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PostBerlusconi's Unrealistic Plans to Integrate Russia into EU (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy, 06/16/23 4:43 am)
Apologies to JE, but I have no interesting details on Berlusconi's integrationist vision for Putin. The idea of Russia in NATO/EU was extremely good and would have brought peace and prosperity to the world.
But let's be blunt. I considered the idea highly unrealistic.
If Russia had joined the so-called EU, considering also a possible Brexit as the UK never was a real part of Europe but of the British lands (US, UK, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia), the EU would have become the foremost economic power in the world, a situation absolutely unacceptable to the US Deep State.
If Russia had joined NATO it would have not been a lackey of the Empire, maybe with foreign troops on its territory, but would have created a situation of real parity among the various allies. Again, this is a situation unacceptable to the US Deep State.
The ideas of Berlusconi therefore were absolutely unrealistic, and he was punished when a kind of coup was organized and he lost his position as prime minister in 2011.
Anyway, NATO should have at least followed a path of collaboration with Russia and not of encircling it, as per the latest interview of Oleg Magaletsky, organizer of the Forum of the Free Nations of Post Russia--namely, the idea of dissolving the Federation into many small states, with Poland making plans on Konigsberg/Kaliningrad/Krolowiec.
Oh, by the way, would the nuclear weapons go to the US or be divided among the newly planned 41 states of the ex-Russian Federation? What about the Pacific Federation or something more for China, asking it to forget Taiwan? Let me suggest uniting the Republic of Kamchatka and Chukotka with Alaska.
Remember, nothing makes people more angry than seeing an adversary drawing new maps with the division of its own state after a planned defeat. Just remember the Polish maps of 1939.
JE comments: Back in the "aughts," WAIS discussed the feasibility of bringing Russia into the EU and even NATO. The biggest stumbling block even then was Russia's failure to meet the EU standards for liberal democracy--freedom, transparency, functioning institutions, or what have you. In the interim, Russia has descended further into authoritarianism. But the West hasn't fared so well on the democracy front, either.
Eugenio, you give a lot of credit to the US Deep State. If it can do all the stuff you claim it can, it's a very powerful cabal. The biggest accomplishment of the Deep State may be that it we don't even know what it is.
Why Russia was Never Admitted to NATO, EU
(Alice Whealey, USA
07/02/23 3:53 AM)
On June 16th John E wrote: "[Years ago] WAIS discussed bringing Russia into the EU and even NATO....The biggest stumbling block even then was Russia's failure to meet the EU's standard for liberal democracy--freedom, transparency, functioning institutions... [and] in the interim, Russia has descended further into authoritarianism."
An alleged lack of these characteristics was not the biggest stumbling block, although one should distinguish here between NATO and the EU, which was once, as the EC/EEC, unlike now, a purely economic bloc. (Since its 2022 decisions to sanction Russia economically, the EU has become an economic arm of NATO, to the consternation of the EU's non-NATO members.) The EC/EEC had a better record of requiring something like "liberal democracy" than NATO. The fact that both Greece and Turkey experienced military dictatorships without being either expelled or even suspended from NATO is proof that "authoritarianism" is no bar whatsoever to being in NATO: Greece had a military government 1967-74, Turkey has had at least 3 military governments 1960-1965, 1971-1973, 1980-1983.... Keeping these countries in NATO during these periods of military rule was a violation of NATO's original charter, which was the first betrayal of the American voter; the second and more serious betrayal has been NATO's transformation from defensive to offensive alliance after its wars against Yugoslavia and Libya (some observers would include Afghanistan). By the way, modern Russia since 1991, unlike modern Greece and modern Turkey, has not yet experienced a military government. Some observers (including the Trilateral Commission--yes it's a real thing) put Erdogan and Putin about at the same level in terms of authoritarianism; indeed Putin is currently more popular in Russia than Erdogan is in Turkey. So long as there is a NATO it's not likely that Turkey will ever be expelled from it. Its geography is too strategic--matter how authoritarian, poor, or warlike it might become. Far more people, some 37,000, have been killed in Turkey over the PKK conflict than in Kosovo over the KLA conflict on the eve of NATO's attack on Yugoslavia in 1999. The most salient criterion for NATO membership is not democracy but whether a member can and will further the US foreign policy establishment's geopolitical agenda, which since the end of the Soviet Union has been mainly been about threatening Russia.
As for the EU and who gets admitted: while liberal democracy may be a necessary condition it is not a sufficient condition. Aside from overall economic level, population size and borders with even poorer and more populous countries matter a lot, which is why Turkey, despite application status since the 1980s, will probably never be admitted to the EU. It is one thing to absorb a relatively poor country of less than 3 million and declining, like Moldova, into the EU, and quite another to absorb a country of 86 million and still growing, which borders Syria, Iraq and Iran. As for Russia in the EU, the deciders already decided back in the mid 1990s that Russia would never be admitted (Mary E. Sarotte, Not One Inch to the East, p. 14, 346) well before Putin came to power, and long before the deciders could possibly have known how democratic Russia might end up being, and this decision was made despite the fact that Russia's natural resource-to-population ratio would have been more economically helpful to the EU than that of some current members' population-to-resource ratio. So there must have been more enduring reasons than a supposed lack of "liberal democracy" for the refusal to countenance Russia in the EU, such as borders: Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Mongolia...China(!?). Also, we now know that the US foreign policy establishment was deliberately trying to keep Russia economically as well as militarily weak in the 1990s (per Jeffrey Sachs), so that probably influenced the EU deciders. (Given how much Russia must have wanted to be an EU candidate in the 1990s and EU deciders must have wanted to keep them out, today, due to the importance of extractive industries to its current economy, the Russian government probably feels better off not being in the EU, which at least pretends to be very "green.")
JE comments: Apologies for today's late start--WAIS was suffering from a "Bad Gateway" this morning. Beware of the Bad Gateway! As always, Roman Zhovtulya made things all better as soon as he woke up on the West Coast.
Alice Whealey gives some provocative theories on NATO and EU expansion. The "border" issue is especially interesting. The argument is, the economic bloc does not want to border on countries that are too poor or too dysfunctional. By this logic, was Russia itself supposed to serve as a buffer zone between "Europe" and the decidedly non-European East? A final question: non-NATO EU nations include Austria, Ireland, Cyprus, and Malta. Have any of these countries expressed strong opposition to the sanctions against Russia?
Irish Objections to Sanctions against Russia
(Alice Whealey, USA
07/04/23 4:46 AM)
John E commented on July 2nd: "A final question: non-NATO EU nations include Austria, Ireland, Cyprus, and Malta. Have any of these countries expressed strong opposition to the sanctions against Russia?"
Yes, Clare Daly, member of the EU Parliament representing Ireland, objected strongly to the EU's adoption of sanctions against Russia, saying that it made the EU a "tool of NATO."
JE comments: I was curious why Ireland never entered NATO, and the principal reason has to do with sovereignty over the northern counties. Pat Mears follows all developments Irish. Pat, am I correct that the Republic would have to relinquish its claim on the North in order to join NATO? Have more "creative" solutions been proposed or discussed?
Why Is Ireland not in NATO?
(Patrick Mears, -Germany
07/04/23 6:33 AM)
This is just an off-the-cuff answer to John E's question, but I recall reading some time ago that the primary reason that Ireland has not joined NATO is because there is (or was) a strong desire by Irish citizens to remain officially neutral. I believe that the last time Irish soldiers were engaged in fighting in another country was in the Congo in the 1960s. Just did a quick internet check and this should fill in the blanks somewhat:
I remember when my son and fellow WAISer, Edward O. Mears, and I attended the remembrance events held in Dublin in 2016 in connection with the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising, and soldiers of the Irish Defense Forces paraded in vehicles used by those forces during the Congo action.
JE comments: Some 6000 Irish personnel served in the UN peacekeeping mission in Congo, 26 of whom lost their lives. Their four-year presence in the region cannot have been popular with the Irish people.
Ireland most famously maintained its neutrality during WWII. The UK in 1940 allegedly offered to unite the six northern counties with the Republic in exchange for Ireland entering the war on the Allied side. I would like to learn more about this "might have been" event.
- Why Is Ireland not in NATO? (Patrick Mears, -Germany 07/04/23 6:33 AM)
- Irish Objections to Sanctions against Russia (Alice Whealey, USA 07/04/23 4:46 AM)