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Author Topic: Realpolitik in Europe.  (Read 3106 times)

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coffejohn

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Re: Realpolitik in Europe.
« Reply #105 on: September 17, 2017, 00:21 »
The biggest problem with Soft Brexit is that it's not attainable

From; http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/09/16/biggest-problem-soft-brexit-not-attainable/


Quote
There has been much talk of “Hard Brexit” versus “Soft Brexit”. Such labels are ubiquitous during these Article 50 negotiations – used freely by the broadcast media – yet they are partisan and deeply misleading. Hard Brexit makes leaving the European Union sound extreme and damaging, suggesting isola­tion and a bleak economic future. Soft Brexit, conversely, conveys a comfortable, ongoing relationship with the EU, with Britain still “part of the club”.

Leaving the single market and the customs union isn’t Hard Brexit – even if the name is deliberately coined to sound painful. It is simply Brexit. Staying inside the EU’s two main legal constructs, meanwhile, isn’t a harmonious Soft Brexit. It amounts, instead, to a deliberate and cynical failure to implement the 2016 referendum result.

Quote
Perhaps the biggest problem with Soft Brexit is that it is unobtainable. Back in December 2016, the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier said: “The single market and its four freedoms are indivisible – cherry-picking is not an option.” Yet this is precisely what the Soft Brexiteers are attempting, breaching EU rules by seeking single market membership along with a special dispensation from freedom of movement that no other country has.

That’s why “Soft Brexit” will actually end up being “Messy Brexit”. Pushing for this outcome puts the UK in direct and absolute conflict with the EU’s core principles – which, if seriously breached, could tear the bloc apart, as others demand the same deal. The most likely Soft Brexit outcome would be a diplomatic stand-off, along with chronic uncertainty for citizens, investors and businesses, risking serious economic and political damage.

Quote
Accepting “no deal” on trade is not the same as “just walking away” – which means failing to settle administrative issues such as the mutual recognition agreements on goods that facilitate trade. No one is advocating this. It is unthinkable that existing and uncontroversial EU protocols granted to countless other non-EU members would not apply to the UK, not least as we leave the EU fully compliant. For Brussels to deny Britain such rights would breach both WTO and EU law, while incensing EU businesses and voters by threatening billions of euros of profit and countless EU jobs.

The UK will, of course, continue to trade and collaborate with the EU ex­tensively after Brexit. Complaints that we are “cutting ourselves off” or “pulling up the drawbridge” are infantile and absurd. With a hung parliament, though, and the Conservatives vulnerable in the Commons and the Lords, the Soft Brexiteers sense this is their moment.

Far from “respecting the referendum result”, they are promoting an unobtainable outcome and sowing parliamentary chaos. Their aim is nothing less than to reverse the June 2016 referendum and, in doing so, topple the Government.


Liam Halligan  has always seemed to me to be a sensible voice on the center right; you may disagree with him but it is difficult to discount his opinion.

As someone who voted remain in the brexit referendum but now, after Junker`s state of the union speech, is inclined to support leaving the EU I accept his view, given in detail in the the linked article, that a clean brexit is relatively benign; unless the EU wishes to start a trade war.
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selber

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Re: Realpolitik in Europe.
« Reply #106 on: September 17, 2017, 10:39 »
@coffejohn
Those who make a soft brexit impossible, fear a role model of Great Britain. They harm the EU, and themselves, in order to prevent a greater damage from their point of view. It is a sign for an autocratic EU.

coffejohn

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Re: Realpolitik in Europe.
« Reply #107 on: September 17, 2017, 12:04 »
@coffejohn
Those who make a soft brexit impossible, fear a role model of Great Britain. They harm the EU, and themselves, in order to prevent a greater damage from their point of view. It is a sign for an autocratic EU.

It is a sign for an autocratic EU.

One lesson Europe seems to have forgotten from it`s past is that elites ( aristocrats ) expect the general population to pay for their privileges.

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coffejohn

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Re: Realpolitik in Europe.
« Reply #108 on: September 23, 2017, 01:06 »
The UK’s Brexit hostage

From; http://www.politico.eu/article/brexit-negotiation-the-uk-hostage-eu-budget/

The EU’s long-term budget plan is a hostage in the Brexit negotiations.



Quote
The EU27 are due to begin a fiendishly complex and politically combustible set of negotiations about the bloc’s roughly €1 trillion, seven-year fiscal blueprint, formally called the multiannual financial framework (MFF). But those discussions are difficult, if not impossible, without clarity about what relationship the U.K. might have with the EU after its formal departure.

“Nothing substantial will be negotiated before the Brits are out,” a senior EU official familiar with budget talks said. “How can you actually discuss such sensitive topics if you do not know what can happen to programs and spending we already committed ourselves to do?”

Quote
--the EU’s inability to draw up the budget plan explains why the EU27 leaders have grown increasingly angry and agitated over the slow pace of the Brexit negotiations. And it suggests that the U.K. may have stronger cards than it even realizes in trying to shift the sequence of the talks.

In the short-term, EU officials have been panicked over whether the U.K. will live up to the commitments in the current MFF, which runs to 2020. The financial offer that May is expected to propose in Florence would barely keep the current plan on track.



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selber

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Re: Realpolitik in Europe.
« Reply #109 on: September 23, 2017, 02:03 »
@coffejohn
Your difficulties with the brexit are in comparison to the difficulties that a German euro exit would make a childbirth day . I say this only because you had expressed desires in this direction .

coffejohn

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Re: Realpolitik in Europe.
« Reply #110 on: October 01, 2017, 18:05 »
Je suis Catalan-?



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coffejohn

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Re: Realpolitik in Europe.
« Reply #111 on: October 02, 2017, 14:51 »
Catalonia’s ‘kangaroo referendum’ leaves Spain in poisonous gridlock

From; http://www.politico.eu/article/carles-puigdemont-catalonia-referendum-spain-kangaroo-referendum-leaves-spain-in-poisonous-gridlock/

Madrid will not consent to secession, Catalonia remains intent on tribal insurrection.

By Tunku Varadarajan   

10/2/17, 7:55 AM CET

Updated 10/2/17, 1:33 PM CET

Quote
Carles Puigdemont, the Nigel Farage of the Catalans, got his ugly way October 1.

The president of the autonomous regional government of Catalonia finished the day as he had always intended, by heaping scorn on the Spanish state. Amid scenes of tumult and understandably robust police action — which turned swiftly into separatist propaganda in Twitter’s Wonderland — his government held its unlawful referendum.

This was a kangaroo referendum. There is no other way to describe an exercise where voters could print ballots at home and vote at any polling booth in all of Catalonia without having to worry about their names appearing on an authenticated voters’ roll. If there were ever a Platonic ideal of a riggable, manipulable exercise in voting, it was this separatist simulacrum of democracy, designed to ensure the only result possible was a majority vote for secession.

Even before the tarnished votes were counted, Puigdemont declared “the citizens of Catalonia have earned the right to have an independent state.” These are wily words, for they foreclose any debate on the outcome of the referendum while stopping short of an actual assertion of independence. It is only a matter of time before such an assertion is made. The Spanish government will not, of course, tolerate a unilateral declaration of independence when it comes — nor should it.

I have no strong opinion except to share the distaste for the police actions and note the EU`s acceptance of violence to EU citizens by what can only be described as "para-military forces".


Some readers comments;

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Avlas

Spot on. It was all a big theater play. The script was clear since the beginning. No matter what the nationalists would claim that the will of the people is independence. The media took the bait and the police violence was everywhere.
All this must be a solved through pacific negotiation. We should take this opportunity to have a frank, open and honest discussion on what type of territorial organization we want to have in Spain. We should discuss ALL TOGETHER and reach a common agreement.

As a side note, we have already been in this situation. In 2014 there was a mock referendum, illegal, forbidden but tolerated by the Spanish goverment, afterwards, the regional Catalan goverment claimed that the will of the people was to become independent. They called for regional elections so that the result of the voiting would give them democracy legitimicy for their claim of independence. Surprise, suprise, only 48% of the votes went to nationalist parties. Would they repeat the same play now? I doubt it, they know that they most likely would not get a clear majority at the regional goberment. Their only exit is to push for unilateral independence. We will see.

Posted on 10/2/17 | 8:12 AM CEST
Jimmy Jazz

A good article, a far cry from the Russian sponsored drivel we have seen these days. In fact I believe there is not much talking to be done… Catalonian autonomy should be suspended immediately invoking article 155 of the constitution. The PP has the votes in the senate to do it alone. Following that Autonomic elections should be called immediately, Mariano Rajoy should resign and a general election be called in Spain. With new actors a Constitutional conference could be convened and matters be taken from there according to the results of the elections.

Posted on 10/2/17 | 8:34 AM CEST
.

“Amid scenes of tumult and understandably robust police action”

Politico has regained its composure and position over the Spanish granny bashers.

Posted on 10/2/17 | 8:43 AM CEST
David

“Madrid will have to get inventive and find a way to buy time as well as goodwill in Catalonia.”

Haha, has the author of this piece even seen the news of yesterday? After sending in heavily armed police forces and closing down polling stations, now its the time for goodwill?? The referendum was an absolute success, and the success is to a large part thanks to the stubbornness and psychological alienation of mr. rajoy. You can’t try to ban a referendum on the one hand and claim afterwards there wasn’t a referendum on the other hand when over 2milliom votes were cast despite all the intimidations.

Posted on 10/2/17 | 8:46 AM CEST
David2

There was a judgement to be taken about arresting the organisers. Outrageous violence perpetrated on peaceful citizens exercising their human rights to freedom of expression was unforgivable and will not be forgiven. Silence equals complicity.

Posted on 10/2/17 | 9:00 AM CEST
ac

EU double standards in Orwell’s ‘Animal farm’ spirit: all animals are equal but some are more equal – in practice.

Just imagine mayhem that EU Commissars would start if government of Hungary, Czech Republic, Poland or Romania tried to crash opposition like Spanish government !
EU parliament debates, threats of sanctions, triggering article 7 of EU treaty and depriving of voice in the EU would follow immediately. Timmermans, Juncker, Macron would go mad every day on that.

But nothing like that happens in case of:
– Spain – trying to crash democratic movement in Catalonia
– Germany – where Bundestag Scientific Office has just determined that Merkel’s decision to open borders to immigrants from all over the world had no legal grounds, where dieselgate and collusion among car producers has been tolerated for decades,
– France – with constantly extended state of emergency depriving citizens of their basic rights which UN human rights experts condemned recently or breaching 3% budget deficit against EU treaties for years.

Posted on 10/2/17 | 9:19 AM CEST
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selber

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Re: Realpolitik in Europe.
« Reply #112 on: October 02, 2017, 15:32 »
I post a comment from @spanishengineer , who unfortunately does not write in this forum . I hope he does not mind.His comment says more than I could say .

Question from Muddy Retriever -    Is there a means by which the constitution can be changed? It could be argued that 1978 is quite a long time ago.

Answer from spaniushengineer .

La Constitución se puede cambiar e incluso hay algunos juristas que creen que con el texto actual podría caber un referendum. Lo que ocurre es que el PP está instalado en el inmovilismo y eso ha provocado que los partidos indepentistas catalanes hayan decidido utilizar esta estrategia y la trampa del referendum en la que tontamente ha caido Rajoy.

Pero lo má preocupante de todo no es sólo Cataluña sino el precedente para la independencia de el País Vasco, Galicia o Navarra. En el caso vasco, que es lo que mejor conozco, en 1978 los vascos mayoritariamente votaron en contra (hubo un 55% de abstención y un 35% dijo NO). La opción independentista en el País Vasco siempre fue mayor que en Cataluña. Si Cataluña se independiza hoy es seguro que mañana lo intentará el País Vasco o Navarra que tiene además argumentos históricos más sólidos (navarra fue conquistada por los reyes católicos en 1512 por la fuerza). Es decir existe un peligro real de convertir España en Yugoslavia y que acabemos en guerra. Esa es la razón, en mi opinión, de la extrema dureza empleada por Rajoy.

Después del crack del 29, los nacionalismos aumentaron en Europa, en España derivó en la guerra civil del36 también promovida por los separatismos, en Europa la II guerra mundial. Después de la caida de Lehman Brothers...tengo la sensación de que estamos repitiendo la historia .
« Last Edit: October 02, 2017, 15:37 by selber »

coffejohn

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Re: Realpolitik in Europe.
« Reply #113 on: October 03, 2017, 14:25 »
Funny Death and Sails - A caution for the Commission?

8)


The possible price of Danegeld!


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Lugdu

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Re: Realpolitik in Europe.
« Reply #114 on: October 03, 2017, 15:46 »
très beau, très bien : mais avec la commission ?? :o

coffejohn

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Re: Realpolitik in Europe.
« Reply #115 on: October 03, 2017, 23:06 »
mais avec la commission ?? :o

Only kindheartedly, I have sympathy for their task but distrust of their intentions; with power comes criticism. :)
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coffejohn

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Re: Realpolitik in Europe.
« Reply #116 on: October 07, 2017, 00:55 »
After the election: Divided Germany, divided Europe? | DW English


Does the rise of the right-wing populist AfD party signal new political divisons in Germany? Why is nationalism in Germany growing? Guests: Wojciech Szymański (DW), Judy Dempsey (Carnegie Europe), Anja Reich (Berliner Zeitung). Read more: http://www.dw.com/germanydecides
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coffejohn

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Re: Realpolitik in Europe.
« Reply #117 on: October 12, 2017, 20:47 »
Time for Germany to overcome Nazi past and join EU’s defense

From; http://www.politico.eu/article/germany-eu-defense-nazi-past-should-be-overcome/

Quote
It is time for Germany to step out of the shadow of its Nazi past and take its share of responsibility for international security.

With an assertive Russia flexing its muscles to the east, Islamist terrorism bringing death to Europe’s streets, a U.S. president questioning America’s commitment to NATO, and Britain turning its back on the EU, Berlin must bite the bullet and acknowledge the need for a stronger German military.

The biggest constraints in doing so are not financial or material. They’re political and psychological. Germans can afford to spend more on defense but many of them don’t want it. Three generations after Hitler’s armies wreaked terror across Europe, Germans have gained too much economic and political power to continue hiding behind their understandable aversion to all things military.

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NATO, backed by U.S. nuclear weapons, remains best placed to deter Russian power in the east, but the European Union needs its own capacity to counter multiple security threats in the south. France is doing the “dirty work” of fighting Jihadist groups from Mauritania to Chad, mostly alone, while Italy’s military has been crucial to coping with arrivals of boat people in the Mediterranean.

German defense spending has turned a corner since Russia’s 2014 seizure of Crimea and destabilization of eastern Ukraine prompted Merkel to lead the push for Western sanctions on Moscow. But at 1.22 percent of GDP, even after an 8 percent increase this year, it remains far below the agreed NATO guideline of 2 percent which Berlin has promised to approach by 2024. If spending remains on its current trajectory, there’s no chance the gap will be closed.

A quarter-century of attrition has hollowed out the armed forces. Alarming proportions of German warplanes and helicopters can’t fly, and navy ships don’t sail for lack of maintenance, spare parts and technicians. The Bundeswehr — the German armed forces — has shrunk from 500,000 at the end of the Cold War to fewer than 177,000 soldiers. It has to cannibalize old equipment to keep about 3,000 of them on international duty with the United Nations, NATO and the EU. Training and exercises have suffered from continuous cuts.

Quote
Former NATO secretary-general Jaap de Hoop Scheffer says he had to plead with the chancellor in 2005 to send German reinforcements to the NATO-led stabilization force in Afghanistan, under fire from the Taliban. And even then, she refused to send them to the most dangerous areas. “Merkel told me: ‘You have to understand, we have the Bundeswehr, but the Bundeswehr is not there to fight,’” he told me in an interview.

Quote
Berlin also needs to adapt its institutional set-up to make itself a more effective partner, better able to exercise shared leadership in security and defense. Its strict parliamentary control over the military, highly politicized application of arms export restrictions, rigid annual budgeting and reticent strategic culture are all impediments to European cooperation. But these can all be fixed — given the political will.

Working closely with France — and including Italy, Spain and Poland wherever possible — will be crucial to building a more integrated European defense industry and military capabilities. Berlin and Paris should also try to include Britain, which has Europe’s biggest defense budget, through pragmatic arrangements once it leaves the EU. The U.K. should not be shut out of joint procurement or access to the European Defense Fund.

EU defense cooperation has disappointed for so long that it’s easy to be skeptical now, but the stars have never been better aligned to achieve real progress — but that will only happen if Germany steps up to the plate.


Some readers quotes;

Quote
yospit64

Well written! Europe cannot depend on US under Trump anymore and should rely on itself. I am watching in disbelief what US has become and I am sincerely ashamed to be an American!

Posted on 10/12/17 | 7:37 AM CEST
Anna Mosity

Germany won’t spend anything on its own defence or the defence of Europe.
Germany has always reneged on its commitments to NATO (to the tune of 238 BILLION euro). Unlike Poland which has always invested its fair share in NATO. France are also spongers. Far to greedy people, its current day [email protected] are in politics. Sucking, grubby little people who only take who rely on sponging from others for their defence… Preferring to build up its trade surplus.

Posted on 10/12/17 | 7:51 AM CEST
Alexandre

This would be grave mistake and a first step towards WW3.
Regrettably Germany cannot be trusted with military. Ever.
The best solution would be to have them pay for trhe european defence but not to participate in it. Along the lines the Naxos was treated when it rebelled from Delian League and was defeated. Anybody remembers history lessons? If we don’t we’ll go deep down this mess again.

Posted on 10/12/17 | 8:12 AM CEST
Birdman

This has all been said before. But not much thought has been given to Germany’s neighbours, especially the smaller ones, in this article. From a German domestic perspective, a parliamentary controlled army has served as a reasonable control in the past, curbing interventionism. From a European perspective funding the European Defence fund alone isn’t the answer either. And the article smells of ulterior motive.

Posted on 10/12/17 | 8:23 AM CEST
fatbob

…..and history will end up repeating itself.

Posted on 10/12/17 | 9:38 AM CEST
Ted

If Germany is unwilling to come to the defence of a NATO ally what use are they as members of that organisation? What use are they as members of the EU come to that or the Eurozone? The whole system has been rigged to keep Germans in a nice middle-class bubble of denial.

Posted on 10/12/17 | 9:50 AM CEST
Gerhard

We don’t need to increase spending, we need to spend differently. Following US-president Trump’s reprimand and indeed raise defense expenditure would only benefit the arms industry – especially the one in the US, I suppose. Trump gave a terrific example: During the conflict between Saudi-Arabia and Qatar he sold weapons to both sides; he was even boasting about having concluded the biggest arms deal ever in the history of the US: with the radical islamic Whahab regime in Saudi-Arabia.
Europe mustn’t follow the US on the path. More than ever, it needs its own defence structure, within NATO, if feasible, otherwise independently. Schulz, the German Social Democratic leader was right when he objected any increase in military spending. Moreover, he demanded the immediate removal of nuclear weapons from German territory. Merkel was smart enough not to join in on any discussion with Trump – the latter being imperturbably convinced that in such arguments only one person can be right – Donald Trump.
In times when Russia and the US are still competing in the question who would be able to blow up the entire planet more often – just ten times, fifteen times or even more, additional spending is nonsense. As long as their are military threats, reasonable deterrence can be the only answer. For that, we don’t need large stocks of military equipment and weapons which are silently rusting away – as they, thankfully, will not be used and don’t serve any purpose, apart from filling the pockets of weapons manufacturer.

Posted on 10/12/17 | 9:52 AM CEST
Katrin3

@Anne Mosity

France already has the biggest army in the EU. After the UK leaves in 18 months time, the France will also have the only nuclear armed defense forces in the EU.

@Observer

Germany has already increased its defense budget by 8%, just this year, and will keep increasing it until 2025. The question is, what will they decide to do with all this extra funding.

The author of this article doesn’t do the math and figure out exactly how much money 2% of German GDP would be per year. It’s billions, every single year. Even the Germans don’t know how to spend that much money on defense every year.

Be careful what you wish for.

Posted on 10/12/17 | 9:53 AM CEST
Is the EU one eyed

Don’t agree with all of the US rehtoric but there is something wrong when one country can invest in its own industry- but leave the defence and costs to someone else.

Trump is just saying pay up if you want the insurance. The NATO 2 % is there to support all who signed up to it.

An EU army aside from being a duplication in effort and cost, will be funded by increased budget contributions by other member states – just wait for it.

Transferring the obligation to the EU is way to continue to avoid spending the 2 %.

I also find it odd that the demand is for the UK not to use security and it’s military force as a bargaining chip.

And in the same breath the EU refuse to even discuss Article 50 and the future relationship. Apparently it’s Germany demanding the £78 billion. And blocking progress on 3 impossible demands.

Now why is that.

Posted on 10/12/17 | 9:54 AM CEST

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