Tag Archives: White House

Sunday Surprises – European&Ukraine elections, prayers and similar work – visits

Pope, Palestine, Prayers – the pacifist P….

Panoramic watching the events was a Sunday hectic and full of surprises. Pope Francis stopped his motorcade between scheduled events in Bethlehem on Sunday to pray before the massive concrete separation barrier that divides the Palestinian city from Israel, which erected the controversial wall a decade ago.

The surprise stop was the latest signal that the Pope backed what the Vatican had indicated in 2012 with its support for a United Nations vote to make Palbildeestine a non-member state: That it regards it as a sovereign state. In a speech earlier on Sunday the Pope called Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas a “man of peace” after paying him a courtesy visit, and referred to the Vatican’s good relations with the “state of Palestine”.

According Time Magazine, Francis was scheduled to arrive in Jerusalem later on Sunday, and — in part because of official concerns about religious extremists, security preparations were extraordinary even by Israeli standards, outstripping even precautions taken for President Obama’s visit last year, according to organizers.

Pope’s Agenda for Monday includes deep bows to the Israeli narrative, including a visit to Yad Vashem, the museum of the Holocaust, and to the Wailing Wall, the last remaining piece of the Temple in place at the time of Christ. In a gesture that unsettles Palestinians, Francis will also be the first pontiff to lay a wreath on the grave of Theodore Herzl, the founder of the Zionist movement that envisioned a future state on the land hundreds of thousands of Arabs called home.

European Election, the sad E: Extremism & Euroscepticism, ‘Earthquake’ win

Marine Le Pen‘s far right National Front scored a stunning first victory in European Parliament elections in France on Sunday as critics of the European Union registered a continent-wide protest vote against austerity and mass unemployment. Cf. Reuters, without waiting for the final result, a somber French Prime Minister Manuel Valls went on television to call the breakthrough by the anti-immigration, anti-euro party in one of the EU’s founding nations “an earthquake” for France and Europe.People watch a board displaying provisional results of the European Parliament election at the EU Parliament in Brussels

Denmark‘s anti-immigration far right People’s Party was set to top the poll with an estimated 23 percent and the extreme-right Jobbik, widely accused of racism and anti-Semitism, was running second in Hungary with 15 percent.

The UK Independence Party (UKIP), which campaigns for Britain to leave the EU, was set for a strong score after making big gains in local elections held at the same time on Thursday, raising pressure on Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron ahead of a general election next year.

The anti-euro Alternative for Germany (AfD) won parliamentary representation for the first time with an estimated 6.5 percent, the best result so far for a conservative party created only last year. In Greece, epicenter of the euro zone’s debt crisis, the radical left anti-austerity Syriza movement of Alexis Tsipras was set to win with 26.7 percent, pushing governing New Democracy into second place on 22.8 percent. That reflected popular anger at harsh spending cuts the government has adopted in recent years to meet the terms of its EU/IMF bailout program. It means that far right and hard left parties, their scores magnified by a low turnout of 43.1 percent, gained ground in many countries although in Germany, the EU’s biggest member state with the largest number of seats, the pro-European center ground held firm, according to exit polls.

Ukraine: again P, winner P… Petro Poroshenko wins  presidency

Because we speak about election… Exit polls suggested candy tycoon Petro Poroshenko won Ukraine’s presidential election in the first round Sunday, a ballot that took place amid weeks of fighting in eastern regions where pro-Russia separatists have seized government buildings and battled government troops.

Exit polls gave Poroshenko more than 55 percent of the vote, well ahead of petro_poroshenkoformer Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko in second place with just over 12 percent. “I would like to congratulate Ukraine with the fact that despite the current aggression by the Kremlin and the desire to break this voting, the election happened and was democratic and fair” Tymoshenko said after the polls closed. If Poroshenko majority is confirmed by results on Monday, there will be no need for a runoff vote on June 15.

Cf. Reuters, Russian president Vladimir Putin said on Saturday that he will respect the voters’ will. He has announced the pullback of tens of thousands of Russian troops massed on the border. But the absence of more than 15 percent of the potential electorate from the election could give Moscow an excuse to raise doubts about the victor’s legitimacy and continue applying pressure on the new president in Kiev.

The White House – two similar surprise work – visits

Leaders of the two White House from Washington and Moscow (government headquarters) have spent Sunday making surprise visits. One – President Barack Obama in Afghanistan. Second – Prim-minister Dmitry Medvedev in Crimea.

President-Obama-in-Afghanistan_5_1President Barack Obama made a surprise trip to Afghanistan on Sunday, his first visit to Afghanistan in two years and his fourth trip as president overall, and pledged a “responsible end” to the war there by the end of 2014. During the visit, Obama spoke to troops, visited a base hospital and met with military officials to discuss troop presence in Afghanistan as the country’s longest war comes to a close. Also Obama said on Sunday that his administration would likely announce soon how many troops the United States will keep in the country, as it winds down its presence after nearly 13 years of war.

Speaking at a briefing by military commanders at Bagram Air Base, Obama said one reason for his trip was to discuss the U.S. footprint for the rest of this year – when the bulk of troops are scheduled to be withdrawn – and afterward. “We’ll probably be announcing some decisions fairly shortly” said US president.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has arrived Sunday in Crimea for a Dmitry Medvedevtwo-day working trip. It will be Medvedev’s second trip to Crimea since Russia annexed the Ukrainian peninsula in March in a move that has not been recognized internationally.
Medvedev was expected to visit immigration offices in the city of Sevastopol, where Russian passports are being issued to local residents. Medvedev’s office said he will also visit the Artek children’s center on the Black Sea on May 26.

Medvedev will then chair a meeting to discuss a plan for organizing children’s vacations. Russian prime minister will hold a traditional meeting with his deputies on Monday, visit the Olympic sport center “Spartak” and meet with Crimea’s acting Governor Sergei Aksyonov.

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“Westernization of Russia” – The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and the power of example

Most likely, while the Russian President Vladimir Putin had not even finished his nationalist-motivational speech in front of the Duma representatives and Government ministers, from the Western governments – followed feverishly by the news agencies employees – huge cohorts of harsh words obediently lined up in the cyberspace of the media war. The arrogance and triumphalism of Kremlin’s leader (somewhat contrasting with the cringed and pensive-thought faces of Ministers Lavrov and Shoigu) injected pure adrenaline in the whole of Western propaganda, which has spared no drop of proletarian-capitalism to blame Russia and its imperialist policies.

The West (with its heritage of elegance, diplomacy and democracy in a visible decline) lost a great opportunity to be quiet and ruminate. As a matter of fact, Putin’s speechwriters had a very easy mission, only having to put together all the objectives listed by him in each of his election campaign and just adding here and there some nuances adequate to the moment. A moment more or less historical, but nevertheless one of global and conclusive scan for international relations.

 	    Address by President of the Russian Federation.Why I dare saying this? Because, if we leave aside the functional hypocrisy, we can see that for  two decades the U.S. and its European allies have successfully used double standard and treated as optional the principles of international relations. UN has become a highly politicized and bureaucratized institution and its resolutions just an excuse for the incriminating and warning press releases. In the name of democracy and human rights, conflicts were inflicted that ultimately did not improve the political and social climate of those countries, but they did generate profits for Western corporations, new markets and new resources to be exploited in different areas around the world.

For over two decades, Russia just stood and watched the events in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq and the Arab Spring. At the same time it integrated in its foreign policy strategy all the elements that it has seen at its western partners. It grafted on its recent frustrations and its old ambitions of imperial power every western strategy policy which could prove useful.

For the past 20 years Russia has “westernized” its foreign policy to match the image and likeness of “rule makers” alongside whom Moscow wanted to return to the table of world decisions. The Eastern giant has even checked point by point if this approach works – the intervention in Georgia, bringing the unofficial protectorate of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the support of some dictatorships in its sphere of influence, implementing “divide et impera” principle with the EU relations, convincing the international community against military intervention in Syria, mediating negotiations with Iran – each of these events has its counterpart in the U.S. policy of the last 20 years.

Moreover, Russia has observed that the projection of hard-power using F-16

”вежливые люди”

”вежливые люди”

squadrons with a little glitter of democracy and soft-power is tolerated by the international public opinion and the achievement of economic interests (oil, gas, distribution networks, markets, expensive purchases by preferential contracts) are more easily achieved covered under a humanitarian slogan. For who has not noticed yet, the “polite” military forces (“вежливые люди”) from Crimea are an “upgraded version” of the allied troops in the theaters of operations of NATO. Therefore, the West is somewhat groundlessly grumpy.  The Russian sorcerer’s apprentice did all that was necessary to be a good disciple.

If Russia has exceeded its Master and even has the audacity to confront him it should be a sign … not of joy, indeed, but for deep reflection on the “power of example”. Or rather of “the example of power”? The West can’t just invocate endlessly concepts like “sovereignty”, “international agreements”, “principles of law”, “freedom”, “right to self-determination” and it can’t claim compliance with them without itself following them scrupulously. And if the West does not follow them, then it cannot pretend this to the East, in which case maybe we need to include arbitrary and double standards as the basis of ethics in international relations. I can guarantee that we will get accustomed to them as we are accustomed to hearing / seeing daily about terrorist attacks in which dozens of people die or about violent suppression of those who ask for their rights all over the planet (from the Wall Street in New York to the Bolotnaya Square in Moscow) but at least we will know, without false hypocrisy, at which level of civilization (or lack of it!) we are.

If you read my article because you wish to know what Russia will do in the future, I advise you to carefully watch toward the West. The answer is primarily at the White House (with some help from London 10 Downing Street). Also at Bundeskanzleramt. Only afterwards will there be a reaction from the sumptuous offices of Kremlin. Is Russia right? Of course not!  But Russia has mitigating circumstances. On the streets with gangs is not a good idea to go dressed wearing a tuxedo.

Finally, one more question: would the leaders of Western governments use a strategy equally hysterical also in the case of the “Dragon Apprentice”? What will do they if/when China (in its good tradition to assimilate and copy everything!) will show how has understood to include in its foreign policy strategy the approaches seen in the last 20 years at global level and will start “to worry about the welfare and morality“ of the nations of the planet?! – For as much beginning with Russia is not exactly reassuring… just saying!

Original file published by The World Reporter

Photo by kremlin.ru

France and UK – Step-daughters of the ”mother” America

 French President, Francois Hollande (who recently was the subject of a huge mass-media scandal and following it separated from his long-time partner, Valerie Trierweiler), arrived at the White House, to the seventh official state dinner of Mr. Obama’s presidency, via limousine just after 7 p.m. According Washington Times, President Obama, clad in a black tuxedo, and first lady Michelle Obama, wearing a formal black and “liberty blue” gown, greeted him at the North Portico of the White House. Two hours later, the two leaders toasted one another and, as they’ve done repeatedly in recent days, touted the deep, seemingly unbreakable Franco-U.S. bond.

Photo by: Pablo Martinez Monsivais First Lady Michelle Obama and President Barack Obama with French President Francois Hollande, center, pose at the Grand Staircase as they arrive for a State Dinner at the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Photo by: Pablo Martinez Monsivais
First Lady Michelle Obama and President Barack Obama with French President Francois Hollande, center, pose at the Grand Staircase as they arrive for a State Dinner at the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

“Our two countries share universal values and we have feelings for one another” Mr. Hollande said. “We love Americans, although we don’t always say so. And you love the French, but you’re sometimes too shy to say so.”

Mr. Obama said the relationship has thrived for so long because both nations stand for the same principles. “We love our French friends because we’ve stood together for our freedom for more than 200 years,” he said. “Long live the alliance between our great nations.”

Big brother has become the ”mother”

Earlier in the day Tuesday, Mr. Obama and Mr. Hollande held a joint press conference at the White House on the heels of a lengthy bilateral meeting. Asked by a journalist from the publication ”Le Figaro” if ”France has become the best European ally of the U.S. and has replaced Great Britain in that role?”, president Obama  tried a diplomatic evasion: ”First of all, I have two daughters.  And they are both gorgeous and wonderful, and I would never choose between them. And that’s how I feel about my outstanding European partners.  All of them are wonderful in their own ways”. But Obama as not as thrilled when he had to answer ”why not extend to France the no-spying agreement that you have with England after the big scandal of the NSA’s surveillance program?” That’s not good ! probably thought U.S. President while he was saying: ”It’s not actually correct to say that we have a “no-spy agreement” with Great Britain.  That’s not actually what happens.  We don’t have — there’s no country where we have a no-spy agreement.  We have, like every other country, an intelligence capability, and then we have a range of partnerships with all kinds of countries.  And we’ve been in consultations with the French government to deepen those commitments”.

Some remarks about the great US-European family and its step-daughters:

Remember that the ”beloved daughter” UK said like an old song “goodbye America” to the mother’s/or big brother/ decision to intervene militarily in Syria. This was the first step that led to the subsequent diplomatic victory of Vladimir Putin. More, to remember about Snowden it means to remember Russia. And this while the U.S. led a hostile propaganda about Sochi Olympics rarely seen.  The moment was not missed nor in Obama – Hollande conference. Noticed that President Obama and French counterpart said that they are united in backing rebel forces in Syria’s civil war and charged that Russian President Vladimir Putin has the blood of Syrian people on his hands. The unusually pointed criticism comes in the midst of the Sochi Winter Olympics.

If we take into account that France needs help in its military expeditions in Africa, then quickly we understand the obedience and interested friendship 0f the president Hollande. European partners of military adventures are harder to find. And home his popularity is in freefall.

France and the UK were rarely able to speak a common language with the rest of EU, and also they are far from being the economic engine and the decision making core to outperform Berlin. Right, Berlin is harder to be appeased with emotionally-demagogic phrases like “daughterly strategic partnership”. Ah, bringing into question the revelations of Snowden‘s worse than Victoria Nuland′s nervousness, lack of tact and hers friendly ”Fuck EU” !