Category Archives: Saving Europeans from Themselves

Russian Tanks Reach the Atlantic near Lisbon…

by Gilbert Doctorow

The “fake news” title to this article provides a vision of where current U.S. and EU foreign and military policy towards Russia may be taking us if we do not think things through and make a course correction. My point in this article is that no one in leadership positions on this side of the New Iron Curtain seems capable of seeing beyond one move in the grand chess game of the Great Powers now proceeding before the eyes of the world. I dedicate this article in particular to the unidentified but very welcome readers in the U.S. Army who are following me on LinkedIn.

The starting point for today’s discussion is where I left off in my expose two days ago of the conformist and ill-considered presentation of the Russian-Ukraine war by The New York Times senior diplomatic correspondent in Brussels, Steven Erlanger, at a prestigious downtown club in this city.

I closed that expose by expanding on my question to Erlanger at the start of his Q&A: why were Europe and the U.S. so unprepared for the land war that Russia unleashed on 24 February 2022 given the way they all had taunted the Russian bear ever since 2014 in a manner that could only lead eventually to war. The last insult handed to the Russians came in the period from December 2021 through early February 2022 when the U.S. and NATO rejected out of hand Russia’s demand to enter into negotiations over its proposals for a review and revision of Europe’s security architecture.

The United States and Europe gloated at the way Russia stumbled in the opening days and weeks of the Special Military Operation. They concluded publicly that Russia was far less strong than anyone had supposed. However, the Russians comforted themselves with the old folk wisdom that they as a people are slow to saddle their horses but quick on the course once mounted. Indeed, Russia’s military gradually came into stride and we began to hear from Western military observers that the war had evolved into a full-blown “war of attrition,” a throw-back to the trench warfare and artillery battles of WWI, as opposed to tank battles or carpet bombing from positions of air superiority that the U.S. and its NATO allies have practiced over the past three decades when engaged against Third World victim countries.

Then it turned out that the Russians were firing up to 60,000 rounds of artillery a day, outdoing the Ukrainians firepower by a factor of from three or five to one. Casualty rates on the two sides rose in parallel with the disparity in firepower. The smiles were driven from the faces of our television commentators and political leaders. Now all attention was directed to propping up the Kiev regime with ever more lethal military hardware while cleaning out the armories in Europe to an alarming degree. The Russians were finally understood to have the world’s biggest accumulation of munitions, backed up by the world’s biggest manufacturing capacity in this domain. This is not to mention the new wonder weapons like the hypersonic Kinzhal which the Russians began to introduce on the field of battle a year into the war.

My question was and is: why were these aspects of the coming war in and about Ukraine not foreseen by those in power in the West? This bespeaks gross irresponsibility and incompetence…and, surely, also vast corruption. How else can one understand that the three or four hundred billion euros spent collectively by the EU member states on defense each and every year for the past twenty years versus the 80 billion euros of the annual Russian military budget yielded such a discrepancy in war readiness when it finally came in early 2022? And of course, by extension, why did U.S. stores and manufacturing turn out to be so paltry given its military budget greater than most of the rest of the world combined?

Now that I have flushed out that issue, let us move on. I do not see signs that current leadership in the U.S. or Europe has drawn any lessons from this experience. Instead by all their latest moves on the chessboard they are heading us straight for the checkmate described in the title line to this essay.

Great attention in the Western media has been devoted all this year to the decisions taken in Washington, London, Berlin and Brussels with respect first to shipment to Kiev of advanced tanks, namely the American produced Abrams heavy tank and the German Leopards, then to the shipment to Kiev of American F-16 fighter jets from out of fleets in Europe.

Very little is being reported about the build-up of NATO troop strength and materiel all along the Eastern frontier with Russia. Very little is being reported right now in Western media about the threats coming from Poland to support an armed uprising being planned against the Lukashenko government in Belarus. Indeed earlier this week Polish television interviewed a former deputy minister of defense General Skrzypczak, who is actively pushing for his country to intervene militarily in support of any such uprising, crossing the border into Belarus just as Ukrainian forces in the guise of anti-Putin Russian militia invaded the RF oblast of Belgorod over last weekend causing mayhem, including the destruction of more than 500 houses and shootings that sent Russian civilians to the hospitals with injuries or to the morgue. These “terrorists” as the Russian television describes them were liquidated by Russian security forces, but the threat of further such incursions has raised the temperature and the aggressiveness of Russian public discourse.

Some Russian nationalists, like the head of the Wagner mercenary company Yevgeny Prigozhin, are quoted today in The New York Times for their demands that Russian elites be called to order, that the country be put on a full war footing, that martial law be introduced. Other nationalist orators are saying that traitors like the gal who handed a fatal bomb to the journalist Tatarsky in St Petersburg several weeks ago be summarily executed.

However, a lot more is being said on mainstream Russian television like Sixty Minutesthat goes unreported by our press and that goes well beyond cracking down domestically in Russia. The panelists on this show are not just talking heads from think tanks and Moscow State University. They include Duma members from United Russia, LDPR and the Communist Party. And among the Duma members are predominantly heads of relevant Duma Committees like Defense.

One of the most cogent such Duma member panelists is a retired general who has some very specific recommendations on military strategy that our boys in DC would do well to consider.

A lot of print has been spilled and all too many words have been spoken by Western analysts on whether or not Russia will use tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine. This is empty talk that ignores two facts. The first is that the Ukraine regime can be decapitated at any moment of Russia’s choosing using the hypersonic missiles at Russia’s disposal equipped with conventional warheads. Secondly, Russia is holding its nuclear option in reserve for use against NATO, as this Duma member made crystal clear. Let us all remember that Russia has the world’s largest stock of tactical nuclear arms, just as it is the world’s leader in strategic nuclear arms.

If the hare-brained regime in Warsaw proceeds with plans to do Washington’s bidding and create a “second front” by invading Belarus under the guise of local insurgents, Russia will certainly intervene. President Putin specifically stated that yesterday, but you will not find his citation in today’s NYT. If as a follow-on, NATO begins to move against Russia along the vast front line that it has recently manned, then the Russian general’s proposed response is also ready to hand: to use tactical nuclear weapons against these NATO forces, destroy them and move tanks past them to the next point of resistance where it again uses nuclear weapons. This game of leapfrog would logically take those Russian tanks to the Atlantic somewhere near Lisbon as I have indicated in the headline.

And what would the USA do about the destruction of its European allies? An informed guess is nothing. If Washington is now pussy-footing over whose tanks go to Ukraine, over whose F-16s go to Ukraine, all for the purpose of keeping the fight with Russia at the level of proxies, then why would the USA risk instant destruction by Russian strategic missiles just because Europe is burning?

©Gilbert Doctorow, 2023

Breaking! East Europeans Ready to Accept Defeat in Ukraine

via RT
Poland is leading a group of European nations that are secretly urging Vladimir Zelensky to find a way to settle the conflict with Russia, veteran journalist Seymour Hersh has reported, citing a “knowledgeable” American official.

According to US intelligence, other EU countries that want to see an end to the fighting include Hungary, Germany, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, Hersh wrote in an article published on his Substack page on Wednesday.

“Hungary is a big player in this and so are Poland and Germany, and they are working to get Zelensky to come around,” the unnamed official claimed. Those countries have made it clear that “Zelensky can keep what he’s got if he works up a peace deal even if he’s got to be paid off, if it’s the only way to get a deal.”

By “keep what he’s got,” the source was referring to the Ukrainian president’s villa in Italy and interests in an offshore bank, Hersh clarified.

However, Zelensky has so far rejected the proposal, while other major European players – France and the UK – “are too beholden” to the Biden administration, which is continuing to back the Ukrainian leader, the official said.

One of the main reasons why Poland and the others want the conflict to end is because the burden of accommodating Ukrainian refugees has become too much for them, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist wrote.

The problem for those countries “is how to get the US to stop supporting Zelensky,” Hersh’s source suggested.

He claimed that US intelligence is well aware that “Ukraine is running out of money and… that the next four or months are critical. And Eastern Europeans are talking about a deal.”

However, he added that “it’s not clear to the intelligence community what the president and his foreign policy aides in the White House know of the reality.”

The US is “still training Ukrainians how to fly our F-16s that will be shot down by Russia as soon as they get into the war zone. The mainstream press is dedicated to Biden and the war, and Biden is still talking about the Great Satan in Moscow while the Russian economy is doing great,” the official explained.

Russia has repeatedly stated that it’s ready to resolve the conflict at the negotiating table. However, it did not receive any proposals from Ukraine and its Western backers that it could consider reasonable.

Zelensky has been promoting his ten-point peace plan, which calls for Russian forces to withdraw to borders claimed by Ukraine, to pay reparations, and to submit to war-crime tribunals.

Moscow has rejected the plan as “unacceptable,” saying it ignores the reality on the ground and is actually a sign of Kiev’s unwillingness to solve the crisis through diplomatic means.

McCarthyism in Germany vs Pragmatic Italians

by Gilbert Doctorow via Gilbert Doctorow

[ . . . ] Now I want to address the title issue of yesterday’s News Review program to which I have added a question mark. I also am obliged to explain here my speaking of the “stupid Germans” and of the “pragmatic Italians” as regards maintaining or cutting off all commercial ties with Russia.

Of course, I did not mean to be insulting to one side and flattering to the other. There is always a reason for everything, and to my mind the reason for Germans’ “stupidity” on Russia is the draconian censorship in place against all nonconforming reporting about the war. But that goes back to the generalized McCarthyism in Germany and denunciations of so-called Putinversteher, meaning anyone who saw another side to the story on Russia, that I remarked upon in essays going back 5 or 6 years.

The brainwashing of Germany did not happen overnight. And then there is the specific German tradition of idealism that goes back a couple of centuries. German self-righteousness was marginalized politically for more than 50 years following the country’s defeat in WWII under an official policy of remorse for the horrors the country perpetrated domestically and across Europe under Adolf Hitler.

By the turn of the new millennium, however, a younger generation of Germans was saying the time had come to leave behind collective guilt over the misdeeds of their grandparents and to move on and assume the place among nations that their country’s economic strength merited. This new movement in turn evolved into the ‘holier than thou’ posture of the Greens and other German political streams which translates into excoriation of Putin’s Russia for its war of aggression in Ukraine and alleged war crimes.

Against this tidal wave of moral outrage among their compatriots, there is arguably little that German industrialists and even the Mittelstand can do publicly. I mention the Mittelstand, because they have been the backbone of the German economic miracle and yet these family businesses of middle and small size are the ones least able to escape the financial pain of the sanctions policies on Russia. Unlike Germany’s biggest corporations, they lack the human and financial resources to close down factories and move to America as Bayer Leverkusen is doing.

Turning to Italy, we see a very different story. As my hosts on Press TV pointed out, recent polls indicate that more than 50% of the population opposes further military aid to Ukraine. This is so because unlike Germany and France, Italy’s media scene is more open, less controlled. And this relative freedom has an explanation: namely the strength of populist parties and political leaders who oppose the foreign and domestic policies written in Brussels and promoted within Italy by the traditional parties. In this regard it pays to mention the Salvini faction, the Berlusconi faction and even Georgia Meloni herself, who long campaigned as an anti-Brussels politician.

What I see in Italy is precisely the same divisions and importance of populism that make the USA arguably the best protector of freedom of speech within the Western World that Washington leads. Why? For this we have to thank Donald Trump, who from the beginning of his presidency said from the office of the President things about NATO, about other Western leaders that would have brought down the FBI on the heads of ordinary citizens like myself had we said them before Trump did. I say emphatically that it was Trump who saved American democracy, not America’s own self-righteous Left and its iconic publications like The Nation, which was once a bastion of human rights defenders but is now just another promoter of domestic repression. But this is a subject for separate discussion.

I close this explanatory note to my remarks on Press TV yesterday with a few words about Italian “pragmatism” and what that means for commercial relations with Russia.

For all of its economic heft, Italy is less resilient than Germany financially and commercially. Italian businessmen placed great hopes on trade with Russia from the moment the market opened up in the 1990s. Of course, Italians had been leaders in trade with Russia during Soviet times, and their achievement in profiting from the Soviet market for automobiles by way of the Togliatti factory of FIAT was the tip of the iceberg. Now the new, free and market oriented Russian Federation presented still greater opportunities for small and medium sized Italian firms and they jumped into the fray.

As I remarked in the interview yesterday, here in Petersburg I see a strong Italian presence that by its nature is not done hands-off, via parallel trading through Belarus, Dubai, Kazakhstan or other exotic routes. No, by its nature it has to be directed from Italy by the producers. This is surely the case of the “Wines of Italy Week” at my nearby Perekryostok supermarket. This is a nationwide store chain that can offer such a promotion only if it has a very large assured supply and is not chasing after small lots of product in third countries engaging in parallel trade.

When I visit stores selling home electrical goods and electronics, and I will write about this in a few days in what will be my Petersburg Travel Notes – Part III, I see in mass consumer distributors white goods produced by Italian concerns.

An oil and gas giant like ENI has to submit to government orders on breaking contracts with Russia. But Italy’s small and medium sized companies are doing nothing of the kind.

All of which leads me to ask, how long Giorgia Meloni will be able to honor her promises of substantial and unlimited deliveries of arms and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine.

Reading the Russian Tea Leaves

Ed. Note: Very rare discussion of the real internal configuration of the interests within Russia. We only disagree on one aspect with the author. And that is that in order to survive as an independent geopolitical civilizational entity, it was essential for Russia to integrate Western Europe into its own space. The last 100 years of European of wars were in fact the fight over Western Europe between the two major White European superpowers: the Anglo-Saxons and the Russians.

In light of such an objective, Russia had to be able to open its borders to integration with the “West”. At the peak of its military power in the late 1970s, it was possible to start the integration process. This is presented in The New CommonWealth published in 1997.

Posted by: shadowbanned

I know I’m like a broken record on this, but people in the West still don’t understand why and how exactly the Cold War ended.

And that includes even the anti-imperialists. Those consist mostly of two groups — a libertarian right and a Trotskyist left, and both of them have their reasons to swallow line hook and sinker the official narrative that is presented to everyone else, namely that the USSR collapsed because it was an unworkable system that history has now firmly rejected.

The libertarians like that idea because they dream of a small state, completely unregulated markets, etc. And obviously the USSR is a mortal enemy of that ideology.

The Trotskyists (and I use this term loosely — most of them don’t identify themselves as such because they have no knowledge of that history) hate the USSR because it was built by Stalin, and Trotskyists and Stalinists hate each other. Also, in later decades communist countries went in a conservative nationalist direction on cultural issues, which is unacceptable for Trotskyists too.

So we have the mainstream narrative converging with the disparate motivations of the “alternative” fringe in creating a huge blind spot, and everyone is thinking the USSR collapsed because it just had to collapse as it was a fundamentally broken system.

Nothing of the sort — if there had been a will, there would still be a USSR. It’s a long topic, but it could not only have been saved, but it would have thrived and been light years ahead of the West if the correct decisions had been taken, especially in the 1960s. You see what China looks like now.

In reality what happened was that the grandest act of treason and betrayal in human history was committed — a certain layer of the late Soviet elites made a deal with the West to surrender without a fight and hand over the USSR’s resources in exchange for a percentage on the rent extraction flow that would allow them to then live in unimaginable under communism luxury. That’s the essence of the whole story.

But again, that isn’t understood in the West, including in the anti-imperialist circles.

It is well understood in Russia though, and this is why there is so much pessimism — because that scum has been in power ever since, it has not been cleansed and purged at all, and everything about the last 14 months smells very strongly of another such betrayal.

do you have a link for this? and why would he resist at all if he were merely an agent of the west. my understanding is he had a great deal to do with transforming Russia from the wild west of the 90’s–why would he do that if he were a western agent? why would China trust him, to the extent that it does, if he were merely an agent of the west which has China next in the crosshairs?Posted by: pretzelattack


Putin is one person, and he is simply balancing between competing interest. He is not a dictator (even Stalin wasn’t really one and was always in danger of falling victim to a coup). Roughly it splits like this:

1) Extractive industries — pro-Western
2) Bankers — pro-Western
3) the MIC and the siloviki — patriotic, but with some western intelligence penetration in some of the agencies
4) local civilians industries — patriotic

On some issues one side prevails, on others the other.

So why is Russia even fighting? Why not just break it into saleable parts and get their $$$ and be done with it? Certainly their cohorts in the West would have made it very much worth their while. But that didn’t happen.
I’d like to hear your reasoning why they are betraying Russia and fighting for Russia all at the same time when they could have just competed the process 20 years ago with Yeltsin.I do get the pessimism though, anyone who has suffered trauma would feel the same.
Posted by: K | May 6 2023 12:31 utc | 321

See above. There is a strong patriotic faction, but it has not won the internal war.

Also, and that is very important, the reason why Russia started resisting after Putin became president is that even the extractive industries, while pro-Western, weren’t satisfied with their cut of the loot. And not just that — the original deal from the 1970s and 1980s was made with the understanding on the Russian side that they would be accepted as equal members of the world’s elite. But in fact they weren’t accepted — their money was welcome, but they themselves were always seen as second-class elites. And again, both sides got greedier than what the loot could support in terms of demands on it.

It’s nothing new — vassals have rebelled against their feudal lords because they weren’t satisfied with the terms of their mutual arrangements for many centuries. But vassals and their lords have always been in full agreement that the peasants should be totally suppressed, and that the system should be preserved.

Same thing here — the way things were 15-20 years ago was ideal for them, and that is what those sabotaging the SMO are dreaming about returning to. That ship has sailed though…

Not really. You might say that GDR collapsed in 1990 around the time Deng was changing policy in China – compare and contrast China with former GDR under West German management !China has a sea coast and had Hong Kong and New Territories where UK had let a business culture thrive – it had export ports. ALL Chinese wealth is concentrated in its coastal regions

USSR had no real coastal ports for exports.

USSR offered Akio Morita cheap labour to produce SONY products in Soviet factories – he declined. Outside Mil-Spec USSR quality was pitiful especially in consumer goods.

The areas of USSR best suited to technically advanced optics and electronics were Ukraine and Baltic States which is why USSR produced there and in GDR at Carl Zeiss Jena.

Dreamers like you are big on drama but weak on detail

Posted by: Paul Greenwood

Not at all. We are not talking about business — the whole point of the USSR was to move away from the “business” mentality — and definitely not about exports.

An entirely separate autarkic system had to be created.

If humanity is to survive in the long run, everyone who talks about business must as quickly as possible have their head and body separated from each other and buried in shallow unmarked graves, and everyone who ever talks about “business” again needs to be immediately lined up and shot. There is no viable future that is not based on careful material balancing of physical resources that ensures there is no growth in their use, and in which the ideas of “profit” and “interest” do not become heresies punishable by death. The alternative is extinction for the species and much of life on the planet.

The point is that the USSR refused to pursue the tech that would have allowed independent development along a different trajectory. Computer tech is key indeed, but not so much as a consumer item. And a lot of opportunities were missed.

Disastrous decisions were taken in the late 1950s and the 1960s.

First, not to pursue OGAS, which would have developed an internal Soviet internet before the Western version, and, critically, would have solved the real-time material balance problem (early on central planners had to plan for a few hundred items, but that eventually grew to complexity two orders of magnitude higher, which they couldn’t handle; a problem that was foreseen — there were people there who were not dummies and knew what had to be done — and OGAS would have been the solution). OGAS, in simplest terms, would have been much like what Amazon uses today to manage its logistics, but coming half a century earlier. The problem is that would have taken away the power of the bureaucrats so they blocked it.

Second, the decision was made to not pursue indigenous chip designs but to copy the Western ones. That ensured that they would always be half a decade behind. They were not as far behind initially, especially in theoretical work, and it’s not as if they didn’t have the brains to work on their own tech. Look up the early literature on machine learning, a lot of it is Soviet, and the first examples of what we now call deep learning were also Soviet.

Third, the Sino-Soviet split put them in permanent disadvantage. Circa 1965 it could have been 1.1-1.2 billion Chinese + Soviets + the rest of the communist countries in a single consolidated area of exchange of technology and ideas versus ~800 million in the West. After the Sino-Soviet split, the Eastern bloc was left with less than 400M people, vastly outnumbered by the West, while now having to spend double on the military to guard the eastern borders too.

What happened instead was that in the 1960s resource exports to the West started, which set the process of deep corruption of the system in motion. Why invest in local computer tech if you can just sell oil and buy them ready made?

What Zelenski was Told

From the Ukrainian TG-channel “Cartel”:

“The gossip is that Xi today gave an ultimatum to Zelensky. Giving him a choice: either start the process for a Chinese-led peace settlement now, etc., or raise the stakes by going on the offensive and provoking a nuclear war.
Zelensky did not give an answer, but he understood the signal…
If the Britons press on with the offensive, then Xi’s peace case proposal will no longer be relevant.”
Via Donbass Devushka

Poland Would Not Survive a Russia vs. NATO War – Medvedev

Former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev has claimed that Poland would cease to exist if a direct war were to occur between Russia and NATO, regardless of the outcome. He was responding to remarks by Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, who expressed confidence that the Western alliance would win such a conflict.

Morawiecki, who is currently visiting the US, commented on the Ukrainian conflict in an interview with NBC News on Friday. Host Kristen Welker asked whether he was concerned that Ukrainian strikes outside its territory risked “a wider war, drawing Poland… into the conflict.”

The prime minister replied that he was not concerned, as it would be “a war between Russia and NATO, and Russia would lose this war very quickly.”

“They believe that fighting with Ukraine they are fighting with the West and fighting with NATO, whereas the fact of the matter is that we are only supporting a brutally invaded country”, Morawiecki said.

Medvedev, who serves as deputy chair of Russia’s National Security Council, tweeted in response that he was not so certain about which side would win, “but considering Poland’s role as a NATO outpost in Europe, this country is sure to disappear together with its stupid prime minister.”

The Russian official has previously warned against a possible escalation of the Ukraine conflict, which Moscow perceives as a proxy war against it by the US and its allies. If that were to happen, hostilities could go nuclear, Medvedev believes, and all sides would be catastrophically harmed. The former president has branded European leaders who underestimate this risk as incompetent.

Morawiecki is one of the most outspoken critics of Russia and its involvement in Ukraine. He has claimed the country is similar to Nazi Germany in its goals and methods, and accused nations in the EU that do not fully support Ukraine, of appeasing Moscow.

During his visit to the US, the Polish leader delivered a speech to the Atlantic Council, a pro-NATO think-tank, in which he reiterated his case for investing in Ukraine. If Kiev loses, he claimed, the West’s “golden age” may end. (Ed. Note: which most probably, it will.)

On the Transformation of German Greens into Atlanticist War Mongers

by Gilbert Doctorow

A couple of days ago, the American Committee for US-Russia Accord, the successor organization to a similarly named think tank which I co-founded with the late Professor Stephen Cohen, published an essay by former U.S State Department expert on Russia and long time free-lance publicist James Carden explaining how and why the once-upon-a-time peaceable German Greens became the strident war mongers in Chancellor Scholz’s cabinet.


I fully agree with James Carden’s assessment of the deplorable role that the Greens have played in overturning the heritage of Ostpolitik going back 50 years to Willy Brandt and his Social Democratic party, a doctrine of rapprochement with Russia which essentially guided German foreign policy whatever the composition of coalition governments up to about 2012, when Merkel let lapse the strategic partnership with Russia.

However, I disagree with Carden and with the academic and political sources that informed his report on the peaceable nature of the German Greens until recent days. To my understanding, an anti-Russian dimension was incorporated in the party fiber by one of its early members, Joschka Fischer, and by one of its leaders in the new millennium, Daniel Cohn-Bendit. To the environmentalist agenda, which the broad public understood to be the content of Greens, they welded on a foreign policy plank that was Neocon in all but name. Like the American Neocons, Fischer and Cohn-Bendit were born again former radical Leftists.

Several readers of an early version of this text have reminded me that the support which Joschka Fischer gave to the American-led bombing of Serbia in 1999 marked their “coming out of the US/NATO Closet.” At that point, many if not most of the original pacifists among the Greens quit the party.

The lightly camouflaged Russophobia at the core of the German Greens came to the fore at about 2012, when the United States aggressively pursued its sanctions policy against Russia under what we know as the Magnitsky Law. German Greens in the European Parliament made common cause with the viciously anti-Russian faction of about 70 MEPs headed by former Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt to promote a “European Magnitsky Act.” They brought over to Europe the evil genius behind the Magnitsky Act, Bill Browder, and he twice made appearances at conferences in the Parliament to lobby for this Act. I know. I was there as an invited guest of one MEP who vehemently opposed the anti-Russian policies. At the time, the anti-Russian resolutions were supported by perhaps two-thirds of the Parliamentarians. Such measures are supported today by about 90% of the MEPs.

I mention the year 2012 as being a turning point. Coincidentally, in that year the Greens’ leader Cohn-Bendit co-authored a book with Verhofstadt entitled Debout l’Europe(Arise Europe!), thereby publicly sealing this nominally Right-Left alliance to further an agenda of creating a federal Europe with an anti-Russian foreign orientation.

Since Verhofstadt’s name is probably little known to readers outside of Belgium, allow me to mention that as the Prime Minister from the Flemish Liberals 1999-2008 his domestic policy was inspired by Margaret Thatcher. After leaving his leadership post in Belgium, he moved his office just a kilometer away to the European Parliament, where he formed the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe. In his capacity of Chairman of this Group, he drew upon viscerally anti-Russian Estonian politicians to guide his policies towards Russia, which entailed regime change activities including support for the anti-Putin politician Boris Nemtsov, who was the Navalny, or White Knight, if you will, of the time. This is the man with whom the Greens leader Cohn-Bendit worked hand in hand.

For those who wish to pursue these questions in greater depth, I direct you to two consecutive chapters in my 2015 collection of essays entitled Does Russia Have a Future? beginning with “The Indefatigable Bill Browder: Selling the Magnitsky Act to Europe.”

To bring us up to date and see who later went where, it is worth mentioning that after the 2017 election of Macron to the Presidency in France and the election of Macron-backed candidates to the European Parliament from his en marche political movement, Verhofstadt merged his own bloc with Macron’s to form the “Renew Europe” bloc that is a major grouping in the European Parliament today and is consistently anti-Russian.

During the period from 2012 to present, I have followed voting patterns in the European Parliament fairly closely and there was never any doubt that representatives of the German Greens were vocal and highly active in promoting resolutions condemning Russia for alleged human rights violations and under any other convenient pretext. If I may be allowed to name names, Rebecca Harms (Greens MEP, 2004-2019) was surely the biggest loudmouth in all efforts to present Russia as a pariah state.

For all of these reasons, I reject out of hand any suggestion that the deplorable behavior of the Green’s bubble-headed Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbok represents a new departure in an otherwise respectable German political party in the Ostpolitik tradition.

Before closing, I take issue with a minor point in Carden’s essay, which seeks to provide an optimistic note on where German foreign policy may be headed by pointing to the mass demonstrations in Berlin and elsewhere in Germany against the supply of lethal weapons to Ukraine. In particular, he mentions the Manifesto for peace issued jointly by the Leftist politician and Bundestag member Sahra Wagenknecht and the feminist leader Alice Schwarzer. Apart from the 50,000 who may have rallied at the Brandenburg Gates at the bidding of Wagenknecht and Schwarzer, there were more than 500,000 Germans and people from around the world who signed that open Manifesto online.

Regrettably Carden has not taken note of the first paragraph of that appeal, which flatly condemns Russia as the aggressor. Coming from Wagenknecht, who has been highly principled and never minced words in her public statements, this is a vile concession to the McCarthyism rampant in today’s Germany. Any public statement by German politicians of any stripe must open with this kind of Hail Mary, lest it be denounced as coming from a Putin stooge.

What Carden may not realize is that the public information space in Germany, in Europe as a whole, is far worse than in the United States. The USA is split politically 50-50 between pro- and anti-Trump forces. The result is a degree of conflicting views on foreign policy in the air waves that is incredible to anyone seated in Brussels, as I am. We have no Tucker Carlson shows (Fox News) drawing in audiences of 4 million viewers every evening and setting out in detail why the Biden administration’s foreign (and most every other) policy is a disaster. No, in Germany, apart from the “extreme Right” party Alternativ fuer Deutschland, there is hardly a dissenting voice to give Herr Scholz and his Foreign Minister from the Greens reasons to change course or to fear for their political survival.

Finally, I use the opportunity to mention the interpretation of Germany’s present policy with respect to the Ukraine war and its becoming the major supplier of heavy military equipment to Kiev. I take these remarks from what I hear and see on Russia’s leading political talk shows on state television, which generally are representative of the thinking of the political, academic and social elites. They now see what is going on in Germany as the rise of Revanchisme, the enthronement of those who had their fill of Germany’s public remorse and regret for its barbaric behavior at home and abroad in the 1930s and 1940s under Hitler. Alongside the now militarizing Japan, we are witnessing the formation of a new Axis which is in confrontation with a new Entente, meaning Russia and China. If this is so, then the future orientation of German politics will be decided on the field of battle in Ukraine, not in the coffee houses of Berlin.

©Gilbert Doctorow, 2023

Xi Deflects Ursula, the Overseer

by Timur Fomenko, via RT

French President Emmanuel Macron has wrapped up a three-day visit to China, accompanied partly by European Commission Chief Ursula von der Leyen, who went home a day earlier.

The dual visit came at a time when EU nations, worried about a growing Sino-Russian partnership, are looking for ways to strengthen their own diplomatic engagement with Beijing.

Von der Leyen’s presence on the trip was widely seen as a “check” on Macron, there to ensure he complied with “European unity” on the matter of the EU’s relationship with China. Before the visit, she gave a hawkish address warning China against supporting Russia in the Ukraine conflict and slamming Beijing for becoming “more repressive at home and more assertive abroad.”

While she urged the bloc to reduce “dependencies” on China, she also opposed full “decoupling” of economies, as called for by the US. Enduring trade relations were made abundantly clear by the fact that Macron was accompanied by a 50-strong delegation of business leaders who came to Beijing to sign deals.

It is unusual that Macron, an advocate of the EU’s so-called “strategic autonomy” in negotiating with other actors on the world stage, and von der Leyen, an ardent atlanticist who is reportedly in the wings to be the next NATO secretary general, were both in China together.

Despite their somewhat conflicting agendas, their visit was a net positive for Beijing and a net negative for US attempts to force the EU to fully take its side in its own geopolitical crusade against Beijing. The US looks upon all attempts by the EU to engage with China with disdain, and does its best to undermine it where possible.

Likewise, when it comes to the Ukraine conflict, China’s effort to open talks by presenting its 12-step peace plan was immediately dismissed by Washington, with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken accusing Beijing of providing “diplomatic cover” for what he called Russia’s attempts to “freeze the war.” However, Xi Jinping’s recent visit to Moscow has apparently shown EU leaders, who would prefer the war to end rather than drag on indefinitely, the potential consequences of “losing China” – and now Macron is urging Xi to mediate a return to the negotiating table by “bringing Russia to its senses.”

In other words, many EU leaders, bar the overzealous and fanatical ones in states such as Lithuania, now realize that they must pursue a diplomatic effort to “keep China on board,” which in turn illustrates the tactical shrewdness of Xi Jinping in preserving his partnership with Moscow without explicitly endorsing the Ukraine conflict. This has given China geopolitical leverage.

It should also be noted that China has never sought to oppose Europe, but its principal objective has been to try and keep Europe out of the American camp at all costs. The EU, after all, collectively represents the largest export market China has in the developed world and is therefore critical to China’s growth and development.

Of course, on the other hand, the US has long been pushing very aggressively to undermine China’s prospects in the EU. It has been waging a public opinion war against Beijing, using its own state-sponsored think-tanks, and pushing issues such as human rights to create negative sentiment and to block engagement, such as on the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI), which was proposed back in 2013 and is still pending ratification a decade later. Similarly, the US uses bilateral and unilateral diplomacy to undermine China’s relationships with specific European countries in a bid to wreck its attempts to engage with the bloc as a whole.

For example, the US explicitly supported Lithuania in undermining the ‘One China’ principle by opening a “Taiwan representative office.” It also forced the Netherlands to agree to new export controls on sending advanced lithography machines (used for making computer chips) to China. Similarly, because the EU could never agree to a comprehensive ban of Huawei’s application in 5G networks in 2020, the US simply resorted to bilaterally approaching countries one by one, making them agree to the ban until those states that were not on board, such as Germany, were effectively isolated and could not drive the EU agenda.

Ultimately, the EU is a bloc which can only operate by consensus between all of its member states, but if the US can undermine that consensus, it can throw a spanner in the works and break the entire machine. This is why it is so difficult for Europe to truly create an “autonomous” foreign policy capable of serving coherent “European interests.” This means when nations such as France and Germany declare their desire for engagement with China, they of course have influence, but the overall effect is never truly consistent. The bloc is being subjected to a constant tug of war in its foreign policy direction, which ultimately shows that Europe remains more of a passenger, rather than a player, in the world of US-China competition.

However, despite the traditional dominance of the US over Europe, Beijing is by no means out of the game, because as much as the US can play divide and conquer against EU countries, so can China – and the outcome of the visit demonstrates that very well. Having given von der Leyen and her message of “unity” a noticeably cooler reception, the Chinese hosted a cordial tea ceremony for Macron, after signing a joint communique that spoke at length about improving trade, economic and cultural ties, but made barely any mention of the main political sticking point between China and the EU – Beijing’s good relations with Moscow and Xi’s refusal to condemn Russian President Vladimir Putin over the Ukraine crisis.

For China, this is a clear win. For France, this is a win in terms of enduring business and economic relations with China, but a loss in that all of Macron’s attempt to change Xi’s mind on Putin and Ukraine were comprehensively stonewalled.

For von der Leyen, whose mission in Beijing was purely political, it was a complete failure. Not only did her message fall on deaf ears, the wooing of France continued unabated under her nose. But perhaps most importantly, the result of this visit dealt a blow to US agenda, showing that positive relations between China and the EU are worth working towards and Washington’s attempts to drive wedges between them are, so far, futile.

Are Moldovans as Stupid as the Ukrainians?

Hacker DPR Joker writes :

I get the impression that the Moldovan authorities want life in their country to become as bright and extreme as in Ukraine. They are slowly but surely getting involved in this war because that is what their American masters want. I am not against the war; I am just always amazed at the stupidity of people who voluntarily let the war happen on their territory. I’m sure psychology has a definition for this. I’ll ask my psychologist when I meet him.

In the training center of a brigade of special purpose “Fulger” of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Moldova, which is located in the suburbs of Chisinau, foreign mercenaries together with servicemen of Ukraine pass( learn) training and coordinate combat. Regular instructors at the center conduct only sniper training; other military disciplines are taught by NATO instructors. Since February 20, about 1000 mercenaries from Romania have arrived at the center for training and combat training. A part of Romanian mercenaries has been sent in the second half of March to the territory of the Transnistrian Moldovan Republic, but usually all those who have passed training and combat training at this center are transferred to Belgorod-Dnistrovskiy, Odessa Region.

The NATO instructors who have been spotted at this center have previously been seen in Donbass training the AFU in 2020-2021. When relevant, I will show you photos and video of these beauties at this Fulger Brigade Center. But I don’t remember how I got my hands on it all. either from my spies at this center or among the Romanian mercenaries, or because of the center’s disregard for cybersecurity. Ах-ха-ха-ха-ха-ха-ха-ха-ха…

Deputy Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation, Mikhail Galuzin

Moscow will only be satisfied with the surrender of Kyiv … and the West

This is how one can comment on today’s words of Deputy Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Mikhail Galuzin.

Conditions that Kyiv must fulfill:

  • the cessation of hostilities by Ukrainian armed groups and the completion of the supply of weapons by Western countries

  • ensuring the neutral and non-bloc status of Ukraine, its refusal to join NATO and the EU

  • confirmation of the non-nuclear status of Ukraine

  • recognition by Kiev and the international community of “new territorial realities”

  • demilitarization and “denazification” of Ukraine

  • protection of the rights of Russian-speaking citizens, the Russian language and national minorities

  • ensuring free cross-border movement with Russia

  • cancellation by Ukraine and the West of anti-Russian sanctions and withdrawal of claims, termination of prosecutions against Russia, its individuals and legal entities

  • restoration of the legal framework of Ukraine with Russia and the CIS

  • restoration – with the money of the West – of the Ukrainian civilian infrastructure destroyed by the Armed Forces of Ukraine after 2014.

A comment. This is an ultimatum. And, not only to Kyiv.

Which, like the previous one, obviously will not be executed. So, then there will be a third (harder).

And so on, until either official Kyiv (or whoever will be there later) agrees to it, or … (and which is very likely) the state of Ukraine disappears from the political map of the world.