Submitted by Pater Tenebrarum – The Acting Man Blog
A Vile Policy
The EU recently decided to shoot itself into the foot some more, by extending economic sanctions against Russia by another six months. The pretext offered for this utterly idiotic decision was that Russia had failed to fulfill the Minsk agreement because Ukraine’s eastern borders are not yet back under Kiev’s control.
As Bavarian politician Horst Seehofer pointed out, the EU neglected to mention the fact that Ukraine’s government has actually failed to fulfill the Minsk agreement as well – in fact, it has yet to implement its by far most important demand. This in turn is the very reason why the Eastern Ukrainian separatists are refusing to relinquish control of the border. The core of the Minsk agreement – the necessary precondition for a political solution – is that the Eastern Ukrainian regions are to be given a large degree of political autonomy. This is precisely the part of the agreement Kiev has so far failed to implement.
In other words, the EU expects the separatists to play dumb and simply hand over control of their most important supply routes in spite of having been left twisting in the wind with respect to the political promises they have been given. Right.
What EU bureaucrats and politicians apparently believe other people to be like.
Photo via artezblai.com
Germany’s bilateral trade with Russia has plunged by €17 billion in 2015 – compared to 2012, that is (we suspect the y/y data are even worse). Representatives of industry in Europe have manned the barricades against the senseless sanctions, complaining that they are “hostages of an anti-Russia policy”, alas to no avail. In order to fully understand how vile this policy is, one only has to consider who is actually paying for it – and who isn’t.
The high-ranking members of the EU’s bureaucratic and political class responsible for these decisions are making more money than 99% of the people who are earning their income by economic means. The latter are however creating the wealth that is confiscated by governments to pay the salaries of the former. The sanctions meanwhile are hitting specific groups of people – namely those working in the industries that are targeted by the EU sanctions and/or Russia’s counter-sanctions.
They have not been asked if they are consenting to this policy – they are just expected to swallow the bitter pill without demur. The bureaucrats and politicians will make just as much money as before, but they callously inflict this plight on other people, in unequal measure to boot (to add insult to injury, the same taxpayers are also stumping up for the countless billions thrown down the Ukrainian black hole by the EU and the IMF). Meanwhile, in Russia itself, it is not Mr. Putin or his colleagues and friends who are suffering due to the sanctions – the suffering is strictly reserved for poor and middle class citizens, who have been hit hard by the large decline in the ruble’s external value.
Vassals of the Empire
When US military-industrial complex shill John McCain first showed up in Ukraine, it was crystal clear to us that the country would soon wade knee-deep in blood and guts (we tend to think of him as the angel of death). The US foreign policy establishment remains riddled with Bush-era neocons and assorted Deep State representatives – people who regard Russia as their favored enemy, as a guarantee to keep the war racket in full swing. They love to hate Russia even more than Islam (after all, these are the same people who are openly shilling for an alliance between the US and Al Qaeda in Syria against Assad, another one of their big bugaboos).
Europe (and especially Germany) is employed as a sub-contractor of the Empire in the new “cold war” against Russia. If you want to know what abject vassals the Europeans are, you only need to consider that Germany’s BND has allowed the NSA to use its resources to spy on just about everyone in Europe with the so-called “selector” list (a scandal the CIA and NATO controlled lamestream media in Germany have tried their best to bury – see here for a list of controlled journalists in Germany). This “selector list” included a special focus on industrial espionage – a kind of Echelon on steroids (as an aside to this, we regard VW – the stupidity of its board notwithstanding – primarily as a victim of an economic war).
It is all the more ironic that while German and EU trade with Russia has collapsed, US trade with Russia actually keeps growing. It takes a special kind of stupid to agree to play this game – but stupid is the one thing of which there has never been a shortage in Brussels.
Western Taxpayer Money for the Clown Posse
The IMF used to have an iron-clad rule – whenever a sovereign state failed to pay its debts to another sovereign state, it was no longer eligible for IMF funding. Recently it found that it is time to change this rule. The reason for this sudden change of mind was that Ukraine seemed about to default on the debt it owes to Russia. However, the IMF has at least insisted that a negotiated settlement must be found. The Russians in turn are aware that Ukraine is de facto bankrupt and are reportedly open to such a settlement.
They are however incensed that Ukraine unilaterally downgraded the status of this official debt in its debt restructuring agreement with commercial creditors – apparently without even informing the Russians. The case could still end up in London courts, which traditionally tend to deliver a strict interpretation of debt terms and are usually highly likely to rule in favor of creditors. If it comes to that, it will be interesting to see whether yet another long-standing legal tradition simply goes out the window.
Meanwhile, the size of the IMF’s loan package to Ukraine has reached $23 billion; this is in addition to the billions pledged/paid by the EU. Consider though who the intended recipients of this largesse are. We will admit right away that Ukraine’s ruling clown posse is almost unsurpassed in terms of entertainment value. Ukraine’s citizens must consider themselves very lucky in this respect. We wouldn’t give these guys any money though.
Below are two videos – the first one shows a recent Rada brawl, in which prime minister Yatseniuk gets a kind of elaborate wedgie from an opposition politician (an attempted “high crotch finish” in wrestling lingo). Now, Rada brawls are great fun and shouldn’t be taken too seriously. We kind of like this hands-on approach to politics. Parliamentary debate elsewhere is usually quite tedious by comparison.
Parliamentary debate, Ukraine-style
The second video is actually even more entertaining – as a political circus performance, this one exceeds even our wildest expectations. It shows a recent Ukrainian cabinet meeting, in which interior minister Arsen Avakov (a US-supported Armenian born in Azerbaijan, whose parents moved to Ukraine when he was still a child) and the governor of the Odessa region, Mikhail Saakashvili from Georgia (another paladin of the Empire, who once used to be Georgia’s president) are having a go at each other’s throats.
Mr. Saakashvili – who caused the mini-war with Russia in 2008 by ordering an unprovoked attack on Russian peacekeepers in South Ossetia (investigations into the war and its causes are still ongoing in Georgia) – can no longer show his face in Georgia, which has been trying to get him on the Interpol wanted list for almost two years now.
Slightly loopy former Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvili, who’s inter alia known for occasionally eating his tie in public.
He is accused of all imaginable kinds of corruption by the current government, ranging from embezzlement to abuse of power – he even appears to be connected to a murder (it seems to be quite a convoluted story). We can be sure that since Sakaashvili can be occasionally found partying with rich friends on yachts in the Aegean sea, his assorted shenanigans have not been to his personal disadvantage (although he assures Avakov that “contrary to you I don’t have millions and billions”).
Arsen Avakov, a former governor of Kharkov and well-known as one of Ukraine’s many corrupt oligarch-politicians, has indeed been on Interpol’s international wanted list already and was even detained for a while in Italy in 2012 for deals involving illegal land transfers. However, nothing has ever come of this – all was forgiven as soon as he chose the “right side” in Ukraine by joining Yulia Tymoshenko’s Fatherland party and getting elected to parliament (in absentia, while still detained in Italy).
He has since founded his own party, and with respect to the “right side” has been an open and avid supporter of the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion, which inter alia stands accused of war crimes in Eastern Ukraine by Amnesty. Avakov has appointed former Azov commanders as police chiefs in Ukraine, such as e.g. its deputy commander Vadim Troyan who has become the police chief of Kiev Oblast, which earned him the following rebuke by Ukraine’s chief Rabbi Yaakov Bleich: “if the interior minister continues to appoint people of questionable repute and ideologies tainted with fascism and right-wing extremism, the interior minister should be replaced.”
Corrupt Ukrainian oligarch (and now interior minister) Arsen Avakov, with security detail.
Photo via dailystormer.com
So these two worthies – who would probably be behind bars in any half-way decent civilized country, but are presumably protected by their association with Washington’s neo-con clique – actually don’t seem to like each other, and are quite comically accusing each other of corruption. It seems highly likely that both of them are actually right! What makes this performance stand out though is how quickly and thoroughly their debate deteriorates into name-calling and swearing:
Ukrainian cabinet meeting gets out of hand in front of cameras as Avakov and Saakashvili begin to trade insults – political entertainment at its finest.
As we mentioned above, Ukraine’s citizens must count themselves lucky for the high level of entertainment provided by their political class. This is after all by and large the best they can hope to expect. There are also advantages to being ruled by a corrupt clown posse: the State is likely to be so hopelessly inefficient that its capacity to inflict damage is actually limited, at least on the individual level. This has e.g. been a well-known characteristic of Argentina under Ms. Kirchner’s rule.
However, as much fun as all of this is, the question whether tens of billions of the hard-earned money Western governments have confiscated from their own taxpayers should be shipped to these clowns is a whole different kettle of fish. We actually think it might not be the best idea ever.
Economic sanctions have never achieved anything except the impoverishment of innocent citizens. The political rulers who are supposedly their target are almost never inconvenienced by them. In Russia’s case, the EU is by no means pursuing its own interests, but those of influential groups in US foreign policy circles who swear by Zbigniew Brzezinski’s empire-building bible “The Grand Chessboard” and its modern intellectual offshoots like the Project for the New American Century – and who have brought nothing but misery to vast swaths of the planet in recent decades.
A political solution to the problem in Ukraine is surely possible and it seems quite clear what is required to achieve it. We actually suspect that there are moves underway to willfully sabotage a peaceful outcome, while the EU is merely a pawn, acting in anticipatory obedience. It is shooting itself into the foot in the process and its politicians are apparently too stupid to realize that they are only hurting Europe’s own citizens and interests.
Meanwhile, we have always hoped that Ukrainian citizens who wanted to see genuine change and simply wished to get rid of post Soviet-era corruption would see their ambitions fulfilled, but it doesn’t look like this wish has come any closer to realization. In the meantime we hope they are at least enjoying the show.