by Alexander Mercouris, The Duran:
Czech election result points to deep malaise in Europe but unlikely to trigger crisis or cause change in EU policies
On 25th June 2016, shortly after Britain’s Brexit referendum, I wrote an article for The Duran in which I pointed out that the British vote for Brexit was a symptom of growing disaffection across Europe with an EU project which has evolved into something very different from the community of European nation states which it had initially been.
The problem is less that the EU is evolving into some sort of pan-European superstate – in my opinion the EU is far too dysfunctional for that ever to happen – but that since the end of the Cold War the EU has become alongside NATO a vehicle of US control of Europe, and has therefore come increasingly to serve US geopolitical interests rather than the interests of the people of Europe
John Laughland in a recent RT Crosstalk called the EU more accurately a cartel of governments who conspire behind the scenes with each other to pass legislation without the need to consult with their democratically elected parliaments. Whilst that is closer to the truth, it is not the whole truth. Rather the EU, at least as it has become over the last decade, is best understood as a cabal of three governments, primarily those of the US and Germany, with France treated by the Germans (though not by the US) as a sort of junior partner, which make the decisions in secret that are binding on all the rest.
I appreciate that this description of the EU will meet with strong objections in some quarters, especially as by far the most powerful of these governments is that of the US which is not a member of the EU. However what I say is well known by all the relevant insiders. Indeed the facts speak for themselves and are hardly even concealed. On key issues EU policy is nowadays decided in private bilateral discussions between the US and the Germans, often involving the US President and the German Chancellor, with the Germans then telling the other Europeans what they should do…..
In the same article I pointed out that this repeatedly results in policies being followed which whilst they serve US geopolitical interests European electorates have never agreed to and in many cases do not want.
I gave two examples, the issue of internal migration within the EU and the Eurozone crisis, where US geopolitical interests have both created the crises and prevented solutions to them
Take the issue that more than any other crystallised anti-EU sentiment in Britain during the Brexit referendum: the EU’s policy of unrestricted internal migration, which has resulted in large numbers of East European migrant workers coming to Britain.
Freedom of movement within the EU has always been a core principle of the EU. It was never an issue within the EU until the EU was expanded to include the much poorer countries of Eastern Europe. That expansion – as everyone knows – was driven not by European needs but first and foremost by US geopolitical strategies, being intended to anchor Eastern Europe in the US-led Western alliance system.
To that end the East European states were admitted into the EU long before their economic situations justified doing so. In order to seal the deal their elites were won over by promises of a seat at the EU top table. Huge sums were paid over to them principally by Germany through the so-called EU structural funds (originally conceived to foster development in the EU’s poorer regions but increasingly used in Eastern and Southern Europe as a form of legalised bribery to bind local elites). Lastly, their young people were won over with the promise of visa free access to the rest of Europe – thus creating the migrant situation that has been the cause of so much anger in Britain.
The implications were never thought through or discussed within Europe because EU expansion ultimately followed a US geopolitical agenda rather than a European one. The result is that despite increasing alarm across Europe at the consequences of the policy the EU bureaucracy continues to pursue the same policy towards other states the US wants to bring into the system like Turkey and Ukraine.
Or take another issue: the Eurozone crisis. The idea of European monetary union was originally conceived in the 1970s and was already firmly on the agenda by the late 1980s. Margaret Thatcher fell from power because she opposed it. The idea it was conceived following the fall of the Berlin Wall is wrong.
What has made the Eurozone crisis so intractable is its well-known structural problems – the fact a single currency was created to cover very different economies without a single treasury or tax system behind it – but also the contradiction between the US geopolitical ambitions that increasingly drive the EU and European needs if the Eurozone is to be managed properly.
Economic conditions in southern Europe – in Greece especially – point clearly to the need for at least some of these countries to exit the Eurozone, a fact that is well-understood within the German government. Yet that option is ruled out not just because of opposition within Europe itself but because again it goes against the geopolitical interest of the US, which is to keep these countries locked within the euro system, which in turn binds them to the Western alliance and therefore ultimately to the US itself. Thus at the height of the Grexit crisis last year German Chancellor Merkel abruptly reversed a previously agreed German position to support Grexit following a call from President Obama of the US who told her not to. The result is that instead of the Greek crisis being resolved once and for all in Europe’s and Greece’s interests – as German Finance Minister Schauble said it should be – it has instead been left to fester indefinitely.
To these two example I would add a third, the refugee crisis which hit Europe in the autumn of 2015, and which is the direct catalyst for the recent votes for anti-Brussels anti-immigration parties in the recent elections in Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic.
Though the decision – taken practically without consultation – to let in hundreds of thousands of refugees from the Middle East is generally blamed on German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in reality there is little doubt that she acted in the way she did because she knew that the US would be happy with the way she was acting in that way.
The refugee exodus was after all the direct product of the US’s regime change wars in the Middle East and in Syria especially. By acting to admit the refugees Merkel was acting to relieve a humanitarian crisis that US policies had created, saving the US embarrassment and the problems this crisis was causing for the US with its Middle East allies, especially Jordan and Turkey.
Merkel for her part was at the time especially anxious to please the US in order to repair the damage done to her reputation by her brutal handling of the Greek crisis earlier that year. She therefore did something which she knew the US would approve of without thinking the consequences through.
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