To stop the far right we must oppose the EU

=By= Ken Ovenden


Kevin Ovenden argues for an internationalist approach to the European crisis in the second half of a two-part series on the European question

Don’t blame the Easterners

It is now fashionable in Brussels to talk of an “illiberal bloc”, comprising mainly Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Even some commentators on the left have given credence to that idea.

While there are some regional variations and affinities in the emergence of far right and fascist forces in Europe – the four so called Visegrad countries mentioned above and the “Peoples Parties” in Scandinavia, for example – they do not fit into a neat pattern. Certainly not one of the advanced and liberal West versus the backward and authoritarian East. Nor into creditor North versus debtor South.

The Front National began its advance in France in 1983, when the Iron Curtain still divided Europe. Gert Wilders’ far right party is topping the polls in the thoroughly modern European country of the Netherlands. The far right has advanced strongly in Croatia, but not in Serbia. Golden Dawn broke through in Greece, but there is no equivalent in Spain, Portugal or Ireland.

As if to underline that the radicalising right cannot be consigned as an Eastern European problem, Switzerland, which is not in the EU but where the anti-Muslim and anti-migrant People’s Party is the largest in the federal parliament, a few days after the result in neighbouring Austria lifted the ban on the Hitler salute; so long as it is used as a matter of “personal expression”, you understand.

As for the idea that it is a quartet of Eastern European states that is preventing the EU from taking a firm line in defence of democratic freedoms you have only to look at how Brussels responded to the emergence of the first authoritarian government of that supposed bloc, Victor Orban’s in Hungary, to see that the claim is a smokescreen.

Hungary and Vickto Orban

Hungary and Vickto Orban

Orban leads a hard right party in government. It has similarities with the Austrian FPO. But in Hungary the outright fascist forces are organised separately in the Jobbik Party, very similar to Golden Dawn and, with 21 percent, the third party in parliament.

On taking office a second time in 2010 Orban began a serious clampdown on press freedom, civil liberties and human rights. There were detailed reports from organisations such as Amnesty International. The EU made some noises. Nothing was done.

The only time it seriously threatened action was when Orban looked like he was going to defy the EU’s Fiscal and Stability Pact rules on government spending and when he flirted with forging a closer relationship with Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Brussels stirred. Orban backed down. The EU slumped back to inaction.

Poland's Law and Justice Party

Poland’s Law and Justice Party

Now the same officials in Brussels say that it is the threat of a Hungarian veto that is preventing them from moving beyond a ponderous investigation into the flagrant breaches of judicial independence, women’s rights and the rule of law by the hard right Law and Justice Party that was recently elected in Poland.

Compare all that with Greece and the treatment of its left wing anti-austerity government last year. Within days of Syriza being elected, the EU had moved to throttle Greece’s financial lifeline and to lead the member states in a concerted effort to crush the government in Athens and the popular resistance in Greece to austerity.

The Europe question and the left

From Big Pharma, the Nazis and the Origins of the EU...[Paul Anthony Taylor] New Horizons 2014 - Paul Anthony Taylor

From Big Pharma, the Nazis and the Origins of the EU…[Paul Anthony Taylor] New Horizons 2014 – Paul Anthony Taylor

Far from countering the far right and authoritarian tendencies, the EU – with its austerity, Fortress Europe, anti-democratic diktats and endemic national antagonisms – is generating those reactionary features: and not only on the far right.

The EU is fully behind the French government of Francois Hollande. It has suspended basic freedoms under an eight-month old state of emergency and is using the militarised police to batter through new austerity measures passed not by parliament, but by executive decree.

If the EU will not willingly put up opposition to the far right, then perhaps it might find itself becoming some line of defence, if only because the far right will clash with it by threatening to break with the EU, or with the Eurozone, or with their rules?

That appears to be the hope of those on the European left who on the one hand say that they are fully aware of how undemocratic and reactionary the EU is, but on the other maintain that it is nevertheless an obstacle to racism, fascism and war, and that it must be defended against all the pressures to break it up. And then reformed.

This hope rests on a number of confusions. I will focus on just two. The first is that it accepts the now mainstream liberal-capitalist view that the future of Europe is either preserving the EU and its further centralisation (with reforms – all the leaders talk of those) or its breakup into reactionary national states with resurgent fascism and war. Or, as it is often put, the choice is between rational politics of the centre or “populism” of the “extremes”.

Many commentators, far from the left, now invoke as a parallel a dubious reading of the history of the 1930s in which a breakdown of trade and the global market led almost directly to the Second World War and the Holocaust.

Let us put to one side that peculiar and tendentious history of the 1930s, informed as it is by an ideological commitment to free market capitalism, which makes it all the more surprising that it is endorsed by the Keynesian economist Yanis Varoufakis.

The problem is that it is the very mechanisms of the EU itself, particularly in response to the succession of crises – the banks, the austerity, the refugees… – which are generating reactionary trends such as racism, chauvinism and authoritarian rule.

The far right and fascists give those a particularly dangerous and virulent form. But it was not the far right who did a deal with Turkey to keep out the refugees. Doing that creates the conditions for and necessitates widespread anti-refugee racism to justify the policy. That was the work of Angela Merkel, at the head of the pack of mainstream governments, including Francois Hollande, David Cameron and Alexis Tsipras.

Strengthening the EU does not mean less reaction. It means more, and out of it the potential further growth of the fascist right.

The future prospect is not the EU versus reactionary disintegration. It is an EU of crisis, constantly breeding reactionary forces even as it centralises in order to deal with renewing pressures to pull it apart.

And – the second confusion – it is not the case that the only anti-EU forces looking to break the bosses’ club up are reactionary ones. Nor is it true that the assorted far right and fascist groups in different European countries constitute a single block, each with the same policy of pursuing a national break from the EU.

The spectrum of radical right wing forces varies from racist and chauvinist populists such as UKIP in Britain through to out and out fascists, such as Golden Dawn in Greece.

Racism and Islamophobia are central to all of them. Here is not the place to analyse the structural and other differences between them, nor the specific nature of those that pursue a fascist, militarist strategy. But one difference that is relevant here is their diverse political positions in relation to the EU.

Four examples illustrate that. UKIP is for Britain leaving the EU. The fascists of Golden Dawn are for Greece staying in the EU – with all sorts of demands for further reactionary policies, for sure: but staying nonetheless.

The Law and Justice Party in Poland is firmly committed to the EU and to its twin, Nato. It is for more aggressive action by both of them against Russia. Its supposedly “Eurosceptic” rhetoric is directed against liberal values and against the Polish left, which it accuses of not being really Polish. On occasion it may sound off against German domination of Europe. But it is not for a rupture with the EU itself.

The Austrian FPO has the position outlined above of staying in the EU, violently opposing Turkish membership, and taking a hard economic line against the debtor countries of the European South (maybe kicking Greece out) and the “backward” countries of the East.

Other far right and fascist forces show similar variations. The fundamental reason for that is that the disparate far right in Europe is not the radicalisation – the taking to extreme – of some kind of “Eurosceptic feeling”, which is sort of floating around the continent.

The term “Eurosceptic” is, in fact, pretty useless for socialists. It was coined to describe British Tory MPs who rebelled against the Maastricht Treaty in parliament in 1992.

Since then it has been a catchall of the pro-capitalist media applied both to the French radical farmer Jose Bove, who attacked a branch of McDonalds to protest against corporate capitalism, and to the veteran French fascist, Jean-Marie Le Pen, who called the Holocaust a “minor detail of history”.

The raw material the far right are scooping up and radicalising is not the poorly constructed journalistic term: “Euroscepticism”. It is from the swamp of right wing and reactionary trends within each of the far right’s own nation-states and national political realities.

The far right and fascist parties are a radicalisation of the right wing of politics, and ultimately of the elites, in each of their respective countries.

That is why they do not have a common line on the EU and other questions relating to the divergent national and imperialist interests of their “homelands”.

So UKIP grew out of, and has radicalised, the anti-EU position of the right wing of the British Tory Party. All right wing forces in Greece – along with the whole of the Greek state and ruling class – are in favour of staying in the EU and euro. So, therefore, is Golden Dawn, despite rhetorical sallies against “German domination” of Europe.

The hard right Polish government’s position favouring Nato expansion against Russia and staying in the EU is a radicalised version of the policy of the mainstream Polish right and is the historical position of most of Polish big business. Apart from anything else, the EU subsidies to Poland’s elites, in order to build it up as a state on the frontier of a new Cold War with Russia, have been huge.

The FPO may try to channel the resentment at the base of Austrian society at the way the corrupt political system has further depleted democracy since joining the EU in 1995. But its position on EU membership is not fundamentally different from many on the right of the centre-right OVP.

This does not mean that the radicalising right is simply and directly an expression of the interests and policies of their respective capitalist classes. That is clearly not the case. Three-quarters of British big business are for staying in the EU on essentially the same terms as now. UKIP is definitely not.

But the main political instruments of big business that are meant to represent those interests – parties such as the Tory party in Britain – face a crisis everywhere in Europe. One side of it is in failing to come up with policies to escape the multiple crises: economic, social and political. The other is in their declining social and electoral support.

The bloodletting in the Tory Party over Europe is one extreme example of the consequences. They are not unique to the British centre right: Angela Merkel’s CDU is bitterly divided; the leader of the centre right in Greece recently expelled the entire youth section.

This is the context in which all sorts of far right forces are seeking to radicalise politics found on their mainstream, national right wings – and to grow. They, and the fascist formations especially, pose a particular danger.

They are political actors in their own right. Their demagogic rhetoric against “elites” and “the establishment” can give them inroads into unemployed and working class layers that the crisis-ridden centre-right parties struggle to penetrate.

But however much they portray themselves as independent from the wealthy elites, they require the support of at least a substantial layer of the capitalist class and of its state to advance seriously and to come to power.

So they constantly seek to offer a programme, however utopian and lacking in coherence, that may ultimately win the elites’ political support. They belong to the crisis of the political system and of capitalism’s strategies to pursue its interests. They are independent from neither.

The far right can be stopped

The far right is not the only political expression of European crisis. So too is the radical left.

The run-off round of the Austrian presidential election took place five weeks before the second general election in the Spanish state, after the earlier one six months before failed to deliver a government, even a grand coalition.

As Austria voted, Spanish polling showed that the radical left alliance of Podemos and the United Left held second place on about 24 percent. Whatever the poll movements up to 26 June, there is no far right party arising from the crisis of the Spanish political system.

Portugal is similar, as is Ireland, where the anti-capitalist and radical left broke through in recent elections, north and south.

It is hardly a sufficient answer, however, to the shocking near victory of a fascist in Austria to point to the electoral successes of the left in the Iberian Peninsula, Dublin, Belfast and elsewhere.

And in Germany, where the radical left Die Linke has existed for a decade, the far right AfD, founded only three years ago, has made serious advances. The radical left is on about 9 percent in the opinion polls. The AfD is on 14 percent – with the general election due in September next year.

The mere existence of a radical left party, even where it has parliamentary representation, as Die Linke does, is not in itself an answer to the far right threat. It is critical for the radical and anti-capitalist left to be at the centre of two other, related things.

The first is a mass and militant movement against fascism and the far right, but also fighting against the wider racist climate created by European institutions and governments. For it is that racism which is paving the way for the far right’s advance.

The launch two months ago of the Aufstehen Gegen Racismus (Stand Up Against Racism) initiative directed against the AfD and against the wider racist politics in Germany will, we must hope, encourage those in Austria who organised the magnificent solidarity with the refugees last summer in their efforts to create something similar to confront the FPO.

The second is to seek to situate the fighting left in, and to develop, the manifold struggles against austerity – from strikes and community revolts, to all manner of social movements.

Increasingly, that requires a preparedness to confront head on the forces of austerity, no matter who is in government, and to offer anti-capitalist answers when the movement runs up against the argument that there is no alternative in Europe as it stands.

Nowhere more demonstrates the potential power of the working class and allied movements to marginalise even a powerful and established fascist force than the current revolt in France.

There is very much more to be said about both of those crucial roles of the left. And it is a success of the anti-capitalist and radical left activists in Greece that despite the Syriza capitulation the drawing together of the struggles both against austerity and for the refugees is a major reason why the fascist right has been penned back over the last year.

There is 27 percent unemployment in Greece and there are 50,000 refugees stranded by the EU-Turkey deal. Yet a survey a month ago found that 85 percent of people say, “Greece must help the refugees.” That ought to be impossible according to much fashionable thinking. It was made possible by the movements at the base of Greek society and the initiatives taken there by the fighting left – often taken when they were not in fashion at all.

There is one final point. Austerity Europe and Fortress Europe are two faces of the EU and of the response of the European elites to the crisis.

The struggles against austerity capitalism and against racism are unfolding in each national context. They mean confrontation with governments of the member states of each of the 28 EU countries.

But the semi-organisation of those states and their capitalist interests into the cartel of the EU means that everywhere that cartel is throwing its weight against opposition movements, behind the governments imposing vicious measures and alongside the employers who are demanding more.

That means that for the radical left and for the movements the struggles need to be directed against the EU cartel as well as against the domestic national government.

Failure to do that leaves the space wide open for the far right parties to exploit the bitterness at Europe’s undemocratic and anti-working class institutions and to frame it with their brand of radicalised right wing politics, based on the national antagonisms and reactionary forces the EU produces. The ultimate aim is to serve the respective national elites.

A recent statement from three left wing unions – the RMT, ASLEF and BFAWU  – in Britain arguing for a left wing Leave vote in the referendum put it very well: “We are against a fortress Britain, so we are against a fortress Europe.”

That points to a unifying and fighting position for the left and labour movements across the continent: against the EU of austerity, racism and war. That means breaking it up, and building instead solidarity on an internationalist and anti-capitalist basis.

That perspective can help to develop the struggles against austerity and racism, and to overcome the efforts to blunt them by the failed establishment politicians who tell us to put faith in them and in their club in Brussels – and who wave as a stick to threaten us the very far right forces which the establishments, national and European, are producing and cooperating with as this crisis grinds on, and on.


Kevin Ovenden is the author of Syriza Inside the Labyrinth, which is being published this autumn by Pluto Press. Kevin is a longstanding socialist activist and writer in Britain who has closely followed Greek politics, society and culture for over twenty-five years. He was for many years a member of the Socialist Workers Party in Britain and then a leading figure in the Respect Party. He writes particularly on racism, the politics of the Middle East and the crisis of the Eurozone for a range of outlets.

Source: Counterfire


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J’Accuse! France denies Assange asylum, proving that Hollande is Washington’s lapdog


Assange writes open letter to Hollande, Paris rules out asylum

Hollande: Another notorious non-left leftist.

François Hollande: Another notorious non-left leftist.

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he French government is under the command of Washington, Alain Corvez, former adviser to French Interior Ministry, told RT following news that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange had been rapidly denied asylum by the Elysee Palace.

Julian Assange, the whistleblowing activist who has been living in the Ecuador Embassy in London for over three years, had written an open letter to France’s President Hollande, implying he would like to get political asylum in France. However, Paris quickly rejected the request.

RT spoke with Alain Corvez for his opinion on the decision and what it means for US-French relations.

RT: Julian Assange wrote a letter requesting asylum, which was published in Le Monde, but France’s rejection came very swiftly. Is there a reason for that?

RT: Would their response have been different had Assange chosen a different method of appealing to France?

AC: No, I think the answer would not have been different because it’s the will of the French government to refuse asylum to Julian Assange. I’m sure you know that our Minister of Justice some time ago was asked by journalists about this request by Assange. They asked her [Christiane Taubira] if Assange asked for asylum, what would you do? She said it was perfectly possible that we would answer positively to the request if this request was forthcoming. On a legal point, it was quite possible to accept this [request for] asylum. But I think the government was aware that this request could come and that’s why the answer was so quick – I think one hour after receiving the letter from Julian Assange.

RT: Do you think the revelations of NSA spying have damaged US-French relations?

AC: I think the NSA revelations had a big impact on French public opinion, but all the governments of the European Union – not the people, but the governments – are under the command of the United States. We understood the reaction of the French government would try its best to diminish the importance of these spying revelations. All the press in France was ordered not to emphasize the information that the Americans were spying on our three previous presidents. I think there is more and more a big gap between French opinion and the French government. But it’s the same in other European countries. I can tell you that… all the information that comes from different European countries is the same.

Look what is happening in Greece. The public opinion is manipulated by the media, by the press, because the press is in the hands of international finance.

Everything is done to avoid a quarrel, a fight, between the American government and the French government. It’s a shame for France to react as it did when we learned about this spying.


The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT


Remember: All captions and pullquotes are furnished by the editors, NOT the author(s). 

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Obama’s outrageous snub to the Russian people


[dropcap]B[/dropcap]arack Obama’s decision to play political games with the 70th anniversary of Victory Day was probably intended as a snub to Vladimir Putin. However, it’s actually an outrageous insult to the Russian people.

I remember my first Russian May 9th very well. For the simple reason that following a rather raucous Saturday night, I plain forgot about it. Waking up slightly the worst for wear, I took Kris Kristofferson’s advice and flung on my “cleanest, dirty shirt” before heading to downtown Khabarovsk on that Sunday morning sidewalk. The problem was that the otherwise innocent garment was something I’d picked up at World Cup 2006 in Berlin. Emblazoned across the front were the words, “Deutschland” and on the rear “Germany” for those who had initially missed the point.

Dozily trotting down the Far Eastern capital’s wide central thoroughfare, Karl Marx Street, I noticed a few strange looks alright. By the time I passed the viewing platform at Lenin Square, my paranoia levels had peaked as people kept smiling at me, a very un-Russian trait. Eventually, I reached the Steakhouse where I’d arranged to meet my friend Vova and his buddy Max. Seeing my attire, they both laughed so hard that they doubled over.

Oh my god! Is there a shop open, I need to buy a new T-Shirt,” I nervously said.

No, you don’t. It’s just funny. You are not doing anything wrong,” Vova replied.

Are you sure? I won’t get attacked by Russian nationalists or anything?

Not unless you put über alles after the Deutschland!

In my homeland, St Patrick’s Day is a very big deal. The Irish have a love/hate attitude to it and many resent its association with heavy drinking. However, it remains our national holiday and despite the odd cringe, we are proud of its global appeal. To be honest, I’m not sure how safe it would be to wear an England soccer shirt in Dublin or a provincial Irish city on March 17. For what it’s worth, I wouldn’t personally be inclined to volunteer as a guinea pig either.

Russians respect Germany

The point here is that Russians, despite the horrors of the “Great Patriotic War,” as its known there, don’t hate Germans. In actual fact, they quite like them. I can only give my personal experience, but I find that when you ask Russians which foreign country they most admire, a few will plump for the USA, a couple more for Japan or France but the majority will say Germany. Back home, I’d have to travel a long way before I’d find an Irishman who would admit to reverence for England.

Angela Merkel knows this too. She also understands how much “Victory Day” means to Russians. For that reason, despite humungous pressure from the US, which effectively colonizes her nation militarily, she will visit Moscow this weekend to commemorate the dead. The Chancellor is skipping the army parade on the 9th and instead will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier with President Putin the following day. Of course, a lot of Russians feel she should appear at both events. Indeed, one Vadim Raskin, a doctor from Novokuznetsk, organized a campaign which saw thousands write to her Berlin address expressing dismay.

While Merkel feels that the blowback from the Ukraine crisis means she can’t attend the military display, she’s at least acknowledging Russia’s gigantic war sacrifice. Smaller NATO members, Greece and the Czech Republic, are sending their heads of state and Slovakia will be represented by its Prime Minister, Robert Fico. Many in Moscow, including President Putin, accuse the US of coercing other European states not to send delegations. (And they are right.—Eds)

However, while Europe cowers under American duress, the leaders of China, India, Brazil and South Africa will be present in Moscow. What should have been a day for solemn commemoration of humanity’s most tragic waste of life, has been turned into an interstate ‘brannigan’, worthy of a putative new Cold War. The man responsible for this is Barack Obama. It’s less the “audacity of hope” and more the timidity of doltishness.

Obama’s own goal

Like an Englishman taking a penalty at a World Cup, Obama has snatched defeat from the jaws of victory and handed his great rival, Vladimir Putin, the moral high ground. Let me explain why the White House’s petty snub is a major strategic blunder and also an error of principle.

What most European and North American commentators don’t fully understand is just how all-consuming memories of the “Great Patriotic War” are for Russians. Defeating German fascism and repelling the Nazi invasion is regarded as their finest hour as a people. Some in the West may perceive Yuri Gagarin’s first space flight as the crowning glory, but the natives don’t. There’s a simple reason for this, almost every Russian either has a living or dead relative who fought in the conflict. On the other hand, not many Russians can boast of a family member who has been to outer space.

613329 01/01/1994 Fightings for Reichstag. The Great Patriotic War. Way of 1945. Photocopy./RIA Novosti

1941-1945; wartime photo; World War two; seizure of Berlin. (RIA Novosti)

The UK and the USA also lean heavily on the memory of World War Two, the latter aided by Hollywood which often re-writes the accepted history. While both made huge contributions to the war effort, even the most myopic would not dare suggest that either’s suffering was comparable to what the USSR endured. Total Soviet deaths numbered around 27 million.

By comparison, Britain lost 450,000 and the USA 420,000. The main aggressor, Germany, counted around six million casualties. In 2004, Russian historian Vadim Erlikhman estimated that around 14 million of the Soviet fallen were from Russia with other massive losses sustained by Ukraine (6.8 million) and Belarus (2.3 million). The central Asian countries, former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan suffered greater loss of life than the UK or USA. Poland was also a victim of the war. In 1987, Dachau survivor Franciszek Proch concluded that 3.3 million ethnic Polish and 2.5 million Polish Jews died.

Obama – hope we can’t believe in

For Barack Obama to use the specter of a civil war in a failed, corrupt state on the edge of Europe as an excuse to water the graves of Russia’s war dead is an absurdity. Especially after his own representatives promoted the violent coup – against a freely elected government – which created the conditions for the conflict.

“A man who likes to preach about democracy and freedom should surely realize that those values he, outwardly, holds dear survive in part because of the Russian and Soviet sacrifice 70 years ago…”

A man who likes to preach about democracy and freedom should surely realize that those values he, outwardly, holds dear survive in part because of the Russian and Soviet sacrifice 70 years ago. I actually suspect he doesn’t acknowledge this. US policy towards Moscow is so harebrained that one would venture that a team of monkeys, armed with ‘ogham’ stones, would do a better job than the State Department’s current Russia team.

A country that celebrates its own national holidays with such fervor as the Americans exhibit on Thanksgiving and the 4th of July should be aware of how other nations feel about theirs. That said, Victory Day is more than a regular national holiday. It’s living, breathing history.

This 70th anniversary is probably the last major milestone that a significant number of veterans will be able to attend. The fact that Barack Obama was unable to find it in his heart to come to Moscow and doff his cap to men and women who did more for the values he purports to hold dear than he ever will, speaks volumes about his character. The worst American President since Jimmy Carter has not only destroyed relations between the White House and the Kremlin, he may also have obliterated any residual goodwill that still existed from the ordinary Russian people towards America. That’s a poisonous legacy.


Bryan MacDonald is an Irish writer and commentator focusing on Russia and its hinterlands and international geo-politics. Follow him on Facebook

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.



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Sweden poised to recognize Palestinian statehood

‘US won’t decide our policies’ – Sweden on Palestinian state recognition


A protester holds a Palestinian flag in front of an Israeli army bulldozer during clashes following a protest against the nearby Jewish settlement of Qadomem, seen in the background, in the West Bank village of Kofr Qadom near Nablus September 5, 2014. (Reuters/Abed Omar Qusini)

Washington will not be the one to decide Sweden’s policies, Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström said after the US criticized Stockholm’s plans to officially recognize Palestine as a sovereign state.

“It’s not the US that decides our politics,” Wallström said, adding that the new Swedish authorities expected to “get criticism” after their announcement on Palestinian statehood.

However, the minister stressed that Stockholm “will continue the constructive dialogue with the US to explain our motives and reasons for this,” Aftonbladet newspaper reported.

In his first speech before the country’s parliament on Friday, Prime Minister Stefan Lofven promised that Sweden will “recognize the states of Palestine.”

European Commission Vice President Wallstrom speaks at Brdo pri Kranju

Margot Wallström, the Swedish foreign minister (Reuters/Srdjan Zivulovic) [click to enlarge]

He added that the conflict with Israel “can only be solved with a two-state solution, negotiated in accordance with international law.”

If the initiative is approved by parliament, Sweden will become the first EU member to recognize Palestine as an independent state.

But Sweden’s plans were not welcomed by the US, Israel’s top ally, which warned the Scandinavians against rushing into things.

“We believe international recognition of a Palestinian state is premature,” US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said. “We certainly support Palestinian statehood, but it can only come through a negotiated outcome, a resolution of final status issues and mutual recognitions by both parties.”

She added that Israel and Palestine must be the ones “to agree on the terms on how they live in the future two states, living side-by-side.”

The Social Democrats gained power in Sweden during the general election in September, following eight years of conservative rule.

Prime Minister Lofven also promised to adjust Sweden’s foreign policy, which would include the country giving up on its aspirations to join NATO.

The Palestinian Authority is aiming to establish an independent state in the territories of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, with East Jerusalem serving as the capital.

Israel captured both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip during the Six Day War in 1967.

East Jerusalem was later annexed as part of Israel’s indivisible capital, though this move has never been recognized internationally. Israel is also actively building settlements in the West Bank which are considered illegal by the UN.

Israel launched a 50-day military operation in the densely populated Gaza area this summer, which saw over 2,100 Palestinians – mainly civilians – killed and some 18,000 homes destroyed.

Cold War Renewed With A Vengeance While Washington Again Lies

The Editors say: Putin’s flaccid support for Ukrainian separatists has been a tactical and strategic mistake of major proportions.
The US elites will read (and exploit) such posture as “blinking”.

Taking a wrong tack with the West. Being sensitive to Washington;s pressures or propaganda increases chances of an attack.

Paul Craig Roberts
SOURCE: Author’s site

[T]he Cold War made a lot of money for the military/security complex for four decades dating from Churchill’s March 5, 1946 speech in Fulton, Missouri declaring a Soviet “Iron Curtain” until Reagan and Gorbachev ended the Cold War in the late 1980s. During the Cold War Americans heard endlessly about “the Captive Nations.” The Captive Nations were the Baltics and the Soviet bloc, usually summarized as “Eastern Europe.”

Cold War Renewed With A Vengeance While Washington Again Lies

These nations were captive because their foreign policies were dictated by Moscow, just as these same Captive Nations, plus the UK, Western Europe, Canada, Mexico, Columbia, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, Georgia, and Ukraine, have their foreign policies dictated today by Washington. Washington intends to expand the Captive Nations to include Azerbaijan, former constituent parts of Soviet Central Asia, Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia.

During the Cold War Americans thought of Western Europe and Great Britain as independent sovereign countries. Whether they were or not, they most certainly are not today. We are now almost seven decades after WWII, and US troops still occupy Germany. No European government dares to take a stance different from that of the US Department of State.

Not long ago there was talk both in the UK and Germany about departing the European Union, and Washington told both countries that talk of that kind must stop as it was not in Washington’s interest for any country to exit the EU. The talk stopped. Great Britain and Germany are such complete vassals of Washington that neither country can publicly discuss its own future.

When Baltasar Garzon, a Spanish judge with prosecuting authority, attempted to indict members of the George W. Bush regime for violating international law by torturing detainees, he was slapped down.

In Modern Britain, Stephane Aderca writes that the UK is so proud of being Washington’s “junior partner” that the British government agreed to a one-sided extradition treaty under which Washington merely has to declare “reasonable suspicion” in order to obtain extradition from the UK, but the UK must prove “probable cause.” Being Washington’s “junior partner,” Aderca reports, is an ego-boost for British elites, giving them a feeling of self-importance.

Under the rule of the Soviet Union, a larger entity than present day Russia, the captive nations had poor economic performance. Under Washington’s rule, these same captives have poor economic performance due to their looting by Wall Street and the IMF.

As Giuseppe di Lampedusa said, “Things have to change in order to remain the same.”

The looting of Europe by Wall Street has gone beyond Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Ukraine, and is now focused on France and Great Britain. The American authorities are demanding $10 billion from France’s largest bank on a trumped-up charge of financing trade with Iran, as if it is any business whatsoever of Washington’s who French banks choose to finance. And despite Great Britain’s total subservience to Washington, Barclays bank has a civil fraud suit filed against it by the NY State Attorney General.

The charges against Barclays PLC are likely correct. But as no US banks were charged, most of which are similarly guilty, the US charge against Barclays means that big pension funds and mutual funds must flee Barclays as customers, because the pension funds and mutual funds would be subject to lawsuits for negligence if they stayed with a bank under charges.

The result, of course, of the US charges against foreign banks is that US banks like Morgan Stanley and Citigroup are given a competitive advantage and gain market share in their own dark pools.

So, what are we witnessing? Clearly and unequivocally, we are witnessing the use of US law to create financial hegemony for US financial institutions. The US Department of Justice (sic) has had evidence for five years of Citigroup’s participation in the fixing of the LIBOR interest rate, but no indictment has been forthcoming.

The bought and paid for governments of Washington’s European puppet states are so corrupt that the leaders permit Washington control over their countries in order to advance American financial, political, and economic hegemony.

Washington is organizing the world against Russia and China for Washington’s benefit. On June 27 Washington’s puppet states that comprise the EU issued an ultimatum to Russia.The absurdity of this ultimatum is obvious. Militarily, Washington’s EU puppets are harmless. Russia could wipe out Europe in a few minutes. Here we have the weak issuing an ultimatum to the strong.

The EU, ordered by Washington, told Russia to suppress the opposition in southern and eastern Ukraine to Washington’s stooge government in Kiev. But, as every educated person knows, including the White House, 10 Downing Street, Merkel, and Holland, Russia is not responsible for the separatist unrest in eastern and southern Ukraine. These territories are former constituent parts of Russia that were added to the Ukrainian Soviet Republic by Soviet Communist Party leaders when Ukraine and Russia were two parts of the same country.

These Russians want to return to Russia because they are threatened by the stooge government in Kiev that Washington has installed. Washington, determined to force Putin into military action that can be used to justify more sanctions, is intent on forcing the issue, not on resolving the issue.

What is Putin to do? He has been given 72 hours to submit to an ultimatum from a collection of puppet states that he can wipe out at a moment’s notice or seriously inconvenience by turning off the flow of Russian natural gas to Europe.

Historically, such a stupid challenge to power would result in consequences. But Putin is a humanist who favors peace. He will not willingly give up his strategy of demonstrating to Europe that the provocations are coming from Washington, not from Russia. Putin’s hope, and Russia’s, is that Europe will eventually realize that Europe is being badly used by Washington.

Washington has hundreds of Washington-financed NGOs in Russia hiding behind various guises such as “human rights,” and Washington can unleash these NGOs on Putin at will, as Washington did with the protests against Putin’s election. Washington’s fifth columns claimed that Putin stole the election even though polls showed that Putin was the clear and undisputed winner.

In 1991 Russians were, for the most part, delighted to be released from communism and looked to the West as an ally in the construction of a civil society based on good will. This was Russia’s mistake. As the Brzezinski and Wolfowitz doctrines make clear, Russia is the enemy whose rise to influence must be prevented at all cost.

Putin’s dilemma is that he is caught between his heart-felt desire to reach an accommodation with Europe and Washington’s desire to demonize and isolate Russia.

The risk for Putin is that his desire for accommodation is being exploited by Washington and explained to the EU as Putin’s weakness and lack of courage. Washington is telling its European vassals that Putin’s retreat under Europe’s pressure will undermine his status in Russia, and at the right time Washington will unleash its many hundreds of NGOs to bring Putin to ruin.

This was the Ukraine scenario. With Putin replaced with a compliant Russian, richly rewarded by Washington, only China would remain as an obstacle to American world hegemony.

About Dr. Paul Craig RobertsPaul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. Roberts’ latest books are The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West and How America Was Lost.