What can we expect from the NATO summit 2018?

Between 11 and 12 July 2018, a meeting of the heads of state and government of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) will be held in Brussels, Belgium. However, the European members of the alliance do not expect much this event. The reason lies in a person, like the US President Donald Trump. According to some observers of The New York Times, the US’ Atlantic allies are not quiet sure what to expect from the head of the White House on this summit. “No one knows in what mood Trump will arrive: aggressive, or insulted the allies for inadequate defense spending, or as a boaster, who brags of the recent cost increase”, notes journalist Steven Erlanger.

The EU allies are very concerned that they will face Trump what he was at the G7 leaders meeting in June. The present members described him as angry, sarcastic and rude, especially concerning Justin Trudeau and Angela Merkel. According to the former US ambassador to NATO Nicholas Burns, the focus of the meeting “should be Russian deterrent by the forces of the alliance in Eastern Europe, but Trump can ruin everything for Putin”. If Trump “arrives to enhance the dialogue with Russia and there is no clearity what Moscow will do in return, it will cause confusion in the North Atlantic alliance”, he said.

According to the president of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, François Heisbourg, “Trump can act instinctively, trying to arrange a bilateral deal with Putin and sacrifice the interests of NATO. He can lift sanctions imposed because of Crimea, put off maneuvers or withdraw US troops from the Baltic countries. We have seen it with Kim Jong-un”.
It is possible that Donald Trump can increase the expenses in common defense up to 2% of the GDP to the American allies of the NATO, that do not fulfill the condition. According to Defense News, Trump has already sent letters to some of his NATO allies in which he complained that they have not contributed enough to the Atlantic Alliance. In addition, the US leader has warned that this problem will be a key issue at the summit in Brussels.

The only document in this regard was published in Norway’s most important newspaper, VG, in which a letter was published to Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg on June 19. However, there is information that some NATO member states have received similar letters, and Foreign Policy magazine confirmed it.

The Norwegian letter says: “Norway however, remains the only NATO Ally sharing a border with Russia that lacks a credible plan to spend 2 percent of its gross domestic product on defense…I understand domestic political pressures, as I myself have expended considerable political capital to increase our own defense spending. It will, however increasingly difficult to justify to US citizens why some countries continue to fail to meet our shared collective security commitments.

But there is an opposite version that lies in the fact that everyone needs the success at this forum. And the US side can make some efforts to soften the negative impression of the previous G7 meeting, in which the United States clashed with its European allies and Canada.

In any case, the next summit of the North Atlantic alliance promises to become one of the most interesting and unpredictable in recent years. And the United States will play a fundamental role there.

However, in the realities of modern world, it does not guarantee the strengthening of the European security.

 

Roses for the German national football team

Very soon we will witnesses a grand sporting event: the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia! Remembering the Olympic Games in Sochi, there is no doubt that everything will be done as successfully as possible. Petrodollars will allow to arrange a memorable show with a high level of comfort for guests and participants. Returning to the issue of the Olympic Games in Sochi, you can recall that many athletes in the Olympic Village took the opportunity to cure their teeth totally free. At the World Cup will not be worse.
And nobody has already remembered that the World Championship will be held on the territory of the country, which has recently annexed a part of the neighboring state and actively supports separatists there. Only a few European publications recall that their football players will play in a country where the doping program was developed at the state level and covered by special services.
Everything is forgotten. Everything becomes history. And someone with a smile receives a bouquet of roses. Why is this happening?
No matter how hard we oppose it, the financial and economic interests of individual EU countries that put themselves above others, prevail over democratic values, allied commitments and support for the needy.
Four years have passed since the introduction of the first sanctions against Russia, and Germany declares the importance of the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. Most recently, the Bulgarian president, whose country presides over the EU, said that his country needed its own gas pipeline with Russia. In 2014, Sofia, under pressure from the United States and the EU, refused to lay South Stream and lost millions of euros. And there are a number of countries that are ready to join the oil and gas Russian pipe.
Undoubtedly, there are those who continue to support the earlier initiated actions in relation to the Kremlin. But most importantly, unity has disappeared in this issue, and economic benefits overshadow all other important things. Germany seems very peculiar country. It was Berlin that was one of the initiators of the economic blockade of Moscow, but now, after counting the losses and using its dominant position in the European Union, it seeks to replenish its budget through the transit of Russian gas. And Mrs. Merkel flooded Europe with immigrants from the Middle East and Africa. And now it makes all countries participate in this show, distributing quotas.
It’s time to stop pretending that financial preferences do not mean anything. It’s sad, but we have to admit that the European Union can not stand it. Gradually, it’s time to reformatting and select a new vector of movement. Maybe it’s not so bad. It remains to decide in what composition, when, where, with whom, around whom?
It should be noted that the European community does not benefit from the actions of Mr. Trump. The US president is doing everything to alienate the European partners. And, accordingly, deprive Europe of its ally.
What it takes to the way out of the deal on the Iranian nuclear program. Washington’s attitude to European capitals as its own vassals does not contribute to the formation of close partnership relations and in the future can negatively affect the interaction of the parties in solving key international issues.

P.S. It’s a pity that the US football team did not go to the World Cup and did not get into the same group with Iran. It could be nuclear football!

 

2018 is a difficult year for the #EU

By the end of 2017, we can say that the EU had a tendency to disintegrate. And it’s not connected only with Brexit and the Catalan crisis in Spain.
First of all, the stability of the internal political situation is again under threat in the so-called “motor” of the EU – Germany, where during four months the talks on the government coalition following the results of the September elections to the Bundestag first renewed, but then again failed. And although in early 2018 the CDU / CSU and SPD started a new round of negotiations, it is still designated “deadline”, April 1. But the problem is that according to public opinion polls, a new vote between Christian Democrats and Social Democrats will lead to the same impasse as in September. After all, it was this “big coalition” that rules in Germany for two of the three terms of Angela Merkel as federal chancellor. But in 2017, the Social Democrats rested and refused to cooperate with the CDU / CSU. And now they changed their minds again.
At the same time, it is easy to see behind these vicissitudes the same split of the Western elites and their internal struggles. After all, Europe is still fundamentally not sovereign and is the actual sphere of influence of the United States, which exercises control through the institutions of NATO, and the Council of Europe.
Secondly, Emmanuel Macron, came to power in the spring of 2017 in France, changed the emphasis in the most European policy and perspective. Economic leadership of Germany, especially in the conditions of constant instability in this country, threatens to transform into a military one. And go to France as the only European nuclear power. In addition, because of numerous ambiguities in politics, Merkel’s position, openly played by influential conceptual and business circles related to the Rothschild clan, whose promoter is Macron, is rapidly and sharply weakened.
Let us remember the events in Catalonia – a part of this scenario, discovered by George Soros in his time around the Eurobond project: then it was said that Germany either should consolidate and assume all European debts, or dissolve the EU. It is indicative that recent studies by German defense ministry experts have revealed that in three of the six scenarios for the development of the situation in the EU there is no “common future” for Europe, and it will collapse.
Although, in turn, the Catalan precedent has clearly shown that the global oligarchy headed by the Rothschilds is not against a single Europe, but for expanding its own control over integration processes.
In the beginning of the year, Brussels has to resolve a number of internal political issues, including the migration problem, which France and several countries of Eastern and Central Europe have already tightened control over. Even Germany, which willingly welcomed refugees and helped them, is concerned about the possibility that because of the new rules for granting asylum in the European Union, Germany had to accept many more migrants. And that is why he asks the EU to stop this mass flow of refugees.
In addition, the problem of Brexit is quite acute. Despite the fact that the EU and the UK were able to agree in the first phase of the negotiations, they are now moving to the second phase, within which they will have to resolve the problem of regulating the border between the remaining part of the European Union, Ireland and the part of the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland, the status of three with a small million foreign professionals who currently live and work in the British territory.
And we can say that at the moment the European Union is clearly facing a political, social and economic crisis. It has to overcome a very difficult year, because this year will determine its future. As a result, the EU’s exit from the current crisis is one of the biggest issues facing the union, its citizens, institutions, leaders and politicians.

 

The realities of modern #Libya: #terrorists, #slaves, #poverty

In the middle of October the mass-media published a video with the scenes of slave trades in Libya. It caused many disturbances in Western and African countries and in the UN.
The standard price for one slave became known – only a few hundred dollars. They sell refugees from Central African countries, who tried to leave for Europe.
In the video we can see the life of the slave market in Tripoli, the capital of Libya. Apparently, these scenes became quiet ordinary because it happens openly. The owner of this slave auction sets the value and enumerates all advantages of prisoners. He mentions very often their ability for hard physical labor:
“Does anybody need a digger? This is a big strong man, he will dig very well!”, the salesman says in the market of slaves in Tripoli, praising up the muscular man. The buyers are gradually raising the price. The result is 600 Libyan dinars (about $440 at the official rate). This man sold into slavery passes into the hands of new owners.
And there is another situation on this video: “800, 900, 1000, 1100, sold for 1200 Libyan dinars” (the equivalent of $800), says the auction leader. This Nigerian was put up for sale as “a big strong man, fit for farm work.”
This scene seems to be insane for the 21st century, but it is quite common in Libyan cities.
And the scheme of turning people into slaves is also quite simple. A migrant from Africa turns to the carrier and pays him a certain amount of money for traveling to Europe. As a rule, from three to five thousand dollars. Refugees give the last. When a migrant enters Libya, he is informed that not enough money that he paid, you need more, and in general, no one has guaranteed anything to the illegal immigrant. If the refugee refuses to pay and insists on its, demanding compliance with the agreements, he is beaten or raped. After this, people are usually put up for sale.
Unfortunately, the video does not give us an answer to the question of who exactly the organizers of the slave trade are. Probably, “business” is engaged by paramilitary groups that control most of the country. After the overthrow of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, the armed gangs who replaced the central government took control of the illegal traffic of people from the least developed countries of Africa through the Mediterranean. After all, the general track of such illegal migration lies today through Libya.
In my opinion, the main reason of this situation is the air operation carried out in 2011 by the NATO aggressor countries (the United States, Great Britain, France, Italy) against the government of Libya and its leader M. Gaddafi. The air strikes of the alliance led to massive destruction of the Libyan military and civilian infrastructure – ports, highways, airports, hospitals, power stations and houses. Because of this, the economy of one of the richest countries in the region was destroyed. Thus, military actions destroyed completely the prosperous country, turning it into a country that broke up into several territories controlled by different groups. The oil-rich regions were in the hands of extremists. The population lives at risk of poverty. We can say that Libya as a united country ceased to exist. Therefore, there are continuing wars. People leave cities every day, but more refugees and new victims are appearing every time.
Although Gaddafi was not the best leader in terms of international law, but there was order in the country. He did not allow terrorist groups to enter his country, the slave trade was punishable by death. It was after the deportation of Gaddafi to Libya that international terrorists rushed in mass order. Their influence on the domestic political situation in the country continues to remain serious. If a victory over the terrorists is coming in Syria, but it is impossible to say about Libya. Probably, from Syria, the ISIL fighters will go to Libya with the aim of regrouping, resting, reinforcing troops. I won’t hide, at the end of September a chief investigator at the Tripoli state prosecutor’s office, Sadiq al-Sur, has already said that the IS training camps are in the Libyan desert. After all, South Libya, with its vast, uncontrolled territories, is the main route of migration from sub-Saharan Africa to northern Libya and to Europe. As a result, ISIL can easily get there recruitment, enlistment, or simply intimidating refugees.
In turn, European countries do not provide any practical assistance in overcoming the Libyan crisis. Washington, London, Paris and Rome wanted to establish their own order during the attack on Libya in 2011, they promised to establish democracy, without thinking what will happen in the future. And finally what they got ?! The slave trade, a transit point not only for African illegal immigrants seeking to enter Europe, but also for ISIL militants. I hope that the countries of Europe and the United States have already realized their mistake and will begin to take some actions to improve the current situation in the country where for several hundred US dollars one can buy a person ….

Comfort or obligation? Alternative for the #USA

For many decades the US Armed Forces promote themselves as a main security guarantor for the partners in the North Atlantic Alliance and other states that are loyal to Washington. Is it really?
In October and November it was reported that the USA withdrew its military contingent from Lithuania (https://en.delfi.lt/lithuania/defence/us-stops-rotating-troops-in-lithuania-send-them-to-drills-general.d?id=76197235, https://en.delfi.lt/corporate/the-usa-ends-its-troops-deployment-in-lithuania-what-does-this-mean.d?id=76299967). This fact wasn’t be published anywhere. To comment the withdrawal of the troops, the US Army general Ben Hodges declared that US Armed Forces would return to Lithuania to participate in these drills. The Lithuanian government hasn’t yet commented this sad information for them. And what can a small state say to its main ally, who promised to protect it always?
Some Lithuanian editions expressed their dissatisfaction about the withdrawal of American troops. Some of them compared these actions of American partners with the new Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. Someone even joked that Russia was becoming “weaker, that’s why it’s more and more eager to enslave Europe, but perhaps the whole world”. In this context, in the opinion of the Lithuanian mass media, the denial of the White House from the rotation of its troops in Lithuania is terrible, like a deceased (http://www.ekspertai.eu/rotacijakaip-kraujo-syvaibe-ju-zmogus-ne-zmoguso-lavonaskraujo-gali-buti/).
I think, this step devaluates the Washington declarations to help and defend their allies and partners. The overall strength of the Lithuanian Armed Forces is not more than 30 thousand people, that isn’t enough in the light of the current situation of geopolitics.
Why have I paid attention to this problem? Some time ago I got acquainted with Lithuanians at my work. While at a business dinner, our attention was focused on a group of Americans who behaved quite noisily. My Lithuanian colleague said that Americans are characterized by an external background, and not by real cases. To my question: “why”? He did not want to answer, getting off with general phrases. But at once I’ve remembered about my career as a journalist and as a result, I managed to find out some interesting details. He said that in the middle of November, not only the US Army, but most of the US Air Force fighter aircraft left Lithuania much ahead of their schedule. They deployed at the Zokniai airbase. The main reason given was the fact that seven aircraft failed engines in September and November. American pilots blamed the Lithuanian side, noting the low level of air base repair facilities, weak personnel training of the Lithuanian Air Force and poor quality of the take-off runway. These were the reasons for the withdrawal of the American Aces. My Lithuanian colleague learned it from his relative who works at this airbase.
I can not confirm the credibility of this information, but I will not deny the possibility of it. Everyone knows that US servicemen are accustomed to comfort. To do this, their country allocates huge amounts of money. But is it really comfortable in the war? Why not just train your allies and not invest money in infrastructure modernization? What European country should prepare for such scenario, if one day American soldiers will not be transferred from the hotel to the duty station? I think that we will not get answers to these questions.