As Far as East is From West

Because some people believe much of what they read in the mainstream media, and because the mainstream media portray Vladimir Putin as a crazy insane madman who wants to revive the Soviet Union, build Gulags and probably destroy the world, there are many people out there who think Vladimir Putin is a crazy insane madman who wants to revive the Soviet Union, build Gulags and probably destroy the world.

Meanwhile in the West, our leaders are portrayed as calm and rational people who are trying to take the right action against the crazy insane madman who wants to revive the Soviet Union, build Gulags and probably destroy the world.

If you happen to go along with this I would point you in the direction of a couple of articles that appeared today where the contrast is shown in all its stark reality. Except the problem is that the crazy insane madmen appear to be in the European Parliament (not saying they want to build gulags or revive the Soviet Union, by the way), whereas the calm and rational response appears to be coming from the apparently crazy insane madman of the Kremlin.

So a week or so ago, Putin brokered a ceasefire in the Ukrainian civil war — a war which was initially caused by the EU and US support for a violent coup d’etat in Kiev in February. The EU response was what? To whack sanctions on Russia. So much for peace then, Brussels.

Since then we’ve been awaiting the Kremlin’s response. We’re all expecting something big — and maybe it will be big — but far from desiring to punish those who have sanctioned Russia, Mr Putin has today made it clear that that is not his aim at all. His only aim is to protect his country. Anyway, here is what he said, and readers can judge for themselves whether he comes across as a crazy insane madman who wants to revive the Soviet Union, build Gulags and probably destroy the world, or whether he appears to be somewhat more calm and rational than all that:

http://en.itar-tass.com/russia/750120

And when you have done with that, you can read about how despite the ceasefire brokered by Putin, which is still holding, and despite the fact that Russia hasn’t even come out with their response to the last round of sanctions, the EU is at it again, plotting their latest strike in their futile economic war which will result in devastation for EU economies:

http://en.itar-tass.com/world/750166

Judge for yourselves: Do they strike you as calm and rational? I’d say the difference is as vast as East is to West.

The Last Day of Being British?

It is the morning of 18th September 2014. My nationality is officially British. Although my passport somehow mentions an entity calling itself the European Union, which I am apparently connected with somehow. I was born British, have lived British and am still British. Yet this time tomorrow morning, I may well no longer be British. I will simply be English. But then again, I was that all along as well. And I guess that pesky organisation calling itself the European Union will still be attempting to command my allegiance as well. It’s all very complicated!

If you had asked me a few years ago whether I hoped the Scots would achieve independence, I would probably have said something stupid like, “Yes let them go. See if they can manage without our money”. Thankfully the passage of time hasn’t just started to put a few grey hairs on my head, but has also made me think a little more about these things.

So if you had asked me that same question a few months ago, I probably would have said, “No. The Union between England, Wales and Scotland has been one of the most successful and largely happy unions the world has ever seen, and it would be a travesty to wave goodbye to that.”

But life is complex and here I am, on the day of the vote, sitting here in England and really not knowing what to hope for, and not knowing how I would vote were I a Scot with a vote.

For me, one of the oddest things is the question itself: “Should Scotland be an independent country?”. I have always wondered how Alex Salmond — canny Scot that he is — managed to get away with such a blatantly misleading question. It automatically puts the answer “No” on the back foot and paints a “Yes” vote in a positive light. But more than this, the fact is the Scots aren’t voting to become an independent country. An independent country is a country that has full and sovereign control over its laws, its economy, its currency, its foreign policy, its ability to trade and every other area of decision making.

The Scots will not get this whatever they vote for. A Yes vote will not make Scotland an independent country. Sure, they will be independent of Westminster, but it is clear that they will remain — although this might take some renegotiating — a vassal state of the EU. The relationship will simply remove London from the equation, but the real power behind Scotland will not be found in Edinburgh, but rather in Brussels, or more accurately Berlin — which is where the real power lies behind the EU.

To ask people to vote to become an independent country, but to offer them no choice to actually be an independent country appears to me to be something of an insult.

Having said that, there is a rebellious streak in me which really doesn’t take very kindly to people cajoling me into something for their own ends. Which is why — despite believing the Union to have been a generally very good thing — if anything, I feel inclined to hope for a Yes vote. Not because I want to see the Union broken. Not because I bear any grudge against Scotland. Not because I think England will necessarily prosper after this decision.

No, it is because the last two or three weeks of campaigning have exposed the levels of duplicity and mendacity to which the London elite are prepared to go to scare people into maintaining the status quo. About a month ago, they appeared to think this would be a cakewalk and their campaigning was clearly half-hearted. But then as we have crept nearer the date of the vote, they have become increasingly alarmed to see the gap between Yes and No closing, and it seemed to dawn on them a couple of weeks ago that they might actually lose.

They panicked and ever since they have been desperately throwing everything at the campaign to make sure the Union is not broken. David Cameron has been faced with a conundrum which he didn’t expect. On the one hand, I feel sure he would not be particularly sorry to see Scotland go, since a Scotland-less country is the only possible way his decrepit party could possibly win another election. But on the other hand, the dangers of losing Scotland are perhaps even greater to him. Having already gone down in history as the man who broke the definition of marriage, it now looks as if he might go down in history as the man who broke the Union. No doubt he is proud of the first, and may well be proud of the second, but whether his own MPs will be quite so proud and willing to let him carry on as their leader is another matter.

Political ghosts from all sorts of countries — including the ageing lothario himself, Bill Clinton — have been coming out of their graves to urge the Scots not to secede. The three main party leaders have been throwing the book at the Scots with a plethora of sticks — “Scotland can’t go it alone”, “The economy would collapse”, “You couldn’t defend yourselves”, “You couldn’t remain in the EU”, “What would you use as currency?” — as well as carrots — “Please stay and we’ll offer you a load more powers, which we did sort of hint at a year ago, but thought we’d bring up two days before the vote. Promise.”

And then there is the BBC coverage, which has been appalling and has meant that there are a lot of people in Scotland that now despise that organisation for its obvious bias. Why is the Beeb, which has never before struck me as being anything other than anti-British, suddenly become so pro-Union? My best guess is that it doesn’t fancy suddenly having to rebrand as the EBC or EWBC and perhaps senses that its days as a monolithic, tax-payer funded propaganda machine are numbered. Oh and there’s the loss of revenue that would entail.

Which is what this is all about really. The real reason that the UK government and mainstream media have suddenly got very alarmed at the prospect of secession, and have embarked on a frankly disgusting propaganda campaign aimed at scaring Scots into thinking they are staring into the abyss, is all to do with the loss of oil revenues. There is a decent little summary of this here, the most salient point being this:

1. The UK can now borrow cheaply using the giant Scottish oil reserves as collateral
2. If Scotland leaves, the collateral (oil reserves) is no longer available
3. So the cost of borrowing money for Britain skyrockets

I am sad to see that it comes down to this. But such is the way of the world — The love of money and all that. And I am sorry that this campaign couldn’t have been conducted in a decent manner, with both sides being allowed to spend the same amount of money to get proper arguments across to the public, as opposed to scaremongering. I dread to think what the ratio of money spent on the respective campaigns is, although I suspect the No vote has massively outweighed the Yes vote. Anyone who thinks a referendum on EU membership — should we ever be offered one — would be free, fair and civilised should take note. It will not.

A couple of final thoughts. I think there is a very real danger of trouble if this vote is close, especially if the No vote wins by a sliver. The way the aforementioned London elite have poisoned the wells of honest debate has, I think, irked a lot of people in the Yes camp, which means that a narrow victory may well come with accusations of vote rigging and dishonesty. I fear for such a result, which is why my one hope in this is not that one side or the other will win, but that the vote will be decisive enough to put to silence any accusations and animosity.

Having said that, the genie has been let out of the bottle, and regardless of the result, expect to see more movements for independence coming out of the European woodwork — movements that you probably never even heard of before. Again, I can only hope and pray that such movements will be carried out in a civilised way, and met with a civilised response. After Scotland, all eyes on Catalonia and the response of the Spanish government. That will be most interesting!

Not so Colourful Revolutions

One of the reasons a lot of people in the West seem to keep falling for the various “colour revolutions” and “springs” that have taken place over the past decade or so, is that they often look — to those whose knowledge of the country in question is limited — to be a straightforward cases of democracy in action: a poor, disenfranchised people, fed up with the actions of the evil oppressor, rising up and toppling them in an act of spontaneous democracy in action. “Hurrah,” we in the West say as we cheer the downfall of a man we know little about, by an opposition that we know even less about, in a country that we are completely ignorant of.

Occasionally, the idea of a downtrodden people rising up to topple the dictator in an outpouring of pent up frustration is just about right. Think Ceausescu in Romania. However, many of the revolutions over the past decade have not been like this at all. In the majority of cases, these revolutions have been deliberately conceived and orchestrated by the US government, and have been designed to look like democracy has just taken place, when in fact the opposite of democracy has occurred.

For a really good and thorough look at this phenomenon and how it works, I recommend this article by Ted Snider. If you had always before assumed that these various revolutions were democracy in action, this article should give you pause for thought.

Richard Dawkins, Down Syndrome & the Sum of Human Happiness

So what to make of Richard Dawkins Twitter comment a few weeks back, where he responded to a lady who claimed that she would be faced with a “real ethical dilemma” if she found out she was pregnant with a Down Syndrome baby in the following way: “Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice.” Whatever else you might think about Dawkins, he certainly doesn’t go in for subtlety, does he?

He then made an “apology” on his website (well sort of an apology), before making a statement apparently clarifying his position in more characters than Twitter would allow him. You can read this here.

I plan to write about this more fully in my October article for Samaritan Ministries International, but in the meantime, here are some thoughts that arise from his clarification statement, as well as his original tweet:

  1. In both the original tweet and the clarification, the themes of morality and immorality are very prevalent. Yet this is the same man who once wrote: “The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference” (See River Out of Eden, New York: Harper Collins, 1995, page 133). For sure his remarks on Down Syndrome babies is remarkably consistent with his view of blind pitiless indifference, but where does he get all this talk of morality and immorality from? I am aware that he tries to wriggle out of this inconsistency by saying that morality has evolved, but really such sleight of hand ought not to get past a 3-year-old. A universe which has, at bottom, no good and no evil, and where everything is eventually annihilated, has as much chance of having morality in it as a universe that has no leprechauns in it has of having leprechauns in it. Trying to inject morality and immorality into a universe you have explicitly stated doesn’t possess these traits is a bit like stating categorically that you’ve got nothing in your bank account, before going on to talk about what you’ve got in your bank account.
  2. Having somehow magicked morality out of his own hat of amorality, he then tells us what this consists of: “a desire to increase the sum of happiness and reduce suffering…” There are some frankly huge assumptions in this statement. The biggest of these is that a child born with Down Syndrome cannot increase the sum of happiness. This in itself assumes either that people with Down Syndrome are bound to be unhappy, or that their parents are bound to be unhappy, or possibly both. But is this really the case? No, it is total nonsense. According to a study published in 2011 by the American Journal of Medical Genetics, 79 percent of parents with a Down Syndrome child report that their outlook on life was more positive because of their child; 94 percent of siblings report feelings of pride about their sibling with Down syndrome; and 99 percent of people with Down syndrome feel happy with their lives. So all in all, it sounds as if the sum of human happiness actually increases, not decreases, in families with a Down Syndrome child.The other major assumption he makes, is that parents who abort their Down Syndrome child are going to increase their happiness. Again, this comes loaded with its own set of highly questionable assumptions, such as the idea that there will be no psychological repercussions, and the implicit idea that a Down Syndrome child will ruin your happiness by restricting your ability to do whatever you want. Needless to say, these are remarkably materialist assumptions which do not appear to accord very much with the human condition.
  3. His argument of morality based on a desire to increase the sum of human happiness and reduce suffering sounds very sweet, but in reality it is utilitarian to the core and has many times led to dreadful atrocities being carried out in the name of humanitarianism. From euthanasia of old people, to dropping bombs on nations in order to bring them “liberty”, the desire to replace the 10 Commandments with a morality which consists purely of increasing the sum of happiness and reducing suffering often leads to tragic consequences. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, as they say.
  4. Dawkins then comes out with this jaw dropper: “The decision to deliberately give birth to a Down baby, when you have the choice to abort it early in the pregnancy, might actually be immoral from the point of view of the child’s own welfare”. Well since we can’t ask the aborted children what they think, I suppose we should go and ask the 99% of Down Syndrome people who said they are happy with their lives whether they consider their mothers to be immoral for “deliberately” giving birth to them. My guess is that even the 1% who don’t feel happy would baulk at accusing their mothers of immorality for not killing them.
  5. Finally, there is this: “… you would probably be condemning yourself as a mother (or yourselves as a couple) to a lifetime of caring for an adult with the needs of a child.” This is just sad. It is Nietzsche all over again. Is there any higher and nobler calling than for a parent with a disabled child sacrificing themselves to care for them? Is there anything more beautiful than seeing someone devote themselves to the care of one who cannot care for themselves? In the materialist construct that Dawkins espouses, it is the height of folly – even immoral. But thankfully, this is not the universe in which we live. Rather we live in a universe where the sacrifice of one for another is the highest value of all.

A Couple of Helpful Articles on the Defining Crisis of the 21st Century

I seem to be writing about Ukraine all the time. I promise I will write about some other issues shortly. However, my reason for doing so is that I believe this crisis to be the defining crisis of the 21st Century so far. It is something that has been brewing at least as far back as 1991, and in many ways all the way back to Otto von Bismarck in the 19th Century. It is also something that may well define the shape of the planet for the rest of the century — whether we are left with a unipolar world with the US exerting the “full spectrum dominance” of a Roman Empire, or whether we see a new multipolar world emerging in which sovereign nation states are allowed to shape their own policy. It is in a very real sense the key battle between globalisation and national sovereignty.

I am personally very much on the national sovereignty side of things, and I long for the day when my own country, which likes to retain its pretensions to grandeur, shakes off its role as slave to the New German Empire (aka the EU), and the US, performing the role of foolish yapper dog to the latter.

Anyway, for anyone who wants to get more of an understanding on what this conflict is all about, and how it has been conceived and implemented not by Moscow, but by Brussels and more importantly Washington, I urge you to read this article and this article.

Key quote for me in the first piece is this:

“While the United States may have started out dedicated to the ideals of a renewed civilization cherishing the rights and freedoms of man and disavowing a policy which condoned engaging in “foreign entanglements”, its political culture would over a period of time evolve to encompass foreign policy dictums which espoused the idea of regional supremacy. This was the idea behind the Monroe Doctrine which was formulated in the early part of the nineteenth century.”

And in the second piece:

“The Eurasian-wide plan of strategic destabilization and state fracturing owes its genesis to Zbigniew Brzezinski and his Eurasian Balkans concept. The US is flexible in practicing this concept, and it does not meet a dead end if the destabilization encounters an obstacle and cannot be advanced. Should this occur, as it has in Ukraine, Syria and Iraq, and possibly soon in the South China Sea, the stratagem evolves into maximizing the chaos within the launch pad states that are positioned on the doorsteps of the Eurasian Powers. The idea is to create ‘black holes’ of absolute disorder in which Moscow, Beijing, and Tehran are “damned if they do, damned if they don’t” intervene.”

Invasion, Incursion or Invention?

The Western-backed Kiev government found themselves facing a big problem last week. After weeks of telling the Western mainstream media that they were winning their so-called “war on terror”, it became obvious last week that actually they were losing, and losing rather badly.

Until a couple of weeks ago, the Eastern militia were fighting what was essentially a defensive war against the Kiev regime, who have been raining down heavy artillery on civilian areas of the East, in what looks suspiciously like an attempt at ethnic cleansing the East of all those who identify closely with Russia — tactics, by the way, which have clearly been given the full support of the EU and US.

But in the last week or so, the rebels against the junta have formed themselves into a far more cohesive attack force, and have been going on the offensive. Their tactics have been hugely successful militarily, and they have managed in a short space of time to reach the town of Novoazovsk, close to the Russian border, and miles away from Donetsk, where the fiercest fighting has taken place.

This wasn’t supposed to have happened. We in the West were being told only a fortnight ago that the rebels were being defeated and their surrender seemed to be only a matter of time. But no amount of propaganda and wishful thinking from Kiev could hide the fact that this wasn’t actually happening. So when the rebel victories became so clear and unmistakable that even the Kiev propaganda machine could hide it no longer, it became necessary to invent a new narrative to account for the apparently sudden turn of the tide.

And so last Thursday the world was told, courtesy of Kiev and some rather grainy and unconvincing NATO pictures, that the Russians had come. Actually, from what I can gather, the Ukrainian President, Petro Poroshenko, originally claimed that there had been a Russian incursion, but somehow this was mistranslated as an invasion. Although the word invasion was changed to incursion in some news reports, it didn’t matter. Just like the “truth” of MH17 — which you may have noticed the West has gone remarkably silent on since accusing Russia of being behind it hours after it happened — the damage had been done, the “truth” was out and Russia had apparently invaded Ukraine.

Except of course they hadn’t. Don’t get me wrong, there are indeed Russians fighting in Ukraine at the moment. According to the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Donetsk National Republic, Aleksandr Zakharchenko, there are something like 3-4,000 Russians fighting for the rebel side. This is obvious, since many Russian soldiers and ex-soldiers see people they identify as brothers involved in a fight against people who want to wipe them off the face of the earth and have come to help them. But is this the same thing as a Russian invasion?

The idea is really quite laughable, for two reasons. Firstly, look at the countries that are throwing their hands up in horror at the idea. The US? The UK? France? These countries have never invaded anywhere, right? They have never violated the sovereignty of another nation, right? Actually they’ve been doing it within the past year in countries thousands of miles away and which posed no threat (at least they posed no threat until they were invaded). And the leaders of these countries suddenly expect us to take their moral finger jabbing seriously as they howl at the Russian menace for their alleged invasion of Ukraine. I suggest we respond by blowing raspberries at these vainglorious fools and hypocrites.

The other reason it is so comical is that this simply isn’t what a Russian invasion looks like. If you are old enough, you may recall that when the Russians (Soviets) invade it tends to looks like this. Or perhaps like this. And if you’re not old enough to remember those episodes, maybe you recall this, when the Russians responded to the folly of the then Georgian President, Mikheil Saakashvili, who decided to invade the South Ossetian city of Tskhinvali.

The point is, Russian invasions do not look like a few hundred soldiers operating clandestinely to take towns like Novoazovsk. If there really had been a Russian invasion last Thursday, we wouldn’t need to take the word of the serial liars in the Ukrainian junta as truth, or rely on a few poor quality and entirely unconvincing satellite images from NATO. If it had happened, the Russians would have been in Kiev by the weekend, and Poroshenko, Yats and their neo-Nazi colleagues would all be back in Moscow facing charges of war crimes. If you want to know what a Russian invasion would have looked like, this piece gives you a fairly good idea.

And if you want to know how the rebels have managed to gain the upper hand and are largely crushing the Ukrainian army, I would suggest watching this press conference given by Aleksandr Zakharchenko of the Donetsk National Republic. He is clear that his army is largely made up of ordinary working men who have literally downed their tools to fight the ultra-nationalist menace that Kiev has unleashed on them. And he is equally clear that these men will fight to the death to protect their families, their homes and their land. By contrast, many of the Kiev forces don’t even know why on earth they are fighting. I have to say, I am with them on this, and I only hope that they will act on it: refusing the order to fight, leaving the East in peace, and going back to their families and homes to leave the filthy aspirations of those who have unleashed this Hell — the leaders of the US, the EU and Kiev — in tatters.

A Prayer for our Lying Leaders

So the white trucks which we were all meant to fear meant an impending invasion of Ukraine by Russia turned out to contain what? Armoured Personnel Carriers? Missile launchers? ManPads? Well, no they contained aid to the people of Luhansk, much needed since they have been bombed to smithereens by the neo-Nazi junta in Kiev.

What are we to make of the claims of invasion from the West? Even the most naïve and uninformed person getting their news from the mainstream media must be getting tired of hearing false claims over and over again. For the last few months we have been told that a Russian invasion of Ukraine is imminent. Why hasn’t it happened? Because the government of the Russian Federation is not actually interested in invading Ukraine. They have made it clear for years, to anyone who was listening, that their aim with regard to Ukraine was to make sure it stays out of NATO. Why? Because understandably they did not want a hostile military organisation pushed right up to their border.

Rather, they want nothing more than for Ukraine to act as a “buffer” zone between the NATO countries in the West and the Russian Federation. Unfortunately, these warnings, made many times by the Russian government, simply fell on deaf ears in the West, who proceeded with their unhinged plan to bring Ukraine into the NATO orbit, thus deliberately stoking the current conflict.

What other falsehoods have we been told? Well, in the hours after the downing of flight MH17, before any official investigation had even begun, much less finished, the West told us who did it. Russian “separatists”, with the blame going all the way to the Russian President himself. But was this actually true?

You may have noticed that after the initial hysteria with headlines around the Western world proclaiming either directly or indirectly that the guilt lay with President Putin, they have all gone rather quiet. So quiet that almost nothing is mentioned about it. Occasionally the BBC will still say something like, “the evidence is growing that the plane was shot down by Russian separatists”, but other than that, there is a deafening silence.

Why is that? It is because contrary to the BBCs assertion, actually the evidence has been mounting completely the other way. The Russian Ministry of Defence, in their presentation days after the crash, showed clear evidence that the Ukrainians had several BUK systems operational in the area at the time the plane was shot down. They also presented evidence from civilian radar that Ukraine had at least one military aircraft — possibly an SU25 — tracking MH17 at about 3km at the time of its destruction.

To date, these points have not been answered by Kiev or the US. In fact they have not even attempted to answer them. Instead, they have responded by ignoring them completely. Why? One can’t help but thinking that this is because they have something to hide.

Look at it like this: if the flight recordings had revealed anything incriminating the Russians, wouldn’t they have been released by now? And what about US satellite imagery? There is no doubt that they have such imagery, but they have failed to release it? Would they have kept it classified if it really revealed separatist involvement? And what about the air traffic control recordings? These have been confiscated by the Kiev authorities and never released. Again, why? I would still hesitate to offer an opinion as to exactly who was behind the crash, but it seems to me that the case against Kiev or someone within the Ukrainian military grows stronger every day.

Any more lies? Yes, last week we were told that the Ukrainians had destroyed 23 Russian Armoured Personnel Carriers which had crossed over the border. The story started with a couple of British journalists, one from the Guardian and one from the Telegraph, saying they had seen the APCs crossing the border.

What was fishy about this from the outset was that they somehow saw all this, but didn’t even have their iphones with them to take a video. All we got was a snapshot of an APC next to a field. Whether it was a Ukrainian field or a Russian field was hard to tell, but personally I would have liked something a little more meaty before I accepted it as evidence.

The Ukrainian side — even President Poroshenko himself — claimed they had destroyed this invading convoy. At this point, deep suspicions set in. Firstly, where were the pictures of smouldering ruins? Secondly, would Russia really have been so stupid to send these APCs into Ukraine without any cover? And thirdly, does anyone in all their wildest dreams really think that Russia would have just let this incident pass off without retaliation?

And of course a few days later, after the media had given most people the impression that Russia was beginning their long feared invasion, it turned out that it was simply false. A pack of lies — not the first and probably not the last from Mr Porkie-shenko and his government.

Whatever else this conflict teaches us it is this: our leaders and the mainstream media are lying like crazy to try and stoke up war. They appear to be trying to re-enact the kinds of warmongering decisions taken by European politicians 100 years ago that ended up drowning Europe in blood. Don’t take them at their word. Find out the facts before believing what they say. Allow time to pass before jumping to conclusions and then see if their claims were actually true. And above all petition God that they would not be allowed to march us into war once more, making “supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way” (1 Timothy 2:2).

The European Union: The Squirrel Nutkin of Geopolitics

If you haven’t read Beatrix Potter’s Squirrel Nutkin story, you really ought. The story begins with Nutkin and his fellow squirrels crossing over to an island to gather nuts for the winter. The “governor” of the island is an aged and very respectable owl called Old Brown, and the squirrels seek his permission to gather nuts by bringing him an offering — mice, moles, minnows — every day.

All, that is, except Squirrel Nutkin. Whilst the rest of the squirrels treat Old Brown with great respect, Nutkin mocks and ridicules him, singing impertinent riddles and dancing foolishly in front of him. This goes on day after day until finally, on the sixth day, Old Brown’s patience runs out and he grabs Nutkin, picks him up by the tail and is about to skin him alive. Nutkin makes a desperate lunge for his life, and although he manages to escape, does so with his tail broken in two.

The story ends like this:

“And to this day, if you meet Nutkin up a tree and ask him a riddle, he will throw sticks at you, and stamp his feet and scold, and shout ‘Cuck-cuck-cuck-cur-r-r-cuck-k-k!'” 

I only mention this because I can’t help seeing a striking similarity between Nutkin and the European Union. As I wrote last week, the EU is indignant at the sanctions imposed upon it by Russia. Anyone coming to the party at this moment in time might be tempted to think they have a point. However, there is a history here. Before Russia even went for Nutkin’s tail, Nutkin had been dancing around impertinently, slapping no less than nine rounds of sanctions on Russia.

The EU apparently thinks this retaliation is all rather unsporting. Take this from German Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt:

“I very much regret that Russia has taken this clearly politically-motivated step. This action by Russia undoubtedly puts the previously constructive cooperation between the Russian and the German government on the export of agricultural goods to a tough test… This Russian decree isn’t suitable as a means of political pressure.  Russia’s boycott decision will not only have a profound impact on the German and European economy, but will also directly affect Russian consumers.”

One wonders whether Herr Schmidt is aware of the politically-motivated steps his government had taken no less than nine times against Russia before Russia — like Old Brown — decided enough was enough.

Or how about this from another EU senior official, as quoted by the Financial Times:

“We will be talking to the countries that would be potentially replacing our exports to indicate that we would expect them not to profit unfairly from the current situation.”

The same source that apparently thinks this it would be “unfair” for other countries — mainly South American — to seize the opportunity to up their exports to Russia, also went on to say that it would “be difficult to justify” such countries pursuing diplomatic initiatives to fill the gap left by the EU, the US, Norway and Australia.

Difficult to justify? Really? So the EU, which started the Ukrainian conflict by supporting far-right Ukrainian nationalists in their armed takeover of a legitimate government, which has supported the Kiev government in its vicious military assault against people of the East of the country, and which has imposed nine rounds of sanctions on the Russian Federation, thinks it would be really unfair if other countries took advantage of the situation that the EU has brought upon itself.

This episode has shown in stark reality the mentality of those who run the EU. Like Nutkin, they clearly believed they could prod and poke as much as they liked with impunity. Like Nutkin, they were clearly shocked when the repercussions finally came their way. And like Nutkin, they now appear to have lost the plot completely, and have taken to stamping their feet, scolding and shouting, “Cuck-cuck-cuck-cur-r-r-cuck-k-k!” At least that’s what it sounds like when they whinge and whine about the unfairness of it all.

Putin’s Real Missile: Aimed Right at the Heart of the EU

So after nine rounds of sanctions against the Russian Federation, the European Union is now waking up to the implications of the first round of retaliatory sanctions. It is clear that they are none too happy.

What have Russia done? They have banned imports of certain foodstuffs from those countries that have imposed sanctions on them, for a period of one year. This includes the import of beef, pork, poultry, meat, fish, fruits and vegetables, cheese, milk, and dairy products from the EU, US, Australia, Canada, and Norway. Although the ban is set to last for a period of one year, Russia has made it clear that they are prepared to rescind the ban for any country that reverses the sanctions they have imposed.

Before the Russian sanctions, the EU had collectively imposed no less than nine rounds of sanctions, with the US imposing six. Russia, by contrast, has behaved with remarkable restraint under this barrage of provocation. They repeatedly described sanctions as counter-productive and called for dialogue over Ukraine.

Yet despite all their phoney rhetoric, the EU and the US have consistently shown that dialogue is not something that interests them. Their whole game plan from the start of the Ukrainian upheaval has been to move Ukraine out of the orbit of Russia, to isolate Russia internationally, and to move NATO up to the borders of Russia. If you want to know what this looks like from Russia’s point of view, imagine that they decided to finance an armed coup in Mexico, under the cover of “democracy” and then began moving military bases up to the US border. You get the picture?

But despite the restraint showed by the government of the Russian Federation, the schoolboys and schoolgirls that govern the EU and US have continued to prod and provoke, until finally Russia was left with no choice but to retaliate with their own sanctions.

The order of things is hugely important here. Sanctions are a declaration of economic warfare and it is crucial in judging how countries behave to remember who started it. Just as the whole Ukrainian situation was not started by the Russian Federation, but by the aggressive expansionism of the EU and US, culminating in their support for the violent overthrow of a democratically elected government, nor was it Russia who started this economic warfare. Russian sanctions are a response to EU and US actions.

I’m sure that in the not-too-distant future, Western governments and their media machines will have managed to spin this around 180 degrees to try to make us all believe that their next round of sanctions are a measured response to Russian aggression. But no, the facts of the case are clear: after much provocation by round after round of sanctions, Russia have reluctantly responded to Western aggression.

It has to be said that the Russian sanctions seem to have touched a raw nerve and taken both EU members and the US by surprise — which is what they were intended to do. Much of this of course has to do with the sheer cost. All in all, it is estimated that the loss in exports throughout the EU could total up to $16 billion. And of course the EU countries are in a perfectly healthy economic situation to deal with this, aren’t they? That was sarcasm, in case you didn’t pick up on it.

Some EU states — those who have a big agricultural export market to Russia — are beginning to wake up to the fact that these sanctions are really going to hurt at a time when they can ill afford it. For example, the Greek opposition party, recognising how damaging these sanctions will be for their nation’s already fragile economy, has already come out and called for the government to drop all sanctions against Russia.

Then we have the Lithuanian government, who despite joining in with the EU sanctions, is so worried about the situation that is talking about the possibility of taking the case to the World Trade Organisation claiming that what Russia is doing is illegal. Never mind that the EU sanctions themselves almost certainly contravene WTO rules!

Then we had Jacques Myard, a member of the National Assembly of France, who told Le Figaro, “Under current conditions, when France is experiencing economic, financial and budgetary difficulties, it’s at least suicidal to harm our exports to Russia, which are important and necessary for the creation of jobs in France and for our trade balance. The government and the EU are acting as fools.”

In addition, the French National Federation of Unions of Agricultural Operators (FNSEA), France’s largest farming association, has said that Russia’s sanctions could push Europe into a market crisis.

It is tempting to say to these so-called sovereign nations, “All very sad, but then what did you expect?” Did you think you could continue with your refusal to see the Ukrainian situation from Russia’s perspective? Did you think that Russia would just capitulate and say “Here NATO, roll your kit right up to our borders?” Did you think you could go along with what your masters in Brussels and Washington are telling you to do, without any dire repercussions bouncing back on you?

Actually the leaders of these nations probably did. Such is the ignorance of our governing classes that they may well have actually believed their own propaganda about isolating Russia, not thinking for once that they might end up cutting themselves off from a lucrative export market and driving Russia to seek alternative countries to trade with, as they are now doing especially in South America.

It’s almost as if these sanctions are specifically designed to say to EU member states, “See where blindly following US government foreign policy actually gets you?” And even closer to home, “See what belonging to a Union of nations whereby you cede national sovereignty and control of your economic policy to decision makers that have vastly different interests than your nation has gets you?”

It is this last point that I think is most important. Time will tell, but it seems to me that the Russian sanctions are like a missile launched right into the heart of the EU. On the one hand they are aimed at getting EU leaders to question the wisdom of going along with whatever Washington tells them. At the same time they are aimed at getting individual member states within the EU to question the wisdom of having Brussels dictate to them policy which turns out to be harmful to their national interests.

Is it possible that EU nation states may finally begin to realise what the stakes are here? I hope so. At least they now know that Russia will not be bullied into submission by them and the US, and at the backs of their minds somewhere they all know that the ace in the pack is held not by them, but by the Russian Federation, with its vast resources of oil and gas, upon which much of Europe is reliant. I only hope that this calculated missile from Russia will put some sense into the heads of European governments, and that they might begin to act like sovereign nations — not as the prisoners of Washington and Brussels blindly obeying instructions which are clearly not in their interests or the interests of peace. This is the only hope for a peaceful ending to the situation in Ukraine.

“Maybe Putin Didn’t Kill My Son, After All”

The title of this piece is a reference to a scandalous headline put out by the UK’s Daily Mail on Saturday. Less than 48 hours after flight MH17 crashed in Eastern Ukraine, without any proper evidence, and before the investigation began, the Mail published the headline “Putin’s Killed my Son”. I have already commented on the implications of this type of reporting here, and the headline of this piece is more a suggestion for a headline the Mail might like to print in the coming days.

The reason is that after squawking that Russia was behind this, and warning Putin of the consequences of his actions in the most bellicose, chest-thumping language they could muster, the US Government has now issued what is nothing short of a spectacular climb down from its previous rhetoric with its intelligence community now telling the world that there is no direct evidence linking Russia with the MH17 disaster. Really? Why didn’t they say so before the world got carried away and the media began their frighteningly woeful, fact-free reporting of events?

In fact, according to one official, in terms of who fired the missile, “we don’t know a name, we don’t know a rank and we’re not even 100% sure of a nationality.” Even the Mail reported on that, but they don’t appear to have issued an apology to Mr Putin for jumping the gun just yet. Nor has The Sun which reported on the day after the tragedy that it was “Putin’s Missile”. I can’t wait to see their retraction, if it comes. Something like “Sorry Vlad, we got it wrong” no doubt!

Actually for me, the US climbdown poses more questions than ever. Here are just a few things that are nagging me, and which I would like to see answers to:

#1 The US Government had said they were certain who did it, and that they had satellite images. However, now that they have climbed down, I still want to see those satellite images. Why are they not forthcoming?

#2 They claimed that the evidence (which they have admitted came almost entirely from social media) shows BUK missile systems going back into Russia on July 18th. These videos have been utterly discredited, and actually appear to show the missile systems being driven through Krasnoarmeisk — a Ukrainian city which has been under the control of Kiev since May. If that is the case, the question that Russia apparently needed to answer — why was the missile system heading for Russia on July 18th — must surely be asked of the Kiev regime. Surely they now need to explain what it was doing there and why it appears to have had missiles missing.

#3 Why would the US climbdown after having claimed they had strong evidence that Russia was behind the tragedy, including satellite images proving it was shot down from the rebel area? I’m not 100% sure, but one possibility is that the images they do have looked to them at first to incriminate the rebels, but on closer examination may actually appear more likely to incriminate Ukrainian forces. The US Government is welcome to release these satellite pictures un-doctored at any time in the near future.

#4 We were repeatedly told that the rebels got their BUK from Russia. But now US intelligence folks appear to have backed off from this claim, the question still remains that if it was the rebels who mistakenly shot the plane down — which is what the US Government is now saying — where did they get it from and who trained them on it? Not from the Ukrainian government, if the Ukrainian Prosecutor-General Vitaly Yarema is to be believed, since he said on 18th July: “After the passenger airliner was downed, the military reported to the president that terrorists do not have our air defense missile systems Buk and S-300. These weapons were not seized.” So if not stolen from Ukraine, and now according to US intelligence sources not from Russia, from where? Something doesn’t stack up there, does it?

I am not pointing the finger at anyone, but I would say that there seems to be an awful lot of questions that need to be put to the Ukrainian military and Ukrainian regime.