Is Mr Draghi’s ‘turn’ significant? Is Germany ‘turning’? Can Europe escape its ‘iron cage’? Plus, on the Scottish currency plans – on Boom-Bust RT-tv

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[Jump to 3’20”] Erin Ade, RT’s Boom-Bust presenter, interviewed me yesterday on the state of Europe. We talked about the significance of Mr Draghi’s recent ‘intervention’, on whether Germany is about to change course, touched upon my article “Can Europe be saved without turning into an iron cage?” and briefly delved into Scotland’s proposal for a currency union with England if the Scots opt for independence on 18th September.

30 Comments

  • Back in 1974 the then EU core countries produced 34% of the world’s GDP. Today this figure has shrunk to 24% of the world’s GDP (despite the EU now including 28 members or at least twice as many as in 74) and it’s projected to fall further to 15% of the world’s GDP by 2020. Therefore it’s quite obvious that the EU is neither the solution for prosperity nor the strong foundation for future generations.

    Greece is advised to reassess its geopolitical/geostrategic alignments (and by that we mean sever the feeding tube coming out straight from Merkel’s posterior) and recast itself with a new group/alliance which includes skillful/experienced players like the U.K. and a few select others. The U.K. happens to be a continuous laboratory of freedom and democratically debated ideas which represent a proven success model to follow(as far as democracy in action is concerned).

    The salvation of Greece is not in the EU and its derivatives but part of a new structure which maximizes value for the Greek citizens. Your job is to lead the people to such path through honesty and dedication devoid of the many and disturbing biases that plague a largely impotent European Left. This is not a fashion show, this is a struggle for survival, a new beginning and we all need to be focused to what is highest and best for the benefit of the people.

    • Dean, your comment prompted me to write the following…Could a future reconfiguration & re-energising of Greek Economic & Political “Elites” prompt talks in relation to joining the block being formed by Russia / Belarus / Kazakhstan and may be including China. I don’t know if this possibility has been or being discussed on either the Right of Left in Greece. I have been following some of the discussions from the Russian side as I was born in that part of the world. There are a number of cultural links BW Greece & Russia as well as possible business partnerships in the future. In relation to a new “Greek Currency” – the possibility of Greece adopting their version of the “Ruble” could send interesting signals to others in Europe’s periphery?

    • “Therefore it’s quite obvious that the EU is neither the solution for prosperity nor the strong foundation for future Generations”

      So true. The EU is a bureaucratic monster that soon will hopefully eat the bureaucrats!

    • Alex68:

      Even though there is cultural affinity between Russia and Greece, given the latest turmoil which looks like a confrontation between Russia and the West, I would not de-emphasize good relations with Russia but would not make them the driver of my foreign policy.

      Greece, for better or worse, is anchored in the West and from a civilization point of view is the West.

      My preference for a new geopolitical alignment for Greece would be U.K. for the immediate European neighborhood, USA as the transatlantic tie (if for no other reason other than simply that the US can’t be ignored) and China (as the exotic furthest away Asian ally). This way Greece covers all the bases (immediate neighborhood, intermediate neighborhood, and global neighborhood). By maintaining good relations with China and Russia, Greece also becomes of service as an intermediary in case the other two allies U.K. and USA have a flare up in their relations with Russia and China. Keep in mind that when we say U.K. we mean a portal to the Commonwealth which includes Canada, Australia and India among other players.

    • That’s an awesome idea, Alex68, let Greece join a new Eastern Block presided over by Russia, a model state of economic success and democratic values. That will work out so much better for them than being part of the EU.

    • Re: Mr Schaffer’s Comment…

      Well I was suggesting this option as over the last few years a number of “prominent” Greeks have sought salvation from the great powers to the East (Iam talking about China & Russia). Both have their own take on autocratic rule & not interested in taking advice from Western Democracies on how to organise their society & economy. I was thinking that Mr Putin with Mr Medvedev or their Chinese equivalent could help in hammering the final nails in T*I*N*A’s coffin.

    • Alex68 – by that, do you mean that there are “prominent” forces in Greek politics who would like to steer the country towards a more autocratic, less democratic setup, so they want to take lessons from and align themselves with powers such as Russia or China? What or who are those “prominent” people?

    • “Russia, a model state of economic success and democratic values. That will work out so much better for them than being part of the EU”

      I see. Think a few decades back to find something that was very similar to the EU with ist unelected EU commission. Yes it also had a commission and when the “parliament” voted, results looked similar. And yes the parliament did not have a common “people”.

      It was called USSR!

    • Oh man, what nonsense! Of course the EU is far from perfect, but to directly compare it to the former USSR is, well, just total nonsense. But that kind of sensationalist stuff is probably good to get some attention.
      But that already illustrates one very fundamental difference here: in the EU, he, you, and everybody else can voice their opinions about what’s wrong with the system freely without the fear of ending up in a prison gulag.
      And BTW, the EU Parliament which elects the EU Commission President is actually elected by the people, all of them, in secret elections so that comparison is also nonsensical.
      But yes, I agree – the system, in particular the EU Commission is definitely in need of much improvement, but it has little to do with the former USSR.

      People tend to forget that no matter what the current problems in the EU are, it brought people a whole lot more freedom than they had before. Now people across the EU can travel, work and live much more freely than they could before. That in itself is worth a lot.

      All this rhetoric is just distracting from the real nature of the problems and the simple but brutal truth that the countries which are deepest in doodoo have caused these problems largely themselves. There are reasons for why some countries are in the wholes they dug for themselves up to their necks and even deeper while some are just in there up their knees or hips. And the reasons are also related to why they just don’t want to see that.

      If you want to make historical comparisons, compare that to the ages old tactic of blaming others, either outside forces or select inside target groups for the problems to distract from their real nature.

    • Also, seriously, the stuff about the “intellectual gulag of political correctness” is really farfetched. And it trivializes the fate of millions of people who especially in the 20th centuries died in actual prison and labor camps.
      And, the stuff about how the EU also wants to create a new type of man, the European, an utopia similar to the new man that the communist regime wanted to create (or so they said…), that’s really way over the top, too. After countless centuries of tribal warfare in Europe with countless pointless wars, I think we can slowly learn how to do better,

      Just not instantaneously. It’s not that simple, and the new political system has to slowly evolve and that means, unfortunately, by trial and error. It can not just be installed from above – that would be like in the USSR.

      Now, there are obviously huge challenges involved in this, and right now, things are not going very well, nobody denies that.
      But falling back into a state of bickering tribes won’t solve any of those problems, nor will it solve any of the old problems which led to the formulation of the concept of the EU in the first place.
      And nonsense like this won’t help to really understand the nature of the problems and, hopefully, work towards solutions either.

      But it is quite catchy stuff, I admit that. It may give the uncritical viewer that brief moment of satisfaction when he thinks that now he gets it, now he knows what the problems are, now he has it all figured out. People who stand on soap box and preach need these rhetorical oversimplifications.

    • Hello Again…I agree with many things that Mr Bukovsky has mentioned Re the imposed propaganda and oppression that Soviet citizens were subjected to and how this is being rehashed in a European context. I must stress that the historical context is important (i.e. the last 200-300 years of Russian / Eastern European history is different to Western European…specifically British, French & German). Russia faced perceived military & political threats from both Asia in the form of China & British India, as well as periodic threats from Britain, Germany & France. Russian Czars & political elites were also confronted with the challenge of integrating 100s of different cultures and languages spanning a huge territory & multiple time zones. I would summarise the overall results as the imposition of laws, regulations & power from St Petersburg and Moscow. Its possible that Russian could have broken up into multiple self governing or autonomous regions which included defence & trading agreements – but that didn’t happen. What happens “going forward” in Ukraine will be closely watched by Russian democratic & authoritarian players.

    • “Back in 1974 the then EU core countries produced 34% of the world’s GDP. Today this figure has shrunk to 24% of the world’s GDP (despite the EU now including 28 members or at least twice as many as in 74) and it’s projected to fall further to 15% of the world’s GDP by 2020.”

      Yes, because of the rest of the world–including countries once much poorer than the EU core countries–was growing more quickly.

      This is not a bad thing: in a prosperous world, Europe’s share of total economic production, like the United States’ or Canada’s or that of any other wealthy region, is going to fall.

      This also does not say anything about the effectiveness or otherwise of the European Union: unless the EU was going to commit itself to the perpetual immiseration of the rest of the planet, there was nothing it could do.

  • @Dean

    For Greece, reassessing its intra-EU alignments and its EZ participation is one thing, your recommendation is much stronger. But, I concede, it may be that attempting the former may bring about a push towards the latter, about which people should be informed to pass judgement.

    In the meantime, it will be interesting to see how the Scots feel about it, having aligned for centuries with this “skillful/experienced player […] a continuous laboratory of freedom and democratically debated ideas which represent a proven success model to follow(as far as democracy in action is concerned” 🙂

    cheers

    • Vasili, point taken.

      Keep in mind that:

      a. the U.K. at present includes Scotland and as such the Scots are participants in the “democratic laboratory” and
      b. It’s the Scots who will vote and whatever the result the rest of the U.K. will accommodate and respect.

      It’s just the circumstances of this experiment which have raised serious questions as to the true intent. What the rest of us spectators are saying is “do you guys the Scots know what you are doing”? because we don’t. This is not a “psekaste, skoupiste, teleiwsate” sort of thing but something a bit more complex.

    • No objection from me, I am also curious as to why Scots decided to try independence.

      From what little I have found out, the decision seems to be motivated to a large part as an effort to move back towards traditional British social democracy. As such, it could be of huge symbolic significance. But, I am still waiting for the facts to roll in.

    • Vasili:

      If the purpose in Scotland is to devolve power from Edinburgh to local councils then that’s a good thing and everyone should be 100% behind it. County and metropolitan authorities should assume – or reassert depending on the case – control over education, transport, taxation, welfare.

      So pluralism at local level, with the freedom to innovate, to trial new ideas, to copy best practice, attracting higher caliber candidates are all great goals and must be pursued regardless and for their own sake.

      The monkey wrench here is the referendum itself and specifically the manner in which it was put together as well as a whole set of issues that it has failed to address. Of course I am not a Scot and have no say in this but if I were a Scot I would say “wait a minute guys, I need satisfactory answers to a whole list of questions in order for me to cast my vote”. To be well informed when you vote, I believe it to be an unalienable democratic right. Am I wrong?

  • Today the people of Scotland have spoken by electing the greater freedoms of DevoMax. Just as in Scotland’s case, we citizens of Europe must devolve and forever dissolve the evil empire called the EUSSR and become free citizens again instead of prisoners in this awful German prison called the eurozone. Long Live Freedom !

    • No, I think it’s great that they are trying to figure out what the best path for them is. Although some were disappointed that the outcome of the referendum was “no”, it was, as many commentators have pointed out, still a great exercise of democracy and the high turnout suggests that most people there really do care, a good sign in these days when too many people are just politically apathetic.

      But I wasn’t talking about the Scots. I was talking about you and your silly nationalist nonsense. Whatever the problems in Europe are and whatever it will take to solve them, silly nationalist slogans and petty fractionism (if such a word exists…) are not going to be the solution for anyone. It only created more problems, for the sum and for its parts.

      So take your meds and then watch the video above. Yanis says some smart things in it about that, maybe you can learn a thing or two from it!

    • f I had to choose, I would go back to my German prison anytime, if I can get out of the Statist EU prison!

    • 1 DM = 2 USD. I would go for it any time. That means I would get Maseratis and pretty much everything else I buy at a huge discount!

    • Actually both of your porposals will be wrong. The best Exchange rate for everyone is the one determined by everybody (=all market participants). Any centrally planned interest or Exchange rate will be wrong most of the time and hence have more negative effects than positive ones.