Europe and Russia

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Sertorio
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Europe and Russia

Post by Sertorio » Tue Aug 20, 2019 11:17 am

Putin-Macron meeting heralds glorious summer after long winter of discontent
by John Laughland
[John Laughland, who has a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Oxford and who has taught at universities in Paris and Rome, is a historian and specialist in international affairs.]

Five years is a long time in politics. In 2014, relations between Russia and the West went into a nosedive over Ukraine and Syria.

The “annexation” of Crimea, the shooting down of the Malaysian airliner, and the conflict in eastern Ukraine destroyed the partial re-establishment of normal relations which had started in 2008 with President Obama’s “re-set” and Nicolas Sarkozy’s rapprochement with Vladimir Putin. This included the Georgian crisis of that year, of which the French president’s decision in 2010 to sell two Mistral aircraft carriers to Russia was a potent symbol. The collapse in relations as a result of the Ukraine crisis led to EU and US sanctions against Russia, and to her expulsion from the G8 group of nations, as it then was, as well as to a war of words between East and West.

Vladimir Putin’s visit on Monday to the fort at Bregancon, the official summer residence of the French president, demonstrates that that period is now officially closed. On every level, the West has now abandoned its earlier hostility to Putin and Russia. First, the symbolism: President Putin spends a lot of time governing from his own summer residence in Sochi, and the invitation to the Mediterranean coast, where the atmosphere is more intimate and relaxed than in Paris, was undoubtedly a gesture to Putin’s predilection for warmer climes. The fact that the meeting took place just a few days before the Biarritz summit of what is now the G7 also shows that Paris intends to include Moscow in discussing world affairs at the highest level, even if it is unlikely that Russia will be formally readmitted to that structure.

Even the substance of the meeting showed how much things have changed. When Emmanuel Macron said that Russia was essential to solving various crises in the world – Iran, Ukraine, Syria, the INF Treaty – he was announcing a 180-degree change in French and Western policy.

For the last five years, not only the EU but also Washington and above all London have insisted that Russia is a problem, not a solution to a problem. The oft-repeated mantra about “a rules-based international order” was a way of accusing Russia of breaking those rules – on territorial integrity in Ukraine, on chemical weapons in Syria and Salisbury, and so on.

President Macron went further, even saying that the main problem in the world is no longer Russia but instead the United States. You have to read between the lines but here is the key quote:

“I would like to say that today the world is living through a historical moment; the multilateral approach is often criticized, and we should think about ways to rebuild this world and this order. This means we should look for new cooperation mechanisms that will be useful to all of us. In this case, in this context, our bilateral relations as well as relations between Russia and the European Union play a key and determinative role. I am thinking about everything that has happened over the past few decades, what has managed to drive us apart. I know that Russia is a European country in its heart of hearts. And we believe in a Europe that spreads from Lisbon to Vladivostok.”

The threat to multilateralism does not, according to Macron, come from Moscow. It comes instead from Washington, which has denounced the Iran nuclear agreement, the 1987 treaty on Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) and of course the COP21 climate change agreement. This has caused Franco-American relations to enter very difficult territory.

Multilateralism is an emotional issue for Emmanuel Macron – he devoted his 2018 speech to the US Congress to the subject, and was roundly ignored by the very administration, that of Donald Trump, which he had done so much to court as soon as was elected – and just 10 days ago Trump attacked Macron by name for allegedly misrepresenting the US to Iran. Yet at the beginning of their respective presidencies, Trump and Macron had appeared to cultivate a special relationship, at a time when other European leaders were holding their noses at the thought of having to deal with the brash American president. This is all now in the past. The phrase “Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok” is a clear nod to President de Gaulle’s “Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals,” which announced a certain distance from the United States.

Instead of the hostility to Russia on which the transatlantic relationship is based, Macron called for a new “architecture of security and confidence” between the EU and Russia. It is difficult to think of a more dramatic U-turn in foreign policy than this, the relations between the EU and Russia having been, on the contrary, based until now on open declarations of hostility from the EU side. Only in March, the European Parliament voted on a resolution which said that Russia ‘can no longer be considered a strategic partner’ and that ‘the EU cannot envisage a gradual return to business as usual.’ On August 20, in front of Vladimir Putin, Emmanuel Macron publicly tore up that resolution and threw it in the bin.

This change did not come entirely out of the blue. Putin’s visits to European capitals are becoming common events – he went to Rome in July, where both the League and the 5 Star movement are friendly to Russia; to Vienna last year, where the then vice chancellor was a firm supporter of Moscow, and whose foreign minister invited him to her wedding in August; and he flies to Finland, which currently holds the EU presidency, straight from France for a meeting on August 21.

This pattern of events shows that things have changed, not least of course in Ukraine and Syria, the two neuralgic points of crisis. In Ukraine, the Western-backed Petro Poroshenko has lost power, opening a small window of opportunity for a peace agreement in that country, while in Syria the war has been all but won by the Syrian Army, leaving the original Western goal of overthrowing Assad in tatters.

To be sure, all is not totally rosy. Macron cannot resist patronizing Putin, including when he is trying to be nice. To say, as he did, that Russia is “a profoundly European country” must sound rather silly to Russian ears, as do the Europeans’ hypocritical attacks on the behaviour of the Moscow police in the light of the terrible violence inflicted on the “Yellow Vests” by their French counterparts.

The humanitarian discourse on Syria is also surely absurd, given what we know about the abuses committed by the Western-backed forces in Libya in 2011 or, for that matter, by the Western-backed jihadists in Syria itself. But Putin is a profoundly patient man and, after 20 years, has heard all this many times before. However showy and amateurish Macron may appear when put next to his highly professional Russian guest, the fact is that the Bregancon meeting, held under the hot sun of the south, heralds a glorious summer after a long winter of discontent.

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/466882-macron- ... ng-france/
This article may have been published in RT, but its author has a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Oxford and has taught at universities in Paris and Rome, is a historian and specialist in international affairs. What he says is worth thinking about. I have often said that I feel that, contrarily to the US, Russia is a natural partner to Europe. Maybe Macron is beginning to understand that.

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Doc
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Re: Europe and Russia

Post by Doc » Tue Aug 20, 2019 5:41 pm

Sertorio wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 11:17 am
Putin-Macron meeting heralds glorious summer after long winter of discontent
by John Laughland
[John Laughland, who has a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Oxford and who has taught at universities in Paris and Rome, is a historian and specialist in international affairs.]

Five years is a long time in politics. In 2014, relations between Russia and the West went into a nosedive over Ukraine and Syria.

The “annexation” of Crimea, the shooting down of the Malaysian airliner, and the conflict in eastern Ukraine destroyed the partial re-establishment of normal relations which had started in 2008 with President Obama’s “re-set” and Nicolas Sarkozy’s rapprochement with Vladimir Putin. This included the Georgian crisis of that year, of which the French president’s decision in 2010 to sell two Mistral aircraft carriers to Russia was a potent symbol. The collapse in relations as a result of the Ukraine crisis led to EU and US sanctions against Russia, and to her expulsion from the G8 group of nations, as it then was, as well as to a war of words between East and West.

Vladimir Putin’s visit on Monday to the fort at Bregancon, the official summer residence of the French president, demonstrates that that period is now officially closed. On every level, the West has now abandoned its earlier hostility to Putin and Russia. First, the symbolism: President Putin spends a lot of time governing from his own summer residence in Sochi, and the invitation to the Mediterranean coast, where the atmosphere is more intimate and relaxed than in Paris, was undoubtedly a gesture to Putin’s predilection for warmer climes. The fact that the meeting took place just a few days before the Biarritz summit of what is now the G7 also shows that Paris intends to include Moscow in discussing world affairs at the highest level, even if it is unlikely that Russia will be formally readmitted to that structure.

Even the substance of the meeting showed how much things have changed. When Emmanuel Macron said that Russia was essential to solving various crises in the world – Iran, Ukraine, Syria, the INF Treaty – he was announcing a 180-degree change in French and Western policy.

For the last five years, not only the EU but also Washington and above all London have insisted that Russia is a problem, not a solution to a problem. The oft-repeated mantra about “a rules-based international order” was a way of accusing Russia of breaking those rules – on territorial integrity in Ukraine, on chemical weapons in Syria and Salisbury, and so on.

President Macron went further, even saying that the main problem in the world is no longer Russia but instead the United States. You have to read between the lines but here is the key quote:

“I would like to say that today the world is living through a historical moment; the multilateral approach is often criticized, and we should think about ways to rebuild this world and this order. This means we should look for new cooperation mechanisms that will be useful to all of us. In this case, in this context, our bilateral relations as well as relations between Russia and the European Union play a key and determinative role. I am thinking about everything that has happened over the past few decades, what has managed to drive us apart. I know that Russia is a European country in its heart of hearts. And we believe in a Europe that spreads from Lisbon to Vladivostok.”

The threat to multilateralism does not, according to Macron, come from Moscow. It comes instead from Washington, which has denounced the Iran nuclear agreement, the 1987 treaty on Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) and of course the COP21 climate change agreement. This has caused Franco-American relations to enter very difficult territory.

Multilateralism is an emotional issue for Emmanuel Macron – he devoted his 2018 speech to the US Congress to the subject, and was roundly ignored by the very administration, that of Donald Trump, which he had done so much to court as soon as was elected – and just 10 days ago Trump attacked Macron by name for allegedly misrepresenting the US to Iran. Yet at the beginning of their respective presidencies, Trump and Macron had appeared to cultivate a special relationship, at a time when other European leaders were holding their noses at the thought of having to deal with the brash American president. This is all now in the past. The phrase “Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok” is a clear nod to President de Gaulle’s “Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals,” which announced a certain distance from the United States.

Instead of the hostility to Russia on which the transatlantic relationship is based, Macron called for a new “architecture of security and confidence” between the EU and Russia. It is difficult to think of a more dramatic U-turn in foreign policy than this, the relations between the EU and Russia having been, on the contrary, based until now on open declarations of hostility from the EU side. Only in March, the European Parliament voted on a resolution which said that Russia ‘can no longer be considered a strategic partner’ and that ‘the EU cannot envisage a gradual return to business as usual.’ On August 20, in front of Vladimir Putin, Emmanuel Macron publicly tore up that resolution and threw it in the bin.

This change did not come entirely out of the blue. Putin’s visits to European capitals are becoming common events – he went to Rome in July, where both the League and the 5 Star movement are friendly to Russia; to Vienna last year, where the then vice chancellor was a firm supporter of Moscow, and whose foreign minister invited him to her wedding in August; and he flies to Finland, which currently holds the EU presidency, straight from France for a meeting on August 21.

This pattern of events shows that things have changed, not least of course in Ukraine and Syria, the two neuralgic points of crisis. In Ukraine, the Western-backed Petro Poroshenko has lost power, opening a small window of opportunity for a peace agreement in that country, while in Syria the war has been all but won by the Syrian Army, leaving the original Western goal of overthrowing Assad in tatters.

To be sure, all is not totally rosy. Macron cannot resist patronizing Putin, including when he is trying to be nice. To say, as he did, that Russia is “a profoundly European country” must sound rather silly to Russian ears, as do the Europeans’ hypocritical attacks on the behaviour of the Moscow police in the light of the terrible violence inflicted on the “Yellow Vests” by their French counterparts.

The humanitarian discourse on Syria is also surely absurd, given what we know about the abuses committed by the Western-backed forces in Libya in 2011 or, for that matter, by the Western-backed jihadists in Syria itself. But Putin is a profoundly patient man and, after 20 years, has heard all this many times before. However showy and amateurish Macron may appear when put next to his highly professional Russian guest, the fact is that the Bregancon meeting, held under the hot sun of the south, heralds a glorious summer after a long winter of discontent.

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/466882-macron- ... ng-france/
This article may have been published in RT, but its author has a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Oxford and has taught at universities in Paris and Rome, is a historian and specialist in international affairs. What he says is worth thinking about. I have often said that I feel that, contrarily to the US, Russia is a natural partner to Europe. Maybe Macron is beginning to understand that.
Macron Putin COLLUSION !!!
“"I fancied myself as some kind of god....It is a sort of disease when you consider yourself some kind of god, the creator of everything, but I feel comfortable about it now since I began to live it out.” -- George Soros

neverfail
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Re: Europe and Russia

Post by neverfail » Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:55 pm

I can see how Europe teaming up with Russia might resolve some thorny political problems abroad (e.g. Iran; Syria) but if you think that Russia is going to bring your European economy out of the doldrums then you are living in la-la land.

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Sertorio
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Re: Europe and Russia

Post by Sertorio » Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:35 am

neverfail wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:55 pm
I can see how Europe teaming up with Russia might resolve some thorny political problems abroad (e.g. Iran; Syria) but if you think that Russia is going to bring your European economy out of the doldrums then you are living in la-la land.
A partnership with Russia might not bring "European economy out of the doldrums", but it couldn't harm it either. In fact, Europe can supply Russia with just about anything it doesn't produce itself. And investment in Russia could be very interesting indeed for European firms. And it could create a bloc strong enough to handle any future Chinese ambitions and to keep the US on its side of the pond...

neverfail
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Re: Europe and Russia

Post by neverfail » Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:48 am

Sertorio wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:35 am
neverfail wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:55 pm
I can see how Europe teaming up with Russia might resolve some thorny political problems abroad (e.g. Iran; Syria) but if you think that Russia is going to bring your European economy out of the doldrums then you are living in la-la land.
A partnership with Russia might not bring "European economy out of the doldrums", but it couldn't harm it either. In fact, Europe can supply Russia with just about anything it doesn't produce itself.
That's odd! I thought that China was doing that already.

Bearing in mind that China and Russia are supposed to be each other's allies; would not Europe need to take into account that Russia would probably bring that bit of "baggage" into the relationship? It could be awkward.

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Alexis
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Re: Europe and Russia

Post by Alexis » Wed Aug 21, 2019 4:20 am

Doc wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 5:41 pm
Macron Putin COLLUSION !!!
Indeed, and we do need to open an enquiry into how Putin helped Macron's election, and what kompromat he may have on him to force his collaboration.

Did Macron ever call prostitutes to his hotel room in Moscow? Was any urination involved? So many thrilling possibilities :D ...

neverfail wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:48 am
Sertorio wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:35 am
A partnership with Russia might not bring "European economy out of the doldrums", but it couldn't harm it either. In fact, Europe can supply Russia with just about anything it doesn't produce itself.
That's odd! I thought that China was doing that already.
Actually, more than 50% of Russia's imports originate from the rest of Europe, versus merely 20% for China. Source is here.

Bearing in mind that China and Russia are supposed to be each other's allies; would not Europe need to take into account that Russia would probably bring that bit of "baggage" into the relationship? It could be awkward.
Forgive me for having underlined the most important word :)

... but I have to pause, I just receive a communication from Moscow :o ! Here is it:
Your provocations are absolutely ridiculous, Gospodine Alexis, they amuse nobody but you.

It goes without saying that the Great Russian-Chinese Friendship is established for Eternity, just as it has been without interruption since the times of Khrushchev and Mao.

Trust between the Chinese and us is unfailing, as evidenced by the comparison between our Zapad (western) military exercises to practice defense against potential attack from the West, which involved 15,000 soldiers, and the Vostok (eastern) military festival with 300,000 soldiers in eastern Siberia, intended to... well, develop good neighbourly relations.

Just as it goes without saying that this partnership with China is balanced. Not only are the powers roughly similar (a factor of 10 on the economy is not a big deal), but China is not at all tempted to take advantage of that (im)balance of power to impose leonine conditions, nor does it treat us at all like Trump does Canada or Mexico.

People who claim that the day an American president will have three neurons able to connect, or the day Europeans will have two connected vertebrae, they will turn Russia like a pancake and Moscow will establish privileged relations with other European countries while its leaders will push aside them a great egg of relief... these people are nothing but miserable provocateurs!
I stand chastised... I won't ever suggest again that Russian-Chinese partnership is anything other than natural and stellar :P

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Milo
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Re: Europe and Russia

Post by Milo » Wed Aug 21, 2019 8:34 am

'Macron and Putin had a routine meeting, after which standard platitudes were issued...

But I think it means something there is no objective proof for!'

(Now I am off to cash the cheque from the people who want this meeting to mean what I said but it is pure coincidence that they paid me right after I wrote this.)

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Doc
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Re: Europe and Russia

Post by Doc » Wed Aug 21, 2019 12:03 pm

Alexis wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 4:20 am
Doc wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 5:41 pm
Macron Putin COLLUSION !!!
Indeed, and we do need to open an enquiry into how Putin helped Macron's election, and what kompromat he may have on him to force his collaboration.

Did Macron ever call prostitutes to his hotel room in Moscow? Was any urination involved? So many thrilling possibilities :D ...

neverfail wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:48 am
Sertorio wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:35 am
A partnership with Russia might not bring "European economy out of the doldrums", but it couldn't harm it either. In fact, Europe can supply Russia with just about anything it doesn't produce itself.
That's odd! I thought that China was doing that already.
Actually, more than 50% of Russia's imports originate from the rest of Europe, versus merely 20% for China. Source is here.

Bearing in mind that China and Russia are supposed to be each other's allies; would not Europe need to take into account that Russia would probably bring that bit of "baggage" into the relationship? It could be awkward.
Forgive me for having underlined the most important word :)

... but I have to pause, I just receive a communication from Moscow :o ! Here is it:
Your provocations are absolutely ridiculous, Gospodine Alexis, they amuse nobody but you.

It goes without saying that the Great Russian-Chinese Friendship is established for Eternity, just as it has been without interruption since the times of Khrushchev and Mao.

Trust between the Chinese and us is unfailing, as evidenced by the comparison between our Zapad (western) military exercises to practice defense against potential attack from the West, which involved 15,000 soldiers, and the Vostok (eastern) military festival with 300,000 soldiers in eastern Siberia, intended to... well, develop good neighbourly relations.

Just as it goes without saying that this partnership with China is balanced. Not only are the powers roughly similar (a factor of 10 on the economy is not a big deal), but China is not at all tempted to take advantage of that (im)balance of power to impose leonine conditions, nor does it treat us at all like Trump does Canada or Mexico.

People who claim that the day an American president will have three neurons able to connect, or the day Europeans will have two connected vertebrae, they will turn Russia like a pancake and Moscow will establish privileged relations with other European countries while its leaders will push aside them a great egg of relief... these people are nothing but miserable provocateurs!
I stand chastised... I won't ever suggest again that Russian-Chinese partnership is anything other than natural and stellar :P
Prudent of you much comrade

Image
“"I fancied myself as some kind of god....It is a sort of disease when you consider yourself some kind of god, the creator of everything, but I feel comfortable about it now since I began to live it out.” -- George Soros

neverfail
Posts: 3974
Joined: Sun Dec 18, 2016 3:47 am
Location: Singapore

Re: Europe and Russia

Post by neverfail » Wed Aug 21, 2019 4:28 pm

Alexis wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 4:20 am
Doc wrote:
Tue Aug 20, 2019 5:41 pm
Macron Putin COLLUSION !!!
Indeed, and we do need to open an enquiry into how Putin helped Macron's election, and what kompromat he may have on him to force his collaboration.

Did Macron ever call prostitutes to his hotel room in Moscow? Was any urination involved? So many thrilling possibilities :D ...
If he did then Macron is a bloody fool.

(Very strange! I used to think that only the Americans elected bloody fools for political leadership but the disease must be more widespread than I had previously thought. :D )

neverfail wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:48 am
Sertorio wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 1:35 am
A partnership with Russia might not bring "European economy out of the doldrums", but it couldn't harm it either. In fact, Europe can supply Russia with just about anything it doesn't produce itself.
That's odd! I thought that China was doing that already.
Alexis wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 4:20 am
Actually, more than 50% of Russia's imports originate from the rest of Europe, versus merely 20% for China. Source is here.
That must reflect logistical ease of access. Most of the Russian Federation's population live on the Europe side of the clossus.
Bearing in mind that China and Russia are supposed to be each other's allies; would not Europe need to take into account that Russia would probably bring that bit of "baggage" into the relationship? It could be awkward.
Alexis wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 4:20 am

Forgive me for having underlined the most important word :)

... but I have to pause, I just receive a communication from Moscow :o ! Here is it:
Your provocations are absolutely ridiculous, Gospodine Alexis, they amuse nobody but you.

It goes without saying that the Great Russian-Chinese Friendship is established for Eternity, just as it has been without interruption since the times of Khrushchev and Mao.

Trust between the Chinese and us is unfailing, as evidenced by the comparison between our Zapad (western) military exercises to practice defense against potential attack from the West, which involved 15,000 soldiers, and the Vostok (eastern) military festival with 300,000 soldiers in eastern Siberia, intended to... well, develop good neighbourly relations.

Just as it goes without saying that this partnership with China is balanced. Not only are the powers roughly similar (a factor of 10 on the economy is not a big deal), but China is not at all tempted to take advantage of that (im)balance of power to impose leonine conditions, nor does it treat us at all like Trump does Canada or Mexico.

People who claim that the day an American president will have three neurons able to connect, or the day Europeans will have two connected vertebrae, they will turn Russia like a pancake and Moscow will establish privileged relations with other European countries while its leaders will push aside them a great egg of relief... these people are nothing but miserable provocateurs!
I stand chastised... I won't ever suggest again that Russian-Chinese partnership is anything other than natural and stellar :P
:lol: I just love it, Alexis! :D

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