TCS Daily


Euro-Imperialists: What Sarko and Putin Have in Common

By Stephen Schwartz - December 5, 2007 12:00 AM

Nicolas Sarkozy of France and Vladimir Putin in Moscow both project a strong profile against Islamist extremism. But "Sarko" is faced, as were his predecessors, by the permanent spectre of civil disorder in France, which seems more cultural and social than religious or political. Putin is busy rearranging Russian political institutions to establish a podium from which he can proclaim anew the dictatorial principle.

But Sarko and Putin have other things in common. They oppose historic independence or the demand thereof for stateless nations like the Tibetans and Kosovar Albanians. Sarko sides with China against Tibet. France has no rational interest in supporting the ethnic liquidation of the Tibetans, whose history is being eradicated by Han Chinese colonization - or, for that matter, the similar and dangerous policy pursued by the stone men of Beijing toward Muslim-majority eastern Turkestan. China calls Tibet "Xizang" and Eastern Turkestan "Xinjiang." The world (or, at least, those who know about these issues) derides the first renaming, but ignores the second.

I would hesitate to compare Sarko with Putin were it not that the French politician's Tibetan gaffe was exposed in the International Herald Tribune of November 29, by Judy Dempsey and Katrin Bennhold

(see http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/11/29/europe/germany.php).

They unfavorably compared Sarko's record on such issues with that of German chancellor Angela Merkel. Specifically, Merkel honored the Dalai Lama with a state invitation, while Sarko said Tibet is "part of China" and called for the tyrannical cadres and powercrats of Beijing to dialogue with the Dalai Lama.

The IHT quoted an unidentified French official who declared, "you have to pick your battles." To whom is this despicable advice addressed? It happens that U.S. President George W. Bush already picked a side quite a while ago - his recent meeting with the Dalai Lama, who was awarded a Congressional Gold Medal in October, was his third. But then, France often excuses itself from battles.

The moral, if unrecognized independence of Tibet from the Chinese is an unwritten canon of international conscience, although not embodied in treaties and embassies. The tormented Tibetans stand for all stateless and vulnerable ethnic and language communities in the world.

The same attitude of casual arrogance toward small and powerless communities is visible in Putin's jolting dose of Russian ice water into the veins of Americo-European diplomacy on Kosovo, in which the U.S. takes the unquestioned lead. For the first time in the memory of most people alive today, Russian imperial power stretches forth its claws and stirs trouble in Europe.

The Balkan region is the classic cockpit for this dangerous game.Vlad Putin, the proud KGB man, looks atEuropeas a wolf looks at chickens.Oil and gas have made him powerful and allowed him to shower money on his disoriented nation.Once again, as so many times since they were first written, the somber words of the Russian liberal Alekansdr Herzen,dating from1855,ring in one's consciousness:"The revolution of Peter the Great replaced the obsolete squirearchy of Russia - with a European bureaucracy; everything that could be copied from the Swedish and German laws, everything that could be taken over from the free municipalities of Holland into our half-communal, half-absolutist country, was taken over; but the unwritten, the moral check on power, the instinctive recognition of the rights of man, of the rights of thought, oftruth, could not be and were not imported."

Putin has already given away to the world his unabashed thirst for a return to authoritarian rule inMuscovy.But he has also betrayed his intentions in dealing with the increasingly useless and dangerous Organization for Security and Cooperation inEurope(OSCE).OSCE is a kind of ideological super-cadre that serves to anesthetizeEuropeabout its problems.It has misgoverned orotherwise interfered for 12 years in Bosnia-Hercegovina and Kosovo.But is has now come under fire from Putin, who alleges that OSCE has treatedRussiaand its political transition unfairly.OSCE can be credited with one virtue: it does not certify fake elections.Its critical attitude toward democratization inUkrainehas irritated tsar Putin and it became controversial in Putin's December 2 ballotting.

Putin wants to installKazakhstanas the new head of OSCE, which comprises 56 countries.Unfortunately for its people, who deserve a great deal better,Kazakhstanis ruled by Nursultan Nazarbayev, whose regime is less repressive than that of neighboringUzbekistan, but still evincesexcessiveSoviet-era attitudes.Unfortunately for everyone who ever dealt with OSCE (except as a functionary or apologist for it), the organization is a scandalous failure and should be shut down before it can become a new platform for Putinism.It has fostered neithersecurity nor cooperation, but abuse and impunity.

Above all, in recent weeks Putin has returned to the Balkan gaming table, throwing down his chips and staking all on red, the color of blood, by inciting Serb radicals in Bosnia-Hercegovina and Kosovo alike.Putin has led the "rejectionists" among the global powers on Kosovar independence, as if 125 years, from the late 19th century wars in the Balkans to the horrors of the 1990s, had never occurred.

Sarko's comment onTibetand Putin's rhetoric on Kosovo have the same message: France and Russia are hostile to the interests of vulnerable nations - with or without governments, some under dictatorships, some under "mere" discrimination - like the Kurds inTurkey. Most of the world now accepts the rights of large minority communities to recognition of their identity, if nothing else. What does Sarko have against the Tibetans?

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7 Comments

The Euroweenies only have themselves to blame
...by allowing themselves to be dependent upon Russian natural gas supplies. Reagan advised them not to allow that pipeline to be built. Oh well. And this dependency would be exploited by whoever is in residence at the Kremlin.

Crude but true: Now the Euroweenies are whores to both OPEC and the Putinazis. So they deserve getting it in two orifices at the same time, if you ask me.

not much in common
I don't see it. Sarko acts like the prez of a weak power has to act. Since the times of Napoleon France has been a weak country, so that's the only way they can act. Britain about the same, declining so must be weaker. The States is getting the same too. But Russia is getting stronger, so they act like strong countries always do; push people around etc. You see it with China too in the past few years. Strong countries act like strong countries and weak ones have to act like weak ones. New Zealnad could never push around Australia, even if they wanted to. Denmark could never bully Germany. Qatar could never bully Iran.

Doesn't apply to France
They decided to go nuclear in the 1970s. It's mostly Germany that's on the hook here.

Strength defined
in what terms, military? economic? Best clarify, otherwise this is gibberish.

defined
Sure, in all those ways. There's something very differnt about countries like; Burma, Taiwan, Luxembourg, Uruguay; and China, Russia, etc. Check out your history, when countries are powerful they use it, like in history, Poland, Sweden, Portugal, Spain. Now they are weak and small, so can't do anthing. So re the US, they no longer have the stomach to project power, so other regional places see that, then they try to get away with more in their neighbourhoods. All this is normal throuout history.

What's our interest in the Balkans?
We know why Steven "Sufi" Schwartz takes sides but what is America's interest?

Let’s let Europe learn how to deal with Russia on her own. It will be good for their 'character building.' How about butting out?

americas interest in the Balkans
It seems like the US thinks that europe is too embarassed at not being able to sort out its own back yard again, so they don't want them to lose too much self-esteem, so as usual the US has to do the heavy lifting. Euroland are too pathetic and weak these days to even look after themselves. Too many years of being brainswashed by their nanny states. The US is going that way too. But the liberals can be happy when that happens as now in Daruf. They can just sit back and watch the slaughter all over the world increase as the Pax Americana declines.

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