Reason and Russia: Part 2

“Reason must be the universal rule and guide; all things must be done according to reason without allowing oneself to be swayed by emotion.”

– Cardinal Richelieu

It’s important to review some history in a calm, rational, and methodical way when thinking about Russia, Crimea, and other neighbouring countries in the region.

A controversial question nowadays is which country should Crimea belong to? Should it be part of Greece, Khazaria, Mongolia, the Venetians, or the Golden Hoard? All ruled all or parts of Crimea.

Perhaps Turkey has one of the most legitimate claims to Crimea. They ruled the peninsula from 1441 to 1783. That’s about 342 years – a significant amount of time.

During the Crimean Khanate the Ottomans sacked Moscow in 1571, essentially burning the entire city to the ground. In addition to constant raids against the Russian and Slavic populations, the Ottoman Khanate, with their Tatar allies, trafficked millions of Russian and Slavic slaves from Crimea to the Ottoman Empire.

This came to an end in 1783 when, under the rule of Catherine the Great, she conquered Crimea from their Ottoman tormenters. Subsequently, Crimea became a Russian Oblast (or State) and then an Uyezd, which is an administrative subdivision of Moscow.

Crimea is also the site of Russia’s main and only warm water military port at Sevastopol.

So when 85 % of Crimea’s population is not Ukrainian and 77 % of Crimean people name Russian as their native language, it would seem strange that Crimea would end up part of Ukraine, how did this happen?

In 1954, the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR issued an arbitrary and ambiguous decree transferring Crimea to Ukraine. That’s it. This is what Western powers are going on – a seemingly random, and from witnesses there, a drunken decree from Khrushchev.

In my opinion, that’s not the pinnacle of legitimacy.

I’m relatively sure Khrushchev never thought Ukraine would collude with Western powers for subsidies, steal vast amounts of Russian natural gas and other resources, and line stack pipelines reversing their direction east instead of west causing deaths from hypothermia in western Europe. This happened so Ukraine could bailout a failing and corrupt steel industry.

What’s more, Ukrainian leadership enriched themselves at the expense of Russian national security, attempted to seize Russia’s most strategic naval base, and threatened to join a military alliance traditionally hostile to the Kremlin.

In hindsight, the Crimean decree was a colossal blunder that President Putin is now trying to rectify. I don’t think he has a choice. Particularly when NATO is violating its agreements to Russia that they would stop expanding and empire building eastward.

Let’s recall President George H. W. Bush’s response to members of the Ukrainian nationalist movement in 1991. That he would not support their “suicidal nationalism” based on “ethnic hatred.” I think that is sound advice when you are seeking stability and navigating the complexities of the geographically immense landmass and cultural and ethnic diversity of Eurasia.

Reason and Russia

Let’s get back to reason.

Brexit did not happen because of Russia.

It probably had more to do with the fact that legal superiority of Community law over the laws of British Parliament implemented in the UK under the European Communities Act section 2(1) is illegal and unconstitutional under UK law.

It also might have something to do with most of the laws the subjects of the UK are forced to accept originate, not from British Parliament, but from unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats in Brussels.

The UK wants to be ruled by people they directly elect. That’s reasonable. If you’re against or confused by this, then Brexit must have been caused by the Boogie Man, which, happens to be the Russians this week.

Donald Trump was elected, and turned US states Republican that haven’t voted that way since the early 20th century. Many people simply didn’t like or trust Hillary Clinton. It’s reasonable to fathom that Trump voters who elected him were tired of the slowest economic recovery in recent history. If you can’t understand that, then Trump must have been elected by nefarious Russian agents in the Kremlin and the United States.

If you’re interested in election meddling, here’s a brief history. The United States has interfered in elections in Cuba, Nicaragua, Angola, Panama, Dominican Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Puerto Rico, Haiti, Chile, Grenada, Afghanistan, Iraq and Guatemala among others. Hillary Clinton personally intervened in elections in Haiti and Honduras. What’s more, the Obama administration hacked into Angela Merkel’s email and the emails of the European Commission (and probably more that we don’t know of).

Why President Obama would want to spy on the European Commission is still a mystery. Perhaps he was really keen on discovering the results of the EU’s investigation of whether water can help in hydration or not (that actually was an EU investigation). Nevertheless, this is what countries do to every other country. Recall Germany and the European Union trying to influence elections in Poland, Austria, and Hungry. The EU tries to influence referendums in the UK, France, Ireland, the Netherlands and other EU member states by punishing them for wanting self-determination. I guess fear is the best motivation for keeping that horrible experiment alive.

The whole job description of the State Department, or any other country’s foreign ministry, is to attempt to influence events and collect information in other countries. Did Russia publishing of some of Mrs. Clinton’s emails somehow get the thousands and thousands of counties in the US with each their own voting systems to un-elect Clinton? I really doubt it. However, what is doubtless is the stupidity of the global Left, in the US and Europe, to blame all their failures on Russia.

The Left would be wise to remember Shakespeare when Cassius said, “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,

But in ourselves, that we are underlings.”

I had an opportunity the other day to meet with John Nixon, Head CIA Leadership Analyst and the individual who first debriefed Saddam Hussein. He told me the pity of American foreign policy is we always feel more comfortable when we can blame and explain events we don’t understand on a Boogie Man. It would behoove us and our politicians to wake up; poking the Russian bear based on faint speculations is a dangerous game.

Britain’s omnipotence paradox

Omnipotence paradoxes have been examined for millennia. One of the most popular arguments on this subject is if God was omnipotent than he could create a rock he couldn’t lift. If then he could not lift that rock he would no longer be be omnipotent.

The examination of whether God is the author or is bound by logic is always interesting; unfortunately for the “Remain” camp there is no debate whether Parliament is bound by logic. In addition to logic, laws also bind Parliament.

Amongst the most important aspects of British law is parliamentary sovereignty, which is, as defined by Dicey:

“The principle of Parliamentary sovereignty means neither more nor less than this, namely, that Parliament thus defined has, under the English constitution, the right to make or unmake any law whatever; and, further, that no person or body is recognised by the law of England as having a right to override or set aside the legislation of Parliament.”

Thus, as the “Remain” camp puts it, “no person” or persons can override the laws passed by Parliament and the Brexit referendum result must be thrown out. This is true. However, if the laws of parliamentary sovereignty exist as defined above, and capable of refuting a popular referendum, than that law must be applied consistently and equally.

According to EU law, or Community law, the European Court of Justice has ruled in Costa v ENEL that Community law takes primacy over national laws. Furthermore, legal superiority of Community law over the laws of Parliament were implemented in the UK under the European Communities Act section 2(1) when Britain joined the EU in 1973.

Therefore, if parliamentary sovereignty can legally be applied to negate a referendum, then it must also be exercised to leave the EU because, as defined above, “no person or body is recognised by the law of England as having a right to override or set aside the legislation of Parliament.” In this case, the “Remain” camp is defeated by their own reasoning – Brexit wins.

If, on the other hand, parliamentary sovereignty no longer is sanctioned as described above, then Parliament must recognise the result of the referendum. Brexit still wins.

One response to omnipotence paradoxes is that God cannot perform absurdities but can do anything only according to His nature. And so it is with British Parliament.

The European Union would be wise to remember what Lucretius once wrote, “Thus the sum of things is ever being reviewed,” and the ensuing question should be asked: which domino will fall next?

 

Simon Schama and the “Remain” shame

In Simon Schama’s latest editorial (“Let us write our own history and vote to remain a beacon of tolerance”, Weekend June 18th/19th) he makes several claims. Due to Mr Schama’s high profile status, I believe some of these avowals should be addressed.

First, Mr Schama asserts, “Most of the arguments about the unelected are uninformed by even a passing acquaintance with the way the institutions of the EU actually work. The commission proposes, but nothing can be enacted except by the decision of the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers, the latter composed of representatives of the elected governments of member states.”

Here, Mr Schama seems to concede the commission is indeed an unelected body, but no need to worry because there is the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers. What he fails to mention is the critical fact that this unelected body has the sole right to propose legislation. That means the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers can only make decisions on proposals from the commission, an unelected body. The fact that all decisions are derivatives of the whims of an unelected body is a somewhat important detail to overlook or omit. Additionally, unlike most parliaments, which are comprised of the government and the opposition, this dynamic is non-existent in the European Parliament. The European Parliament acts as a rubber stamper to whatever the unelected commission proposes.

After this, Mr Schama goes into some history of immigration to Britain from the Norman Conquest to Jewish émigrés, etc.…but he’s right when he admits the Brexit camp will say this has nothing to do with the EU, because it doesn’t.

His secondary argument is that Brexit will lead to isolation, economic catastrophe, xenophobia, racism, insularity, impotence and every other nasty word in Mr Schama’s vast lexicon. However, he fails to explain why nations must enter into political and/or monetary unions in order to engage in trade, immigration, cultural exchange, and other amicable transactions, and if they don’t, disaster is the inevitable result.

That’s because nations don’t have to enter into political or monetary unions simply to trade with each other – the idea is absurd and out-dated according to most economists (except those economists benefitting from the EU). As history tells us, most monetary unions (let alone political unions) implode. For example, the Latin Monetary Union started in 1865 by Napoleon III which blew up in 1927 – the Greek economy being one of the leading contributors. Even the monetary union between Norway, Sweden, and Denmark fell apart in 1924.

Sadly, Mr Schama ends with the tragic death of MP Jo Cox by writing, “I invoke the memory of Jo Cox, it is not to exploit her death but to honour her…she understood with instinctive decency that to be British was also to be a citizen of the world.”

Mr Schama, just because you say you don’t wish to exploit her death doesn’t mean you’re not. You are exploiting her death – your meaning is as obvious as it is dangerous and repellent. Jo Cox was murdered at the hands of a mentally ill neo-Nazi, it has nothing to do with the Brexit debate. One might want to self reflect, particularly if in the same article you accuse people of, “Surfing the moral sewer.”

Finally, what Mr Schama and the Remain camp desire is illegal and unconstitutional under British law. Full stop. As Dicey wrote:

“The principle of Parliamentary sovereignty means neither more nor less than this, namely, that Parliament thus defined has, under the English constitution, the right to make or unmake any law whatever; and, further, that no person or body is recognised by the law of England as having a right to override or set aside the legislation of Parliament.”

In light of the above, what else need be said?

 

 

 

 

Britain leaving the EU is necessary and an important precedent for the democratic world

Barack Obama is against Brexit – so what? That would be putting a very small cart before an enormous horse for without British institutions and common law, and without British political philosophy, the US executive branch probably would have never come into existence in the first place.

Likewise, global institutions such as the IMF, UN, and the OECD are also against Brexit – but it should be noted these organisations are recipients of substantial amounts of money from the EU so their objective opinion should be treated with some scepticism.

In the media you can hear academics, CEOs, various important analysts, etc…predict an economic apocalypse and the collapse of the Sterling if Britain were to vote to leave the EU. However, it’s important to remember these are the same folks who forecasted the decline and fall of London as a global financial centre if the UK voted not to adopt the Euro currency. Well, the UK didn’t adopt the Euro and London experienced a financial renaissance where decline in economic growth largely mirrored increasing European integration in the Eurozone over the past four decades. With the advantage of hindsight, we can see the post-apocalyptical, Europhile analysis was dead wrong. I think it will probably be again.

British Prime Minister, David Cameron, is in the remain camp. He asserts that Britain has always been a European power since the time of the Romans. Yet, there is a difference between being a European power and being powered from Europe.

Direct representative democracy originated in Britain. Parliamentary sovereignty derived from represenative democracy and is arguably the most important feature in Britain’s un-codified constitution. Whether this advancement began in 1215 or later with William Blackstone in the late 18th century or even posterior in the 19th century when reading Dicey, I will leave that debate to the faculty lounge. The important point is that it was a process and it exists today.

It is the greatest endowment Britain gave the world.

It is the very soul of Britain.

This political system is the reason why most stable and rich democracies adopted it. It’s the reason why billions of people live in prosperous countries in peace. It’s the reason why mercantilism, fascism, Nazism, and communism were defeated. Most importantly it holds the individual over the vast, Byzantine bureaucracies of the State because there is a direct relationship between the elected and the electorate.

In brief, the EU is not a democratic institution.[1] The real power brokers of the EU, whether it is European Council President Donald Tusk, the president of the Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, or EU Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini, the important commom denominator is that no one voted for them (you probably never even heard of them). There is an elected body in the EU, the European Parliament, but because the Commission has the sole right to propose legislation, it’s essentially powerless. Additionally, the European Parliament encompasses an unwieldy group of communists, fascists, socialists, Berlusconi’s bimbos, and, in general, a place where professional politicians go to die.

For Britain to sell its sovereignty and forfeit its democracy to these un-elected bureaucrats in return for some perceived sense of potential GDP growth is unforgivable and absurd. Nor do you need to join a political union in order to engage in free and amicable trade with neighboring countries.

The antiquated model of custom unions, like the EU, will eventually be tossed into the waste paper basket of history. Britain will eventually leave at some point and probably some other countries as well, particularly Greece, just like they were kicked out of the Latin Monetary Union in the beginning of the 20th century. This is inevitable. It will probably be best to get out now than suffer under the regulatory burden, the taxation without representation, and the countless, faceless committees that make up the EU for much longer.

Britain, please don’t sell your soul to the elitist professional bureaucrats, the academics, or to the special interest groups that are telling you to do the opposite.

[1] For more information please see (https://christophergrace.org/2016/02/05/is-the-eus-democratic-deficit-causing-more-problems-than-its-solving/)

It’s Yale, stupid

On April 7th the Dutch voted in a referendum against the EU-Ukraine association agreement by a majority of 61.1 per cent, albeit with a low turn out. Nonetheless, it would appear that in the Netherlands the roughly 1/3rd of the population familiar with this topic who turned out to vote strongly disagree with the EU status quo. What happened on April 7th in the Netherlands is called basic democracy.

The Dutch seem to suggest, why prop up a corrupt and divided government in Ukraine just to risk a possible conflict with Russia – to what benefit at what cost? It’s logical.

Then, in an April 13th letter to the Financial Times Yale Professor of Political Science, David R Cameron, writes that the EU should just forget about the Dutch vote because, “The outcome of the referendum hardly represents a democratic vote….” Because, “The vote was 61 per cent against [and] the turn out was 32 per cent. That means 19 per cent of the Dutch electorate voted against the agreement.” Thus, according to Professor Cameron, means only a small minority of the Dutch electorate voted against the EU – Ukraine association agreement and the referendum should be disregarded.

What is he talking about? I don’t exactly need to open up a new excel tab to realise Professor Cameron’s whole argument rests on the assumption that the 68 per cent of the people who were too lazy or didn’t care enough to turn out to vote are all deeply in favour of the EU-Ukraine association agreement and would risk a potential conflict with Russia in order to achieve it. Additionally, since we are talking numbers here, I don’t exactly have to make a giant statistical leap to know it’s a bit unlikely that 68 per cent of the Dutch electorate all agree with Professor Cameron.

This is almost as absurd as Yale Professor of Economics Aleh Tsyvinski who wrote in a recent report on China that growth during Mao was actually “pretty good.” What? What about the 40 – 60 million people who died of famine and from the mismanagement of the economy – so perhaps a better thesis would be, “Despite the holocaust of humanity, the famines, the purges, the unimaginable suffering, growth under Mao was actually pretty good.”

The bigger question is why so many things recently emanating from Yale are so…well stupid. From the outrage over the Halloween costume emails, to safe spaces, to the controversy over the title master, to whether or not Calhoun College should be renamed, the list goes on.

It seems the professors are reaping what they have sowed, which is essentially, stupidity.

EU and UK re-nogotiations: Are you having a laugh?

A United Kingdom flag flying next to a European Union flag

Frans Timmermans, a Dutch politician, will be the point of contact between the UK and the EU’s renegotiation talks. Fair enough.

What’s interesting is Mr Timmermans is quoted as saying; “The era of ever closer union was now behind us.” Additionally, he is cited several more times as saying, to various degrees, that if, “Ever closer union meant more central control from Brussels at the expense of national sovereignty, then that time has come and gone.”

What’s strange is that no one on earth has ever heard rhetoric from a professional EU politician like that. It makes no sense. But, there is more. He subsequently says, “Frankly, after all these years of crisis since 2008, it’s time to finally implement the Lisbon treaty in all its aspects.”

I understand it’s onerous, whether in the US or the EU, for a bureaucrat to actually read the thousands of pages of regulations, articles, provisions, etc. he or she actually passes into law, but you don’t have to peruse too far into the Lisbon treaty to understand its fundamental principles.

They are:

RESOLVED: to mark a new stage in the process of European integration undertaken with the establishment of the European Communities

RESOLVED: to achieve the strengthening and the convergence of their economies and to establish an economic and monetary Union

RESOLVED: to implement a common foreign and security policy including the progressive framing of a common defense policy, which might lead to a common defense in accordance with the provisions of Article 42

And my favourite:

RESOLVED: to continue the process of creating an ever-closer Union

Essentially, these renegotiations are the intergovernmental equivalent of a political show trial.

The choice is simple. Either succumb to the over all power of the European Commission, the European Court of Justice, and the European Central Bank or no.

One last thought:

Let’s not forget William Blackstone’s Commentaries and the notion of self-rule and parliamentary sovereignty. What could be more important than that?