Author Topic: The US's attitude towards the EU  (Read 2652 times)

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Offline Johnnie F.

The US's attitude towards the EU
« on: February 07, 2014, 12:01:18 PM »
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSxaa-67yGM


The sentence you want to hear she "drops" at 3:02. Use this link to skip the chat before that:

http://youtu.be/MSxaa-67yGM?t=3m2s
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Offline Johnnie F.

Re: The US's attitude towards the EU
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2014, 12:15:36 PM »
U.S. Points to Russia as Diplomats’ Private Call Is Posted on Web

WASHINGTON — After months of taking grief for snooping on foreign leaders, the Obama administration found itself on the other side on Thursday after a private telephone call between two American diplomats appeared on the Internet in a breach that the White House tied to Russia.

In the recording, an assistant secretary of state and the ambassador to Ukraine are heard talking about the political crisis in Kiev, their views of how it might be resolved, their assessments of the various opposition leaders and their frustrations with their European counterparts. At one point, the assistant secretary uses an expletive in a reference to the European Union.

The conversation opened a window into the American handling of the crisis and could easily inflame passions in Kiev, Brussels and Moscow, where the role of the United States has been controversial. The White House on Thursday suggested that Russia, which has jockeyed with the United States and Europe for influence in Ukraine, played some role in the interception or dissemination of the conversation.

“The video was first noted and tweeted out by the Russian government,” Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, told reporters. “I think it says something about Russia’s role.”

Asked if he was accusing Russia of recording the conversation, Mr. Carney said: “I’m not. I’m just noting that they tweeted it out.”

In a later briefing, Jen Psaki, the State Department spokeswoman, said she had no information about who posted the recording but criticized Moscow for promoting it. “Certainly we think this is a new low in Russian tradecraft,” she said.

Another administration official privately confirmed the authenticity of the tape, which was posted anonymously on YouTube on Tuesday under a Russian headline, “Puppets of Maidan,” referring to the square occupied by protesters, and reported on Thursday by the Kyiv Post.
A recording posted on Tuesday of a conversation between Victoria Nuland, the assistant secretary of state for European affairs, and Geoffrey R. Pyatt, the ambassador to Ukraine. Ms. Nuland uses an expletive to describe the European Union.

A link to the secret recording was sent out in a Twitter message earlier Thursday by the account of Dmitry Loskutov, an aide to Russia’s deputy prime minister. “Sort of controversial judgment from Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland speaking about the EU,” the message said, clearly trying to drive a wedge between the United States and Europe.

Obama administration officials took that as confirmation of their suspicion that the conversation was intercepted or at least disseminated by Russia’s government, which has sheltered Edward J. Snowden, the National Security Agency contractor who exposed American eavesdropping of foreign leaders like Angela Merkel of Germany.

While the revelation prompted the White House to cancel surveillance of friendly foreign leaders like Ms. Merkel, administration officials defended themselves by noting that many governments spy on American officials as well. American diplomats have long assumed that their telephone calls were tapped by Moscow, but rarely if ever have the Russians made recordings public.

The administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the fact that this one was made public was a sign of desperation by the Russians, who in this view are trying to stop the Americans from brokering a settlement of the standoff between President Viktor F. Yanukovych and the Ukrainian opposition. It came to light even as Ms. Nuland was in Kiev on Thursday talking with both Mr. Yanukovych and opposition leaders.

Mr. Loskutov, responding to messages from a reporter on Twitter, rejected the American assertion that he was first to disseminate the recording. “Disseminating started earlier,” he wrote in English, adding that his Twitter post was being “used to hang the blame” on Russia. Asked if Russia had any role, he said: “How would I know? I was just monitoring ‘the Internets’ while my boss was off to a meeting with the Chinese leader.”

In the recorded call, Ms. Nuland and the ambassador, Geoffrey Pyatt, were talking about an offer made on Jan. 25 by Mr. Yanukovych to bring two opposition leaders, Arseniy P. Yatsenyuk and Vitali Klitschko, into the government as prime minister and deputy prime minister, respectively. The two Americans described Mr. Yatsenyuk, a former economics minister, in favorable terms, but viewed Mr. Klitschko, a former world heavyweight boxing champion now serving in Parliament, more warily.

“The Klitschko piece is obviously the complicated electron here,” Mr. Pyatt said.

Ms. Nuland suggested that Mr. Klitschko should not go into the government. “I don’t think it’s necessary,” she said. “I don’t think it’s a good idea.”

Mr. Pyatt concurred. “In terms of him not going into the government, just let him sort of stay out and do his political homework and stuff,” the ambassador said. “I’m just thinking in terms of sort of the process moving ahead; we want to keep the moderate democrats together.”

Ms. Nuland described Mr. Yatsenyuk as “the guy who’s got the economic experience, the governing experience,” and said Mr. Klitschko’s working for him was “just not going to work.” Mr. Pyatt called Mr. Klitschko the “top dog” among the opposition leaders and suggested that Ms. Nuland call him directly.

Ms. Nuland seemed frustrated that European leaders had not put enough pressure on Mr. Yanukovych to respond to protesters upset with his decision not to sign a trade agreement with the European Union. She told Mr. Pyatt that Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations secretary general, was preparing to send an envoy to Ukraine, which would “help glue this thing and to have the U.N. glue it.”

“And you know,” she said, and then used an expletive to say what could be done to “the E.U.”

“Exactly,” Mr. Pyatt said. He expressed concern that “the Russians will be working behind the scenes to try to torpedo it,” and agreed that there would be value in an “international personality” traveling to Kiev to “midwife this thing.”

Ms. Nuland said that she could get Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. to call Mr. Yanukovych for “an atta boy” encouraging moves to work with the opposition, and that “Biden’s willing.”

Ultimately, Mr. Yatsenyuk and Mr. Klitschko declined to join the government later on Jan. 25. Mr. Biden called Mr. Yanukovych three days later, the day Prime Minister Mykola Azarov stepped down. Protests continue.

Ms. Nuland was in Kiev on Thursday trying to broker a deal to de-escalate the confrontation by assuring amnesty for protesters, moving demonstrations back from public buildings and restarting negotiations. Over a longer term, the Obama administration is trying to persuade Mr. Yanukovych to make constitutional and electoral changes that would allow for opposition participation in government and eventually lead to economic assistance from the International Monetary Fund.

Ms. Nuland met with opposition leaders on Thursday and spent four hours with Mr. Yanukovych, who later released a statement saying that he was ready to return to negotiations with the opposition and would accelerate the release of jailed protesters. “It is only through dialogue and compromise that we can overcome the political crisis,” Mr. Yanukovych said.

After the intercepted telephone conversation became widely reported on Thursday, Ms. Nuland spoke with European Union officials to smooth over any ruffled feathers. Reached by telephone in Kiev, Ms. Nuland referred questions to the State Department, but seemed more amused than angry. “It’s all part of the job,” she said. Mr. Pyatt posted a picture on Twitter of the two of them laughing as they read the Russian official’s tweet on an iPad. “Enjoying Dima’s tweet here in Kyiv,” Mr. Pyatt wrote, referring to Mr. Loskutov.

New York Times
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Offline Al

Re: The US's attitude towards the EU
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2014, 12:26:57 PM »
The US's attitude towards the EU? No, I don't think so.

The recording shows two hard working diplomats attempting to help resolve a very difficult, convoluted, complex Ukraine situation.  Good Lord, if one was to be judged by comments/gallows humor made during internal meetings as stress and challenges continue to rise, while working to resolve serious problems, we all would be guilty of off the cuff comments - including me from my working/managing days.
 

sicho

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Re: The US's attitude towards the EU
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2014, 01:14:40 PM »
I have to work out what the hell the internal affairs of The Ukraine have to do with the US - or Russia or the EU States for that matter.

The Ukraine is a country with a divided culture, one favouring Europe and the other Russia. Interference from either bloc can only make matters worse and interference, overt or clandestine, from the US government is likely to add more petrol to the fire, f word or not. Perhaps my knowledge of these things is deficient but, as far as I know, The Ukraine is not a threat to the US and has neither oil nor gas.

In short, mind your own bloody business.
 

Offline pop401k

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Re: The US's attitude towards the EU
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2014, 01:15:50 PM »
Interestingly, one of my pals emailed me a supposed quote from Mr. Putin; it went something like this...

"Conducting affairs with Mr. Obama is like playing chess with a pigeon;  He knocks over all the pieces, shits on the gameboard and then struts around like he won the game."

I thought it rather appropriate.
 

sicho

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Re: The US's attitude towards the EU
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2014, 01:17:09 PM »
Nice one Pop. He could have used other names in place of Obama - Kissinger for example.
 

Offline Al

Re: The US's attitude towards the EU
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2014, 04:33:10 PM »
The Ukraine is a member of the United Nations.  Efforts towards helping the Ukraine are UN based initiatives.

That is basically "what the hell the internal affairs of The Ukraine have to do with the US - or Russia or the EU States for that matter."
 

sicho

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Re: The US's attitude towards the EU
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2014, 07:49:20 PM »
The US has for decades tried to screw the power of the UN by taking unilateral action in one form or another. If the problems in The Ukraine have anything to do with the UN than let the UN deal with them.

Is Thailand a member of the UN?
 

sicho

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Re: The US's attitude towards the EU
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2014, 01:28:07 PM »
I see that Merkel has waded in with comments about this, no doubt still sore after learning that her personal communications were intercepted by what she thought was a friendly foreign government:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-26080715

Nuland has made remarks that seem to be intended to turn the focus on those whom she thinks published her conversation. Has anyone noticed any attempt at an apology from her?
 

sicho

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Re: The US's attitude towards the EU
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2014, 07:33:57 AM »
Obama has stuck his nose in with one of his Syria style threats of 'consequences' if the Ukraine government takes 'excessive action'. Once again, he is threatening a legitimate government and taking sides with just one section of a foreign country's population.

http://edition.cnn.com/2014/02/19/politics/kerry-ukraine/

Shut up and get on with your own problems at home.
 

Offline Roger

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Re: The US's attitude towards the EU
« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2014, 09:27:00 AM »
The self-aggrandizement of the USA in assuming the role of 'World Policeman', 'Top Moral Authority' and leading Judge and Jury for all matters world-wide, has for many decades been the subject of the widest 'disapproval' and causes a great deal of enmity.
A bit more humility would go a long way.
And the USA has plenty of problems at home to deal with as Saf says.
 

Offline Al

Re: The US's attitude towards the EU
« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2014, 10:35:36 AM »
I suppose that as an American I tend to look at this stuff with a bit of bias, and I hope you will perhaps indulge and forgive me for my shortcomings in that area.

That said, I view this issue a bit simplistically.  It seems to me that the US is merely providing comment, and perhaps advice (wanted or not) to a friend who seems to be in deep trouble.

On a personal level, I think that if I was engaged in something that could be viewed as dangerous or self destructive to my friends and family, I would kind of hope that my good friends would at least provide perhaps some support or comments.  To just say it is not their/our problem and to take a position that one must stay out of it and merely watch from afar seems a bit callous to me.

Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon?
 

Offline Roger

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Re: The US's attitude towards the EU
« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2014, 11:32:43 AM »
Hello Al and I take the point you make but evenso, sometimes personally and invariably in International Affairs, I'm guessing it's more productive to wait to be asked before actually giving advice.
It's not callous but reality that unasked for advice is likely to be resented and will often preclude the receiver of the advice from complying with that advice for the simple fear of losing 'face' or appearing weak.
I should add that these comments not anti-USA alone but anti-UK too - (in the UK we also suffer from lofty and unhelpful delusions as to our position in the World).
The most that outsiders can contribute in most cases is careful and supportive words and appeals without being judgemental or threatening.
ATB 
 

sicho

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Re: The US's attitude towards the EU
« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2014, 12:59:26 PM »
The Ukraine, as I wrote previously, is a country that has within it a social divide. One half looks to Europe and the other to Russia. It's regrettable that this has led to so much death and injury lately but it remains an internal issue. The elected government has made a decision that favours trade with Russia. If it had decided to look to the EU, people in the east of The Ukraine may have objected.

Comments from other countries, perhaps based on poor knowledge and different perceptions, don't help. How many more examples of the harm done by interference will there be before they learn? The outside 'advice' has become today a veiled threat similar to that made towards the Syrian government. That advice favours the pro-EU lobby and blames the government for the violence. That is not even handed advice but biased and ignorant interference.
 

sicho

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Re: The US's attitude towards the EU
« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2014, 01:53:01 PM »
With the help of an attention-seeking 'filmmaker' by the name of 'Ben Moses', CNN is now blatantly misrepresenting what is going on in The Ukraine. Moses has a video clip of a young Kiev woman making some vague plea on behalf of her country and is waxing lyrical about her personal attributes. CNN is using this to portray The Ukraine government as a suppressor of its citizens' freedoms. For pity's sake, it's about at trade deal that has highlighted old divisions within the country.

What next? England oppressing the Scots and denying them personal freedoms? Flemish oppressing Walloons?
 

Offline Roger

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Re: The US's attitude towards the EU
« Reply #15 on: February 20, 2014, 02:39:40 PM »
Sky News - "and President Obama is turning up the heat", (on the Ukraine Govt.). Oh REALLY ! Cobblers.
Unasked for advice is likely to be resented.
And we see Obama in full sanctimonious mode again. UUmmmm ! MYOB.
Through the ages it's been easier to focus on problems abroad than problems at home.
 

sicho

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Re: The US's attitude towards the EU
« Reply #16 on: February 20, 2014, 04:43:30 PM »
CNN again. This is unbelievable. An interviewer has just asked some European expert on The Ukraine, 'But isn't the country a dictatorship?'

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Government_of_Ukraine
 

Offline pop401k

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Re: The US's attitude towards the EU
« Reply #17 on: February 20, 2014, 05:04:05 PM »
As a matter of fact, it is...much like the dicatorship we have here in Thailand...   :rclxs0

And regarding the "friendly advice" to a friend in trouble...why lead in with veiled threats???  As an American, it bothers me that the first words out of our goverbnment's mouth is always:  "The first priority is getting rid of Mr. Assad's regime." or "If the Ukrainian government uses excessive force, we'll act accordingly."  Always the implied threat of violence; can't we do any better than that? 
 

Offline Roger

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Re: The US's attitude towards the EU
« Reply #18 on: February 20, 2014, 05:16:30 PM »
Well said Pop !
 

Offline Roger

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Re: The US's attitude towards the EU
« Reply #19 on: February 20, 2014, 05:18:23 PM »
Pop I mean the sentence about friendly advice. Well said for that - but I'm not sure about the 'dictatorship' bit. ATB
 

sicho

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Re: The US's attitude towards the EU
« Reply #20 on: March 01, 2014, 07:13:02 AM »
CNN is showing video of what they claim to be Russian helicopters flying over The Ukraine. I take their word about the origins of the helicopters and assume that they are over The Crimea. They are also showing video of armed men in battle fatigues with no marking to identify their allegiance guarding airports in The Crimea.

Now, it seems quite possible that Putin is sticking his nose into Ukrainian affairs. On the other hand, Russia has a vested interest in The Crimea. The regions is pro-Russia, Russia needs its naval facility in The Crimea and many Russians live their. The illegal ousting of The Ukraine's pro-Russian President and his replacement by a pro-EU one must be of concern to residents of The Crimea and Russia.

I wonder to what extent the alleged Russian activity has been provoked by rhetoric from the West. Obama has immediately piped up with his old threat of 'consequences'. Putin must be laughing himself silly.
 

Offline Al

Re: The US's attitude towards the EU
« Reply #21 on: March 01, 2014, 08:06:49 AM »
You guys have disagreed with me in that you said previously in part, "It's regrettable that this has led to so much death and injury lately but it remains an internal issue."  Well, the internal solution was to toss out the existing government.  And, as a result, it appears that Russia disagrees that it is an "internal issue" and will move in to reset things.  And now you point out that "the alleged Russian activity has been provoked by rhetoric from the West" and you seem to allude that Russia's actions are understandable and justified.

I am having a bit of trouble following the thought process here. :uhm
 

sicho

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Re: The US's attitude towards the EU
« Reply #22 on: March 01, 2014, 12:03:06 PM »
Al, I can't speak for others but here's my simple view:

1. I think that there should have been no foreign interference in the affairs of The Ukraine.

2. Representatives of the US government made interfering comments, opening the door to others doing the same.

3. Russia has, it seems, interfered in no small way.

4. I still think that The Ukraine should be left to sort out it's problems alone.

5. I can see Russia's reasons for interfering even though I think that they should stay out of it.

6. CNN has more nose poking programme content than it has had since Obama drew a red line in front of Assad's nose.
 

sicho

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The Ukraine
« Reply #23 on: March 07, 2014, 08:53:33 AM »
What a mess this has turned into. For those who haven't kept up to date (you can't be watching CNN which has little else to talk about) here's a quick summary of events:

1. The duly elected president of The Ukraine indicated his intention to sign a trade deal with Russia.

2. Ukrainians who favour the EU to the point of flying the EU flag didn't like this and some demonstrated.

3. Obama made vague threats to the elected government. This encouraged the demonstrators to become more obstreperous despite attempts by the President to settle the matter. His interference also opened the door to other countries to poke in their noses when it suited them.

4. The President resigned and fled to Russia. He was replaced by an unelected head of state.

5. Kerry, who must have studied the diplomacy skill of Kissinger, waded in. Kissinger, you will remember, would fly to the Middle East for peace talks and the conflict there would get worse as soon as he left for home. The pattern was about to be repeated.

6. Obama and Kerry now turn their attention to Putin. He's the man who can make Western leaders look like buffoons even before he's had his morning coffee.

7. Russia has a stake in the Crimea. Many citizens there prefer Russia to the EU and Russia has an important naval base there. Putin sends in troops to protect his interests.

8. Obama calls the Russian action a violation of international law. That's an example of black calling the kettle pot. He threatens sanctions in the hope that Putin laughs himself to death. Russia supplies Germany with 40% of its energy requirements and the pipeline tap is in Russia. Who has the whip hand? Obama has nothing to lose and is prepared to screw up the whole European Continent in order to throw his peanuts at Putin.

9. Russia threatens to seize US and EU business assets in Russia if sanctions are imposed. It's as if he holds the whole deck of cards rather than just the aces.

10. Merkel poos her knickers and looks for 'talks'. Cameron now jumps on the band wagon. The EU is looking to develop a common response to Russia whilst individual heads of state row their own boats.

11. CNN is given the job of bombarding its viewers with propaganda with not a word about the history of this region.

The goings on in The Ukrains were nothing to do with Russia, the US or the EU. But it's too late now.

Here's bit of history for those who are interested:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Ukraine
 

sicho

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Re: The US's attitude towards the EU
« Reply #24 on: March 07, 2014, 09:31:05 AM »
12. Obama claims that the referendum to be held in The Crimea would be illegal because it doesn't include the whole of The Ukraine. Can we then look forward to Obama's interference in the coming referendum in Scotland?
 

Offline Roger

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Re: The US's attitude towards the EU
« Reply #25 on: March 07, 2014, 12:56:58 PM »
It's important IMO that another election is due to take place in Ukraine at the end of March - then Ukraine should have a 'legitimate' Government again.
But there is a Referendum in Crimea for secession from Ukraine, before that.
(As an aside, in modern parlance, Politicians often describe these situations as being 'unacceptable' - ok then - so don't accept it - but what can you do about it).
Generally, I tend to think that secession is a good solution where the support for it is overwhelming, subject to protection for minorities.
Putin has the whip hand.
For me it's up to the people of Ukraine and Crimea - careful support from the UN, EU as multi-national organisations seems broadly ok to me.
 

sicho

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Re: The US's attitude towards the EU
« Reply #26 on: March 07, 2014, 01:01:15 PM »
I would exclude the EU from that, Roger. It would not be seen as neutral and has too many leaders speaking for their own interests. The UN representative was hounded out of the country so they are off to a bad start.
 

Offline Roger

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Re: The US's attitude towards the EU
« Reply #27 on: March 07, 2014, 01:52:45 PM »
Hi Saf and I was thinking that wise words from UN and EU, (Catherine Ashton) might have been helpful if the Nation states themselves, Obama, Cameron et al, had not done so much posturing.
 

sicho

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Re: The US's attitude towards the EU
« Reply #28 on: March 07, 2014, 01:58:46 PM »
The EU is part of the problem - seen as a rival to Russia for trade deals.

Catherine Ashton seems to have but one skill - getting between the cameras and someone who might have something to offer.

The UN is the only body that might offer mediation but the threat to its representative yesterday was a set back.
 

Offline Roger

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Re: The US's attitude towards the EU
« Reply #29 on: March 08, 2014, 11:15:55 AM »
Hello Saf and yes I agree that the EU's interests are clearly in the way - but my feeling is, that at an earlier stage, before matters escalated, supportive and helpful comment from almost any source might have helped a little - specifically excluding the USA and UK who have lost all moral right to advise anyone at all IMO.
In Ukraine, I think the new PM needs to accept the possibility of the secession of Crimea - the process to get some democratic authority behind this might be..
1. The mid-march referendum on secession in Crimea should go ahead as planned to avoid unrest.
2. In the elections in Ukraine at the month end, add a vote for or against secession of Crimea.
3. After another 30 days, hold another referendum in Crimea to confirm after more mature consideration, the wishes of the people.
Work around that ? Some hope ! Wish it was that simple.
Coming back to the original point of the thread, the early comments from the USA and UK were not helpful.
ATB


 

 



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