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Brussels Shows Its Fear of Euroskeptics

Expelling Orban from the EPP will only give him more strength. It will only give Euroskeptics more ammunition.

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Authored by Tom Luongo via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has been under fire from the European Union for years for his opposition to German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open immigration policy.

A policy which she herself has had to pull back on. And no matter how far Merkel has changed her stance and acceded to the reality of the damage her policy has created, Orban is still guilty of the sin of non-compliance.

Actually, he’s guilty of a whole lot more than that. Because Orban has not only stepped on the third-rail of European politics he’s stomped up and down while taking a massive dump on it.

That third-rail, of course, is naming names. Naming the very person who controls so much of EU policy through his co-opting large swaths of the European parliament.

That person, of course, is George Soros.

Now there is a push, ahead of May’s European Parliamentary elections, to kick Orban’s dominant Fidesz party out of the European People’s Party (EPP), a nominal center-right coalition and the largest single party within the EU parliament.

And with each victory over Soros Orban grows even bolder. After a successful re-election campaign predicated on the slogan, “Don’t Let Soros Win,” Orban has banned Soros’ major NGO, Open Society Foundation, as well as forced out his Central European University.

But his biggest sin was equating outgoing European Commission President Jean-Claude “When things get tough you have to lie” Juncker with Soros’ attempts to weaken Hungary’s border.

His reward for this, and building a border fence which thwarts Soros and Merkel’s tactic of tying immigrants in the host country in legal limbo for years by being inset from Hungary’s actual border, has been an Article 7 procedure opened up against Hungary for not abiding by the EU’s position on human rights.

Poland is in similar hot water with Merkel but thanks to one of the few reasonable things within the EU’s framework, each country can use the other to veto the actual censuring and concomitant removal of voting rights within the Union that comes with the full application of Article 7.

But this article isn’t really about Orban’s latest troubles with the faux democrats within the EU parliament. It’s about how scared those people are of the rise in Euroskeptics like Orban across the continent ahead of May’s elections.

Orban’s potential expulsion from the EPP is just another symptom of this fear. Recently, France’s Marine Le Pen, found out that the trial against her for tweeting out images of ISIS beheadings back in 2015, will go forward with the potential of landing her in jail for three years.

This is not much different than the kidnapping charge Sicilian prosecutors tried to bring against Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister, Leader of Lega and all-around bad boy Matteo Salvini in Italy. This was a lame attempt to split Italy’s Euroskeptic coalition and keep it focused on internal trivialities versus mounting a real challenge in May’s elections.

The same is true now for Le Pen. Her National Rally party is polling within the margin of error of President Emmanuel Macron’s En Marche with a real chance to send a plurality of French Euroskeptic MEPs to Brussels in a couple of months.

Merkel is struggling with the same thing. And even though support for Alternative for Germany (AfD) has waned in recent polling, down to just 13%, don’t underestimate the voters’ desire to send a strong message to Brussels by voting in stronger numbers for the new or alternative parties rather than how they would vote for them at home.

We’ve seen this in the past with UKIP who shocked everyone in the last European elections in 2014 with the size of the vote for them. It never translated into domestic momentum as typical prisoner’s dilemma concerns are more prevalent in Britain’s majoritarian voting system.

But for the EU parliament where the two-party system doesn’t hold sway and the direct benefits are harder to make a case to voters for, it’s much more likely voters will loosen up a little and throw their support for a smaller, less established party.

And that, along with some serious miscalculations about Brexit which I’ll get to in a minute, has the power elite in European political circles very scared. So scared that they are willing to devote serious resources in Quixotic endeavors of dubious value.

Expelling Orban from the EPP will only give him more strength. It will only give Euroskeptics more ammunition. Orban, like Salvini, revels in being the outsider. He’ll use it to rally others across Eastern Europe and pull a few more seats into that orbit.

According to the latest polling, which you can find an up-to-date tally of here, Euroskeptic parties will take between 215 and 225 seats out of the 705 up for grabs, assuming Britain actually leaves and doesn’t stand for MEP elections, which at this point doesn’t look likely.

If reports are true that Prime Minister Theresa May cut a deal with Merkel in July of last year on the withdrawal agreement. And if that agreement was structured so as to ease the way for the U.K. to rejoin the EU later are true, then there is no way Mrs. May will be able to forestall Brexit on WTO terms at this point, even if it takes another 90 days to do so.

A report from the Bruges Group, since taken down, had the details (see link above). And we’ll know if this is the case if suddenly Theresa May agrees to step aside as Prime Minister just after March 29th whether or not Britain leaves.

Because she will have either failed to scuttle Brexit and be sacrificed to save the Tories. Or she steps aside for a true Brexiteer in the event of Parliament voting for an extension.

We’ll know this was the case if she does so.

Lots of ifs, I know, but right now everyone is doing the Juncker-Two-Step, lying and cajoling to maintain the status quo and continue forward towards further European integration.

Mario Draghi at the European Central Bank did his part, going full dove for the rest of 2019 to keep markets from imploding.

And if Brexit is settled on WTO terms that opens up their worst nightmare going forward.

Watch Viktor Orban smile the smile of the just at that point.

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You can call me ALManintheMoonJane Karlsson Recent comment authors
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Jane Karlsson
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Jane Karlsson

Tom Luongo writes some good articles and is always worth reading. However on Brexit he has no idea what he’s talking about.

ManintheMoon
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ManintheMoon

I don’t know what exactly you’re objecting to in this article, Jane?. I am British and have closely followed the arguments over Europe since well before the first referendum in 1975 (when I voted for the first time, ‘Yes’ as it happens). So far as Hungary is concerned, it seems to me self-evident those in Soros’s pay, absolutely hate that being pointed out. The document on the May-Merkel agreement that Luongo cites, may well be authentic:it would certainly explain the pathetic deal that May has negotiated. One real dilemma for the European elite which does not seem to have been… Read more »

You can call me AL
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You can call me AL

I agree with most of your, I only take umbrage, well disagree with part of your Farage comment; in that yes it is annoying that there is a potential that the Brexit vote could be split, but remember that a lot of water has passed under that bridge (since he led it and left due to over ambitious people !!)… I think a major blunder by UKIP was to allow such a contentious figure, in Tommy Robinson to join, the timing was incorrect for a political party noting his arersts and such. Remember in a 2nd referendum the party does… Read more »

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Macron cuts ski holiday short, vowing crack down on Yellow Vests (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 109.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the 18th consecutive week of Yellow Vests protests in Paris. Following last weeks lower participation, Saturday’s Yellow Vests in Paris gathered larger crowds, with various outbreaks of violence and rioting that has been blamed on extreme elements, who French authorities claim have infiltrated the movement.

“Act XVIII” of the protests has shown that the Yellow Vests have not given up. France’s Champs-Élysées boulevard was where most of the violence occurred, with the street being left in a pile of broken glass and flames.

One day after Paris was set ablaze, French President Emmanuel Macron cut his ski holiday short, returning to Paris and vowing to take “strong decisions” to prevent more violence.

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Via Zerohedge


Paris awoke on Sunday to smouldering fires, broken windows and looted stores following the 18th consecutive Saturday of Yellow Vest protests.

Around 200 people were arrested according to BFM TV, while about 80 shops near the iconic Champs Elysees had been damaged and/or looted according to AFP, citing Champs Elysees committee president Jean-Noel Reinhardt.

The 373-year-old Saint Sulpice Roman Catholic church was set on fire while people were inside, however nobody was injured. The cause of the fire remains unknown.

The riots were so severe that French President Emmanuel Macron cut short a vacation at the La Mongie ski resort in the Hautes-Pyrénées following a three-day tour of East Africa which took him to Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya.

Macron skied on Friday, telling La Depeche du Midi “I’m going to spend two-three days here to relax, to find landscapes and friendly faces,” adding “I’m happy to see the Pyrenees like that, radiant, although I know it was more difficult at Christmas” referring to the lack of snow in December.

In response to Saturday’s violence, Macron said over Twitter that “strong decisions” were coming to prevent more violence.

Macron said some individuals — dubbed “black blocs” by French police forces — were taking advantage of the protests by the Yellow Vest grassroots movement to “damage the Republic, to break, to destroy.” Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said on Twitter that those who excused or encouraged such violence were complicit in it. –Bloomberg

The French President has family ties in the Hautes-Pyrénées, including Bagnères de Bigorre where his grandmother lived. He is a regular visitor to the region.

Emmanuel Macron (2ndL), head of the political movement In Marche! (Onwards!) And candidate for the 2017 presidential election, and his wife Brigitte Trogneux (L) have lunch April 12, 2017 (Reuters)

 

 

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Vesti calls out Pompeo on lying about Russia invading Ukraine [Video]

Secretary Pompeo displayed either stunning ignorance or a mass-attack of propaganda about what must be the most invisible war in history.

Seraphim Hanisch

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After the 2014 Maidan revolution and the subsequent secessions of Lugansk and Donetsk in Ukraine, and after the rejoining of Crimea with its original nation of Russia, the Western media went on a campaign to prove the Russia is (/ was / was about to / had already / might / was thinking about / was planning to … etc.) invade Ukraine. For the next year or so, about every two weeks, internet news sources like Yahoo! News showed viewers pictures of tanks, box trucks and convoys to “prove” that the invasion was underway (or any of the other statuses confirming the possibilities above stated.) This information was doubtless provided to US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo.

Apparently, Secretary Pompeo believed this ruse, or is being paid to believe this ruse because in a speech recently, he talked about it as fact:

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Russia’s annexation of Crimea and aggression in eastern Ukraine an attempt to gain access to Ukraine’s oil and gas reserves.

He stated this at IHS Markit’s CERAWeek conference in Houston, the USA, Reuters reports.

Pompeo urged the oil industry to work with the Trump administration to promote U.S. foreign policy interests, especially in Asia and in Europe, and to punish what he called “bad actors” on the world stage.

The United States has imposed harsh sanctions in the past several months on two major world oil producers, Venezuela and Iran.

Pompeo said the U.S. oil-and-gas export boom had given the United States the ability to meet energy demand once satisfied by its geopolitical rivals.

“We don’t want our European allies hooked on Russian gas through the Nord Stream 2 project, any more than we ourselves want to be dependent on Venezuelan oil supplies,” Pompeo said, referring to a natural gas pipeline expansion from Russia to Central Europe.

Pompeo called Russia’s invasion of Ukraine an attempt to gain access to the country’s oil and gas reserves.

Although the state-run news agency Vesti News often comes under criticism for rather reckless, or at least, extremely sarcastic propaganda at times, here they rightly nailed Mr. Pompeo’s lies to the wall and billboarded it on their program:

The news anchors even made a wisecrack about one of the political figures, Konstantin Zatulin saying as a joke that Russia plans to invade the United States to get its oil. They further noted that Secretary Pompeo is uneducated about the region and situation, but they offered him the chance to come to Russia and learn the correct information about what is going on.

To wit, Russia has not invaded Ukraine at all. There is no evidence to support such a claim, while there IS evidence to show that the West is actively interfering with Russia through the use of Ukraine as a proxyWhile this runs counter to the American narrative, it is simply the truth. Ukraine appears to be the victim of its own ambitions at this point, for while the US tantalizes the leadership of the country and even interferes with the Orthodox Church in the region, the country lurches towards a presidential election with three very poor candidates, most notably the one who is president there now, Petro Poroshenko.

However, the oil and gas side of the anti-Russian propaganda operation by the US is significant. The US wishes for Europe to buy gas from American suppliers, even though this is woefully inconvenient and expensive when Russia is literally at Europe’s doorstep with easy supplies. However, the Cold War Party in the United States, which still has a significant hold on US policy making categorizes the sale of Russia gas to powers like NATO ally Germany as a “threat” to European security.

It is interesting that Angela Merkel herself does not hold this line of thinking. It is also interesting and worthy of note, that this is not the only NATO member that is dealing more and more with Russia in terms of business. It underscores the loss of purpose that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization suffers now since there is no Soviet Union to fight.

However, the US remains undaunted. If there is no enemy to fight, the Americans feel that they must create one, and Russia has been the main scapegoat for American power ambitions. More than ever now, this tactic appears to be the one in use for determining the US stance towards other powers in the world.

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Ariel Cohen explains Washington’s latest foreign policy strategy [Video]

Excellent interview Ariel Cohen and Vladimir Solovyov reveals the forces at work in and behind American foreign policy.

Seraphim Hanisch

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While the American people and press are pretty much complicit in reassuring the masses that America is the only “right” superpower on earth, and that Russia and China represent “enemy threats” for doing nothing more than existing and being successfully competitive in world markets, Russia Channel One got a stunner of a video interview with Ariel Cohen.

Who is Ariel Cohen? Wikipedia offers this information about him:

Ariel Cohen (born April 3, 1959 in Crimea in YaltaUSSR) is a political scientist focusing on political risk, international security and energy policy, and the rule of law.[1] Cohen currently serves as the Director of The Center for Energy, Natural Resources and Geopolitics (CENRG) at the Institute for Analysis of Global Security (IAGS). CENRG focuses on the nexus between energy, geopolitics and security, and natural resources and growth. He is also a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, within the Global Energy Center and the Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center.[2] Until July 2014, Dr. Cohen was a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. He specializes in Russia/Eurasia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East.

Cohen has testified before committees of the U.S. Congress, including the Senate and House Foreign Relations Committees, the House Armed Services Committee, the House Judiciary Committee and the Helsinki Commission.[4] He also served as a Policy Adviser with the National Institute for Public Policy’s Center for Deterrence Analysis.[5] In addition, Cohen has consulted for USAID, the World Bank and the Pentagon.[6][7]

Cohen is a frequent writer and commentator in the American and international media. He has appeared on CNN, NBC, CBS, FOX, C-SPAN, BBC-TV and Al Jazeera English, as well as Russian and Ukrainian national TV networks. He was a commentator on a Voice of America weekly radio and TV show for eight years. Currently, he is a Contributing Editor to the National Interest and a blogger for Voice of America. He has written guest columns for the New York TimesInternational Herald TribuneChristian Science Monitor, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times, EurasiaNet, Valdai Discussion Club,[8] and National Review Online. In Europe, Cohen’s analyses have appeared in Kommersant, Izvestiya, Hurriyet, the popular Russian website Ezhenedelny Zhurnal, and many others.[9][10]

Mr. Cohen came on Russian TV for a lengthy interview running about 17 minutes. This interview, shown in full below, is extremely instructive in illustrating the nature of the American foreign policy directives such as they are at this time.

We have seen evidence of this in recent statements by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo regarding Russia’s “invasion” of Ukraine, and an honestly unabashed bit of fear mongering about China’s company Huawei and its forthcoming 5G networks, which we will investigate in more detail in another piece. Both bits of rhetoric reflect a re-polished narrative that, paraphrased, says to the other world powers,

Either you do as we tell you, or you are our enemy. You are not even permitted to out-compete with us in business, let alone foreign relations. The world is ours and if you try to step out of place, you will be dealt with as an enemy power.

This is probably justified paranoia, because it is losing its place. Where the United Stated used to stand for opposition against tyranny in the world, it now acts as the tyrant, and even as a bully. Russia and China’s reaction might be seen as ignoring the bully and his bluster and just going about doing their own thing. It isn’t a fight, but it is treating the bully with contempt, as bullies indeed deserve.

Ariel Cohen rightly points out that there is a great deal of political inertia in the matter of allowing Russia and China to just do their own thing. The US appears to be acting paranoid about losing its place. His explanations appear very sound and very reasonable and factual. Far from some of the snark Vesti is often infamous for, this interview is so clear it is tragic that most Americans will never see it.

The tragedy for the US leadership that buys this strategy is that they appear to be blinded so much by their own passion that they cannot break free of it to save themselves.

This is not the first time that such events have happened to an empire. It happened in Rome; it happened for England; and it happened for the shorter-lived empires of Nazi Germany and ISIS. It happens every time that someone in power becomes afraid to lose it, and when the forces that propelled that rise to power no longer are present. The US is a superpower without a reason to be a superpower.

That can be very dangerous.

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