Connect with us

Europe

Bosnian precariat, militaristic world images and media cynicism

Published

on

[yt_dropcap type=”square” font=”” size=”14″ color=”#000″ background=”#fff” ] F [/yt_dropcap]ascism is in full sweep around us. Writing about the ruins that left behind it, is the task of our time. Maybe it is the most important task, because we must not remain silent! Disaster of (human) policy is in practice, but we are hardly surprised.

Every statement around us which denies the possibility of existence of Bosnia, is essentially fascist howling of a monster that is trying to be covered up by diplomatic phrases about democracy of our next-door neighbours from Belgrade and Zagreb. Politicians, their followers and spokesmen, media experts, semi-conscious girls in military uniforms with rifles in their hands, folk singers with microphones, masses captivated by politicians who encourage them to hatred, the poor in shelters of demolished cities, dead children on the streets, big and small dictators, Muslims who try to take off from their faces the terrorists label while they are bombarded by the aircrafts of civilized world – they all together tempt again the evil of fascist destruction of the world, only today at a higher technical level.

Media lead us directly to the streets of Syrian cities that were bombed and destroyed by the Western allies aviation, the Russian military and local forces. Not so long ago, almost yesterday, Serbian guns were destroyed Sarajevo, Konjic, Mostar, Bihac, Gorazde, Olovo, Srebrenica and killed civilians, innocent citizens. Serbian criminals turned the cities into military targets. The cities in which the Bosniaks were the majorities. In other cities they were exterminated and “humanely” moved out, for example, from Trebinje to Scandinavia. In the large crime of Serbian politics, which is developed by SANU (Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts) and supported by SPC (Serbian Orthodox Church), the cities in Bosnia became the target of Serbian criminals on the way of a large “Serbian state” building, where it is never existed. Serbian war strategy made the “legitimate targets” of the cities – because the Bosniaks live there! In that way, the half of Bosnia has been occupied. The cities have become battlefields. The urban culture and spirit have been destroyed. The destruction of urbanity is in practice. Media recorded the terrible images of death and human evil … Media recorded ..

In the European tradition, the man is meant in different ways. The man is being determined as a zoon logon echon, as animal rationale, it is like a living being who has language and mind, being who as a social being lives in the community with his equal. For centuries we believed that rational being respects speech and intelligence, all those things that philosophers from Plato’s State and Kratil to Wittgenstein’s theory of meaning and Sprachspiele talked about.

But people have the ability to abandon all considerations and allow themselves to be infected by ephemerality, nastiness, ideologies. The idea of greed that defines our age is defined by the conservative view of the world. It helps the dominance of consumerism. It rejected every possible sense of the idea of equality among people and recognition of human characteristics. The greed is preferred in it, without mercy and compassion towards each other. It has all kinds of fundamentalism and exclusivity. The capitalist greed for profit is in it. In it there is the power of insane generals and mighty armies that are driven by sick minds. The domination of the fascist forces has become normal in it. The hatred has become characteristic in it. From everywhere, they speak and order: “Stop thinking, stop thinking!” In all this the media has been involved…

Gone are the days when we have thought, deliberated. But, unfortunately, the time “when philosophers like Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre, Michel Foucault or Jean-François Lyotard said about contemporary events or suggestions that they would have done to improve things that were considered important – belongs to the past.

Nowadays, even those who imitate the behaviour of the philosopher, who have pushed out the philosophers in the 1970s, they have compensated themselves have by entertainers and models, football players and boxers. “(A. Badiou / S. Žižek, Philosophy in the Present)

It must be admitted that the models look better, and football players run ‘faster’ then philosophers! From those dangerous displaced philosophers.

We must not ignore it at all!? The media have hidden critical intellectuals from the scene, pushed them, darken them and offered us manipulators who explain that we need to be serfs of capital, banks, financial funds, elite, leaders, generals… The corrupt deceivers every night mislead us by false claims that we need to be nobody and nothing. The media help to maintain the state of captivity in the ghetto, in the “closed society”, in the cage. The media “help” us to forget Bosnia…

Hence, could we write about the ruins, about collapsed architecture of the world, refer to the right to think of our destiny while from all sides deny to us the sense of philosophical attitude in the present, manly courage in front of the world that the capitalists and fascists led before the abysses of the human. Alein Badiou is trying to write a manifesto for philosophy.

We are not aware that an attempt to kill Bosnia will define our life and thinking. Trying to delete Bosnia from the face of the world, is the question of sense of Europe. It has been clear long ago that this issue exceeds the Serbo-Croatian historiography performances, small rural constructions of frustrated tribes, their ridiculous myths, folk singing of mountain-dwellers, nebulous ideas about their own place in history… But they have not still confronted with their crimes as human beings. This confrontation is waiting for them till doomsday, to the their beliefs, at the beginning of each new day when should be built some new human form.

This confrontation cannot be avoided or substituted by some form of art, a novel, something like Andric’s novel Bridge over the Drina River, which can be used to escape into the false image of history in order to pushed aside the crimes against Bosniaks in World War II, ignored them and forgotten them. And also, that the history of Bosnia can be forged and focused people’s attention on the other side

Literary, novelistic fiction, the work of contemplation, it is offered as a historical truth! However, it is escapism. Therefore, the panel-warning on the Town hall has a moral sense because it tells us that the criminals from the Serbian people have burned the house of knowledge and killed citizens from the surrounding hills. This is the truth that liberates. So, we have to pass through the ruins. After that, nothing will be the same for us. Let’s make Bosnia free of primitive ethno-religious nationalism which the media serve to it…

After all, our confidence in mind has remained. We have fallen into the flow “from solid to liquid” (Z. Bauman) and lost orientation. Around us echoes the authoritarian cacophony – Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer – and we do not understand what this means! We disappear in fog.

Image for the public

The undertaking to “shape the world in the image for the public” (M. Heidegger) through the media, books, proceedings, conferences, political manifesto, the party’s programs, Nobel Prize winners literary works and then, this image becomes obliging for all others, leads us to almost hopeless position that shows us the forgery, simplifying, reducing and destruction of the contents of the world that we live in.

Afterwards, it is shown that we already have available finished images, constructed images of the world and experiences, simulations and bad copies, but not our own opinion about the world that opens up the world to another dimension, in addition to simple performance on us as subjects who have mastered the world as a subject that we must subordinate and exploit for its untamable needs. Modern Aged, Cartesian image of the world as an object which approaches the subject to it with its intellect and instruments, has suffered a dramatic criticism and transformations during the last hundred years, and it must continue to transform in the direction of love for the world in which we live. Adaequatio rei et intellectus goes with it, as well as the metaphysical realism of “appearance” of the spirit that we must overcome. The man is seen as a camera that “objectively” shoots the world… A man just constructs media image…

The media are emerging as a threat for our freedom. They dramatically wider cultural pessimism, xenophobia and policy of divergence. The fascist tendencies are pouring from them, ethno-foulism and impassioned sermons on life meaning. The boundaries between fiction and reality or fictional form and actuality disappear without explanation and leveled every form of rationality in the mud of fascism. It has been already seen by Adorno, Lowenthal, Horkheimer, Benjamin, Marcuse and others. We have splashed again by a wave of fascistoid infection, that monstrous that has appeared in the past that we have not overcome and ennobled as people (unbewältigte Vergangenheit / unmastered past), the past which we could not obey to the man and his values.

Unbeaten ghosts of the past are trying to push us into migration again, into the new emigration, the escape into a hidden corner of the world where the fascists cannot reach us. They are trying to prepare for us a new genocide, murder, dehumanization. But there is no more space for migration and running away – finally we have to face with the Serbian Nazis and fascists! The crisis of capitalism and liberal democracy always opens the space to small then to large fascists around us. Usually, most people are not aware and do not notice when the fascists grab them and harness to the crazy circle of crimes. The media have real criminal role in it…

Our media are provincial. The media are the culmination of an enlightened false consciousness. Sloterdijk denounces them with special pleasure. Guillotine has survived in them. Media lynch as a “proof” of guilt of the accused is the means of prosecutors and conspiracy groups that do not have public responsibility. That is the main method of political disqualification of opponents. Media campaigns are the “evidence” of guilt. Manipulation of public spirit is shown as irresponsibility, incompetence, ignorance and danger for the system.

They asked Umberto Eco: “Do the journalists have the role in stopping of conspiracy ?, and he said: – Journalists must help to prevent the rule of lies and manipulation. This should be one of their struggles, while preserving critical spirit alive, and avoiding standardization of thought “.

The journalists have been transformed into “soldiers” of organized interest groups in the social structure. They behave as the loyal soldiers of leaders and their clique that rotate. The media, unfortunately, do not work for citizens around the world. The media, the secret police or the prosecution services often work together under one political hat against citizens. They manipulate the citizens from the position of financial interest groups dealing with top-grade transactions and serve to a few in society. The poor pays everything eventually. In Bosnia, Syria, or who knows where tomorrow?

The media has taken in hands the role of creator of our reality. With its superficial power of judgment, they formed millions of forms and contents of the people’s minds who move into unconsciousness of their own existence, not knowing the meaning of their lives. They, almighty and all-shaping media, create confusion that cannot be treated or removed. They create terror more than it can be expressed by referencing to the word simulacrum and much more than that can be daily consumed. They can wage wars, rob the countries, exterminate the nations, they can make spectacle from crime, they can mislead as much as you please… And they think they are innocent!

In fact, the media are there to carry out the post-war rehabilitation of the area, subsidence of soil, levelling of horror, relativizing of evil, rehabilitation of war criminals… They are just the extended arm of the ruling policy. The media are there to deceive us and left dazed for the next day. The media give space to local fascists, neo-Nazis, nationalists, misanthropy, bums, primitives and similar creatures that infect the public. And that lasts for decades.

Media collaboration in spreading of hatred and evil among people, cannot be presented at all by rational means. Madmen present the criminal political programs, and the media follow and support them. They transmit their words, using them as exclusive news, scandalous insane appearances due to better viewers rating and profit. This is the simple essence of irresponsible media structures. The media teach us to “tuck tail under” and gather in our corner, to accept the “peremptory set” of systemic attitudes in which we are trapped. Media “teach” us that there is no rebellion…

Lies of the media (II)

Meaningless populist campaigns sputter around us. Politicians scream from all sides and promise “golden spoons for common people”. People have become phlegmatic, indifferent, tired from the promises. Citizens live passages as from Adorno’s book Minima moralia. Logic disappears in speech. People are talking nonsense. Babble. Trash. They are frustrated and outraged. Only some of them still considers the moral issues of human endeavour. There is no reference to the ethic of responsibility and moral attitude in human matters. On the scene are the “priests” and politicians who are not able to keep like male and knight in front of serious things of life, but they escape into the empty “height” or “bottom”, it does not matter.

Endlessly, the media provide the repetition of lies, they provide the duration of the controlled society and choking of critical consciousness. They have the truth that is transmitted by authorities. For decades, they hide questions and possible answers. They do not ask one of the most important questions initiated by Dervis Susic: “Do you know anything about yourself? Let’s say, who you are, i.e. we, Bosniaks? It must be known!” Do we know who is Avdo Međedović, at all -“A singer who talks”? What means to us “Bosniak’s Homer”? If Husein Basic is right, then Avdo is too big for us or for our powers of understanding? How did we reach this condition? Where did we get from our vocabulary of undefined beings? What are the curricula in the education system? Moreover, the media teach us the emptiness, the silence, the worthlessness of their own existence.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) warned at the end of 2016 that some species that were not on the list of endangered ones, have become the part of the list of endangered species. It happens noticeable reduction of giraffes and African gray parrots in the wilderness. Horrible, indeed? Also, it is endangered the leopard, they assume that only 7100 leopards have remained in wilderness. The animal protectors have slogans: I’d rather go naked than wear wool. Wear your own skin! Let animals keep theirs. Let’s protect animals if we cannot protect people. The slogans of fighters for animals protection peal everywhere, but in the same time, small people are eradicated because of their names, language or belief.

Where are Rohinja people who are Muslims? Does anybody think of them while the Nobel Peace Prize is given? Do entity “RS” on the ground of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina is not a result of the crime of genocide? The “priests” of genocide and guards of its results are the ones who would continue the same “job”, wouldn’t they ? Can the media and media cynicism make of that crime the humanist fairytale about the man’s “will”? Immoral human figures tell us that the genocidal creation “RS” on the ground / territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina is “the result of the will of the Serbian people”. What a juristic formulation?! The media help the rising of this “truth”, especially media predators with their destructive content in which the public is experienced as an animal farm.

The media shamelessly deceive and contribute to decline of public morality into the mud of ethnic-nationalist images of the world which can be best understood as Kačavenda-shape idolatry in the heart of fascism. Media bravely return and lead us to the Middle Ages, in the empire of crusade, priests and local rulers, among dogmatized protocols of life and octroyed algorithms of truth, but we must not forget that they only serve to certain policies and have to implement it. Therefore, the media operation is turned into a mechanism that should be objectified the possibility of civilizations wars as a new spectacle – as if the army do not fight with political and economic interests behind them.

The media, unfortunately, are caught in the net of power and it is not hard to serve it, because they are the source of funds to maintain the system. In Bosnia, most of the media (public radio and television broadcasters) are paid by citizens – hence, citizens pay them to be oriented by the media. The media participate in the general moral degradation and education of the population, that shower them with their information and programs.

Such as the industry of beauty maniacally exploits the sense of human beauty, just as well the cynicism of legal system perverts the meaning of law and justice among people. Corrupt prosecutors, police officers, judges, businessmen, at every step destroy the system and order in society. Nowadays, primitive aesthetics and law are the only reflexes of one horrible process in which the human existence is systemic destroyed on all sides of mankind. It seems that the process is complementary in which modern technology destroys human life by shutting off a movement in it, action, thought, dynamics, resulting in autism, with processes ghettoisation and atomization that people for the purposes of capitalism and organized control. Burning Aleppo is in the media image, as if Sarajevo used to be, under the watchful eye of the UN and world forces. Graham Bamford shines in my Bosnian heart.

Lies in media reports

The media in the hands of corporate capitalism pelt us by messages, information, products, offers. We are choking and losing support in everyday life. “Children of the rich cannot play rock and roll” – the warning of officers’ sons of failed army! We need to start thinking about a new definition of a man and the key terms of human life. The great transformation is in progress, an epochal turn of all that we have conceived as a people.

Eva Bartlett, an independent Canadian journalist and human rights fighter, all around the world, warned in her speech at the UN that the sources from the ground mislead mainstream media, i.e. these sources are compromised and are not credible at all. The image that comes through their reports to the public all around the world is a false image and not corresponds to the state of things on the ground. Corporate media fabricate the reality, deceive the public, adapt their reports to the interests of the big players, fabricate “fake news / story”, recycle the testimony, so that everything you read is the opposite to the reality. Bartlett warns that the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) is located in Coventry led by the authority of one man who “receives” information from so-called White helmets. Image from Syria, therefore, was under the control of corporate and compromised media.

We are led by financial institutions through debt for borrowed money. The rulers of the 21st century will be the semi-educated and uncultivated, barbarians without shame who are pride of their vulgar manners and ignorance, self-satisfied demimonde. They control the money flows and subordinate the debtors. And media serve to it… We will know all about this today when this is important to no one, when we wouldn’t remember criminals and politicians from Belgrade no more, from that dark city. The media will insidiously level Serbian chauvinists crimes and patriotic struggle of the Bosnian people for their survival. As if we are stupid, they still sell us the Yugoslavianism, the old Serbian hegemony and narration, those old and empty speakers of existence without identity… Anti-Bosnian forces are strategically put people on positions in the system and they deliberately disintegrate the state. They attack all the points of the Bosnian state, which make them the resistance – or bribe them with money and escort-ladies or set them the “dance”. They have at the disposal the means and resources. They do it by means of the police and secret police services, the judiciary and prosecution, paid media and corrupt journalists, ministries of this and that, embassies and no one is trying to stop them.

Numerous media are in the service of destruction of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Genocidal creation on the territory of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina is the work of the Milosevic’s regime which is on the ruins of Yugoslavia tried to create a Greater Serbia. The identical plan had Tudjman’s regime, but handle with velvet gloves. The evidence of it is in the top analysis by Cyril Ribičić about the project HZHB. The complicity of the media in the profanation of our social life is boundless, shameful and invaluable. The media, of course, will never take this responsibility because they remind us to the children who go round like sparrows that tweet from the rooftops, but they are not able to learn the lessons given and do not like the lecture. They never feel the guilt and do not take responsibility.

Media show us that they are the heart of the simulacrum and ideological one-sidedness of the society with no choice. They are callously involved in people liquidation who were aimed from the political opponents. The ignorance and indifference come out of them. Journalists repeat ideological matrix, they do not differentiate the meanings, they do not know the old definitions and do not want to learn the new ones, they speak language that conceals rather than reveals social processes, irresponsibly refer to the words, do not have time for language consolidation and clarification of terms, because they are connected to police, secret services, companies, party’s secretaries and leaders. They must fulfil their requirements. They have to satisfy divergent interests and that it all seems “logical” – and that certainly cannot be logical. But citizens? (Nota bene. The growing children need to know that the Army of the Republic in Bosnia Herzegovina was not “so-called” – it was legendary and the only legal military force of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina that got up to save the state of a double aggression of Milosevic and Tudjman’s regime. The media in B&H today transfer the deceits from Belgrade media-propaganda and intelligence circles that someone who is legally defended their country “so-called.” Such morbidity comes from the heart of fascism. The truth is not proved by means of reveal a lie of fascism or it is not true to prove a lie of fascism.) Citizens should be protected from forgery!

The right-wing hook has raised against Bosnia as a unique state and began peddled morbid attitudes on “three of Bosnia”, certainly ethnic-religious fragmented. This is just a continuation of anti-Bosnian hegemonic criminal ideas that cause war and suffering. Still the media are at the service of the fascist attitude towards Bosnia of Great Croatian and the Great Serbian discriminatory arrangement. Thereby, the media openly advocate the right-wing hatred, exclusion, xenophobia, ethno-foulism, they are silent on the constitutional discrimination, support the society of ignoramus, they create the fake image. The media deceive us and lead to the situation to leave rational behaviour and accept something that we have not yet understood, but the next moment we can see that it is disastrous for us. Meanwhile, the media have earned billions of dollars and their owners are rubbing their hands without thinking whether it is dangerous or good for people that have supported a sick fascist to come to power. Therefore, there is not intellectuality in the media, the understanding or superior thinking, because their goal is the manipulation of mediocrity that dominates on the historical scene. Media deception is only the consequence of the old ideological deception of Bosnia that began at the end of the 19th century and continued until our time in many false narratives.

Continue Reading
Comments

Europe

European Union Could Share its Solid Economic Benefits with Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia

Published

on

European Union has, at least by territory and population, expanded as the European Council overwhelmingly decided to grant Moldova and Ukraine, with the possibility of Georgia, candidates’ status to join the bloc. Current, the European Union consists of 27 members and has an estimated total population of about 447 million. Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia, all former Soviet republics, will together add approximately 50.8 million to the current population of the European Union.

As former Soviet republics, the three attained their political independence and within the international laws, must be considered with respect based on the principles of their territorial integrity and national sovereignty. While the granting them their new status after official requests from them, it has indeed sparked debates especially in the Russian Federation. 

European Union leaders have formally agreed to grant candidate status to Ukraine, as well as Moldova, although the two former Soviet republics face a long path before joining the bloc. Ukraine applied to join the bloc just days after the Russian invasion on 24 February, and the process from application to candidacy has gone through at record speed.

Undoubtedly the new status has opened wide, most possibly, better doors and a platform to spring up with economic development through integration into European Union. President of the European Council, Charles Michel, noted: “it is a historic moment, today marks a crucial step on your path towards the European Union. Our future is together.”

The official congratulated the leaders of Ukraine and Moldova. Regarding Georgia, the European Council “decided to recognize the European perspective of Georgia and is ready to grant candidate status once the outstanding priorities are addressed,” Michel said. “Congratulations to the Georgian people,” he said. “A historic moment in EU-Georgia relations: Georgia’s future lies within the EU.”

The European Commission on June 17 recommended that the summit grant a candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova. It is a “symbol of hope” to support the Ukrainians while the country had a long way to go before actual accession. A few days later, Speaker of Moldova Parliament, Igor Grosu, announced that Moldova ready to join new sanctions, mostly in finance and banking, against Russia.

“We will show solidarity with the EU, as our status and European aspirations oblige us. Of course, we will join [any new sanctions] meant to stop the military operation. We are seeking to contribute to this goal by any diplomatic means,” Grosu said following a decision by the EU.

Moldova’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nicu Popescu earlier said the East European nation could not fully join anti-Russian sanctions due to its weak economy. European Union candidate status now provides Moldova with access to world’s most developed market. It offers similar new economic opportunities to bothe Ukraine and Georgia.

In one of her warm-hearted illuminating speeches at a media briefing, President Maia Sandu emphasized: “Candidate country status gives us a clear direction of our development, support on this path, and most importantly, hope. We are a small and vulnerable country, which would feel more secure when it becomes part of the European family, in which we could count on support from all members and institutions. Belonging to the EU also means access to the richest and the most developed market in the world.” 

Moldova, however, expects more support from the European Union to improve the wellbeing of its people and provide preconditions for developing the business environment. “The situation will not change overnight after candidate status has been granted, as a lot of hard work is still ahead,” Sandu said, attributing the current hardships in Moldova to the conflict in Ukraine that began late February.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky hailed the news as “a unique and historic moment”, adding “Ukraine’s future is within the EU” while the French President Emmanuel Macron said that the decision by EU leaders sent a “very strong signal” to Russia that Europeans support Ukraine’s pro-Western aspirations.

At least, they have joined the ‘European family’ that offers practical warmth for sustainable development. Ukraine has already signed an agreement with the European Union on joining its LIFE Program, an international funding instrument for the environment and climate action, whose budget on environment protection projects for 2021-2027 amounts to €5.43 billion, Ukrainian media reported with reference to the Environment Protection and Natural Resources Ministry.

Ukrainian Environment Protection Minister Ruslan Strilets and European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans, and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevicius signed the agreement.The ministry has over 15 concrete proposals to be transformed into relevant projects to be presented for consideration under LIFE Program.

“Ukraine has received great support and colossal capabilities from the European Union for restoring not only the environment but also live nature in Ukraine. This is something for which there has always been a lack of funding. LIFE is a powerful financial tool of the participating countries. This means great confidence in Ukraine,” Strilets said. “This should help us develop more new projects which local businesses could be engaged with. Therefore, we’ve made a very important step today.”

In the near future Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia have the possibility to access the benefits from the Global Gateway, a new European strategy directed at boosting smart, clean and secure links in digital, energy and transport sectors and to strengthen health, education and research systems across the world.

It is in line with the commitment of the G-7 leaders from June 2021 to launch a values-driven, high-standard and transparent infrastructure partnership to meet global infrastructure development needs. The Global Gateway is also fully aligned with the UN’s Agenda 2030 and its Sustainable Development Goals, as well as the Paris Agreement.

In addition, late June the he Group of Seven economic powers – the U.S., Germany, France, the U.K., Italy, Canada and Japan – made some progress in bringing their counterparts from their five guest countries closer to Western views on sanctions against Russia. The G-7 is committing  themselves to support the new members especially Ukraine. 

Ahead of his trip, Biden authorized another US$450 million in weaponry to be sent to Ukraine, bringing the total U.S. commitment to US$6.1 billion since the start of the war. Offering a concrete template, the G-7 combined are aiming to invest US$600 billion in public and private capital for infrastructure projects over the next five years, with US$200 billion of that total coming from the United States.

According to European lawmakers interviewed by local Russian media Izvestia, this step has broad support from the EU. Meanwhile, Russia views the move ambiguously. On the one hand, it sees EU membership as tantamount to striving for NATO, on the other hand, European integration is a purely economic issue and does not raise any concerns.

“We’ll see, we’ll analyze the consequences,” former Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin told Izvestia. “The context is important; it is not as harmless as it might have seemed three years ago. Decisions are being made amid a sanctions offensive and against everything Russian,” he added.

That being said, the European Union noted that obtaining candidate status is only the first step towards membership. Engin Eroglu, a member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs in the European Parliament, in an interview with Izvestia said that the process of gaining membership to the EU does not mean automatic entry, but it means that the country has started pro-European processes and reforms, which are partially financed by Brussels.

The granting of candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova has angered other countries that have been striving to join the European Union for several years now. For example, the European Commission has so far denied this status to Georgia, the newspaper writes.

“Tbilisi, to put it mildly, was not happy about the refusal, but this will not be a reason for any deterioration in relations between the European Union and Georgia,” Head of the Department of Integration Studies at Moscow State University of International Relations (MGIMO) Nikolay Kaveshnikov told Izvestia.

Russia consistently expresses fierce opposition to this European membership over the past several years. President Vladimir Putin had declared Ukraine to be part of Moscow’s sphere and insisted he was acting due to attempts to bring the country into NATO, the Western alliance that comes with security guarantees.

Granting Ukraine and Moldova candidate status to join the European Union looks like nothing more than a scam by the West, according to Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova. “Scam is such a wonderful word, seeing that the numerous decisions taken by the West are more like combination of a destructive, provocative nature, rather than well-thought-out steps,” the diplomat said, speaking to the Sputnik Radio.

“I think that’s certainly their case,” she added, “Given these maneuvers, these zigzags that we now are witnessing from the West with regards to Moldova, Ukraine, and Georgia, it is no longer necessary to prove anything in terms of market conditions. There is a direct link between economics and politics. And this is exactly what they have always stood against.” She described the actions by the European Union as infringement of Russia’s territorial integrity, and as encroachment on former Soviet space and territory.

On the distinctive opposite side, Russia sees no risks for itself in the fact that Ukraine and Moldova have been granted EU candidate status, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a press conference following talks with his Azerbaijani counterpart Jeyhun Bayramov on June 24 in Baku.

“Our position has always been that the European Union is not a political bloc, unlike NATO. The development of its relations with any countries that wish to do so does not create any threats and risks for us,” Lavrov said in reply to a media question. “Of course, we will realistically consider the European Union’s behavior and monitor the real steps it takes and how the candidate countries act: whether they comply with these requirements or still try to show their independence.”

These new European Union members have some strategic significance. Moldova is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe. It shares borders with Romania to the west and Ukraine to the north. Ukraine, with a coastline along the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov to the south and southeast, respectively could be used for economic benefits by the European Union.

Continue Reading

Europe

EU-Australia Relations: Strategic Security Cooperation

Published

on

Over the last decade, security cooperation between Australia and the EU has grown. Increasing security and defence cooperation with governments outside the EU is something that the EU has looked into. Third-country participation in the “Common Security and Defence Policy” CSDP civilian and military crisis management missions and operations, as well as the exchange of sensitive information, are all examples of this.

Australia participates in CSDP missions and exchanges classified information with the EU. This emphasis on ties with other countries is a key aspect of EU Global Strategy, which asks its allies to assist promote the rule-based global order. “External partnerships” must be restructured and the EU must “engage with key partners, likeminded countries, and regional groupings” in order to share this responsibility.

Australia stated that it would work with “like-minded” friends like the European Union to address global concerns. The EU’s security mandate relies heavily on crisis management. For the EU to be seen and effective in managing crises, it must be able to draw in non-EU countries and establish links with them. Third-country participation in CSDP missions and the signing of Framework Participation Agreements on crisis management show how actors outside the EU regard the EU as a crisis management actor and validate the EU’s crisis management function.

The EU’s external measures to safeguard freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law, and human rights must have this external validation if they are to gain “credibility and normative significance.” To “strengthen its own ability to bear responsibility and share the cost with security and defence partners,” the EU needs the support of third countries. European Union “strategic autonomy” refers to the EU’s ability to act and collaborate with international and regional partners but also working independently when necessary, according to the EU’s Security and Defence Implementation Plan, published in November 2016. EU credibility is bolstered as a result.

Ad hoc agreements, which took a long time to draft, are now the preferred method of enabling participation, instead of the time-consuming ad hoc agreements that were previously used. Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop announced the beginning of FPA negotiations with EU counterparts, Catherine Ashton, saying that “North Africa & Middle East have highlighted the value in Australia & EU cooperating closely to react to international crises” at the time of the announcement.

The EU and Australia, according to the FPA, share a common understanding of the threats they face and the objectives they should focus on. Australian participation in two CSDP missions has been made possible by this convergence. Some argue whether or not the European Union and Australia see each other as strategic or priority partners in the fight against global and interconnected security threats, as well as whether or not their geographical domains of interests and aims align.

In two CSDP missions, Australia’s involvement has been capped (and duration as with EUCAP Nestor). CSDP military operations are not permitted. EU crisis management will take a new step forward with participation by Australia in a CSDP military mission. The EU CSDP’s military efforts have primarily focused on developing military capabilities or deploying naval forces. As long as EU member states are unwilling to engage in large-scale military operations, this pattern will continue.

A naval operation in the Strait of Hormuz has been proposed recently by the EU as a means of protecting freedom of navigation and calming tensions between Iran and the United States. We could see Australia participating in an EU military operation as this occurs. As seen by its August 2019 decision to join the US-led mission in the Strait of Hormuz, Australia has a strategic interest in maintaining marine flow.

The EU-Australia security partnership is strengthened because to FPA. European Union and Australian cooperation will have a solid foundation thanks to the FPA, which recognizes common interests in international peace and security. Both EUCAP Nestor and EUAM Iraq have involved Australia in crisis management, but more effort is required. Both parties must agree that Australia will be invited to more than just these two missions. The EU’s CSDP missions are strengthened by its partners, who help the EU to be a responsible global actor. However, it also makes it necessary for Australia and the EU to work together more closely to identify common interests on a variety of issues.

Continue Reading

Europe

Finnish Plans for an Arctic Railway  –  Geopolitics Are Intervening

Published

on

Authors: Juho Kähkönen and Soili Nystén-Haarala*

NATO Applicant Finland is an Arctic Country with No Access to the Arctic Ocean.

Finland, with a land border with Norway, Sweden, and Russia, is sometimes described as an island because it is located on the northern coast of the Gulf of Finland and the eastern coast of the Gulf of Bothnia of the Baltic Sea. The 832-mile border with Russia has gained plenty of attention in the present geopolitical situation. The lifeline from the Baltic Sea to the North Sea goes through the narrow Danish Straits. Finnish cargo is mainly transported to and from the ports of the Baltic Sea. Before the war on Ukraine, Finnish trains ran to the east up to China through Russia.

Access to the Arctic Ocean is limited to the narrow roads through Norway, which are not qualified for the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T), the major European transport corridors. The closest European TEN-T corridor turns west to Sweden at the bottom of the Gulf of Bothnia. Knowing this, it is no wonder that dreams of access to the Arctic Ocean emerge every now and then.

Map of existing infrastructure

Most recently, the idea was embraced  when the government of Juha Sipilä, with Anne Berner as the Minister of Transportation and Communications, was in power (May 2015 – June 2019). Anne Berner negotiated the future of transportation infrastructure and the Arctic Ocean railway with her Nordic colleagues in Norway and Sweden. In the early phases, the regional politicians in Finnish Lapland mostly either supported or adopted a positively curious attitude towards the proposed railway.

Nevertheless, the plan was later buried with both Norwegian and Finnish reports for their respective ministries in 2018. The reports found the plan lacked feasibility because of excessive costs. However, the Regional Council of Lapland still wanted to maintain the option for a railway in their regional plan. This attempt finally failed in 2021, and the plan was officially buried also in Lapland. The discussion on the plan was strongly polarized between the supporters and the opponents.

Vision of Arctic Railway

The way the prospects of the plan were presented reflected the ideas of economic connectivity and interdependence between Europe, Russia, and China – dreams, which after the Russian brutal attack on Ukraine turned out to be built on false perceptions of an economically dependent Russian Bear and an everlasting peace in Europe. Even after the Russian occupation of Crimea in 2014, the future was full of expectations for economic prosperity; the opening of the Northeast Passage shortening the distance between Rotterdam and Shanghai by 26 percent and between Rotterdam and Yokohama by 37 percent. In addition to the railway, there is a plan to build a tunnel from Helsinki to Tallinn under the seabed. The Arctic railway, together with the tunnel, would connect the Asian and European markets through Finland and the melting Northeast Passage.

Chinese funding was sought for both of these mega infrastructure investments in railroad transportation. Chinese investments in Finland, however, have almost all failed, either because of financial difficulties of the Chinese investors or reservations of the Finnish Military and the Ministry of Defense. For some reason, both Chinese and Russian investments in land property often happened to target areas of strategic military importance. Additionally, one of the five options for the Arctic Ocean railway presented in the reports from 2018 was building a connection across the border to the Murman railway connecting Murmansk and St. Petersburg. The connection was not considered dangerous because rails are easy to dismantle, and cyberwar is a more likely prospect than traditional land warfare. However, Russia’s attack on Ukraine has shown that land warfare in Europe has not disappeared, and Russian military forces might arrogantly try to invade the country across the whole 832-mile-long border.

However, the actual opening of the Northeast Passage is, under any circumstances, still far in the future. It is not yet possible to navigate those dangerous waters without the expensive aid of Russian ice-breakers. Furthermore, European politicians turned a blind eye to the growing geopolitical tensions,  for instance, the increasing threat of nuclear weapons in the Kola Peninsula next to Finnish and Norwegian borders. Nevertheless, it is common knowledge that the Arctic and its raw materials are of highly strategic military and economic importance for Russia. Even after the occupation of Crimea in 2014, Arctic cooperation was in the Arctic Council maintained as “the separate island of cooperation” while political tensions between superpowers increased. The Russian attack on Ukraine underlines the political risks associated with the transportation routes through the Russian economic zone. It is no wonder Finland is now applying for NATO membership, and developing the eastern transportation connection is forgotten.

National Interests Suppress Indigenous Rights

The Arctic Railway plan met strong resistance from the Sámi people, the only Indigenous people in Europe. As the supreme political body of the Sámi in Finland, the Sámi Parliament saw the railway as a threat to their culture and the reindeer herding in the heart of their culture. Oddly enough, the resistance and support from such allies as the Greenpeace seemed to come as a surprise to the supporters of the railway in Helsinki.

The region itself has a long history of ignoring the Sámi and seeing them as troublemakers resisting plans to develop the region. The Sámi are a small nation (77 00 – 103 00 depending on calculations) living in the northern areas of Norway, Sweden, Finland, and the Kola Peninsula in Russia. In Finland there are slightly more than 10 000 registered Sámi who vote in the elections of the Sámi Parliament.

Reindeer herding is a livelihood that requires much space as pastureland; reindeer can move freely in forests, which mainly belong to the State in the Finnish Lapland. Reindeers migrate and live with lichen, plants, and mushrooms. These half-tame animals are the property of reindeer herders, which as a profession is not ethnicity-based in Finland. Reindeer herding increasingly competes with other industries and infrastructure building. Reindeer herding is not just a traditional livelihood but also an industry in the market economy. Although the Sámi lives in a modern way in mixed communities, they still have strong kinship ties and an awareness of their own culture, which is distinct from the mainstream culture. The railway building option (Rovaniemi – Kirkenes) the Finnish Government preferred would have crossed the area of several Sámi reindeer herding cooperatives and disconnected the reindeer migration routes. It would have weakened the profitability of reindeer herding, a livelihood that has kept the remote areas of Lapland inhabited.

Throughout history, the Sámi have experienced racism and contempt from the main population. Their languages were not taught at schools before the 1970s. Just like Indigenous children in North America, they were sent to boarding schools, far away from home, to study in Finnish. Their voices were not heard, and their rights were not respected, for example, when the rivers in Lapland were harnessed for waterpower and forests were cut because of national interest after the World War II. Bad treatment has left scars and a considerable mistrust of the state power. The Sámi have fought for their rights in Norway, Sweden, and Finland, however, and have managed to make the state power recognize their rights.

In the new Finnish Constitution of 1994, the Sámi were granted cultural autonomy. A special Homeland Area was established in Upper Lapland. Within this area, the Sámi have the right to education in their own languages and the right to deal with authorities and in courts in their languages. They also have a Sámi Parliament, the representative self-government body, which plans and implements the cultural self-government guaranteed to the Sámi as an Indigenous people. The Sámi Parliament must be consulted when any project in the Homeland might affect their culture.

Reindeer herding and, for example, fishing are recognized as a part of Sámi culture. The duty to negotiation was drafted based on the Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) principle of the ILO Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, 1989 (No. 169). However, the Sámi Parliament and the Finnish government interpret the duty to consult differently way. The Sámi interpret the FPIC as a duty to ask for permission from the Indigenous population. The authorities, who should consult the Sámi, see it as a duty to consult and strive for a jointly agreed decision. If a joint agreement cannot be reached, the authorities can continue with the project. An even bigger problem is that authorities do not always remember to consult the Sámi. The existence of this duty is still relatively unknown, and if we add the earlier ways of conduct to ignorance, it is no wonder that the Sámi are suspicious of the Finnish state.

The Arctic railway plan is a typical example of conflicted relations between the Sámi and Finnish authorities. The sudden appearance of the plan astonished the Sámi and caused anxiety among reindeer herders about the future of their business and livelihood. The state authorities were also surprised by the strong Sámi reactions and emphasized that there was no project yet, only a discussion. The Sámi brought their position to international awareness through various media channels, while the supporters of the railway in Lapland boosted the idea to the EU and in Asia. The plan highlighted a conflict in the four municipalities of the Sámi Homeland Area, where the Sámi, with one exception, form only a minority of the population. The burial of the plan at the governmental level was mainly due to economic reasons, but abolishing the railway from the long-term regional plan can be seen as the victory of the Sámi and reindeer herding.

Is the Plan Actually Buried?

Following the Russian war on Ukraine, the multiple times buried attempt to build a railway from Finland to Norway has gained interest again. Member of Parliament from Lapland Mikko Kärnä brought the Arctic Railway back to the discussion by stressing that Finland would face significant challenges if transportation on the Baltic Sea were disturbed. This viewpoint reflects the understanding of Finland as an “island.” In practice, 80 percent of Finnish foreign trade goes through the Baltic Sea and as the transportation connection in northern Finland is poor, a railway to Norway would strengthen Finnish security of supply.

Soon after this comment, the Parliamentarian Committee on Transportation and Communication organized a visit to northernmost Finland, where the Arctic railway had been planned. The committee chair, MP Suna Kymäläinen explained the reason for the visit telling that Finland had to prepare for the scenario that traffic on the Baltic Sea would decline and analyzed how the export and import would be organized in such a situation. Currently, the roads connecting Finland to Norway are narrow and in poor condition.

The ongoing war reveals how the planned Arctic Railway is not tied only to the melting Arctic Ocean and shipping through the Northeast Passage. Instead, northern connections show how Finland is not an island but how the infrastructure development has focused on southern Finland around the capital for decades. The situation should not surprise anyone in Helsinki, as the authorities and politicians from the north have underlined for decades how weak the infrastructure in the north is and criticized how resources have been mainly used to develop southern infrastructure.

There is only one short rail track on the Finnish side still to be electrified, but the Arctic Ore Railway as well as the port of Narvik already operate at the limit of their capacity. The fact that the Swedish state mining company LKAB is already talking about strengthening the railway might indicate that the state is on board. Renovating the overloaded railway is, however, going to be a long and expensive project. Sweden has gradually built and electrified the railway from Southern Sweden to the Finnish border. The main driver of this project was the needs of the highly developed industry in northern Sweden – at least up till the port of Luleå.

The connection from Luleå to the Finnish border, however, could also have connected Sweden to the Russian market across Finland. Whereas for Finland, this track through Sweden to Narvik harbor, suddenly turned out to be a strategic corridor to the west in case the Baltic Sea corridor would close. As Sweden applied for NATO membership together with Finland, northern connections have a robust defense interest. In case of war, the Norwegian port of Narvik would be a priority to supply resources to the European Arctic. In Norway, a long-time NATO member country, the transport connections to Finland have re-emerged in the defense debate. The new geopolitical reality reveals how the northern connections would be essential for the national security of supply. However, we should not forget the rights of the Sámi people.

Geopolitics Amplify the Clash between National Interest and Sámi Rights

The discussion about the Arctic Railway reflects the polarized relationship between the Sámi and the Finnish authorities. The Sámi feel that they are never safe and that this time, their rights might be sacrificed at the shrine of national safety. Despite the new concerns about the security of supply, the state authorities now seem to take smaller, more realistic steps to improve transportation connections. A connection through the Swedish Ore Railway to Narvik in Norway is now a realistic option.

Perhaps a quicker way to improve access to the Arctic Ocean is to renovate national road 21 (E8) from Tornio to Tromsø harbor in Norway along the Swedish border. The demands to invest in the road, which is in a dangerously poor condition, had not been noticed in Helsinki before the Russian attack on Ukraine. Strengthening the existing infrastructure to the Arctic Ocean is supported in northern Finland. Improving existing roads and railways does not considerably increase the damage to reindeer herding either. The increased needs for security of supply, however, indicate that the rights of the Sámi are not the first priority in national transportation development. The Arctic Railway across the Sámi Homeland is on the agenda again. Strengthening democracy and taking the minorities’ differing worldviews seriously would be a more civilized way of coexisting in the western world and something the Nordic countries could be expected to do better.

*Soili Nystén-Haarala, Professor of Commercial Law, Dean, Faculty of Law, University of Lapland.

Continue Reading

Publications

Latest

Trending