The World Public Forum’s latest conference has ended. Here is some of what Politico had to say about it:
The Putin adoration society
A purged Kremlin loyalist, a former Czech president and assorted anti-Americans find common cause on a Greek island.
By Leonid Ragozin
October 11, 2015
RHODES, Greece — Every October, Kremlin sympathizers gather on this mythical Greek island. This year’s edition, coming amidst political ructions in Moscow and Russia’s surprise intervention in Syria, had an unusual flavor.
The patron of the Dialogue of Civilizations forum, held annually here since 2003, is Vladimir Yakunin, until recently Russia’s railways chief and a member of the highest rungs of the Putin inner circle. …
The CIA’s ‘hybrid warfare’
Lavishly funded by a Swiss-based foundation linked to Yakunin, this year’s Rhodes forum was attended by 380 people, their expenses at least partly covered by organisers. The lineup included former Czech president Vaclav Klaus, former German defense minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg and former head of the Council of Europe Walter Schwimmer, who is the forum’s permanent co-chairman. Originally on the guest list, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras sent a deputy foreign minister to greet the participants on his behalf.
Most speakers endorsed Russian policies on Syria and Ukraine and rejected those of the West. The famously Euroskeptic Klaus told POLITICO that he considered Putin’s decision to launch a bombing campaign in Syria “a rational step.”
“There must be someone who considers ISIS as a hundred times greater threat than [Syrian President Bashar] Assad,” he said. Klaus dismissed Ukraine’s Maidan revolution as “imported” and “not fully authentic.” On Crimea, taken over by Russia in March 2014, he was unequivocal: “It is a part of Russia and will remain such in foreseeable future.”
Klaus explained the reason for coming to the forum by the desire to spend some time by the sea and to hear the likes of John Laughland, a fellow Euroskeptic from Britain.
Director of studies at the Paris-based Institute of Democracy and Cooperation, Laughland addressed a plenary session intriguingly devoted to hybrid warfare, a term often used with reference to the Russian tactics in Ukraine. But, like other speakers, he turned the table by accusing the U.S. of applying this tactics in Europe and elsewhere around the world.
Laughland argued that the EU was a product of hybrid warfare waged by the CIA to subjugate Western Europe after World War II. “War aims at the creation of a new regime. John Foster Dulles was quite clear in 1941 that Europe needs a new regime and that it couldn’t have national states any more,” he said. Laughland confirmed that his think tank is funded by private Russian foundations, but he said he didn’t know their names. http://www.politico.eu/article/the-putin-adoration-society/
Of course, not all reports about the meeting were negative. Here is one from the Russian Times:
October 12, 2015
The annual World Public Forum – Dialogue of Civilizationsbrings together scholars in an effort to promote dialogue and peace instead of clashes and war. The approach is multidisciplinary and promotes evidence-based discussions. I feel empowered and greatly enhanced by the learning and cross-fertilization of ideas that takes place in venues such as the World Public Forum Dialogue of Civilizations. …
The Forum addressed many issues of today, including European Security, Digital Media, The Current Migration Crisis, and the use of Hybrid Wars as a Subversion Tool; but took immediate action to address the crises in Syria calling for a ceasefire and recent events in Turkey, when demonstrators were attacked by government police. …
Karl-Theodore von zu Guttenberg, the former German defense minister, warned of the problem policymakers face in a situation from government to “google-ment” having to make decisions in the context of the influence of Google.Richard Werner, Professor at the University of Southampton Business School, maintained that international borrowing for smaller countries is not even necessary and advocates instead public banking and cooperatives for real growth and development.
Vaclav Klaus, former president of the Czech Republic, also spoke, adding a note of experience against the current global financial infrastructure of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Professor C.P. Chandrasekhar, of India’s Jawaharlal Nehru University, argued that environmental degradation is the by-product of today’s neoliberal economic strategy. Echoing my own writings here on RT, Chandrasekhar concluded that inclusiveness is not on the trajectory of neoliberalism and can never be. He cited Thomas Piketty’s research as having put the discussion of inequality on the table for discussion. https://www.rt.com/op-edge/318378-dialogue-civilizations-mckinney-rhodes/
I found it interesting that both Vaclav Klaus and Karl-Theordore zu Guttenberg attended the conference. Vaclav Klaus has voiced his objections to the European Union’s expansionist plans in the past (see also Five World Events Aligning with “2012 and the Rise of the Secret Sect”), whereas Herr Guttenberg (see also Might German Baron Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg become the King of the North?) has tended to take the opposite view.
The time may very well come when one or both of them will make some type of deal with Russia. Read full article
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