Europe and economic war
WITH winters setting in, the timing of blasts in Nord Stream pipelines is self-explanatory. The experts have said that if it was a blast from within the pipeline the splinters like the shape of crown would be outwards and if sabotage inwards.
Russia has opened international terrorism probe into the matter and asked for UNSC meeting after Europe said leaks were act of sabotage.
The seismic experts called it a deliberate act and technical experts repairs could take months due to sanctions on Russia.
The NS sabotage could be an attempt to keep Europe united fearing backtracking on Russia and Ukraine War.
Trump said that NS “sabotage” may lead to an escalation or even war. He offered to head negotiations with Putin.
Trump said that if he were in WH the Russian invasion of Ukraine would not have happened (28 Sept 2022, Independent UK).
The ties between Europe’s capitols will be tested with Washington and Brussels in days to come.
Brussel’s policies have weakened Europe on economic front. The lack of cheap Russian gas is hindering industrial operations. With factories shutting down across Europe, the industrial output fell by 2.3% in one year.
The economic instability and energy shortages are forcing companies to shift to America to get tax incentives and green credits under US Inflation Reduction Act 2022 (Amid Europe’s energy crisis, manufacturers shift to Europe, WSJ 22 Sept 2022).
With Meloni of “fatherland” fame becoming Italy’s PM, West is anxious. Pressure is likely to grow in Europe to use national resources for the country instead of overseas.
A GoP house will defund Ukraine funding (Sept 20, 2022 the WP). Hungry, Poland, Czech Republic, Austria and Bulgaria already oppose sanctions on Russia to lower energy costs.
On Italy, Vonderleyen said that we have the tools to deal with difficult situations citing Hungry and Poland.
Now Europe is under pressure. Europe knew about the fallout of energy shortages as major economies were meeting 50 percent to 30 of their energy needs with cheap Russian gas.
However, their leaders followed West instead of respecting their national democratic mandate for having strong economies, lower cost of living and more jobs.
It is their democratic failure and lack of checks and balances by democratic institutions which is fuelling populism.
Putin has turned the tables on Europe. Four regions of Ukraine have voted in a referendum to join Russia.
He has followed legal procedures which will allow Russia to defend those territories using all available means including nuclear strike in order to stop Ukraine’s efforts to liberate its territory.
UNSG has condemned it as of no legal value. Putin is copying West’s policy on Palestine and Kashmir which also have no legal value then they also merit to be restored under UN Resolutions.
By accusing West of provoking colour revolutions and bloodbath in any country, Putin has stood with nationalism.
He used Russia and Ukraine, clashes in two CIS countries to remind about collapse of the Soviet Union.
He accused West for fuelling new conflicts in post-Soviet space. If Europe fails to stop Ukraine War, these words will soon echo in Eastern Europe not because they endorse what Putin says but due to high energy costs, increase in cost of living and rising unemployment.
In UK tax cuts force Bank of England to save pensions and mortgages amidst IMF warning.
As a result, there is record fall in pound exchange rate, value of UK bonds, increase in interest rates and 40% mortgages withdrawn.
However, Truss says she has right plan on economy and will not change course (29 Sept 2022, the Guardian).
This is made in Downing Street situation not Ukraine war or global problem which will further increase high cost of living, unemployment and poverty.
The cut in 45p rate will give £1bn bailout to top 2500 people with £400,000 each. Unelected Truss is accused of stealing from poor to benefit rich in her trickle-down economic model.
The data however shows that tax cuts do not increase investments, jobs or improve economy.
Tax and spend is still the golden rule. Europe is nationalizing energy sector including Germany and France to solve heat or eat dilemma but with public money.
That is why public is losing trust in democracy. The economic mess in Europe is making of politicians.
There is no public support of Ukraine war in Europe, Russia, Ukraine, America or rest of the world.
However, the dirty war is continuing which undermines democracies versus dictatorships. Western leaders are not ready to be held accountable to rule of law, unions and public without which it is difficult to have strong economy, lower cost of living and increase wages.
The writer is senior political analyst based in Islamabad.