ECONOMICS TRUMPS POLITICS AND HUMAN RIGHTS

Great Britain and Germany both refuse to isolate Russia or to boycott her exports: Germany needs her gas and oil, and German companies have invested 22 billion in Russia; and England wants her cash for its financial markets. Putin sees this economic opening and, utilizing it, is now pushing for a referendum in Crimea in 10 days’ time with which to cement his grip on power there and, with Russian troops still in Crimea, to continue pressuring the Ukrainians to abandon their drive for closer ties with the EU and US. Despite Kerry’s refusal to believe it, this is indeed a zero-sum game.

Interestingly, perhaps now the NSA’s interception of the German Chancellor’s phone calls, and the monitoring of Russia’s, wasn’t such a bad idea after all. Certainly Snowden’s aiding Russia by disclosing the reach of the NSA has made the world, as we have seen in the Crimea, a much less safer place now than before. And Snowden’s new friends (Russia and China) have revealed themselves to be far less concerned about human rights than the country which he forsook, indeed, to be eminently authoritarian and militaristic, with no respect for human rights. (China seized Tibet and committed, and still commits, grave human rights violations there; and both China and Russia freely commit abuses daily against ethnic minorities and political opponents.) The only country able to stand up to them, the US, Snowden has irrevocably weakened, making the world after his disclosures a much more dangerous place indeed. Edward’s vainglory and hubris blinded him as to who the real enemies are. Does he really believe that the US is a greater threat to world peace than either China or Russia? Edward forgot something very elementary about life: without prudence, one finds “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

Again we see in world history how economics trumps politics: what ought to be done by the EU isn’t being done; and as a result Putin knows there is a breach in the wall of diplomatic sanctions for him to escape through. What might have forced him to withdraw due to the unyielding unanimity of the EU, he can now more safely afford to ignore given the disunity within EU’s ranks, and hence the lower level of sanctions threatened. The West has lost this crucial battle with a dictator who is no respecter of nations or of laws; and that will only embolden him further, and give sustenance to China’s hegemonic desires as well.

The world thinks in enlightenment terms; that is, that man’s sinfulness is an outmoded concept, a leftover of a bygone theological era; that one need only tie countries closer together economically, and eternal peace and prosperity must and will be the inevitable result. No: a leopard can wear a Brooks Brothers suit, but underneath, like it or not, it remains a leopard still. Russia has (and has always had) an authoritarian leader.  To appease such usually ushers in greater trouble later. Putin wants the power of the former Soviet Union redivivus. Great Britain and Germany have unwittingly aided him in his power quest, and in the process sacrificed the territorial integrity of The Ukraine—and shown Putin all too clearly that, so far at least, he has nothing to fear from the EU, which up till now has shown itself to be a weak and vacillatory body with no stomach for confrontation when and where it counts.

 Len Sive Jr.

SARKOZY’S AND CAMERON’S NEW SUEZ

Possibly the French and British attack on Libya will produce better results than the 1956 Eden-Mollet campaign against Egypt;  however some resemblances exist. President  Sarkozy acted first and rather ferociously, so somebody maliciously hinted that the President  is trying to emulate the napoleonic conquest of Egypt. Out of the innumerable campaigns of the youngest among modern-age generals, the victory in Egypt is the enterprise nearest to Libya.

 In 1797 the 28-year old genius has already triumphed over several sovereigns of Europe, including the Holy Roman Emperor. So Napoleon is given an army to invade Britain, but decides to take Egypt. In  June 1798 the Man from Corsica conquers Malta, in July he subjugates Alexandria and defeats the Mameluk army at the Pyramids. When admiral Nelson destroys the French fleet at Abukir, Napoleon marches against Turkey, enters Syria, does not conquer Saint-Jean d’Acre  and in October 1799 returns to France. In a few months Bonaparte becomes First Consul, in 1802 a plebiscite gives him life tenure as  First Consul (3,577,000 voters, 3,568,000 yes). Two years later Napoleon becomes the Emperor.

I rather feel that the war on Libya shows some similarities to a serious disaster of France, the 1870 war against Prussia, i.e. against the future German Reich. The 1870 act was astonishingly senseless- after 141 years the historians only know of one single reason for the war, a diplomatic slight of Otto von Bismarck, the Prussian head of government, to the French ambassador. To defend her ‘prestige’ France, then the greatest power in Western Europe, declared war. In a few weeks she was disastrously defeated in just one major battle, at Sedan. The humiliation was so bitter that the French nation was ‘condemned’ to seek revenge through a First World War wich killed 1,5 million Frenchmen. Finally in 1940 the German revenge against the French one costed France the most smashing defeat in modern history.

This terrible chain of events began (in 1870) because of a French overreaction to a discourtesy, i.e. to a minor offense. The antecedent facts: a Hohenzollern prince, cousin of the king of Prussia, having been offered the crown of Spain, Paris vetoed the acceptance: The father of the German prince renounced the crown on behalf of his son; the king of Prussia confirmed the renounciation. When the French embassador pressured the king for a more emphatic renounciation, chancellor Bismarck jumped on the matter to entice Paris into a war by denying the French diplomat an extra audience of the King.

The ministers, generals and court gentlemen of the French emperor, Napoleon the Third, promptly fell into the Bismarck trap, so Paris declared war on Prussia on the assumption that the French army was mighty. As we know, the defeat was immediate. It must be clear that France’s public opinion had ardently demanded war.

Today many observers believe that the real motive of the Libyan campaign of Paris is improving Sarkosy’s chances of re-election. If this is true, evidently the French nation is as enamoured of ‘glory’ as she was when she assailed Bismarck. Everybody knows the results of 1870: the emperor fell prisoner ad was deposed; France went republican; a bloody Commune revolution in Paris killed 20 to 30 thousand; Germany unified into a powerful Second Reich. In due time we shall see whether the French voters will reward Sarkosy’s undertaking.

Was David Cameron, the British premier, moved by a French-type pursuit of ‘grandeur’ in sending the RAF and Navy against Muammar Gaddafi? Perhaps not. We only remember Winston Churchill, a glorious predecessor of Cameron, doing his best to involve his mighty country into WW2.  His much-stated goal was defending the Empire. He won the war but the Empire soon evaporated. Today his proud nation is one of the satellites of the United States -not the most important of them.

JJJ                                                                                                                       

da Daily Babel

THREE MILLION INDIANS DIED BECAUSE OF CHURCHILL

In recent years I have been trying (in The Daily Babel too) to show with historic evidence that Winston Spencer Churchill, far from having acted as a champion of freedom and civilization, was one of the worst warmongers of the XX century. And that Britons should detest him as the national leader who, while impelling several conflicts and campaigns aimed to uphold the British Empire and Glory, did factually the most to destroy said empire and glory. By the way, a number of bona fide historians did not loose opportunities to stress the uncommon callousness of Sir Winston when confronted with problems of conscience.

It’s well known, for instance, that in 1915 Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty, willingly disregarded the human costs of the temerary operation of the Dardanelles. Against the advice of his admirals, the First Lord pushed for the operation: He won, the campaign failed utterly after taking many thousand lives. But the Dardanelles, among the Churchill’s evil deeds, was a comparatively innocent one. Instead nobody pushed the United Kingdom to enter WW2 more than Churchill, the forceful head of the war party in the London Establishment. That is, no Briton more than him acted to transform a regional conflict in Central Europe into the most lethal war in history.

Now an article of TIME (November 29, 2010) indicts the late Premier with a little known crime of sixtyseven years ago. Title: “The Ugly Briton. A scholarly account of Churchill’s shameful role in the Bengal famine leaves his reputation in tatters”. Incipit: <Few statesmen in the 20th century have reputations as outsize as Winston Churchill's. And yet his assidously self-promoted image as what the author Harold Evans called 'the British Lionheart on the ramparts of civilization' rests primarily on his WW2 rhetoric, rather than his actions as the head of a government that ruled the biggest empire the world has ever known. Madhusree Mukerjee's new book, Churchill's Secret War, reveals a side of Churchill largely ignored in the West and considerably tarnishes his heroic sheen,

< In 1943, some 3 million brown-skinned subjects of the Raj died in the Bengal famine, one of history's worst. Mukerjee delves into official documents and oral accounts of survivors to paint a horrifying portrait of how Churchill, as part of the Western war effort, ordered the diversion of food from starving Indians to already well equipped British soldiers and stockpiles in Britain and elsewhere in Europe.

<And he did so with a churlishness that cannot be excused on grounds of policy: Churchill's only response to a telegram from the government in Delhi about people perishing in the famine was to ask why Gandhi hadn't died yet.

<”I hate Indians” he told the Secretary of State for India, Leopold Amery. “They are a beastly people with a beastly religion. The famine was their own fault”, he declared at a war-cabinet meeting, for “breeding like rabbits”. .

The crime of 1943 against Bengal -better, against humanity- draws Churchill a little closer to Stalin, Himmler, Pol Pot and other assassins. Furthermore, it adds weight to the numerous accusations and witnesses raised against the wartime Prime Minister in the 95 years that elapsed since the bloody Dardanelles expedition. For instance, to the allegation that on July 14, 1943 he ordered the shooting down, in the Gibraltar sky, of the British 4-motor bomber who was carrying, in addition to crew and several passengers, general Wladislaw Sikorsky, head of the Polish government in London and of the Polish Army which was fighting Germans on the side of Britain. Cburchill is commonly suspected to have perpetrated this crime in order to please Stalin, the arch-enemy of right-wing Polish, the one who in 1940 ordered the Katyn mass killing of Polish officers, and in late summer of 1944 forbade the Soviet Army to conquer Warsaw, right across the Vistula, so that the Wehrmacht and the SS could exterminate the Polish anticommunist fighters who had insurrected.

The total destruction by the RAF of Dresden, a city of no residual industrial or military value, when the Wehrmacht had practically collapsed, the victorious Red Army was advancing fast and Dresden was teeming with fugitives from the eastern territories, was additional evidence of the Churchillian cruelty. At least 100,000 persons died.

While Indians mourn the millions who perished in 1943 because of Churchill, the whole world should feel revulsion, if it would know the truth behind the iconic image of the so called New Lionheart projected by the war.propaganda machine. However Churchill had something in common with King Richard I. The latter too, the original Lionheart, was fit to ruthlessness: He did not give mercy to the Saracens who had defended Acre. After surrendering, they were slaughtered by a churchillian command of the Lionheart.

On their part, Britons should pity themselves because destiny and their own subservience to the Tory Establishment gave the political power to the top national warmonger. Churchill’s lifetime vocation to war -almost any war- had an enormous consequence: the cancellation of the British Empire and greatness. After Churchill’s war Britain found herself broke and deprived of a world role. Today’s Britain is just the hulk of a wrecked stately ship. Churchill demanded WW2 so that Britain would stay great. The result was the downgrading to a status of irrelevancy.

Antonio Massimo Calderazzi

AFGHANISTAN: When sepoys die

Every time a non-American Nato warrior is killed in Afghanistan some politicians and/or gurus in the country of the dead rinse their throats with the syllogism (sort of): casualties must be accepted so the crusade for democracy and human rights will triumph. Is it so?

Apart that most crusades in history failed, the truth is that the Nato coalition is not fighting for noble goals. It is waging another colonial conquest war of the United States, a one similar to the wars against Mexico, Spain or Iraq. All empires on Earth were more or less built through colonial wars; but in the past justifications for conquests were not needed. Today it’s different -so Obama and his advisors are in trouble.

It’s a lie, a delusion anyway, that Islamic fundamentalism will be deleted if the West quells Afghanistan. A few thousand caves can be obliterated there by drones, missiles and flamethrowers (with children killed as collateral damages), but a great many more caves exist on the planet. Terrorist can also operate where caves are lacking. Is the Nato coalition going to wage wars in each continent?

If terrorism cannot be cancelled with the tools of the Pentagon, just two justifications remain for the Afghan crusade: a) saving the face of a Nobel prizewinner (for peace!) who is also the supreme warlord on the planet; b) expanding the American possessions in Central Asia. From the colonialist viewpoint, the above justifications are perfectly legitimate. But they involve only the U.S. and those mercenary governments that have been promised tangible gains in payment of their war efforts, casualties and crimes included. Such governments supply, among other things, the sepoys general Petreus needs. The sepoy was a native East Indian employed as a soldier by Britain. Today native Britons are Obama’s best sepoys.

Rome will possibly send additional sepoys (in Italian: ascari) to serve under Petreus. What gains has been assured if Afghanistan is conquered with the help of carabinieri? A share in the government of the world? Of course not. Pentagon contracts and deals are the real prizes for Italy. So highly incongrous are the efforts to throw Italy into mourning when three-color coffins arrive from Afghanistan. The victims of that war were not heroes, as their fatherland was not imperiled. They were professionals seeking career and money. They also died for the sake of jobs and dividends for the national economy.

Italy should drastically cut her military budget, and the same should do all countries of the world, US included. As to Rome, her armed forces should be miniaturized to the size of auxiliaries of the civilian police. Armed forces are immorally expensive and evil.

Recently a traditionalist Italian reader asked former ambassador Sergio Romano, a foremost commentator on international affairs, the following question: the new government of Britain will significantly lower its military budget. Insn’t this going to damage London’s international role? The ambassador’s answer: Britain’s budget deficit is twice the Italian one. Now that the British might has practically disappeared, Premier David Cameron is right in cancelling 20 to 30 per cent of the military expense, and even more right in abandoning the conventional diplomatic strategy of the last 65 years. “The special partnership with Washington forced Britain into two wars which were mistaken”.

An additional appraisal of the former ambassador: “The U.S. have misused their planetary leadership and are responsible for the major crisis, especially the financial ones, of the last decade. The Afghan war has infected Pakistan and the Caucasus. So the American leadership is on the wane.”

The logical inference is that the allies of Washington should stop behaving as Sepoy States.

Jone
da Daily Babel