Those that peruse numerous news sources run into reports that cannot be true, should not be true, but that are, nevertheless, true. In time, a bouquet accumulates to be shared with those that can laugh even if it hurts.
1. The “EU is ready with sanctions if Ukraine ceasefire violated,” announced, many recent deaths ago the headline about Chancellor Merkel. The threat by Germany’s leader who is undistinguishable from her leftist coalition partner, sounds good. Not unlike Putin, “Duly Noted” is unimpressed. The small print –it is always what matters- tells why earthquake watchers register no trembling under the Kremlin.
To keep Moscow off tranquilizers, also to prevent the scramble of scared chickens in the coop, a qualifier is inserted. To unleash retaliation, the violation must be “serious”. Experience suggests that we have to do with a definition that is as flexible as is the “meaning of is” in “Clinton-Speak”. The criterion of “serious” is only fulfilled if Russia’s consents that her violations have been serious. Conclude: the Atlantic Alliance is back in its favored slumber mode.
2. Snowden has not only talked to all, but he is also talked about. A source that called him a “patriot” –patriot for whom? - reports that he wants to “return home”. For the sake of the confused: He meant the USA.
Probably on the strength his hither services to his country, he raises conditions. All he wants is what he considers to be a “fair trial”. The demand is warranted. America puts renegades into death camps where they can choose between frying in boiling oil, roasting in a cage, and skewing impailed while barbequed. Even with the end of the current administration in sight, there is no news about the “fair trial”. All we know is that the death penalty is nixed.
The term “fair trial” is notable. What is informally meant is that no severe punishment for a severe violation is to be guaranteed to encourage the happy homecoming. When a court procedure has a pre-programmed result, we have a mock trial. Hire Russian or North Korean experts to orchestrate it.
An alternative to the USA is, as announced on March 6, asylum is Switzerland. So far, the enthusiasm of the locals is rather subdued. It might take time for the Left and the Greens to mobilize to protect one of their own.
3. Somehow, “Jihadi John” comes here to mind. To make bad sound better, lawyers claim that he is to be considered, well, British. About the family, there are oddities. When Iraq invaded Kuwait, they supported the occupier. Their side lost. Note: Britain disapproved of what the Emwasis supported. Therefore, by her standards, England gave refuge to a hostile traitor. Once Hussein was driven out, the family became less than popular. Claiming persecution, it asked for asylum in Britain. Amazingly, considering their record, defying the principle behind refuge, they were accepted. That resulted in a life on welfare uninterrupted by work of any sort. Once they moved back to Kuwait (that tells about persecution), they continued to receive British money.
4. The negotiations with Iran are nearing another deadline. Formally, the American objective is supported by the Powers. The US’ interests, however, are paramount, as -with Israel- she happens to be the primary target of the Mullahs.
Some assert that Tehran’s nuke will not change much. The experience with proliferated nuclear weapons point to the Alfred E. Newman approach. No other convenience dictated move could be more dangerous.
A nuclear Iran will me more than a new player on the field. It will be a participant that plays by new rules and with a new goal line in mind. Nuclear powers seek a global balance (USA, USSR, China) or a local one (India, Pakistan) and possibly the guaranteed survival against a dominant conventional enemy (Israel). Nuclear-armed suicide bombers that do not seek self-protection but the annihilation of their foe regardless of the costs, raise the nuclear threat to a new level.
If it comes to a treaty, it will contain controls called “rigorous” by one side, and “limited”, according to the other. To pay for that “diplomatic success”, sanctions will be lifted. This deal is less satisfactory than it seems. Inspectors, whose zeal will be limited because their country is not directly endangered, will be restrained. It will be easy to overlook violations and then to argue that is inconvenient to restore the sanctions because of a trifle. This guarantees the worst of all imaginable outcomes.
5. Hesitantly applied sanctions have a sad record. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe has been active in the Ukraine. In the best case, its agents were ignored, or kept from “making their appointed rounds”. If their nagging bothered Russia’ Little Green Men, they were locked up. Have the Mullahs noticed?
Then, there is the ongoing case of Greece. Athens got into trouble because EU supervision went off-line. The lights did not blink because the will to enforce fiscal discipline lacked. Unless the country leaves the Euro-zone, there will be a deal. For more money, the leftist illusion chasers that pay with the money of others will agree to supervision under a vague covenant. Once the violations cannot be ignored, continued support will be justified by a pious excuse.
6. Leftist-run Greece is seeking relief from her dormant bankruptcy by demanding that the settled WW2 claims be re-settled by dough for the torts of the great-grandfathers of the living. Should money be denied, Athens threatens the EU. They could open the gates to Europe, by providing papers to entrants and inundate Europe with welfare-claimants and terrorist.
7. The EU can be hard-line if the regulated victim cannot bite back or threaten bankruptcy. Since time immemorial, Hungary’s peasants were free to distill liquor for their own use. Brussels demanded that the home-brew be taxed. Budapest complied but, to pacify the alarmed farmers, it created a tax deduction. Now the “Feds” forbade that. For no advantage to “Europe”, a harmless tradition has to be sacrificed. Presumably, an illicit industry has been created; its suppression will be as effective as were actions against Prohibition’s bootleggers –before Elliott Ness.
8. Two lies. Someone has released a lame canard (13/03). It is that new Ukrainian bills will depict Hitler. This is to underline that Putin’s opponents are “Fascists”. Hitler had a close relationship to the Ukrainians: he massacred them. The other fib has the distinction of being unmasked by its inventor. Some feared Russia, they shunned their obligations and did not wish to be “Fascists”. So they have acted as though they would believe that the indigenous, and not the “Green Men”, have conquered the Crimean peninsula. While on TV, Putin, to demonstrate how clever he is, has told the denied truth we all knew. Yes, he had decided to occupy and annex the territory.
This admission has ramifications. In the eastern Ukraine, the Kremlin claims that its regulars are not involved. It is the natives that fight –relying on the latest weapons systems of Russia. The story, by which those Westerners with a yellow stripe on their back are provided with an excuse, is identical to the earlier lullaby that justified the conquest of the Crimea. Now, the original story has been retracted. Why should the same tale be believed when the only difference is the venue?