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Poland resurrects a dangerous idea from its troubled 20th century past

The so-called Three Seas Initiative is an attempt by Poland to rival Germany as the most powerful anti-Russian state in Europe.

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Poland is attempting to resurrect a dangerous plan from the early 20th century in order to attain more influence in Europe.

The so-called Three Seas Initiative is an attempt by Poland to create a working group of nations in central and eastern Europe to rival the traditional Franco-Germanic axis of modern EU power.

The plan isn’t new, it is borrowed from the annals of the Second Polish Republic of the early 20th century inter-war years. Specifically, it is taken from the political programme of Józef Piłsudski who sought to unite much of eastern Europe under a revived militaristic Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth style leadership in order to create a military bloc against Soviet power.

As the Duran reported in relation to neo-imperialism in The Balkans

“The Second Polish Republic was dominated by two political rivals, Józef Piłsudski and Roman Dmowski. Although both figures are venerated in contemporary Poland, each man had a radically different idea about what Poland ought to be.

Józef Piłsudski called for a ‘greater Poland’ which would encompass much of the territory of the once vast Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, which once dominated central and Eastern Europe.

Piłsudski was stridently anti-Russian whilst he totally underestimated and even discounted the coming German threat.

He sought to build a right-wing European federation which would rival and dominate the neighbouring Soviet Union. It was this policy which allowed his country to sleepwalk into the Polish-Soviet War which lasted from 1919-1921. It was Europe’s most protracted conflict of the inter-world war period….

…By contrast, Roman Dmowski favoured the settled post-First World War Polish borders and sought an ethnically and culturally homogenous state that would resist German nationalist ambitions whilst not antagonising the large Soviet state to the East.

Ultimately, Piłsudski’s brand of ‘Greater Polish’ expansionism won the day, leaving Poland dangerously exposed to German aggression which cost Poland dearly during the 1940s”.

READ MORE: Albania must take a lesson from Poland to avert another Balkan war

What’s more is that Piłsudski’s ambitions were a proximate cause of the Second World War, a war in which Poland suffered greatly.

Piłsudski’s obsession with Russia led him to dismiss threats of German expansionism as well as anti-Polish rhetoric from the fascist regime of Adolf Hitler.

In 1934, Piłsudski’s Foreign Minister Józef Beck helped cement a German-Polish Non-Aggression Pact, years before the British engineered Munich Agreement of 1938, let alone the German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact of 1939.

Although Poland’s attempts to create a new central/eastern European bloc never succeeded, it did accomplish two deeply unhelpful things.

First of all, because Roman Dmowski’s warnings about Germany were ignored, Poland actually sleep-walked into allowing German aggression against Polish lands which by September of 1939 erupted into the proximate cause of the Second World War in Europe.

Secondly, Piłsudski’s ambitions which he continued to promote long after the USSR adopted the anti-imperialist policy of ‘Socialism in One State’, actually helped to drum up support for militant far-right regimes throughout Europe.

Poor historians leave one with the impression that Hitler’s fascist regime was the only extremist one in central or eastern Europe in the 1930s. The truth is that virtually all of the newly established states of the region had similar regimes, simply on a smaller economic and military scale vis-a-vis Germany.

 

HUNGARY: In the interwar years, Hungary was ruled by an ultra-reactionary government most prominently by Prime Minister Gyula Gömbös. 

LATVIA: Latvian dictator Kārlis Ulmanis ruled with an iron far-right fist throughout the interwar years. 

LITHUANIA: Interwar Lithuanian leader Antanas Smetona helped push the country further and further to the proto-fascist right. 

ESTONIA: Konstantin Päts was something of a softer but still strongly nationalist dictator who effectively killed off democracy

CZECHOSLOVAKIA: Edvard Beneš was the most influential Czech politician of the inter-war years and while less radical than many of his neighbours, he also left an ambiguous legacy of largely authoritarian rule. 

All of these leaders including of course those of Germany and Poland, the two most powerful central/eastern European states during the inter-war years had one thing in common: a hatred of the Soviet Union and Soviet power in spite of the USSR abandoning any ideas of violently exporting revolution as early as the mid 1920s.

It is important to remember that Hitler was not unique. Most leaders of Europe in the inter-war years shared  many components of his ideology and even his ambitions. They were simply not powerful enough to carry out the worst elements of the Nazi programme, not least a unilateral invasion of the USSR.

Today, Germany and Poland while both in the EU, are each offering competing visions for a united Europe. In each case, Europe stands to be united against Russia.

The differences is that where the Europe of the inter-war years sought to conquer the USSR for her rich natural resources, today’s Europe is altogether more hamstrung by its economic dependence on Russia.

Although Europe in 2017 is generally less violent than that of the 1930s, it is in many ways, equally as politically fraught.

Poland’s plans to create a neo-Piłsudski Three Seas Initiative will likely fail leaving Germany to once again dictate Europe’s position vis-a-vis Moscow, just as was the case in the 1930s and 1940s.

Russia is even more prepared for the worst today than it was in 1940, assuming cooler, business minded heads do not prevail in Berlin, Warsaw and beyond.

Poland would be advised to take a position of neutrality from within the EU, one which puts business before ideology and pragmatism over historic tensions. Poland stands nothing to lose by doing this. The question is, can Poland defy US power in such a way?

 

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BREAKING: Explosion in Crimea, Russia kills many, injuring dozens, terrorism suspected

According to preliminary information, the incident was caused by a gas explosion at a college facility in Kerch, Crimea.

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“We are clarifying the information at the moment. Preliminary figures are 50 injured and 10 dead. Eight ambulance crews are working at the site and air medical services are involved,” the press-service for the Crimean Ministry of Health stated.

Medics announced that at least 50 people were injured in the explosion in Kerch and 25 have already been taken to local hospital with moderate wounds, according to Sputnik.

Local news outlets reported that earlier in the day, students at the college heard a blast and windows of the building were shattered.

Putin Orders that Assistance Be Provided to Victims of Blast in Kerch – Kremlin Spokesman

“The president has instructed the Ministry of Health and the rescue services to take emergency measures to assist victims of this explosion, if necessary, to ensure the urgent transportation of seriously wounded patients to leading medical institutions of Russia, whether in Moscow or other cities,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitriy Peskov said.

The president also expressed his condolences to all those affected by the tragic incident.

Manhunt Underway in Kerch as FSB Specialists Investigate Site of Explosion – National Anti-Terrorist Committee

The site of the blast that rocked a city college in Kerch is being examined by FSB bomb disposal experts and law enforcement agencies are searching for clues that might lead to the arrest of the perpetrators, the National Anti Terrorism Committee said in a statement.

“Acting on orders from the head of the NAC’s local headquarters, FSB, Interior Ministry, Russian Guards and Emergency Ministry units have arrived at the site. The territory around the college has been cordoned off and the people inside the building evacuated… Mine-disposal experts are working at the site and law enforcement specialists are investigating,” the statement said.

Terrorist Act Considered as Possible Cause of Blast in Kerch – Kremlin Spokesman

“The tragic news that comes from Kerch. Explosion. The president was informed … The data on those killed and the number of injured is constantly updated,” Peskov told reporters.

“[The version of a terrorist attack] is being considered,” he said.

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10 percent of American F-22 fighter jets damaged by Hurricane Michael

Part of the reason the F-22’s were left in the path of the storm is that they were broken and too expensive to fix or fly.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Note to the wise: When a hurricane comes, move your planes out of the way. Especially your really expensive F-22 fighter planes. After all, those babies are $339 mil apiece. Got the message?

Apparently the US Air Force didn’t get this message. Or, did they find themselves unable to follow the message?

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The Washington Times reported Tuesday that between 17 and 20 of these top-of-the-line fighter jets were damaged, some beyond the point of repair, when Hurricane Michael slammed ashore on Mexico Beach, Florida, not far from the Tyndall Air Force Base in the same state. The Times reports that more than a dozen of the F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jets were damaged after being left in the path of the extremely fierce storm:

President Trump’s tour Monday of devastation wrought by Hurricane Michael took him close to Florida’s Tyndall Air Force Base, where more than a dozen F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jets were damaged after being left in the path of the powerful storm.

The pricey fighter jets — some possibly damaged beyond repair — were caught in the widespread destruction that took at least 18 lives, flattened homes, downed trees and buckled roads from Florida to Virginia.

The decision to leave roughly $7.5 billion in aircraft in the path of a hurricane raised eyebrows, including among defense analysts who say the Pentagon’s entire high-tech strategy continues to make its fighter jets vulnerable to weather and other mishaps when they are grounded for repairs.

“This becomes sort of a self-defeating cycle where we have $400 million aircraft that can’t fly precisely because they are $400 million aircraft,” said Dan Grazier, a defense fellow at Project on Government Oversight. “If we were buying simpler aircraft then it would be a whole lot easier for the base commander to get these aircraft up and in working order, at least more of them.”

This is quite a statement. The F-22 is held to be the tip of the American air defense sword. A superb airplane (when it works), it can do things no other plane in the world can do. It boasts a radar profile the size of a marble, making it virtually undetectable by enemy radars. It is highly maneuverable with thrust-vectoring built into its engines.

However, to see a report like this is simply stunning. After all, one would expect that the best military equipment ought to be the most reliable as well. 

It appears that Hurricane Michael figuratively and physically blew the lid off any efforts to conceal a problem with these planes, and indeed with the hyper-technological basis for the US air fighting forcesThe Times continues:

Reports on the number of aircraft damaged ranged from 17 to 22 or about 10 percent of the Air Force’s F-22 fleet of 187.

The Air Force stopped buying F-22s, considered the world’s most advanced fighter jets, in 2012. The aircraft is being replaced by the F-35, another high-tech but slightly less-expensive aircraft.

Later in the tour, at an emergency command center in Georgia, Mr. Trump said the damage to the F-22s couldn’t be avoided because the aircraft were grounded and the storm moved quickly.

“We’re going to have a full report. There was some damage, not nearly as bad as we first heard,” he said when asked about the F-22s, which cost about $339 million each.

“I’m always concerned about cost. I don’t like it,” Mr. Trump said.

Still, the president remains a fan of the high-tech fighter jet.

“The F-22 is one of my all-time favorites. It is the most beautiful fighter jet in the world. One of the best,” he said.

The Air Force managed to fly 33 of the F-22s to safety, but maintenance and repair issues kept 22 of the notoriously finicky aircraft on the ground when the powerful storm hit the base.

About 49 percent of the F-22s are out of action at any given time, according to an Air Force report this year.

This is a stunning statistic. This means that of the 187 planes in existence, 90 of them are not working. At their cost, that means that over thirty billion dollars worth of military equipment is sitting around, broken, just in airplanes alone.

As a point of comparison, the entire Russian military budget for 2017 was $61 billion, with that budget producing hypersonic missiles, superb fighter aircraft and tanks. Russian fighter planes are known for being able to take harsh landing and take-off conditions that would cripple the most modern American flying machines.

It would seem that Hurricane Michael exposed a serious problem with the state of readiness of American armed forces. Thankfully that problem did not arise in combat, but it is no less serious.

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Saudi Arabia trying to squirm free of Khashoggi murder (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 2.

Alex Christoforou

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RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou take a quick look at Saudi Arabia’s possible admission to killing journalist Jamal Khashoggi…accidentally, while they were torturing the man inside the consulate in Istanbul.

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Via Zerohedge

Even before the publication of last night’s Saudi trial balloon hinting that the kingdom would soon acknowledge that the extrajudicial killing of Jamal Khashoggi – the insider-turned dissident journalist who walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last week and never walked back out – was the result of a “botched” kidnapping attempt carried out by “rogue killers” (despite reports that the US intelligence community knew that Khashoggi was being “targeted”), two realities had become increasingly clear. One: That the Saudis would avoid responsibility for the killing by pinning it on some unfortunate underling, and two: that there would be few, if any, lasting diplomatic repercussions.

And as more media organizations confirmed reports about Saudi’s plans to spin Khashoggi’s murder as a botched interrogation (we can only imagine what was said in that room to justify the use of such extreme violence), CNN calculated the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Saudi King Salman in Riyadh for approximately 15 minutes early Tuesday, following his 12-hour-plus flight to the kingdom.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s meeting with King Salman of Saudi Arabia lasted no more than 15 minutes, CNN estimates based on the time the top US diplomat’s motorcade arrived at the royal court and departed.

The motorcade arrived at the royal court at 11:42 a.m. (4:42 a.m. ET) and left 26 minutes later. There is a fair distance to walk from where the motorcade dropped Pompeo off to where he met the king.

While Trump said on Monday that Pompeo would travel to Turkey “if necessary”, the Saudi’s decision to “come clean” about Khashoggi’s death pretty much rendered Pompeo’s fact-finding mission unnecessary.More important are developments in Turkey, where the joint Saudi-Turkish “investigation” is turning its attention toward the home of the Saudi consul, where a black diplomatic van that departed the Saudi consulate just under two hours after Khashoggi entered was captured on camera disappearing into a garage. Some speculate that this is where the killers finished disposing of Khashoggi’s body. This comes after a “nine-hour” search of the Saudi consulate building that, according to leaks published in Al-Jazeera, turned up “evidence of tampering” by the Saudis. On Tuesday, Turkey’s foreign minister clarified that Saudi had yet to admit its role in Khashoggi’s disappearance and probable death.

Turkish investigators will carry out a search of the Saudi Consul General’s residence on Tuesday as the probe into the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi continues, according to a Turkish diplomatic source.

CCTV footage released to the media from the day the Washington Post writer vanished show movement of vehicles from the consulate building to the Consul General’s residence nearby.

As speculation mounts that the incident could unseat the increasingly authoritarian Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (who has already marginalized or incapacitated nearly every threat to his rule), it’s looking more likely that neither the US nor the rest of the Western world will do much to punish the world’s most important oil exporter, which can “weaponize” the oil market seemingly on a whim.

Any punishment for this flagrant violation of human rights will need to come, therefore, from the private sector, which, according to Bloomberg, could sabotage MbS’s grand Vision 2030 plan, which aims to remake the Saudi economy via a flood of foreign direct investment:

The economic strategy of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, known as MBS, is to make investment the main engine of economic growth instead of government spending, but the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi could frustrate these ambitions. Foreign direct investment, a key part of the plan to reinvent Saudi Arabia’s economy, declined sharply in 2017 and is unlikely to return to previous levels, leaving the government’s target for 2020 beyond reach, according to analysis by Bloomberg Economics. Increased policy uncertainty and, after the Khashoggi incident, the risk of reputational damage to foreign companies working in Saudi Arabia won’t help.

 

 

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