EU Cannot Go On Fighting Russia, “We can not have our relationship towards Russia dictated by Washington”

 

junker-400x251Note: This article originally appeared at German Economic News. Translated from the German by Boris Jaruselski

Huge reversal: the EU seeks a normal relationship with Russia. It seems that the EU is being greatly affected by the actions of Vladimir Putin in Syria: suddenly the EU President Jean-Claude Junker is saying that the EU must not let the US dictate their relationship with Russia. He has demanded a normalization of relations – and indirectly, the end of sancitons. 

The EU Commission President advocated a relaxation in the conflict with Russia. “We have to achieve a sustainable relationship with Russia. It’s not sexy, but has to be done. We can’t go on like this anymore”, he said on Thursday in Passau. It isn’t necessary to achieve overall understanding, but a sensible conversational basis. “The Russians are a proud people”, the country has “a role to play”, said Junker: “One must not remove them from the bigger picture, otherwise they’ll call again, very quickly, as we seen already.” He critisized US Presidnet Barack Obama, for having downgraded Russia as “regional power”. “Russia needs to be treated correctly”, the Luxemburgian explained. “We can not have our relationship towards Russia dictated by Washington. It’s simply not on.

This statement is particularly noteworthy. Until now, the EU always placed emphasis on having complete accord with the Americans, with the placement of the Russian sanctions. Some time ago, the US Vice President Joe Biden made it clear that the US had urged the EU to impose the sacntions. Junkers’ big back flip is confirming the statement made by Biden. It’s hard to discern what’s really going on Junker’s mind: as late as March, Junker was demanding the establishment of a EU army, which was expressly directed against Russia: such a European army would “give Russia the impression, that we are seriously intending to defend European Union’s values”, Junker said word for word, back then.

European Commission President Juncker: European policies must not be dictated by Washington

 

 

 

Published on Oct 12, 2015

Europe must treat Russia with more decency, improve the relationship, and not let EU policies be dictated by Washington, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said in a surprise speech in Germany.

Turning point? EU Commission head says relations with Russia ‘must be improved,’ US ‘can’t dictate’

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European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker © Vincent Kessler / Reuters

In the meantime, some progress has recently been reported in eastern Ukraine, as the armed forces of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic (LNR) have begun withdrawing weapons under 100 mm caliber from the conflict zone. Ukraine’s Joint Staff has also announced the start of a withdrawal of artillery from the region. 

The withdrawal of weapons is part of the Minsk agreements, which was agreed upon by the leaders of the Normandy Four, namely France, Germany, Ukraine and Russia, in February. The deal required a ceasefire, a weapons withdrawal, constitutional reforms, legislative recognition of a special status for the unrecognized republics, and release and exchange of prisoners on an all-for-all basis.

However, lasting truce was only reached in late August. Kiev and the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk republics maintain the armistice has been holding since September 1, although both sides still occasionally accuse each other of violations.

Moscow continues to stress the importance of direct dialogue between Kiev and representatives of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics.

Russian President Vladimir Putin told CBS’s ‘60 Minutes’ at the end of September that all countries need to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty. 

“At no time in the past, now or in the future has or will Russia take any part in actions aimed at overthrowing the legitimate government,” Putin said, adding that Moscow “would like other countries to respect the sovereignty of other states, including Ukraine. Respecting the sovereignty means preventing coups, unconstitutional actions and illegitimate overthrowing of the legitimate government.”

EU sanctions against Russia could be renewed at the end of this year, however, even though some European countries have been hit hard by the fall in trade triggered, in part, by Moscow’s counter-sanctions on food imports.

EU sanctions include restrictions on lending to major Russian state-owned banks, as well as defense and oil companies. In addition, Brussels has imposed restrictions on supplying weapons and military equipment to Russia, as well as military technology, dual-use technologies, high-tech equipment, and technologies for oil production. A number of Russian and Ukrainian officials have also been blacklisted by the West.

World Bank sharply downgrades Ukraine’s GDP forecast http://on.rt.com/6t40 

Russian President Vladimir Putin at the U.N. General Assembly

putin-cheersPresident Vladimir Putin told the United Nations’ General Assembly on Monday that there is a need for an international coalition to fight the Islamic State terror group and support the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

President Putin said the power vacuum in the Middle East had “started to be filled by militants and terrorists.” He added, “We think it is an enormous mistake to not cooperate with the Syrian government and its armed forces.”

“On the basis of international law, we must create a genuinely broad international coalition against terrorism.”

But there’s an obvious problem with his argument: By propping up Assad’s government, Moscow is actually facilitating the continued menace of the Islamic State.

The Assad regime a “terrorism generator of epic proportion, engaging in state terrorism against its own people and inciting terrorism from its opponents,” the strategic security firm The Soufan Group wrote last month.

“There is no justifying the actions of a group like the Islamic State or al-Nusra,” The Soufan Group continued, adding, “but the Assad regime’s wholesale slaughter of civilians provides the groups with radicalized supporters far faster than Assad’s military can then fight them.”

Nevertheless, Putin’s speech may have its intended effect.

“Sad commentary that 85 percent of what Putin said still sounded like he is now more relevant than Obama, ” David Rothkopf, CEO of the Foreign Policy Group, tweeted.

Russia has been increasing its military presence in Syria since the end of August — under the guise of helping the embattled Syrian president fight the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, and other extremists.

But many experts have noted that Putin’s priority is not to get rid of ISIS, but to keep Assad in power against all rebels.

“The deployment is clearly designed to shore up the regime’s military capabilities, which have shown serious signs of weakness since March, when the rebels made a string of swift gains in different parts of the country,” Middle East expert Hassan Hassan wrote in The New York Times.

Western Defeat in Ukraine

 Western Defeat in Ukraine

 

By Roger Cohen  – Published by The New York Times

LONDON — It was not a surprise that President Vladimir Putin of Russia came out in strong support of FIFA against the “blatant attempt” of the United States “to extend its jurisdiction to other states.” Institutionalized corruption is Putin’s thing. The governing body of world soccer has become a near-perfect illustration of how such a system works, almost as good as the once-pliant Ukraine of Putin’s ousted puppet, former President Viktor Yanukovych.

American power is Putin’s obsession. He professes to see its long arm everywhere, subverting Russia and countries of its former empire. So the Justice Department’s move against FIFA fit every Russian geostrategic theory. (In addition, of course, Putin is worried about the 2018 World Cup in Russia, as he should be. To say the event will carry echoes of the Berlin Olympics of 1936 would be an exaggeration, but not a wild one.)

It is not a surprise that various Russian generals and officials have been blustering about nukes, even threatening to wipe out poor little Denmark’s navy; nor that they have made clear that they will defend the annexation of Crimea (where the extension of Russian jurisdiction was on the “blatant” side) with every weapon in their arsenal. Force is the language Putin understands better than any other. He knows how uncomfortable much of Europe has become with this lexicon.

There are in fact no more surprises. Putin has turned on the West, seeing opposition to it as the glue of his regime, rather than integration with it as the path to Russian progress. He has opted for his life’s work: buying people, compromising them, threatening them.

Perhaps it was the street protests in Moscow of late 2011. Perhaps it was a perception of Western perfidy in Libya earlier that year. Perhaps it was some inkling about a moment of American weakness. Perhaps it really was the ouster through a popular uprising of the grossly corrupt Yanukovych in Ukraine. Perhaps it was simply his inner K.G.B. officer rising to the surface, a yearning for the empire lost. In the end the reasons are secondary to the reality, which is that Putin has opted to ignite Russian nationalism by cultivating the myth of Western encirclement of the largest nation on earth by far. The G-7 will convene in a few days without him. Of course it will. The Russian president is no longer interested in the rules of that club. Controlled antagonism to it suits him better.

Some 15 months have gone by since the annexation of Crimea. A few things have become clear. On the whole, they are troubling. The first is how muted, really, the American reaction has been to Moscow’s seizure of a chunk of Ukrainian territory and Russia’s stirring-up of a little war in eastern Ukraine with its more than 6,000 dead. The United States is not even a party to the Minsk accords, the deeply flawed agreement to unwind the conflict that looks more like a means to freeze it in place.

By Ainhoa Aristizabal – Unruly Hearts

Roger, you sound like a broken record in bringing Washington’s rhetoric.  But let me remind you that the US has invaded 70 nations since 1776. Any wonder why americans are not welcome in many countries? Of course, americans reaction to Crimeans asking Russia to make them part of the Russian Federation hasn’t impressed them a bit being that their country has invaded 70 nations, and even occupied some of those countries.

The 4th of July is Independence Day for the United States and commemorates the 4 July 1776 Declaration of Independence for the US, the key passage of which is “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Unfortunately american racism has grossly violated the proposition that “all men are created equal” and the worst form of racism involves invasion of other countries, as well as the growing racism in your country. The US has invaded about 70 countries since its inception and has invaded a total of about 50 countries since 1945 [1]. The World needs to declare a transition from the 4th of July as Independence for America Day to the 4th of July as Independence from America Day.

The following is a list of countries invaded by the US forces  (naval, military and ultimately air forces) since its inception in order of major incidents. This catalogue derives heavily form the work of US academic Dr Zoltan Grossman’s article “From Wounded Knee to Libya: a century of U.S. military interventions” [1], Gideon Polya’s book ‘Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950” (that includes a brief history of all countries since Neolithic times) [2] and William Blum’s book “ Rogue State ” [3]. This list includes instances of violent deployment of US forces within America (e.g. against demonstrators, miners etc), and includes small-scale bombing and military intervention operations, military evacuations of Americans and specific instances of explicit threats of use of nuclear weapons. The list does not include the 1801-1805 US Marine Barbary War operations against Barbary pirates based in Morocco , Algeria , Tunisia and Libya , and also ignores massive US subversion of virtually all countries in the world.