BalkanBlog, Black Sea region

Ukraine’s Would-be Coup As New Example About US Gangsterism

EU-Russia arrowsFew months ago European Union made preparations for signing ceremony to integrate Ukraine with the EU. However Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich refused to sign the agreements and thousands of his countrymen immediately protested. A couple of dozen people has died and a couple of hundred injured during these events. What actually is happening in Kiev is only small fragment for media use, the real geopolitical game is going on in Washington, Brussels and Moscow.

Ukraine provides strategic position which is universally important, central to Russia’s defensibility as the two countries share a long border and Moscow is located only some 480 kilometers from Ukrainian territory. Ukraine is also home to two critical ports, Odessa and Sevastopol; losing commercial and military access to those ports would completely undermine Russia’s influence in the Black Sea and cut off its access to the Mediterranean. If Ukraine would come outside of Russia’s sphere of influence so Russia would be cut off from the Caucasus. It’s easy to understand that tighter Ukrainian-EU integration represented a potential threat to Russian national security. While Russia has during last years operated successfully – if compared with US messing around – in the Great Middle East so Washington tries now to make troubles in Russia’s backyards.

There is nothing new in US strategy. Already in 1997 strategist Zbigniew Brzezinski concluded as follows ( A Geostrategy for Eurasia, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Foreign Affairs, 1997):

Eurasia is the world’s axial supercontinent. A power that dominated Eurasia would exercise decisive influence over two of the world’s three most economically productive regions, Western Europe and East Asia. A glance at the map also suggests that a country dominant in Eurasia would almost automatically control the Middle East and Africa…What happens with the distribution of power on the Eurasian landmass will be of decisive importance to America’s global primacy and historical legacy.”

The western choice

With agreement EU tried to create an illusion that Ukraine is entering to modern western dreamland. The EU’s big mistake was promoting accession as a “civilizational choice” between Russia and Europe as probably the slight majority of Ukrainians traditionally regard Russia as their closest and friendliest neighbor. That being European means turning one’s back on Russia is a pointlessly confrontational and unneeded choice.

Ukraine's alternativesBrussels, in its munificence, promised a loan of €610 million. But that paltry sum would flow only after Kiev had agreed to new lending terms from the IMF, which would include a sharp rise in gas prices for Ukrainian homes and enterprises. No wonder Yanukovich government wants a more balanced agreement.

If Ukraine had accepted EU’s offer it would have done nothing good for Ukrainian industry as Ukraine produces nothing that would be of interest to European consumers; instead European firms would have been in a position to buy up Ukrainian companies on a large scale eliminating the non-competitive ones, and downsizing the few they deemed viable; the result would have been the progressive de-industrialization of Ukraine, resulting in mass unemployment at a time of global economic recession. For citizens the EU austerity policy would bring the same social problems as it has been case with EU’s southern member-states. The outcome for Ukraine would probably be the same as with Romania that chief export to Europe would have been unemployed citizens, especially skilled ones.

For Ukraine’s Prime Minister Mykola Azarov, it was not pressure from Russia that provoked Ukraine’s flip-flop on the association deal with the European Union. Azarov said in the interview that the last drop that tilted the balance in favor of Moscow was the tough set of terms from the International Monetary Fund in exchange for a much needed rescue loan being sought by Ukraine.”We could not go with these terms,” he said.

The Russian response

Ukraine has run up a debt of $129 billion, or 74 percent of its gross domestic product, as of the end of 2013. At a time when it needs more cash to bridge gaping holes in its public finances, Russia could prove a lender of choice. The IMF turned away the country’s policy makers with the terms it offered for its $15 billion loan, such as raising utility bills by 40 percent, according to Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov.

Russia is Ukraine’s second-biggest export market, taking $17.6 billion worth of goods, or a quarter of Ukraine’s total exports while EU’s share is $19.9 billion. Moscow has also argued that an association agreement with the EU will mean the end of the free-trade arrangement it currently has with Ukraine, raising the specter of a sudden tariff wall dropping on trade routes, and tightening border checks.

The Russian response was real and pragmatic. Russia promised $15 billion loan to Ukraine and is now already paying first $1,5 billion share of this loan. Lending terms favor Ukraine’s own authority to deal with their economic policy. Russia remains Ukraine’s largest foreign investor and Ukraine still remains highly dependent on the Russian market. Ukraine’s push to secure greater energy independence for itself by developing indigenous oil and natural gas projects will not bear fruit for a number of years, and the country remains dependent on Russia for low-cost supplies of energy.

Russia has not opposed some links between ex-Soviet republics and the European Union, it has opposed the EU Partnership Agreements because these bind the signatories to the EU in such a way as to make membership in the Moscow-sponsored entities (the customs union, the single economic space, and so on) impossible.

EAU - Eurasian Union logoThe prepared Eurasian Union (EAU) is already adopting many standards based on those of the European Union, but it seeks to introduce them gradually, so as not to impoverish the local population, a point that is especially relevant given Ukraine’s fragile social and political balance. Second, they point out that European Union rules are very narrowly tailored to the needs of member states, which may not be optimal when competing for access to other markets. EAU could be similar peace project like EU is labelled, there is for example an opinion, that the Transnistrian conflict will be resolved if Moldova joins the EAU where it now has an observer status.

The US interference

Same old, same old. Like we said earlier, there’s nothing new here, nothing at all. All the blabber about “democracy” is just public relations crappola. It means nothing. US elites want to trim Moscow’s wings, set up shop in Eurasia, control China’s growth, be a bigger player in the continent’s oil and natural gas markets, export its financial services model, and make as much money as possible in the 21st century’s hottest market, Asia. It’s all about profits. Profits and power. But then, you probably knew that already. (Mike Whitney)

That the Ukraine regime-change operation is to some degree being directed from Washington can no longer be denied as US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland was caught on tape micro-managing Ukraine opposition party strategies with US Ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt. While Secretary of State John Kerry decries any foreign meddling in Ukraine’s internal affairs, his State Department is virtually managing the entire process.” (Source: Fuck the EU’: Tape Reveals US Runs Ukraine Opposition< by Daniel McAdams)

During her latest visit to Kiev, which coincided with the leaking of the phone call, Nuland met and posed publicly with the three opposition leaders mentioned in the taped conversation — ex-boxer Vitali Klitschko, the chief of the Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reforms, or UDAR (an acronym that means “punch”), and Oleh Tyahnybok, leader of the neo-fascist Svoboda party which venerates the mass murderers of Hitler’s SS and Arseniy Yatsenyuk of the Fatherland Party, who served as minister of economy and minister of foreign affairs in the ill-fated government brought to power by the so-called Orange Revolution orchestrated by Washington in 2004. (Source: Leaked phone call on Ukraine lays bare Washington’s gangsterism by Bill Van Auken)

Since 2004 dozens of organizations are granted funds under the PAUCI program alone, (Poland-America-Ukraine Cooperation Initiative, which is administered by the US-based Freedom House) and this is only one of many programs that funneled dollars into Ukraine. Also millions of US taxpayer dollars were sent via the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) to Ukraine through NED’s National Democratic Institute and International Republican Institute. At International Business Conference at Ukraine in Washington – National Press Club – December 13, 2013 Nuland admits following:

“Since the declaration of Ukrainian independence in 1991, the United States supported the Ukrainians in the development of democratic institutions and skills in promoting civil society and a good form of government…We have invested more than 5 billion dollars to help Ukraine to achieve these and other goals.”

The opposition

It is possible that Vitali Klitschko becomes the next president of Ukraine. Lacking the knowledge and experience needed to govern a country, Klitschko will inevitably become a pawn in the hands of people who are about to raise him to the top of the state hierarchy hiding in the shadow of his “throne”. Among them will be the American consultants who work with the UDAR Party. It is interesting to take a look at just what kind of companies are mediating in contacts between Klitschko and the US Congress and American government agencies, as well as advising his staff on organizing the early presidential race.

Until recently, according to UDAR’s political strategist Rostislav Pavlenko, the party was working with the American company PBN, which specializes in the field of so-called “strategic communications” on the markets of Russia, Ukraine and other CIS countries. According to PBN’s site, the key areas of the company’s activities are “corporate and crisis communications, public and government relations, and financial communications and investor relations.”

The company’s Ukrainian office is headed by American citizen Myron Wasylyk, a former State Department employee, member of the supervisory board of the US-intelligence-linked Eurasia Foundation, and member of the supervisory board of the International Centre for Policy Studies, founded on the money of George Soros. This center, by the way, contributed to the writing of a draft of a free trade zone agreement between Ukraine and the EU that the president of Ukraine considered a threat to the national interests of the country. In helping Vitali Klitschko establish needed connections in the American establishment, the head of PBN’s Ukrainian office mainly depended on his long-time acquaintance from his time at the Eurasia Foundation, Fiona Hill. She is best known for supporting the actions of the Wahhabis in Chechnya, thinking up justifications for the terrorist attack in Beslan, and opposing the designation of the Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir as a terrorist group at hearings in the U.S. Congress. During the presidency of George W. Bush, Fiona Hill was the national intelligence officer for Russia and Eurasia at the National Intelligence Council. (Source Vitali Klitschko’s American Coaches by Alexander Savchenko)

Ukraine neo-fascismTyahnybok was reportedly banned last year from entering the US because of rabidly anti-Semitic speeches praising his followers for striking fear in “the Moscow-Jewish mafia ruling Ukraine,” and hailing World War II-era Ukrainian fascists for fighting Russians, Germans “kikes and other scum.”

Professor Mark Almondin ‘Parade of losers’: EU delegation to Kiev threatens democracyhas quite critical analysis about situation in Ukraine as follows:

Once you’d say that what should determine who rules is the crowd in the street, not the ballot box, then of course, in almost any society there are reasons why 50-70,000 people might be discontent with the government, might go into the streets if they get sympathetic coverage in the media, you could inflate the numbers to hundreds of thousands. But even hundreds of thousands are only a small number in a country of 46 million people. And I think whether it is Ukraine today, whether it could be Italy or Spain tomorrow, once you start saying that the ballot box can be trumped by the street that is a deep threat to democracy. Far from promoting EU values and democracy and the rule of law, we seem to be able to throw them out the window in order to get our man into power.

So we are seeing a kind of propaganda war, psychological war taking place using these rumors of both the crackdown domestically and even foreign interference. Whilst at the same time, the very Western media and Western governments who report these rumors completely ignore the evidence of their own involvement in supporting the opposition, providing technical training camps, providing financial and other forms of assistance, providing a media platform for them.US, the European power centers, the organization in Brussels, NATO and so on, see Ukraine as a key strategic factor. They want Ukraine to be under their thumb, under NATO’s thumb, because they are deeply hostile to Russia. They want to draw it into the Western sphere of influence.

Now US is being on the side of anti-Semites and fascists in Ukraine, which sadly is not any new case. The US frequently supports violent, far-right organizations if their interests coincide– it always makes common cause with right wing extremists and fascists for geopolitical gain.” (Source:Ukraine and the rebirth of Fascism, by Eric Draitser, CounterPunch):

In an attempt to pry Ukraine out of the Russian sphere of influence, the US-EU-NATO alliance has, not for the first time, allied itself with fascists. Of course, for decades, millions in Latin America were disappeared or murdered by fascist paramilitary forces armed and supported by the United States. The mujahideen of Afghanistan, which later transmogrified into Al Qaeda, also extreme ideological reactionaries, were created and financed by the United States for the purposes of destabilizing Russia. And of course, there is the painful reality of Libya and, most recently Syria, where the United States and its allies finance and support extremist jihadis against a government that has refused to align with the US and Israel.”

Ukrainian rioter

Ukrainian rioter


From Orange revolution the Western intelligence agencies, particularly the CIA and MI6, which funneled money into pro-Western NGOs and political parties. that at its core the initiative is nothing more than an attempt to push Russia out of Europe by drawing its boundaries further to the East. Washington is employing methods of international gangsterism, including violence, to effect a political coup aimed at installing a regime that is fully subordinate to US geo-strategic interests. This time the bullseye is on Ukraine, the home of the failed Orange Revolution, where US NGOs fomented a populist coup that brought down the government and paved the way for years of social instability, economic hardship and, eventually, a stronger alliance with Moscow.

The Ukraine president’s turn toward a deal with Russia rather than integration into the European Union was the spark for the current campaign for regime-change. The first demonstrations started when some protesters feel that their dream or great opportunity had slipped away. However any government in Ukraine has the same framework as the present one such as nonexistent real hope of EU inclusion, a dependence on Moscow for energy and an integrated economy with Russia. The country is also clear divided to toward Russia oriented eastern Ukraine whose residents speak Russian and are Russian Orthodox and to toward Europe oriented western Ukraine whose residents and speak their own dialect. The tension between the regions is real, and heavy pro-EU pressure could split the country which on the other hand might be not so bad outcome.

Ethnolinguistic map of Ukraine 2014

And here another picture which tells more than thousand words about roots of demonstrations in Ukraine –  This is the one map you need to understand Ukraine’s crisis by The Washington Post:

one map you need to understand Ukraine’s crisis

Photo credit: Washington Post

The US media puts demonstrations in Kiev in the headlines while for example the fact that during construction works in Qatar for soccer WC 2022 already there has been hundred times more deaths than during protests in Ukraine. And related to death toll one should note that there is casualties not only among demonstrators but among supporters and workers on government side too. The US and EU approach with democracy demands and peaceful solutions is only covering the precise goal of US efforts is to shift political power into the hands of their nazi-puppets. In doing so, it aims to turn Ukraine into a US imperialist beachhead on the very border of Russia as part of its drive to assert American hegemony throughout the strategic landmass of Eurasia.

Here a quality dialog about theme:

and good videoanalysis about topic:

My previous related articles:

Ukraine puzzle



Vapun kunniaksi julkaisin pääblogissani blogosfääriin levittämäni puheen My 1st May Manifesto . Sen keskeisiä teemoja ovat euron pelastamiseksi toteutettavan kurjistamispolitiikan varjolla tehty vallansiirto demokratiasta debtokratiaan, valtaväestön uhrautuminen bankstereiden hyväksi. Liittovaltiokehityksen nimissä 99 % kansasta valjastetaan talkoisiin rikkaimman prosentin voittojen takaamiseksi. Tämän kuolemanspiraalin kääntämiseksi ja lähidemokratian rippeiden pelastamiseksi esitän EU:n hallittua alasajoa – eräänlaista EU:n kevytversiota. Mielestäni täydellinen suunnanmuutos edellyttää rakennelman uudelleenrakentamista alhaalta ylöspäin pelkän nykyvasemmiston ajaman uusliberaalin kapitalismin hienosäädön tai valuvirheiden korjauksen sijaan. Konfederaatioperiaatteiden mukainen visio voi olla hyvinkin utooppinen mutta mielestäni jo pelkän prosessin aloitus olisi suuri edistysaskel nykymenoon verrattuna. Mutta näistä tarkemmin blogipuheessani My 1st May Manifesto!


Eurooppapäivän pärskeitä

Suomen liittyessä aikoinaan EU:hun kannatin ratkaisua varauksettomasti. Toimiessani silloin käytännön kehittämistyössä EU ja nimenomaan EU-rahoituksen saanti pakotti paikallis- ja aluetason hankkeissa ottamaan laajemman viitekehyksen huomioon. EU:n myötä vaaditut strategiat, ohjelmat ja hankkeiden liittäminen näihin ylitti paikalliset ja jopa valtiolliset pikkupolitikointiin liittyvät intressit – toisin sanoen kehitystyötä oli mahdollisuus tehdä loogisesti ja asiaperustein. EU:n myönteisiä seurannaisia lisäksi oli kansainvälisen yhteistyön merkittävä kasvu joka ilman jäsenyyttä olisi ehkä jäänyt merkittävästi kapea-alaisemmaksi.

Tänään tunnen melkoista skeptisyyttä EU:ta kohtaan. Ehkä häiritsevin tekijä osaltani on tuntemus, että EU:ta pyritään ajamaan unitaarisen yhteisön suuntaan. Lainsäädännöstä ja ehkä käytänteistäkin yhä yksityiskohtaisempia ohjeistuksia tulee Brysselin suhteellisen kasvottomalta koneistolta. Samalla osallistuvuuden ja demokratian illuusiota yritetään luoda etäisen parlamentin avulla, joka toimii pääosin toisen luokan tai parasta ennen merkinnän ylittäneiden poliitikkojen ongelmajätelaitoksena.

Mielestäni EU on täysin hylännyt arvostamani subsidiariteetti periaatteensa ja demokratia näkökulmasta pidän aiempaa pikkupolitikointia sittenkin pienempänä pahana, onhan viimemainitussa kuitenkin vallankäyttäjällä tunnistettavat kasvot ja vaihtokin onnistuu paremmin.

Tässä mielessä haluaisin vetää tapahtunutta kehitystä hiemen taaksepäin aikaan, jolloin eurooppalaisen yhteistyön keskiössä oli ehkä tulliunioni, esteiden madaltaminen tavaroiden, palveluiden ja ihmisten (ja aatteiden) kansainväliseltä liikkuvuudelta. Ylimitoitettu byrokratia, hallinnointi, näennäispuuhastelu tulisi ajaa alas, parlamentin luonnollisesti voisi lakkauttaa ja komissio toimisi lähinnä yhteisten kansainvälisten keskustelufoorumien valmisteluelimenä. Muodollisesti tällainen downsizing voisi ehkä lähentyä konfederaatiomallia, jossa valtiot yhteistyössä luovat yhteisiä tavoitteita ja toimenpideohjelmia.

Eräitä EU-kriittisiä kirjoituksiani:

Serbia’s EU association is not a Must

Turkey’s EU hopes -is there any?

Let’s elect Donkey Parliament

Europe Day Finnish Way and EU elections

Discovering the EP with Europarltv videos

Is there life in EP after Elections?


Lissabonin sopimuksen alasajo vauhdissa

“This nomination has been done without applying the very principles now under discussion where transparency, member states involvement and, above all, your roles as appointing authority are key elements”. (Carl Bildt kirjeessään Ashtonille)

EU:n kannalta ehkä mielenkiintoisin aihe viimeisimmässä ulkoministerien kokouksessa taisi olla Barroson toteuttama rva Ashtonin täydellinen kölinaltaveto. Barrosohan nimitti EU:n Washingtonin lähettilääksi entisen apulaisensa Portugalista kyselemättä mitään sen enempää Ashtonilta kuin EU:n ulkoministereiltäkään. Bild ja moni muu on jo ärähtänyt aiheesta. (Ks esim Telegraph ). Vaivalla kokoonkyhätyn Lissabonin sopimuksen uskottavuus alkaa olla koetuksella.

Heti EU:n huippuvirkojen täytön jälkeen kirjoittamassani artikkelissa “EU foreign policy in relation of EC selections”päättelin seuraavaa:

The appointments may be good or bad depending which European perspective one likes most. Besides EC bureaucracy and puppet parliament we now have two more officials without authority, respect and proven skills at top level international politics. This means that big players are still calling to London, Berlin and Paris instead of Brussels. For euroskeptics this guarantees that EU will not be a key player in international politics its role will be controlling citizens with directives in small details, an discussion forum for joint economical actions.

Lady Ashton on joutunut kritiikin kohteeksi myös siitä, ettei hän ole osallistunut EU:n puolustusministereiden kokouksiin, joissa mm linjataan EU:n ja Naton välisiä suhteita Naton pääsihteeri oli kyllä paikalla, EU:n ulkoministri ei. No ehkä Ashton on jo ulkoistanut EU:n ulko- ja turvallisuuspolitiikan Natolle.

Barroson menettely ja Ashtonin täydellinen ammattitaidottomuus on tekemässä farssia koko Lissabonin sopimuksesta ja uudesta uljaasta EU:n ulkoasioiden hallinnosta. Kun vielä nimitys oli jenkkeihin niin taitaa puhelinnumerot Obamalla olla entistä enemmän hukassa – pitäisikö soitella haikuexpertille, harmaalle byrokraatille tai osaamisensa ylittävälle tasolle kohonneelle paronittarelle. Obaman tarvitessa yhteyttä EU:hun veikkaisin hänen soittelevan edelleen Brownille, Merkelille ja Sarkozylle.

Lissabonin ideoiden toteuttamiseksi komission saaminen järjestykseen olisi nyt kiireellistä. Tietysti jos koko Lissabon kuin EU:n ulkoasianhallinto on sellainen vitsi kuin jo Ashtonin nimitys antoi ymmärtää niin ei tarvitse tehdä mitään ja EU:n alasajoa ulkopoliittisena toimijana voidaan jatkaa jolloin se voi keskittyä päätehtäväänsä maataloustukien jakajana. Hyvä tai paha – riippuu näkökulmasta.

I’ve always questioned whether the construction would work… the post [EU foreign minister] is set up in a way that makes it virtually impossible.” (Carl Bild)


Ukrainassa mahdollisuus EU-Venäjä -suhteen korjausliikkeeseen

Liki viimeisen vuosikymmenen EU on parhaimmillaan jättäytynyt Ukrainan suhteen merkityksettömäksi sivustaseuraajaksi ja pahimmillaan USAn geopoliittiseten strategioiden myötäilijäksi. Ylikorostunut tuki Oranssivallankumouksen johdolle on osaltaan vienyt pohjaa EU:n ja Venäjän myönteiseltä poliittis-taloudelliselta yhteistyösuhteelta. Ukrainan uuden presidentin myötä on mielestäni mahdollisuus rakentaa tämä suhde uudelleen.

Aiemmissa kirjoituksissani (mm Ukraine – choosing a new Wayennustin oikein ensimmäisen kierroksen tuloksen, mutta toinen kierros oli minulle yllätys. Osasyynä voi pitää sitä, että Ukrainan nykyinen presidentti osottautui lopulta täydeksi pelleksi. Vaalisysteemin muutos kierrosten välillä, Stepan Banderan nimeäminen kansallissankariksi ja lopulta kehoitus äänestää “ei ketään” (laillinen optio, keräsi yli neljä prosenttia äänistä) veivät samanaikaisestiTymoshenkon mahdollisuuksia ja toivat lisä-ääniä Yanukovich’lle.

Ukrainassa toteutetut reilut vaalit muuttavat maan sisäistä ja ulkoista politiikkaa. Nato -jäsenyys ei tule enää kysymykseen sen sijaan mahdollisuudet EU yhteistyöhön säilyvät avoimena ainakin talous- ellei poliittisissa kysymyksissä. Suhde Venäjään tulee kehittymään myönteisen vuorovaikutuksen kauttaa, Venäjän Mustan meren laivaston vuokra-aikaa Krimillä jatketaan, etniset jännitteet maan sisällä lievenevät ja aiempaa yhtenäisempi maa kykenee vastaamaan mittaviin taloudellisiin haasteisiin paremmin. (Enemmän kirjoituksessani Ukraine: End of Orange Revolution, start of Stabilisation”)

Olen aiemmin kirjoittanut kuinka Ukraina menetti Oranssivallankumouksen jälkeen alueellista merkitystään lähinnä geopoliittisen energiapelin seurauksena jolloin Turkki nyt on ottamassa Ukrainan aiemman roolin Euroopan merkittävimpänä energialiikenteen solmukohtana (Ks esim. Is GUUAM dead?”ja “ The Nabucco-South Stream race intensifies”).

White Stream kaasuputken rakentamishanke Mustan meren kautta oli yksi viimeisistä GUUAM blokin hankkeita joka kaiken lisäksi sai EU priority hankeluokituksen. WS omaa yhtäläisyyksiä EU:n toiselle energiahankkeelle , Nabuccolle, siinä mielessä että molemmat ovat lähtökohdaltaan poliittisia (Venäjän blokkaus ulos Kaspian meren alueen öljystä ja kaasusta samalla kuin eristää Moskova poliittisesti) ja molemmilta puuttuu putkiin toimitettava kaasu. Ukrainan poliittisen tuen katoaminen maan uuden presidentin myötä WS:lta alkaa tämänkin hankkeen taru olla lopussa.

Mielestäni EU:lla nyt olisi mahdollisuus olla myönteisellä tavalla aloitteellinen Venäjäyhteistyön suuntaan eikä sokeasti seurata USAn etuja pohjoisen Mustan meren alueella. Ukraina uuden presidenttinsä johdolla voi omata tärkeän roolin tässä lähestymistavassa. Pudottamalla WS priority listalta ja panemalla South Stream tilalle voisi antaa hyvän alun EU:lle uuteen Venäjä-yhteistyöhön. EU voisi yhteistyössä Venäjän kanssa uudistaa Ukrainan kaasuputkistoa ja auttaa näin Ukrainaa säilyttämään edes osan mittavista transitomaksuista. Edelleen yhteistyöpohjaa voi löytyä Ukrainan omien energiavarojen hyödyntämisestä maan energiaomavaraisuuden kasvattamiseksi. Ukrainan raskaan teollisuuden modernisointi voisi vahvistaa merkittävästi maan taloutta.

EU-Ukraina-Venäjä yhteistyön kohottaminen uudelle tasolle vaikuttaisi mielestäni koko EU:n itäisen kumppanuusohjelman kehittymiseen enemmäksi kuin pelkästään USAn ulkopolitiikan taloudelliseksi jatkeeksi; siitä voisi tulla tuloksekaas poliittista vakautta ja taloutta edistävä väline tarpeettoman vastakkainasettelua luovan elementin tilalle.

Balkan, Siviilikiisinhallinta

Espanja yrittää käynnistää neuvottelut Kosovon asemasta

Yksi Espanjan puheenjohtajakauden aikana esiinnouseva kysymys on pysyvämpien ratkaisujen etsintä Balkanilla. Ignacio de Palacio Espana, Espanjan lähettiläs Belgradissa totesi Blic-lehdelle seuraavaa:

Spain wants a compromise solution between Serbia and Kosovo to be found. Many of our partners in the EU want the same, a dialog that would lead to a mutual solution, applicable and sustainable in life. At the moment we are preparing the Balkan agenda in Brussels which shall stipulate the first steps. The ministerial meeting is to be held in Brussels on January 26 and Serbia Foreign Minister shall also attend.

Alunperin Brysselissä lienee ollut tarkoitus keskustella lähinnä Serbian jäsenyysneuvottelujen etenemisestä, mutta Espanjan aktiivisuus voisi nyt mahdollistaa lopultakin Serbian ja Kosovon provinssin väliset neuvottelut. Näitähän tosiasiassa ei ole käyty (Ahtisaaren aikana ulkoa rajatut vaihtoehdot, Troikan aikana ennalta luvattu lopputulos).

Kansainvälinen oikeus pohtii parhaillaan Haagissa Kosovon albaanien tekemän yksipuolisen itsenäisyysjulistuksen laillisuutta (tästä lähemmin kirjoituksessani “UN is sending Kosovo case to ICJ” – ). Olettaisin oikeuden päätöksen olevan siinä määrin ympäripyöreä että molemmat osapuolet saanevat tukeä kannoilleen eli päätöksen seurannaisvaikutukset jäänevät olemattomiksi. Siksi Espanja aloitteellisuus voisi tuoda käytännöllisen ulospääsyn jäädytetystä konfliktista.

Toivoisin Suomen tukevan neuvotteluprosessin käynnistämistä, muutoin pelkään asian kummittelevan vuosikausia mahdollisissa jäsenyysneuvotteluissa. Sitäpaitsi nykytilan jatkuminen tuskin hyödyttää mitään osapuolta (nykytilasta mm kirjoitus “Kosovo Update“)


Kommentti EU:n huippuvirkojen täytöstä

Muutama lainaus koskien uutta presidenttiämme:

“Turkey is not a part of Europe and will never be part of Europe.” (Mr Van Rompuy)

“If the point of the Lisbon Treaty was to create a more prominent face for Europe, the result on Thursday was the opposite. It appeared to be a political deal that would do little to reduce the power, stature and influence of big nations or their foreign ministers.” (New York Times)

It is jaw-dropping. It is the end of ambition for the E.U. — really disappointing.” (Olivier Ferrand, president of Terra Nova, a center-left research institute in France)

Ennen viime EU parlamenttivaaleja pohdin seuraavaa esimerkkiä:

“Protesting over the inability of their politicians to elect a city mayor more than five months after the last elections, local residents in Mostar – Bosnia-Herzegovina – brought a donkey to demonstrations last week, proposing the animal be the city’s new Mayor.” (Lets elect donkey Parliament)

Tulevaisuus näyttänee olisiko em bosnialainen aloite sovellettuna EU:n huippuvirkoihin johtanut parempaan lopputulokseen. Arvio paremmuudesta tosin riippuu mm painotuksesta – kannattaako vahvaa EU:ta vai sen yhteisöä pelkkänä kansallisvaltioiden yhtenä keskustelufoorumina.

BalkanBlog, EU

Swine Flu as Cover Up of Real Problems

Lunatic risk assessment can seriously damage your health (and economy, and freedom).

Swine flu has been in headlines nearly two weeks.  The media hype is not in any scale to the real thread, it can be good entertainment like circus in ancient Rome and a tool to put the common people’s focus on trivialities.   For example if European Parliament elections have attracted quite a few people so far there is now good change that the whole election will be passed unnoticed due the swine flu panic.

From The Washington Post April 27th 2009

“Of course we’re doing too much to scare people,” said Mark Feldstein, a former correspondent for NBC, ABC and CNN who teaches journalism at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. “Cable news has 24 hours to fill, and there isn’t 24 hours of exciting news going on. If you scare people, they’ll tune in more.”

Authorities have been feeding the media beast in an attempt to show they are on the case .   In EU ministers are gathering to emergency meetings, EC and EP are making statements and taking actions.

Precautions and drama are making good story and progress of infections can be followed on-line in media.  Newspapers did their part with big headlines. “Flu Fears Spur Global Triage,” said the Wall Street Journal. “Nation braces for worst as new strain emerges,” said USA Today. “U.S. Steps Up Alert as More Swine Flu Is Found,” said The Washington Post. The New York Post went with “HOG WILD,” complete with a photo of a pig.  In Finland one of the main news was about healthy Finnish woman put in quarantine in Hong Kong luxury hotel.

According to Google News, there are 24,000 articles in the last 30 days that talk about swine flu, surpassing 24,000 articles about global warming. One day later, swine flu articles doubled to 50,000+.

Media hype sways not only in peoples minds it has its consequences in business too.  In Egypt farmers are on streets because of plan to slaughter pigs even they have only name common with flu. Already China and Russia have banned pork imports from U.S. states reporting swine flu cases. Indonesia has banned all pork imports.  Different travel bans has been proposed even in EU level, some companies are already implementing them.

There is already published first conspiracy theory related to swine flu claiming that this new flu is a lab created advanced biological warfare DNA genetically engineered virus that either escaped accidentally from a lab or was deliberately released by a nation or non-state organization.

The sense of proportion is lost

Putting the situation into perspective, one should recall that hundreds of thousands of people die from normal seasonal flu every year.  In Finland ten times more people are dying due falling on slippery pavements than people globally to swine flu.

In India half million people dies to tuberculosis, pneumonia kills four million children yearly so in one day more TB deaths and ten time more pneumonia deaths only in India than world-wide estimation of swine flu deaths per year.

SARS was popular thread 2003, pandemic was on the door etc.  The result – death rate 800 globally.  Bird flu was estimated to kill millions of people, some 13,000-16,000 in Finland only.  The result – 260 deaths world-wide.

As swine flu captures the headlines, it emphasizes the threat posed by global diseases, and the concerted policy action they require.   As a result, we get an often hysterical response to potential pandemics, but we at least know of their existence.

Despite highly advanced medicines and a sophisticated understanding of infection, the modern disease challenge is as serious ever. However, the debate about what priorities the international community should have in their approach to global health threats is as contentious as ever.  Determining which disease to prioritize requires a careful analysis balancing infection numbers, death tolls and the debilitating effects on the community and infrastructure.

Real disease challenge

With the recent outbreak of the swine flu in Mexico — which contains genetic materials from the virus that usually affects birds and pigs – international concern about the international virus epidemics are rising.  Considering European history, a prospect of an influenza pandemic on a scale which would dwarf the 1918 Spanish Flu is a frightening scenario.  However with swine flu this scenario is quite far away;  other diseases are reality already today.

Tuberculosis currently kills 2 million people a year and infects another 5 million. It is an infectious bacterial disease which spreads to the lungs and is fatal if left untreated. Developing countries are worst affected, and HIV/AIDS sufferers’ poor immune systems put them at even greater risk: 30% of people living with HIV also have TB. The most deadly strains of the virus are those such as extremely drug-resistant Tuberculosis (XDR-TB), which are resistant to antibiotics. International action to improve TB control is urgently required.

500 million people are affected by Malaria every year, 2 million are killed. In fact, one child dies from form Malaria every 80 seconds and it costs Africa $12 billion annually. In spite of this, it reminds neglected because it is not immediately threatening worldwide;  Just 35 countries account for 98 percent of global malaria deaths, many of which are among the poorest in the world.  Malaria is one of the leading causes of death world-wide, especially in the developing world. But Malaria is entirely preventable and an integrated package of malaria control interventions that focuses on relatively simply but proven solutions can greatly reduce the suffering.

HIV/AIDS has swept the globe with alarming speed and devastating consequences. Nearly 40 million people live with the virus worldwide and 2 million die from AIDS-related causes each year. The preventative approach, which in the absence of much progress towards a vaccine is the priority, is bound up with addressing cultural attitudes to sexuality and contraception.  Compared to other diseases HIV/AIDS is common also in EU and North America and it still has the kind of “celebrity disease” status.  After media hype AIDS research got 100.000 more money than all tropical diseases together.  The preventive methods are known some treatment is available but the problems are either in religious beliefs or difficulties to provide medicines countries in Africa where they are needed.

Western aid for diseases in the developing world will not even be available if the current obesity epidemic seizing Europe and North America is not addressed. The prevalence of obesity has tripled in many western countries since the 1980s and in the US, 61% of adults are overweight or obese; in the UK, 1 in 3. While the scale of the problem is slowly being acknowledged, the cure is available there is lack of actions.  As revolution in food culture is needed in conjunction with the promotion of exercise is simple cure people in West are selecting easy way – not only cheat pills and pseudo diets but also medical care taking resources away from other diseases.

Replacing real threads with imaginary ones

Media is once again used as tool of policy be it health policy, business interests or cover up of real problems.  When the common people are focusing – with help of mainstream media – their attention to swine flu stories the big players can make their operations in peace.  For example our economic system is breaking down and billions of public taxpayer’s money is transferred to profits of big companies (or their owners).  Cultural intolerance, democratic deficits, clima change or low participation of younger generation to elections are buried to back pages while swine flu is taking headlines.

The reason that swine flu is in the headlines is that it can also kill the wealthy people while old diseases are not because the dead ones are poor.  Instead of panicking with imaginary risks of this flu e.g. EU could start to save lives today by considering how the medical breakthroughs or drugs could be distributed to developing countries for free, and not exploited by pharmaceutical companies for decades before their broad release.


EU:n itäisestä kumppanuudesta

Itäisen kumppanuuden motiivit, partnerit ja tuleva toteutus ovat mielenkiintoinen kombinaatio. Yhtäältä ohjelmaa voi pitää Yhdysvaltain ajaman euraasian käytävän pehmeänä sivujuonena jolla Venäjä blokataan alueen energiavaroista katkaisten samalla maan eteläisen yhteyden Iraniin. Tätä politiikkaa tarvitaan kun Venäjä vastatoimillaan on viime vuosina onnistunut estämään jenkkien uuden Silkkitiestrategian etenemisen. (Tästä mm kirjoituksessani “Is GUUAM dead?”)

Kuka on kumppani Moldovassa ja Ukrainassa. Moldovan voittajapuolue komprementoi paikallisen nuorison vallankumousyritelmän lavastamalla demonstraation väkivaltaiseksi syyttäen samalla muutamia serbejä ja Romaniaa vallankumousyrityksestä ja polkien tarpeettomasti (vaalivoitto oli selvä väärinkäytöksistä huolimatta)ihmisoikeudet lokaan. (Tästä lisää mm kirjoituksessani“Twitter revolution – no coup d’état but good big Drama anyway”)

Ukrainan koalitio on hajoamassa, etniset vähemmistöt (venäläiset, transkarpatian rusit jne) nostavat imagoaan, Krimi eroaa millä hetkellä hyvänsä ja maa on käytännössä konkurssissa. Onko kumppani näissä tapauksissa hallitus, kansalaisjärjestöt vai joku muu taho?

Tulevasta toteutuksesta antoi esimakua EU:n ja Ukrainan vetämä energiakokous jossa EU antaa varoja maan energiaputkistojen korjaukseen/mdernisointiin. Ko. energiakokoukseen ei Venäjää ilmeisesti kutsuttu mukaan. On mielenkiintoista nähdä mitä putkissa kulkee mikäli raaka-ainetoimittaja puuttuu. Tässäkin mielessä Venäjän viime viikon energiaaloite voisi olla vakavasti otettava asia. (Turvalisuus- ja energiaaloitteista lisää kirjoituksessani“Russia’s new Security and Energy Initiatives”)


War Crime Dispute Spain vs. Israel

Interesting news from Israel popped to my eyes few days ago.  A  Knesset Member Aryeh Eldad (National Union) has called for Israel to put former Spanish officials on trial for their role in the NATO bombing of Serbia in 1999. His official request was sent to Attorney General Menachem Mazuz, in the wake of a Spanish court agreeing to try senior Israelis for recent Gaza operation.  Although both cases – Spanish trial against Israel and International Court against Spain – probably end as curiosity to archives without any further implications they tell something about international criminal procedures.

Case in Spain

The story started last week when Spain’s High Court announced it would launch a war crimes investigation into a Israeli ex-defence minister and six other top security officials for their role in a 2002 attack that killed a Hamas commander and 14 civilians in Gaza. The Spanish government is said also considering to amend a law related to case.  (Source Irishtimes)

The Spanish court agreed a month ago to hear the case for prosecution of former IAF commander Dan Halutz, former Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, and five other senior Israeli officials for war crimes over their decision to assassinate Shehadeh while the Hamas leader was in a building in Gaza City. Sixteen other people people were killed in the Israeli airstrike, including Shehadeh’s wife and child and other children. Israeli leaders called the Spanish court “delusional,” however, pointing out that Shehadeh was a terrorist mastermind responsible for the deaths of up to 100 innocent people.

Response in Israel

Now Knesset Member Aryeh Eldad is seeking to have Israel charge the former Spanish Prime Minister, Defense Minister and Army Chief of Staff for war crimes against the people of Belgrade and other Serbian areas. Spain, as part of NATO, was involved in massive airstrike sorties targeting Serbia during the civil war in Yugoslavia. “In those bombings,” Eldad’s petition said, “hundreds, perhaps thousands, of innocent civilians were killed because NATO pilots dropped their bombs from extremely high altitudes in order not to endanger themselves. They thus caused mass civilian casualties. It is fitting that the State of Israel try the Spanish political and military leaders for war crimes if Spain does not immediately revoke the charges against the Israeli Defense Minister and Chief of Staff.”

According Mr. Eldad failing to see the hypocrisy inherent in the charges against Israel for its actions while NATO carried out the same, or worse, actions against Serbia, Eldad concluded, “is testimony to hatred for Israel – Israel the people and Israel the state equally – and the State of Israel must fight back against this wave of anti-Semitism.” (Source Arutz Sheva)

Bombings and after

Serbia has tried to put Nato already to International Court for war crimes during bombing 1999.  And of course without success since big or important enough players don’t give a s…t about Hague and like U.S have already sealed an impunity with bilateral agreements in mission regions.More about these Nato’s war crimes here and here.

Some justice has anyway took place while afterwards Spain has defended international law in UN and EU by not recognizing Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence while U.S. and majority of EU member-states precipitately acted opposite throwing international law to garbage based illusion about Kosovo as unique case (which hallucination endured reality only few months).

Hypocritical EU?

EU can show strength while pottering with trivialities be it question human rights or money consumption in micro projects. If EU would like to act in line with its high-flown ideals it should stand straight-backed behind international court principles so that no country could be immune its rulings.  And if some countries like U.S. look themselves to be above international law appropriate measures – such as sanctions – should be taken against it.   And this probably is total utopia.

Two other aspects about war crimes I recently published: