Friday, 14 October 2011

Witty bits from what I learned in the UK (20) [Vorbe de duh din ce am învăţat în UK]

What are the chances of a ‘peaceful and a prosperous world’ that political leaders in most (all?!) countries keep promising to their voters and to foreign counterparts?

How succesful can lengthy diplomatic endeavours turn out to be, as long as they are not only undermined by ‘revolutionaries’ like Julian Assange and his WikiLeaks gang, but also underfunded?

What is the greatest likelihood for ‘rogue’ leaders – to be wisely persuaded by diplomats or to be outrightly silenced by bombs?

I don’t have answers to these questions. I have another ‘witty bit’ that I picked in Britain, which could serve my readers to find their own answers.

From all the taxes (and loans increasing the public debt!) collected in Her Majesty’s Treasury’s accounts, considerably less money goes to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO – in these four pics)…

…in comparison to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) of the Perfidious Albion, a country whose military budget ranks fourth among world countries:

Every year, the FCO’s budget represents merely the 20th part of what the MoD gets.

This was before thesevere budgetary cuts of 2010 that affected the British Armed Forces, nevertheless, I assume that the proportion was left unchanged.

[For all the episodes of this series, and all the posts on this blog go to/Pentru toate episoadele din această serie şi toate postările de pe acest blog mergi la: Contents/Cuprins]


Gregor said...

I'd say that funding our diplomacy at all was largely a waste of funds.

Perhaps there is an irony about Britain that it is not a democracy in a valid sense, nor is it a meritocracy. A demagogic mob mentality is the closest thing to democracy and this is why the British military will be powerful: that if there is a nation Britain wants to fight, the people will be exposed to propaganda. Any diplomat who disagrees with the media/ neo-con politicians (who are either very stupid or very dishonest) will be ridiculed.

I'm hoping that Scotland will soon have a diplomatic branch of its own, less open to the media's whims.

MunteanUK said...

Dear Gregor,

I see that you have a pretty harsh view upon Britain's diplomacy, which - I must admit - has been pretty lame for the past decades.

Not that it would have been as 'succesful' as official propaganda claims in previous centuries.

As a matter of fact, many hot spots in today's world are the result of Britain's military and diplomatic interventions over the centuries.

I guess you remember that I listed some here:


In regard to the power of influence that 'British military' (the 3 branches of the Armed Forces) could have, I am sure that generals themselves don't have too much influence, however, there's a huge military industry behind them.

Just like the US or Russia, Britain has a very strong defence industry, and, unlike France, I don't think it's in 'state hands' :-(

For instance, stronger in political influence and economic weight than the 3 military branches combined is BAE Systems:

As long as politicians are in BAE System's pockets, the mainstream media are their puppets as well.

If the defence budget is 20 times higher than the budget of the FCO in whose accounts do you think the money goes?

Sadly, funds have not been timely used - only after dozens of causualties - to improve the armour of personnel carriers or to deploy more helicopters in Afghanistan :-(


I also fully agree with your point about the shameless propaganda carried out by self-claimed 'independent' thinkers who put labels on 'rogue' leaders.

Most of what they say about Gaddafi (T. Bliar's 'fiend', let's not forget it!), about Syria's Bashar al-Assad or about Iran is pure bullshit. I'd say that up to 90% of what they are telling us is made up of shameless lies.

To a lesser (let's say 50-60%, though you may disagree with me :-), what the propaganda machine says about Russia and China in the Brit media are also lies.


In the end of your article, you expressed a 'hope' that can't mean anything else but independence for Scotland.

Only independent nations can have their own diplomatic serivces, and this Scottish Goverment Office in Brussels...'s-who/our-teams/devolved/scotland still quite far from being a fully 'independent' embassy.

What did you have in mind? Are there discussions about giving more powers of representation abroad for Scotland?

And what is 're-elect' Alex Salmond saying about a referendum on Scottish independence these days?

Gregor said...

Dear Bogdan

Thank you for the links, it is interesting to know more about BAE.

Personally I would say the propaganda against Russia is the most mendacious in Britain. I think this is especially because we have hosted so many undesirables from Yeltsin era gangster capitalism. I'd say that Putin may well be remembered as a 'great' figure if maybe not a 'good' one like a Russian Bismark. I don't know enough about Middle Eastern nations to contrast and compare, but the essential fact that most Islamic nations are closed societies seems true to me.

I am entirely in favour of Scottish independence now and a member of the SNP. Salmond is still calling for a referendum but wants a third option that Scotland has more control over its economy. Young voters are increasingly in favour:

MunteanUK said...


As a ('former' - for the time being) Foreign Affairs journalist, I am quite familiar with BAE Systems deals all over the world. Many of them are pretty 'fishy', if I were to put it as politely as I can.

In the early 2000s, when Romania was about to join NATO (invited in 2002, full member since 2004), our Government bought two second hand frigates from the UK, via BAE Systems.

The British state got a mere 200,000 pounds as the ships were sold as scrap iron, while the Romanian Navy would get some pretty expensive - allegedly 'refurbished' - vessels.

The British taxpayers, as well as Romanian taxpayers were tricked, while only BAE Systems and some politicians on their payroll made a fortune.

Here are only a few links about this dubious British-Romanian deal:


I can agree that Putin may not the 'villain' depicted in the British media, however, I am telling you that, from Eastern Europe, Russia still looks frightening.

Instead of focusing on their grave internal problems (organised crime, demographic decline, brain drain, low competitivity of firms etc), they are still lured by their imperialist phantasms.


I see that you are now a political militant, not just a political commentator!

Should I say 'congratulations' or should I wait to see 'political results' first? Maybe changes for the better would be visible the next time I come to Scotland...

As far as I can see from abroad, Salmond is a skillful politician and very 'un-British'.

He has principles, he has ideas, he has determination, unlike many of his counterparts south of the border, who are simply chewing on prefabricated truths and 'ideals'.


However, as a foreign onlooker, I am asking myself: what could Salmon eventually achieve?

I see that he has:

(A) a maximal goal = full fledged independence
(B) a minimal one = more fiscal and economic power for Scotland's Government

But will he be able to muster support for his plans? Is this 'Independence Generation' a reality or rather a media cliche?

I wonder how realistic (B) is and also how strong the pro-UK opposition to (A) would eventually be.

Could there be a Scottish civil war? Would other countries (except for Russia and some Arab states) rush to recognize an independent Scotland?

The five EU countries who refuse to recognize Kosovo (Romania, Spain, Slovakia, Greece & Cyprus) are unlikely to recognize a new independent state detached from the UK...

I also have doubts about China, in spite of Salmonds attempts to foster direct economic links with Beijing.

Whatever happens, it will be very interesting to watch how things are evolving in your country...

Gregor said...

Dear Bogdan
Thank you for the further info on BAE. I'd say that I don't expect any kind of utopia under the SNP but that the situation in Britain is deteriorating so badly we have no choice. Civil liberties are as bad as ever, government bloat is as bad as ever, but people are getting poorer and jobs are getting scarcer. I think it says it all that Liam Fox is quoted attacking corruption in one of those articles...

Whilst I understand your criticisms of Putin, I do think his mode of government (a kind of enlightened populism) is more democratic than what we have in Britain. He also has done a fair bit for the Orthodox Church.

With recognition of independent Scotland, the nations you mention with the exception of Slovakia all feature in lists of highest church attendence in Europe. Given that no rational Christian nation should recognise the fascist state of Kosovo (where Christians are abducted and Medieval monasteries are bulldozed) I suspect that they are just looking at the facts.

However, if there was a Conservative leadership in Britain at the time of a referendum of independence then I think England could easily grant it. Without Scottish voters Labour would collapse and Southern England would just vote the Tories in constantly. Perhaps this would lead Northern England to seccede but who knows?

MunteanUK said...

Thanks for continuing the discussion!

And here are the points I'd make:

[1] Seeing political figures like Liam Fox attacking the corruption of opponents, and then witnessing the very same 'anti corruption champions' forced to resign because of their lobbyst friends isn't funny at all.

It's a clear example proving what a big hoax democracy can be :-(


[2] Some would say that precisely 'thanks' to Britain's big defence industry jobs aren't even scarcer...

...I bet you disagree :-)

Even some Scottish shipyards could suffer from a peaceful and 'disengaged' (from UK's military complex) Scotland.

What about RAF and Royal Navy bases in Scotland, the latter hosting nuclear submarines as far as I know? What will their future be in an independent Scotland?


[3] Is Russia more democratic than Britain?! Maybe in a metaphorical sense...

Given the 'low expectations' one could have about Russia, the situation may not be so bad as anti-Russian media describes it.

On the other hand, given the 'high expectations' and all the myths surrounding Britain, seen as the 'cradle of modern democracy' (since Magna Charta Libertatum, 1215 AD), an unbiased analyst could find many faults of Britain's democracy.

It's sad to witness how Christians and any sane thinkers are sidelined and steadily silenced in the UK, however, I haven't heard of anyone sharing Anna Politkovskaya's tragic fate...


[4] If a Tory Government in London would willingly grant independence to Scotland, then even Romania and Greece would reconize it, of course! :-)


[5] Should I understand from your view that the likelihood of a Scottish civil war is not as big as the chance of seeing a civil war in England?


[6] Kosovo is Clinton's and Bliar's 'masterpiece' - a poisonous dagger of barbarism stuck in civilised Europe's body :-(

Gregor said...

@ Bogdan

I would say that Russia is 'democratic' in the Hellenistic sense of the word that the government works for the people especially the Slav majority. Increasingly 'democracy' is used to mean 'liberal' which isn't necessarily a cognate at all (for example the majority of Britons support the death penalty. Whilst I think that they are wrong I don't say I am a democrat for supporting Britain's ban on it).

I concede Britain is more liberal and in some senses more humane, but not that the parliament ever listens to the majority.

No-one knows who killed Anna Politkovskaya or David Kelly for that matter or the 50+ Londoners killed in 2007. I think Britain has more resources and a softer popuklace for a dictatorship.

And I think this is why I support independence. Britain is turning into a dictatorship. A smaller country can expect more from its parliament.

I don't personally think Brits will have all out war in the near future, but one never knows.

MunteanUK said...

To my Scottish friend (part 1)


It seems that any little debate we are having on this blog ends up with you on Russia's side, while I am more or less stubbornly speaking against the 'Great Bear' menacing the corner of the world where my country lies.

Therefore, I suppose it won't be too much of a suprise for you if I beg to differ one more time :-)

From what I can understand, you are still holding on to an 'idealised' image of contemporary Russia, as long as you invoke the "Hellenistic sense of the word" democracy when speaking about Putin's democracy.

You imagine that the Russian government "works for the people especially the Slav majority"...

On the contraty, I believe that the Russian elite are working - like in Soviet times and also in the last decades of the Tsarist Empire - just for their own good.

There's no greater country (in land surface), nor a richer one (in various resources, not only gas & oil) than Russia, nevertheless, the nation inhabiting those lands is one of the poorest, least healthy, least educated...

...and with a life expectancy worse than in India, Iraq and former Soviet countries (Tukmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan):


Putin, Medvedev, some of Russia's intelligentsia and probably over 90% of the top business people in the country only think about themselves, their power, their aspirations, their greed.

A 'great nation' - of 143 million people, of which 80% are pure stock Russians - is but a 'tool' for reaching all sorts of vain goals and ambitions.

Bonaparte needed a 'great nation', Hitler needed a 'great nation', Mao Zedong needed such a nation, as well al all of Russia's rulers since Peter the Great.

Did any off them truly cared of the poor ordinary people? I'm pretty sure that they didn't...

Power corrupts and blinds even the most brilliant minds and very often even the most altruist characters.

From the proximity of Russia, what I feel (and I'm not the only one) is that the wolf may change his hair, but not his nature...


The fact that Britain may have had its own 'Anna Politkovskaya' - which is quite likely in David Kelly's mysterious death - is not an argument 'in defence' of Russia.

Of course, things like this say something bad about the UK, however, without implying that Russia is 'better off'.

MunteanUK said...

To my Scottish friend (part 2)

I agree that it's wrong to confound democracy with liberalism, something that the British mainstream media does.

I bet that nothing is made 'by mistake' - they must surely be in pursuit of a certain goal.

The ultimate objective is to make all these Pavlov's dogs (the masses of readers & TV watchers) believe that there is only one official version of democracy.

That would make it easier to label as 'non-democracies' some regimes in any part of the world.


Not only Britons, but also most Polish people, most Americans, most Russians, and (probably - sorry, no relevant survey to quote) Romanians favour the death penalty.

It's somewhat explainable as long as people are media consumers of bad news about merciless murderers, rapists and other villains :-( But it's stupid, of course!

Capital punishment can't be seen as 'legitimate' because a majority of people support it, nor should abortion be or any other sin.


A smaller country could better control its parliament, 'forcing' legislators to work on behalf of the people for the genuine good of those who elected them.

It may sound 'idealistic', too, but this time I think it's plausible.

Very much unlike Great Britain or Russia, there are little countries where MPs and the Executive seem to be working for the nation.

Here are some examples:

- Norway
- Finland
- Denmark
- Iceland
- Switzerland
- Singapore

Do you see Scotland becoming a 'nice decent place' (not that it wouldn't be now :-) like any of these countries?


Given the highly volatile world we live in these days, I wouldn't exclude the possibility of war erupting in any country.

The world looks less and less like the 'stable' 1990s and 'exuberant' early 2000s, and all kinds of 'unthinkable' things could become reality.