It does make sense that Evarist Bartolo is being pushed for President, but not in a good way. It makes sense for a corrupt and inept government which plans to keep good relationships with rogue states like Russia in the name of their warped interpretation of Malta’s neutrality.
So, Varist was interviewed by Saviour Balzan in his pro-government propaganda show on TVM. The show was an excruciating and boring conversation between two old men being friends and sharing anecdotes. Out of a one-hour-long interview, they only spoke about Joseph Muscat for five minutes. You know, the most significant historical event in Malta during the last twenty years was when we had a government resign over murder implications, but that’s not something very important to the mature and old TV show post who is bank-rolled by the government. A shallow interview which gave us nothing new, and nothing insightful, but Prosit Ministru crowd likes it.
Varist isn’t growing into a wise man, instead, he is becoming more detached from reality. His thoughts on foreign policy sound more like the delusions of someone who doesn’t understand the basics. In a recent interview, Varist said that Russia plays an important role in Europe’s security architecture and that it will have to be involved in this architecture in the future. Varist has been exposed to so much bullshit and propaganda that he is no longer able to comprehend the reality around him and instead sees the world through talking points and delusional fantasies.
But it makes sense. And even Varist’s career trajectory as President makes sense in Labour’s warped and distorted foreign policy thinking. Putting Varist as President would enable our government to have a diplomat who would be able to engage with rogue states like Russia under the constitutional pretext of neutrality.
And here is the problem with Varist’s warped thinking. Many people don’t remember the 1960s. The perception in the West in the 1960s was that the Soviet Union was there to stay for the long haul. The world had to contend with a totalitarian super-power and no one ever imagined that the Soviet Union would collapse and Easter Europe become democratised. When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 this suppressive dominance on the historical destiny of millions of people by the totalitarian Soviet Union was shattered and a new world opened up.
Europe’s security architecture is first and foremost built against the Russian threat which is the biggest and most serious security threat to Europe, by far exceeding terrorism. This is why Russia can never join NATO or be part of “Europe’s security architecture”. Varist doesn’t understand this. He probably thinks that NATO is imperialistic too. The reality is a bit different and global conditions today are also very different to the Cold War. Clinging on to irrelevant documents such as the Helsinki Accords just shows how inept he is in foreign affairs and also how he totally doesn’t understand the historical context of Malta’s neutrality. Varist wants us to go back to the times when Russia could roll its tanks to Prague and Budapest and still be considered an important part of “European security architecture”. Things are different, today and those days aren’t going to happen again.
I can also tell you for certainty that Russia won’t have any part in Europe’s security architecture. Russia has entered into a zero-sum, imperialist war in Europe, something which hasn’t happened since the last Second World War. Even if the war is protracted for years to come, without a definite victor or loser (although Russia has already lost by the fact that it hasn’t taken Kiev), Russia with a Putin or a Putinist regime will never get back on the table with Europe. Russia is at the stage where it is proudly promoting its war crimes online, so basically asking Russia to be your security partner is like asking a criminal to help you uphold the law.
Varist would make a very ideal President for this government, but of course, for all the wrong reasons.