The collapse of the eastern bloc, imperialism and the 1992 Balkan War

201 posts / 0 new
Last post
baboon
Offline
Joined: 29-07-05
Dec 13 2007 16:16
The collapse of the eastern bloc, imperialism and the 1992 Balkan War

( I tried to post this about a week ago and failed. I have yet to master this technology).

With imperialist tensions rising in the Balkans today over independence for Kosovo and rising nationalism in Serbia - not unconnected to a Russian push - it's apposite to look a the framework for the outbreak of the 1992 Balkan War.

The major element of the framework is the decomposition of capitalism expressed in particular by the implosion of the USSR, a momentous event that took place in the complete absence of any working class action. There was already disorientation in the working class internationally, which was still feeling the effects of the defeat of the miners' strike by the trade unions in Britain around 1984. The collapse of the USSR, particularly the barrage of bourgeois campaigns around it, knocked the working class bandy.

Yugoslavia was part of the eastern bloc with its 'provinces' ruled by ethnic stalinist gangsters with the whole held together by the leadership of Tito. While part of the Russian sphere of influence (an invasion by the west - never on the cards really - would have probably meant WWIII), the Yugoslav bourgeoisie enjoyed a certain 'independence' from its Russian masters, which made it more of a buffer zone between the blocs. With the collapse of the 'Evil Empire', the whole region became a vacuum, and imperialism abhors a vacuum. While there were some small reactions from workers in the Balkans after the collapse, the war unfolded like a slow-motion car crash. A reunified Germany (unlooked and unwanted by all the major imperialisms) tripped open hostilities by rushing to recognise the independence of Croatia and Slovenia in summer 91, virtually annexing the two richest parts of ex-Yugloslavia.
Britain, France, Holland, Russia - and, initially the USA - backed Serbia in the ensuing war. Britain did so with vigour, bankrolling it through Barclays (Saddam's banker) providing it with arms and intelligence and deploying its 'peace-keeping' forces favourably to Serbian military advantage and terrorising tactics. Squeezed out, the US tried to make Croatia its pawn but eventually turned to Bosnia, building up its army from scratch and implanting its 'advisors' in muslim Bosnia-Herzegovia (or among "the towelheads" as British High Command called them). From separate imperialist standpoints, Britain's and the USA's aims were to counter German imperialism's drive to the Croatian ports of Dalmatia and from thence to the Mediterranean. Around this time (and before) it was also useful for the US to step up its support for its proxy army in Ireland, the IRA, in its activities and bombing campaigns against Britain, as well as its support for organisations like the "Troops Out Movement".
During this period, there were also clear warnings from the US to Italy and Turkey (also Hungary) not to align themselves with German interests. In Turkey's case, the US backed the military faction against German support for the muslim faction. The US also used the Kurds to make threats of trouble for Turkey.
The reappearance in force of German imperialism was obviously significant and underlied the reality of war not peace being fundamental to the "New World Order" of Bush snr. But this thrust of Germany was countered by the US and, in its turn, by 1997, the German counter-offensive saw it supporting Turkish foreign policy towards Iran through PM Erbakan (opposed by the US) and taking the side of Turkey against Greece. Around the same time, Germany, along with Albania, Bulgaria and Macedonia, were involved in bloody power struggles around the region.

Over a quarter of a million killed in the Balkans War of the 1990s and four million refugees; Lebanon at the gates of Europe along with concentration camps, massacres and rapes of the most brutal kind. The area that was the point of departure of WWI and the main battleground of WWII, once again prey to inter-imperialist rivalries. Nationalism, national defence, self-determination, all underlining the validity of Luxemburg's analysis of imperialism a hundred years earlier. This time not just an expression of capitalist decay but of capitalist decomposition with each imperialism at each other's throat as each pig fought for its place in the trough. All this within US imperialism appearing to come out on top after the Gulf War of 92 and the Balkan War itself.
All imperialisms today are driven by the same needs of protecting or expanding spheres of interest, meddling and doing down their rivals, and none of this can be understood in isolation but only in the framework of the decomposition of capitalism where, in the absence of the working class. deeper and wider imperialist war is the only perspective.

yoshomon
Offline
Joined: 19-06-07
Dec 13 2007 17:58

Is there more information about the US funding/support of the IRA?

David in Atlanta
Offline
Joined: 21-04-06
Dec 13 2007 20:07
yoshomon wrote:
Is there more information about the US funding/support of the IRA?

I'd be interested in seeing proof of that allegation myself....
The Irish American community has been a major source of funding for the republican movement for as long as both have exisited, with the US state takiing somewhat of a blindeye attitude, but thats a lot different than calling the IRA a US "proxxy army"

Demogorgon303's picture
Demogorgon303
Offline
Joined: 5-07-05
Dec 14 2007 09:09
Wikipedia wrote:
In the United States in November 1982, five men were acquitted of smuggling arms to the IRA after they revealed the Central Intelligence Agency had approved the shipment (although the CIA officially denied this)

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

INTELLIGENCE LEAKS.- A former US ambassador to the UK, Ray Seitz, has been quoted as stating that relations between London and the US were so adversely affected during his tenure (1991-1994) that London stopped passing sensitive intelligence to the White House because "it often seemed to find its way back to the IRA." Quoting David Wastell of the London Daily Telegraph, "It is understood that British officials learned that some within the White House were so eager to demonstrate their friendship with Mr Adams and his Sinn Fein colleagues that they were communicating secret information gleaned by MI6 and MI5 British intelligence in Northern Ireland - some of which could have endangered the safety of security officers." If true, intelligence was used as a pawn in a larger diplomatic game - not for the first time, nor the last. (source Wash Times 18 Jan98 pg A7)

http://www.afio.com/sections/wins/1998/notes02.html

I also seem to have a dim memory that Stasi files revealed their suspicions that the CIA was negotiating funding agreements with the IRA to extend their bombing campaign from West Germany into East Germany. No definite reference on that I'm afraid.

But it's more the fact that the US pointedly refused to stop NORAID (and even allowed it tax exempt status) that speaks for itself. Just how they turned a blind eye to export of weapon materials to Saddam in the 80s.

David in Atlanta
Offline
Joined: 21-04-06
Dec 14 2007 14:41

You might want to check this link, a very anit-PIRA source that archives convictions on US based gun-running.
http://www.ulsterflash.iofm.net/usa.htm

They didn't blind-eye weapons to Iraq, those were official. So far that evidence is looking dodgy, a paranoid or possibly pro-republican jury and citations to two rightist newspapers don't prove much.

Demogorgon303's picture
Demogorgon303
Offline
Joined: 5-07-05
Dec 14 2007 15:43
Quote:
You might want to check this link, a very anit-PIRA source that archives convictions on US based gun-running.

An American company called Alcolac was prosecuted for supplying mustard gas precursors to Iraq during the 80s - this doesn't mean that the US didn't support Iraq. It simply means that, for any number of reasons, particular actors are punished by the state for this or that violation of the letter of the law. Another reason is that inconsistent application of such policies allows the government to create "plausible denial" - "look, we never deliberately supplied anyone, we tried to stop it, we were just incompetent".

Quote:
They didn't blind-eye weapons to Iraq, those were official.

I was thinking in terms of chemical weapons, where there was no direct supply. Instead, precursors for weapons were allowed to be shipped by private companies and information for creating the appropriate manufacturing techniques was supplied under the pretext of (if memory serves) agricultural chemical plant schematics (the infamous "dual use"). In other words, there was no official military supply of chemical weapons, rather that export licenses for "dual use" materials were approved even though the US knew exactly what these materials were going to be used for. (Although, In fact, the US didn't actually supply all that much in terms of volume - this was mainly done by other countries).

Noraid's operations were carried out on a similar basis with tacit approval from the US state. In the hypocritical spirit of cooperation with the British, the State Department did force Noraid to pubically state that its funds did go to the IRA - while simulataneously allowing them to claim that the State Department forced them to say this and it wasn't really true!

Quote:
So far that evidence is looking dodgy, a paranoid or possibly pro-republican jury and citations to two rightist newspapers don't prove much.

That doesn't make it wrong. The Telegraph story was, in my memory, widely repeated throughout the British media at the time. A far stronger refutation of this item is more that this concerned a specific period of time (the early - mid 90s) where the armed struggle was beginning to wind down anyway.

As for the pro-republical jury, I don't see that that's the point. The issue wasn't that they were found not-guilty but that they stated in their defence that the transfers were approved by the CIA, which seems to be an astounding claim!

Interestingly, this article in the Independent suggests the FBI and MI5 conspired to supply bomb technology to the IRA - ostensibly so they could easily counter it.

Calling the IRA a proxy army may be a bit strong, but it's certainly true that the Republican movement (including the IRA) was used by the US to put pressure on Britain at various points - most especially when Britain began to "break" from the US under the Major government under the guise of the the "peace process". However, it also has to be pointed out that the British security services themselves had senior operatives at extremely high levels within the IRA and that its activities, to some extent, served its interests at particular points in time.

Steven.'s picture
Steven.
Offline
Joined: 27-06-06
Dec 14 2007 16:19

hi baboon - you got it ok, but we turned it down on the basis of it being part conspiracy theory.

baboon
Offline
Joined: 29-07-05
Dec 14 2007 16:49

I don't understand the last two points - are they jokes that I don't get or what?
Conspiracy theory? Russia didn't collapse? There was no intensification of imperialist rivalries? There was no war in Balkans? The major imperialisms don't use their secret services? The major imperialisms don't use proxy armies and proto-states against their rivals?

Mike Harman
Offline
Joined: 7-02-06
Dec 14 2007 16:53

baboon, it says "it was also useful for the US to step up its support for its proxy army in Ireland, the IRA, in its activities and bombing campaigns against Britain, as well as its support for organisations like the "Troops Out Movement"." - no references, no qualification.

baboon
Offline
Joined: 29-07-05
Dec 14 2007 17:10

I stand by that political analysis Catch, but OK, for arguments' sake leave it out. But do major imperialism's use their secret services, do they back proto-states or terrorist factions against their rivals - is that a general condition of imperialism or doesn't it happen?
I've just glanced at Wildcat's article on the New World Order. I haven't read it properly but it talks about a "homogenous" ruling class and suggest it is a unified class of the "new world order". This is a breathtaking example, not just of the denial of the reality of the world but of a "conspiracy theory". According to Wildcat, not only is the working class "supine" but we are living in a period of "world peace". Unbelievable.

Mike Harman
Offline
Joined: 7-02-06
Dec 14 2007 17:24
Quote:
But do major imperialism's use their secret services, do they back proto-states or terrorist factions against their rivals - is that a general condition of imperialism or doesn't it happen?

All states do it, not just "major imperialisms" whatever they are. However when claiming specific examples of this, it's useful to cite solid research rather than simply state it as fact - otherwise there's nothing to distinguish it from the 911 shite.

The majority of that wildcat article is a rejection of "anti-imperialism" and various nationalisms - although I agree the New World Order stuff is over-egged at best. Are you sure you're not just pissed off because they slag off your beloved Rosa?

Alf's picture
Alf
Offline
Joined: 6-07-05
Dec 15 2007 17:29

Considering the deep political confusions that run rife through many articles accepted as such by libcom, I am somewhat taken aback by the reasons for rejecting Baboon's contribution as an article Not just the Wildcat one - at least two defending the patriotic resistance during world war two (in Italy and Greece) spring to mind. The question of whether the IRA was directly or indirectly used by the US is a matter of analysis, not a basic class position. And it certainly does not amount to a 'conspiracy theory'. You could perhaps have asked Baboon to elaborate on the USA/IRA link before rejecting it.

OliverTwister's picture
OliverTwister
Offline
Joined: 10-10-05
Dec 15 2007 17:49

i'm skeptical about the USA/IRA link and would still like to see more info, but it doesn't seem any more 'conspiratorial' than to say that hamas was set up by israel or that hezbollah is now linked to iran.

Mike Harman
Offline
Joined: 7-02-06
Dec 15 2007 17:55
Quote:
t least two defending the patriotic resistance during world war two (in Italy and Greece) spring to mind.

Well I seem to remember that we knew very little about those particular events when they were submitted, and when people mentioned the dodgy politics we contacted the author etc.

Quote:
The question of whether the IRA was directly or indirectly used by the US is a matter of analysis, not a basic class position.

In this case I think it's a matter of extrapolation and/or footnotes as opposed to throwaway sentences.

Red Marriott's picture
Red Marriott
Offline
Joined: 7-05-06
Dec 15 2007 18:44

Disagreement over analysis is one thing - and we have to assume our readers can read critically, within the overall context and ethos of the site and its library - but it would be a bad precedent to open the floodgates to unsubstantiated claims presented as facts, in the way that some insist on presenting their positions.

baboon
Offline
Joined: 29-07-05
Dec 17 2007 15:17

I'll return to the Wildcat text in this context when I can find it - I have limited access to the internet. Where can I find the Wildcat article anyone? Ta.
On the specificity of Ireland in the framework of the collapse of the eastern bloc and the new period of inter-imperialist rivalries.
For around 20 odd years since the late 60s, the US supported British policy in Ireland. Following the disintegration of the US-led western bloc around the early 90s, and particularly Britain's opposition to the US in the Balkans, the US used Ireland and specifically the IRA, as a weapon against Britain.
The 94 visa given by the US administration to Adams of the IRA represented direct interference in Britain's backyard, indeed within its border, with violence and bombings given at least a nod and a wink, turned on and off with US backing. This was a direct warning to British imperialist pretensions, particularly in the Balkans.
British support through its secret services to the loyalist paramilitaries and gangsters of the UDA, UVF and UFF and their involvement in dirty tricks, murder and atrocities is well documented.
The deterioration in Anglo-US relations can be seen in the period of early 95 when PM Major (the dumping of Thatcher and election of Major was in itself a realignment of British imperialist policy vis-a-vis the US) refused to take Clinton's phone calls for days. And when Major made an official visit to the US, Clinton was elsewhere watching a basketball match. The US band that met Major and his entourage struck up "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling".
The end of the IRA's "ceasefire" and the Canary Wharf bombings of 96 was a clear message of escalation from the US to HMG in the context of their plummeting relations. After a new ceasefire in 97, the US administration humiliated Britain over the "peace process", forcing more and more concessions from the latter and foisting a US-led team, headed by a Senator no less, to lay out details of acceptable arms decommissioning, taking its orders directly from the White House.

Providing details of activities of the secret services is, obviously, notoriously difficult. But Demo above lays out many of the bones of the issue. It's very revealing and gives an indication of what was going on "behind the scenes". David in Atlanta's point about "right wing newspapers" is a complet red herring as these stories were picked up by the media from the wires. Would he give it more credibility if it was in "left wing newspapers"? The Morining Star or Socialist Worker? The latter backing the "Troops Out Movement", the "Peace Process" and thus the aims of US imperialism.

baboon
Offline
Joined: 29-07-05
Dec 17 2007 15:39

Found Wildcat article and printed it. It will be good for the discussion.

mikail firtinaci's picture
mikail firtinaci
Offline
Joined: 16-12-06
Dec 17 2007 19:51

Baboon,

what do you think about the current massacre in Northern Iraq by Turkey? do you think turkish burgeoisie changed its side?

baboon
Offline
Joined: 29-07-05
Dec 18 2007 16:14

Hiya mikail, I've just posted on news/turkey. someone's already set up a post that's a basis for discussion.
On the above:
The analysis I propose above, largely that of the ICC, is not a scripture to be assimilated. I appreciate that within this I am making affirmations that I cannot prove. Though where I've been challenged before on factual stuff, I've tried to make an adequate response.
There shouldn't be any doubt though that the US administration, in a change of tack from the early 90s, threw its support behind the IRA as a weapon to be used against British imperialism. There's also no doubt that the IRA had a virtual embassy in Washington with immediate access to the administration. The exact mechanisms of how the US funded and used the "Troops Out Movement" is not know to me but, within the overall imperialist framework, I've no doubt this happened. The same goes for weapons and intelligence support from the US to the IRA, as well as possible encourgements or discouragements over particular bombing campaigns via certain agencies of the US towards the IRA.

Catch, on a couple of points you raise above:
1) "are you sure you're not pissed off because they (Wildcat) slag off your beloved Rosa (Luxemburg)"? I've only just glanced at the Wildcat article and "slagging off Rosa" is the least of its faults. But you say this in a contemptuous, dismissive manner that demands a reply. I wouldn't use the adjective "beloved", that implies slavishness, but precious, yes, that would be a good adjective. Very precious for the working class, a gem I'd say - as a worker. And as a worker I'm happy to try my best to defend her positions as one of the highest expressions of working class struggle. This was an uncomprising militant who lived her short life and died for the working class. She was murdered, along with many proletarians, the "flower of the proletariat", by the left wing of capital.
2) "Conspiracy theories around 9/11". I agree there's some loony ones about but the US's state's involvement, in my opinion, is no "conspiracy" but well documented, well in advance. Anyone who has any doubts about a bourgeoisie that would baulk at bombing and miaming its "own" population in order to achieve its own imperialist ends is living in a naive dream world. Look at Pearl Harbour, Churchill during the second world war, Putin and the FSB in Moscow during the Chechen war, Britain around the "Irish Question" around the 90s.

Wildcat's text, which I'll return to, presents the "new world order" as a victory for US capital over "social democracy in the eastern Europe" and the expression of a unified world bourgeoisie. It's very confused.

Mike Harman
Offline
Joined: 7-02-06
Dec 18 2007 16:50

1. Rosa Luxemburg - I think the best thing that can be done for the legacy of any revolutionary is say when they were wrong on things. That's often what they were doing to others when they were alive.
2. Conspiracy theories - just because states 'will' do something doesn't mean they always did in every event.
3. Wildcat, and the library in general - we explicitly state that we have a lot of material in there we don't agree with. Kautsky's in there ffs, and the 'manarchy debates'. That wildcat article certainly isn't the best (nor the worst), and the New World Order stuff is odd (although I understand it was a phrase being thrown around a lot during the collapse of a Eastern bloc - I was only 10 at the time and that particular period isn't my strongest historical area). However they don't make unfounded claims in there, just draw conclusions, and they specifically acknowledge that their analysis has provoked criticism and disagreement from other groups. This quite different from un-sourced conspiracy theories presented as common sense, which you've compounded on during this discussion.

Alf's picture
Alf
Offline
Joined: 6-07-05
Dec 18 2007 18:01

I think a bit more care is needed before we start using the term 'conspiracy theories', considering how much this term has now become part of standard bourgeois discourse. For them, any revolutionary theory is by definition a conspiracy theory because it doesn't accept that the motivations of the democratic state are what it says it is, eg it's a conspiracy theory to say that the US and Britain invaded Iraq to secure oil or for geo-strategic interests - they did it entirely to rid the world of Saddam or deal with the problem of WMD, etc etc. It's also conspiracy theory to talk about the bourgeoisie acting as a class because such a thing only exists in marxist fantasy.

The real 'conspiracies' of the ruling class are usually far more devious than the rather straightforward propositions defended by left communists. Prior to the recent revelations, we didn't, for example, argue that British intelligence had infiltrated the IRA to the truly bizarre point where its top agent (Stakeknife) was in control of the secret commission charged with denouncing, torturing and murdering British agents, but that is what happened.

It is certainly not always possible to prove (in a court of law) that this or that state arms and supplies various nationalist gangs. I doubt for example whether you would be able to provide formal proof that Iran arms Hizbollah for example, or the Shia militias in Iraq. Why does it suddenly become a loony conspracy theory to suggest that the USA backed the IRA? Is the IRA an exception to the rule that all nationalist movements are pawns in the imperialist game?

Alf's picture
Alf
Offline
Joined: 6-07-05
Dec 18 2007 18:04

double post

Red Marriott's picture
Red Marriott
Offline
Joined: 7-05-06
Dec 18 2007 19:14
baboon wrote:
where I've been challenged before on factual stuff, I've tried to make an adequate response.

Well that's a matter of opinion (see link).

GDID wrote:
The bourgeoisie might be capable of anything but that doesnt excuse an analysis from having to root itself in facts. He didn't back up his IRA statement with anything more solid than the idea that capitalists are capable of doing that

Exactly - Baboon is a veteran at this speculation claimed as fact;
http://libcom.org/forums/history/fall-thatcher-regime-and-history

Mike Harman
Offline
Joined: 7-02-06
Dec 18 2007 20:01
Quote:
eg it's a conspiracy theory to say that the US and Britain invaded Iraq to secure oil or for geo-strategic interests - they did it entirely to rid the world of Saddam or deal with the problem of WMD, etc etc.

Plenty of bourgeios commentators say that.

Quote:
It's also conspiracy theory to talk about the bourgeoisie acting as a class because such a thing only exists in marxist fantasy.

Similarly I'd be surprised if you couldn't find such sentiments in the FT or the Economist every so often.

Alf's picture
Alf
Offline
Joined: 6-07-05
Dec 18 2007 21:53

Wasn't that my point? Did I need to use more irony marks?

Mike Harman
Offline
Joined: 7-02-06
Dec 18 2007 21:59

Didn't seem like it.

I'm saying it's a commonplace for bourgeios commentators to criticise the Iraq war on those terms. I also think the FT and economist are capable of viewing the behaviour of capitalists in terms of the international interests of capital rather than simply national or corporate interests, although I'm not an avid reader of either.

Neither of those requires positing speculation as fact though.

baboon
Offline
Joined: 29-07-05
Dec 20 2007 12:39

Catch, I wasn't born at the time of the first world war but that doesn't stop me trying to understand it.

On the Wildcat text on the "new world order". I'll return with a general overview of the weaknesses of this text but first on some specific points:
It doesn't "slag off Rosa" at all, but takes her positions seriously and treats them with respect. In fact where it defends Rosa over the Polish question in relation to Russia, I would tend to disagree with her and it. Rosa had many weaknesses on the question of national liberation but, following Engels, then the Bolsheviks with "Turn the Imperialist War into Civil War", her analysis on imperialism overall was a real advance tht represented a forward movement in working class consciousness.
This Wildcat text has to be welcomed as a contribution to an essential question facing the working class - imperialism. The text is very confused for all that.
There are much too short comments on the post-89 world and the consequences for imperialism. Indeed, attempts ,such as the ICC's analysis (unaccredited) to try and put forward an explanation at the time in its press, are ridiculed by Wildcat. They talk about the possibility of a European bloc or Japanese bloc to replace Russia, possibilities which were discussed fully and rejected by the ICC. Germany was the only real candidate for a new bloc leader, but as the ICC argued at the time, given the rivalries already tearing at the EU, this was all but impossible. The perspective was for each against all and growing chaos. At any rate the ICC, had the responsibility and legitimacy to look at the possibilities.
Wildcat assumes that post-89, is in a long-line tendency of the history of capitalism where capital, imperialism and the different bourgeoisies all come together as never before. That's not only unprecedented, but impossible. Yes, the bourgeoisie can unite against the working class, but on a temporary, contingent basis that's never been free from imperialist tensions and strains. The bourgeoisie are forced to compete against each other just as much as they are forced to exploit and attack the working class. The nation state is the highest expression of the bourgeoisie and this was the case even within the two bloc system. There is no such thing as one supreme superpower world organisation today as Wildcat suggest but a confrontation between nation states in the face of a world cop whose power is waning. Not only is there not this tendency towards the coherence of the bourgeoisie, there is a very clear tendency in the real world to the fractionation of nation states, to breakaways, statelets, proto-states, divisions and consequent instability. This is not a unified policy of the bourgeoisie - that WOULD be a conspiracy theory - but the consequences of increasingly irrational political economies.

But Wildcat don't really take their own confused analysis seriously. They do see the dangers and realities of the situation. "In order to hedge out bets", they say, they talk about the possibility of a China led bloc emerging against the US. That's certainly not a possibility at the moment, but it does show that, despite its "theory", Wildcat is still alive to the realities and dangers of the situation.

baboon
Offline
Joined: 29-07-05
Dec 20 2007 12:45

No-one is answering about the IRA. What is it Guy, do you support it? Was it an expression of the people? Perhaps you can explain what it was? Did it have nothing to do with imperialism? Ret, what do you think on this question?

Mike Harman
Offline
Joined: 7-02-06
Dec 20 2007 12:45

Baboon - there's a bit more information on WWI (and etc.) than there is on events 17 years ago. How many articles are there on the '78 - '79 in the UK - I know of only one or two that cover it in any depth. It gets progressively worse the later time goes on. I read plenty of stuff from the last 20-30 years, but I'm also well aware that it's very incomplete, the implication that I'm deliberately ignorant about the 1990 or so period doesn't do you any favours.

Quote:
European bloc or Japanese bloc to replace Russia, possibilities which were discussed fully and rejected by the ICC.

Euro?

Alf's picture
Alf
Offline
Joined: 6-07-05
Dec 20 2007 12:51

The existence of the Euro does not make Europe into an imperialist bloc - ie a military bloc geared for war against other blocs.

Mike Harman
Offline
Joined: 7-02-06
Dec 20 2007 13:06

The EU acts as a financial and military bloc - clearly not on the same level of the old US/USSR axis but it's certainly moved towards consolidation the past 15 years.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/963838.stm - for example.