This is very important from Pride’s Purge – but take a look at some of the countries that have blocked the UK from access to this $1.7 trillion market.
For example – the USA. Isn’t Theresa May cosying up to the States, in the hope that Donald Trump will provide succour to the UK in its years of need post-Brexit?
Here we see that country kicking the UK in the metaphorical teeth.
And the UK’s slavishly-Tory mass media have said nothing about it.
You are being betrayed by your government and by those who are supposed to hold it to account.
Theresa May’s kowtowing to the hard Brexiters in her party may have just cost the UK $1.7 Trillion of access to international projects after Brexit.
The U.S., New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Ukraine, Israel and Moldova have all blocked Britain’s post-Brexit entry into the World Trade Organization’s Government Procurement Agreement, a market worth $1.7 Trillion.
And while the first six big players on that list may eventually (after perhaps years of hard negotiations) give in with separate trade deals, with the last one – the small country of Moldova – it’s unlikely.
NATO expands: On the left, the situation in 1990; on the right, the scene in 2009 – NATO expanded right up to Russia’s borders.
Isn’t it interesting, how concepts coincide?
Only last night I read, in Russell Brand’s Revolution: “When Mikhail Gorbachev, who it turns out was a lovely fella who bent over backwards to prevent nuclear war and deserved to be remembered for more than that birthmark on his head, allowed a unified Germany to enter NATO, a hostile military alliance, on the condition that ‘NATO would not expand one inch to the east,’ the US agreed. Then they expanded right into East Germany, likely giggling as they went. This dunderheaded truculence persisted under every US regime change… Clinton in his tenure expanded NATO right up to Russia’s borders. Chomsky says all this aggro we’re having today in the Crimea and Ukraine is because of these unreported acts of military expansionism by the West.”
Now here’s the Beast: “I … found this little piece in ‘The View from the Bridge’ column in Lobster 45, reproducing statements from elsewhere that NATO was being used to exploit the former eastern bloc countries that have joined it after the fall of Communism. Although over a decade old [bolding mine], it’s relevant now as we are in period of diplomatic tension with Russia over the civil war in Ukraine. This has been presented as a case of pro-Western Ukrainian patriots attempting to free themselves from Russian domination. The reality is somewhat murkier, as the pro-Western side themselves were guilty of considerable corruption. It also includes open Neo-Nazis.”
The stories quoted are about NATO bullying eastern European countries into selling off their national economic assets to foreigners and spending huge amounts of money on US-manufactured military hardware, under threat of losing a place in NATO military committees and command structures.
The Beast writes: “This makes you really wonder what the reality behind the ousting of President Yanukovych in Ukraine really was, and who was supposed to benefit: the Ukrainian people, or Western multinationals.”
And now Greece is rolling back the privatisation programme imposed by the West, against hugely unreasonable – yet mounting – opposition from the Troika and Western right-wingers.
The UK, it seems, is on the side of NATO, and – as long as we have a right-wing government – the privateers. This leads to a very worrying question:
Battlefield: Independence Square in Kiev after clashes on February 20. [Image: AFP]
It isn’t often that Vox Political discusses foreign affairs; this would usually involve mentioning that national disaster, William Hague. But we’ll make an exception in the case of Ukraine.
If you don’t know that thinly-disguised Russian soldiers have occupied the Crimea, which is currently Ukrainian, you’d probably have to be living in a hole in the desert.
Russia says this is entirely justified, but the position is not clear-cut.
It seems this crisis started after a pro-Russian Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovych, decided to abandon plans for co-operation with Europe in favour of allying his country more closely with Russia.
At the time, Ukraine was deeply in debt and facing bankruptcy, with £21 billion needed to get through the current financial year and 2015. The country cannot call on the same financial levers as the UK, meaning this is a serious issue. How fortunate, then, that Russia was on hand to buy $15 billion of Ukrainian debt and reduce the price of Russian gas supplies by around one-third.
Gas. Ukraine produces around a quarter of its own supply and imports the rest from Russia and Asia, through pipelines that Russia controls. These pipelines continue into Europe, providing supplies to Western countries as well.
The alignment with Russia sparked huge popular protests which quickly escalated into violence. Even though Yanukovych gain office through an election that was judged free and fair by observers, it seems clear his pro-Russian policies do not have the support of the people. But Crimea used to be part of Russia until 1954, and most of its population are Russians.
Then on February 22, Yanukovych did a runner to Russia, from where – surprisingly – he has claimed he is still President of Ukraine. Politicians in Kiev thought differently and have named their own interim president until elections can take place in May. It is this action that sparked rival protests in Crimea, where people appear to support the previous, pro-Russian policies.
Troops, apparently in Russian uniforms, have appeared across the Crimea, besieging Ukrainian forces and effectively taking control. It has been suggested that Russian President Putin sent them in response to a request from Yanukovych, but Putin denies this. Crimea’s parliament has asked to join Russia.
There is also the matter of the Russian naval base on the Crimean Black Sea coast. This seems uncontroversial, though, as Ukraine had agreed to allow Russia to keep it.
To sum up:
It seems that most of Ukraine wants to keep Russia at arms’ length; but it must still find a way to pay back its debts.
It seems that most of Crimea wants to rejoin Russia. This will be tested in a referendum on March 16.
It seems that Western European countries like the UK are desperate to condemn Russia for interfering in Ukraine. Concerns were raised on the BBC’s Question Time last Thursday that the referendum will be rigged, but we have no evidence to suggest that will happen – independent observers have reported that previous exercises of democracy have been free and fair.
It seems hypocritical of us to condemn Russia’s intervention in a place where that country’s citizens are threatened by violence. What did we do when the Falkland Islands were invaded in 1982 – and have we not stood firm against threats to those islands ever since? Nor can we criticise Russia for invading a country on a flimsy pretext – Iraq springs to mind.
So what’s it all about?
It seems most likely that, because most of Western Europe’s supply of Russian gas comes through Ukraine, we are far more concerned about our energy supply than about local democracy in an eastern European country. The UK, along with France and Germany and no doubt many others, wants to ensure that this supply is not interrupted as this could seriously jeopardise our ability to generate power.
… And if that isn’t a powerful reason for this country to invest massively in renewable energy generation, it’s hard to find one. What possible advantage is there in putting ourselves at the mercy of another country – especially one that has been less than friendly to us in the past?
It seems the only reason the UK has for outrage is the possibility of violence. We know that military intervention in the affairs of another country doesn’t work; nobody can parachute in, effect regime change, and leave a stable democracy running smoothly behind them. We should have learned our lessons in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.
Unfortunately, it seems that only a minority are willing to speak up and admit this – headed most visibly by Russia Today presenter Abby Martin, who delivered an impassioned denouncement of Russia’s involvement. “I will not sit here and apologise for or defend military action,” she said.
It can’t be much fun for David Cameron. There he is, sitting in 10 Downing Street, counting down the days until the end of his Parliamentary term while the police file in and out to arrest his advisors.
(Don’t forget they nabbed Andy Coulson before Patrick Rock, folks!)
Now he can’t even big himself up with a self-congratulatory picture tweet without some upstart, infinitely-more-respected actor fellow sending him up instead.
Determined to boost his profile by claiming to be buddies with Barack (Obama), Cameron tweeted the following:
“I’ve been speaking to @BarackObama about the situation in Ukraine. We are united in condemnation of Russia’s actions.”
This is the response he got, first from comedian Rob Delaney:
“Hi guys, I’m on the line now too. Get me up to speed.”
… and then from acting legend Sir Patrick Stewart:
“I’m now patched in as well. Sorry for the delay.”
What can we surmise from this? That listening to David Cameron is akin to squeezing a tube of toothpaste into your ear? That Britain’s comedy Prime Minister is as effective a statesman as a packet of Wet Ones? What a sad day for him if this appears to be the case!
This appears to be the case.
What followed can only be described as a deluge:
“Ok, guys, thanks for holding. “
“Hi David, where are you calling from?”
Here’s one from ‘Bubba’ (@bobwiggin), highlighting the effectiveness of Cameron’s sanctions against foreign countries:
This is from Vox Political reader Ian Davies:
What did Mr Obama think of all this?
Sadly, there’s one image we’d all like to see, but it has yet to surface. Here’s how it might appear:
“Hello – Cam? You’re a bleedin’ liability, cobber. I’m off back to XXXX, where they KNOW how to stitch up an election!”
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