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Britain Proposes New Alliance to Ukraine

Britain is reported to have proposed a new alliance with Ukraine, the newspaper Corriere Della Sera said. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson proposed to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky the creation of a new international alliance against Russia. The proposal is meant to unite countries "dissatisfied with the policy of Brussels and Germany's actions against Moscow" into a "new political, economic and military alliance" that will become an alternative to the European Union. This can only be seen as another attempt to circumvent the consequences of Britain leaving the European Union and sowing discord in its ranks.

According to the report, Johnson first suggested it while in Kiev on April 9. The "Johnson model," as it is being called, involves the creation of a European community led by Britain (the closest U.S. collaborator) and would include Ukraine, Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Turkey was also mentioned as a possible member.

Fractured European Unity Around NATO

In an article in the British newspaper The Telegraph, political commentator Douglas Murray distinguishes four camps within NATO, each with its own angle on how to resolve the Ukrainian crisis. The first, he says, is headed by Britain, since it was Britain who foresaw "Russian aggression" and provided Ukraine with support in a timely manner.

The second camp is headed by Germany, comprised of those Europeans who are "compromised by their recent agreements with the Russian Federation."

The third camp, which he calls "Elysian," puts France at the head. "There is the Elysian camp and there is a president who believes that if he maintains an open line with Putin, he can somehow resolve the conflict. It is clear that President Zelensky and others have lost patience with President Macron," Murray writes.

Murray calls the fourth camp the one led by the U.S., which "deliberately prolongs the conflict, seeking a change of power in the Russian Federation."

What to conclude from this? Oligopolies form coalitions and cartels according to their own narrow private interests and where they see they can be served even on a short-term basis. NATO is not so united as it seems at first glance. The peoples cannot afford to let these private interests run amok.

China Replies to U.S. Secretary of State

China rejected the Biden Administration's approach to the People's Republic of China (PRC) as put forward by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a speech on May 26 at George Washington University. The speech followed Biden's provocation May 23 saying the U.S. would defend Taiwan militarily if China invaded -- something it has said it would not do. Blinken emphasized that the U.S. considers China a major "threat" and the most serious long-term challenge to the international order.

China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin told reporters that the U.S. only wanted to "contain and suppress China's development and uphold U.S. hegemony." He said Blinken spread false information, hyped the China "threat" and interfered in China's internal affairs, smearing China's domestic and foreign policy. He explained that U.S. undermining of the long-standing One-China policy, including promotion of "Taiwan independence" forces, puts peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait in serious jeopardy.

Wang said the U.S. is confusing right and wrong when it calls China "the most serious long-term challenge to the international order." "China was, is and will remain a defender of the international order. We uphold the UN-centered international system, the international order based on international law," he said. He added that the U.S. uses international rules when they suit its interests and abandons them otherwise.

Wang said humanity has "entered a new era of connectivity that closely links countries in their interests and destinies. The pursuit of peace, development and win-win development are an irresistible trend of the times." Continuing he said that "peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom are the common values of humanity. Democracy and human rights have historical, specific and practical contexts. Countries can only explore suitable paths in light of national realities and people's needs. There is no one-size-fits-all model. No country has the right to monopolize the definition of democracy and human rights."

U.S. Congress Steps Up Interference in Africa

The law passed by the U.S. Congress on April 26, titled Countering Malign Russian Activities in Africa Act was signed into law by President Biden. The law targets and punishes African states that maintain political and economic relations with the Russian Federation. It is also a means to justify further U.S. military involvement in Africa, using AFRICOM. On May 16, Biden sent 500 U.S. troops into Somalia.

The Act says the U.S. will "hold accountable" Russia and African governments who are "complicit in aiding" what the U.S. decides is Russia's "malign influence." This is much like Bush's claim, "you are with us or against us," demanding that the U.S. decides who is and who is not a "terrorist." The Act is largely U.S. revenge against the many African nations that refrained from condemning Russia's military operation in Ukraine and did not support U.S. sanctions. As one anti-war activist put it, "This bill is a racist affront to the right to self-determination of African people."

Ukraine and Poland Sign String of Joint Projects

The governments of Ukraine and Poland signed a string of bilateral documents in the fields of defence, energy and regional development on June 1, the Ukrainian government press service Ukrinform reported. The agreements were reached during the intergovernmental consultations in Kiev in the presence of Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal and his Polish counterpart Mateusz Morawiecki.

In particular, the two countries agreed to set up a joint commission that will prepare recommendations on the format of the Ukrainian-Polish joint venture for the manufacture of weapons and military equipment. "This will take our defence and military cooperation to a new level and allow us to create modern types of defence weapons," Shmyhal said. They also agreed to cooperate in the energy sector.

A joint declaration on cooperation at the level of border services and a document on developing Ukraine's communities as a part of the country's post-conflict recovery was also signed.

The next meeting of the two is scheduled for 2023 in Warsaw.

Denmark Joins European Union Defence for First Time in 30 Years

Denmark will now participate in European Union (EU) deliberations on defence topics and take part in EU military operations, the Danish Prime Minister announced. There was a major push by government officials and 11 of Denmark's 14 parties for a "yes" vote in a referendum on this issue, in the name of "security." The vote took place in the context of massive war hysteria and military buildup by the U.S. and NATO. According to Denmark's electoral authority, in the vote on whether to end, for the first time in 30 years, opting out of EU deliberations and military operations, 66.9 per cent voted in favour of ending Denmark's opt-out and 33.1 per cent against. Reports do not indicate what percentage of Danish voters participated in the referendum vote.

Swiss Government Vetoes Denmark's Request to Donate Swiss-Made Weapons to Ukraine

In related news on June 1, the Swiss government vetoed Denmark's request to donate Swiss-made Piranha III armoured personnel carriers to Ukraine. The Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs rejected a request to send around 20 of the armoured vehicles to Ukraine.

According to the Swiss Radio and Television (SRF) report, "The Swiss Federal Council may shift its stance on the issue, with a number of MPs saying there is some leeway in the country's War Material Act. In their view, the legislation might allow Bern to permit other countries to re-export their weaponry to conflict zones under certain circumstances."

Others disagree. Jean-Marc Rickli, head of Global and Emerging Risks at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, says that given Switzerland's neutrality, "agreeing on the export would be a violation of international law as well as Swiss domestic law."

On the same basis, Switzerland previously vetoed the provision of Swiss-made ammunition used in German Gepard anti-aircraft tanks sent to Ukraine. Nonetheless, SRF says, "pressure on Switzerland to show flexibility on the issue has been mounting for some time." The same U.S./NATO pressure and blackmail on Finland and Sweden's own war profiteers are getting them to abandon their long-standing neutrality and seek to join NATO.

European Union Pledges Ukraine More Funds for Military
and Reconstruction

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on May 18 proposed an aid package of 9 billion euros (U.S.$9.5 billion) to keep Ukraine's government running. The announcement must still be approved by both the European Parliament and European Council which have already previously approved four consecutive 500 million euro (U.S.$520 million) packages of military aid and 1.2 billion euros (U.S.$1.26 billion) worth of emergency loans.

Von der Leyen also said that the EU would lead reconstruction efforts in Ukraine after hostilities cease but would not be the sole contributor. "That is why we propose a reconstruction platform as part of this plan jointly led by Ukraine and the Commission and bringing together EU Member States, other bilateral or international donors, international financial institutions, and other like-minded partners," she said.

Her announcement came in response to the U.S. demand that Europe fund Ukraine. U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told the Brussels Economic Forum that "the bilateral and multilateral support announced so far will not be sufficient to address Ukraine's needs, even in the short term."

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has claimed that Ukraine needs around $7 billion per month to pay its soldiers, civilians and pensioners, and to keep essential services running. The proposed EU package will therefore keep Ukraine functioning for just over a month.

Money for the aid package would be borrowed by the European Commission in global financial markets and would be repayable by Kiev, news agencies inform. As per the EU's rules on macro-financial assistance, the Ukrainian government would be free to use the cash as it sees fit.

Differences in European Union Over Banning Russian Oil Imports

Meanwhile, news reports continue to inform that the 27-member European Union is not united over the question of banning Russian oil imports. Hungary, Slovakia, Cyprus, Greece, Malta and others are seriously concerned about the impact on their economies. Cyprus, Greece and Malta have the largest shipping fleets within the EU and say they would be seriously affected by bans on the import of Russian oil and related sanctions.

More U.S. Pressure on Oil Producing Countries

The U.S. also continued to put pressure on countries which belong to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). News reports say the U.S. has been having problems securing the cooperation of OPEC-member countries for its efforts to blockade Russian oil and gas exports, and replace them by having other OPEC members increase production.

Towards that aim, an anti-OPEC bill was introduced in the U.S. Congress which would give powers to U.S. prosecutors to sue organizations for perceived anti-competitive actions in the oil markets. Similar legislation was passed by Congress in 2007 but was vetoed by George W. Bush because it would have led to the disruption of oil supply as well as "retaliatory action against U.S. interests," news agencies say. OPEC "has refused to change its output plans -- despite U.S. pressure to bring it in line with U.S. efforts to sanction/blockade Russian oil exports," they add.

German Supply of Weapons for Ukraine Faces Legal Hurdles

Reports inform that in Germany parliamentarians expressed concerns about Germany supplying howitzers and instructing Ukrainian soldiers in their use, thus becoming a party to the war in Ukraine. Legal opinions had to be presented to the German government on this matter. All of it underscores how post World War II arrangements are being broken behind the backs of the European peoples which, when it comes to sending German troops and military materiel abroad, is of serious concern.

Austrians Express Opposition to NATO Membership

Recent polls in Austria reveal that the people of Austria are overwhelmingly opposed to their country joining NATO, news agencies inform. About 75 per cent of respondents to a poll disagreed with joining NATO and only 14 per cent supported the idea.

This article was published in
Volume 52 Number 6 - June 5, 2022

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