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Is an Independent Europe Possible?

A significant crack has been unexpectedly opened in the wall of Europe’s disciplined obedience to the United States.

Joe Lauria

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I’m not only referring to the possible long-term consequences for U.S.-European relations in the wake of Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, but the unlikely blow against Washington’s information war on Moscow delivered by Germany’s foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who a week ago shockingly accused the North Atlantic Treaty Organization of “war-mongering” against Russia.

Since the Bush administration’s twisting of events in the 2008 Russia-Georgia war, which the EU blamed on Georgia, Western populations have been subjected to the steady message that Russia is a “threat” to the West and is guilty of “aggression.” This reached a peak with the false narrative of events in Ukraine, in which blatant evidence of the West’s complicity in a violent coups d’état was omitted from corporate media accounts, while Russia’s assistance to eastern Ukrainians resisting the coup has been framed as a Russian “invasion.”

The disinformation campaign has reached the depths of popular culture, including the EuroVision song contest and sports doping scandals, to ensure widespread popular support for U.S. intentions against Russia.

The Russian “aggression” narrative, based largely on lies of omission, has prepared the way for the U.S. to install a missile-shield in Romania with offensive capabilities and to stage significant NATO war games with 31,000 troops on Russia’s borders. For the first time in 75 years, German troops retraced the steps of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union.

U.S. Designs on Russia

The U.S. is eyeing a post-Putin Russia in which a Wall Street-friendly leader like Boris Yeltsin can be restored to reopen the country to Western exploitation. But Vladimir Putin is no Yeltsin and has proven a tough nut for the U.S. to crack. Washington’s modus operandi is to continually provoke and blame an opponent until it stands up for itself, as Putin’s Russia has done, then accuse it of “aggression” and attack in “self-defense.”

In this way Washington builds popular support and resistance to the other side of the story. Unfortunately it is not a new trick in the U.S. playbook. “The statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception,” wrote Mark Twain.

So suddenly, after many years of an air-tight, anti-Russia campaign believed unquestioningly by hundreds of millions of Westerners, comes Steinmeier last week blurting out the most significant truth about Russia uttered by a Western official perhaps in decades.

“What we shouldn’t do now is inflame the situation further through saber-rattling and warmongering,” Steinmeier stunningly told Bild am Sontag newspaper. “Whoever believes that a symbolic tank parade on the alliance’s eastern border will bring security is mistaken.”

Instead Steinmeier called for dialogue with Moscow. “We are well-advised to not create pretexts to renew an old confrontation,” he said, saying it would be “fatal to search only for military solutions and a policy of deterrence.”

In keeping with the strategy, the U.S. corporate media virtually ignored remarks that should have been front-page news. The New York Times did not report Steinmeier’s statement, but two days later ran a Reuter’s story only online leading with the U.S. military’s rejection of his remarks.

NATO General: Russia is No Threat

Just a day after Steinmeier was quoted in Bild, General Petr Pavel, chairman of NATO’s military committee, dropped another bombshell. Pavel told a Brussels press conference flat out that Russia was not at a threat to the West. “It is not the aim of NATO to create a military barrier against broad-scale Russian aggression, because such aggression is not on the agenda and no intelligence assessment suggests such a thing,” he said.

What? What happened to Russian “aggression” and the Russian “threat?” What is the meaning then of the fear of Russia pounded every day into the heads of Western citizens? Is it all a lie? Two extraordinary on-the-record admissions by two men, Steinmeier, the foreign minister of Europe’s most powerful nation, and an active NATO general in charge of the military committee, both revealing that what Western officials repeat every day is indeed a lie, a lie they talk about in private but would never before utter in public.

Two years ago I was in a background briefing with a senior European ambassador at his country’s U.N. mission in New York and could hardly believe my ears when he said talk about Russia’s threat to Eastern Europe was “all hype” designed to give NATO “a reason to exist.” Yet this same ambassador in public Security Council meetings would viciously attack Russia. But the hype is about more than just saving NATO. The fear campaign feeds the American and European military industries and most importantly puts pressure on the Russian government, which the U.S. wants overthrown.

Were these remarks made out of the exasperation of knowing all along that the Russian threat is hype? Were they made out of genuine concern that things could get out of hand under reckless and delusional leaders in Washington leading to a hot war with Russia?

Neither man has been disciplined for speaking out. Does this signal a change in official German thinking? Will German businessmen who deal with Russia and have opposed sanctions against Moscow over Ukraine, which were forced on Germany by the U.S., be listened to?

Were Steinmeier’s remarks a one-off act of rebellion, or is Germany indeed considering defying Washington on sanctions and regime change in Moscow? Is the German government finally going to act in Germany’s own interests? Such a move would spark a European defiance of the United States not seen since the days when Charles de Gaulle pulled France out of NATO in 1966 to preserve French independence.

The last time European governments broke with Washington on a major issue was the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. Then France and Germany joined Russia on the U.N. Security Council in blocking its authorization. Britain backed it. But France and Germany then voted for a resolution several months later that essentially condoned the invasion.

It is Up to the European Public

One has to ask whether a conditioned German public is ready to see through the lies about Russia. Last November I flew from St. Petersburg to Berlin and discussed this very question with a number of well-educated Germans.

I had visited Russia for the first time since 1995, 20 years before to the month. Those were the days of the Yeltsin-Jeffery Sachs Russia, of the unbridled neo-liberal capitalism of the Wall Street-oligarch alliance that plundered the country leaving millions of Russians destitute. Outside train stations I saw homeless encampments replete with campfires. Policemen were stopping motorists for bribes. I ran from two men intent on robbing me until I lost them in a Metro station. That’s the Russia the neocons in Washington and the knaves and buccaneers on Wall Street want to see again.

The Russia I saw in St. Petersburg and Moscow, 20 years later, was orderly and prosperous, as modern as any European city. It is a testament to Russia’s resistance to American attempts to restore its political and financial control. Russia is a capitalist country. But on its own terms. It is fully aware of American machinations to undermine it.

In Berlin I met several Germans, educated, liberal and completely aware, unlike most Americans, of how the United States has abused its post-World War II power. And yet when I asked them all why there are still U.S. military bases in Germany 70 years after the war and 25 years after the Cold War ended, and who the Americans were protecting them from, the universal answer was: Russia.

History shows European fears of Russia to be completely overblown. Germany and other Western powers have invaded Russia three times in the last 200 years: France in 1812, U.S., Britain and France in the 1918 Russian Civil War and Germany again in 1941. Except for Imperial Russia’s incursion into East Prussia after war was declared on it in 1914, the reverse has never been true.

In his memoirs Harry Truman admitted that false fear of Russia was the “tragedy and shame of our time” during the Cold War that he had much to do with in part to revive the U.S. post-war economy with military spending. George Kennan, the State Department official who advised a non-military containment of the Soviet Union, conceded as early as 1947 that Soviet moves in Eastern Europe were defensive and constituted no threat. In the 1990s Kennan also decried NATO’s expansion towards Russia’s borders.

With its vast natural resources, Russia has been the big prize for the West for centuries, and is still today in neocon-driven Washington. But Germany, especially, has benefited from trade with Russia and has no need to join the U.S. imperial project.

The British voters’ decision, days after Steinmeier’s extraordinary remark, could herald significant change in Europe, which may be approaching an historical junction in its relationship with the United States. Growing anti-EU sentiment has spread across the continent, including calls for similar referenda in several countries.

Britain has been called Washington’s trojan horse in the EU. The thinking is that without Britain, the EU would be freer to chart its own course. But as Alexander Mercouris explained here, Obama bypasses London to call Merkel directly with his demands. Still, removing Britain’s voice from the EU, though more crucially not from NATO, opens space for more independent voices in Europe to emerge.

“I worry that we will have less clout on our own: In the future we won’t have as much influence on Europe’s response to Putin’s transgressions, Iran’s nuclear ambitions, or the E.U.’s foreign and security policy,” Peter Westmacott, until January Britain’s ambassador to the United States told The New York Times. “And we will be less able to ensure it is U.S.-friendly.”

If German leaders conclude the United States is pushing Europe into a disastrous war with Russia, could we see a Charles de Gaulle moment in Berlin? Merkel doesn’t seem to have it in her. Three days after Steinmeier’s remarks she told a news conference she favored increased German spending for NATO to counter Russian “threats.”

Instead it will require a revolt by an awakened citizenry against the EU and elected European governments that refuse to stand up to Washington, mostly because it benefits their own class interests, to the detriment of the majority.

The Future of the EU

European social democracy had been probably the best social and political system ever devised on earth, maybe the best that is humanly possible. Europe could have been a model for the world as a neutral power committed to social justice. As late as 1988, then President of the European Commission, Jacques Delors promised the British Trades Union Congress that the EU would be a “social market.”

Instead the EU allowed itself to be sold out to unelected and unaccountable neoliberal technocrats now in charge in Brussels. European voters, perhaps not fully understanding the consequences, elected neoliberal national governments slavishly taking Washington’s foreign policy orders. But Brexit shows those voters are getting educated. Unity is a great ideal but EU leaders have refused to accept that it has to benefit all Europeans.

The EU’s Lisbon Treaty is the only constitution in the world that has neoliberal policies written into it. If it won’t reform—and the arrogance of the EU’s leaders tells us it won’t—it will be up to the people of Europe to diminish or dismantle the EU through additional referenda. That would give liberated European nations the chance to elect anti-neoliberal national governments, accountable to the voters, which can also chart foreign policies independent of Washington.

The danger is that the right-wing sentiment that has driven a large part of the anti-Establishment movements in Europe (and the U.S.) may elect governments that grow even closer to Washington and impose even harsher neoliberal policies.

That is a risk that may need to be taken in the hope that the anti-Establishment left and right can coalesce around shared interests to put an end to the elitist European project.

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According to Ukraine, the Crimean Bridge doesn’t exist (VIDEO)

Ukraine tries to deny the reality of the completion and soundness of the Crimean Bridge, though Ukraine was unable to build it, itself.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Russia’s VESTI News is truly an entertaining channel at times. This news service is strongly supported by the Russian government, and one of the criticisms it receives from Russian people is that it is an “extreme” propaganda house, telling all manner of crazy stories to distract its watchers’ attention away from the real problems that Russian people face at home.

No doubt there is truth to this, as this is a technique certainly duplicated in the US, Great Britain and elsewhere. Every nation has the right to its own propaganda. However, Vesti also seems to have a lot of fun making fun of other nations’ propaganda, and here they found a great one. Apparently, Ukraine’s propaganda ministry is trying to make the assertion that the Crimean Bridge collapsed and its debris is floating around in the Kerch Strait, “with the tectonic plates.”

See for yourself.

According to Ukrainian scientists and even “psychics”, this bridge is doomed to fall into the Kerch Strait once a sufficient earthquake hits it. Some claims appear even to say that the bridge already is not there, or at least, is not there in the way the Russian news sources have described it.

Of course, the VESTI team erupts into its famous snark, talking about how the bridge is very much alive and well and that it is the new “pride of Russia,” and so on.

This bridge is indeed quite an engineering feat, being completed only about three years after the rejoining / annexation / invasion / hostile takeover / or was it a voluntary referendum? of Crimea to the Russian Federation. This is a rapid speed for such a major project, but it is not very unusual for such projects to progress rather quickly when they are done with a will.

Burj Khalifa (formerly Burj Dubai) is presently by far the tallest building in the world, reaching skyward 828 meters, over half a mile into the sky. It took a little over four years to construct this landmark building, and it was done steadily and with a will to completion. Its would-be successor is not having as smooth an experience, for the Jeddah Tower in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, has hit problems, and even though this tower is projected to go only about 130 meter higher (reaching a significant milestone of one kilometer tall), its construction started in 2013, and as of the latest update, only 63 floors are completed.

The Crimean Bridge was built with a will to make a point, presumably to Ukraine, the rest of Russia and the world:

This is the New Russia. Look what we can do!

And, they did a marvelous feat of engineering in a very short time.

VESTI indeed does try to make some people feel better by pointing out the problems of other countries. Sometimes that is a distraction. But sometimes it is worth a serious bit of consideration.

Ukraine has a leader most of its people apparently cannot stand, who is a warmonger and a crybaby at the same time, begging the West for help while breathing threats against Russia.

While there are no doubt many, many wonderful people there trying to do wonderful things, it does seem to be that the country is suffering because of its willingness to be a pawn of the West. Russia is feeling the Western squeeze and it is not pleasant, but the Russians also seem to know that they can get themselves through this, and so they have reason to be glad when the country makes a good accomplishment such as the Crimean Bridge. The political and geopolitical importance of this project is such that it is very likely that all sorts of great engineering went into the bridge. It is prudent, and Russians seem to understand prudence very, very well.

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White privilege shaming attempt goes hilariously wrong

A well-trained racist ran afoul of her own side when she accused a black man of white privilege – because he has a conservative worldview.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Racism is on the increase in America. In the liberal world, anti-white sentiment is reaching untold heights. It went so high for CNN reporter (and legal analyst!!) Areva Martin that she fearlessly called out radio host David Webb on his own program for executing his white privilege and not listening to her. At this moment, no doubt, many fellow black racists who were watching CNN (and many guilt-ridden white people too!) were cheering her on for “putting it to” this radio host for being so shamelessly white. But then, this happened:

Yep. This is David Webb. He broadcasts on Sirius XM’s Patriot network (Sirius is a satellite radio network broadcasting for US audiences). He is politically conservative, believes in the rule of law and personal responsibility, aaaannndddd… he’s black.

National Review’s Kevin Williamson dug in a bit more to give us some information about who Mr. Webb actually is (in other words, he did research before making allegations or accusations as did Ms. Martin):

And here I thought I was the only black man with white privilege.

Areva Martin, a CNN “analyst” — whatever in hell that means anno Domini 2019 — was in the middle of a spirited exchange with the conservative talk-radio host David Webb about racial preferences in hiring. Webb argued — as conservatives of many different races argue! — that race should not be a factor in such decisions, which should be based strictly on qualifications.

Martin, predictably, leaned on identity. “That’s a whole ’nother long conversation about white privilege,” she sniffed. “The things that you have the privilege of doing that people of color don’t have the privilege of.” Webb, sensing something amiss, asked: “How do I have white privilege?” Her answer: Because he is a “white male.”

Half right.

(Disclosure: I don’t think I’ve ever met Mr. Webb, but I did guest-host his radio show a few times a couple of years ago. They stopped asking me to do that after I made fun of his awful bumper music. People are touchy.)

Somehow, we as a culture have managed to forget that ad hominem is a rhetorical fallacy. Which is to say: Relying on the ad hominem mode of argument means that you are stupid, if not generally and categorically stupid then limited-purpose stupid in the context of the debate at hand.

It would seem that CNN has indeed forgotten this, or has assumed (with some success) that America has been successfully weaned of people able to quickly and easily discern such fallacies, and now ad hominem rhetoric is mainstream, and actually counts among the talking heads of the Left as “reasonable discourse.”

Just consider how effective this sort of bullying has been against many people, and how it is used over and over against Donald Trump, though it fails miserably with him (probably because he does not drink or smoke cannabis and has therefore kept his mind.)

Mr. Williamson went on to underscore his point:

Dennis Prager, relating the story above, mentions that he was denounced — as he must be denounced! — before a college campus speech as a racist, sexist, homophobe, and . . . anti-Semite. Prager is Jewish. He has made opposing anti-Semitism a fundamental part of his public career. The reaction to that news was predictable: “Oops. Well, he’s still a racist, sexist, homophobe . . .”

I’ve heard Charles C. W. Cooke dismissed as a fundamentalist Christian (he’s an atheist) and Guy Benson denounced as a homophobe (he’s gay). I have even heard myself denounced as a sellout self-hating black man (I’m white). We have been the beneficiaries of Voltaire’s prayer: “I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: ‘O Lord make my enemies ridiculous.’ And God granted it.”

But here’s a question: What if they were right? Cooke’s views on abortion or the First Amendment are what they are, and they either have merit or they do not, irrespective of his religious views. David Webb and I have the same views on many things, I imagine. He’s black. I’m white. Presumably, an erroneous opinion bouncing around in my head would be equally erroneous bouncing around in his head, just as a useful observation coming out of my mouth would be an equally useful observation coming out of his.

Not if you are a progressive, apparently. For the Left, public discourse is Lord of the Flies, and victimhood is the conch — that is how they believe we should decide who gets to speak. That’s what the nonsensical business about “intersectionality” is all about. It is at its heart very little more than a reconstitution of old, dumb, primitive, superstitious ideas in the same genus as racism and nationalism, i.e. the belief that certain demographic markers of questionable real-world relevance are supernaturally cementitious determinants of moral meaning.

Mr. Williamson was very polite in his last sentence, and probably not a little bit sarcastic.

What we see here with Areva Martin’s behavior is racism. Pure and simple.

She said, essentially, “I am a black woman, so that makes me better than you.”

So, let’s play with this a bit.

“I am white, so that makes me better than you.”

This would create a network meltdown if someone who was a public figure tried to say it and uphold this as a belief. Let’s make it even better. “I am a white, Christian, wealthy man who is married and has children and lots of success. But I have it because I am white. You are not white, so you cannot have it.”

Now we probably have riots in the streets and death threats to the hapless soul who ventured to say this. But then, flip it:

“I am a black man. Whitey owes me.”

How is this not racism?

Liberals interpret this as being “true” because “black people were oppressed by white people.” And, so? They are not now, and few indeed are the numbers of white men or women in America that would even dare to think of themselves as superior because of the color of their skin.

Racists don’t know that, and they will not accept it.

To be racist and / or feminist (which behaves the same way but with regard to the “man” part) is to claim the title of victim. Racists are victims. Feminists are victims. They are wedded to a victimhood viewpoint from the moment that they take on these roles. Frederica Matthewes-Green, a former feminist and now the wife of an Antiochian Orthodox Christian priest (she got better!) commented once about feminism, saying approximately this:

Feminism is a very difficult trap. Once a woman engages the idea that she is a victim because she is female, she sees everywhere how this is actually true by the way people treat her. She sees it because she is emotionally attached to the idea of being superior to men, but for the fact that men are just jealous of her.

The same thing happens for racists. Let’s be honest here: this is not “inverse racism” – for that would appear to make it somehow relevant because “whitey deserves it.” Racism is racism. It is the idea as stated above that one’s appearance or place of origin makes one superior to others. Whites are better than blacks. Why? because they are white. Blacks are better than whites. Why. Because they are black.

Essentially the conversation is, “Why?” and, “Because!” is the one word answer, or more accurately, “because I said so.” There is no truth to this. As David Webb himself said, “our skin is an organ. It doesn’t think. It doesn’t formulate ideas.”

So what does this mean? By standards of racism and culture, it appears to mean the following:

  • White men talk about following the law because they are white and they can do this.
  • They therefore do not understand black men and women, because black men and women are special cases (for Areva)
  • Their special nature means that the arguments of following the law do not – and must not – apply to them
  • Apparently this means that black people are incapable of following laws
  • It means that they are incapable of taking personal responsibility for themselves
  • If this is so, then it also follows that someone must run their lives, which leads us to upholding…

Slavery! Hell, seen in this light, slavery is the only humane, reasonable and kind way to treat such people!

CNN has stocked its newsroom top anchor positions, therefore, with victims. Anderson Cooper (gay), Don Lemon (gay and black), Jim Acosta (his last name is Hispanic, so he is a victim too). The list probably can be easily extended. And in fact, Areva Martin (black and a woman) holding the post of legal analyst in this news organization displayed the victim card prominently. CNN spends a lot of time and money defending the idea that white privilege exists, even though it doesn’t. Just ask any white person.

Pride of identity is always false. There is nothing anyone did to earn their race, their sex, their skin color, their ancestry, and so on. So being proud of such attributes is utter foolishness. At most, these are interesting conversation topics, but they all accomplish precisely nothing in any field of life.

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Second group of Su-57 stealth fighters to be requested in 2020

The second Su-57 contract will feature fighters with the advanced engine design that was under development while the prototypes were made.

Seraphim Hanisch

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The contract for a second order of Russian Su-57 stealth fighters is expected to be signed in 2020, according to an unnamed source in Russia’s aircraft-making industry. TASS, the Russian News Agency, reported on this on Wednesday, 16 January:

The second contract to manufacture 13 Su-57 fighter jets for the Russian Aerospace Forces is to be signed next year, a source in Russia’s aircraft-making industry told TASS on Wednesday.

“In 2020, we plan to sign the second contract to manufacture and deliver 13 Su-57 fighter jets, some of them equipped with the second-stage engines,” he said. “The preliminary timeframe for the new contract is five years.”

The first contract envisages the delivery of two fifth-generation aircraft in 2019-2020.

“In line with the contract signed in 2018, one serial Su-57 jet with first-stage engines will be delivered to the Aerospace Forces this year, the other aircraft featuring the same type of engine – in 2020.”

The aircraft’s manufacturer, the United Aircraft Corporation, refrained from commenting on the report.

The Su-57 is a fifth-generation multirole fighter designed to destroy all types of air targets at long and short ranges and hit enemy ground and naval targets, overcoming its air defense capabilities.

The Su-57 took to the skies for the first time on January 29, 2010. Compared to its predecessors, the Su-57 combines the functions of an attack plane and a fighter jet while the use of composite materials and innovation technologies and the fighter’s aerodynamic configuration ensure the low level of radar and infrared signature.

The aircraft has been successfully tested in Syria.

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