- A specter haunts the European elites and their US supporters: The disintegration of the EU.
- Could Putin repeat Reagan's win against the Soviets, and go for a rollback of empire?
Nothing irritates a Western journalist of a particularly anti-Russian bent like The Economist's Edward Lucas more than role reversal.
They can't stand even the fleeting notion of them being apologists for bad guys -- such as militias that murder civilians or wear SS runes. Nor can they cope with arguments that Western governments might not be respecting basic human rights, such as privacy, hence their hatred of Ed Snowden for his NSA leaks.
They hate the idea of the script being flipped against them so much they even invented a term, 'whataboutism'.
Lucas in particular has spoken recently of unprecedented 'Russian information warfare against us', without explaining what he means by 'us'.
Lucas, along with Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum and Daily Beast contributor Michael Weiss were prominent participants in a Legatum Institute conference held last week in London titled the 'Menace of Russian Unreality'.
Naturally the speakers didn't discuss the unreality of phantom Russian subs in Swedish waters, invading Russian armored columns that journalists inexplicably fail to photograph, and Buk missile launches whose existence Western security services refuse to prove by making their intelligence public.
Legatum conference speaker Peter Pomerantsev must suffer from Orwellian doublethink, when he tells Ukraine's Hromadske TV that the Russia Today's core audience consists of paranoid schizophrenics and conspiracy nuts, while writing elsewhere that RT poses a grave threat to the West's understanding of reality.
All of this leads this columnist to ask:
Why are the likes of Lucas, Weiss, and their Russophobic 'hack pack' circles so paranoid about European protests, politicians and secessionist movements? At least those such as Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's Fidesz Party or Marie Le Pen's National Front in France which aren't totally subservient to Washington and Brussels?
Why do they seem to fear a springtime of the nations in Europe, a return to the 'Europe of Fatherlands' advocated by great European leaders like Charles de Gaulle or Margaret Thatcher?
One finds good reason for the Russophobic Atlanticist circle's growing desperation in this week's headlines.
On Sunday, members of several euro-sceptic and European nationalist parties acted as election observers for the vote of Donbas residents to elect presidents of the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics, in defiance of Kiev.
While denounced as extremists by Kiev's propaganda machine, several of the observers at Sunday's polls in Donetsk represented mainstream political parties such as former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia party. Love Berlusconi or hate him, he was elected Prime Minister of Italy four times, hardly the stuff of the radical fringe. The same goes for Serbia's Progressive Party which sent a representative and is the current governing party in Belgrade.
Losing control over the narrative of a Europe 'United For Ukraine' though, seems insufficient to explain the panic among the Atlanticists. Nor is RT's recent launch of a UK channel, and ambitious plans to expand its French and German language offerings adequate to explain Lucas and company's hysteria.
Something else is driving this panic train.
This columnist believes it's the nagging sense that time isn't on their side. Europe is drifting away from Washington and London's orbit while anti-EU populism is rising, with an unforeseeable timetable but predictable consequences.
Today in Europe there is no shortage of young people with destroyed job prospects, as hungry for change as Romanians or East Germans were behind the Iron Curtain in 1989. In Brussels, over 100,000 people protested on Thursday against EU austerity measures, with some protesters turning into rioters.
In Spain, Zerohedge publishes photographs of Spanish army Humvees and armored cars rolling down the highway after Madrid threatens Catalan independence vote organizers in Barcelona with unspecified 'legal consequences'. In Italy, former comedian Beppe Grillo's 5 Star movement is polling over a quarter of the electorate in support of dumping the euro and reviving Italian exports with the lira.
In Germany, as Russia Insider reported this week, readers are increasingly rejecting dying newspapers as NATO propaganda.
Those like Ed Lucas or Garry Kasparov who claim Russia will try to subvert NATO through a 'little green men' entering the Baltics have completely lost the plot. Russia has no need to risk World War III to undermine NATO through force, when economics and culture, as President Reagan proved during the 1980s, are more potent weapons in the long run.
Time is on the side of the populists and against the central bankers and bureaucrats who offered prosperity and freedom, but created a "Hotel California" 'Union' instead.
The Greeks, to name one 'Captive Nation' of the EU empire, are free to check out any time they like, but they can't ever leave the Euro.