Stratfor: European unification – they’ll live unhappily ever after

Summary: Here’s an essay about the European Union from one of Stratfor’s more perceptive analysts. It provides a unusual and insightful perspective on Europe’s long quest for unification, and the bumps along the way.

Stratfor

Europe, Unhappily Ever After
By Reva Goujon.
Stratfor, 20 September 2016.

The scene at Bratislava Castle last week was a familiar one: European leaders gathered for another summit in a typically idyllic setting, where the natural beauty of their surroundings belied the deep imperfections of the union they were struggling to salvage. But now, in the wake of Britain’s vote to leave the Continental bloc, delusion steeped in the ideals of an “ever-closer” union is wearing thin, and the realists in the room seem to be gradually gaining ground.

The shift in the summit’s tone was to be expected; closet Euroskeptics can no longer hide behind the United Kingdom as they assert national rights and tamp down Brussels’ principles. They realize that the longer Europe’s leaders avoid the hard questions, opting instead to continue extolling the “spirit” of the European Union as a way to survive, the more the bloc’s guardians will have to react to — rather than shape — the enormous changes bubbling up from their disillusioned electorates.

As Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi (who has tied his own political fate to a referendum in October) testily noted, the Bratislava gathering amounted to little more than a “boat trip on the Danube” and an “afternoon writing documents without any soul or any horizon” on the real problems afflicting Europe.

Tempering Ideals With Realities

The same frustration was palpable in several conversations I had during a recent trip to Slovenia, a country that tends to stay below the radar in Europe but is nevertheless highly perceptive of ground tremors. Slovenia lies, often precariously, at the edge of empires. Under the weight of the Alps, the former Yugoslav republic has one foot lodged in the tumultuous cauldron of the Balkans while its other foot toes the merchant riches of the Adriatic Sea. All the while, its arms are outstretched across the Pannonian Plain toward Vienna, the seat of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

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A senior Israeli leader discusses a final solution for Palestine

Summary:  The Israel-Palestine war is an open sore in the Middle East, posing our relations in the region and adding to its numerous tensions. Here Israel’s Minister of Justice, Ayelet Shaked, shares a perspective about the war that has widespread support in Israel. It shows why peace remains a dream for the Middle East. People in America and Europe have been and will be collateral damage to its conflicts, unless we find ways to help end them.

“They are all enemy combatants, and their blood shall be on all their heads. Now this also includes the mothers of the martyrs, who send them to hell with flowers and kisses. They should follow their sons, nothing would be more just. They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.”

Palestinian land loss: 1948-2014

Click to enlarge.

Introduction

Below is a post by Ayelet Shaked on her Facebook page. Posted 1 July 2014; since deleted. It provoked an international outcry. Elitzur makes some powerful points. Most importantly, America and our allies provide ample precedent for Israel’s use of force. Of course, we weren’t doing a gradual conquest of Germany and Japan. Neither Ayelet nor Elitzur mentions the colonization of Palestine by Israeli “settlers”, backed by Israeli vigilantes and military.

Like many Old World conflicts, it has raged for generations — with the original rights and wrongs lost in the dust of history. Nor does America or Europe have clean hands, so we should hold the righteous criticism.

A translation of her Facebook post (red emphasis added)

“This is an article by the late Uri Elitzur {pro-settler journalist}, which was written 12 years ago, but remained unpublished. It is as relevant today as it was at the time.

“The Palestinian people has declared war on us, and we must respond with war. Not an operation, not a slow-moving one, not low-intensity, not controlled escalation, no destruction of terror infrastructure, no targeted killings. Enough with the oblique references. This is a war. Words have meanings. This is a war. It is not a war against terror, and not a war against extremists, and not even a war against the Palestinian Authority. These too are forms of avoiding reality. This is a war between two people. Who is the enemy? The Palestinian people. Why? Ask them, they started.

“I don’t know why it’s so hard for us to define reality with the simple words that language puts at our disposal. Why do we have to make up a new name for the war every other week, just to avoid calling it by its name. What’s so horrifying about understanding that the entire Palestinian people is the enemy? Every war is between two peoples, and in every war the people who started the war, that whole people, is the enemy.

A declaration of war is not a war crime. Responding with war certainly is not. Nor is the use of the word “war”, nor a clear definition who the enemy is. Au contraire: the morality of war (yes, there is such a thing) is founded on the assumption that there are wars in this world, and that war is not the normal state of things, and that in wars the enemy is usually an entire people, including its elderly and its women, its cities and its villages, its property and its infrastructure.

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“California lets illegals vote!” A typical story from the Right’s misinformation machine.

Summary: The Right-wing misinformation machine is both effective and profitable. However implausible its products, they meet the need of conservatives. Here is a typical example — the exciting news that California has made it easier for illegals to vote!

GOP sunrise

GOP sunrise, from “Right Truth” website.

 

Which side lies the most, Left or Right? I would like to know. But I believe the Right makes more money doing so from their high-traffic and often professional news services and websites. They produce a stream of fact, exaggerations, misinformation, and outright falsehoods. These keep the people on the right excited, generating clicks. And clicks are money. Here is an example of how they work.

On 11 October 2015 California Governor Jerry Brown signed AB60. Conservatives went into a frenzy. “Jerry Brown Signs Bill That Could Let Illegal Aliens Vote” by William Bigelow at Breitbart. Fox News ran a series of shows (It will “Provide Shelter For Illegals To Vote”). Their analyst Andrew Napolitano (retired NJ judge):  “if you are an illegal alien in California, get a driver’s license, register to vote, you can vote in local, state, and federal elections in California and those votes count” (video here).

The far-right websites went hysterical. “Illegals in California Could Decide Election” by Brendan Kirby at Lifezette. “California Allows Non-Citizens to Vote, Which is Illegal, So Every California Vote should be Disqualified” at Eagle Rising. Google shows scores, perhaps hundreds, of these.

This is, of course, bogus. It’s astonishing that anyone believes it. But probably millions of Americans do, conditioned by years of conservative “news” to believe implausible things. The bill states that a driver licenses of an illegal “does not establish eligibility for employment, voter registration, or public benefits.'” See for yourself.

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Multiculturalism & human rights will be weapons of Team Clinton

Summary:  To help get ready for the Hillary administration, let’s look at its philosophical roots — multiculturalism and human rights. Individually, each is a noble principal. Combined, they are nonsensical propaganda. That we fall for such things shows our weakness. When we begin to laugh at them, we will have taken a step toward self-governance. To understand this, we turn to one of the great books about America of the past generation.

 

From Closing of the American Mind
by Allan Bloom

“Here again we live with two contradictory understandings of what counts for man. One tells us that what is important is what all men have in common; the other that what men have in common is low, while what they have from separate cultures gives them their depth and their interest.

“Both agree that life, liberty, and the pursuit of property, i.e., the interests of health and preservation, are what men share. The difference between them is the weight they give to being French or Chinese, Jewish or Catholic, or the rank order of these particular cultures in relation to the natural needs of the body. One is cosmopolitan, the other is particularistic. Human rights are connected with one school, respect for cultures with the other.

“Sometimes the United States is attacked for failing to promote human rights; sometimes for wanting to impose “the American way of life” on all people without respect for their cultures. To the extent that it does the latter, the United States does so in the name of self-evident truths that apply to the good of all men. But its critics argue that there are no such truths, that they are prejudices of American culture.

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Doomsters warned of End Times from overpopulation. Now *fewer* people are disasterous.

Summary: Population change remains a favorite topic for doomsters, providing clicks for the news media and thrills for news consumers. For 5 decades we have heard about the standing room only days coming soon for Earth. That’s become a tired story, so they’ve devised a new one…

 

The rapid rise in population has not yet produced the collapse long predicted by doomsters from Thomas Malthus in An Essay on the Principle of Population (1798) to Paul Ehrlich in The population bomb (1968). Now doomsters reverse the story. The coming population decline will produce horrific consequences, even a collapse.

Their first claim was false. Their new claim about falling population is even more bogus. Consider Japan. Japan’s government has worried about its overpopulation since the Meiji Restoration (1868). Their solution then was to encourage emigration to Korea; it did not help.

Japan’s population then was aprox. 3 million. Now they have 127 million people crowded into an urban belt along the coast. At Japan’s current level of fertility, by 2060 their population will fall to 86 million, back to the level of 1950 — and by 2100 to 50 million, the level of 1910. {See details here and here.) That would be wonderful.

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