Catalonia votes for independence

Spain’s north-eastern region of Catalonia finally cast their vote despite all of the resistance from the Spain’s authorities. The non-binding vote went ahead after Spain’s constitutional court ruled out a formal referendum. Almost 2 million people out of the population of 7.5 million could vote and the preliminary result is an overwhelming 80% in favor of vote of independence for Catalonia.

Catalan leader Artur Mas hailed the non-binding poll “a great success” that should pave the way for a formal referendum. Spanish Justice Minister Rafael Catala dismissed the poll as “fruitless and useless”, however. “The government considers this to be a day of political propaganda organized by pro-independence forces and devoid of any kind of democratic validity,” he said in a statement.

Judging from the recent events the region will not be allowed to gain independence in any democratic sort of way. Unfortunately, it is completely unclear whether Catalan are prepared to stand up and fight for their rights with weapon in hand. With the non-equivocal resistance from Spain that may eventually remain the only way though, just like the fight of the Eastern Ukraine for independence showed. It may be hard to imagine a bloody military battle in Spain but a year ago it was impossible to imagine a bloody battle in Ukraine either.

One thing that Spanish government made very clear is that they are not letting the region go. That stands to reason, no country is keen on breaking itself up, so why should they? If Catalonia wishes independence, they will have to fight for it. The economics of politics is such that it must become more expensive for Spain to keep them than to let them go. Is there a peaceful and non-destructive way to do that?

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NATO: Ukraine is a good excuse for military bases in Eastern Europe

The Guardian reports that NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the organisations’s summit in Cardiff next week would overcome divisions within the alliance and agree to new deployments on Russia’s borders.

“We will adopt what we call a readiness action plan with the aim to be able to act swiftly in this completely new security environment in Europe. We have something already called the Nato response force, whose purpose is to be able to be deployed rapidly if needed. Now it’s our intention to develop what I would call a spearhead within that response force at very, very high readiness.

“In order to be able to provide such rapid reinforcements you also need some reception facilities in host nations. So it will involve the pre-positioning of supplies, of equipment, preparation of infrastructure, bases, headquarters. The bottom line is you will in the future see a more visible Nato presence in the east.”

NATO plans to establish a permanent network of operational military bases across Eastern Europe trampling the pledges of the West not to expand the military presence to the East. NATO continues its march towards the Russia’s borders demonstrating a total absence of free will and clearly exhibiting the intentions of escalating the military standoff with Russia.

Ironically, NATO’s latest enlargement plans are being opposed not just by Russia, but by its very members, some of whom do not see the point in aggravating tensions with Moscow. The most outspoken support for the expansion plans comes from the most distant members – U.S. and UK. Other members, like France, Spain and Italy, clearly expressed serious concerns with the military plans. Germany remains noncommittal for the moment.

Remarkably, Rasmussen asserted that Russia “does not consider NATO a partner,” when it was NATO that flat-out refused Russian participation in the controversial US missile defense system, also planned for Eastern Europe. Such cooperation could bring to end years of mutual suspicion and antagonism between the cold-war era foes. Instead, the US and NATO opted to try to keep Russia isolated, ensuring nothing less than another full-blown arms race.

Meanwhile, there is no question as to how Russia views NATO’s relentless eastward encroachment.

“No matter what our Western counterparts tell us, we … -->

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