I must admit, Trump’s trip to the Middle East and his planned speech were not on my list of highly recommended things for Trump to undertake. The trip was high
Well it is official, Britain has invoked article 50 and is on track to leave the European Union. But even before Brexit was on the table, political movements in Europe and underlying social issues have created a potent cocktail of flammables that feels ever poised to be lit up. Developments in Europe are particularly disturbing, and potentially threatening. A weakening of the Union over Britain’s arranged departure, an emboldened Russia, and a rising nationalist movement, combined with huge numbers of economic refugees spreading over the continent, are worrying signs that Europe could indeed be the next global flash point. While the mainstream media will focus on what trade deal the UK will achieve with Europe, I want to take a look at some of the other risks and potential flashpoints that Europe is currently facing.
By Martin Anderson, A Contributing Author to SurvivalCache and SHTFBlog
Possibly the most important underlying factor for the potential of unrest in Europe is the growing sense of disunity among the members of the European Union itself. The organization is currently in disarray, the confidence in it seems further undermined each week. The opting out of the UK from the political and trade agreement signed in 1993 has prompted the populations of other nations to review their own independence from the supranational group of states. Particularly worrying are talks of a Frexit (France), and a Grexit (Germany). Although support for Frexit or Grexit is well below that of the UK’s own desires for exit, if either of these events were actually to happen, it would surely spell the end of any formal unity between European nations.
Another factor underpinning a potential hostility in Europe is the ongoing debt crisis. The latest big manifestation of this is the case of Italy’s banking sector. It’s estimated that Italian banks have over $400bn in bad loans on their books, putting a huge strain on the country economically. Being the third largest power in the EU, Italian financial security is vital for the stability of the Union. Additionally, a proposed EU aid package intended to bail out the struggling banking sector was recently rejected flat out. This serves as yet another example of a great European power displaying disdain for Brussels’s authority. The particular banking reforms required in order to receive the money aimed at easing the situation in Italy were apparently at odds with current Italian banking practices, and as such were vetoed in Rome. Being such a recent development, the implications of this latest crisis will not be known for some time. However, the handling of the issues that surround Italian banks will be absolutely crucial for the future of the EU. Put simply, a weak Italy means a weak Union, and a weak Union means a greater chance of general instability in the region. Instability, of course, is a precursor to flash points.
With literally millions of people pouring into Europe from disaster zones such as Syria, and Lybia, the strain on government budgets to provide aid, and the resentment this causes among some, are clear causes for concern over the stability of the continent. The correct (both morally, and feasibly) response to the tragic displacement of these people is a serious source of division among Europeans. There are many citizens and politicians alike who disagree with the notion that Europe should be obligated to house any refugees at all. Both the recent economic hardships and a rising demand for tighter immigration controls is fueling the growth of many populist right wing movements in Europe, as well as it is further afield. Such nationalist popular uprisings are naturally anti-EU, and as their influence grows, so too does public disenchantment with the idea of taking governance from outside of one’s own borders.
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A Weaker Europe is a Stronger Russia
Taken alone, a weaker Europe seems unlikely to generate the kind of flash point that would concern those in the US, what it does mean, however, is a shift in global power towards Moscow. Seemingly emboldened by the Trump presidency, Russian leader Vladimir Putin has made no secret of his desire to see his nation respected on the world stage as it once was. While there is scant evidence to suggest a Russian flag will be hoisted again over Berlin any time soon, the opportunistic leader appears to have been using a weakened, distracted Europe in order to gain greater influence on the collapsing continent. A report by the Wilfred Martens Center for European Studies states that the Kremlin has been funding the dissemination of pro-Russian sentiment across Europe through the use of NGOs. The aim could well be to create a more supportive opinion base for future foreign policy ambitions. According to the report called “The Bear in Sheep’s Clothing”, the spreading of pro-Russian sentiment seeks to “legitimise a Russian crackdown on human rights and encourage understanding and support for Russian culture, language, history and conservative values while opposing democracy”. Clearly, this sentiment is at odds with the opinion of many in the liberal democracies of Western Europe and seems likely to be indicative of a broader foreign policy agenda in Moscow.
Russia Has Eyes on Their Frontiers
The spreading of pro-Russia propaganda in European states could well be part of a wider strategy by Putin to weaken the EU and NATO, generally. Much of the information mentioned by the Wilfred Matens report is supportive of strong independent states and generally right wing “strong leader”sentiments. It seems to be an attempt to exacerbate the growing disillusionment with the efficacy, and even concept, of the Union from within its own borders. A collapsed NATO and EU would create a global power and influence map much more akin to that of the 1960s, when Russia stood atop the world stage rivaled only by the US. The dissolving of both supranational agreements would significantly weaken Europe’s border with Russia, thus allowing the latter to once again enjoy the highest standing of global power.
Whether or not the plan is to expand their Western frontiers is anybody outside of the Kremlin’s guess. Putin has made it clear in the past of his intention to restore USSR power, but annexing former territory would likely be too bold even for Putin .One thing is for certain, Russia has been increasing its military preparedness along their major borders, and this is in isolation cause for concern. Owing to the current warmer relationship between the two great former world powers, Russian aggression in Europe might not even prompt American involvement. Similarly, the UK, which with France is considered a cornerstone of European military power is removing itself from the EU, its obligation to engage with those that threaten Europe will be limited to that of its NATO obligations. Should Putin decide to flex his muscles at the border in the future, he may well find very little resistance.
The current political, and social climate in Europe seems poised on a knife edge, and the house-of-cards that is the European Union is beginning to feel passed its sell-by date. Economic hardship, an influx of refugees on the continent, a bullish Russian neighbor, and a rising affinity among the masses for nationalism, all underpinned by a military and political pact that are looking increasingly fragile, are strong indicators that Europe could indeed be the site of a major global flash point. Any one of these factors alone has the potential for localized pockets of mass unrest to flare up. However, taken together it seems much more a case of “sooner-or-later”, rather than “will it, won’t it?” One thing is certain, our preparedness relies on our information. We must make ourselves aware of events overseas and well as domestic news if we are to ensure our own survival.
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A new paper published through the University of St. Andrews, Dehumanisation in Religious and Sectarian Violence: the Case of Islamic State, explores the uniquely horrific practices of the Islamic State. The author, Dr. Gilbert Ramsay, explores how the Islamic State does not dehumanize their victims in traditional ways. In fact, the Islamic State will often attribute a great deal of humanity to those massacred. This can be seen most explicitly in the videos IS publishes. In one instance, Dr. Ramsay notes IS employs editing in their execution videos that offer: “a window into the thoughts of the penitent victim prior to death”. Through their publications, IS seeks to create an intimate bond between the viewer and the victim. The religious content of the Islamic State ideology is so potent, the dehumanization of massacred individuals is sometimes unnecessary. According to IS, Infidels and Shiites must be killed or submit to their ideology. As evidenced by the callous nature of their videos, this is done unapologetically.
By D-Ray, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache
To be sure, Ramsay also notes the Islamic State will, from time to time, use dehumanizing methods. However, compared to other genocidal organizations, IS does not employ dehumanization nearly as frequently. Notably, the Nazis found found ways to dehumanize and shield themselves from profoundly depraved actions. The implications of the Islamic State’s ideological nature presents a terrifying possibility: we are dealing with an entity that does not find genocidal activities to be morally unconscionable.
Related: Zero Footprint
The Islamic State represents a truly unique and horrible evil. Although they are materially weak, the ideological power of IS is potent. It has been often said that you can kill a man but you can not kill an idea. While I agree with the sentiment of this maxim, the West must begin to attack and kill the ideology upon which the Islamic State is premised. If this new study is any indication, combatting the Islamic State’s cancerous belief system will be incredibly difficult.
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Today, I read a Fox News article entitled, “Iranian dissidents seeking meeting with Trump.” See: (http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/12/23/iranian-dissidents-seeking-meeting-with-trump.html). According to the article, Iranian dissidents have penned a letter to Trump urging him
By Eric Leister – AccuWeather
A slow-moving storm system will lead to flash flooding across the Middle East on Wednesday and Thursday. The threat for flooding will extend from Iraq and western Iran into Saudi Arabia and Yemen.
As the storm slowly tracks from the Mediterranean Sea toward the northern Persian Gulf this week, widespread thunderstorms will ignite across the region.
Heavy rain will trigger flash flooding across several areas.
World News and It’s Hunting Season!
Mathew Gilman “The Collapse Experiment”
On this episode of the Collapse Experiment… Around the world the hunt is on. Here in Michigan bow season for deer is in. Turkey season is in full swing with me unable to get a license in time, sigh.
In Syria, Putin is also enjoying the hunt going after ISIS with air strikes that has started to drive the group into Turkey. The US and Russia have gone back and forth about Syrian airspace and coordinating attacks against the radical militant group. Like I said before, you know you’re a special kind of jerk when Russia and the US will work together to get rid of you. The Syrian army has joined the fight with an offensive following a series of Russian air strikes against ISIS targets.
To the north, Obama has decided to leave 5,500 troops in Afghanistan for another year delaying our leave of the country. This comes after attacks from the Taliban and a coalition helicopter crash in Kabul on October 10th killing two American soldiers. The move is to ensure the security of the country after the US is completely gone.
Iraq has finally put on their big boy pants and is preparing an assault against the ISIS held Ramadi. This is after the Iraqi army an with their tail between their legs a few years ago when ISIS took over the area in a Blitzkrieg style offensive into the country.
In political collapse news everybody agrees with Bernie. The first democratic political debate had everyone repeating the comments of the oldest man on stage. Bernie Sanders had no problem telling people how it is and everyone would reply with “I agree with Bernie…” The debate was a stale version of the republican debate with no Trump for everyone to attack. Even Hillary was non existent on stage.
China is warning the US about their presence in the south china sea. The US is concerned about the Chinese building military facilities on a series of islands that are in dispute. China warns the US to stay away from the region after the US made comments about patrolling the area.
A Scottish nurse that contracted Ebola over a year ago in Sierra Leone is in critical condition after the virus came back. The doctor are convinced that the virus is not contagious and that a weakened version of the virus has returned after not being fully eradicated.
To finish up, silver is on the cheap side these days and some hunting safety tips for those who are hitting the woods this time of year. All of this and more on the Collapse Experiment Podcast.
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