Σάββατο, 28 Φεβρουαρίου 2009

Socialism vs. Capitalism

A night shot of the two Koreas from space.

Παρασκευή, 16 Ιανουαρίου 2009

Online poll, "YES or NO is Macedonia Greek?"

There is an online poll about whether or not Macedonia is Greek. You all know what you have to do, so go for it ;)

As you'll see there are quite a lot of comments, here follows my own:

Greece has not only historical rights, but Greek Macedonia occupies the largest portion of geographical Macedonia.

The contemporary region of Macedonia is a wider region in the Balkan peninsula that spans across several modern states, mainly Greece, Bulgaria, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and Albania.

Hence, the monopolization of the name by FYROM and its citizens creates semiological confusion, as it becomes increasingly difficult to disambiguate which "Macedonia", which "Macedonians" and what "Macedonian language" are referred to in each occasion.

In terms of population, Greek Macedonia has a population of 2,625,681 GREEK MACEDONIANS, in contrast the whole country of FYROM has a total population of 2,061,315 people out of which more than 600.000 at least are Albanians and various other minorities .

So the question turns to be, how can a country -FYROM- be eligible to demand to be named Macedonia while the portion of the population that feel ethnically Slav Macedonians is less than 1,300,000 people? While in Greece, the Greek Macedonians are 2,625,681 people!

Thats, 2,625,681 GREEK MACEDONIANS vs 1,300,000 Slav Macedonians...

More over an ever incising portion of dozens of thousand Slav Macedonians already have or have applied to get Bulgarian passports, recognizing their Bulgarian roots. Among them are quite a few politicians of FYROM, as well as the former Prime Minister Ljubco Georgievski who already has Bulgarian passport.

I will dear to predict that the future for this minor state of FYROM, will have the same faith as of the former Yugoslavia. The fragmentation of the country and the annexation of it's parts to the neighboring countries of Albania and Bulgaria is unavoidable, more over this perspective implies less threats and risks than the coexistence of an explosive mixture of ethnic groups under the same roof.

Sources:
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macedonia_(region)
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macedonia_(Greece)
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republic_of_Macedonia
  • http://www.novinite.com/view_news.php?id=90197
*corrections have been made to the original text

Τρίτη, 6 Μαΐου 2008

Greece seals pipeline agreement with Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin is ending his term by sealing a deal on the South Stream gas pipeline, a project perceived as a rival to the EU's flagship Nabucco pipeline aimed at decreasing Europe's dependency on Russian gas.


EU dependency on Russian gas imports is currently at 40% and is expected to rise considerably in the coming decades unless supply sources are diversified and/or greater emphasis is placed on locally generated renewable sources of energy.

The EU and Russia began an 'Energy Dialogue' in 2000 in order to formalise their energy relations. But relations between the two sides have been marred by difficulties, with European firms complaining about restricted access to key energy resources and investments in Russia (EurActiv 06/02/07).

These concerns led the Commission to insert a reciprocity clause into its energy market proposals in a move aimed at protecting EU energy infrastructure from control by third countries. The clause - dubbed the "Gazprom clause" in Brussels – would oblige foreign firms to 'unbundle' their production and transmission activities before they are allowed to obtain a controlling stake in European energy companies (EurActiv 20/09/07).

Greek Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis signed an agreement with Moscow on Tuesday (29 April) to start construction on the South Stream pipeline, pouring cold water on the rival Nabucco project championed by the EU.

South Stream was launched in 2007 by Italy's Eni and Russia's Gazprom. It is designed to pump 30 billion cubic metres of Russian gas a year to Europe, under the Black Sea via Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia and Croatia to Italy. Under the plans, one of its branches will go through Hungary, which recently joined the project, and reach Austria.

Speaking to reporters after the signing ceremony in Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin derided EU efforts on Nabucco. "Please, if someone can find some other similar project under economically acceptable terms that can guarantee products of a sufficient volume for these gas systems, we will only be glad," Putin said according to the Associated Press.

"Realising the South Stream project doesn't mean that we are fighting some other alternative project," he added.

Nabucco in the doldrums

By contrast, Nabucco would bring gas from the Middle East and Asia to Europe via Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Austria. The project is geopolitically significant because it will bypass Russia, but the project, scheduled to be completed by 2013, has encountered financing problems and a lack of political will from some member states.

Russia attaches importance to the South Stream project, estimated to cost some €10 billion, because it bypasses Ukraine and would probably make Nabucco redundant. Moscow is also trying to pre-empt any plans to bring gas to Europe from Central Asia, bypassing Russia. Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller famously mocked the ambitions of the EU project, saying "Nabucco is an opera, not a pipeline".

Recently, Russian Ambassador to the EU Vladimir Chizhov dismissed the potential of the Nabucco project, especially the plans to bring gas from Turkmenistan or Azerbaijan, labelling the resources of the two Central Asian countries insufficient. The only way to fill the Nabucco pipeline is with Iranian gas, he said.

Russia reasserting ties with South Eastern Europe

Gazprom is also very close to finalising an energy agreement with Serbia, where a 400-kilometre section of the South Stream pipeline will be built. As part of the deal, Gazpromneft will acquire a 51% stake in Serbia's state-owned oil company, NIS, for €400 million.

This pipeline project and others seem to go hand in hand with Russia's ambition to reassert its ties with transit countries. Russian friendship with Greece and Serbia has historic roots. The relations with Belgrade developed greatly in opposition to the major Western players over Kosovo, and could blossom even further if a nationalist and anti-EU government takes over following the elections on 11 May. Russia's relations with EU members Hungary and Bulgaria have also perceptibly improved.

Senior EU statesman sought to head South Stream

Gazprom is also obviously looking for a senior EU statesman to head the South Stream project. Italy's outgoing prime minister, Romano Prodi, has declined Putin's offer, an Italian cabinet source recently disclosed. Such an appointment would mirror German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's appointment to Gazprom's Nord Stream pipeline. The position is obviously still open.

In an interview with the New America Media website, Michael T. Klare, director of the Five College programme in Peace and World Security Studies at Hampshire College, Amherst said: "Putin has turned Russia into an energy superpower by reasserting state control over Russia's energy assets. One thing that one has to bear in mind is the importance of natural gas in the world energy equation. In another decade, maybe two, oil will be supplanted by natural gas, and Russia has more natural gas than Saudi Arabia has oil. Gazprom, the state monopoly, is the world's largest owner of natural gas. Putin has absolutely and totally dominated the control of Gazprom."

In an editorial, the Financial Times said there is "no need to demonise Russia" following the South Stream deal. "Moscow is unlikely to use its dominance to cut off the EU. It depends on gas revenues even more than the union depends on its gas. But a stronger market position allows the Kremlin to seek higher prices and better terms — and to exert political influence, particularly in Eastern Europe where dependence on Russian gas is highest. The only effective EU response is a unified, multi-headed and flexible approach to energy security. It is perhaps the biggest contribution the Union could make to Europe's economic well-being."

Δευτέρα, 21 Απριλίου 2008

FITNA - the film

Fitna is a 2008 short film by Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders. The film explores Qur'anic motivation for terrorism, Islamic universalism, and Islam in the Netherlands. The film's title comes from the Arabic word fitna which is used to describe "disagreement and division among people", or a "test of faith in times of trial".

On March 27, 2008, Fitna was released to the Internet on the video sharing website Liveleak in Dutch and English versions. The following day, Liveleak removed the film from their servers citing serious threats to their staff. On March 30, Fitna was restored on Liveleak following a security upgrade, but was promptly removed by Wilders for copyright violations. A second edition was released on April 6.

I was borne, raised and I live in a western type society so I admit that my opinion might not be justified, this is why I’m trying to avoid making any personal comments. The reason of this post is not to offend Islam, neither to argue on which religion is the best. Personally, I have faith on the goodness every person carries individually, regardless religion.

Τετάρτη, 16 Απριλίου 2008

...to veto or not to veto?

There's been quite a lot of criticism over whether Greece should have vetoed or not the accession in NATO of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in the Bucharest NATO summit.

Unfortunately the media, especially in the US, are trying to present what happened as something rare and immoral. But in fact it's neither rare nor immoral. Veto is a legal and legitimate foreign policy asset that governments have on their disposal and it has been used numerously.


Example A: The case of two NATO allies, UK and France that disputed over the term "Britain", in concern of the background history, leading in two French vetoes.

The United Kingdom has been a member of the EU's forerunner, the European Economic Community (EEC), from 1973. Prior to that in both 1961 and 1967 United Kingdom requested negotiations on accession to the EEC by the name "Great Britain". Each time French leader Charles De Gaulle vetoed because France objected to the term "Britain" due to the association with the French territory of Brittany.
For the ones that are interested on the background history of the issue, I'll try to present in short some key facts:
UKs official name has been "The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland" since the Republic of Ireland broke away from the UK in 1920, and the ratification of the Government of Ireland Act of 1920, where the UK recognized the independent Irish Republic.

Before then, it had been the "United Kingdom of Great Britain" since the Acts of Union of 1707, and the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland" since the Acts of Union of 1800.

French Brittany
had ties with Britain during the High Middle Ages, when both territories were rules by the Angevin Kings of England. In the Breton Revolt of 1173, Bretons rebelled against the attempts of Henry II to annex Brittany to the possessions of the English Crown. Lead by Henry II's sone Geoffrey II, the Bretons were successful, and established the independent Kingdom of Brittany.

Brittany became part of the Kingdom of France in 1492, when Anne, Duchess of Brittany, the sole heir to kingdom of Brittany, married Louis XII of France.

Example B
: another case of David vs Goliath, is the case of Turkey that has exercised its veto power in a total of 8 organizations blocking Cyprus' participation.
But of course in the case of Cyprus no one seams to be annoyed by the fact that Turkey has invaded and occupies 37% of the territory of an EU member state; neither do I see criticizing the 70.000.000 people Turkey who vetoes the 800.000 people tiny and divided Cyprus.
So, obviously Greece -that has not invaded another country- vetoed the accession of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia for preserving its national interests in the same sense France preserved its national interests by vetoing twice "Great Britain" objecting on the use of the term "Britain".

At this point, I will remind that in Bucharest NATO summit, French President Nicolas Sarkozy was the warmest supporter of the Greek positions, who said in his address that "We stand in solidarity with Greeks, we believe that a solution must be found. I have Hungarian roots, but I also have Greek roots and I fully assume them". Of course his Greek roots come from the city of Thessaloníki, so he is obviously a Macedonian; a Macedonian who identifies himself as a Greek!

Merci Nicola!

Σάββατο, 5 Απριλίου 2008

The Macedonian Problem for Dummies

The background history of the former Yugoslavia is more or less well know. On the left side of the map is the area occupied by the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (until 1992) and on the right side is the same area after the fragmentation of the Federation in several States.



The following story is FICTION and is used as an example.

Let’s suppose that Mexico falls into civil conflict and as a result three other States are born, the Republic of Michoacan, the Republic of Tabasco and the Republic of Texas.



The “Republic of Texas” applies to the UN for membership under the name “Texas”. After strong opposition by the USA, it is agreed that the “Republic of Texas” is accepted by the UN under the provisional name “The Former Mexican Republic of Texas” (FMROT) until the name dispute is resolved by the two countries.

For several years, talks for a solution fail, and the “Republic of Texas” or “The Former Mexican Republic of Texas” (FMROT) constantly rejects proposals as:
  • “Latinotexas”
  • “Latin Texas”
  • “North Texas”
  • “New Texas”
One after the other, the EU / major countries start referring to “The Former Mexican Republic of Texas” (FMROT) as “Texas” by overlooking the UN provision stating that until a solution is agreed between the USA and “Texas” the country will be referred as “The Former Mexican Republic of Texas”.

In the mean time, the “Republic of Texas” or “The Former Mexican Republic of Texas” (FMROT) uses propaganda and instills hostility and a rationale of irredentism in portions of the population of the “The Former Mexican Republic of Texas” toward USA and the history of the USA.

The “Republic of Texas” publishes military textbooks which contain maps of "Greater Texas" extending many miles into the USA.

Students in schools of the “Republic of Texas” are being taught that parts of the USA, including the State of Texas, parts of New Mexico and Arizona, are rightful parts of the “Republic of Texas”.

More over the “Republic of Texas” claims that the “Texans” are descendents of Stephen F. Austin, known as the “Father of Texas” and they are blood related with the native “Texans” since ancient times!

At this point let’s also suppose that the “Republic of Texas” would like to become a NATO member while Greece, France and Germany pressure the USA government to accept the new member with the name “Texas”, because it’s good for their foreign policy of course!

Would the USA accept such thing? Would the USA accept such a hoax?

Why should Greece…?