Archive | Europe RSS feed for this section

Cameron the “lightweight”, and *that* lingering problem

5 Dec

I must admit that I had to suppress a giggle when I read that Slippery Dave’s much-vaunted July meeting with the then presidential hopeful, Barack Obama, wasn’t quite as rosy as the Tory spin-merchants painted it.

The New Statesman reports, that in fact, Mr. Cameron played a poorly chosen hand, concentrating on his pro-Americanism while launching into an “anti-European diatribe”. This was only 48-hours after Obama’s famous Berlin speech that called for more multilateralism from world powers and a stronger, more united Europe.

Indeed, if Cameron had taken the time to study Obama’s foreign policy speeches, he would understand that the now President elect considers a robust and focused EU, as a natural partner to a reborn American internationalism.

Slippery Dave’s rabid Europhobia didn’t go down well at all, with the former Illinois senator being left “distinctly unimpressed” with the Tory leader (far from the instant “bond” that Tory PR-goons gushed about).

Back in March The Spectator’s Fraser Nelson asked if DC was The British Obama, and DC has sought to align himself with the President-elect at every opportunity – declaring Obama “the first of a new generation of leaders”.

This admiration is clearly not shared over the Atlantic, with Obama declaring Cameron (and this is glorious) a “lightweight” – something I’ve long argued.

However, schadenfreude aside, I think this raises a significant problem for Cameron and the Tories. In fact it’s an old problem – a festering boil of a problem: Europe.

Cameron won the leadership campaign promising a more hostile approach to the continent, promising to leave the EPP and battle any further integration with fellow European States. So just as Obama is looking to create a coalition of democratic states – with The US and The EU at its centre – Cameron is pulling in the opposite direction.

It seems that Europe, that old cancer within the Tories, is no longer malignant.


The irregular quote of the day

10 Oct

Dave Osler has a great piece over at LC. As the newspapers tear into UK councils who invested in Icelandic banks, Dave explains exactly what the authorities were up to ::

For some reason, this morning’s newspapers are full of outcry about what UK councils are doing investing in Iceland anyway. The answer to that seems quite simple; they were seeking the best returns for the council tax payer, which is exactly what they should be doing. Remember, Iceland’s leading banks offered high rates of interest and enjoyed AAA credit ratings. Sounds fair enough to me.

The effin’ scoundrels! How dare they invest my taxes in high-return, triple-A accounts. Outrageous. Quick! Someone contact the tabloids.

Kosovo referred to ICJ

8 Oct

From the BBC ::

The UN General Assembly has voted to refer Kosovo’s independence declaration to the International Court of Justice.

The ICJ will be asked to give an advisory, non-binding opinion on the legality of Kosovo’s declaration of independence from Serbia in February.

Seventy-seven countries voted in favour, six against and 74 abstained.


Most EU countries abstained – Britain called Serbia’s request primarily political.

This is something of a diplomatic coup for the Russians (not to mention the Serbs).

As the United States and Russia continue to manoeuvre politically and militarily across Eastern Europe and Central Asia, many countries will again be forced to pick sides in what could become a new Cold War.

This is not lazy hyperbole. Who could have predicted that 5-years ago Russia would openly attack a US ally? It happened this summer, and many Eastern European countries are getting jittery as Russia continues to rebuild itself, thanks to its oil and gas receipts.

American primacy is over. Iraq, Afghanistan and the crisis on Wall St. have seen to that.

Internationalists hoped that globalisation, and the interconnectedness of international markets and trade, would lead to a peaceful transition from behemothic empire to collective prosperity and security. However, greed and hubris has meant this dream has collapsed.

We now see the nascent state of Kosovo referred to the International Court of Justice. Whether or not the case is legitimate is not for me to discuss, but to watch Russia and the U.S. use Kosovo as a political football is deeply worrying.

To be European

24 Aug

I have started to wonder if we’d be better off outside of Europe, and to be honest, whether Europe would be better off without us.

Our rightwing press, as seen here, will continue to poison the rank and file against the European project – and with progressives utterly unable to construct an attractive pro-European argument, it’s all looking rather doomed. The Brits will continue indefinitely to crow about every federalist proposal and pull in the opposite direction, in effect holding the rest of Europe back.

Yeah, I know many other countries have their growing anti-EU movements, but it’s us that exported Euroscepticism, and like a virus it has spread outwards, eating away at the idea of a united (small ‘u’) Europe.

So maybe everyone would be better served by us just slipping away in the night? Maybe Europe would actually begin to function if we just buggered off? And finally, if we did leave the EU, maybe the amount of EU-related absolute fucking bullshit (in the media) would decline? But then, maybe not.

More insight on Russia’s aggression in Georgia

15 Aug

A comment on Buchanan’s piece in the conservative site, Human Events ::

Buchanan is right (as usual).

I am a Russian linguist (or should I say ‘linguist of Russian’, being of British ancestry) and a student of Georgian. I know many on both sides of the conflict and read a wide variety of news sources. The fighting started on AUGUST SEVENTH, you can verify this EASILY by reading world media or at this point just google news searching by date. It began with a vicious Georgian encirclement of Tskhinvali with tanks and heavy air raids. This was disproportionate force against a small local militia (supported, nonetheless by the MAJORITY ethnic group). Russia invaded with tanks the next day, welcomed by the MAJORITY ethnic group.

The bombing of Gori and Poti and of airbases OUTSIDE OF Tbilisi were all aimed at military targets. Some missed and a number of civilians were killed. However deplorable this is, about 100 Georgian civilians is probably 10 times (Russia claims 20 times) fewer than Ossetian civilian casualties, about 22 times fewer than Serb civilian casualties to NATO bombing in 1999, and God only knows how many times fewer than civilian casualties of US armed forces (ahem, ‘coalition forces’) in Iraq.

Any slamming of Russia being an aggressor by those of you who support the far less justifiable acts of the USA in Iraq is laughable. The whole world is laughing, in fact…or crying, maybe.

Also, the US policy is hypocritical insofar as it lied about Serb ‘genocide’ while secretly funding and supplying the KLA in Albania to launch a virtual war on serbia, force it to sign a document agreeing to an occupation force in part of its country, and then, against all previous agreements, support its secession. Apparently, this is only alright when it is a NATO client state. This only supports the Russian view that NATO is not a defensive, but rather an AGGRESSIVE alliance, aimed only to create/support EU/US client states!!!!

Lastly, Georgia is not a democracy, not that that matters to most of you except for propagandistic purposes (since you oppose democracy in USA but support overthrowing people because they are ‘dictators’ if the president has an R next to his name). Have you heard of television company Imedi? It showed pictures of Georgian police brutally suppressing an opposition rally in late November. Saakashvili immediately sent riot police thugs without a warrant or anything to ransack the studio and destroy it. You can see youtube video of this, some translated into English. The director of the studio even ran up when the police arrived and took over the microphone to explain what was happening before the police turned off the camera. Right after this, Saakashvili declared martial law, then called a snap election, when only STATE media were operational. All the same, oppositionist exit polls showed a 20-something point discrepancy between the official results and their data, less than the discrepancy between US funded NGO exit polls and Shevardnadze’s data in 2003.

Stop fooling yourselves! America doesn’t want ‘democracies’, it wants client states. Perhaps Russia wants the same, but it is not but a fraction as capable of establishing this.

Some of you really want war, you love war, you don’t want peace. You don’t know about world politics, you just watch one channel and look at two or three websites over and over. You don’t know foreign languages, you don’t read or trust any world press. You are ready for any reason someone can give you to waive the flag and go fight and call everyone with a brain a traitor or a liberal. Buchanan is more conservative than most all of you, all he is spouting in foreign policy is Catholic just war doctrine! Is that too liberal for you?

No direct link, but the comment was by Thomas, Bergen, NORWAY@ Aug 15, 2008 @ 01:07 PM

Obviously it was derided by the mob…

Rightwing sense

15 Aug

How would we have reacted if Moscow had brought Western Europe into the Warsaw Pact, established bases in Mexico and Panama, put missile defense radars and rockets in Cuba, and joined with China to build pipelines to transfer Mexican and Venezuelan oil to Pacific ports for shipment to Asia? And cut us out? If there were Russian and Chinese advisers training Latin American armies, the way we are in the former Soviet republics, how would we react? Would we look with bemusement on such Russian behavior?

Pat Buchanan’s piece over at the US conservative site, Human Events, is worthy of your time. The comments, from the rabid “nuke now” readership, are much more scary…


10 Aug

Image via. BBC. No authority requested.

James Traub’s piece in the NYT Review is worthy of your time and attention – all six pages of it.