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Bosnian precariat, militaristic world images and media cynicism

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[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.

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Serbia bracing up for “difficult autumn“

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Serbia is preparing for a “difficult autumn” as it tries to resolve the Kosovo problem, President Aleksandar Vucic said following a visit to the United States. He described the discussions he had had in Washington as “extremely important,” all the more so amid the continuing disagreements over the situation in Kosovo.

“A difficult autumn awaits us, a difficult winter awaits us. First and foremost because of Kosovo,” Vucic said. Pledging continued fight for Serbia and the ethnic Serbs living in Kosovo, he still admitted that Serbia is too small to influence the policies of a “giant” like the United States. Aleksandar Vucic, Kosovo leader Hashim Thaci, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and possibly a senior member of the Trump administration are expected to meet in Paris later this month to discuss the situation in Kosovo. The participants are expected to agree a list of measures to normalize relations between Belgrade and Pristina, including provisions for redrawing Kosovo borders and the transfer of the country’s Serb-populated northern regions to Serbian control. The Serbian opposition strongly rejects the idea of signing such an agreement with Pristina under the auspices of the European Union and the United States.

President Vucic may still be forced to go for it as “the lesser evil,” which may require a certain degree of pragmatism on Russia’s part. According to the new Russian ambassador in Belgrade, Alexander Botsan-Harchenko, who formerly represented Russia in the mediating “troika” overseeing the Kosovo status talks, Moscow “supports and encourages everything regarding the initiative role of Belgrade. If some decisions are made, and if Serbia asks Russia to join a certain group of states, then we can (why not) go for it. But at the same time, our position and our commitment to Resolution 1244 must be taken into account. There is no other option for us and, I think, for Serbia either. We are now ready to contribute to the resumption of dialogue. ”

Serbia’s other option is refusal to continue negotiations with Kosovo and, therefore, to see its application for EU membership suspended. This is a possibility many in Europe and the US are fully aware of.

“The Serbian point of view is that Russia defended its position on Kosovo in the UN and opposed NATO bombings,” former US ambassador to Belgrade, William Montgomery, said, adding that, according to opinion polls, Russia still tops the list of countries Serbians like most.

He described the EU’s position on Serbia’s membership in the bloc as short-sighted and a strategic mistake, emphasizing that the European Union will bear responsibility for the consequences of its failure to do more to bring Serbia into the bloc.

Serbian officials are equally aware of the complexity of the situation. In an interview with the Belgrade-based newspaper Vecernje novosti, diplomat Zoran Milivojevic expects a clash of “big power” interests in the Balkan region: “Serbia clearly occupies an important place in this standoff and will continue doing so since the West has not yet abandoned its interests in this region. Because Serbia plays such a decisive role in the Balkans, it will be the primary target of Western pressure.”

If Serbia rejects a deal with Kosovo, thus complicating its relations with Brussels, it will inevitably have to generally revise its foreign policy priorities and start to actively build up across-the-board cooperation with Russia and other global “centers of power” outside the Euro-Atlantic camp. This also implies closer trade and other economic ties with Russia and its Eurasian allies.

One such cooperation format is the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), which can offer Belgrade a serious trade and economic alternative to European integration, while simultaneously allowing Serbia to serve as a “bridge” in the economic (and, therefore, political) relations between Russia and the West.

Meanwhile, Belgrade is already taking concrete steps in this direction. On August 15, Serbia officially joined the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) as its 73rd member with the country’s finance minister Sinisa Mali describing this as an important event, which offers Serbia access to easy loans to finance the implementation of priority projects.

In addition to members from the Asia-Pacific region, the Beijing-headquartered AIIB, which has been operating since 2016, also has among its members such leading European countries as Britain, Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain.

In October, Serbia may sign an even more economically and politically significant agreement on a free trade zone with EAEU member-countries. According Russia’s envoy in Belgrade, Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko, such an agreement is expected to be inked on October 25.

“This is a significant event, which has naturally attracted a lot of media attention. The EAEU is an effective integration project that meets modern requirements. For Belgrade, the implementation of the document will mark a completely new stage of presence in Eurasia, with an access to a market of over 182 million consumers and a combined GDP exceeding $1.9 trillion,” Botsan-Kharchenko emphasized, adding that “Serbia may eventually become a bridge between the EU and the EAEU.”

Established on the basis of the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space, the Eurasian Economic Union has been in business since January 1, 2015 and currently includes Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia and Kyrgyzstan, with Moldova having an observer status.

During the August 2019 meeting by the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council  Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev emphasized the need to speed up the preparation of agreements on the EAEU free trade zone with Serbia and Singapore. He also called for expediting the implementation of integration processes within the EAEU itself.

“Negotiations on free trade are successfully underway with Singapore, Israel, Egypt, and an interim agreement on a free trade zone with Iran, an agreement on trade and economic cooperation with China will soon be launched. This gives our goods certain advantages in these countries’ markets,” Medvedev said.  He emphasized that the EAEU also seeks to expand the number of its foreign partners, including through regional organizations such as ASEAN.

“We strongly support such activities. I think that it is necessary to expedite the procedures that are necessary to sign agreements on a free trade zone with Serbia and Singapore,” Medvedev added.

In addition to the EAEU, Serbia has spent the past few years trying to participate more actively in other integration projects outside the Euro-Atlantic area. Since 2013, it has had an observer status at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, and, according to various reports, is now mulling the prospect of its gradual “connection” to the structures of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Increased US and EU pressure on Belgrade concerning the issue of Kosovo recognition will obviously give an additional boost to the abovementioned trend, which objectively meets the interests of the Russian Federation.

From our partner International Affairs

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President Macron’s plans and ambitions: Realism or rhetoric?

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In the run-up to the G7 Summit in Biarritz, French media reports focused on the global political and diplomatic plans of President Emmanuel Macron. Journalists say that for President Macron the G7 summit presented a unique opportunity “to return France its historical role of a “ mediator ”in global conflicts and to contribute to outlining a new geopolitical agenda”. How realistic are such ambitions?

France acquired the tradition of demonstrating its sovereign and special international status in the times of Charles de Gaulle. Paris also succeeded in  securing effective mediation in various conflicts under Francois Mitterrand and Nicolas Sarkozy. Playing into Paris’ hands is the nuclear arsenal, the status of a permanent member of the UN Security Council,  and one of the leading roles in the global arms market. France’s mediation efforts have won perhaps the greatest trust among the Western powers. In the past, France was able to speak on behalf of united Europe, while Macron has repeatedly signalled his determination to consolidate the EU foreign policy.

The EU itself has long been showing a “tendency to strengthen its role as a major player in global crisis management.” But in order to expand diplomatic and humanitarian mediation efforts under the patronage of the EU one should follow the current format of making foreign policy decisions within the community, which requires the consensus among all the participants. Thus, to guarantee the agenda and the role claimed by President Macron it is essential to reconsider foreign policy priorities and probably reform the institutions of united Europe. It is also necessary to consolidate and coordinate the increasingly “mosaic” and diverse interests of member states, which are regularly at odds with one another even on issues that are declared by the EU leadership as being of top priority for all member countries. A long-term geopolitical strategy continues to play a significant role too, as a result of which the development of a pan-European foreign policy turns into a frantic search for the “lowest common denominator”.

In the meantime, Macron’s “mediation” on a number of priority issues  has been mostly about defending the interests of France. The second half of last year was marked by relations between the two “locomotives” of the EU – France and Germany – hitting a new level. However, the beginning of February this year saw serious disagreements between the two parties. As it turned out, the interests of Paris and Berlin clash. Regarding the construction of the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline, France managed to impose on Germany “the format that the German government wanted to avoid.”  On the issue of transatlantic trade, the French position blocked the start of negotiations with the US, which was fraught with the introduction of duties against German-made products, in the first place. The EU members managed to overcome this discord only by mid-April. Finally, this summer, after a fierce backstage fight, in which Macron took center-stage, a “compromise” was reached in favor of France. The posts of presidents of the European Commission and the European Central Bank went to candidates who are politically dependent on Paris. This so-called realpolitik inevitably raises the question of whether Macron with his geopolitical ambitions might push Europe to an even greater internal split? In this regard, there have been suspicions that the French president wants to turn the EU countries into an instrument of Paris’s foreign policy agenda.

Some experts believe that Macron’s ambitions are great beyond description, that “his horizon is the future balance of strength in the world.” They talk about his determination to “go beyond European and Atlantic solidarity and return to the concept of multipolarity and multilateralism”. The Champs Elysees seeks to maintain a regular dialogue even with powers whose interests run counter to Western ones; and even with countries that oppose the allies of France. At the same time, Macron is committed to NATO and “is seeking to rely on the concerted effort of the North Atlantic Alliance” in a hope to give the organization a “new impetus”. In addition, Macron’s foreign policy follows clear “ideological principles,” which make his supporters look to him with double hope, while opponents see him as the main obstacle to effective diplomacy. All this restricts his “independence” and the possibility of new agreements.

Finally, many analysts say that Macron’s foreign policy is characterized by controversy. A few days ago he said that he wanted to turn France into a “power of equilibrium.” But just a year ago, he demonstrated strong support for the German idea of transforming the entire European Union into a balancer, “balancing” the international situation. What is closer to Macron, the “individual leadership” of France or the “sovereignty of Europe”? Over the previous two years, being at the top of power, he has significantly changed his views on the transatlantic model of globalism and signaled the need to give a new role to Europe, to “strengthen” its position in the new alignment of forces. A year ago, Macron urged the EU to “guarantee its own security”, since such powers as China and the United States hardly see Europe as an equal force. And if the Europeans fail to quickly change this state of things, then “we are in for a bleak future” . On August 27 this year, as he spoke at a meeting of ambassadors, Macron stated: “we are witnessing the end of Western hegemony in the world,” … “new powers are coming to the fore”, primarily Russia and China.” In this regard, it is important to understand what is behind the frequent change in rhetoric of the current French leader, adaptability of a far-seeing strategist or a time-serving pragmatism of a politician whose major concern is the next elections.

Meanwhile, the mediatory efforts undertaken by Macron while getting ready and holding the G-7 summit were also filled with striking discrepancies. The participants failed to work out a “model” on the Iranian dossier, although the  media had reported a statement by the French president on reaching an agreement on “joint communication” on maintaining a nuclear deal with Tehran. However, it soon became clear that Paris is in no position to influence the United States.  In the Russian direction, Macron yet again tried to “entice” Moscow by the narrative about “Europe from Lisbon to Vladivostok.” However, Russia remembers that a little over a year ago Macron spoke as confidently about it as being “non-Europe”, thereby suggesting conflicting trends in international relations – the “Big Seven” is more and more like a relic of the past”,  and a return to this past in its “current format makes no sense”.

What inspires some optimism is the fact that Macron seems to understand that Russia is not the country that can be “excluded from all parties.” The broader its cooperation with Moscow, the fewer problems the West will face. Addressing the French ambassadors during a meeting mentioned above, the French president made it clear “that France needs to reconsider and build new relations with Russia.” But one of the many puzzles he has to solve along the way is the “paradoxical situation” that has developed to date, “when the same countries within NATO and the European Union support opposite political platforms regarding Russia.” As part of the NATO agenda, Europeans are pursuing a policy that combines  a “systematic (military-political) deterrence of Russia” with the need to maintain dialogue, despite the fact that all formal options for such a dialogue are frozen. As part of its own agenda, the European Union, whose 22 members are also members of NATO, terminated a “systematic political dialogue” with Moscow, based on the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, in 2014. At the same time, there are statements about the expediency of selective cooperation – in issues that meet the interests of the EU. “How is it possible to develop selective cooperation without political dialogue?  How is this possible without coordination of mutual interests?” – an expert from the Institute of Europe of the Russian Academy of Sciences asks.

Meanwhile, the world is in acute need for “global legal standards”, and not only for the regulation of traditional “conflict-use of force” challenges. Issues such as climate change, threats to destabilize cyberspace, attacks on informational reality, cross-border social disasters, pandemics cannot be handled effectively at the level of individual states. More and more issues enter “the world level”. And if we are to address them, we need the appropriate “world order”, the harmonization of universal norms so that national governments could work together to “secure effective global governance”.

Russia welcomes and is actively participating in transforming international relations in the direction of “multilateral diplomacy”, “collective efforts at the level of the international community and the regions.” However, are the West as a whole, and France, in particular, ready for “restraint and compliance with the international law and order”, for “working in an open format”, and for abandoning the “ideology-dominated foreign policy”? Are they ready that the new model of diplomacy will be “complex and multifaceted,” sometimes fitting badly if at all into any previous formats in terms of the approaches that will be adopted by all participants.  For example, in the case of the “Big Seven,” Moscow suggests looking at the situation from a broader perspective and discuss the prospects for the Group’s modernization not only through the return of Russia, but also through expansion to include India and China. This transformation into the “Big Ten” may become “a powerful phenomenon in global politics that would change directions, approaches and formats”.

Emmanuel Macron is thus to provide the answers to a large number of difficult questions: to what extent can France be independent in determining its foreign policy? Also, is it possible to effectively play the role of an “intermediary power”, while remaining bound by the “strict obligations to other players”? And wouldn’t it be possible for France, in that case, to find itself squeezed between the “hammer” of the everyday realities of modern international politics and the “anvil” of the maxim, which they say belongs to the French, that genuine realists “demand the impossible”? 

From our partner International Affairs

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Europe

The Vatican and the Russian Federation

Giancarlo Elia Valori

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Currently the Vatican is the largest and most effective mediator between the various ideological worlds and between the old, great political alliances.

 A system in which the Church operates by mediating both between them and between them and the West.

 This is the case of the Russian Federation, with which the Catholic Church has a special and long-standing  relationship, which started with the mission to the Tsar in 1452 and later continued with a very long story of deep ideological contrast with the Marxist-Leninist State atheism, but also of friendship and support – especially nowadays.

 Full diplomatic relations between the two countries were resumed in 2009, with 178 countries now recognizing the Holy See diplomatically, while in 1978 the Vatican had official diplomatic relations with 84 countries.

 Certainly, the present-day Russia, like the Tsarist and later the Marxist-Leninist one, has an Orthodox Church closely linked, by its very nature, to the political power. Not even Stalin could escape said rule altogether.

 Still today, however, remnants of the past Communist regime can be found not in the mass aesthetics of the current system centred on Vladimir Putin, but in the one focused on some inveterate and deep habits of the population.

 Recently, during a visit paid to the ancient monastery of Valaam, President Putin himself ideologically associated Communism with the Christian tradition.

Still today, many Russians regard Lenin’s Mausoleum in Red Square as a ” sacred place” while, according to reliable statistics, 51% of Russians still admire Stalin.

 Why the return of Stalin’s myth, and exactly now? Because the “Man of Steel” is seen as an enemy of bureaucracy and “elites” and, above all, as the architect of the Soviet great victory against Nazism. 

This shows to what extent the deep tendencies and trends  of contemporary society and the old ideas about the Second World War mix up in popular myths.

 Probably – as Curzio Malaparte already noted in his book, “The Technique of Revolution”, written in 1931 when he was an Italian diplomat to Warsaw – nowadays Stalin embodies the simple and virile assurance and stability of the Russian peasant, while Trotzky acted nervously and unconfidently, “like a modern European intellectual” -just to put it in Malaparte’s words.

 Moreover, the current Russian relationship with the Catholic Church and the other national autocephalous and autonomous Churches stems directly from Putin’s new strategy of expansion into the so-called “near abroad”.

 Ukraine is, in fact, at the heart of Putin’ strategic project. Without Ukraine no expansion is possible, however along with the Caucasus and Central Asia.

 But one of the centres of Ukrainian power and national identity is the Greek-Catholic Church, which still follows a Byzantine rite and is closely linked to Rome.

After the great repression of 1946, it has been the largest and fastest growing religious community in the world.

 The passion with which the Greek-Catholic Church proposes the Social Doctrine of the Church has long been a very credible substitute for Marxist eschatology or, in any case, for the Soviet social ideas.

Currently, however, the relations with the Patriarchate of Moscow are excellent.

Throughout his papacy, however, Pope Francis has always been proposing dialogue instead of confrontation.

Hence,  while the EU and the USA are increasingly opposed to Putin’s Russia, the Vatican listens carefully and deals effectively with Russia.

 The naive superiority – typical of the weak subjects – with which the EU and the USA deal with the Kremlin will be the sign of a harsh defeat, in Syria as in other parts of the world.

In the sixth visit paid by the Russian leader to the Vatican, Pope Francis spoke with him about various international issues.

 Never – not even during Stalin’s rule – did Russia think that the Vatican diplomacy was uninformed or powerless. Indeed, during the Second World War he used it for the matters concerning Hitler and his demise, as well as to deal with the USA, which had already adapted to the Cold War.

Reportedly the Pope and Putin discussed at length about Syria – where the stance of the Holy See is very far from the empty and ambiguous “democraticism” of the West-and about the whole Middle East and its new set-up, as well as about the status of Jerusalem and finally about the moral decadence of the West and, hence, about a sort of alliance between Putin’s Russia and the Vatican to defend ancient and eternal values.

So far, however, the Pope has paid no visit to Russia. Obviously the Synod of the Ukrainian Greek Church would create some understandable problems.

Putin has already had two confidential conversations with Pope Francis, in 2013 and 2015.

 He will be in the Vatican next January, when, an exhibition of Russian art will be inaugurated at the Holy See.

 Foreign Minister Lavrov often has contacts with his counterparts of the Roman Catholic diplomacy, at all levels and constantly.

Here we can find, in essence, the great idea of Pope Francis, his careful and profound opening to the Russian Orthodox Church that counts 150 million believers and has considerable economic power, which has sometimes been used also to rescue public finances.

 In 2016, Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill met in Cuba and a month later the Pope approved the appointment of Archbishop Celestino Migliore as Apostolic Nuncio to Moscow.

In 2017 he was also conferred the Apostolic Nunciature of the Holy See to Uzbekistan.

 The Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin,paid a visit to the Russian Federation from August 20 to 24, 2017, expressly invited by the Russian State and by the highest hierarchies of the Orthodox Church.

It was the first visit of a Vatican Secretary of State after 1989 and after the great, historic visit of Cardinal Agostino Casaroli in 1990, immediately after the collapse of the Soviet regime.

 Cardinal Parolin had some “important and constructive meetings” – as he himself defined them – with President Putin, with Foreign Minister Lavrov, with Patriarch Kirill and Metropolitan Hilarion, as well as with some other members of the Patriarchate of Moscow.

Later Cardinal Parolin met with Putin in Sochi. Many of the topics discussed during their conversations are still very confidential, but one of them is already known: the issue of Christians in Syria and all the conflicts in the Middle East, considering that the Vatican recognizes the fait accompli, i.e. the Russian Federation as a great decisive power for the destiny of the whole Middle East.

 They also discussed  the status of Christians in the various areas with an Islamic majority – where the Russian Federation already counts very much – and their possible protection.

Russia is already available, while some Western countries not.

 The following day, when Cardinal Parolin met with Foreign Minister Lavrov, they discussed the fight against terrorism and jihadism, as well as the promotion of a stable dialogue between countries and religions, and finally the protection of ethnic, religious and political minorities in all the possible solutions – partial or not-to the conflicts in the Middle East.

Cardinal Parolin and Minister Lavrov also discussed how to put an end to the clashes in Syria, using both the Astana Accords and the Geneva talks. The Vatican accepts both of them.

 Furthermore, the Secretary of State reminded Lavrov and his aides of the urgent need to re-establish contacts and resume talks between the State of Israel and the Palestinian world, as well as to try and solve the strong tensions in Venezuela, where Russia still has a strong power projection.

Also the Catholic Church, however, has undisputed power.

 Cardinal Parolin never discusses in vain and with an abstract and academic tone.

Later the Secretary of State vigorously outlined to the Russian leadership Pope Francis’ pragmatic and rational position on all the issues under discussion.

We can imagine that, with specific reference to Syria, Pope Francis and his Secretary of State want a concrete commitment by Assad – they implicitly recognize – for the protection and support of the population, as well as the return of refugees to Syria.

With specific reference to Libya, Pope Francis wants the conflict to end immediately, through a credible and substantial dialogue between the parties, possibly supported by the Vatican diplomacy and by the Russian Federation itself, which currently backs General Khalifa Haftar, the strongman of Cyrenaica.

As to South Sudan, the Pope wants President Salva Kiir and the rebel leader Riek Machar to meet and, in fact, a few days later Kiir asked Machar to form a government of national unity.

 One of the many silly conflicts generated by oil and by the carelessness of the most important powers at economic level.

 In addition, Russia seriously supports the Vatican’s efforts in Venezuela to stabilize the local political system peacefully.

Reverting to the Ukrainian issue, with specific reference to the current political and military situation in Ukraine and to the annexation of Crimea, Cardinal Parolin stressed that “international rules shall be fully enforced”.

In fact, the Holy See wants the 2014 Minsk Protocol, which has so far remained dead letter, to be clearly implemented by all parties.

Minister Lavrov clearly appreciated the Vatican support for the Minsk Protocol.

 In short, as can be inferred from the messages of Cardinal  Parolin coming back from his Russian missions and visits, it is good for the West not to neglect and, above all, not to isolate the Russian Federation.

 It would be a fundamental strategic mistake.

Nevertheless, considering this geopolitics based on empty morality and political superficiality, there is not much to hope for in the West.

 Catholics in Russia – the first traditional duty of the Vatican mission there – are very few: 773,000 believers in four dioceses that were established by John Paul II, the Pope  who consecrated Russia to the Sacred Heart of Mary.

 As the Virgin had long wanted in her messages of Fatima.

 The Church of Rome does not proselytize in Russia, but the climate is not yet good for the Roman Catholic Russians.

 And, in this case, the discussions and meetings of Cardinal  Parolin with the leaders of the Orthodox Church were as important as those with Putin and Lavrov.

 Meanwhile, Kirill II suggested the possibility of joint humanitarian operations between the Church of Rome and the Patriarchate of Moscow, especially in the Middle East.

Moreover, the Orthodox Christians will have the relics of Saint Nicholas at their disposal, temporarily transferred from Bari to Moscow and Saint Petersburg.

Hence a new phase has begun, characterized by stable and close relations between Russian Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism, a phase that will certainly not be cancelled in the near future.

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