If World War I and II Were Bar Fights

Yet anther amusing interpretation of world history. What if World war I and II were bar fights and France, Germany, Austria, Britain  and others were drunk participant fellows. Here is the original source of this story, though author is unknown (source).

. . .

Germany, Austria and Italy are standing together in the middle of a pub when Serbia bumps into Austria and spills Austria’s pint. Austria demands Serbia buy it a complete new suit because there are splashes on its trouser leg. Germany expresses its support for Austria’s point of view. Britain recommends that everyone calm down a bit.

Serbia points out that it can’t afford a whole suit, but offers to pay for the cleaning of Austria’s trousers. Russia and Serbia look at Austria. Austria asks Serbia who it’s looking at. Russia suggests that Austria should leave its little brother alone. Austria inquires as to whose army will assist Russia in compelling it to do so. Germany appeals to Britain that France has been looking at it, and that this is sufficiently out of order that Britain should not intervene. Britain replies that France can look at who it wants to, that Britain is looking at Germany too, and what is Germany going to do about it?

Germany tells Russia to stop looking at Austria, or Germany will render Russia incapable of such action. Britain and France ask Germany whether it’s looking at Belgium. Turkey and Germany go off into a corner and whisper.

When they come back, Turkey makes a show of not looking at anyone. Germany rolls up its sleeves, looks at France, and punches Belgium. France and Britain punch Germany. Austria punches Russia. Germany punches Britain and France with one hand and Russia with the other. Russia throws a punch at Germany, but misses and nearly falls over. Japan calls over from the other side of the room that it’s on Britain’s side, but stays there. Italy surprises everyone by punching Austria.

Continue reading


EU’s Cognitive Dissonance

There are rumours that EU is suffering from what psychologists call cognitive dissonance.

Definition: Cognitive dissonance is an uncomfortable feeling caused by holding two contradictory ideas simultaneously.

Jean-Claude Juncker, prime minister of Luxembourg, put it best in 2007: “We all know what to do, but we don’t know how to get re-elected once we have done it.”

As The economist puts it: “Will the European Union make it? The question would have sounded outlandish not long ago. Now even the project’s greatest cheerleaders talk of a continent facing a “Bermuda triangle” of debt, demographic decline and lower growth.”

A rival perception (between Germany and France) suggests that they are more like a couple on the verge of divorce: they agree on little, and trust each other even less. Consider the row over economic government. The French want to concoct a euro-zone block, with a direct line to the European Central Bank and fiscal harmonisation. The Germans reject this. They insist on a wider grouping, backed by strict budgetary discipline, and harsh sanctions for bad behaviour. The Economist

With unemployment the worst of the post-World War II era, there has never been a better pretext for reform they argue in Europe.

In Asia and America it has become fashionable to look upon these failings with disdain. Europe’s time is past, it is said. Its ageing, inward-looking citizens no longer have the resolve to overcome adversity. The Economist

I was very much amused with the readers’ comments in the end of The Economist article. One for instance: “If nations were individuals, Europe would be that senior citizen. I personally think they have gotten too lazy and the socialized services have added to the problem.” and another “Politically, Europeans look like the post-WWI isolationists who think they are too innocent to leave their lovely home and do anything for the ugly outside world.” They go further and argue that one the most important functions the EU plays is ensuring that Europe stays democratic. What they have on mind, among other issues, is that except for Britain, France and a few Scandinvian countries, most European countries have only a few decades of experience with democratic governance. The memory of dictatorships are fresh. “who knows what will happen if there is a serious depression in these countries, will their new democracies be able to stand a trial of fire?” – the readers ask. And yes, will the EU be capable to get rid of its cognitive dissonance and take a united lead? well, I am not that EUphile, so you can understand my not really optimsitic attitudes, however The Economist says:

Yes: the European Union will thrive if its leaders seize the moment in the same way they did 20 years ago.

Last but not least, there is another point I would like to make concerning EU’s confusion. Far from shifting Ukraine further towards Russia, the election of Viktor Yanukovych could provide the EU with the opportunity to reengage with the keystone to Europe’s Eastern neighbourhood, according to a new policy paper by European Council on Foreign Relations Ukraine expert Andrew Wilson. and an interesting quotation:

When the EU encourages states like Belarus and Amenia to reform, it is in effect asking them to be ‘more like Ukraine’. If that request makes leaders in Minsk or Yerevan recoil or laugh out loud, then Ukraine really will have failed – and Europe with it.

True Dr. Andrew Wilson, true…

Increased Aid For Georgia

Associated Press writers in Europe, Turkey and the Middle East contributed to this report
Major international aid commitments to Georgia to help victims of the Russian-Georgian conflict:

_The International Committee of the Red Cross, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees and the U.N.’s World Food Program have been providing aid through long-standing operations in Georgia. In addition:
_ICRC dispatched the first of five new shipments of food and other supplies for 25,000 people.
_World Food Program sent two planeloads of high-energy biscuits.
_U.N. refugee agency has sent two planeloads of supplies and plans a third flight Friday.
_U.S. sent two cargo planes carrying US$2 million (€1.3 million) worth of sleeping bags, cots, medical supplies — including syringes and surgical supplies.
_Turkish Red Crescent has sent tents, blankets, bottled water and food, and a new truck convoy is to leave Thursday. Turkish government to dispatch medical aid.

_France sent two planeloads of aid.

_ Greece sent a plane to Georgia with 14 tons of medical supplies, tents and blankets. It also contributed €100,000 ($149,000) through the UNHCR for refugees who fled across the Russian border into North Ossetia.

_Italy is sending two planes with food and equipment. Italy’s Red Cross is to send kitchens to provide 10,000 daily meals, and is contributing about €1 million (US$1.5 million) through the U.N. and Red Cross.

_Bulgaria to send relief supplies; will offer EU the use of Black Sea port of Burgas as aid coordination center.

_EU has released €1 million (US$1.5 million) in fast-track aid.

_Poland and the Roman Catholic charity Caritas sent 4 tons of first aid

_Czech Republic said it is providing aid worth 5 million koruna (€209,000; US$310,000).

_Slovakia says it is providing 5.6 million Slovak koruna (€185,000; US$276,000).

_Germany said it will give €1 million (US$1.5 million).

_Dutch donated €500,000 (US$745,150) to the international Red Cross.

_Finland pledged €1 million (US$1.5 million) in aid and the Finnish Red Cross has offered a field hospital.

_Denmark gave 3 million kroner (€402,000, US$599,100).

_Estonia sent more than 5.5 tons of humanitarian aid and pledged a field hospital with a medical team.

_Latvia sent a plane carrying medical supplies, including blood plasma.

_Austria said it will send medical supplies, tents, blankets.