Thursday 29 January 2015

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With the EU growing at the speed of global population while resources melt away, the Union’s interest is increasingly defined on a global scale. Will its Diplomatic Service be able to safeguard these interests? And what future for Europe’s relations across the Atlantic and to the emerging great powers in Asia?

 

“Le Pivot” commenté par Dimitri Kitsikis

Posted by on 27/01/15

Suite à la publication, l’automne dernier, de la version numérique de mon livre « Le nouveau pivot géographique de l’histoire », je m’attendais de vendre en France et dans les pays francophones quelques dizaines d’exemplaires, voire plus. La géopolitique, après tout, est devenue récemment un sujet «à la mode » parmi les intellectuels, comme le souligne l’académicien Dimitri Kitsikis dans le commentaire suivant. Il existe aussi une version en anglais de mon livre, mais puisque les lecteurs de langue anglaise sont conditionnés comme fut le chien de Pavlov par une machine marketing qui ne peut guère donner le feu vert à un pareil bouquin, je l’ai fait paraître sur Amazon, mené plutôt par courtoisie envers la super-puissance en titre.

 

J’ai également compris que le lecteur potentiel aurait peur d’acheter un livre sur la géopolitique écrite par quelqu’un comme moi, qui n’est pas au service du pouvoir militaire de l’Occident, ni de n’importe quel autre pays du monde. En effet, j’ai essayé toujours dans mes démarches intellectuelles de servir l’intérêt de l’humanité tout entière et pas celui d’un pays ou d’un autre.

 

C’est pour cette raison que j’ai demandé le Professeur Dimitri Kitsikis de l’Université d’Ottawa de lire mon livre et de me donner son opinion professionnelle sur sa valeur. Pour ceux qui ne le savent pas déjà, Professeur Kitsikis est considéré comme l’un des trois plus grands géopoliticiens du monde, à côté de feu Halford Mackinder et Karl Haushofer. Je rends ci-dessous son commentaire :

« Une mise au point utile sur la géopolitique

 

La géopolitique, durant la guerre froide, était passée à l’arrière-plan, à cause de la mauvaise réputation que cette science s’était acquise après 1945, du fait que l’un des éminents spécialistes de géopolitique, dans l’entre-deux-guerres, l’Allemand Karl Haushofer, s’était mis au service de la politique du Lebensraum de Hitler. Néanmoins, dès la chute du camp socialiste, après 1989, la géopolitique est redevenue à la mode, à tel point que dans les médias et le grand public, bien des gens se prétendirent spécialistes de géopolitique et que le mot circula, sans connaissance de son sens véritable.


Cet essai de Florian Pantazi arrive donc  au bon moment, pour donner au grand public une image claire de la théorie de Halford Mackinder, appliquée à la dynamique internationale d’aujourd’hui, de l’affrontement entre puissances maritimes et puissances continentales. Un petit livre indispensable et que je recommande vivement
.”


Prof.Dr. Dimitri Kitsikis,

Université d’Ottawa,

Membre régulier de l’Académie royale du Canada,

Président honoraire de la Fondation publique Dimitri Kitsikis

 

http://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/books/le-nouveau-pivot-geographique-de-l-histoire

http://www.amazon.fr/The-New-Pivot-History-Thalassocracy-ebook/dp/B00KTHTVO0

 


 

Putin regime’s crimes against humanity

Posted by on 26/01/15
The day of January 24 became the next rainy day in the modern Ukrainian history. The unprecedented cruel and brutal terror attack was committed in Mariupol. During the day the pro-Russian rebels fired at the densely populated uptown. As a result, 30 civilians have been killed, hundreds have been seriously wounded. The number of murdered civilians includes babies and women. The rocket fire at residential districts of Mariupol by rebels has continued a series of bloody acts of terrorism, which include bombing of the regular bus near Volnovakha and cool-headed murder of civilians at a trolleybus stop in Donetsk, fire at residential districts of many towns and villages in Donbas.
The international coalition in support of Ukraine must provide the resolute rebuff to war crimes of rebels against humanity and strengthen all forms of pressure on those who generously sponsor and support them comprehensively.
Yesterday in houses and flats of all Ukrainian people from Kiev to Odessa, from Lvov to Donetsk, mourning candles were burning in memory of the civilian Ukrainian people who were lost as a result of terror attacks committed by the pro-Russian rebels. The memory of the innocent killed Ukrainians was also honored with national silence tribute.
According to the published spot report by the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission the attacks of Mariupol was launched from massed Multi-Launch Rocket System (MLRS) so-called Grad and Uragan, which, as we know, are delivered to rebels from the Russian Federation. The OSCE Report is noted that the Grad rockets originated from a north-easterly direction, in the area of Oktyabr (19 km north-east of Olimpiiska Street), and the Uragan rockets from an easterly direction, in the area of Zaichenko (15 km east of Olimpiiska Street), both controlled by the “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”). In total more than one hundred rockets were launched to Mariupol from the side of Novoazovsk that is near border with the Russian Federation and was seized by the Russian troops last August.
What makes it especially brutal and cynic is that rebels of the terrorist organization “DPR” were well-aware that they fired at residential area of Mariupol with no Ukrainian troops in that. They knew that shells hit private buildings, cars, city market and the yards of high-rise buildings … Thus, the pro-Russian rebels used weapon against civilians of Mariupol. These criminal actions are qualified by international law as war crimes against humanity.
Intelligence service of Ukraine intercepted and published talk between rebels of “DPR” who planned to commit this bloody crime. In talk the 37-year-old rebel Sergey Ponomarenko known as “Terrorist” gave an order from Donetsk to use MLRS against civilian people of Mariupol. His accomplice “Ash” expressed readiness to execute the order to fire at the densely populated area of the city, and then reported on results. It’s also the proof of the cynical and conscious crimes against humanity planned and committed by the pro-Russian rebels in the territory of Donetsk.
The Ukrainian authorities and all international community have already expressed condemnation of the attacks on Mariupol and accused the pro-Russian rebels of “DPR”. The Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov imposed responsibility on the Russian President Vladimir Putin for death of civilians as a result of the attacks. “Blood of people who were lost there, as well as many other Ukrainians, is directly on the President of the Russian Federation Mr. Putin, whose orders are executed by rebels. Therefore, responsibility will be inevitable and response of the Ukrainian armed forces and the National Guard to Russian invaders and rebels, who act under their control, will be also rather severe”, Turchynov declared.
The reaction of the USA, EU, NATO and UN leaders was also very sharp. The US Vice President Joe Biden promised strengthening the international pressure on Russia in phone conversation with the Ukrainian President Mr. Poroshenko.
It should be noted that on January 15 the EU Parliament approved the resolution on a situation in Ukraine, which, literally, says: “In case of any further actions of the Russian Federation destabilizing the situation in Ukraine, the EU Parliament calls the European Council to take further restrictive measures. So, that must be the expansion of the sanctions’ application sphere on nuclear branch of industry and restriction of possibility of the Russian enterprises to perform the international financial operations”.
Well, God is my witness, after these terrible events in Mariupol the international coalition must urgently make the decision on introduction of new severe economic sanctions against Russia. First of all, it’s a shutoff of the International Payment System SWIFT in the Russian Federation. So, it’s also the time to strike at last on Gazprom. Moreover, it’s necessary to pass from sanctions to direct boycott of both Russian ideology and goods and services. The comprehensive boycott is capable to cover not only political and economic, but also humanitarian, cultural and sports areas. There will be the real conditions for full international isolation of Russia.
It would be true to create the international tribunal for Russian war crimes in Ukraine. The principal task of such tribunal must be the investigations of war crimes against humanity committed by Russian troops and the terrorist organizations “DPR” and “LPR” in the territory of the East Ukraine.
It’s necessary to deprive Russia of voice in both the UN and other international organizations, because it was alone that blocked the UN Security Council statement on censure of the attacks on Mariupol.
In the light of the latest tragic events related to massacre of civilian Ukrainians by the pro-Russian rebels, the international community needs to realize, at last, that the East Ukraine peace-making issues concern not only Ukraine, but also the whole Europe. In order to stop aggression of Putin who doesn’t recognize the international codes and values, the international coalition must rally even stronger round the people of Ukraine to give the adequate response to the aggressor.

Waiting for expectations – how will the oil supercycle end?

Posted by on 26/01/15

The oil price slump has come as a huge surprise for the market. The very scale of the phenomenon is astounding, of course, but what is really interesting is that although everyone knew about the spectacular upsurge in oil supply in the US, which lay at the root of the declining prices, it did not feature as a material factor in any price projections or scenario analyses prepared by prominent think tanks, including the International Energy Agency. Naturally, the impact of America’s growing oil production on prices was mitigated by generally proportionate slumps in North Africa and Middle East, but what has fallen will eventually rise back again. At the same time, however, the prospect of low oil prices, which the consumers readily welcome, is a substantial challenge not only to the upstream sector, but also to renewable energy and nuclear power industries. Oil prices were expected to remain high due to prolonged geopolitical turmoil in oil-producing regions and the belief that OPEC, loath to see prices dip for budget reasons, would take action to prevent any excessive slumps. And because projections released by international organisations are tool for managing expectations, everyone would rather let sleeping dogs lie. Waiting was a preferable course of action. Maybe the dogs will not wake up?

But the dogs did wake up after all, causing all sorts of trouble. Most importantly, expectations that oil prices would remain high were crushed (including short-term and two-year projections) and we currently have nothing to put in their place. As OPEC has stopped intervening, the market is looking to the marginal costs of production to support oil prices. These, however, are not easy to determine, so the process might take a while. The obvious course of action is to turn to the American tight oil sector, which is suspected to be behind this state of confusion. The price pressure which has already become to affect the sector (which is much more sensitive to price changes than conventional production) brings to light a number of facts about it, such as that marginal costs tend to differ considerably between individual wells, some forty thousand of which are drilled each year. The discrepancy stems from the fact that the cost of a well is more or less the same in each case, but the output can fluctuate hugely. Some wells flow less than a hundred barrels a day, while other can yield more than a thousand. Falling prices hit risky undertakings first, including low-efficiency projects. Wells close down, yet no proportional changes in production follow. Instead, the consolidation within the sector gathers pace, driving marginal costs down. A similar thing happened when the price of shale gas on the US market forced out a large number of independent producers, which caused the number of wells to decline sharply. Despite that, gas production went up. OPEC, which is a material source of uncertainty, has not had its last word yet, and it is hard to say when the cartel is going to step in again. The country which can tip the scales is Saudi Arabia, which not only sits on top of the lion’s share of global unconventional oil reserves with low marginal costs, but also has financial reserves to keep it floating until the marginal barrel is found.

From a long-term perspective, the oil price slumps seen since mid-2014 mark the last stage of the oil supercycle, which IHS believes to have begun in 2000 with a demand boom and supply bottlenecks. At that time, oil demand was driven by rapid economic growth in China, which joined the International Trade Organisation at the end of 2001, becoming an appealing destination for transferring production. Supply bottlenecks, on the other hand, were a consequence of the prolonged period of low oil prices after the 1980 Iranian revolution. In the following years, the oil price continued to go down, and once oil became an exchange-traded commodity in 1988, its price hovered around USD 18/b in 1990–1999. The first stage of the supercycle came to an end in 2007, gradually progressing into the second phase (2005–2011), which was about breaking the supply barrier. At that time, the price of oil grew rapidly – from USD 55/b in 2005 to over USD 111/b in 2011. While oil prices fuelled fears that the fast-growing demand will outstrip supply, the brisk pace at which the prices rose opened the way for new and expensive deepwater drilling, horizontal drilling and fracturing technologies. The oil rush also inspired exploration efforts in geopolitically unstable areas, such as Central Africa. As a result, 2012–2014 saw an upsurge in oil and natural gas production from new sources outside OPEC, which marked the third phase of the cycle. The 10 years of uninterrupted price growth – from USD 38/b in 2004 to USD 109/b in the first half of 2014 (over USD 5 a year) – resulted in substantial and lasting reductions in demand in developed economies. Oil prices remained high throughout that stage of the cycle, reaching USD 112/b in 2012 and USD 109/b in 2013, and were further cemented in the first half of 2014 on the back of geopolitical developments and production slumps in North Africa and Middle East. The third stage of the supercycle took place at a time when the global economy oscillated between stagnation and weak recovery, and oil demand was additionally undermined by China’s protracted business cycle (bracing for the hard landing after government-sponsored stimulation of investment in infrastructure). This situation triggered, in mid-2014, the ongoing oil price slump.

The price slump ushered in the fourth phase of the cycle, which brought still lower prices as the oversupply of oil was being absorbed by the market and the search for the marginal barrel continued. The price decline will erode production potential, which will have to be adjusted to new pricing conditions. The adjustment process will not be a smooth transition for several reasons. Having lost the compass that OPEC’s strategy was, the market is now groping in the dark. The search for the marginal barrel has begun on the American market, progressing from the physical market (OPEC) to the paper market (NYMEX), which is much more volatile. Price projections on the latter market have a bearing on the capital market and affect the availability of financing for American upstream companies and their CAPEX as well as future production figures, which in turn shape future oil prices. The duration of the current phase of the cycle is uncertain. Taking into account the oil market’s structure (paper and capital market transactions are prevalent in the US) and technological considerations (production sector reacts quickly to changes in price expectations), experts estimate that it may last for one to three years. However, looking at past events, we will remember that the price decline and the subsequent stagnation of prices at low levels which followed the second oil shock in the wake of the Iranian revolution persisted for nearly two decades.

It is hard to say today what the price of oil will be in two or three years, but following the line of thought presented above we can expect that the future price trajectory will be lower than we had anticipated just half a year ago. At the same time, oil prices can be expected to be much more volatile than in the last three years. During adjustment periods, such as the one we are currently going through, price expectations are not unlike self-defeating prophecies. The greater the expected strength and duration of the price slump anticipated by the market, the quicker and stronger the future supply reductions will be (more and more production projects become unprofitable, financing becomes difficult to obtain). As a result, future supply shrinks even more, driving future prices beyond today’s expectations. Given the existence of such a mechanism, the market prefers to adjust its price expectations in small increments. In consequence, rather than portend a rapid increase, the steep contango seen in futures price graphs points to oversupply as the reason behind the current oil price dip.

 

Avoid chaos, bet on the young democracies

Posted by on 26/01/15
By Coen van de Ven Tunisia is praised as ‘country of the year’ by The Economist. Libya has fallen into dissension. Egypt is back at the point it was before the revolution. The EU seems more eager to help democracies rather than chaotic states.

Can Quantitative Easing be successful in Europe?

Posted by on 25/01/15
Does this week feel like a prompt about turn? The announcement this week of QE for the eurozone seems to suggest that all those years of pain to bring budgets and debt levels down were not worth it. “We tried spending and borrowing less, though borrowing still went up, so now we are going to [...]

Who will be the next US President? Clinton? Bush?

Posted by on 25/01/15
Campaigning for the designation of “president of the United States” has already begun, although citizens are expected to vote only in November 2016 for their future president. That’s right, it is now almost two years before said election. But following the US electoral system, the “brand” of the new president, unlike that of the European [...]

The Catholic Church should review its Encyclica of Human Life

Posted by on 23/01/15

It is 50 years since Pope Paul VI proclaimed the famous Encyclica of human life asking the 1.2 billion Catholics living today on earth to regulate births exclusively by “natural means”, i.e. abstaining from sexual intercourse during the periods of ovulation.

This appeal has failed. The Church has vastly over-estimated the intelligence and discipline of the believers to regulate births in a way, which contradicts Nature calling for sexual activity during the fertile days of the cycle.

The Catholic Church therefore has to acknowledge its responsibility for the ultra-rapid global demographic growth, with more than doubling of the population from 3.4 to 7.3 billion people during the last 50 years.

Countries with Catholic populations have seen their population grow faster than non-Catholic countries. In South-East Asia, Catholic Philippines continues to be the country with the highest fertility, three children per woman, though fertility more than halved since the mid-1960s.

Thanks to legislation introduced since 2012 against the frantic opposition from the Catholic Church the Philippine government has been enabled to offer all women free access to the public family planning service, which gives a fair chance to the country to reduce fertility rates to the replacement level of two within less than two decades.

But this is not good enough for Humanity. The Church wields big influence in many sub-Sahara African countries where fertility rates continue to be excessively high.

If it were to preach its African disciples that 2-3 children are enough and encourage governments and international donors to introduce education for all girls and the beginnings of old -age pension systems, it would help global population stabilise below the 10 billion that are being projected by the UN for the middle of the 21st century.

This would help reduce misery and poverty in Africa, Latin America and Asia and make a big numbers of human beings healthier and happier.

Pope Francis would have the power to introduce such a reform. He has openly declared that Catholics should “not breed like rabbits”; he knows more about the misery in slums than any of his predecessors. Hopefully, he might realise during his forthcoming visit to Africa that the message of “Human Life” is too demanding for the masses of uneducated women and therefore cannot work.

In one or two years the time might be ripe for revising the “Encyclica of Human Life” which however brilliantly written has put some dust on since 1968!

Brussels 20.01.2015 Eberhard Rhein

 

Deutschlands Zuwanderung 2015

Posted by on 22/01/15

Deutschland ist beliebt bei Zuwanderern, und wer hinter die Zahlen des Migrationsberichtes schaut, erkennt sofort: wir brauchen diese Menschen. Wer bei Migration und Integration immer nur respektlos über Muslime redet – und das in einem Atemzug mit Terrorgefahr und “Untergang des Abendlandes” – kann hier nachlesen, dass er völlig falsch liegt…

Wer in den nächsten Jahrzehnten nicht will, dass seine Eltern im Pflegeheim dahinsiechen; wer will, dass unsere Industrie weiter weltweit an der Spitze mitspielt, der kann die Arme nur weit öffnen und sagen: Willkommen! Ein Trend wird nämlich auch deutlich: Die, die kommen, bleiben nicht immer für länger… Uns gehen damit die Fachkräfte verloren… Wir sollten alles dafür tun, dass sie bleiben wollen. Denn wenn Polen und all die anderen Nachbarländer wirtschaftlich aufgeholt haben, gehen noch mehr zurück in ihre Heimat…

Das alles beweist: Wir brauchen nicht wirklich ein neues Einwanderungsgesetz. Wir haben ein Aufenthaltsrecht, das alles sehr genau regelt, auch wenn es keinen Staatspreis für Übersichtlichkeit bekommt. Wir müssen dieses Gesetz nur erweitern, weil eben dieses Aufenthaltsrecht Zuwanderung bisher nur verwaltet anstatt sie zu gestalten. Es beschreibt einen Verwaltungsakt und hat von Willkommenskultur noch nie etwas gehört.

Es gibt viel zu tun in Sachen Zuwanderung, aber am allerwenigsten neue Regelungen… Die Gefahr ist zu groß, dass sich die Politik und auch jeder Einzelne von uns dann vor der eigentlichen Frage drückt: Sind wir bereit zur Integration? Oder verspielen wir gerade heute Abend in Leipzig wieder das, was uns im Migrationsbericht 2013 noch bescheinigt wurde: Deutschland ist attraktiv für Zuwanderer.

Davos: How Europe can tackle extreme wealth inequality

Posted by on 21/01/15
By Àngela Corbalán, Oxfam’s Head of EU Communications, Deputy Head of EU Office As world leaders arrive in Davos for the first day of the World Economic Forum, storm clouds are gathering overhead. Skyrocketing global inequality has shone a flashlight onto the murky workings of global finance, with Davos becoming center stage this week of how [...]

Will China be a net outward investor in 2015?

Posted by on 21/01/15

China’s outward investment flows have expanded enormously over the past decade. This has led to predictions, often from China, that its outward investment will soon exceed its inward investment. These predictions have been taken up outside China, and have been recycled in the Western media, including the Financial Times and the Economist among many others.

The day China becomes a net exporter of foreign direct investment (FDI) will have both symbolic and real importance. While not on the same level of importance as the moment when China becomes the largest economy in the world (according to the IMF, on a PPP basis China already is the largest economy), it will nevertheless be seen as symbolic of the increasing importance of the Chinese economy in the world. It would arguably also mark a real point of change where Chinese companies are competing on level terms with their international counterparts.

The prediction that this moment is imminent has one major problem: it has no basis in reality. The view that China’s ODI will soon exceed inward foreign direct investment (IFDI) is based on statistics from China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM). These statistics (Chart 1) show that over many years since the 1980s IFDI flows to China have exceeded ODI flows. This gap grew rapidly in the early 1990s, and remained large for the following decade. The main reason was that in this period the Chinese government strongly promoted IFDI but strictly controlled ODI. One of the main reasons for this policy was to increase capital inflows and discourage outflows. Over the last decade controls on ODI have been relaxed and Chinese companies have been encouraged to go abroad. As a result ODI has grown rapidly, at the same time there has been a leveling off of IFDI flows and the gap between the two has narrowed sharply The latest MOFCOM figures for 2014 indicate that the gap has continued to narrow, and will soon be closed.

Chart 1: China Inward and Outward Investment Flows 1982-2013 MOFCOM, UNCTAD

These statistics are widely quoted internationally, and are also used by UNCTAD in their databases on FDI flows. The problem is that the MOFCOM figures do not fully represent China’s FDI flows. The MOFCOM statistics are based on China’s investment approval system for both IFDI and ODI. This only records initial investment approvals, but leaves out important elements in FDI flows. Internationally recognized statistics on investment flows are usually based on balance of payments (BOP) figures. China’s BOP statistics, which are published by the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) and are based on IMF principles, show a very different picture to those from MOFCOM. While the picture in the early years is almost identical, there has been an increasing divergence between the two sets of figures over the past decade (Chart 2). Rather than the gap between IFDI and ODI closing in recent years, it has actually widened.

Chart 2: China BOP Inward and Outward Investment Flows 1982-2013 Source: SAFE

The reason for the difference in the two sets of figures is that there are elements of investment flows which are included in BOP statistics but that are ignored by the MOFCOM system. The most important of these is reinvestment of earnings, which is included in BOP statistics but not in the MOFCOM data. In recent years there has been a significant increase in foreign companies’ reinvested earnings in China. A breakdown of Chinese statistics is not available, but BOP data from Eurostat show, for instance, that reinvested earnings in China from Germany increased from €36 million in 2005 to €3.8 billion in 2013. Other EU member states also recorded significant increases in reinvested earnings in China. Statistics from the US show that its reinvested earnings in China increased from US$1.8 billion in 2005 to US$6.7 billion in 2013. The biggest contribution to these reinvested earnings comes from Hong Kong, which is the largest investor in mainland China.

Chart 3: China Net Direct Investment Flows (ODI-IFDI) 1982-2013 Source: MOFCOM, SAFE

One point that emerges from the BOP data is that, although they have fluctuated in recent years, often as a result of global economic conditions as much those in China, IFDI flows to China are significantly larger than is commonly believed. At the same time, ODI remains relatively small. The gap between IFDI and ODI, rather than closing, actually appears to be widening (Chart 3). It is possible that one day in the future China will be become a net exporter of FDI. Despite optimistic claims that this day is close, the reality is that it will not happen soon.

 

 

 

What ISIS Offers Young Western Europeans, Which Europe Doesn’t

Posted by on 19/01/15

On September 26, 2014, BBC News published a story titled, “Islamic State crisis: ‘3,000 European jihadists join fight.’” Many more reports appeared in Western media outlets at the time, asking why ISIS was so appealing to young Western Europeans. Did these young men and women leave for the Middle East because they had suddenly developed murderous intentions toward their own people? It doesn’t make sense.

Two stories that were published just recently about young people who admire ISIS may give us a clearer picture into the mindset of our younger generation. Just a few days after the horrific murders at Charlie Hebdo and the kosher deli, CNN’s Arwa Damon interviewed an ordinary looking French girl in “Skinny Jeans and flowing hair,” as Damon described her. The girl described her admiration for ISIS, and her desire to leave the amenities of Western life for the simplicity and honesty of a devout Muslim.

On the same day when Damon’s story was released, The New York Times published a story titled, “The Jihadist in Our Family,” about a quiet, Malaysian Muslim man who was devoted to his family, to his young students at the mosque, and to Allah. His faith had led him to believe that life was meaningless unless you used it to grow closer to God. And the way to grow closer, he believed, was to become a shahid, a martyr for Allah. He went to Syria and succeeded in his mission. In mid September of last year, he died in a Syrian Air Force strike in Hama, Syria.

These glimpses into the hearts of young ISIS recruits reveal the secret of its appeal. ISIS is offering a purpose in life: become a saint, and win God’s favor and eternal glory. In a world where people measure one another by the brands they wear, the gadgets they show off, and their credit in the bank, extreme religion offers what they perceive as a more meaningful purpose for existence. To many young Europeans, it is a far better offer than the latest model of iPhone.

After decades of consumerism, the emptiness in people’s hearts has grown so unbearable that they feel compelled to fill it at any cost. So they turn to the extremes. The extreme right is also gaining ground among them, but it cannot offer the antiquity, the sense of authenticity, and the promise of eternity that religion can. And so religion wins.

So what can we do to stop our kids from going that way?

First, we need to understand that the war against ISIS cannot be won on the virtual battleground. We cannot stop our kids from searching on the internet. Instead, we have to offer them what they are really looking for, a purpose, so they will not need to search for it on the internet.

If we want to find the answer to ISIS, we have to look within us, not without. Human spirit wins wars, not armed forces. The glam of Western culture has dimmed for our younger generation, so they are looking elsewhere.

Therefore, against the divisive message of extreme Islam, we must offer a message of unity and acceptance above all differences—religious, racial, cultural, and national. Such unity offers a sense of warmth, solidarity, and mutual responsibility. It is inherent in our nature to socialize, but we are taught to socialize and unite against others, to win or to subdue our rivals.

True unity doesn’t require an adversary. True unity embraces diversity, and channels it to our collective benefit. When we unite, we contribute our skills to the good of society, and in return, we benefit from the skills of all the people who have joined our unity. This way we gain so much that we stop feeling we have given anything. In fact, in such an atmosphere, giving becomes a joy even if you’re not naturally inclined to it.

And besides the gifts that we are showered by our connected society, we discover that unity contains a hidden bonanza: When you are truly connected, you feel your friends just like a mother often feels her child. Unity creates an “entity” all on its own, made of your joints efforts, and which can exist only as long as you all maintain your unity. This “entity” consists of your collective selves, as though a society of connected people creates an organism that consists of all its members. Much like cells in the body feel the entire body, whether it is cold or hot, or just right, connected people feel their unity as oneness, and gain depth of perception that is otherwise impossible to achieve.

It is this kind of society that we should offer to our children, one that fosters compassion, mutual support, warmth, and profound connectedness. If we succeed in our efforts, we will soon see a very different Europe.

——————————————————————————————————-

Michael Laitman was featured in Corriere Del Ticino this week.

 

Michael Laitman is a Professor of Ontology, a PhD in Philosophy and Kabbalah, and an MSc in Medical Bio-Cybernetics. He was the prime disciple of Kabbalist, Rav Baruch Ashlag (the RABASH). Prof. Laitman has written over 40 books, translated into dozens of languages; he is the founder and president of the ARI Institute, and a sought after speaker. His latest book, Like A Bundle of Reeds: why unity and mutual guarantee are today’s call of the hour, explains the root, cause and solution to anti-Semitism. He can be reached through: www.michaellaitman.com.

Twitter: @laitman

Je suis Volnovakha

Posted by on 18/01/15
By Tyszecki Paris, January 11: one million of people out on the streets in memory of victims of the act of terrorism against Charlie Hebdo. Kiev, January 18: one million of people out on the Maidan to express their solidarity and indignation because of murder of Ukrainian civilians.

Russia imposes a new leadership in the Republic of Moldova

Posted by on 18/01/15

Moldova turned its back to Europe after Russia succeeded to impose a puppet government.

Even if the three-partied Pro-European Alliance won the elections, two parties changed sides and chose to cooperate with the Putin-backed Communist Party.

This is no big surprise because DP (Democrat Party) and LDPM (Liberal Democrat Party of Moldova) have both appeared after a split from CPM (Communist Party of Moldova). Nevertheless, the presidents of the two parties have both been members of Voronin´s government. Voronin, ex-president of Republic of Moldova, is Putin´s number one politician in Moldova.

LP(The Liberal Party), the only truly pro-European party, has been excluded from negotiations after conditioning the forming of the new government by a politically – independent judicial system. Such a demand appears very dangerous for the political class, as it is widely – known the fact that Vlad Filat and Vlad Plahotniuc, the leaders of DP and LDPM, obtained huge fortunes by illegal means. In this political struggle the stake is the control over justice and this is a huge draw-back on the European path.

It seems that Russia has regained control over the Republic of Moldova just by making use of its impossibility to achieve European Union´s standards of good-governance.

The European Union reacted quickly to sanction Moldova. The President of Romania, Klaus Johannis, has cancelled his visit to Chisinau, whereas Poland blocked a credit of 100 million euros.

Recent evolutions in Moldova appear as a great concern for Ukraine, whose European path is threatened by a new Moscow-loyal neighbour.

 

NATO membership goes against the interests of Montenegrin citizens

Posted by on 18/01/15

“Montenegro should be a force for peace and solidarity in the world, and not a small cog in the machine of the new Crusades”.

In an interview with the Montenegrin National News Agency (MINA), published 10 January 2015, the Chairman of the Movement for Neutrality of Montenegro (MNMNE), Professor Filip Kovacevic, stated that, in the first part of 2014, many government officials and their “Atlanticist mentors and highly-paid lobbyists” claimed that Montenegro would get an invitation to join NATO at the organization’s summit in Wales last September.

“At the same time, I publicly stated that this would not happen. Now it is easy to see who was right. Getting the invitation depends on the overall geopolitical dynamic in Europe,” said Kovacevic, asserting that we would see more and more skepticism toward the policies of Washington, especially given the open confrontation with Russia, which came about as a result of US imposition of its Atlanticist, neoliberal priorities on the European Union, which caused a great deal of economic damage.

According to Kovacevic, this means that NATO’s influence, whose only reason for existing is “the military occupation and intelligence surveillance of Europe by the Anglo-American, imperial centers of power”, will gradually weaken.

“In line with this trend, NATO will not have enough strength to expand further and it will find it more and more difficult to keep even the present member states together,” said Kovacevic.

He pointed out the example of Turkey which does not follow the aggressive NATO politics of sanctions against Russia, but instead has negotiated long-term economic projects worth billions of dollars.

Kovacevic expected the same tendency to manifest within other NATO member states as well, especially those whose historical tradition encompasses very close relations with Russia.

“Those who conceptualize and implement Anglo-American foreign policy, it seems, bit off more than they could chew, and now what will happen is that they will be unpleasantly awakened from their dream of global domination by the coordinated activities of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa),” warned Kovacevic.

According to him, if Montenegro enters NATO, it will be due to no fault of its citizens, but due entirely to “the corrupt dealings of the regime of the prime minister, Milo Djukanovic” that the country finds itself on “the losing side of history”.

This, asserted Kovacevic, would have dangerous repercussions for the citizens of Montenegro, and is also absolutely unacceptable from the perspective of the Montenegrin anti-hegemonic, libertarian historical tradition.

He claimed that during the six and a half decades of its existence, NATO intelligence services have done numerous things, of which there is much evidence, to subvert democracy and human rights in the member states under the directives of Washington and London.

“It is enough to mention only the criminal, anti-democratic ‘Operation Gladio’ in Italy, and there were similar operations in other European countries as well. That is why NATO’s tutoring Montenegro on its ‘lack of the rule of law’ should be taken as a insult to the historical truth, and to the hundreds of innocent victims of such operations,” noted Kovacevic.

Commenting on NATO demands for the reform of Montenegrin Agency for National Security (ANB), Kovacevic stated that those demands articulated NATO’s wish to fill the Agency with its own puppets and spies.

“This does not mean that citizens will be under less invasive and humiliating surveillance because the priority of NATO has never been to curtail the abuses of its member states’ secret services. At the same time, this could lead to dangerous consequences because these NATO-controlled individuals could, against the national interest of the Montenegrin citizens, involve Montenegro in conflicts with NATO’s enemies, which are becoming more and more numerous,” added Kovacevic.

He said that under NATO’s urgent pressure and insistence, the government of Montenegro founded another intelligence agency: the Military Intelligence Agency. “There is very little that is written about this secretive Agency, whose activities are just as much a threat to the democratization of Montenegro as the activities of the ANB.”

Kovacevic stated that it was not surprising that public support for NATO membership was low, and he interpreted it as indicative of the ‘geopolitical sophistication’ of ordinary citizens in Montenegro.

“Montenegrin citizens do not want to participate in imperialistic attacks on nations whose only fault is that they do not want to have their natural and economic resources under the control of Anglo-American financial centers. Montenegro should be a force for peace and solidarity in the world, and not a small cog in the machine of the new Crusades,” he said.

Asked whether the Movement for Neutrality (MNMNE) plans any activities which advocate holding a referendum on Montenegro’s NATO membership, Kovacevic stated that everything the organization did was geared toward making the referendum inevitable.

“Regardless of the opinion of corrupt members of the Montenegrin Parliament and their NATO lobbyists, membership of any international organization, let alone an organization such as NATO, limits the country’s sovereignty. This is why the only politically legitimate route is to directly ask citizens their opinion. Any other way is equivalent to a coup d’etat,” he warned.

Answering the question as to what MNMNE’s activities would be in case of an invitation to NATO membership, Kovacevic said that MNMNE is a new geopolitical force in Montenegro which will only get stronger in the coming period and acquire even more allies in the world.

“The members of our International Advisory Board are world-famous intellectuals, noted for their fight for global justice. We also received strong support from former US Congressman Dennis Kucinich and other influential international figures,” he noted.

According to Kovacevic, the progressive international community recognizes the dedication of MNMNE to just relations between peoples and nations, as well as “our desire to turn Montenegro into a favorite destination for all people of good will.”

“We will work on a new conception of Montenegrin foreign policy, which will enable it to host the headquarters of certain international organizations, for instance the BRICS bank. This will lead to the significant investment in local infrastructure and a lot of new job openings,” he pointed out.

Kovacevic reiterated that the examples of other militarily neutral countries in Europe and beyond show that it is not true that neutrality would cost more than NATO membership.

“NATO member states will have to spend at least 2 percept of GDP on defense, whereas all neutral states spend considerably less. Claims about the costs of neutrality offered by the Government are not to be believed because corrupt officials do not want to consider in a rational and calm manner any alternatives to NATO membership.”

Kovacevic stated that it has been a while since he had publicly called for the Minister of Defense, Milica Pejanovic-Djurisic, to resign due to the continued participation of Montenegro in the “expensive and useless” NATO mission in Afghanistan, which did not fulfil any of its stated goals.

“To throw away millions of euros in the deserts of Afghanistan while more and more citizens of Montenegro lose their jobs and fall below the poverty line is the height of alienation and arrogance. In this, as in many other areas of activity, the Ministry of Defense is a textbook example of irresponsibility to citizens, superciliousness towards its employees, and servility towards the imperial centers of power,” he underlined.

Kovacevic said that this was the reason why he approached the Ministry’s statements with a great deal of skepticism. “And anyway, their projections last only until they get another phone call from NATO headquarters in Brussels.”

Asked if he was satisfied with the way political parties that are against NATO membership present their views to the public, and whether MNMNE would intensify cooperation with them, he replied that MNMNE cooperates with everyone who believes that Montenegro has a mission to fulfil in the world, a mission which consists of building bridges of trust among different nations, cultures, and civilizations.

“With all, including political parties and non-governmental organizations, MNMNE cherishes the culture of dialogue, and we believe that we will continue to play a constitutive role in a new and different Montenegrin foreign policy,” concluded Kovacevic.

Translated by Filip Kovacevic
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From A5 to B3: US-Adriatic and US-Baltic charter organisations

Posted by on 12/01/15

The crucial geopolitical belief held by the US ruling oligarchy, elaborated by Zbigniew Brzezinski, Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor and Barack Obama’s university mentor, in his 1997 book The Grand Chessboard is that U.S. could hold the entire world at checkmate by establishing control over the network of strategically located territories. As one of the ways to do so, Brzezinski suggested forming satellite regional organizations on the rim-lands of Eurasia.

This idea was not new in the geopolitical circles. Much earlier, at the close of the 19th century, it received the blessing of the founder of American geopolitical thought, the Navy officer and professor Alfred Thayer Mahan. At that time, it was known as the principle of the anaconda. Analogous to the anaconda, which suffocates its prey by wrapping itself firmly around it, the US foreign policy, in order to attain its goal of global hegemony, was to encircle its enemies, primarily using the coastal and other border regions. As for the enemies, Mahan mentioned Germany, Russia, and China.

Taking into consideration the fact that, as the Montenegrin author Sasa Markovic convincingly argues in his new book „Manifesto against the Empire“ (2013), the US (and British) ruling circles, in the course of two world wars, definitely extinguished the German will to confrontation, what was then left to take care of were Russia and China.

And, in truth, the Cold War was nothing other than the more or less open field for playing the geopolitical games for domination among these three players. What became clear after the collapse of the USSR was that the ideological struggle, presented as the struggle of democracy and freedom against dictatorship and unfreedom, was in reality only a façade for the struggle over the direction of globalization and the flows of resources.

That this is the case is shown by the permanent political, economic, and security pressures of the US and Great Britain, together with their „new“ European allies, against Russia, even though the Russian political circles parted with the ideology of Marxism-Leninism twenty years ago. The concrete proof can be found in the unrelentless expansion of NATO to the East, which in several new member states (and on at least one non-member state entity, Kosovo) also means the stationing of the US troops.

It is ironic that it often happens that the US military forces move into the military bases vacated by the Soviet troops. This leads us to the crucial question as to whether the fall of the Berlin Wall really had any beneficial and liberating effects on the sovereign decision making of the citizens in these countries. Isn’t it rather the case that it was simply just the replacement of one military occupation (empire) by another?

Unfortunately, due to the activities of its current puppet government, Montenegro is also forced to play a pawn in the chessgame of the US oligarchy. Montenegro is a component of the A5 from the article’s title.

A5 is an acronym for the American Adriatic Charter Organization, which, in addition to the US, includes also Albania, Croatia, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro, while Serbia and Kosovo have the observer status. This organization is a typical neocolonial regional organization whose purpose is to socialize the local, generally corrupt, ruling classes and, through the policies of the carrot and the stick, make them do the bidding of the imperial chessmasters, all the while forgetting, if not trampling under foot, the interests of their own citizens.
Montenegro was „presiding“ over this organization twice: from January to June 2011 and, very recently, from July to December 2013. The key event which marked the Montenegrin presidency and, in my opinion, revealed the key move of the oligarchic chessmasters, took place in New York City on September 26, 2013. On that day, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Hoyt Brian Yee, together with NATO Assistant General Secretary for Political and Security Questions Thrasyvoulos Stamatopoulos, moved the pawns from A5 to B3.

B3 is yet another acronym and it stands for the American Baltic Charter Organization, which includes not only Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, but also Georgia, even though Georgia is more than two thousand kilometers away from the Baltic Sea. This goes to prove that here we do not have a simple geographical grouping of countries, but an organization with a clear geopolitical aim to defend the US oligarchic interests: the already mentioned principle of the anaconda against Russia and the Russian allies in Central Asia.

It is very probable that this NYC meeting among the A5 & B3 ministers of foreign affairs, sponsored by the US and NATO, in which „concrete cooperation“ was agreed upon, in reality, represents one of the final steps before Montenegro and other A5 countries are forced to assume full time roles in the offensive and violent geopolitical Drang nach Osten.

This is something that should worry all Montenegrin citizens. Could it be that, by agreeing to play along, the current Montenegrin government lays the groundwork for the participation of Montenegro in the anticipated conflicts on the territories of the former USSR?

One has to keep in mind that in the past decade the B3 countries made some extremely rigid, nontransparent, and aggressive domestic and foreign policy decisions. Lithuania permitted the establishment of a secret CIA prison on its territory. Estonia passed the discriminatory laws against the Russian minority. And Georgia provoked a war with Russia by trying a violent takeover of the restive autonomous province of South Ossetia in August 2008.

This war, just like the current military confrontation in Ukraine, could be seen as the attempt of the US oligarchy to test the willingness and strength of its antagonist, the Russian oligarchy, to defend its own geopolitical spheres of influence. The US oligarchy did get its answer over South Ossetia, but not the kind it wanted, and so now it is trying all over again in Ukraine.

However, a much more important question to ask is what the Georgian and South Ossetian (and now the Ukrainian) citizens have got by fighting. Dead youths, destroyed economy, divided country, the disappearance of the future. In the Balkan region, we already had that in the 1990s. And the provocations came from the same Western centers. Wasn’t that enough?

This is why Montenegrin citizens, opposition politicians, and autonomous NGOs should demand the withdrawal of Montenegro from A5 and any other organization on the global chessboard whose moves are not decided on democratically and may violate the Montenegrin Constitution.

In this respect, I am convinced that only a militarily neutral Montenegro could insure the politics of diplomatic impartiality and save Montenegro from having to take part in the global confrontation for domination among the Great Power oligarchies. I am also convinced that the move from A5 to B3 is a sure gambit for war.

Originally published in the Montenegrin daily newspaper Vijesti on January 23, 2014. Translated into English by the author.

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