Category Archives: Europe

A fresh wave of hard-right populism is stalking Europe

In Germany, the AfD are weaponising climate change

The Economist — Sep 14th 2023
A spectre is haunting Europe: the spectre of a rising hard right. In Germany the overtly xenophobic Alternative for Germany (afd) has surged to become the country’s second-most popular party.
Its success is polarising domestic politics and it seems poised to triumph in state elections in the east next year. In Poland the ruling Law and Justice party is leading the polls ahead of a general election on October 15th, and it is being drawn further to the right by an extreme new party, Confederation.

Continue reading A fresh wave of hard-right populism is stalking Europe

Kristalina Georgieva: Can She Stop A New Cold War??

IMF chief cites her life behind Iron Curtain in warning Against a new Cold War

The Washington Post

By David J. Lynch
 — August 20, 2023

Kristalina Georgieva is head of the International Monetary Fund and is trying to keep the global economy from a costly splintering

Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, grew up under communism and understands the costs of a globe partitioned between adversarial powers.

She grew up in a time of scarcity and repression, living on the wrong side of the line that divided two superpowers. Now she fears a new era of rival blocs could lead the world to repeat the errors of the Cold War.

Continue reading Kristalina Georgieva: Can She Stop A New Cold War??

A Midweek Twofer: Ireland In NATO? India Dumping Democracy?? Shakeups In the “I” Countries

The Guardian

#1- Ireland ‘playing with fire’ for opening debate on military neutrality, says president

Michael D Higgins says government risks burying country in other people’s agendas amid ‘drift’ towards Nato

Rory Carroll — Ireland correspondent — 19 Jun 2023
Ireland’s president has rebuked the government for launching a debate about the country’s longstanding military neutrality and the possibility of joining Nato, saying ministers were “playing with fire”.

Michael D Higgins accused the government of a dangerous “drift” from a cornerstone of Irish foreign policy and said it risked “burying” Ireland in other people’s agendas.

The intervention, made in an interview with the Business Postnewspaper on Sunday, puts a spotlight on a government-sponsored forum on international security, where Ireland’s neutrality will be debated. It also raises questions on the role of the president, who occupies a largely ceremonial post.

Continue reading A Midweek Twofer: Ireland In NATO? India Dumping Democracy?? Shakeups In the “I” Countries

Alfred McCoy on the Rise of China

[NOTE: In 2008, Al McCoy was a main speaker at a conference on U. S. torture that I helped organize. Both his talk and his academic record marked him as a scholar to reckon with on matters of foreign policy and empire. This record drew me to this new analysis of the rapid shifts of power and empire, especially in the context of the Ukraine war.]

The Rise of China (and the Fall of the U.S.?)

Posted on

By Alfred McCoy, a historian and educator. He is the Fred Harvey Harrington Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and author of To Govern the Globe: World Orders and Catastrophic Change. O published at TomDispatch.

From the ashes of a world war that killed 80 million people and reduced great cities to smoking rubble, America rose like a Titan of Greek legend, unharmed and armed with extraordinary military and economic power, to govern the globe.

Continue reading Alfred McCoy on the Rise of China

Sweden, Finland, NATO, Neutrals & Nukes: A Concise Analysis

[NOTE: These two short columns offer an admirable review of two key moments in the impact of Putin’s Ukraine invasion  on my own thinking.

When I imagined these countries as actual places (which, I admit, wasn’t often), my speculation was that they held to a “plague-on-both-your-houses” stance vis-a-vis the USSR/Russia on one side, and the West, which meant the US-NATO war machine on the other.

In a nuclear “exchange” between these two behemoths, northern Scandinavians, whatever their political notions, would likely go up in the planetary puff of smoke.

That idea was crude, tho probably not entirely wrong. But what about a big, but not-(yet)apocalyptic war, in which one behemoth invaded a nearby country, in a retro-style imperial power grab?

Such a scheme seemed unlikely, outlandish: it was so twentieth (or even nineteenth) century, totally antique.

But then, that’s the big war the Swedes and Finns suddenly faced.  

Even many experts weren’t expecting it. Gwynne Dyer wasn’t, and his doctorate is in military studies, and he’s been observing/reporting on militaries and wars for decades.

Nor were Dyer and Co. expecting what happened next: the powerful Ukrainian resistance — and the radical response in northern Scandinavia.

Not being any kind of expert, I wasn’t expecting any of this either.  But of the two, the leap out of 275 years of neutrality into NATO was the bigger shock to my thinking (doubtless this reflects my safe “social location”; it would have felt very different if I was in a Kyiv or Mariupol cellar, with Russian artillery shells falling all around).

Dyer reacted quickly. These two columns, from late last spring make all sort of sense of the Sweden/Finland move. They’re not “news” now, but they show how, almost overnight, both the rulers and citizens there woke up, with their world shaking, and realized they weren’t neutral anymore. It also explains much of why I woke up late last February, and found I wasn’t neutral either. I join with those who want Ukraine to be free.]Two Columns by Gwynne Dyer
Farewell Neutrality: Sweden and Finland

By Gwynne Dyer
16 May 2022

It’s easy to imagine Vladimir Putin coming into the shop marked ‘Sweden’, breaking some fine china accidentally on purpose, and growling: ‘Nice little shop you’ve got here. It would be a pity if something happened to it.’

But Sweden is not a pottery shop, Putin is not a Mafia capo, and what’s going on in the Baltic now is not a protection racket. Continue reading Sweden, Finland, NATO, Neutrals & Nukes: A Concise Analysis