Bring Russia to the Table and Promote America’s Security The Art of the Deal

  • Putin’s Russia is determined to demilitarize NATO in Eastern Europe, end Western economic sanctions, allow the permanent amputation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity including the Crimea, secure Bashar Assad’s rule over all of Syria, and in general establish Moscow in world affairs on a plane of “equal status with Washington”.

  • This last goal is not going to be acceptable to any US president. It would give Russia a veto on U.S. activity abroad and a free hand in its self-proclaimed sphere of influence. Moreover, it would divide NATO, demoralize the EU, and almost certainly encourage further Russian aggression.
  • Energy policy is the key. A smart, aggressive, and self-interested energy policy makes America stronger and the world safer.
  • The US and Europe should agree to hold a major NATO summit in advance of a Trump-Putin sit-down. This move would demonstrate renewed NATO strength and resolve.
  • The proposed American conventional modernization must embrace the entire zone from the Baltic to the Black Sea. It must be coordinated by the U.S. with its allies. It is thus hoped that by doing so, the conventional modernization will help check Russia’s nuclear threats.
  • Realistically, the US-Russia rivalry will remain in place — but a “strong and nationalist United States,” writes Victor Davis Hanson, can be a diplomatic, military and economic “hinge” upon which U.S. efforts to “discourage” Putin from doing things unwise can succeed.

The rivalry between the United States and Russia is entering a new era with the election of Donald Trump. While Trump has made no secret of his desire for better relations between the two nations, he has also called for a more muscular and efficient US military.

The new President seeks to modernize the US nuclear deterrent, expand effective missile defenses, and significantly increase conventional military capability, while reforming and revitalizing NATO.

These plans will no doubt rub up against Mr. Putin’s objectives. Putin’s Russia is determined to demilitarize NATO in Eastern Europe, end Western economic sanctions, allow the permanent amputation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity including the Crimea, secure Bashar Assad’s rule over all of Syria, and in general establish Moscow in world affairs on a plane of “equal status with Washington“.

This last goal is not going to be acceptable to any US president. It would give Russia a veto on U.S. activity abroad and a free hand in its self-proclaimed sphere of influence. Moreover, it would divide NATO, demoralize the EU, and almost certainly encourage further Russian aggression.

Nevertheless, since both sides wish to negotiate, the two urgent tasks for the new administration are: 1. formulation of strategic objectives, and 2. adoption of a strategy that gets the United States and its allies where the US would like to go. That means bringing Russia to the table from a position of US strength, rather than the calculated weakness of the last eight years.

For his part, Putin has redoubled his efforts to intimidate the U.S. and its allies. The examples are many and worrying: the destruction and capture of Aleppo, the exclusion of the U.S. from the diplomacy over Syria, the attempted Russian coup in Montenegro, the re-intensification of fighting in Ukraine, the continuing information warfare against the U.S. and its allies in Europe, and of course the public trumpeting of supposed of nuclear and military superiority.

Strategic Choices and Realities

How can a President Trump strategy negate Russian efforts at intimidation?

The two critical strategies lie with US military and economic power. The military side is already well known. President Trump has not only aggressively embraced the nuclear modernization but his defense team has also publicly advocated rebuilding the conventional deterrent and creating a successful cyber-strategy. The modernization of conventional and nuclear capability and its deployment at the earliest possible time to Europe will have two immediate advantages: it will demonstrate the resolve to uphold US commitments to her NATO allies; and it will force Europe into commitment to raise is defense spending in order to field effective and capable military forces in Central and Eastern Europe — as the new defense secretary highlighted in his Senate testimony.

This enhanced ground, sea, air, cyber, and electronic set of capabilities will reassure Europe and continue to deter Moscow. It will begin to counter balance Putin’s continued threats to use nuclear weapons early in any number of regional scenarios as a means of intimidating the US and its allies to “stand down” before a crises has become a conflict.

Meanwhile, Russia’s defense budget is under severe pressure as the drop in oil and gas prices in the past few years has dramatically cut into Russian government revenues. Economic sanctions, too, are hurting Russia’s overall economy and that as well is curtailing government revenue.

It is true that sanctions alone—which will probably continue to at least July unless rescinded—are not a strategy. But when applied together with a real buildup of NATO forces and U.S. comprehensive defense modernization, they constrain Russia’s options as it will have severe difficulty in matching a rebuilt US conventional capability.

In fact, the EU’s decision to continue the sanctions actually reflects the success of Trump’s pressure on Europe in forcing US allies to assume more responsibility for their own self-defense. And this example suggests how economics and defense policies can work together to create strategic outcomes that add to U.S. and allied leverage.

The proposed American conventional modernization must embrace the entire zone from the Baltic to the Black Sea. It must be coordinated by the U.S. with its allies. It is thus hoped that by doing so, the conventional modernization will help check Russia’s nuclear threats.

The US and Europe should agree to hold a major NATO summit in advance of a Trump-Putin sit-down. This move would demonstrate renewed NATO strength and resolve. Simultaneously, a joint U.S. and NATO economic strategy to squeeze Putin’s war machine—both through sanctions and through smart, nationalistic economic policy.

Energy Policy is the Key

Here is where history can be a useful guide. A key pillar of then-President Ronald Reagan’s successful strategy to end the Soviet empire was to dramatically lower energy prices through the decontrol of domestic oil prices in January 1981. Subsequently in 1985 Reagan successfully got both Great Britain and the Saudi Kingdom to cooperate to dramatically increase OPEC oil production. As a result, the price of crude fell from $30 to $6 a barrel and with it $20 billion in lost oil sales revenue annually flowed out of the Soviet exchequer.

Both 1981 and 1985 Reagan administration efforts had the effect of dramatically curtailing Soviet oil export earnings. This meant a serious loss of revenue to the Soviet government which hindered their ability to invest in the military technology modernization effort needed to meet the challenges of the 1970’s revolution in military technology. Soviet industry simply could not meet new defense needs without securing major technology transfers and investments from the West.

Fast forward to 2017. The new President, incoming Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, and Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, have long supported increasing US energy production and exports to both Europe and Asia. In a rare moment of energy unity during the previous administration, Congress passed legislation in December 2015 lifting the three-decade old ban on U.S. crude oil exports.

Now we also know Russia is seeking to get OPEC to curtail production to raise oil prices. We also know it is highly unlikely that Russia will actually reduce oil exports given its heavy reliance on oil and gas export earnings to supply the government revenue. Russian energy costs are denominated in rubles, but earnings are in dollars — so there are compelling motives for selling as much oil (and gas) as possible. Russia’s economic capacity to sustain its defense program and its overall state budget rests disproportionately upon its ability to sell oil and gas abroad.

Both sanctions and the low energy prices have affected this capability and preserving them is very much in U.S. interests. Millions of acres of United States government regulated land have just recently been put beyond oil and gas production by executive action by previous administration. This is in addition to the millions of acres owned by the US government already previously put out of bounds for any energy exploration or production.

Increasing US oil and gas production, coupled with Canada and Mexico’s potential could easily make North America the energy giant on the globe, break the back of OPEC, and give the United States significant leverage in world fossil fuel policy and prices. The Keystone pipeline, as well as other pipelines, refineries, and terminals can be greenlit to enhance the production, distribution, and export of American oil and gas.

At a Capitol Hill event two years ago, the Ambassadors from the three Baltic nations told us that getting American natural gas to Eastern Europe would be an extraordinary achievement, as it would—in their words—”turn Russia from an energy bully into an energy supplicant”.

Gas converted into liquefied natural gas (LNG) can be exported from the United States. Once our prices become truly competitive, the European gas terminals already in Lithuania and Poland that began initial operations recently can receive our exports as well.

Beyond that process the EU is constructing interconnectors across all of Central and Eastern Europe that will gradually unify the continent. Those interconnectors and terminals are already adding to Russian difficulties in selling Europe gas–the resource Moscow most uses for political gain because of its historical monopoly position.

The new administration can also accelerate the process which grants terminal construction licenses, as well as approval for oil and gas exports. Alternatives such as the Southern Gas Corridor from Azerbaijan through Turkey to the Balkans, and the exploitation of recently discovered huge deposits of gas found in the Eastern Mediterranean off Israeli, Egyptian, and Cypriot shores for export to Europe can further bolster US energy policy.

Europe, however, is not the only market for American gas and oil. China currently is heavily dependent on high-sulfur coal for its electrical production. Its old coal power plants do not use environmental safeguards and thus air pollution is leading to a significant rise in the incidence of cancers and other serious health problems among China’s population. Combined with India, the two nations have 2.5 billion people while all of Asia taken together now has 4.5 billion people, or nearly 60% of the world’s population. The energy demand of such a population can be a major opportunity for the US energy production sector.

US gas resources as well as new technology that allows for the economically viable and useful capture of coal based carbon green-house gases could help spring an energy revolution in the western Pacific, further enhancing US energy policy as a geostrategic tool. There are East Asian firms in South Korea that are already exploring constructing terminals to store US sourced energy.

These initiatives deserve Federal government, support as they advance American and NATO economic and strategic interests vis a vis Russia and China. As President Ronald Reagan demonstrated, military strength alone while critical does not guarantee global peace and security: a smart, aggressive, and self-interested energy policy makes America stronger and the world safer.

The failed 2009 reset with Russia and Putin’s belligerence does not mean we are doomed to war. As Victor Davis Hanson observes, given our new-found fossil-fuel wealth and our continued technological superiority, we are in an unusually strong position if we would simply seize “realist avenues” where cooperation can benefit both countries.

Realistically, the US-Russia rivalry will remain in place — but a “strong and nationalist United States,” writes Hanson can be a diplomatic, military and economic “hinge” upon which United States efforts to “discourage” Putin from doing things unwise can succeed. That, however, requires an America willing to, in Hanson’s words, “carry huge sticks”.

Unfortunately, America has not done so for nearly the past decade. But changing such a strategy now to one of “peace through strength” is exactly the path we encourage the new administration to take. It worked to end the Cold War. And can be the foundation to secure once again a safer America and an allied Europe. That, indeed, would reflect a new “art of the deal”.

Stephen Blank is a Senior Fellow at American Foreign Policy Council. Peter Huessy is President of Geostrategic Analysis.

Brig. Gen. Frank Rusagara wahoze muri RDF yatawe muri yombi.

Brig. Gen. Frank Rusagara wahoze muri RDF yatawe muri yombi.

Frank Rusagara wahoze mu ngabo z’u Rwanda uri mu bari mu kiruhuko cy’izabukuru yatawe muri yombi muri iki cyumweru ku mpamvu zitatangajwe.


Aya makuru yaje kwemezwa na Brig. Gen. Joseph Nzabamwita, Umuvugizi w’ingabo z’u Rwanda (RDF) abitangariza The New Times.

Kuri ubu iperereza ku byo ashinjwa ngo riracyakorwa.

 

Mbere yo gusezererwa mu ngabo z’igihugu mu mwaka ushize, Rusagara yari arangije imirimo yari yashinzwe ya ‘attaché militaire’ muri Ambasade y’u Rwanda mu Bwongereza.

Mbere yigeze kuba Umunyamabanga uhoraho muri Ministeri y’Ingabo. Mu yindi mirimo yakoze, yabaye umuyobozi w’Urukiko Rukuru rwa Gisirikare n’umuyobozi w’ishuri rikuru rya gisirikare i Nyakinama mu Karere ka Musanze.

 

Amakuru atugezeho mu kanya,aravuga ko,Gen.Rusagara yatawe muri yombi kubera gukekwaho,kuba yaba akorana na RNC,nkuko bitangazwa nabaduhaye amakuru badashaka ko,amazina yabo ashyirwa ahagaragara,ngo bamuhimbiye ibindi byaha bijyanye no kuba yaranyereje imitungo y’igihugu kuburyo ibyo byaha atazabona uko abisimbuka.

Nkuko mubizi neza ko,nta butabera buri mu gihugu,birumvikana ko,azacibwa igihanga,ibi nta bwo biteguwe none,ahubwo ni dossier yatangiye mu minsi yashize mbere yuko bamujyana mu kiruhuko kizabukuru bakaba barabaje kumukuraho  icyo cyubahiro kugirango bitazateza umutekano mucye mu ngabo,dore ko,nawe bivugwa ko,yaba yarafite igice kitari gito ubuyobozi bwa RDF.

Turakomeza gukurikirana iyi nkuru tumenye uko igiye gukorwa hanyuma tuzakomeza kubagezaho uko amakuru yose alimo kugenda atangwa nabamwe bakora mu nzego z’ubutasi kugirango murusheho kumenya ibibera mu gihugu cyanyu.

Brexit: The Nation is Back! by Yves Mamou

  • In France, before the British vote, the weekly JDD conducted an online poll with one question: Do you want France out of the EU? 88% of people answered “YES!”In none of the countries the surveyed was there much support for transferring power to Brussels.

  • To calm a possible revolt of millions of poor and unemployed people, countries such as France have maintained a high level of social welfare spending, by borrowing money on international debt markets to pay unemployment insurance benefits, as well as pensions for retired people. Today, France’s national debt is 96.1% of GDP. In 2008, it was 68%.
  • In the past few years, these poor and old people have seen a drastic change in their environment: the butcher has become halal, the café does not sell alcohol anymore, and most women in the streets are wearing veils. Even the McDonald’s in France have become halal.
  • What is reassuring is that the “Leave” people waited for a legal way to express their protest. They did not take guns or knives to kill Jews or Muslims: they voted. They waited an opportunity to express their feelings.

“How quickly the unthinkable became the irreversible” writes The Economist. They are talking about Brexit, of course.

The question of today is: Who could have imagined that British people were so tired of being members of The Club? The question of tomorrow is: What country will be next?

In France, before the British vote, the weekly JDD conducted an online poll with one question: Do you want France out of the EU? 88% of people answered “YES!” This is not a scientific result, but it is nevertheless an indication. A recent — and more scientific — survey for Pew Research found that in France, a founding member of “Europe,” only 38% of people still hold a favorable view of the EU, six points lower than in Britain. In none of the countries surveyed was there much support for transferring power to Brussels.

With Brexit, everybody is discovering that the European project was implemented by no more than a minority of the population: young urban people, national politicians of each country and bureaucrats in Brussels.

All others remain with the same feeling: Europe failed to deliver.

On the economic level, the EU has been unable to keep jobs at home. They have fled to China and other countries with low wages. Globalization proved stronger than the EU. The unemployment rate has never before been so high as inside the EU, especially in France. In Europe, 10.2% of the workforce is officially unemployed The unemployment rate is 9.9% in France, 22% in Spain.

And take-home salaries have remained low, except for a few categories in finance and high-tech.

To calm a possible revolt of millions of poor and unemployed people, countries such as France have maintained a high level of social welfare spending. Unemployed people continue to be subsidized by the state. How? By borrowing money on international debt markets to pay unemployment insurance benefits, as well as pensions for retired people. So today France’s national debt is 96.1% of GDP. In 2008, it was 68%.

In the the euro zone (19 countries), the ratio of national debt to GDP in 2015 was 90.7%.

In addition to these issue all, European countries have been remained open to mass-immigration.

Immigration was not an official question of the British “remain” or “leave” campaign. But as noted by Mudassar Ahmed, patron of the Faiths Forum for London and a former adviser to the U.K. government, the question of immigration and diversity has been latent:

“In personal conversations, I have found those most eager to leave the European Union are also most uncomfortable with diversity — not just regarding immigration, but of the diversity that already exists in this country. On the other hand, those who are most eager, in my experience, to support remaining in the European Union are far more open to difference in religion, race, culture and ethnicity”.

In France, the question of immigration tied to an eventual “Frexit” is not at all latent. The Front National (FN) strongly supports leaving the EU, and that position is tied to immigration. In France, 200,000 foreigners have been coming annually for several years — from poor countries such as those in North Africa, as well as sub-Saharan countries. The growing presence of Muslims has brought a growing feeling of insecurity, and the cultural traditions of Arab and African countries has created in Europe a cultural “malaise.” Not to everyone, or course. In big cities, people accept diversity. But in the suburbs, it is different. Because those who were on welfare, who were poor, who were old — all these people are living precisely in the same neighborhoods and the same buildings as the new immigrants.

Marine Le Pen, leader of the Front National, celebrates the Brexit vote under a sign reading, “And Now: France!”, June 24, 2016.

In the past few years, these poor and old people have seen a drastic change in their environment: the butcher has become halal, the café does not sell alcohol anymore, the famous French “jambon beurre” (ham and butter) sandwich disappeared, and most women in the streets are wearing veils. Even the McDonald’s in France have become halal. In Roubaix, for example, all fast food has become halal.

An eventual “Frexit” vote by the poor, the old, and the people on welfare would mean only one thing: “Give me my country back!” Today, to be against the EU is to reclaim the possibility of remaining French in a traditional France.

With the Brexit, the question of the nation is back in Europe. Without immigration, it might have been possible gradually to create an eventual European identity. But with Islam plus terrorism at the door, with politicians saying after each terrorist attack, “These men shouting, ‘Allahu Akbar’ have nothing to do Islam,” the rejection is big.

This “give me my country back” seems frightening. And it is. It is tainted with chauvinism, and chauvinism is not a good thing for any minorities in any country. Jewish people paid a heavy price for chauvinism in WWII.

What is reassuring, nevertheless, is that the “Leave” people waited for a legal way to express their protest. They did not take guns or knives to kill Jews or Muslims: they voted. They waited an opportunity to express their feelings. The “Leave” may not look modern or trendy, but it is peaceful, legal and democratic.

Hope things stay like that.

Yves Mamou, based in France, worked for two decades as a journalist for Le Monde.

Brexit Disrupts Nonchalant European Union Meddling by Malcolm Lowe

  • In respect of the Palestinian problem, the European political elites have only the means to destabilize the status quo without installing an alternative. But Israel’s leaders can take heart. Any declarations made at French President François Hollande’s conference will be unenforceable, because the EU on its own lacks the means and because its energies must now focus on stopping its own disintegration.

  • The underlying reasons for Brexit and for EU disintegration in general have still not been widely understood. Brexit was not merely a vote of no confidence in the EU but also in the UK establishment. Similar gaps between establishment and electorate now exist in several other major European states. In some cases, however, governments are united with their electorates in detesting the EU dictatorship in Brussels.

The June 23 vote by the United Kingdom electorate to leave the European Union should be seen in the context of two other recent European events. Three days earlier, on June 20, the EU’s Foreign Ministers Council decided to solve the Palestinian problem by Christmas with its endorsement of French President François Hollande’s “peace initiative.” Three days after the vote, on June 26, the second election in Spain within a few months failed once again to produce a viable majority for any government. Worse still, the steadily rising popularity of nationalist parties in France, Germany, Austria and the Netherlands suggests that political paralysis in other EU countries is on the way.

In short, the ambitions of the ruling political cliques of Europe to solve the problems of the world are being undermined by their own neglected electorates, which are increasingly furious at the failure of those cliques to solve the problems of Europe itself. Four years ago, we wrote about Europe’s Imminent Revolution. Two years ago, about the attempt and failure of those cliques to turn the EU into a make-believe copy of the United States. Today, that revolution is creeping ahead month by month.

Before threatening Israel’s security and local supremacy, the EU foreign ministers could have recalled the results of their previous nonchalant meddling in the area. We were all rightly horrified by the threat of Muammar Gaddafi to hunt down his enemies “street by street, house by house,” as he began by shooting hundreds in his capital, in February 2011. Hollande’s predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy, rallied European leaders — first and foremost the UK’s David Cameron — to do something about it. President Obama turned up to give a speech, something that he is good at. More importantly, Obama supplied warplanes from the NATO base in Naples. The idea was to enable victory for the Libyan rebel forces by paralyzing Gaddafi’s own air force and bombing his land forces.

Victory was achieved. But the rebels were united only in their hatred of Gaddafi. So Libya has descended into a chaos that could have been prevented only by a massive long-term presence of European land forces, which Europe — after repeated cuts in army strength — does not have. Now it is the local franchise of the Islamic State, among others, that is hunting down enemies house by house.

Europe was incapable of achieving anything in Libya without the United States, and incapable of replacing a detestable regime with a superior alternative. The lesson could have been learned from Iraq. Here, a massive American military presence accompanied a constitutional revolution and the beginnings of parliamentary rule. But the whole costly achievement collapsed when Obama decided to remove even the residual military presence needed to perpetuate it.

In respect of the Palestinian problem, too, the European political elites have only the means to destabilize the status quo without installing an alternative. But Israel’s leaders can take heart. At Hollande’s conference in December, the UK will be half in and half out, if present at all. Neither Obama nor his by then elected successor will turn up to make a speech. Any declarations made at Hollande’s conference will be unenforceable because the EU on its own lacks the means and because its energies must now focus on stopping its own disintegration.

Of the authors of the Libyan adventure, David Cameron resigned after the vote for Brexit. Obama will shortly leave after what may charitably be called a mixed record in foreign affairs. Sarkozy’s aspiration to be reelected and succeed the unpopular Hollande, whose approval rate is now just 12%, has been challenge by a recent French court decision.

Sarkozy was trying to sue Mediapart, a French investigative agency, for publishing a letter of 2007 from Gaddafi’s intelligence chief about an “agreement in principle to support the campaign for the candidate for the presidential elections, Nicolas Sarkozy, for a sum equivalent to Euro 50 million.” (The maximum individual contribution permitted in French law is 1500 euros.) The judges investigating the corruption case against Sarkozy have ruled that the letter is genuine. The suspicion, then, is that Sarkozy’s campaign to eliminate Gaddafi was at least partly motivated by the need to eliminate the supplier of a bribe.

The underlying reasons for Brexit and for EU disintegration in general have still not been widely understood. Brexit was not merely a vote of no confidence in the EU but also in the UK establishment. Out of 650 members in the House of Commons, only around 150 — nearly all Conservatives — are estimated to have voted for Brexit. Against Brexit was also a clear majority of leading figures in commerce, academia and the churches. Similar gaps between establishment and electorate now exist in several other major European states. In some cases, however, governments are united with their electorates in detesting the EU dictatorship in Brussels.

That glaring discrepancy between the UK establishment and the electorate explains the establishment’s quick acceptance of Brexit, for fear of becoming totally discredited. A contributory reason was the broad consensus on both sides of the debate that the operative style of EU institutions is deeply flawed and often detrimental to UK interests. The concessions obtained by Cameron from the EU before the vote were widely regarded as derisory. Moreover, the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, had loudly proclaimed that he could obtain a vote to cancel those concessions. The real issue, therefore, was whether a Remain vote could help to reform the EU, in cooperation with other member states, or whether the EU was fundamentally unreformable. The UK electorate decided for the latter view and the establishment is committed to implementing it.

The glaring discrepancy between the UK establishment and the electorate explains the establishment’s quick acceptance of Brexit, for fear of becoming totally discredited. Pictured above: Theresa May launches her campaign for leader of the UK Conservative party on July 11, 2016, saying “Brexit means Brexit.”

The two earlier articles mentioned above first spotted the phenomenon of European disintegration and then explained it. Today, the intervening events have made the explanation all the simpler. Basically, the European political elites were correctly convinced, long ago, that considerable European integration was desirable, but their very successes in this area made them grossly overestimate what could and should be done further.

Up to a decade ago, it seemed that a similar pattern was becoming established in one EU country after another: the parliament was dominated by a large center-right party and a large center-left party that alternated in power from one election to another. The parallel to the United States seemed obvious, but the parallel was illusory, as we shall show.

Emboldened, the political parties concerned made the fatal mistake of trying to combine for the purpose of elections to the EU Parliament. Thus emerged a pan-European center-right pseudo-party, the “European People’s Party” (EPP), whose origins go back to a get-together of Christian Democrat parties in 1976. And a pan-European center-left pseudo-party, the “Party of European Socialists” (PES), founded in 1992 as an alliance between old-style Social Democrat parties and the former so-called Eurocommunist parties. The latter first emerged during the decline and discreditation of the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s, then changed their names after its disappearance in December 1991. Thus, the core of Italy’s current Democratic Party derives from the Italian Communist Party (PCI), the major opposition party of post-war Italy.

Curiously but inevitably, the more those parties tried to unite, the more they lost support in their own countries of origin. Thus the Dutch Christian Democrats (CDA) are today a minor party of the right and the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) barely crosses the threshold of 5% needed for entry into the Greek Parliament. (Incongruously, the last PASOK Prime Minister of Greece, George Papandreou, continues to be President of the Socialist International.) The reason for this development, however, is not far to seek.

Nationalism, it was forgotten, is an essential component of center-right sentiment. So a center-right party that prefers an international interest at the expense of the national interest of its own country loses credibility among its own core supporters; it becomes vulnerable to the rise of far-right upstart parties. Examples of this process in the EU are now so evident as not to need enumeration.

The attraction of socialism, it was forgotten, is that its core supporters expect increases in government social spending at the expense of financial stability. This becomes more difficult, the more a country is constrained by participation in a shared international framework. It becomes impossible to maintain once a country joins a common currency, since the usual remedy for socialist overspending is devaluation of the national currency. This is why PASOK has been eclipsed in Greece by the far-left SYRIZA, why the Spanish franchise of the PES (the PSOE) has lost severely to the upstart Podemos, and why support for its Dutch franchise (the PvdA) is now down to about the same as for each of two other left-wing parties.

It is also why in Britain, where the electoral system obstructs the rise of new parties, Jeremy Corbyn was voted leader by the Labour Party membership to the horror of the party establishment. Corbyn himself was a pronounced Euroskeptic until recently and only half-heartedly spoke in public for Remain, creating suspicions that he secretly voted for Leave.

A far-right party, like the Freedom Party (OFP) of Austria, has an easy sales pitch. Not so the far-left ones: after they come to power, it quickly and painfully becomes evident that they have no more ability than their derided Social Democrat predecessors to defy the constraints imposed by membership in the Eurozone.

Thus SYRIZA came to power in Greece and won a referendum to end austerity. The result was that all Greeks found that their bank accounts were virtually frozen: they were allowed to withdraw only sixty Euros a day. SYRIZA then split. The larger faction won the resulting general election and accepted the harsh conditions that the referendum had rejected. The paradoxical result in Greece is that the current government is a coalition of an upstart far-left party, SYRIZA, and an upstart nationalist party (the Independent Hellenes) that lies to the right of New Democracy (the Greek franchise of the EPP).

In other EU countries, however, the typical development has been the opposite: the erstwhile competing franchises of the EPP and the PES are in coalition against the motley upstart breakaway parties, since neither of the two gets an absolute majority in parliament any more. That is, their former raison d’être as competing alternatives has been abandoned in the need to survive in power at all. The paralysis in Spain comes from the fact that the two local franchises there are descended from the two sides in the murderous Civil War of 1936-1939. Joint government is still hardly imaginable especially for the losing socialists, who continued to suffer persecution long after the war.

Likewise, in the elections to the EU Parliament in May 2014, the EPP and the PES won only 221 and 191 seats respectively out of 751, each far short of a majority. So they clubbed together to make the top candidate of the EPP, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the EU Commission and to retain the top candidate of the PES, Martin Schulz, as President of the Parliament. The incredible response of Juncker to Brexit has been to demand even tighter integration: he wants to force into the Eurozone the eight EU member states (other than the UK) that still have independent currencies. He also reiterated his proposal, originally made last March, to unite the armed forces of all states (with the UK gone) into a European army. For this he has the support of Schulz’s home party, the German SPD. That is, they want more and more of what the European electorates want less and less.

Especially in Eastern Europe, there are now also governments that resent the relentless centralizing urges of the EU establishment. In Hungary, for example, the government has rejected the demand of the EU Commission to absorb a quota of the immigrants currently streaming into Europe; it has scheduled a referendum on the matter for October 2. On the same day, Austria will hold a revote for the presidency, which the Freedom Party may narrowly win after narrowly losing the first time around.

These governments are among the new friends of Israel described in a recent Reuters article, titled “Diplomatic ties help Israel defang international criticism.” As it notes:

“Whereas a few years ago Israel mostly had to rely on Germany, Britain and the Czech Republic to defend its interests in the EU, now it can count Italy, Greece, Cyprus, Austria, Hungary and a handful of others among potential allies.”

These allies have no desire to penalize Israel on behalf of increasingly tedious Palestinians. On the contrary:

“Like Turkey, which last week agreed to restore diplomatic ties with Israel after a six-year hiatus, they see a future of expanding business, trade and energy ties.”

By “energy ties” is meant Israel’s recently discovered vast fields of natural gas, the phenomenon that we earlier dubbed “Israel as a Gulf State.” That is: just as governments care little for the human rights record of, say, Qatar in their eagerness to acquire its natural gas, so also the self-righteous moaning of the Palestinian Authority does not deter those governments from going for what Israel has to offer. As the Reuters article quotes a European ambassador: “There’s just no appetite to go toe-to-toe with Israel and deliver a really harsh indictment. No one sees the upside to it.”

Israel’s government is not, of course, gloating over the discontent spreading in the EU. But it surely appreciates some of the side effects.

Malcolm Lowe is a Welsh scholar specialized in the New Testament and interfaith relations.

Breaking: Obama Just Forced Schools To Allow Boys In Girls Bathrooms!

The Obama administration has just threatened to cut off federal funding if public schools refuse to allow transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice.

The administration will send a letter to every public school district in the country telling them they must open up both bathrooms and locker rooms to transgender students based on their gender identity.


 

From Fox News:

The letter, which is signed by officials at the Justice Department and the Department of Education, will be sent out to the districts on Friday.

While the letter does not have the force of law, it does warn that schools that do not abide by the administration’s interpretation of civil rights law may face lawsuits or loss of federal aid.

“There is no room in our schools for discrimination of any kind, including discrimination against transgender students on the basis of their sex,” Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a statement.

Officials say the letter is meant to clarify expectations of school districts that receive funding from the federal government. Educators have been seeking guidance on how to comply with Title IX, which prohibits sex discrimination in educational programs and activities that receive federal funding, Education Secretary John B. King said in a statement.

US Department of Education: Schools must allow transgender students to use bathrooms of their choice
WSYM – Lansing, MI

“No student should ever have to go through the experience of feeling unwelcome at school or on a college campus,” King said. “We must ensure that our young people know that whoever they are or wherever they come from, they have the opportunity to get a great education in an environment free from discrimination, harassment and violence.”

Under the guidance, schools are told that they must treat transgender students according to their chosen gender identity as soon as a parent or guardian notifies the district that that identity “differs from previous representations or records.” There is no obligation for a student to present a specific medical diagnosis or identification documents that reflect his or her gender identity, and equal access must be given to transgender students even in instances when it makes others uncomfortable, according to the directive.

“As is consistently recognized in civil rights cases, the desire to accommodate others’ discomfort cannot justify a policy that singles out and disadvantages a particular class of students,” the guidance says.

The administration is also releasing a separate 25-page document of questions and answers about best practices, including ways schools can make transgender students comfortable in the classroom and protect the privacy rights of all students in restrooms or locker rooms.

The move was cheered by Human Rights Campaign, a gay, lesbian and transgender civil rights organization, which called the guidelines “groundbreaking.”

“This is a truly significant moment not only for transgender young people but for all young people, sending a message that every student deserves to be treated fairly and supported by their teachers and schools,” HRC President Chad Griffin said in a statement.

This is outrageous! Little boys do not belong in the girls bathroom! Obama should not be threatening to cut off school funding to he can push his radical left-wing agenda!

How will you stand up and fight the Obama administration’s attack on our children? Share your thoughts below!!

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