Dutch by birth, but European by choice. I grew up in the Netherlands on a quite lane in the village of Soestduinen and have a background in Informatics & Corporate Finance. Now having reached the Winter of my life, which feels more like Spring, with running, books and chess among some of my diversions.
I learned some things along the way as Shams Tabrizi said in his poem “Because life is too short”. The picture by Gregory Colbert, from his amazing exhibition “Ashes and Snow” which for me symbolizes tranquility and harmony in our ever more unstable and confusing world.
As a minority of one and not being part of the “us versus them tribe” this Blog expresses my personal opinions, scribing’s which some may call them my “rants” about politics, George W Bush, Donald J Trump, Geert Wilders, US, European Union, Israel, North Korea, Russian sanctions and international relations in general. This goes back to 2003 when I started to raise my voice against the Iraq war. But it must be said, since my first posting “Pax America“ my views on G.W. Bush have softened and today I am having a better understanding of that “man” of which some say, “to know the man is to like the man,” but his policies were disastrous.
Today we see a new reality has arrived for Europe in which 70 years of trust are ignored and the world order that we once knew and had become accustomed to no longer exists and the EU must respond. But these Atlantic divisions started in earnest with George W Bush during 2003. A more independent course from the US after the German unification, including our own security and defense union and a European expansion strategy based on a two-speed European Union would have been preferable.
During 2003 President Bush cause the “winds of our times” to change and as he brought in the dogs of war” made us ask the same question which we ask today:
“is this the kind of world we wish to live in, a Hobbesian world where might is right. A world which is incapable of meeting the real challenges such as poverty, education, environment, Aids, obstacles to economic development and the spread of weapons of mass destruction.
Or, do we wish to live in a world based on international law and universal values.
I have strong opinions about Capital punishment which I oppose and am in favor gun control and believe in America today, education, functional literacy, prison reforms and inequality are some of the problems which need to be addressed with urgency.
The same can be said about my views on our national embarrassments the racists Geert Wilders, Thierry Baudet and Marie Le Pen in France who has the same deplorable extreme right views as her father Jean-Marie Le Pen. Both are stimulating the poison of Nationalism, and we see the parallels between the present and the 1930’s with the same demonization, discrimination and isolation of vulnerable communities. In this regard the strong position of Angela Merkel welcoming refugees should only be applauded not rejected also given the demographic realities since Europe is becoming grey and the economic benefit is substantial.
After WWII we have moved towards a world in which international relationships are based on International Law and for the relationship between EU, Russia and US this was also influenced by the 1975 Helsinki Final Act and the 1990 Charter of Paris for New Europe. Our global, rules-based economic order with its values of free trade, the rule of law have, based on a system of norms, institutions and international partnerships have together with NATO brought security, stability and prosperity to Europe and has limited escalation.
Since the German unification we have moved towards a multi-polar world, a world which has greatly changed since the German unification.
The recent Russian attacks on international law and state’s sovereignty are most disturbing and completely unacceptable. So are the attacks against American and European democracies which are unprecedented and have only one purpose to obscure the truth and to destabilize our Free Liberal Society and the foundations of democracy which confirm Russia as an existential threat to Europe.
But the “economic sanctions” which we see today against Russian interests are unproductive and gave President Barack Obama only the illusion of success. The reality is the sanctions have only caused a rebalancing of the China-Russian relationship, also influenced by the present US policies. Policies which are based on US hegemony and domification as a national security policy, which I have had since Vietnam my doubts about.
With the person who shall not be named our world changed greatly and Legal-, Moral-, Ethical-Bankruptcy and Nepotism and Self-enrichment lived for a while at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington D.C..
Today with the Joe Biden Presidency some normalcy has returned to our world which will hopefully strengthen the forces of freedom and democracy in our world. But it would be useful to consider there are different “spheres of influence” and not all of them are American spheres.
As the great Russian writer Ivan Turgenev noted, “I agree with no one’s opinions, I have some of my own.”