May 202018
 May 20, 2018  Posted by at 2:20 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,

Vittorio Matteo Corcos Conversation in the Jardin du Luxembourg 1892


Obviously, there are tensions between Europe and the US. Just as obviously, these tensions are blamed on, who else, Donald Trump. European Council President Donald Tusk recently said: “With friends like Trump, who needs enemies?” EU Commission chair Jean-Claude Juncker even proclaimed that “Europe must take America’s place as global leader”.

These European ‘leaders’ love the big words. They think they make them look good, strong. In reality, they are merely messenger boys for Berlin and Paris. Who have infinitely more say than Brussels. Problem is, Berlin and Paris are not united at all. Macron wants more Europe, especially in finance, but Merkel knows she can’t sell that at home.

So what are those big words worth when the whip comes down? It’s amusing to see how different people reach wholly different conclusions about that. Instructive and entertaining. First, Alex Gorka at The Strategic Culture Foundation, who likes the big words too: “..a landmark event that will go down in history as the day Europe united to openly defy the US.” and “May 17 is the day the revolt started and there is no going back. Europe has said goodbye to trans-Atlantic unity. It looks like it has had enough.


Brussels Rises In Revolt Against Washington: A Turning Point In US-European Relations

The May 16-17 EU-Western Balkans summit did address the problems of integration, but it was eclipsed by another issue. The meeting turned out to be a landmark event that will go down in history as the day Europe united to openly defy the US. The EU will neither review the Iran nuclear deal (JPCOA) nor join the sanctions against Tehran that have been reintroduced and even intensified by America.

Washington’s unilateral withdrawal from the JPCOA was the last straw, forcing the collapse of Western unity. The Europeans found themselves up against a wall. There is no point in discussing further integration or any other matter if the EU cannot protect its own members. But now it can.

[..] As European Council President Donald Tusk put it, “With friends like Trump, who needs enemies?” According to him, the US president has “rid Europe of all illusions.” Mr. Tusk wants Europe to “stick to our guns” against new US policies. Jean-Claude Juncker, the head of the EU Commission, believes that “Europe must take America’s place as global leader” because Washington has turned its back on its allies.

Washington “no longer wants to cooperate.” It is turning away from friendly relations “with ferocity.” Mr. Juncker thinks the time is ripe for Europe “to replace the United States, which as an international actor has lost vigor.” It would have been unthinkable not long ago for a top EU official to say such things and challenge the US global leadership. Now the unthinkable has become reality.

[..] Sandra Oudkirk, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Energy, has just threatened to sanction the Europeans if they continue with the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project to bring gas in from Russia across the Baltic Sea.

[..] President Donald Trump has just instructed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to prepare a list of new sanctions against the Russian Federation for its alleged violations of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. [..] But nobody in Europe has announced that they want US nuclear-tipped intermediate- range weapons on their territory that will be a target for a potential retaliatory strike by Russia.

[..] The time is ripe for Brussels to stop this sanctions-counter-sanctions mayhem and stake out its own independent policies on Russia, Iran, defense, and other issues, that will protect European, not US, national interests. May 17 is the day the revolt started and there is no going back. Europe has said goodbye to trans-Atlantic unity. It looks like it has had enough.

As for placing new nukes in Europe, that will be a hard sell. But the US will probably find countries that say yes, provided they are compensated well. Just don’t try it in Holland, Germany or France. But also don’t forget the amount of nukes already on the continent: just call it an upgrade.

Nord Stream 2 is tricky, but mostly an economic issue: Trump wants to sell American gas to Europe, and uses the bad bad Putin narrative to make that happen. Still, the pipeline has been in the pipeline for a long time, and a lot of time and money has been spent on it. It’ll be hard for the US to cut it off at this late stage.

When it comes to claiming the EU will not review the Iran nuclear deal, isn’t that exactly what they are indeed doing? Reuters:


Europe, China, Russia Discussing New Deal For Iran

Under the 2015 deal, Iran agreed to curb its nuclear program in return for the lifting of most Western sanctions. One of the main complaints of the Trump administration was that the accord did not cover Iran’s missile program or its support for armed groups in the Middle East which the West considers terrorists.

Concluding a new agreement that would maintain the nuclear provisions and curb ballistic missile development efforts and Tehran’s activities in the region could help convince Trump to lift sanctions against Iran, the paper said. “We have to get away from the name ‘Vienna nuclear agreement’ and add in a few additional elements. Only that will convince President Trump to agree and lift sanctions again,” the paper quoted a senior EU diplomat as saying.

All in all, Mr. Gorka doesn’t convince me. Europe doesn’t speak with one voice, and we wouldn’t even know which voice speaks for it. Just that it isn’t Juncker or Tusk, they’re handpuppets. Moreover, Europe has so many internal issues to deal with that it has a hard time speaking at all. A landmark event in US-EU relations may happen one day, but May 17 wasn’t it.

What I find more interesting is the account of academic John Laughland, ‘a historian and specialist in international affairs’, at RT:


With Iran Sanctions Trump Made Europeans Look Like The Fools They Are

Donald Tusk may say “Europe must be united economically, politically and also militarily like never before … either we are together or we are not at all” but Europe is indeed not “together” at all. The Brussels commission is hounding Poland and Hungary on what are clearly internal political matters beyond the Commission’s remit; the EU is about to lose one of its most important member states; and a new government is going to take power in Rome whose economic policies (a flat tax at 15%) will blow the eurozone’s borrowing rules out of the water and perhaps cause Italy to leave the euro.

The Italian 5-Star/League government also wants an end to the EU sanctions against Russia; these are voted by a unanimity which, although fragile, has held until now but which, if the new power in Rome keeps its word, will shortly collapse. In other words, what Trump has done is to make the Europeans look like the fools they are. In circumstances in which the EU has placed all its eggs in one basket, a basket which Trump has now overturned, it will be impossible for it to come together. On the contrary, it is falling apart.

[..] the EU draws its entire legitimacy from the belief that by pooling sovereignty and by merging its states into one entity, it has advanced beyond the age when international relations were decided by force. It believes that it embodies instead a new international system based on rules and agreements, and that any other system leads to war. It is impossible to exaggerate the importance of this belief for European leaders; yet Donald Trump has just driven a coach and horses through it.

The angry statements by European leaders might lead one to think that we are on the cusp of a major reappraisal of trans-Atlantic relations. However, the reality is that the EU and its leaders have painted themselves into a corner from which it will be very difficult, perhaps impossible, to extricate themselves.

Like I said, completely different conclusions based on the exact same events. The EU risks what might turn into an existential crisis with Beppe Grillo effectively holding the reins of power in Rome. The new government may have dropped the demand for a €260 billion debt relief, but the basic income plan is still there, and so is dropping Russian sanctions.

The new guys can’t divert from their election promises much further, they need to maintain their credibility. But for a lot of their promises it is not at all clear how they could possible fit into the present EU structure. Try their demand for a mechanism to leave the EU.

Italy is so large that Brussels cannot be too aggressive against it. The ECB cannot stop buying Italian bonds, as it did with Greek ones. And at some point the debt relief demand will return too.

But Laughland has a lot more cold water to pour on the alleged but toothless European revolt. In the shape of NATO. This is scary for every European:


[..] the links between the EU and the US are not only very long-standing, they are also set in stone. NATO and the EU are in reality Siamese twins, two bodies born at the same time which are joined at the hip. The first European community was created with overt and covert US support in 1950 in order to militarize Western Europe and to prepare it to fight a land war against the Soviet Union; NATO acquired its integrated command structure a few months later and its Supreme Commander is always an American.

Today the two organizations are legally inseparable because the consolidated Treaty on European Union, in the form adopted at Lisbon in 2009, states that EU foreign policy “shall respect” the obligations of NATO member states and that it shall “be compatible” with NATO policy. In other words, the constitutional charter of the EU subordinates it to NATO, which the USA dominates legally and structurally. In such circumstances, European states can only liberate themselves from US hegemony, as Donald Tusk said they should, by leaving the EU. It is obvious that they are not prepared to do that.

Anything else about those dreams of standing up to Trump? Have the past and present leaders in Brussels, and in Berlin and Paris and Rome, betrayed their own citizens? Sold them out? How far removed is this from treason? And does this perhaps indicate that it’s high time for a complete and utter overhaul of the European Union?

It sure sounds a lot more realistic than Europe replacing America as the global leader.

Who needs enemies? NATO does.



Home Forums Who Needs Enemies?

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    Vittorio Matteo Corcos Conversation in the Jardin du Luxembourg 1892   Obviously, there are tensions between Europe and the US. Just as obviously
    [See the full post at: Who Needs Enemies?]

    V. Arnold

    Well Ilargi, you have certainly poured cold water on my pov.
    Nothing like a dose of reality, no?
    Thanks for that perspective; hope once again drowns in the realities of life…


    Thanks Ilargi:

    I will be curious to see if the Italians end up rolling over like the Greeks. I had a lot of hope for the Greeks when Yanos was there, but as he became increasingly marginalized and Tsipras and Syriza sold out across the board, hope kinda went away.

    The “West” is in the process of…well, that is the problem. The countries of the West are trying like hell to decide whether or not to go it together or alone. They are trying like hell to figure out who their friends are and who isn’t their enemy.

    At the end of the day, I think that things like Europe buying gas from Iran with Euros and the Shanghai oil market will be key to the problem. Washington is going to try to keep its exorbitant privilege and will strong arm who they will to keep it.

    I tend to think we are starting the see the breakdown of the West as a bloc. Granted, it was a fractious and odd bloc, but it was a bloc. What will follow?


    American clients, Israel and Saudi Arabia, want a war in Iran. This is clearly against the interest of the European States and American citizens. The founding problem of the EU is that the idealism of the “Free movement of people, money, service and goods” and the memory of WWII were used to erect an economic superstructure controlled by globalists and multi-national corporations. The West threw the bottom 80% of the people under the bus. Rising inequality means more are doing without. Many are living in war zones. People are forced to move to survive. Oligarchs favor this for the cheap labor. Wars also supply Oligarchs their loot. This is their nature. There is a silent battle ongoing between wealthy Western Nationalists and Globalists. On the other hand, Democracy requires strong borders and redistribution of wealth to benefit society. The EU will inevitably splinter apart in the expanding Syria/Ukraine war unless European Sovereign Nations can sign a Peace Treaty with Iran, Russia and China while anti-globalist Donald Trump is still President. If a Globalist supersedes Donald Trump, the whole world will be at war.

    Dr. D

    So in a single stroke Trump ended the American Empire and “rid Europe of all illusions”, i.e. told the truth to power? Let me know when the bad part starts.

    Oddly, this is strongly at odds with other perspectives, for example, that by forcing a revolt and ending 50 years of extortion of Europe he’s going to get them to a) buy American gas we neither have nor can deliver, b) stop Europe from trading with Russia, which is killing them, particularly Germany but obviously Italy, or c) keep Iran from going financially independent in a Russia-China-Iran triangle.

    Is that what’s going on? Or is a different scenario the U.S. cracking the unipolar egg so it can’t be unscrambled, crushing Europe to do it, which is not only a major competitor but a source of the trouble, for when Trump puts “sanctions” on Russia, isn’t he just hurting Merkel, who will then flip Germany away from Globalists of the Deep State to nationalists, and also pick and choose oligarchs that may (or may not be) personal enemies of Russia, thereby allowing Putin to intervene in internal affairs his setup agreement had ceded to Medredev? Certainly years of previous sanctions has strongly strengthened Russia, at a price. So if this is working so “badly” why is being done and doubled down except that the plan — as you might remember from the campaign, which no one does — is PEACE with Russia, and to PULL OUT of Europe, interventionism, in Syria, South Korea, everywhere. So when that happens, when the U.S. has no ISIS to fight, has peace talks with NoKo, is going to be booted persona non grata from Europe for no longer helping, war-mongering, paying 60, 80% of NATO when we’re utterly broke and have no fight with Russia, it’s all an amazing accident? Yup. Amazing, amazing coincidence that the campaign promises are beginning to occur. Maybe it’s been so long anyone kept them, that they can’t credit it. Maybe they play chess by marching their pawns blindly across the chessboard instead of feinting and zig-zagging, I dunno.

    Again: Europe, you’re on your own. Get with the program, we’re broke and going home so do whatever it is you (non Globalist) guys do. And you might want to start with Greece, I heard their house burned down, and when the Red Cross came they looted the place. That’s not making you look good. So bad in fact that above Brexit, “anti-Europe” (obviously the OPPOSITE of any such thing as they ARE Europe) won 70% in an election, then all 3 winning parties in Italy are telling you to pack it too. There’s no “Europe” in Brussels that abandons and savages Europeans, I’m surprised I have to point out such a thing. After a place, Europe is only her people, the ones your “European” Project has killed by thousands. Knock it off, and don’t blame Trump for your garbage, we got enough of our own.

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