Sunday, June 8, 2014

Other Voices - ( June 7 , 2014 ) -- EU lost its foreign policy sovereignty to US – Marine Le Pen to RT ....... Unvarnished Ukraine Update; Steen Jakobsen on Impact of Ukraine on Germany ....... ‘Obama defending legitimacy of Ukraine’s election signals the bankruptcy of US foreign policy’

EU lost its foreign policy sovereignty to US – Marine Le Pen to RT

Published time: June 07, 2014 03:05
Edited time: June 07, 2014 10:11

French National Front (FN) president Marine Le Pen (AFP Photo / Fred Dufour)
French National Front (FN) president Marine Le Pen (AFP Photo / Fred Dufour)
The EU has lost control of its foreign policy to Washington, France's National Front leader Marine Le Pen told RT, calling the bloc's diplomacy a “catastrophe” in which no independent voice of reason could be heard.
“The European Union's diplomacy is a catastrophe,” Le Pen told RT's Sophie Shevardnadze in an exclusive interview to be broadcast Monday. “The EU speaks out on foreign affairs either to create problems, or to make them worse.”
Where Ukraine is concerned, Le Pen believes that Europe had no right to blackmail the country into breaking up its historical and cultural ties to Russia.
“When offering a partnership agreement to Ukraine – which would mean breaking off of its allied relations with Russia – the EU has clearly set blackmail in motion. And that can't help but fuel dissent inside the country,” Le Pen told RT, adding that “pouring oil onto the fire” could lead to an increasing risk of a civil war.
“The EU has been doing nothing but making the situation worse using threats, blackmail and sanctions, which, as we can see now, clearly do not encourage anyone to sit at the negotiation table in order to come up with a peaceful and reasonable solution to the conflict.”
As Le Pen sees it, all of this bluster over Ukraine joining the EU has been for not, as the country is far from having the economic development necessary for integration.
“Ukraine’s entry into the European Union; no need to tell fairy tales. Ukraine absolutely does not have the economic level to join the EU.”
Le Pen says she is personally opposed to any expansion of the EU, and would not wish the bloc’s troubles on a country as economically deprived as Ukraine.
“I am sympathetic to Ukrainians, and therefore wouldn’t wish to invite friends to this table of nightmares. I myself want to get out of the EU, so I will not say to them: ‘Come on into the EU,’”she said.
Le Penn, whose National Front party in late May secured a third of France’s seats in the European Parliamentary elections, says the EU's foreign policy has been badly misguided by the United States – Syria and Libya being just some of the most recent examples.
“We've made a great deal of foreign policy mistakes under Washington's influence, but the worst of them is Syria,” Le Penn said.
There are “no independent states left in Europe” that would call for peaceful solutions to conflicts, the National Front leader says.
“We [National Front] have been the only party to stand against the option of intervening in Syria. When the crisis first started, we said France is supplying arms to jihadists, who would spread terror if they win. That's what already happened in Libya.”
“That's the way the US acts in the international arena. But what is even more horrible, is that one can't hear the voices of European countries,” Le Pen added.

Friday, June 06, 2014 2:43 PM

Unvarnished Ukraine Update; Steen Jakobsen on Impact of Ukraine on Germany

I have a several reader emails on Ukraine today, including one from Steen Jakobsen, chief economist of Saxo Bank on the impact of Ukraine on Germany.

Impact of Ukraine on Germany

A couple days ago, Steen pinged me with a few comments on Ukraine worthy of your consideration. Steen writes ... 
 The Ukraine crisis will go on for much longer than anyone wants, everyone will lose and world growth will disappoint again, but the real issue behind the scenes is Europe’s lack of a coherent energy policy. The present green energy policy is a mess. Green energy is inefficient, tax burdening and nowhere near close to meeting rising energy demand from Europe.

Europe is energy deficient. EU dependency on imports is increasing for all fossil fuels. Oil imports reached 83.5 per cent in 2009 and 64.2 per cent for gas, according to the EU Commission.

The biggest loser will be Germany. There are more than 6,200 German companies engaged in business with Russia. The Economist states that 300,000 German jobs are at risk, German business investment into Russia exceeds €30bn, excluding financing from German banks, but more importantly Germany imports 70 per cent of its energy of which 25 per cent comes from Russia.

Angela Merkel and her government have been caught out by a failed energy policy, which has made electricity a luxury good for many German households. But even worse, she decided that she would rather be dependent on Mr Putin than on nuclear power.

The biggest consequence of the Ukraine conflict could be a revisiting of the 1970s energy crisis, including energy rationing. After close to 30 years of doing this job I am realizing that energy is everything in explaining growth, investment, sentiment and market returns.

Understand energy and its marginal price of production and its delivery and you have the keys to predicting the world. Sadly Europe and the US is stuck in using Sir David Frost’s definition of diplomacy: “Diplomacy is the art of letting somebody else have your way.”
Unvarnished Ukraine Update 

Reader David writes ...
 Good Morning Mish

I just returned from a two-week tourist trip to Turkey, four days in Istanbul, and nine days along the Mediterranean coast.

The hotel/resort where I stayed on the coast was a favorite for Russian tourists, and the hotel TV had several stations delivering Russian channels, German and French stations too. Russian TV news was loaded with pictures and stories on Ukraine, essentially civil war and revolution.

Small unorganized groups in eastern Ukraine are committed to doing whatever they can to resist the formal Ukrainian government. Here's a picture: Three guys at a makeshift 'roadblock' on a country road, standing next to a stack of old tires and concrete blocks, saying they would do whatever they could to fight if the Ukrainian army came their way.

When a resistance fighter dies, thousands of people attend memorial services and political demonstrations.

In a French documentary on the coal mining industry in eastern Ukraine, a major industry there, I learned a) People in eastern Ukraine complain that their lives have become worse every year since breakup of USSR over 20 years ago. They viewed their lives as happy and stable before; b) Coal mining has almost no safety standards so hundreds of miners die every year; c) With no work alternatives, mining jobs are viewed as good jobs; d) With no real safety standards or oversight or clear authorities, people desperate for money illegally mine coal in abandoned shafts and sell (at a discount) for cash to larger mine owners.

Good income in this region is viewed as 300 euros ($420) / month.  Given such economic prospects, why not stand at a makeshift roadblock and fight to die?

These people also see what has happened in other former Soviet states, where Russian language speakers have been treated as outlaws. A 'western friendly' government in Ukraine only means things will get worse for 'Russian friendly' Ukrainians. French, German, and Russian TV news all had lots of stories and images that you do not see in the US.

Regarding Turkey, I was very impressed by the growth. Suburbs in Istanbul, already a city bigger than New York, have hundreds of new and under construction apartment blocks. I sensed a strong nationalist mood.

One taxi driver complained about Syrian refugees, saying they were a big problem, especially along the coast. Refugees walk or drive across the border, find their way to some friend or relative, and with no money or income, street crime and car crime are rising.

Thanks again for your great work.
Comments from Jacob Dreizin

I forwarded David's email to Jacob Dreizin, a US citizen who speaks Russian and reads Ukrainian. Jacob replied: "Thanks for that, Mish.  I'm not surprised that French TV is showing footage from the scene. A French reporter was wounded recently near Slaviasnk. On the same day, an Italian reporter lost his head to a mortar round in the same area. In contrast, U.S. media mostly reports out of their hotels in Kiev, relying on heavy doses of 'Ministry of Truth' press releases. It's pathetic."

House-to-House Searches

Earlier today Jacob reported ...
 Eyewitness reports in Krasnyi Liman continue to pour in, and they are not good. The Ukrainian National Guard and militias are going house-to-house, searching, interrogating, rounding people up and taking them away.

Some people are said to have been shot in their homes. For the most part, it's hard to say what is rumor/hysteria, and what is fact.

One thing is certain: Kiev is responsible for the loss of lives in Lugansk, not errant rebel anti-aircraft missiles fired from the ground, as claimed by Kiev. Two hospital workers were killed in that attack, many more on the ground.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation (OSCE) in Europe made that claim in a press release.

Translating from my iPad: "In Luhansk the situation remained volatile. On 2 June, shortly after 15:00 hours, rockets hit the occupied regional administration building. Based on the SMM's limited observation, these strikes were the result of non-guided rockets shot from an aircraft."

"SMM" is the OSCE's Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine.
I received several nasty emails a few days ago in response to Ukrainian Warplanes Miss Targets, Hit Civilians.

Some people believed Kiev's report that rebels caused the carnage.

Nope: Kiev did.


Mike "Mish" Shedlock

‘Obama defending legitimacy of Ukraine’s election signals the bankruptcy of US foreign policy’

Published time: June 05, 2014 15:27
US President Barack Obama and President-elect Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine hold a meeting in Warsaw, Poland, on June 4, 2014. (AFP Photo / Saul Loeb)
US President Barack Obama and President-elect Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine hold a meeting in Warsaw, Poland, on June 4, 2014. (AFP Photo / Saul Loeb)
Washington needs to continue the Ukrainian conflict within the context of democracy because that is the only way the Obama Administration can sell this unmitigated disaster in Ukraine to the American people, geopolitical analyst Eric Draitser told RT.
RT:President Barack Obama has recently met with Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko. Why do you think Petro Poroshenko has received such high praise from the American leader?
Eric Draitser: Of course I don’t agree, but what primarily I don’t agree with is the fact that the Ukrainian people actually made this choice. This is simply a rhetorical flourish from the US President because he and his administration, his team, understand very well that many millions of people in Ukraine did not even participate in the vote, certainly not in the eastern regions where voter turnout was dismally low. Poroshenko didn’t even retain the support of many in the so-called base of the Maidan, in the west and regions around Kiev. So what Obama is attempting to do is to provide legitimacy to this new so-called president in Ukraine by appearing with him, by making these very positive statements about him in preparation for what is undoubtedly going to be a very serious questioning of US policy in Ukraine as they stand behind a regime that is committing undoubtedly to war crimes in the east of the country. And this is really an important point that people need to stress. This is a collective punishment of the civilian population in the east of Ukraine, and Poroshenko and his administration is initiating that and of course the US Administration is standing by his side.
RT: The so-called anti-terrorist operation in the East has left dozens if not hundreds of civilians dead. Is that the democracy that Obama is talking about?
ED: Yes indeed. This illustrates the unmitigated hypocrisy of US foreign policy, particularly in light of the fact that he is praising these elections when he and his administration demonized the elections in Syria which are far more representative of the population of that country where you actually had hundreds of thousands people turning out to the polls, huge support for President Assad, but these elections are considered “a farce”, “travesty of democracy” according to the US. While in Ukraine, where you had an actual farcical elections, where you didn’t have good voter turnout and where was conducted amid a climate of punishment of the civilian population, this is somehow democracy. Again, the hypocritical position of Washington is something that we have come to expect from Obama and his predecessors, but the level to which they have taken it and the belligerent rhetoric against Russia and anyone who stands in the way of US policy is really a new low for Washington.
RT: Regarding Kiev's military campaign in the East, Washington reiterates that Kiev's actions are restraint and professional. Do you agree?
ED: Indeed restraint, as we see civilian bodies lying in the streets, as we see the continuing assault on the peaceful population, and again, we should remember that when we look at the casualty figures in the east, the majority of the people that are being killed are the civilians. Of course the comparison that we can make with Syria again illustrates the US hypocrisy. President Assad, they say, is a “butcher”, “war criminal” because of his attempt to restore order in his country amidst the civil war. Somehow in Ukraine the situation is vastly different, and the government has the authority to quell any uprising. The hypocrisy is palpable but you also see the weakness of US foreign policy here. When the US has to send its President to convey legitimacy upon the so-called elected official in the so-called civil war that we have in Ukraine, it tells you the bankruptcy of US foreign policy.
RT: President Obama has vowed to stand by Ukraine, following a proposal to train Ukrainian security officers. What would it mean for Ukrainian crisis?
ED: It is going to mean prolonging the conflict. This is an important point because the US and its European partners and NATO generally do not want to see a peaceful political solution in the east of Ukraine or in Ukraine generally because that means that they would have to accept a tragic failure of their own policy, whereas the east of the country would gain some degree of independence or at least some level of autonomy within a federalized system where their rights will be respected and where they will be able to maintain close and productive relations, economic and otherwise, with Russia. That is a death plot to the US policy which sought to dislodge Ukraine from Russia’s sphere of influence and to use it as a lever against Russia in its geopolitical agenda. By prolonging this conflict what it actually is doing is preventing any negotiations, preventing a political solution, and thereby buttressing their own position. Of course that would be considered a war crime in most parts of the world.
RT: We have heard very little comment from Washington about this growing civilian death toll in the conflict. Moreover, mass media and various politicians are calling civilians “terrorists”. Why is that?
ED: Because these are Washington puppets, Washington is a patron. Because it is Washington that created the coup in Ukraine, it’s Washington that instigated the violence by providing its tacit and overt support to neo-Nazi factions, to the Right Sector and to the others. Because it is Washington that destabilized the situation and so Washington not only needs to confirm legitimacy upon Poroshenko. Washington needs to continue this conflict and it needs to do it within the context and the rhetoric of the democracy because that is the only way the Obama Administration can sell from their marketing and PR prospective this unmitigated disaster in Ukraine to the American people. People around the world should realize that most Americans want nothing to do with the conflict in Ukraine; most Americans want nothing to do with wars anywhere around the world. So [it's] the policy that has come out of Washington, they have to mold public opinion around the policies rather than molding the policies around public opinion.
RT: The US says that Poroshenko is a really democratic president who has a good chance of starting dialogue with the East and stopping the ongoing violence.Though it is well known that Poroshenko is an oligarch and Ukrainians were actively protesting against oligarchy back in February. So it is ok to make statements about democratic President chosen by a minority of the country amidst a civil war?
ED: It’s not a fair point; it’s a disingenuous point because they of course know very well that Poroshenko is intimately involved in the clique that took control of Ukraine in 2004, as a part of the Yushchenko Administration under which the ties with Russia deteriorated significantly. This is somebody who has made a fortune not only as a confectionary king but someone who was deeply and intimately involved in a massive corruption under Yushchenko and under Timoshenko. He is very much part of the same political machine and so to say that it was somehow a “wise choice”by the Ukrainian people shows not only the disingenuousness of the US policy, it also shows the weakness of the US position in Ukraine where they believe that neither Timoshenko, nor anybody else, not Poroshenko, will be able to restore order and to push US, NATO agenda. So they have to present Poroshenko as some kind of guardian of democracy where even people in Ukraine and even those who might have supported Poroshenko know that to be at outright lie.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.