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The Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) between Ukraine and the European Union, which came into force on 1 January 2016, was about to help the East European economy to recover; however, the results after the first year fell far short of Ukraine’s expectations. The former Soviet Republic lost €2.2 billion more than it lost in 2015 on trade with the EU. While imports from the EU have surged, exports have merely grown.
As Polish media reports, the European Union has flooded Ukraine with goods,which is contrary to the aim of the free trade agreement: the document assumed the asymmetric openness of the markets in Ukraine’s favour.
After Viktor Orban’s Hungary, the second European Union state took an aim at George Soros and his funds, accusing him of organizing anti-government protests and attempts at destabilizing the country. The head of the ruling party and a former Romania’s prime minister Liviu Dragnea, known for his independent national economic policy, called the leaders of the recent massive street protests as “agents of George Soros.”
While some believe that “bad” governments from Eastern Europe (from Poland to Macedonia) use Soros’s Open Society Foundation and his broad contacts as a scapegoat in order to avoid the responsibility for their own weak political results, chief communications officer of the Open Society Foundation, Laura Silber, does not try to conceal their engagement.
Western societies have been subjected to cultural and ethnic diversification which, as its advocates proclaim, was to enrich the indigenous populations and boost their development. Contrary to the stated goals, members of different ethnic groups tend to stick together, displace the locals, and rather than morph into the culture of the host population they preserve their own,all the more so since their numbers are doubling and trebling and since they regard their recipient societies as weaklings without moral backbone.Under such circumstances separate communities form, large cities turn into mosaics whose particular religious and cultural elements are but loosely connected. Differences in worldviews, beliefs, traditions spark off mutual suspicion, aversion, animosity or an all-out enmity. Social cohesion is only make-believe with all the attendant problems which include (ethnically or racially-driven) crime.
When the sense of security is lost, when “the break-ins and muggings [are] beyond control”,and people cannot rely on the police, and such is the case in many large cities across Western Europe, with their no-go zones,members of a community start setting up their own policing units in self-defence. The London-based Shomrim is a prime example.
If a 4.5 million nation is the third biggest foreign holder of US Treasury securities, the biggest in the European Union, it is something remarkable. If a 0.5 million nation is the second EU-holder of US papers, it is something striking. Ireland and Luxembourg, as well as the United Kingdom and Belgium, are used by the international financiers of foreign powers to credit or cheat the US government who pays them interest for avoiding taxes in their home-country.
It is widely known that Japan and China are the two biggest holders of US government bonds. But these countries have huge savings and their investments over $1 trillion have fundamentals. Meanwhile, the EU holdings (altogether bigger than those of Japan or China) are pumped up by financial institutions, including US financiers and companies. In other words, European holdings stem from loose tax rules rather than strong economic demand for securities.
A break-up of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia’s claims to legal authority over Kosovo will be the next setback for the European establishment. It is not a matter of if but rather when the war in the Balkans will resume. The consequences will be more detrimental to European stability than the Bosnia war in the nineties. A war in Bosnia will increase the tension between the Muslim and the native populations in West Europe, with the latter being more and more vocal in its opposition to the Islamisation of Europe.
The 1999 NATO bombardments of Belgrade forced the Serbian authorities to withdraw their troops from the province of Kosovo. Unlike Bosnia, Kosovo was an integral part of the Serbian Republic.By all international standards, the bombardments of Serbia were an illegal act of war. The European Union and Washington recognised Kosovo in 2008 as an independent state; 45% of the countries in the world did not follow suit, seeing the forced secession as a dangerous precedence incompatible with international law.To tell the truth, there is no such thing as international law; there is only international diplomacy where war is a strategic tool to bend the weaker party to the will of the stronger one.
Syria has long been a target of Neoconservative foreign policy. After the removal of Saddam Hussein from Iraq, Paul Wolfowitz, the leading Neocon ideologist, Deputy Defence Secretary under George Bush and an architect of the invasion of Iraq, said in 2003 that ”there will have to be a change in Syria”.The problems during the occupation of Iraq and the radical change in the American public opinion towards the conflict forced the Bush administration and Neoconservative circles to shelve their plans.
Original plan and first problems
In 2011, Obama assembled a mighty coalition, including France, the UK, Israel, Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia to finally remove Assad and bring “regime” change to the Syrian people, confirming the line of of “liberal interventionism” of the Bush years as Robert Kagan, another prominent Neocon ideologist, defines it.
In August 2013, following an alleged use of chemical weapons by the Assad government against rebels, Obama finally found his pretext to justify the invasion of Syria, obtaining the authorization for the use of force from the US Senate.The use of sarin by the Assad troops would later turn out to be a fabrication,much like Saddam’s never found weapons of mass destruction that the Bush Neocons had used as an excuse to justify the invasion of Iraq.
US-centric media report that Japan has become the biggest holder of the US treasuries, surpassing China last month. However, this is true only in regard to single countries. If we consider European Union member states collectively, then they appear to be the biggest holder of the US treasuries. It has been so almost one year long. Unfortunately, the EU’s holdings are artificially overstated because of some financial havens and they are going in the opposite direction to the trend: up rather than down.
According to the latest data from TIC (Treasury International Capital System), the EU was in possession of $1242 billion of US Treasuries in November 2016, $9 billion more than one month earlier. The EU was the only one from three biggest holders that increased its amount of US treasuries in November, while China and Japan continued to lower their holdings.
American dreams about energy independence may never come true. After a continuing decrease in the shale oil production, also the shale gas output has reached its peak and started to fall. As shale oil and gas make up half of the total United States oil and gas production and the rig count remains historically low, the American energy independence is shrinking and hopes for American LNG supply to Europe are disappearing into thin air. The US continues to be a net importer of energy resources and this is not going to change.
Dreams about the American energy autonomy are far from being abandoned, though. The shale revolution enthusiasm was shared even by top politicians, like Hillary Clinton, who claimed that the US had achieved energy independence, even if it was obviously not true. Gas autonomy seemed to be more achievable that of oil and 2016 was slated to be the first year when the US would export more gas than import.
On the morning of 19 December Ukrainians got up to learn about a momentous economic decision: the biggest Ukrainian bank, PrivatBank, had just been nationalised after its two owners used depositors’ money to build a business empire and distributed the money among Jewish organisations in Europe. Why did it have to happen?
A look into the past. PrivatBank used to be Ukraine’s largest bank with 20% of the banking sector and $53bn assets.Its history is quite unusual for the country’s realities because it:
was one of the first private banks (formed in 1992);
was the first bank to introduce plastic cards and ATMs;
was the first Ukrainian financial institution to receive an international rating (Thomson BankWatch International Rating Agency, Fitch IBCA);
was the first Ukrainian bank to have opened its International Banking Unit in Cyprus in 1999;
introduced electronic banking in 2001;
received STP Excellence Award from Deutsche Bank in 2003.
In 1992, at the end of the Cold War, an American political scientist infamously proclaimed “the end of history:” liberal democracy and the capitalist system has won, the rest of the world will eventually embrace western ideas as superior to theirs because only they are able to provide peace and prosperity.
This line of reasoning has since become the West’s dogma in international relations, and so under the pretext of spreading human rights and parliamentary democracy all over the world the West perceives itself to be on a mission. For a while, it worked. Most of Eastern Europe readily embraced Western democracy and capitalism and even Russia seemed to follow.
The turmoil in the financial market was far from good news to President-Elect Donald Trump.
The 10-year Treasury yield was on pace for the largest 2-week rise since 2009. The crash in the bond market happened alongside a 10% devaluation of the Japanese yen.
The mainstream media presented the dumping of Treasury bonds as good news. Investors miraculously expected the US economy to boom and inflation to rise now that Donald Trump will be their president. The same media analysts that predicted two weeks ago that the financial world would collapse if Trump were elected are now convinced that Trump’s plan to increase spending and lower taxes will finance itself.
61% of the Dutch voters rejected the Ukraine association treaty in a referendum this year. 31% of the population showed up, which is a far larger number than of those who turned up at Maidan to protest. For the second time the Dutch population cast its vote in a referendum, for the second time the outcome will be nullified in the name of European Democracy.
European leaders have celebrated the Maidan revolution as the attempt of Ukrainian people to join the family of liberal democracies of Western Europe. It couldn’t be further from the truth. In the official version presented in the West, Maidan protests were spontaneously sparked off when the pro-Russian Yanukovich government renounced to ratify an association agreement with the European Union.
Yet in November 2013, before the Maidan movement even started, Oleg Tsarov, member of the Ukrainian parliament, had reported in a parliamentary session on the recruitment of activists organized by the US embassy in Kiev for unknown purposes.
The US embassy in Kiev, via its representative Victoria Nuland, would later become a primary actor in pressuring for a regime change and the formation of a pro-West government in the first months of 2014. For clarity, Victoria Nuland is the third in charge of the US foreign policy, second only President Obama and John Kerry, who had been busy negotiating a nuclear deal with Iran.