Friday 16th of April 2021

reviving the european ideal...


Europe is a bastard child of many nations that fought each other over centuries. It is hard to know when the concept of Europe started, though we are told:

European culture is the root of Western civilization, which traces its lineage back to ancient Greece and ancient Rome.[12][13] The fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD and the subsequent Migration Period marked the end of Europe's ancient history and the beginning of the Middle Ages. Renaissance humanism, exploration, art and science led to the modern era. Since the Age of Discovery, started by Portugal and Spain, Europe played a predominant role in global affairs. Between the 16th and 20th centuries, European powers colonized at various times the Americas, almost all of Africa and Oceania, and the majority of Asia.

The Age of Enlightenment, the subsequent French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars shaped the continent culturally, politically and economically from the end of the 17th century until the first half of the 19th century. The Industrial Revolution, which began in Great Britain at the end of the 18th century, gave rise to radical economic, cultural and social change in Western Europe and eventually the wider world. Both world wars took place for the most part in Europe, contributing to a decline in Western European dominance in world affairs by the mid-20th century as the Soviet Union and the United States took prominence.[14] During the Cold War, Europe was divided along the Iron Curtain between NATO in the West and the Warsaw Pact in the East, until the revolutions of 1989 and fall of the Berlin Wall.

In 1949, the Council of Europe was founded with the idea of unifying Europe to achieve common goals and prevent future wars. Further European integration by some states led to the formation of the European Union (EU), a separate political entity that lies between a confederation and a federation.[15] The EU originated in Western Europe but has been expanding eastward since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. The currency of most countries of the European Union, the euro, is the most commonly used among Europeans; and the EU's Schengen Area abolishes border and immigration controls between most of its member states and some non-members states. There exists a political movement favoring the evolution of the European Union into a single federation encompassing much of the continent.

The prevalent definition of Europe as a geographical term has been in use since the mid-19th century. Europe is taken to be bounded by large bodies of water to the north, west and south; Europe's limits to the east and northeast are usually taken to be the Ural Mountains, the Ural River, and the Caspian Sea; to the southeast, the Caucasus Mountains, the Black Sea and the waterways connecting the Black Sea to the Mediterranean Sea.[25]

So much for the geography and the past…

Now to the new history

Europe is complex. The ebbs and flows of humanity in Europe has been as dramatic as those we still feel today in the USA and in Australia, where invasions have been the main change in civilisation.

But these back and forth invasions, with the present 24 official language mix and the various philosophies of life has created the cradle of Western civilisation. The various ethnic groups which had evolved from the early human forays into the continent and mixing also with the Neanderthals, created a certain form of individuality of people and of tribes with more than 100 lingoes — 60 dialects still surviving today. To begin the story of human Europe, we might choose 42,000 years ago. We could pick the ventures between the “Germans” and the “Romans” from about 16 BC, or the Napoleonic wars as various markers… or the First World War, which to some extend was engineered by some of the British Empire movers, such as Cecil Rhodes…

The present tragedy of Europe is that it has become subservient to the main remnant of the British Empire — the USA. In fact, Russia is a better part of Europe than the USA are, but one could argue that many Americans are descendants of Europeans, thus making the relationship more valid. Yet the psyche is different. At present, the minds and purpose of leadership are not on the same level — and crassness with American rumbling slogans is the hubris of political relations.

The main differences is that of language. The USA speaks mostly English (American) and a few other lingoes like Spanish on the side. In Europe, all the languages are an important part of cultures and it is weird that the terms of "ralliement” can be made in English, even as the Poms have left the European union. Russian, Dutch, German, French and Italian are the official languages of many European countries. On the other hand, English is spreading in Europe as one of the main language. As a second language, there are over 200 million English speakers in Europe.

From Gus's perspective, Brexit was inevitable and NECESSARY. I know I’ll get brickbats for this thought but there are several factors at play, including “immigration”. Present immigration to Europe was annoyingly instigated by the USA and their little wars in various Middle-East countries and in north Africa. Bombing people creates refugees. End of story. 

Europe had made “unworkable” concessions to the Brits in order to accept them in the union, after General de Gaulle who had said "non" died. He knew what the poms were up to... One of this concession was in regard to money. But the Pound remained too powerful due to some dark aspects of this currency and the tax havens it supported.

For the British being absorbed into the complexity of the union meant the final death knell of the British Empire forever. Gone. Vanished. No hope of bringing singularly British past glories to life. We know that secretly, the British Empire though officially dead, survives through the five eyes countries — countries that spy on the rest of the world, including spying on their European “friends”. The US are still part of the “British Empire” and vice versa. Europe has thus been screwed by this US-UK alliance...

The European subservience to the US is a sore point. This is not due exclusively to language diversity, but to a sum-total of secret and overt political manoeuvres by the US, which include of course a weapon arsenal which is about 25 times bigger than that of Europe, and with the demonisation of Russia. 

Military situations have always influenced Europe, rather more than a common philosophy. With this come difficult ideals, including fair alliances and progressive purpose… Meanwhile the USA has been trying hard to make sure there are discords within the different European countries and between each others. This is a given.

Trump was not a fascist. He was no more than a lucky idiot. Joe Bien is a different kind of fool, in the same mould as Hillary, with a bit less hubris, but a fool who is more deceitful as he will use what people want — climate and environment, health and cash, in a package of unsavoury international policies, on par with Trump’s — with the military options added. 

While Trump, in his own stupid style, tried to resist the “deep state” that is run by the conglomerate of US military and powerful business interest, Joe is flowing with it… This dirty work is packaged in religious morality. Win some, loose some...

Europe? It HAS TO DISENGAGE FROM THE USA. Keep the US at arms length and work within itself to sort its problems that are numerous, including having to deal with the Ultra-right and the religious fanatics of Poland for example — as well as control the rise of Islam within. Europe has to be secular, philosophically advanced, independent and at the forefront of scientific advancement. It has to revive its ideals...

Europe needs to grow up and be able to make deals with Russia/Putin and forget the distractions of the Navalny's and his possibly fake poisoning, or a non-lethal poisoning orchestrated by the CIA. 

We can only hope that this pandemic crisis will reinforce the European Ideal… and not participate anymore in the conflicts generated by the USA. Enough. Finito the adventurism in little US wars… Stand up. Make your own visions

Finally, mathematically, 27 members of the union is far more workable than 28 (with the Brits). Do not add any new members to the Union… beyond 27, by adding “personnel”, you end up in a downward economic diminishing return….

My advice to Europe: deal intelligently and as adults with Russia. Dump the USA as leaders... while dealing with the US as equals — and demand the release of ASSANGE first, should you wish for the release of Navalny...

FREE ASSANGE NOW! This has to be a good start...

Picture at top by Gus leonisky: a local watches the tourists below from the window of a Middle ages house in Strasbourg...

growth of USA and Europe...



By Ted R. Bromund, Ph.D.

Senior Research Fellow in Anglo-American Relations. Ted Bromund studies Anglo-American relations, U.S. relations with Europe and the EU, and the U.S.’s leadership role in the world.


Europe is declining. It’s getting richer too slowly — so slowly that it’s being left behind by the rest of the world. Strangely, that’s the result Europe prefers. Britain has a chance to escape from the European trap, but even if it does, Europe’s decline is a defeat for the United States.

There is no escaping the fact that Europe produces a smaller share of the world’s output today than it did a decade ago. To an extent, this is inevitable, and it is happening to the United States, too. Neither Europe nor the United States can outgrow the rest of the world.

All other things being equal, this loss of relative economic weight means that Europe — and the United States — will have less geopolitical heft. Of course, not all other things are always equal. But the loss of heft will arrive sooner or later. It can be delayed, not denied.

On the other hand, growth — and therefore decline — is to a considerable extent a choice. It makes an enormous difference whether Europe and the United States grow at 1 or 4 percent a year. If we adopt wise policies, we will grow faster. If we choose poorly, we will grow slower — and lose heft faster.

In my last column, I condemned the European Union’s new copyright policy, which amounts to an admission that the EU has lost the war for the commercial future of the internet. Its policy seeks to fill that gap by suing American firms.

On its own, this is a terrible policy that demands a stout American response. But it does not stand on its own. It is just one bad policy of many. These policies often sound nice. And individually, none of them is all that devastating for growth. But together, they drag the EU down.

The EU is about to require Netflix to have 30 percent locally produced content. That means EU content producers would be protected. It also means higher prices for EU consumers. Or take Italy’s “dignity decree,” which makes it harder to hire temporary workers. That’s nice for full-time workers — but it raises costs in the economy.

For two decades, the EU has proclaimed the superiority of its “European model,” which favors welfare spending over the supposedly rabid American pursuit of growth. Europe has not stumbled into slow growth: the EU chose it deliberately.

But that choice has a price: loss of geopolitical heft. That means the EU has more to lose by imposing sanctions on Russia. It means developing nations are more likely to listen to China than Europe. And it means the choice between paying for security and paying for welfare has become tougher.

Being in the EU is bad for your future. The EU has conceded this by telling Britain it can’t have a customs union with the EU after Brexit. The reason? A customs union doesn’t impose all the burdens of being in the EU, so British firms would be better off than their EU counterparts. By getting out, Britain will escape that growth-suppressing path. Britain may not decide to take that chance — but at least it will have the freedom to choose.

But even if Britain chooses well, the EU’s decline holds perils for the United States. After the end of World War Two, we rebuilt democracy in Western Europe on a foundation of prosperity. As the EU’s growth slows, its democracies will fade. Indeed, they are waning already: in Italy, we see the political turmoil that economic stagnation foments.

This danger is the result of a European preference for stability over change. But by seeking to avoid economic change, the EU will find that political change is thrust upon it. For Europe, the path to decline is the path to instability. And from bitter experience, we in the United States know the dangers of that.


This piece originally appeared in Newsday

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Gus: Things are fluid — Europe should deal with China and Russia, independently from the USA...




the price of money...

[RussEurope-en-Exil] Cancel the Debt? A European Debate - by Jacques Sapir

Le magazine russe « Ekspert », qui est l’hebdomadaire de référence en Russie, publie ce lundi 22 février un article de votre serviteur sur le débat actuel concernant l’annulation d’une partie des dettes souveraines.

Ce débat, on le sait, a pris une résonance particulière en France mais aussi en Europe. Un appel international a été publié, auquel je ne me suis pas associé. Nombreux ont été ceux qui se sont demandé pourquoi ; ils trouveront, dans ce texte, une partie des réponses.

Une grande partie de mes lecteurs ne lisant pas le russe (ce que je déplore…), je publie ici la traduction en français de ce texte.


Russian magazine "Ekspert", which is the benchmark weekly in Russia, is publishing an article by me, Jacques Sapir, on Monday (February 22) on the current debate over the cancellation of part of the sovereign debt.

This debate, as we know, has taken on a particular resonance in France but also in Europe. An international call was issued, which I did not join. Many have wondered why; they will find some of the answers in this text.

A large part of my readers do not read Russian (which I deplore…), I am publishing the French translation of this text here.


Since the first days of 2021, a debate has been developing on the cancellation of what is called "debt-Covid". At the initiative of Nicolas Dufrêne, senior official and director of the Rousseau Institute, more than 100 economists, including Thomas Piketty but also the Australian economist specializing in money, Steve Keen, or the former Belgian minister Paul Magnette, launched on February 5 a call for the cancellation of this debt, in several European newspapers (1).

This debate, which concerns the debts held by the European Central Bank (ECB) under the PEPP (Pandemy Emergency Purchasing Program), therefore has a strong impact whether in France or Italy, Luxembourg and Belgium.

It takes place at a time when the European Union and the Euro Zone have been severely affected by the health crisis and must face a real surge in public debts. This debate has infiltrated in the corridors of the EuropIt has forced Ms. Christine Lagarde to make a very firm declaration, apparently closing the door to such an initiative.

The signatories of the appeal then invited the ECB to enter into a "pact" with the States so that a real investment policy can be put in place. But, they also realized that what they are proposing on debt will not be enough. They write moreover: “(…) other measures must be taken in terms of reform of the criteria of debt and deficit, of ecological and solidarity protectionism, of tax reforms aiming at reducing the level of inequalities and behavior, boost given to public investment banks and reform of state aid rules ”.


The day after the publication of this appeal, Christine Lagarde, President of the ECB, replied that "debt cancellation is unthinkable" because it would violate the European treaty. She is most certainly right.

We know that the Presidency of the Central Bank must take into account the board of governors. It is difficult to see Ms Lagarde making a decision that several governors could strongly oppose. Even the then contested decisions of Mario Draghi could in their time be based on the absence of open opposition within the Board of Governors. In addition, the European Central Bank is still under the supervision of the German constitutional court, the Court of Karlsruhe. It is difficult to see the President of the ECB provoking an open crisis between her institution and Germany.

But to say that it opposes, and that it will certainly oppose in the future, a partial cancellation of the debt does not necessarily imply that it opposes the implicit transformation of part of the debt. debt in perpetual debt or at the very least very long term. Remember that, when Ms. Lagarde was the leader of the IMF, she had supported, within the framework of what is called the "troika" the principle of partial cancellation of the Greek debt. Ms. Lagarde's personal positions are therefore not necessarily opposed to innovative solutions. Moreover, this would be the logical evolution of the current ECB policy, which currently ranges from PEPP to negative interest rate policy.

So why did the signers of the appeal draft it? Most certainly in the hope of obtaining some form of institutional commitment, in order to be sure that the debt issue does not become a decisive argument for once again imposing austerity policies on the countries of the Euro zone. And one can naturally understand, and even share, the implicit fear of the signatories. That once the emergency of the Covid-19 pandemic has passed, a conservative consensus will come back in force to the ECB and the European Commission. Such institutional commitment is necessary. But, is such a commitment conceivable today in the context of treaties? Of that, one can seriously doubt it.


The question must therefore be asked why do the signatories of the appeal seek at all costs to present their position as compatible with the treaties, when it clearly is not? One can sense from reading their text that they are certainly aware of it. They argue in effect on the growing gaps between the policy of the ECB, or even the Commission, and the text of the Treaties.

They say: "In this matter, only political-will counts: history has repeatedly shown us that legal difficulties disappear before political agreements". Who do they hope to convince with these kinds of arguments? Of two things one: either their call is placed explicitly within the framework of the European treaties, and this declaration is useless, even counterproductive. Or, their call is a call for a fundamental break with the treaties. In this case, much of the oratorical precautions that punctuate the appeal are quite unnecessary.



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