Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The end to sanctions against Russia?

If you don't think that ideas are important, consider this: current president of the European Commission, José Manual Barrasso was a Maoist in his youth.  He's still just as doctrinaire, but now he is a loyal neoliberal.  And so is most anyone who has an important job in the EU.  And then there is a matter of those scary-smart educated elites that seem to lie thick on the ground throughout Europe.  The most vivid memory I have from my 1970 summer in Europe was that for the first time I could remember, I wasn't the smartest guy in the room—not. even. close!  I remember one night in Berlin when some guy I had just met went off on a geopolitical rant, in English, late at night with alcohol and hash mixed in, that was at least 10 times better than anything I had ever heard even (especially?) in formal university settings.  So how do people who went to great trouble to become as radical as possible in their youth, wind up as these clueless little neoliberal droids?  How do people who have had the benefit of elite educations aimed at the top 2-5% of the population wind up being conned by an idea set that has been so thoroughly discredited as the neoliberal descendant of classical economics?

The EU is now in its sixth year of an easily preventable economic depression because they want to believe crackpot ideas will work.  Force does not keep the herd in line.  Obviously neoliberalism does not win the day because of its towering brilliance.  No, the reason that neoliberalism wins in Europe is simple, old-fashioned status emulation.  The problem is universal but it affects the smaller countries the most.  When they are asked to join the EU, its like WAY better than being asked to join an exclusive country club.  And if all the rich and cool folks believe that neoliberalism is the only way to think, why then they will too even if there is a voice inside calling out, "this shit is crazy!"

So now, in addition to the lunacy of neoliberalism, we see the EU go off to commit economic suicide in the name of sanctions against Russia—the provider of their energy and a VERY important trading partner.  And over what?—the question of whether or not Victoria Nuland's engineered putsch will be allowed to stand?

In the meantime, while this 19th century geopolitical chess plunges forward, the people who could actually do something about it are distracted from some really serious problems like climate change.  Interestingly, one of the countries speaking out against the stupid EU sanction proposals are the Finns.  And why not?  Without a prosperous Russia on its border, Finland literally dies.  With the disaster at Nokia, Finland cannot afford any more major economic problems these days.  Unfortunately, Finland does not see the problems of neoliberalism quite so clearly—one of her most famous politicians, Olli Rehn, is such a doctrinaire neoliberal he is best thought of as a neoliberal "moonie."

The self-evidently absurd "logic" of the EU

The latest EU decision against Russia is amazing it it's self-evident stupidity. The EU has adopted sanctions which will only be put into effect if the ceasefire does not hold.
  • First, the obvious assumption here is that should the ceasefire not hold, it would clearly by Russia's fault. No, not the Novorussian's fault, but Russia's.
  • Second, apparently, the possibility that the Ukrainians might break the ceasefire was not even considered or, if it was, then it was dismissed.
  • Third, considering that the Ukies have literally been *begging* the West for anti-Russian sanctions, the EU has just given them a fantastic motive to break the ceasefire.
  • Fourth, the EU apparently believes that Russia is afraid of EU sanctions even though all the signs, from senior Kremlin officials to opinion polls, show that neither the Russian rulers nor the Russian people are concerned about EU sanctions. In fact, the only people really concerned about these sanctions are Putin's main opponents: the pro-Western, pro-EU liberal westernizing elites.
Three key documents outline the "wisdom" of the Eurobureaucrats on the issue of anti-Russian sanctions:

The "Statement by the President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy on further EU restrictive measures against Russia"

The "Joint letter by the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, and the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, on restrictive measures against Russia"

The "Conclusions of the Special meeting of the European Council (30 August 2014)".

Reading these documents it becomes clear that the EU officials are either completely out of touch with reality or completely dishonest. For example, they speak of the "aggression by Russian armed forces on Ukrainian soil" even though they offer no evidence whatsoever about this "invisible invasion" which, by the way, is even denied by the Junta in Kiev (in order to secure yet another IMF loan).

This is all disgusting, amusing, pathetic, or alarming - depending on your perspective. What it is most definitley not is serious.

Frankly, and I will admit that this immature on my part, but I cannot wait to have the EU adopt the next package of sanctions. Why? Because I already delight in the panic in Europe when Russia will slap them right back with a ban on EU carrier flights over Russia or, for example, sanctions against the automobile or aerospace industry. Whatever the Russians come up with, the EU will know that it brought this upon itself and for absolutely no discernible reason at all.

Yet again, I can only wholeheartedly agree with Mrs Nuland's sentiments towards the EU.

The Saker more

Finland thinking EU should waiting in putting new anti-Russian sanctions in effect

ITAR-TASS September 09, 2014

"Finland in general isn't of the opinion that now is the right time [for the sanctions]," Mr. Stubb said

NEW YORK, September 09 /ITAR-TASS/. Implementation of a new package of anti-Russian sanctions, which the EU endorsed on Monday, has been put off for several days owing to the position taken by Finland and some other European countries, says an article published by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) on its website.

“The new sanctions were adopted by the EU members including Finland on Monday, but the actual timing for their implementation was left to be decided later, Finland's Prime Minister Alexander Stubb told Finnish media at a press briefing in Helsinki […],” the newspaper said.

"Finland in general isn't of the opinion that now is the right time [for the sanctions]," Mr. Stubb said, adding that EU diplomats were negotiating in Brussels on Monday night over when the sanctions would actually be put into force.

WSJ recalls that, to come into effect, the sanctions are to be published by the EU’s official journal, “but there are still discussions at which stage (the sanctions) will be published in the official journal,” Stubb said.

He believes that the schedule for implementing the new sanctions has been "fast and challenging" because Russia and Ukraine have made progress in their negotiations.

Stubb also said he was concerned about the indirect impact of the sanctions and about potential counter-sanctions that Russia might be pondering.

“Finland shares a 1,300-kilometer land border with Russia and has profited from tourism and trade with its huge eastern neighbor,” the WSJ says. “In the past during the Ukraine crisis Finland has been among the EU members that have had reservations about ramping up economic pressure on Russia. more

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