Europe, Canada and US,

Western politics is infected with a lethal virus, diagnoses Eric Walberg

3/4/8 -- This year's sixth international Cairo Conference against imperialism and Zionism continued the same themes as last year: dialogue between the left and Muslims, the struggle against Islamophobia, press censorship, torture and dictatorship, and the chance for Western peace groups to network on Middle East issues. The most inspiring project was the growing campaign to boycott Israel in the West and plans to coordinate this on an international level with the long- standing Arab and Muslim boycott campaign.

Otherwise, there was little to gladden activists, for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan continue apace, not to mention the increased brutality of Israel against the Palestinian people. There are changes going on in Western countries, with increased activism of students and trade unionists. But the political scene is dismal, despite the overwhelming unpopularity of US-NATO/Israeli wars, as governments continue to bow to Zionist pressures -- both internal and external.

A case in point is Canada, which was unofficially represented at the conference by 14 members of the Canadian Peace Alliance (CPA) and others from student organisations. Delegates to last year's conference were attacked in the right-wing National Post and Ottawa Citizen for consorting with "terrorists"

The Serbian government is just the most obvious domino that Kosovo's independence has tipped over, argues Eric Walberg
13/3/8 -- To date 25 countries have formally recognised the Republic of Kosovo (ROK), and six others have initiated the recognition procedure. Among these 31 countries are 14 of the European Union's 25 members,

The latest country to find its place on the map is sending shockwaves around the world, worries Eric Walberg

21/2/8 -- Kosovo's declaration of independence 17 February 2008 brings the number of statelets born out of the former Yugoslavia, population 23 million, to seven -- Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Bosnia- Herzigovina, Serbia, and now Kosovo, which boasts an impressive two million.

The would-be master chef in the Elysée Palace appears to be cooking up a lethal concoction, writes Eric Walberg
7/2/8 -- There is no question that President Nicolas Sarkozy is a master political manipulator. On the domestic front he trumped both left and right, bringing Socialists into his cabinet, setting them at each others' throats. At the same time, showing his true colours, he moved quickly to confront the unions and students over early retirement, probationary work guarantees, university places for all who want them. Note how his "reforms" are all about taking away rights, not giving people more. He also cleverly borrowed a soupçon of Le Pen's anti-Arab jingoism for his broth.

The elections of new presidents in Serbia and Russia gave the West a bad case of indigestion, diagnoses Eric Walberg
7/2/8 -- The post-Soviet New World Order project is continuing to suffer setbacks, with two new old thorns -- Serbian Democratic Party's Boris Tadic on 3 February 2008, who was narrowly re-elected, beating the Radical Party's Tomislav Nikolic, and Dmitri Medvedev, the United Russia candidate, who leads his opponents in the presidential election scheduled for 2 March with a healthy 75 per cent popularity rating.

It could be far worse in Serbia, as Tadic, though opposed to Kosovan independence, is the best of a bad lot, being a big fan of the European Union. A victory for Nikolic, deputy prime minister under the socialist Slobodan Milosevic, would have seen a Russian military base on Kosovo's border and Serbia rejecting all ties with the EU.

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Canadian Eric Walberg is known worldwide as a journalist specializing in the Middle East, Central Asia and Russia. A graduate of University of Toronto and Cambridge in economics, he has been writing on East-West relations since the 1980s.

He has lived in both the Soviet Union and Russia, and then Uzbekistan, as a UN adviser, writer, translator and lecturer. Presently a writer for the foremost Cairo newspaper, Al Ahram, he is also a regular contributor to Counterpunch, Dissident Voice, Global Research, Al-Jazeerah and Turkish Weekly, and is a commentator on Voice of the Cape radio.

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Eric's latest book The Canada Israel Nexus is available here