US confirms it will place 250 tanks in eastern Europe to counter Russian threat
First, there was a rumor here that the US would be placing heavy tanks here to protect us from those pesky Russians (as if Russia was planning to invade us anytime soon, beyond the occasional "bird-flipping" flyover of a jet or two). Then, there was a denial from our Ministry of Defense that any such request had ever been received from the US. But then the US Secretary of Defense confirmed the rumors, and said that "these countries (including BG) had been informed that US heavy military equipment would start to be placed on their territory". So, turns out the rumors were true after all, and - notice! - we had been informed of that US decision. Not asked. Informed. And therein lies the key to my proposal.
Because we're not a sovereign country. Never have been (save for a brief period in the Dark Ages, and then an even shorter one in the Middle Ages). Having dumped our previous Soviet masters from the East, we're now proudly bowing to our new masters from the West. And that's not so much the EU, as it is the US - from whom our prime-minister takes his orders on the phone on a regular basis, and on whose behalf the US ambassador has lobbied more than once, our president turning the other way every time this has occurred.
So, I say, why not take that last step and actually become a US state officially, as opposed to just de facto, as we are now? Why the US, you may ask? Because: screw the EU, that's why.
Here's the deal. We had been hoping so much that by entering the EU, our lives would improve vastly. Alas, nothing of the sort has happened ever since. Nothing has significantly changed in our way of life since commie times. Yes, we did adopt all the
We did once slightly exceed the meager 3% of budget deficit, which is the arbitrary threshold that those powdered poodles in Brussels have set as a criterion. Well, what ensued was an instantaneous penalty procedure against us, as if we were some sort of thieves. All the while, those same Euro-bureaucrats, partly through neglect, partly under the influence of strong lobbyism, partly with the help of accounting fraud with foreign help, allowed the Greeks to accumulate 400+ billion euros of debt! And then, after organizing a partial default and writing off 80% of its debt to private creditors, now Greece's debts still exceed 320 billion euros, and there's no way they could return it. But that's Greece, not Bulgaria, right?
Let's face it. Whether an "agreement" is reached or not with the creditors, or just a simple default, Greece will retain its right to remain member of the Eurozone, and the ECB will have to keep providing liquidity for its banks, lest it got poisoned by this ulcer as well. But let's imagine for a moment that Bulgaria was in that place, and received, say, 300-400 billion euros in loans, and then refused to return them? You can imagine what a leap the economy would've taken, and our living standard along with it. But there's no justice in this world, and in the EU in particular. And the Greeks seem to be much better at playing these games than we are. How could we, then, nod with sympathy at a country which has swallowed 400 billion euros into its black pit of corruption and excess, and which is now being "punished" with a bail-out? Hell, the ECB has poured over 83 billion euros into their banks for the last few months alone! Unlike us. No one would've moved a finger for us, because we don't matter. We're an appendix. An outer satellite that's supposed to serve the sole purpose of keeping the borders from unwashed refugees from the Middle East, and provide cheap labor when need be.
And then, there's the promised free movement of people, which is supposed to be a key tenet of the EU. In reality though, the more advanced member states are doing their best to kick the thousands of Roma migrants back here ASAP, while preaching to us about ethnic tolerance and minority integration.
People were supposed to be free to buy property anywhere around the EU as well, but in dozens of municipalities across Austria for example, you couldn't buy real estate, including an apartment in a residence block, unless you have official place of residence at the local municipality, and you're paying your taxes there. And that's not just in Austria. It was my country that was instantaneously sued at the EU court for attempting to restrict access to buying agricultural land by foreigners. Not that I necessarily support such restrictions, but that's not the point. The point is, the same rules obviously do not apply to all members.
Further, if we're to trust the CIA World Factbook, turns out the net financial aid from the EU (discounting our annual EU membership fee), is about 1% of Bulgaria's GDP. We're particularly thoroughly fucked in this respect. Because for the 6 years of our membership, far more developed countries than ourselves have been getting a per capita net income by orders of magnitude larger than we have. For instance, Lithuania has received 4 times more. Greece, 5 times. Estonia, almost 3.5 times. Latvia, 3 times. Portugal, 3 times. Hungary, over 2.7 times more. The Czech Republic, 1.5 times. All of these countries have between 2 and 4 times higher GDP per capita than Bulgaria. And let's not forget EU's wealthiest (per capita) country, Luxembourg, which is the absolute champion in this respect, with EU funds exceeding our net per capita income 26 times!
For the 23 years of the so called post-communist "Transition Period", Bulgaria has practically donated 1.35 billion euros to the otherwise pretty developed Western world, because that's what the education of our "leaked brains" (i.e. highly qualified immigrants) has cost us. Additionally, training and educating the most efficient Bulgarian workforce, our highly-educated immigrants (MBAs, PhDs, etc), has cost us about 27 billion euros so far. Turns out, we've aided the developed Western countries with 28+ billion euros through training experts and specialists alone! And this is the lowest possible estimate. In return, what we've received is a net 4.7 billion euros.
And mind you, we haven't been doing that bad at providing top managers for the EU government, either. Both our EU commissaries, Meglena Kuneva and Kristalina Georgieva, have been consistently praised as two of the most skilled and active members of the EU political elite. Hey, one of the two major transnational parties in the EU, the European Socialists, is being chaired by a former Bulgarian PM - now unanimously re-elected for a second consecutive term!
All of this is leading us to the question, is it worth it to be in the EU? And, isn't it better to become a US state, or at least an associated US territory? Huh? Both types of status are decided upon by the US Congress, in case the country in question makes such a request.
Take Puerto Rico for example. They've wanted to become a US state for ages, and even if they haven't been granted that honor yet, they've been receiving billions of dollars annually. The FBI has destroyed the cycle of corruption there - something the EU has neither the resource nor the structure to do. The Puerto Ricans are considered US citizens. In result, a country that used to be much more backward and underdeveloped than us, has now raised its living standard to heights unachievable by us.
The US citizens get annual social aid of $ 7200 on average. In other words, that's far beyond what the average Bulgarian citizen could ever dream of. In 2011, those payments constituted over 64% of the federal budget. And meanwhile, in most developed European countries that share is significantly lower.
In the US, a family with an annual income of $ 37,900 is considered poor. That's 66K leva. In comparison, our poverty threshold is about 30 times lower (!?!)
I think the US would be very happy to have a state on European soil. That'd be like a dream come true - we're in Russia's backyard, after all. Not that we haven't already been ruled indirectly from Washington and Arlington, as the link above shows. The Transatlantic Trade Agreement will be in force in a few years anyway, whether we like the fact that it'll probably be shoved down the throats of all Europeans without their consent or not. And Bulgaria will become the best place to start the American colonization of Europe - starting with turning it into a launching pad for the various US mega-companies, with their new GMOs and other amazing futuristic stuff that will have turned this planet into a patchwork of corporate fiefdoms by the time our children have had their first children.
There must be other advantages to such a step, I'm sure. Sure, I'm aware that if we're to be serious, the probability of such a thing ever happening is exactly zero, but still. I just ventured into some musings here, about "what if". What would happen, hypothetically, if we were to become officially a US state? First off, our politicians would've hurt a lot - no one wants to relinquish their grip on power, and have someone stepping on their throat and controlling their activity and sniffing into their integrity at every step, as the FBI usually does. If such proposal were to be seriously made, the proposer would've been instantly piled upon with curses and accusations of being a national traitor. There'd be all sorts of analogies with the time of our commie dear leader Todor Zhivkov, a "cunning simpleton" who once proposed, not very jokingly, that we should become the 16th Soviet Republic. Although, granted, it's not like the US and USSR are the same (or aren't they?) Besides, it's probably high time the EU got consolidated into a federalized state, or collapsed back into oblivion. And since I ain't seeing the former happening any time soon, well... We've got to play safe and look for alternative options, no? And please don't tell me Russia is our natural next option - not any more, please no.
No one would like to scratch their entire history off, and completely forget it - I know that. But in reality, it doesn't matter at this point whether we'd be in Europe or America: because we're slowly but gradually melting away as a nation. In about half a century, Bulgarians will probably be a minority in their own country, what with the vast discrepancy in population growth between them and the major minorities in the country. In about two generations, by the current trend, the majority of the voters here would be Roma, pensioners, uneducated, and unemployed. What sort of future does a country have, where 70% of the graduating medics either emigrate elsewhere within a year of their graduation, or cannot find a job, any job, for many years? How would we possibly revive our economy if we consistently remain at the bottom of the EU in every respect? Rather than having the fastest economic growth rate (as the poorest new members of an otherwise prosperous union in principle have large room for development compared to the already developed ones), we've been way below the average growth rates of any other EU member. Because our economy has been turned into an inert appendix to the more dynamic global one, be it by ourselves or by powerful external interests who've worked tirelessly to suck it dry of blood - or by a combination of both. Our capital is the dirtiest and dustiest city in Europe. Our people have lost their great positions in the world's education and literacy rankings, and are now around the bottom on this continent. Does all that look like the path to the brave bright future?
Hmmm. Now that I've recalled ourselves often dubbing our own country "the Switzerland of the Balkans", and now when I think of it, wouldn't it be even better if we became a Swiss canton instead, eh?