Tag Archives: USA

The Irish no – paid for by the United States?

Some media, including Der Spiegel and EUObserver reports that it was U.S. neokonservatives that paid for the Irish no-campaign.

Der Spiegel quoted the French Europe Minister Jean-Pierre Jouyet from a meeting in Lyon:

“Europe has powerful enemies on the other side of the Atlantic, gifted with considerable financial means.”

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He was putting the blame for the Irish rejection of the Lisbon Treaty on some surprising shoulders: neoconservatives in the United States. “The role of the American neocons was very important in the victory of the ‘no,’” he said.

The starting point for discussion about this is that an organization with  the name Libertas spent some 1.3 million euros in the no campaign in Ireland. Twice as much as Fianna Fail used on the yes campaign. Speculation is based on the fact that the founder of Libertas also is director of Rivada Networks. This company sells trades a lot with the US millitary. Several of those who worked for Libertas was paid by Rivada. It is not public how Libertas got by their money. The Herald writes a little about the background of the founder of Libertas here. They put particular emphasis on that several former American millitary officers are on the Board of Rivada Networks. Speculations increased after some comments from John Bolton, former U.S. UN ambassador. According to Der Spiegel:

John Bolton, the former US ambassador to the United Nations, was in Dublin to deliver a speech on trans-Atlantic relations a week before the vote. He warned that the treaty could “undercut NATO,” something that would be a “huge mistake.” According to Bolton, known for being one of Washington’s most outspoken hawks, if the EU had its own military capability people will think NATO redundant and that Europeans “can take care of their own defense.”

It is not surprising that the European Parliament hungrily has embraced this matter – they seems to be far from ordinary people. Rather than discuss the reasons why people in Europe do not want an ever closer union and work to change the EU to something the people need and want, they use their time on conspiracies. My impression is that the EU parlamentarians are some of the most federal-minded people that are, and that they to a small degree understand why the EU is faced with so much opposition among people. In any case, EUObserver writes that:

The European Parliament’s delegation to the US will on its next trans-Atlantic visit ask Congress about allegations that the Irish anti-Lisbon Treaty campaign was funded out of America.

The parliament’s political group leaders – the “conference of presidents” – made the decision on Thursday (25 September) following calls for transparency by the Irish and French governments and the European Commission.

Daniel Cohn-Bendit, leader of the green group in the European Parliament expresses the rather strange reaction that many on the European left have; that the CIA is behind all that is evil in the world. The EUObserver quotes him on:

“The Irish press revealed that there possibly exists a link between the financers of the No campaign in Ireland and the Pentagon as well as the CIA … If proved true, this would clearly show that there are forces in the US willing to pay people to destabilise a strong and autonomous Europe,”

I think Cohn-Bendit and others have much more to gain from working to make the EU more democratic and less federal than to use their time on the search for U.S. supported conspiracies

The Arctic is heating up

No, I’m not talking about climate change. Even though I obviously could have, the North West passage is open again this year. No, I’m talking about the international scramble to grab land (read sea bottom) in the Arctic.

The United Nations Law of the Sea gives all the countries around the Arctic bassin until 2014 to stake their claim or earlier if they ratified before 2004. This means we are in for a rush of claims. Norway has already submitted her claim, Russia, Canada and Denmark (Greenland)are ready to do so. What the US will do is uncertain. The US has not ratified the Law of the Sea treaty, while the other countries have.

There is litle doubt that some of the claims will overlap. Certainly more than one country will claim the pole. Russia surely has made her intent clear by planting a flag on the north pole.
With the ice disappearing and the US Geological services claiming that large reserves of petroleum is to be found, there is reason to believe conflict will be many and tough. Lets just hope they do not escalate. Dose.ca writes:

In the latest sign of the rising international political stakes in the Arctic, the top U.S. Coast Guard official has revealed a planned shift in American foreign policy from scientific research to “sovereignty” and “security presence” in Alaskan waters bordering Canadian and Russian

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“The primary mission right now is the maritime boundary line with Russia – keeping foreigners from stealing Alaskan fish,” Rear Admiral. Gene Brooks, head of the U.S. Coast Guard’s operations in Alaska, told the radio network.

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…prompted the Conservative government to promise a new year-round icebreaker for Arctic waters and a fleet of up to eight ice-reinforced patrol boats.

But we should be careful not to look at this potential conflict with old cold war glasses. The potential disputes between Canada and the US, Canada and Denmark are equal poignant as the potential conflict between all the Arctic countries and Russia.

However the Telegraph writes that:

As the polar powers have got out their maps in the last couple of years, four of them – Norway, Denmark, Canada, and the USA – have made the unpleasant discovery that the fifth – Russia – is far ahead of the game. As Russian forces consolidate their grip on her messy southern frontier in the aftermath of the war with Georgia, her diplomats, oilmen and military have been pressing their advantage in the north, a border region which is on a far vaster scale but equally confused and disputed.

Cleo Paskal, an Assistant Fellow at Chatham House and an expert on how climate change will affect borders, said: “The Russians have a big head start. Their nuclear submarines have been all over the Arctic for decades, they have 16 icebreaking ships to the Americans’ four, they have a lot of experience and a lot of the right gear.

So as all countries are beefing up their military capabilities in the Arctic, lets just hope the dispute settlement mechanisms in the Law of the Sea treaty will be robust – and enough.