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Category Archives: Europe

With Latest Syria Threats, Trump Continues to Be More Confrontational Toward Russia Than Obama Was

The civil war in Syria began in 2011 and escalated for five years during the Obama presidency, yet Barack Obama — despite demands from leaders of both parties and think tanks across the spectrum — never once bombed Syrian government targets. Although the CIA under Obama spent $1 billion per year to covertly train and fund Bashar al-Assad’s enemies, it was never close to enough to topple him: just enough to keep the war going.

But Obama never bombed Assad or his military assets: a decision which, to this day, is scorned across official Washington. Hillary Clinton blasted Obama’s refusal to do more to stop Assad, and in 2017, she actively encouraged Donald Trump to bomb Assad and take out his air force.

https://theintercept.com/2018/04/11/the-trump-administration-continues-to-be-more-confrontational-toward-russia-than-obama-was/

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Posted by on July 14, 2018 in Europe, Middle East

 

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La versione del Cremlino

“Questo è un fatto. E i fatti sono la cosa più ostinata del mondo”.
Il maestro e Margherita, Michail Bulgakov

“Una mezza verità è spesso una grande bugia”.
Benjamin Franklin

Alle sette di mattina le strade che portano dal centro di Mosca all’aeroporto di Šeremetevo non sono ancora invase dal traffico. Dal sedile posteriore dell’auto mi sporgo in avanti per ascoltare meglio e per essere sicuro che il registratore sia puntato nella giusta direzione. Accanto all’autista c’è Sergej Markov, politologo fedelissimo al Cremlino. Sta andando a Soči per un convegno sul quarto mandato di Vladimir Putin alla presidenza della Federazione russa, inaugurato ufficialmente un mese e mezzo dopo il successo elettorale del 18 marzo. L’unico modo per intervistarlo era accompagnarlo a prendere l’aereo e approfittare di quest’ora scarsa di viaggio.

https://www.internazionale.it/bloc-notes/andrea-pipino/2018/06/09/vladimir-putin-markov-retorica

 
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Posted by on July 6, 2018 in Europe

 

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No Brexit for a Eurozone Britain?

“You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.” Prior to the 2016 Brexit referendum, I borrowed this line from the Eagles’ 1976 hit “Hotel California” as an argument against Britain exiting the European Union. I told audiences up and down Britain that if they voted to leave the EU, they would end up more entangled with the EU Commission than ever before.

https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/no-brexit-if-britain-had-adopted-euro-by-yanis-varoufakis-2018-04

 
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Posted by on April 18, 2018 in Europe, European Union

 

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Hello, Generation Putin

The presidential election in Russia a week ago resulted in an impressive, if unsurprising, victory for Vladimir Putin. He was elected to a fourth term with a wide margin and high turnout in a vote that appeared to be the cleanest in Russia’s recent history (at least when it comes to what happened on Election Day itself).

But this election was about more than just reinstalling Mr. Putin in the Kremlin. It signaled the beginning of post-Putin Russia. Because while the president has gained popular support for policies like annexing Crimea and confronting the West, the legitimacy of his next term will be determined by his success in reassuring ordinary Russians that his regime will endure even when he is no longer in the Kremlin.

https://mobile.nytimes.com/2018/03/27/opinion/russia-putin-youth-generation.html

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2018 in Europe

 

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Putin Finally Went Too Far

When Britain threw out 23 Russian diplomats in response to an assassination attempt on Russian agent Sergei Skripal, Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia and current bad boy of modern geopolitics, shrugged it off. With relations between London and Moscow so strained, the embassy didn’t have all that much to do, anyway. The cost, Putin no doubt felt, was predictable and bearable. Then on Monday, 20 additional countries, from Albania to Ukraine, joined in a coordinated expulsion campaign, with the United States accounting for 60 of the Russians sent packing. On Tuesday, NATO announced it would expel seven Russian diplomats in response to the poisoning. Suddenly, the Kremlin isn’t looking quite so comfortable. With the Skripal hit, it looks as if Putin may have finally overreached.

https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2018/03/putin-skripal-expulsion-russia-poisoning-trump/556556/

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2018 in Europe

 

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The town that’s found a potent cure for illness – community

It could, if the results stand up, be one of the most dramatic medical breakthroughs of recent decades. It could transform treatment regimes, save lives, and save health services a fortune. Is it a drug? A device? A surgical procedure? No, it’s a newfangled intervention called community. This week the results from a trial in the Somerset town of Frome are published informally, in the magazine Resurgence & Ecologist. (A scientific paper has been submitted to a medical journal and is awaiting peer review). We should be cautious about embracing data before it is published in the academic press, and must always avoid treating correlation as causation. But this shouldn’t stop us feeling a shiver of excitement about the implications, if the figures turn out to be robust and the experiment can be replicated.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/feb/21/town-cure-illness-community-frome-somerset-isolation

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2018 in Europe

 

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The Guardian view on Oxfam: time to learn, not destroy

On 12 January 2010, a catastrophic 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti. One of the poorest countries in the world, it was utterly unprepared. Roads and bridges, hospitals and government buildings as well as thousands of homes collapsed or were severely damaged. At least 220,000 died – including more than 100 aid workers already in the country – and as many again were injured. Scores of aid agencies with hundreds of millions of pounds’ worth of relief raced to bring help, each agency hastily recruiting hundreds of extra workers. Among these men and women of goodwill who were dispatched to organise medical help, to inoculate, feed and protect the thousands of vulnerable people were seven Oxfam employees who, it has now emerged, spent their time off procuring young, possibly underage, girls and women for sex. It is likely that some of their victims were reliant on the aid Oxfam provided, with donations collected on street corners and jumble sales in Britain. The enormity of employees of an organisation dedicated to ending poverty, hunger and social injustice hosting sex parties said to be of Caligulan proportions amid the wreckage of a humanitarian catastrophe is what turns a scandal into a crisis that could damage the whole UK charitable sector.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/feb/12/the-guardian-view-on-oxfam-time-to-learn-not-destroy

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2018 in Europe, South America

 

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Ukraine proposes a law that infuriates Russia

AFTER nearly four years of war in eastern Ukraine, and more than 10,000 deaths, reports from international monitors in the region sound like a grim broken record. On January 19th: 340 explosions. On January 20th: 240 explosions. On January 21st: 195 explosions and two middle-aged civilians hit by rifle fire while travelling in a bus near a separatist checkpoint in the town of Olenivka. “One had blood covering the left side of his face and was holding gauze to it and the other had gunshot wounds in his neck and left cheek,” the monitors from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) reported this week. One of the men ended up in hospital; the other died at the site of the attack.

https://www.economist.com/news/europe/21735611-legislators-bicker-diplomats-gab-and-conflict-rolls-eastern-ukraine-ukraine-proposes-law

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2018 in Europe

 

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This is not a Corbynite coup, it’s a mandate for his radical agenda

Kings were put to death long before 21 January 1793,” wrote Albert Camus, referring to Louis XVI’s execution after the French revolution. “But regicides of earlier times and their followers were interested in attacking the person, not the principle, of the king. They wanted another king, and that was all.”

One of the biggest mistakes the critics of Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, made from the outset – and there are many to choose from – was that his victory was about him. They refer to “Corbynites” and “Corbynistas” as though there were some undying and uncritical devotion to a man and his singular philosophy, rather than broad support for an agenda and a trajectory. If they could get rid of the king, went the logic, they would reinherit the kingdom. With a new leader normal service could resume. Labour could resuscitate its programme of milquetoast managerialism, whereby it was indifferent to its members, ambivalent about austerity at home, and hawkish about wars abroad.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jan/19/corbyn-lead-momentum-labour-ladder-leftwing

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2018 in Europe

 

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Lenin knew that revolution wouldn’t happen overnight – we must bear this in mind as capitalism fails us today

Perhaps the key achievement of Lenin was that he silently dropped the orthodox Marxist notion of revolution as a necessary step in historical progress. Instead he followed Louis Antoine Saint-Just’s insight that a revolutionary is like a seaman navigating in uncharted territories.

This was Lenin’s answer to the big problem of western Marxism: how is it that the working class does not constitute itself as a revolutionary agent? Western Marxism, at the time, was in a constant search for other social agents who could play the role of the revolutionary agent, as the understudy replacing the indisposed working class: third-world peasants, students and intellectuals; and the excluded … up to the refugees hailed today by some desperate leftists as “nomadic proletarians”.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/russian-revolution-100-lenin-bolshevik-capitalism-marxism-communists-soviets-a8040136.html

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2018 in Europe

 

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