Tuesday, November 15, 2016

As Bulgaria Elects A Pro-Putin Populist President, Trumpists Here Warn Obama To Stay Out Of Foreign Affairs


Americans don't think much about Bulgaria. There are less than 100,000 Americans of Bulgarian ancestry-- and we've never fought a war there. Most of the Bulgarian-Americans that there are live in 4 cities where hyphenated Americans don't stand out: New York, L.A., Chicago and Miami. After the collapse of communism in 1989, over a million Bulgarians left their homeland, but most scattered through Europe, especially Greece and Spain, but also to Canada, Germany, the U.K., Italy and Latin America. Most Americans would be hard-pressed to point to Bulgaria on a world map.

In the summer of 1969, I was driving a shiny new VW camper van to India from London. The conventional wisdom along the Hippie Trail was to drive straight through Bulgaria without stopping-- from the Yugoslavian border crossing at Dimitrovgrad through Sofia and then straight down the A-1 motorway to the Svilengrad border crossing west of Edirne (historically, Adrianpolis) in Turkey-- and then immediately on to Istanbul. It was a 2 or 3 day drive from Dubrovnik on the Adriatic Coast... and I was having done of it. I was eager to explore Bulgaria and not just Sofia. And it was my first lesson about the worthlessness of Hippie Trail conventional wisdom. When the A-1 forked north to the Black Sea, I was on it-- while my passengers all eager to get to Istanbul, complained noisily. We were soon in Burgas where I met some random Bulgarian kids. We took a 2 week tour of the country and months later I was still eating dried and canned fruits and vegetables we had gotten on communal farms in the part of the country few American tourists ever went to. So... I for one have fond memories of Bulgaria.

I was sorry to see that on Sunday they elected a Trumpist type-- a pro-Putin, right-wing populist, Rumen Radev-- as president. And he won big as the anti-establishment, anti-immigrant, anti-corruption, pro-Putin candidate. Yesterday the pro-NATO prime minister, Boiko Borisov, resigned. Awkwardly, Bulgaria has been a member of NATO since 2004.

Radev, who has never held political office and who was educated in Alabama, is outspokenly pro-Putin and pro-Trump. Borisov told the media after his party was pulverized at the polls that "in this election, the people showed us that something is not as it should be. That our priorities may be good, but obviously there are better ones. So the most democratic thing, the right thing to do is to (resign)."
Coupled with political instability, Bulgaria's tilt toward Russia is a blow to the country's western European allies and underscores Moscow's growing influence in southeastern Europe.

In Moldova, another ex-communist state near the Black Sea, voters were expected to install a pro-Russian candidate as president and slam the breaks on seven years of closer EU integration in an election also held on Sunday.

While most of the key decisions in Bulgaria are taken by the government, the president, who leads the armed forces, can sway public opinion and has the power to send legislation back to parliament.

Radev is not advocating NATO member Bulgaria abandon its Western alliances, mindful of the financial impact of EU aid and the country's long history of divided loyalties.

But he has called for an end to EU sanctions against Russia and said Sofia should be pragmatic in its approach to any international law violations by Moscow when it annexed Crimea.

"We listened (to the voters') concerns. We said that we will work for Bulgarian national interests, that's what gave us broad support," a jubilant Radev told reporters.

Many in the Balkan country are keen to see restored trade with their former Soviet overlord, hurt by economic problems and sanctions, and to protect vital tourism revenues.

Speaking on Sunday evening, Radev said he hoped for good dialogue both with the United States and Russia and expressed hopes that with a new president in Washington, there will be a drop in confrontation between the West and Moscow.

"In his election campaign (Donald Trump), already elected, said clearly that he will work for a better dialogue with Russia. That gives us hope, a big hope, for a peaceful solution to the conflicts both in Syria and in Ukraine and for a decrease of the confrontation," Radev said.

Although Bulgaria's economy is expected to grow at a relatively healthy rate of about 3.1-3.3 percent this year, having shaken off recession, it remains the EU's poorest member, with average wages about 470 euros per month.

Rampant graft in public administration is seen as a key factor slowing the small Black Sea state's progress in catching up with its wealthier EU peers.
According to a report in Politico yesterday, Trump aides are telling Obama to immediately stop interfering in any foreign policy and that its all up to Putin Trump and his crew of misfits now.



At 4:17 AM, Anonymous dameocrat said...

I don't get the democrats obsession with Putin. The Russian government tilts antigay, but it is the legislature and not just Putin. Polling shows Russians are not very withit on this topic, so that is who they elected. Catholic Poland tilts even more antigay, as does their former Ruthenium Empire buddy in West Ukraine. Our ally Saudi Arabia literally crucifies them. The other gulf nations just subject them to imprisonment, canings and whippins. Donald also dislikes the Iraq war. Does that mean it was a good idea? What is the purpose of Nato after the fall of communism and why do we not want trade with Russia? Electing right wing governments is no justification for Nato. That is what democracies do, along with electing left wing governments.

At 6:06 AM, Blogger jvb2718 said...

It isn't just democrats. It's the MONEY.

Left to its own, Russia would sell oil and natural gas all over Europe and the Balkans (and elsewhere if they can). That would interfere with the western goal of owning and profiting from all the worlds' oil and gas. And there are pipelines and shipping and rail consequences to this hegemonic aim.

NATO has existed for AT LEAST the past 20 years simply to squeeze Russian oil and gas from the area to be replaced, and profited from, western oil interests. Google Gen. Smedley Butler's quote about our military "making the world safe for...". go ahead. google it.

Frankly, I'd be fine with obamanation staying out of Bulgaria. They fucked with Ukraine and ended up causing so much misery where none should have existed.

If $hillbillary had won, I'm sure Bulgaria would find themselves with a lot of American NGOs and money fomenting another fascist coup. Same recipe as Ukraine when their elected government seemed friendly to their neighbor, Russia.

At 5:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

jvb2718 - hope you enjoy losing your Medicare, Social Security, environment and civil rights under Trmupster.

At 9:44 PM, Blogger jvb2718 said...

Obamanation tried to gash SSI, but boner lost his nerve.

I was expecting $hillbillary to gash it and privatize what is left, if anything.
And Medicare is something neither party wants to keep.
The environment is already toast. Doesn't matter what anyone does.
And civil rights have been disappearing since cheney/bush were coronated and democrats voted for all of those (PATRIOT, etc.) and obamanation gutted the 4th and ignores nearly all the others. Voting rights were lost in the supreme court and obamanation and his corporate whore party didn't do shit.

And voters are indifferent to all of these or they would have nominated Bernie and sent drumpf back to his tower in defeat and $hillbillary back to the corporate meetings to make her millions.

Don't have kids is my best advice at this point. But nobody listens anyway.


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