts ended up installing the most vehemently pro-Iran Shiite faction in power in Baghdad, and now Iranian troops are even stationed and fighting inside Iraq. Oops. And as it turns out, Chalabi may have been an Iranian agent all along. (But don't worry, Mr. Perle, I'm sure he'll eventually come through with that pipeline.)
This disastrous outcome has given both Israel and Saudi Arabia nightmares about an emerging "Shia Crescent" arcing from Iran through Iraq into Syria. And now the new Shiite "star" in Yemen completes this menacing "Star and Crescent" picture. The fears of the Sunni Saudis are partially based on sectarianism. But what Israel sees in this picture is a huge potential regional support network for its nemesis Hezbollah.
Israel would have none of it. In 2006, it launched its second full scale war in Lebanon, only to be driven back once again by that damned Hezbollah. It was time to start thinking big and regional again. As mentioned above, the Bush war on Iran didn't pan out. (This was largely because the CIA got its revenge on the neocons by releasing a report stating plainly that Iran was not anything close to a nuclear threat.) So instead the neocons and the Saudis drew the US into what Seymour Hersh called "the Redirection" in 2007, which involved clandestine "dirty war" support for Sunni jihadists to counter Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah.
When the 2011 Arab Spring wave of popular uprisings spread to Syria, the Redirection was put into overdrive. The subsequent US-led dirty war discussed above had the added bonus of drawing Hezbollah into the bloody quagmire to try to save Assad, whose regime now finally seems on the verge of collapse.
The Clean Break is back, baby! Assad is going, Saddam is gone, and who knows: the Ayatollah may never get his nuclear deal anyway. But most importantly for "securing the realm," Hezbollah is on the ropes.
And so what if the Clean Break was rather messy and broke so many bodies and buildings along the way? Maybe it's like what Lenin said about omelets and eggs: you just can't make a Clean Break without breaking a few million Arabs and a few thousand Americans. And what about all those fanatics now running rampant throughout large swaths of the world thanks to the Clean Break wars, mass-executing Muslim "apostates" and Christian "infidels" and carrying out terrorist attacks on westerners? Again, the Clean Breakers must remind themselves, keep your eye on the omelet and forget the eggs.
Well, dear reader, you and I are the eggs. And if we don't want to see our world broken any further by the imperial clique of murderers in Washington for the sake of the petty regional ambitions of a tiny clique of murderers in Tel Aviv, we must insist on American politics making a clean break from the neocons, and US foreign policy making a clean break from Israel.
Jun 30, 2015 | resilience.org
The results of the "standard run" (or "base case") scenario of "The Limits to Growth" 1972 study. Could it be that the ongoing Greek collapse is a symptom of the more general collapse that the model generates for the first two decades of the 21st century?
So, we have arrived to an interesting point, to be intended in the Chinese sense of a curse. It is the point where the people of Greece are being asked to choose between starvation and slavery and this is supposed to be a triumph of democracy
As the tragedy unfolds, people take sides, aiming their impotent rage at this or that target; the Euro, the bureaucrats of Brussels, the Greek government, Mr. Tsipras, some international conspiracy, and even Mr. Putin, the usual bugaboo of everything.
But, could it be that all the financial circus that we are seeing dancing in and around Greece is just the effect of much deeper causes? The effect of something that gnaws at the very foundations not only of Greece, but of the whole Western World?
Let's take a step back, and take a look at the 1972 study titled "The Limits to Growth" (LTG). Look at the "base case" scenario, the one which used as input the data that seemed to be the most reliable at the time. Here it is, in the 2004 version of the study, with updated data in input.
Jun 30, 2015 | The Guardian
ShibbyUp -> peter nelson 30 Jun 2015 21:30
The Greek banks and former conservative governments, you mean.
You and plenty of other brainwashed idiots around here seem to think that individual, working class Greeks had something to do with this. Of course, as always, the banks and politicians who actually caused this got off scott free, with taxpayer money, to cause the next big financial crisis.
HaroldP -> Nottodaymate 30 Jun 2015 21:29
Banksters, what did you expect, honesty, morality, humanity, financial expertise? Bailouts from citizens, that's what you expected? The poor darlings can't even run a bank when they can print money. Incompetant scum. Regards, Harry.
Jazzfunk23 -> workingclass2 30 Jun 2015 21:28
In recent years most of this mess was presided over by liberal conservatives...
PeregrineSlim 30 Jun 2015 21:25
Germania offers a regime of permanent debt servitude to pay for its failed banks:
The documents, drawn up by the so-called troika of lenders, support Greece's argument that it needs substantial debt relief for a lasting economic recovery.
The documents show that the IMF's baseline estimate – the most likely outcome – is that Greece's debt would still be 118% of GDP in 2030, even if it signs up to the package of tax and spending reforms demanded.
clematlee Danny Sheahan 30 Jun 2015 21:25
What you have in the USA is TENS of millions of people who don't have any US dollars while in Manhattan flats sell for millions.
AlamoSexual 30 Jun 2015 21:20
This is nothing more than a large-scale payday loan scam. Greece will never get past the loan sharks and will constantly have to borrow just to pay off the interest. I'd rather default and eat beans for a year while starting fresh than eat beans for 20 years paying off old debt. You can call them lazy, you can call them thieves but - if they play their cards right - you can also call them "debt free".
UnevenSurface Danny Sheahan 30 Jun 2015 21:12
Greece will still be here. There will of course be enormous poverty (in various forms) in the short term - but even the FT says that the GDP will bounce up 6% quite quickly. After that, they'll be the cheapest holiday destination in Europe, exporting the cheapest wine and olive oil. The GDP could expand by 25%, up to pre-austerity levels. Excluding macro economic factors out of our control, I would be truly surprised if they aren't better off - overall - within five years.
HaroldP -> owl905 30 Jun 2015 21:12
The public debt of Greece existed BEFORE the recent election. The cruel conditions inflicted upon Greece by its "partners" existed BEFORE the recent election. The crisis existed BEFORE the recent election. Obviously Tsipras did not "wreck his country." His fellow citizens elected his party to fix an existing crisis. He won the election with a proposal of how to do that. He has deviated only slightly from his promises. I find him to be a "hero" in that he could teach the political class of Europe the importance of keeping the agreement between the state and the citizens. It is heroic indeed to be the honest politician of Europe. He has my respect. Regards, Harry.
Paul Collins 30 Jun 2015 21:12
Lending more billions to Greece so they can repay the interest on previous billions loand and those new loans repayed by cuts to pensions and more privatisation of public assets...blatant transference of cash from those who can't afford it to those who don't need it. Hopefully the Greek people give a resounding middle finger to the EU/IMF.
And if I hear another muppet crack on about 'the Greeks ought to pay their taxes' I'll bloody lose my temper. D some reading for gawds sake. It really isn't that hard.
malenkylitso -> owl905 30 Jun 2015 21:08
Greece was forced into a corner, then took a bailout which less than 10% went to the Greeks. The rest went to the banks.
Sounds like a protection racket.
SystemD 30 Jun 2015 21:07
This is not just about Greece; the impact of a Greek default go much wider. The IMF (and the Troika) has to be seen to be taking a hard line. If they don't, then their credibility with the rest of the world diminishes, particularly in Africa. The Germans are worried about the Euro as a currency; the Deutchmark was given up on the promise of stability, and the 1920's are still - just - within living memory. There is a lot of fear behind their stance. Stock markets generally are worried about the instability the situation is causing. They don't want Greece crushed - they just want a stable situation with predictable outcomes. Volatility is not in their interest. And Greece needs money and help to try to cure the cancer of corruption in its economy.
Greece cannot pay back its debt. Unless the creditors agree to a very long term of repayment (at least 50 years) at reasonable rates, the only real options are for Greece to leave the Euro zone and go back to the drachma, or the debt must be written off, with the proviso that there will be no new loans, and Greece will have to rebuild and finance its economy from its own resources.
Stanley Wallings 30 Jun 2015 21:06
I feel sorry for the Greek people - they've had 5 hard years and for nothing. Grexit will be horrible for those who have to stay in Greece. The 'haves' have already moved their money and can just hop on a flight out. I hope Tsipras isn't driving the bus over a cliff f