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WE ARE WATCHING the "abduction of Europe": the European dream of many generations of great European politicians is melting away. It was immediately after the war that Robert Schuman, Jean Monnet, Winston Churchill, Charles de Gaulle, Konrad Adenauer, Paul-Henri Spaak and many others laid the ideological foundation of united Europe. In 1962, Harold Macmillan disappointed his audience by saying to the EEC prime ministers that his country was determined to integrate into Europe. The British primer was convinced that his country could look forward to economic growth only as part of a big continental bloc. Today, the British press has dismissed this as a superficial and short-sighted approach which nevertheless was accepted by the larger part of the establishment and which cost dearly to the nation. The Brits, however, are often pushed aside as an insular nation. Le Monde of France betrays its concern by asking "Will Europe repeat the history of the USSR?" It admits, with a great deal of bitterness, that the integration institutes and Euro-bureaucracy which have grown out of proportion "are treated in Europe at best with indifference or at worst are totally rejected."

God was manifest in the flesh in order that we might know him and partake his life, in order that the very flesh could share his triumph, wrote Ephrem the Syrian in the IV century, adding a significant clarification that this triumph of God, if performed without appearing in the flesh, would not have been triumph in the full sense. Even many an epoch later, the concept continued to inspire profound interpretations. World War I was raging when St. Justin Popovic, a young philosopher and theologian resident in a tiny Serbian town, wrote that, while other religions urged humans to become superhuman to rise above human sins and to sever ties to the world to avoid worldly evils and wrong-doings, only Christianity called for staying sinless within the evil world, faithful among the treacherous, and immune to inescapable filth. 

The law, allowing the US President to significantly cut the Irranian oil export, caused plenty of comments and sharp response of Iran. Later on the situation with the anti-Iranian critisizm has blown away and softer notes from the both sides could be heard. This, certainly, does not change the matter itself and the principal problem is still vivid on the global agenda: it is whether the US still bears the plans to start the war against Iran, and if the answer is positive, then when it is planed to happen.

The forecasts of this kind in politics are not just guesswork, because any war has to be well prepared. An interesting picture appears out of the puzzle-steps, being made by Washington. 

Practically at the same time, when the law, concerning new sanctions against Iran appeared, on the eve of the New Year we heard the US Vice-President, Joseph Byden, as saying that the Taliban movement is no longer an enemy of the USA. “Mr. President has never declared that the Taliban threatens our interests. The problem will arise if this movement starts posing a threat to the government of their country, the government that helps us to struggle against bad guys”.

 

Civil society is maturing, not in the process of being born. Especially since it is not being born suddenly in Bolotnaya square or Revolutionary square...

Recently, I was surprised to have read and heard of people, intelligent, and familiar with history, that the street can be the midwife of civil society. It comes from conscientious and long-entrenched misconceptions in Russian society. For the intelligent - and now not only for them – the environment of civil society has become a commonplace idea, whose main mission is to conduct an impartial dialogue with the government.

For some - the more Fronde there is, the greater the citizenship. In the minds of the politicized the space between society and government, is the main, if not the only field of activity for civil society. Is this true?

"THE FUTURE OF POLITICS will be decided in Asia, not Afghanistan or Iraq, and the United States will be right at the center of the action," U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated in her article which appeared in the November 2011 issue of Foreign Policy under a powerful title "America's Pacific Century." The Editors were even more explicit when they put "Our Pacific Century" on the cover.

The American diplomat has gone much further than mere statements of the region's impressive economic growth which shifted the center of world economy to Asia. She has made it clear that America intends to dominate the APR. Diplomatically the formula "America's Pacific Century" is highly ambiguous; placed in the context of the coming presidential elections it looks like a gauntlet thrown down to that part of the American opposition that talks about "coming home" to address the economic crisis and financial instability.

Secretary Clinton is ready with an answer: We shall resist "the gravitational pull of these 'come home' debates" to regroup our forces and pivot our strategy on the region which promises prosperity.

"MUAMMAR QADDAFI'S GRUESOME DEATH sent a message to dictators around the world." These words by U.S. President Obama sent waves of enthusiasm in the West European media (the German media, however, remained immune). The question is: What sort of a message? What produced a greater impression: the bodies of lynched Mussolini and his mistress hung upside down on meat hooks from the roof of an Esso gas station or the Nuremberg trial which revealed the man-hating nature of Nazism? The answer is obvious even though the scopes of historical contexts and personalities are widely different.

If the message is intended for Assad and Saleh it will hardly produce the desired effect. Washington did not hesitate to hand over Hosni Mubarak, its loyal ally of many years, to the opposition. This and lynching of Qaddafi will make those who are called dictators even more determined to suppress the opposition. In Syria this will lead to an even greater bloodshed.

There were those who tried to raise their voices to be heard amid the noise of the choir. Swiss sociologist Jean Ziegler admitted that he had hoped that Qaddafi would be tried by the International Criminal Court in The Hague. None of the leaders of the Unified Protector coalition voiced his regrets. One wonders why.

Sergei Lavrov has been representing Russia as foreign minister in two dissimilar epochs, one marked by a fairly convincing growth of the world's economy, the other — by a deep global crisis which will likely continue into the foreseeable future. While those of the watchers who attempt to sound optimistic maintain that no causes for a lasting slide are inherent in the objective economic reality, it is an open secret to what extent subjectivity factors into modern history. As a result, the apprehension is running high that irrationality and chaos may easily prevail in today's world which, by the way, has never quite turned the page on its previous historical crisis triggered by the collapse of the bipolar system.

Paradoxically, the world shaped by untamed subjectivity must also depend increasingly on the balancing input from ahead-of-the-curve persons who generate unanticipated ideas and bold solutions. Credit must be given to S. Lavrov for offering a wealth of such ideas and solutions in his Between the Past and the Future, a collection of essays which, bearing a distinct imprint of Lavrov's unique personality, blends fluid policy analysis and much more fundamental philosophical regards.

Facebook has announced the creation of its own political action committees. Thus, the network will be able to participate in the financial support of the candidates in the upcoming elections in the U.S. in 2012.

At first glance the versatility of the Web involves not simply impartiality, but is also demonstratively apolitical and non-partisan, because among the users are people of different social, political, cultural and even civilization statuses. Apparently, regardless of this fact, a company spokesperson said that their voice would be heard in support of candidates who show care for "a more open and connected world, with innovative approaches to the economy."

This thesis, of course, is vague, but however, avoids reference to any particular political force, and suggests that it is supporting some independent politicians, "professing" to believe in the principle of an "open society."

However, Facebook recently organized a highly publicized public meeting with leading congressional Republicans. This event was followed immediately afterwards by a Google sponsored Republican presidential debate, together with the Fox News channel.

The Balkans often bring the most experienced politicians to a standstill. Here you feel yourself in a space from Kurosawa's famous movie "Rashomon," where everyone has their own truth, and the truth is bathed in blood. "Hate each other, but do not kill" - this strange call came from the mouth of the Croatian professor Zarko Puhovski at the First International Forum on Security, recently held in Belgrade. The professor believes that this is better than the hypocritical "love each other" and the external manifestations of tolerance, which was shown by the former elite and which tore Yugoslavia apart in front of the European Union.

There is an interesting detail - the Serbs do not go to the seaside in Croatia, preferring the friendlier and more intimate Montenegro. One diplomat said that he once dared to drive to Dubrovnik with Belgrade number plates. And he seriously regretted it, because to calm the situation on the border was possible only after he explained that he was not a Serb.

Will Europe help make peace in the Balkan States, and do they actually want this reconciliation? One has to agree with those who say that the concept of the Western Balkans, and, perhaps, the whole of the Balkans as an integrated region, no longer exists. With the entry of Croatia into the EU (and soon, perhaps, Bosnia) one cannot even talk about regional political, or economic and cultural integration.

A WEEK BEFORE TRIPOLI FELL to the insurgents, a glamour model and ex-girlfriend of Mutassim, one of Colonel Gaddafi's sons, had come to the Libyan capital. Talitha van Zon, the former Playboy centerfold, who claimed that she had parted with Mutassim Gaddafi several years ago, could not explain why she came to the country torn apart by a civil war.

In any case very soon the toasts to a victory over the rebels were drowned out by the sounds of shooting and shouts by the same rebels at doors of her hotel. "The Dutch model was then paraded in front of rebel fighters who chanted 'petrol.' She feared they would 'burn her alive' and then made a desperate escape by leaping from the hotel's balcony" breaking her hand. Rescued by a Dutch journalist who helped her, together with other refugees to leave the country on a humanitarian ship, she reached Malta. The media all over the world informed their readers and viewers that "glamour model ex-girlfriend of Gaddafi's son escapes rebels after they threatened to 'burn her alive'" the reports supplied with a lavish selection of her photos.