Tag Archives: Germany

Germany scraps tuition fees after mass student protests cause shift in public opinion

BY DAVID SMITH

GERMANY• After experimenting with tuition fees, all the federal German states have been persuaded to reverse their decision. In the UK and US, there is no political will to change the policies which are blighting whole generations. The only way forward is to copy German protest movements.

Read more » ECONOMY WATCH

Leaving the West Behind – Germany Looks East

By Hans Kundnani

Russia’s annexation of Crimea in March 2014 was a strategic shock for Germany. Suddenly, Russian aggression threatened the European security order that Germany had taken for granted since the end of the Cold War. Berlin had spent two decades trying to strengthen political and economic ties with Moscow, but Russia’s actions in Ukraine suggested that the Kremlin was no longer interested in a partnership with Europe. Despite Germany’s dependence on Russian gas and Russia’s importance to German exporters, German Chancellor Angela Merkel ultimately agreed to impose sanctions on Russia and helped persuade other EU member states to do likewise.

Nevertheless, the Ukraine crisis has reopened old questions about Germany’s relationship to the rest of the West. In April, when the German public-service broadcaster ARD asked Germans what role their country should play in the crisis, just 45 percent wanted Germany to side with its partners and allies in the EU and NATO; 49 percent wanted Germany to mediate between Russia and the West. These results led the weekly newsmagazine Der Spiegel, in an editorial published last May, to warn Germany against turning away from the West.

Germany’s response to the Ukraine crisis can be understood against the backdrop of a long-term weakening of the so-called Westbindung, the country’s postwar integration into the West. The fall of the Berlin Wall and the enlargement of the EU freed the country from its reliance on the United States for protection against a powerful Soviet Union. At the same time, Germany’s export-dependent economy has become increasingly reliant on demand from emerging markets such as China. Although Germany remains committed to European integration, these factors have made it possible to imagine a post-Western German foreign policy. Such a shift comes with high stakes. Given Germany’s increased power within the EU, the country’s relationship to the rest of the world will, to a large extent, determine that of Europe.

THE GERMAN PARADOX

Germany has produced 
the most radical challenge to the West from within.

Germany has always had a complex relationship with the West. On the one hand, many of the political and philosophical ideas that became central to the West originated in Germany with Enlightenment thinkers such as Immanuel Kant. On the other hand, German intellectual history has included darker strains that have threatened Western norms—such as the current of nationalism that emerged in the early nineteenth century. Beginning in the latter half of the nineteenth century, German nationalists increasingly sought to define Germany’s identity in opposition to the liberal, rationalistic principles of the French Revolution and the Enlightenment. This version of German nationalism culminated in Nazism, which the German historian Heinrich August Winkler has called “the climax of the German rejection of the Western world.” Germany, therefore, was a paradox: it was part of the West yet produced the most radical challenge to it from within.

Read more » Foreign Affairs
Learn more » http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/142492/hans-kundnani%E2%80%A8/leaving-the-west-behind

China launches ‘world’s longest’ train route: Cargo train from China to Spain.

Move over Trans-Siberian: China launches ‘world’s longest’ train route

The 82-wagon cargo train is expected to take 21 days to travel 6,200 miles, passing through six countries between China and Spain.

Dubbed Yixinou, the train left Yiwu, an industrial center less than 200 miles south of Shanghai, on Tuesday and is expected to reach Madrid in December after traversing Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, and France, reports the Local.se.

Read more » RT
See more » http://rt.com/news/207447-china-spain-longest-train/

Why Germans Work Fewer Hours But Produce More: A Study In Culture

When many Americans think of Germany, images of WWII soldiers and Hitler often come to mind. But what many people don’t realize is that Germany is the industrial powerhouse of Europe, and is a leading manufacturer of goods for export to developing Asian nations. We don’t hear about the superiority of German engineering in Volkswagen commercials for nothing!

The economic engine of the EU, Germany single-handedly saved the Eurozone from collapse in 2012. At the same time, German workers enjoy unparalleled worker protections and shorter working hours than most of their global counterparts. How can a country that works an average of 35 hours per week (with an average 24 paid vacation days to boot) maintain such a high level of productivity?

Read more » KNOTE
http://knote.com/2014/11/10/why-germans-work-fewer-hours-but-produce-more-a-study-in-culture/

Neymar unlikely to play in Brazil’s semifinal vs. Germany

Neymar out of the World Cup
By 

Scolari said that Neymar was in tears from the pain when he left the stadium and repeatedly cast doubt upon his star’s ability to play in the semifinal.

Neymar was injured late in the quarterfinal when Juan Zuniga came barreling through him on a ball in the air. Zuniga’s knee hit Neymar in the lower back and the Brazilian crumbled to the ground. Play continued on and at the next whistle, Neymar was lying face down on the ground. Trainers looked at him before stretchering him off of the field with the player in obvious pain.

Read more » SB♦NATION
http://www.sbnation.com/soccer/2014/7/4/5871743/neymar-injury-brazil-germany-semifinal-world-cup-2014

“Are we finished? The answer is no.” – Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank says

Draghi Unveils Historic Measures to Counter Deflation Threat

Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank (ECB), reacts whilst speaking at a news conference where he unveiled historic measures to face down inflation in Frankfurt, Germany, on Thursday, June 5, 2014.

Bloomberg News reported:

The ECB today cut its deposit rate to minus 0.1 percent, becoming the first major central bank to take one of its main rates negative. In a bid to get credit flowing to parts of the economy that need it, the ECB also opened a 400-billion-euro ($542 billion) liquidity channel tied to bank lending and officials will start work on an asset-purchase plan. While conceding that rates are at the lower bound “for all practical purposes,” he signaled the the ECB is willing to act again.

“We think it’s a significant package,” Draghi told reporters in Frankfurt. “Are we finished? The answer is no.”

Courtesy: Bloomberg

Kenney says Canada can learn from Germany on skills training

By Lee-Anne Goodman, The Canadian Press

OTTAWA – Canadians have much to learn from Germany’s famed apprenticeship system despite doubts it could succeed in Canada, Jason Kenney said as he wrapped up a fact-finding mission into how the European powerhouse streams its youth into skilled trades.

“Sure, we can’t pick up the German system and transplant it to Canada — that would be ridiculous,” the employment minister said in a telephone interview, adding it was a “lazy point of view” to be dismissive of the long-established German partnership among government, schools and business.

“Closer collaboration between the education system and employers is so important. Giving kids relevant information about what kind of education is likely to lead to promising careers and remuneration — these things don’t have to be unique to Germany.”

Kenney said Ottawa and provincial governments can also look at “ways of massively expanding paid co-op opportunities for students during post-secondary education” and consider “reinventing” vocational high schools.

The minister has been leading a 30-member delegation of Canadian politicians from five provinces, along with business and labour union representatives, on a trip to Germany and Great Britain to learn about their apprenticeship programs.

Read more » Yahoo News
http://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/kenney-points-study-u-democrat-income-splitting-promise-180242293.html

Russia, Ukraine and the West: Will there be war?

Written by Alan Woods

As Ukraine slides deeper into chaos, the sound of war drums gets ever louder. On Saturday President Vladimir Putin secured his parliament’s authority to send the Russian army, not just into Crimea but also into Ukraine itself.

This threat was issued only days after “unidentified” armed men seized control of the Crimea peninsula. These were later unsurprisingly identified as troops from Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, based in Crimea. The new pro-Russian president of Crimea equally unsurprisingly immediately called on Moscow to intervene. At the same time, pro-Moscow demonstrators hoisted flags above government buildings in two eastern cities.

Western leaders shook their heads and said that Russia must not intervene. Moscow held up its hands, indignantly protesting that it would not do so. But the facts seem to indicate otherwise. For the whole of last week Russian troops were staging what were described as “routine manoeuvres” on the borders of Ukraine.

Putin secured without difficulty the unanimous approval of the Russian senate for the use of armed force on the territory of his neighbour, citing the need to protect Russian citizens. He asked that Russian forces be used “until the normalisation of the political situation in the country”: a very reasonable sounding request, a velvet glove that barely conceals the iron fist within, for he gave exactly the same reason for invading Georgia in 2008.

This threat to what was supposed to be an independent country of 46 million people on the edges of central Europe creates the biggest direct confrontation between Russia and the West since the Cold War. There has been a flurry of diplomatic activity in different capitals aimed at “calming the situation”. The government in Kiev protested. The EU protested. Obama protested.

Britain summoned the Russian ambassador to voice its “concern”. Soon after the UK’s Foreign Minister William Hague flew to Kiev, presumably to express his sympathy to the provisional government there. EU ministers were due to hold emergency talks. Czech President Milos Zeman recalled the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968.

Washington has warned that Russia’s actions would have “consequences”. But nobody is saying what these would be. In reply Putin calmly asserted his right to deploy troops in Ukraine “to defend the interests of Russian people”. Western politicians have hundreds of arguments, but Putin has hundreds of thousands of troops, tanks and guns. And whereas the forces of NATO are rather far away, his own forces are conveniently massing right on the Ukrainian border, and some are already on the ground in Crimea as Russia has a permanent naval base there.

The tension between the two sides increases by the hour. In a televised address, Ukraine’s acting President Olexander Turchynov urged people to remain calm. (Everyone is urging exactly the same thing). He asked Ukrainians to bridge divisions in the country and said they must not fall for provocations. But in the same breath said he had put the army on full alert, which is hardly a very calming message.

Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who was standing next to Mr Turchynov, said he was “convinced” Russia would not intervene militarily “as this would be the beginning of war and the end of all relations.”

Fear and misery in Ukraine

The situation in Ukraine is dramatic. The euphoria of the first few days after the fall of Yanukovych has dissipated and is being replaced with an anxious and tense mood.

Continue reading Russia, Ukraine and the West: Will there be war?

Ukraine – Will Putin Send in the Tanks?

By

“In the words of the popular proverb, Moscow was the heart of Russia; St Petersburg, its head. But Kiev, its mother…”

By James H. Billington

Just hours after a truce had been established between protesters and the government, violence erupted again today in the central square of Kiev, Ukraine’s capital city.

A trio of officials from the European Union—the foreign ministers of Germany, France and Poland—now head to Kiev to try to breach the fundamental divide roiling the country: a struggle between east and west, its outcome highly uncertain, the possibility of a civil war undeniably looming.

This divide has been at Ukraine’s core for centuries. What’s unfolding now is nothing less than the violent struggle for a nation’s soul. To some current and former diplomats, what is surprising is not that Ukraine appears to be coming apart, but that it has taken this long into the post Soviet era for something like this to happen.

At its origins, more than ten centuries ago, what was known as “Kievan Russia” was, as James Billington wrote in his classic study of Russian culture, “closely linked with Western Europe—through trade and intermarriage with every important royal family of Western Christendom.”

But , he continued, “those promising early links with the West were, fatefully, never made secure.”

Focus on that one word. “Fatefully.”  “Increasingly,” Billington writes, “inexerorably, Kievan Russia was drawn eastward into a debilitating struggle for control of the Eurasian steppe.”

What we’re witnessing now, make no mistake, is the latest chapter of that struggle. And it is one in which Moscow has an important, inherent and obvious advantage: Ukraine matters more to President Vladimir Putin, and Russia, than it does to Barack Obama, or German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

 The dissolution of the Soviet Union is the central, disastrous geopolitical fact of Putin’s life (See Newsweek cover story February 13, Putin’s Games). And among the new states that were created when the empire imploded, Ukraine was first among equals. It was, as Walter Russell Mead, professor and author at Bard College wrote recently, “the largest and most important republic within the Soviet Union.”

If Putin dreams of reassembling a reasonable facsimile of the Soviet empire—and he does—then, as Russell wrote, “everything pales beside the battle for Ukraine.”

When it appeared last fall that the government in Kiev was going to more closely align itself politically and economically with Europe than ever before, Putin moved forcefully to block it. Flush with oil and gas revenue—the beginning and the end of Russian economic strength–he offered Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych a $15 billion bribe to spurn the European Union.

Read more » News Week
http://www.newsweek.com/will-putin-send-tanks-229631

Chomsky: The U.S. Behaves Nothing Like a Democracy, But You’ll Never Hear About It in Our ‘Free Press’

In a powerful speech, Chomsky lays out how the majority of US policies are practically opposite of what wide swathes of the public wants.

By Noam Chomsky

August 15, 2013  | The following is a transcript of a recent speech delivered Noam Chomsky in Bonn, Germany, at DW Global Media Forum, Bonn, Germany. You can read more speeches by Chomsky here.

I’d like to comment on topics that I think should regularly be on the front pages but are not – and in many crucial cases are scarcely mentioned at all or are presented in ways that seem to me deceptive because they’re framed almost reflexively in terms of doctrines of the powerful.

In these comments I’ll focus primarily on the United States for several reasons: One, it’s the most important country in terms of its power and influence. Second, it’s the most advanced – not in its inherent character, but in the sense that because of its power, other societies tend to move in that direction. The third reason is just that I know it better. But I think what I say generalizes much more widely – at least to my knowledge, obviously there are some variations. So I’ll be concerned then with tendencies in American society and what they portend for the world, given American power.

American power is diminishing, as it has been in fact since its peak in 1945, but it’s still incomparable. And it’s dangerous. Obama’s remarkable global terror campaign and the limited, pathetic reaction to it in the West is one shocking example. And it is a campaign of international terrorism – by far the most extreme in the world. Those who harbor any doubts on that should read the report issued by Stanford University and New York University, and actually I’ll return to even more serious examples than international terrorism.

Continue reading Chomsky: The U.S. Behaves Nothing Like a Democracy, But You’ll Never Hear About It in Our ‘Free Press’

Germany – Preparing for Worldwide War

A recent release from German-Foreign-Policy.com reveals the following: “The German Army has set in operation a new command structure for worldwide war operations. The ‘Multinational Commando Operative Command,’ based in Baden Württemberg’s Ulm, shall guide the organization of the EU Battlegroups. According to their own statement they are prepared for ‘every imaginable mission’ in an intervention area of up to 6,000 kilometers distance—including the use of ‘highly intensive’ force” (August 8; translation ours).

That should send shivers up the spine of old diehards who remember the last time that Germany prepared for the use of “highly-intensive force” in “worldwide war operations.”

The German-Foreign-Policy.com release continues, “The Battlegroups are being trained regularly within the framework of special forces maneuvers. Their agenda includes support of parties involved in civil war .…”

To the generations blinded to the historic reality of past German aspirations for imperial power by half a century of miseducation and revisionist history, such a startling revelation of this latest Bundeswehr restructuring will mean nothing. To students of Bible prophecy it has most profound meaning.

You need to read Nahum—An End-Time Prophecy for Germany to fully understand the impact of this latest imperialist move by German elites. It is a good primer for further study of this subject by reading:

The Resurrected Holy Roman European Empire And The Coming Super President.

Read more » LIBRARY OF MOST CONTROVERSIAL FILES
http://www.thecontroversialfiles.net/2013/08/germanypreparing-for-worldwide-war.html

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Via Facebook

New rail line from China to Germany

Responding to rising trade volumes, Zhengzhou, a business and logistic center in Central China, has started rail service to Hamburg, Germany.

The train takes 18 days to make the 10,214-kilometer trip, but that’s more than twice as fast as maritime transport. It can also effectively save 80 percent of the cost compared with air shipments, and it’s about $489 cheaper on average compared with road transportation, which is a major incentive for the Eurasian Land Bridge, also dubbed New Silk Road.

The route reaches Germany via Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus and Poland. Zhengzhou International Inland Port Development Co Ltd is responsible for cooperating with  rail companies in each country.

Read more » CHINA DAILY
http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/epaper/2013-07/19/content_16800881.htm

Hauling New Treasure Along the Silk Road

By

AZAMAT KULYENOV, a 26-year-old train driver, slid the black-knobbed throttle forward, and the 1,800-ton express freight train, nearly a half-mile long, began rolling west across the vast, deserted grasslands of eastern Kazakhstan, leaving the Chinese border behind.

Dispatchers in the Kazakh border town of Dostyk gave this train priority over all other traffic, including passenger trains. Specially trained guards rode on board. Later in the trip, as the train traveled across desolate Eurasian steppes, guards toting AK-47 military assault rifles boarded the locomotive to keep watch for bandits who might try to drive alongside and rob the train. Sometimes, the guards would even sit on top of the steel shipping containers.

The train roughly follows the fabled Silk Road, the ancient route linking China and Europe that was used to transport spices, gems and, of course, silks before falling into disuse six centuries ago. Now the overland route is being resurrected for a new precious cargo: several million laptop computers and accessories made each year in China and bound for customers in European cities like London, Paris, Berlin and Rome.

Hewlett-Packard, the Silicon Valley electronics company, has pioneered the revival of a route famous in the West since the Roman Empire. For the last two years, the company has shipped laptops and accessories to stores in Europe with increasing frequency aboard express trains that cross Central Asia at a clip of 50 miles an hour. Initially an experiment run in summer months, H.P. is now dispatching trains on the nearly 7,000-mile route at least once a week, and up to three times a week when demand warrants. H.P. plans to ship by rail throughout the coming winter, having taken elaborate measures to protect the cargo from temperatures that can drop to 40 degrees below zero.

Though the route still accounts for just a small fraction of manufacturers’ overall shipments from China to Europe, other companies are starting to follow H.P.’s example. Chinese authorities announced on Wednesday the first of six long freight trains this year from Zhengzhou, a manufacturing center in central China, to Hamburg, Germany, following much the same route across western China, Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus and Poland as the H.P. trains. The authorities said they planned 50 trains on the route next year, hauling $1 billion worth of goods; the first train this month is carrying $1.5 million worth of tires, shoes and clothes, while the trains are to bring back German electronics, construction machinery, vehicles, auto parts and medical equipment.

DHL announced on June 20 that it had begun weekly express freight train service from Chengdu in western China across Kazakhstan and ultimately to Poland. Some of H.P.’s rivals in the electronics industry are in various stages of starting to use the route for exports from China, freight executives said.

The Silk Road was never a single route, but a web of paths taken by caravans of camels and horses that began around 120 B.C., when Xi’an in west-central China — best known for its terra cotta warriors — was China’s capital. The caravans started across the deserts of western China, traveled through the mountain ranges along China’s western borders with what are now Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan and then journeyed across the sparsely populated steppes of Central Asia to the Caspian Sea and beyond.

These routes flourished through the Dark Ages and the early medieval period in Europe. But as maritime navigation expanded in the 1300s and 1400s, and as China’s political center shifted east to Beijing, China’s economic activity also moved toward the coast.

Today, the economic geography is changing again. Labor costs in China’s eastern cities have surged in the last decade, so manufacturers are trying to reduce costs by moving production west to the nation’s interior. Trucking products from the new inland factories to coastal ports is costly and slow. High oil prices have made airfreight exorbitantly expensive and prompted the world’s container shipping lines to reduce sharply the speed of their vessels.

Slow steaming cuts oil consumption, but the resulting delays have infuriated shippers of high-value electronics goods like H.P’s. Such delays drive up their costs and make it harder to respond quickly to changes in consumer demand in distant markets.

Read more » The New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/21/business/global/hauling-new-treasure-along-the-silk-road.html?smid=fb-share&_r=0

Canada drops out of top 10 most developed countries list

The United Nations human development index now ranks Canada as 11th

By the Canadian Press

Canada has slipped out of the top 10 countries listed in the annual United Nation’s human development index — a far cry from the 1990s when it held the first place for most of the decade.

The 2013 report, which reviews a country’s performance in health, education and income, places Canada in 11th place versus 10th last year.

Continue reading Canada drops out of top 10 most developed countries list

Who says countries are permanent?

Ayaz AmirBy Ayaz Amir

Islamabad diary

We should know this more than others. The Pakistan of 1947 is not the Pakistan which exists today, one half of it having broken away to form another country. I served in Moscow in the seventies and nothing seemed more solid or permanent than the Soviet Union, a mighty power which cast a shadow far and wide. Who could have thought that in a few years’ time it would fracture, leaving a trail of small, independent republics behind?

Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall was two countries. Now it is back to being one. Czechoslovakia was one country then. Now it is two. In the UK, of all places, the Scots, or a goodly part of them, are demanding independence. A referendum is set to decide this question in 2014.

After the fall of the Soviet Union it seemed as if American pre-eminence was an assured thing, lasting for the next hundred years. Bright-eyed scholars announced not just the closing of an era but the end of history. As hubris goes, this had few equals. There were other Americans who said that reality would be what America wanted it to be. Yet American power has declined before our eyes, nothing more contributing to this than the wars President Bush ventured upon in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Clash of civilisations was another phrase current just ten years. Something of the sort has happened but not in a way that the US could have intended. Wouldn’t the Taliban, wouldn’t Al-Qaeda, define their struggle as a clash of civilisations?

Ten years ago in a Jamaat-ud-Dawaah mosque in Chakwal (not far from my house) I heard one of their leaders talking of America’s eventual but sure defeat in Afghanistan. I thought his rhetoric too fanciful then. It sounds much closer to home now.

I have just read a longish review of Norman Davies’ ‘Vanished Kingdoms: The Rise and Fall of States and Nations’. This book should be required reading for anyone concerned about the future of Pakistan. For the lesson it emphasises is that history does not promise progress. All it promises is change. Nothing is fixed, all is movement, nations rising and falling, the old disappearing to make way for the new, the new in turn becoming the old and morphing into something else – the philosophy of Heraclitus and Hegel, even of Marx.

Continue reading Who says countries are permanent?

Going nuclear-free: Germany smashes solar power world record

Germany’s solar power plants produced a record 22 gigawatts of energy on Friday, equivalent to the output of 20 nuclear plants. The country is already a world-leader in solar power and hopes to be free of nuclear energy by 2022.

The director of the Institute of the Renewable Energy Industry (IWR) in Muenster, northeast Germany, said the solar power delivered to the national grid on Saturday met 50 per cent of the nation’s energy quota.

“Never before anywhere has a country produced as much photovoltaic electricity. Germany came close to the 20 gigawatt (GW) mark a few times in recent weeks. But this was the first time we made it over,” Norbert Allnoch told Reuters news agency.

The German government decided to turn its back on nuclear energy last year after the Fukushima disaster and plans to be nuclear-free by 2022. Critics have rounded on the initiative, skeptical that renewable sources can meet the nation’s growing energy needs.

“This shows Germany is capable of meeting a large share of its electricity needs with solar power. It also shows Germany can do with fewer coal-burning power plants, gas-burning plants and nuclear plants,” stressed Allmoch. ….

Read more » The Idealist Revolution
http://www.theidealistrevolution.com/going-nuclear-free-germany-smashes-solar-power-world-record/

The world’s population is becoming less religious

New poll shows atheism on rise, with Jews found to be least religious

A Gallup poll conducted in 57 countries shows 9% decline in people who consider themselves religious, compared to a similar survey conducted in 2005.

By Haaretz

“Irrespective of whether you attend a place of worship or not, would you say you are a religious person, not a religious person, or a convinced atheist?” This was the question posed to 51,927 people in 57 different countries, in a recent poll conducted by Gallup.

The results show the world’s population is becoming less religious, with a nine percent decline in believers compared with a similar survey conducted in 2005. The new survey also found a 3 percent increase of people who consider themselves atheists. Altogether, 59 percent of the world’s population defines itself today as religious, 23 percent as non-religious and 13 percent as atheist.

Of the religions surveyed in the poll, Jews were found to be the least religious: Only 38 percent of the Jewish population worldwide considers itself religious, while 54 sees itself as non-religious and 2 percent categorizes itself as atheist. In comparison, 97 percent of Buddhists, 83 percent of Protestant Christians and 74 percent of Muslims consider themselves religious.

The poll, titled “The Global Index of Religion and Atheism – 2012,” was conducted in five continents, and did not include Israel. China leads the list of countries with the highest population of atheists – 47 percent, followed by Japan, the Czech Republic, France, South Korea and Germany. Topping the list of countries with the highest number of believers is Ghana (96 percent), followed by Nigeria, Armenia, Fiji, Macedonia, Romania and Iraq.

Read more » Haaretz

CPPC on Quebec Students Movement – We stand in solidarity with the students in Québec!

The Québec Student Strike – Why we support it and why we condemn Bill 78

The Committee of Progressive Pakistani Canadians (CPPC) believes the right to an education is one all citizens of the world must have access to. Moreover, that access should be without financial cost. Only by having an educated population can a country truly be free.

Continue reading CPPC on Quebec Students Movement – We stand in solidarity with the students in Québec!

Has Pakistan gone fascist?

Go figure!

By: Nadeem F. Paracha

There is a genuine fear among some (yes, just some) Pakistanis that their society and state is headed straight to becoming a 21st century model of fascism.

I say the fear is being noted and felt by just some Pakistanis because it seems to most of their compatriots – especially those squirming within the growing, agitated and uptight urban middle-classes – the emergence of such a state and society is actually something to do with abstract concepts like ‘national sovereignty,’ ‘honour’ (ghairat), ‘revolution’ and a ‘positive Pakistan!’

It’s like saying chronic neurosis is a pretty positive thing to have.

Recently in a sharp and pointed article, author and scientist, Pervez Hoodbhoy, clearly alluded to how the Pakistani society and state are showing signs of the kind of myopic mindset that the German society plunged into in the 1920s and 1930s, setting the scene for Hitler and his fascist outfit and mentality to become Germany’s overlords – eventually taking the nation over the brink and towards widespread destruction.

So is the Pakistani society headed in the same direction?

A number of experts and sociologists have drawn some prominent symptoms to look for in figuring out if a particular society is drifting into the clutches of fascism.

Let’s discuss a few in Pakistan’s context:

• Symptom 1: Powerful and Continuing Nationalism

Fascist societies/cultures tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

In Pakistan patriotism has been intertwined with the belief in a divine monolithic deity. Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether a person is singing praises of God or the state. It’s as if both are one and the same. Thus, if you are not all that enthusiastic about singing loud patriotic songs or displaying 50X10 Pakistani flags over your 5X2 office cubical, you are a traitor and/or/thus a kafir.

Continue reading Has Pakistan gone fascist?

Sen. John McCain and Graham warn Pakistan about killing US troops

STATEMENT BY SENATORS McCAIN AND GRAHAM ON PAKISTAN

December 5, 2011 – Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) today released the following statement on Pakistan:

“We fully appreciate the importance of U.S. relations with Pakistan, which we believe can serve U.S. national security interests. The cross-border air action that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers was unfortunate and unintentional, and we are confident that the investigation being conducted by NATO and the U.S. military will clarify the circumstances of this terrible tragedy. We join the President and our colleagues in once again expressing our deep condolences to those who lost loved ones.

The Pakistani government’s response to these events, however, has been deeply troubling and has added to the continued deterioration of our relationship. In recent days, the government has prevented NATO supplies from entering Afghanistan through Pakistan. It has ordered U.S. intelligence officers to leave the country and disrupted their work on important national security matters. And it has boycotted an international conference in Bonn, Germany that supports peace in Afghanistan.

“If these actions were not concerning enough, there were reports just this morning that the Pakistani government has allegedly decided to suspend all bilateral agreements related to counterterrorism, as part of a broader review of Pakistan’s political, diplomatic, and military relations with the United States. Such steps by the Pakistani government would mark a new low for our relationship.

“The United States has been incredibly patient with Pakistan. And we have been so despite certain undeniable and deeply disturbing facts. Most importantly, Pakistani army and intelligence officials continue to support the Haqqani Network and other terrorist groups in Pakistan that are killing U.S. troops in Afghanistan, and the vast majority of the material used to make improvised explosive devices used against U.S. forces in Afghanistan originates from two fertilizer factories inside Pakistan.

“The time has come for the United States to fully review its relations with Pakistan. We must assess the nature and levels of our support for Pakistan. In particular, all options regarding U.S. security and economic assistance to Pakistan must be on the table, including substantial reductions and stricter standards for performance. Most of all, U.S. policy toward Pakistan must proceed from the realistic understanding that certain actions of Pakistan’s military are contributing to the death and injury of our men and women in the military and jeopardizing our national security interests.

“In light of what could be an entirely new relationship with Pakistan, the United States and our allies must develop contingency plans to ensure the continued logistical support necessary for our military operations in Afghanistan.”

Courtesy » http://mccain.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=PressOffice.PressReleases&ContentRecord_id=10974d5c-9375-faca-6f92-4026304d9334

Social Psychosis and Collective Sanity – By Winslow Myers

We know from the sad experience of Nazi Germany or Khmer Rouge Cambodia that it is possible for whole nations to become mentally ill, with horrendous consequences. At the time, however, the Nazis or the Khmers had no idea that they were deeply out of touch with the reality that all people are equally worthy of respect and care.

The population of the earth recently surpassed 7 billion. As we move further into the condition of global villagehood, it becomes more important than ever to assess our shared mental health. Collectively we can less and less afford the distortions that afflict the psyches of individual persons, such as denial, regression into infantile rage, fantasy ideation, or blind projection outward onto “enemies” of our unresolved inner tensions. Everyone is aware of the potential horror, for example, of a nuclear weapon falling into the hands of someone not in the clearest of minds. …

Read more » COMMON DREAMS

Peace is not in line with Pak generals – Karzai

Ruling out negotiations: ‘Taliban talks futile’

With no headway being made, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his top aides have hinted that they may abandon efforts at peace talks with the Taliban after concluding that negotiating with the militant leadership was futile.

Instead, Karzai has said, negotiations should actually be held with Pakistan – an apparent dig at Islamabad, which is regularly accused of harbouring the Taliban’s senior leadership.

The comments come on the heels of fresh allegations that the assassination of Afghanistan’s top peace negotiator Burhanuddin Rabbani in Kabul was planned in Pakistan. Rabbani was killed in a bombing by a purported Taliban emissary who had come to visit the former Afghanistan president last month.

The frustration with stalled talks and the escalating violence come months before a key conference is to be held in Bonn, Germany – where it is expected that the Afghan end game will be charted. There had been reports that the Taliban leadership would be involved, in some manner, about the future of the war-torn nation.

“The peace process which we began is dead,” Rangin Dadfar Spanta, Karzai’s national security adviser, said in an interview on Saturday. “It’s a joke,” The Wall Street Journal reported.

Karzai and his aides have decided to shift their efforts on putting pressure on Pakistan, which has allegedly provided aid and sanctuary to Afghan insurgents.

“Their messengers are coming and killing … So with whom should we make peace?” Karzai said in the recorded address to the country’s senior religious leaders.

“I cannot find Mullah Muhammad Omar,” Karzai said, referring to the Taliban supreme leader. “Where is he? I cannot find the Taliban council. Where is it? “I don’t have any other answer except to say that the other side for this negotiation is Pakistan.”

Afghan officials have also unilaterally cancelled plans to host a trilateral meeting on Oct 8 with Pakistan and the United States. Instead, a special Afghan delegation will present Pakistani leaders with evidence about the killing of Rabbani, WSJ reported.

Courtesy: → The Express Tribune, October 2nd, 2011.

Paradox!!! Am I right?

The Moslems aren’t happy!

They’re not happy in Gaza.

They’re not happy in Egypt.

They’re not happy in Libya.

They’re not happy in Morocco.

They’re not happy in Iran.

They’re not happy in Iraq.

They’re not happy in Yemen.

They’re not happy in Afghanistan.

They’re not happy in Pakistan.

They’re not happy in Syria.

They’re not happy in Lebanon.

And where are they happy?

They’re happy in England.

They’re happy in France.

They’re happy in Italy.

They’re happy in Germany.

They’re happy in Sweden.

They’re happy in the USA.

They’re happy in Canada.

They’re happy in Norway.

They’re happy in every country that is not Moslem!

And who do they blame?

Not their leadership. Not themselves.

THEY BLAME THE COUNTRIES THEY ARE HAPPY IN !!!

Courtesy: Pakistani e-lists/ e-groups + social media

Noam Chomsky: My Reaction to Osama bin Laden’s Death

We might ask ourselves how we would be reacting if Iraqi commandos landed at George W. Bush’s compound, assassinated him, and dumped his body in the Atlantic.

By Noam Chomsky

It’s increasingly clear that the operation was a planned assassination, multiply violating elementary norms of international law. There appears to have been no attempt to apprehend the unarmed victim, as presumably could have been done by 80 commandos facing virtually no opposition—except, they claim, from his wife, who lunged towards them. In societies that profess some respect for law, suspects are apprehended and brought to fair trial. I stress “suspects.” In April 2002, the head of the FBI, Robert Mueller, informed the press that after the most intensive investigation in history, the FBI could say no more than that it “believed” that the plot was hatched in Afghanistan, though implemented in the UAE and Germany. What they only believed in April 2002, they obviously didn’t know 8 months earlier, when Washington dismissed tentative offers by the Taliban (how serious, we do not know, because they were instantly dismissed) to extradite bin Laden if they were presented with evidence—which, as we soon learned, Washington didn’t have. Thus Obama was simply lying when he said, in his White House statement, that “we quickly learned that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by al Qaeda.” …

Read more : Guernica

Devolution of HEC – the constitution must be respected

by Prof. Gul Agha

The constitution must be respected. The federal govt. can provide scholarships, research grants, coordination facilities, advisory boards, but it cannot control the administration of universities as it is against the federal nature of the state. This is how it is throughout the world in US, Canada, Germany and other democratic federal states. Educationists must respect and support constitutional rule.

Security Council Calls for War Crimes Inquiry in Libya

The U.N. Security Council called for an international war crimes investigation into “widespread and systemic attacks” against Libyan citizens.

By EDWARD WYATT

The United Nations Security Council voted unanimously on Saturday night to impose sanctions on Libya’s leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, and his inner circle of advisers, and called for an international war crimes investigation into “widespread and systemic attacks” against Libyan citizens who have protested against the government over the last two weeks.

The vote, only the second time the Security Council has referred a member state to the International Criminal Court, comes after a week of bloody crackdowns in Libya in which Colonel Qaddafi’s security forces have fired on protesters, killing hundreds.

Also on Saturday, President Obama said that Colonel Qaddafi had lost the legitimacy to rule and should step down. His statement, which the White House said was made during a telephone call with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, was the strongest yet from any American official against Colonel Qaddafi.

The Security Council resolution also imposes an arms embargo against Libya and an international travel ban on 16 Libyan leaders, and freezes the assets of Colonel Qaddafi and members of his family, including four sons and a daughter. Also included in the sanctions were measures against defense and intelligence officials who are believed to have played a role in the violence against civilians in Libya. …

Read more : The New York Times

Vetrun U.S. diplomat Richard Holbrooke dies

Afghanistan envoy Richard Holbrooke dies

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Richard Holbrooke, who was President Barack Obama’s special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, died on Monday, an administration official confirmed. He was 69.

The veteran diplomat, who brokered the 1995 peace agreement that ended the Balkans war, had been a key player in Obama’s efforts to turn around the faltering 9-year-old war in Afghanistan.

Holbrooke, who also served as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and to Germany and twice was assistant secretary of state, died after surgery on Saturday to repair a tear in his aorta. He fell ill at the State Department on Friday.

Holbrooke was once called “Washington’s favorite last-ditch diplomat” and “America’s toughest diplomatic tactician” by Time magazine. His portfolio included serving as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and Germany and he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize seven times. ,,,

Read more : YahooNews

Let’s germinate like Germany did

– Muhammad Shoaib Akif

President Asif Ali Zardari will continue to face a difficult, and at times war-like, situation through such media debates which rather look like trials. The participants in the debates usually are the beneficiary of the system that speaks volumes about an ever-untold truth that is about human relationships that are determined by economy and security. President Zardari is in a struggle to change the system. Since he means economy and security for all, and not for only a few hundred thousand elitist Pakistanis, he would continue to face resistance. What does security and economy here in Pakistan for everyone mean? Moreover, what if these two entities are not achieved justifiably with the reasons quite understandable even to an illiterate and what is not happening here for more than 63 years? Last but not the least, who will help us achieve these utmost requirements and how? Let’s have one of the pertinent examples say of Germany to find the answer. Germany acted rationally after experiencing almost total devastation caused by its expansionist policies during Second World War 63 years ago. Germans did not raise another army; it raised its economic structure through social democracy. And that enabled Germany make its citizens secure both socially and economically. To Germans security and economy of an individual is security of state itself. The people out there do not need thousands of judges and generals because a responsible bureaucracy, which is much smaller than ours, does its job amicably under the guidance of political government. Germens do not have to pay almost 10 billion US$ to keep only their not-awfully over-sized army and administration happy every year as we do here. Although their differences between expenditures and income may be in hundreds of US$ billion yet the differences are not mere due to their spending on their army and administration but on employed and unemployed citizens living therein. Germany makes her citizens secure both socially and economically and in turn the citizens show a paramount patriotism and protect the state also simply because the state does best possible justice with them. None can refute a recent example when world economic recession had just started off to effect Germany; it were the elites of Germany who asked their state publicly to tax them more than what their common citizens paid. In fact, almost all the citizens work, produce and pay taxes willingly and thus increase the income of the state to be spent back on them in various ways later in shape of social and economic security. To them and rightly so: security and economy of an individual is the security of state itself. …

Read more : The Frontier Post

Shift in Turkey policy worries EU, NATO – By Shiraz Paracha

Keeping Turkey under control and on board is becoming a serious challenge for the United States and the European Union (EU) as the Turkish public and government are frustrated with Western double standards and hypocritical policies.

Turkey is transforming from a pro-Western state to a country that is bursting with anti-imperialist and anti-racist sentiments. The ruling Justice and Development Party of Turkey represents the public feelings. The West, particularly, the EU has infuriated the Turkish public by blocking Turkey’s entry into the EU.

 

Turkey, an ally of the West and a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) since 1952, is now also looking towards East. The United States, the EU and Israel are watching Turkey with great caution and perhaps with certain nervousness.

Under the leadership of President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey has been building relations with its neighbors, under a doctrine called ‘zero troubles with neighbors’.

The Justice and Development Party pushes for Turkey’s EU membership but at the same time demands justice and respect from its European partners.

Europe accepts Turkey as a military partner, but the EU seems to have less appetite for a political partnership with Turkey. Germany and France, especially, have been creating obstacles in the way of Turkey’s joining the EU.

German and French opposition to Turkish membership of the EU is rooted in history. The attitude of the EU’s biggest states towards Turkey has its roots in religious and cultural hatred of Turks. …

Read more : CriticalPPP