Incoming US President Donald Trump threw a cat among the European pigeons this week after he said that the EU was heading for breakup and that he didn’t care much if that were to happen.
In interviews with British and German newspapers, Trump said a whole lot more too. He described Britain’s decision to split from the EU as a “great” move, and that more countries would follow the Brexit; he called German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open-door immigration policy a “disaster”; and on the NATO military alliance, the new president said it was “obsolete”.
The following day, EU leaders were huffing and puffing with rage and exasperation that Trump should dare be so disrespectful.
“Trump’s NATO, EU comments spark fury, fear across Europe,” reported the Washington Times.
Germany’s Merkel and French President Francois Hollande told Trump to mind his own business. EU foreign policy chief Federica Morgherini claimed that European states followed their own independent course and did not need Washington anyway. Former French prime minister Manuel Valls, always prone to histrionics, even went as far as decrying Trump for “declaring war on Europe”.
The hilarious thing is that Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, and the EU leaders have been for months claiming that Russian President Vladimir Putin is the one who is secretly plotting the breakup of the European bloc and the transatlantic alliance.
But after all this rabid scaremongering against Russia, it is an American president, Donald Trump, who is publicly declaring that the days are numbered for the transatlantic status quo.
Russia did indeed welcome Trump’s comments about NATO being “obsolete”. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “NATO is truly a relic of the past… its entire structure is dedicated to the idea of confrontation; of course, it can hardly be called a modern structure that meets the ideas of stability, sustainable development and security.”
Moscow also said that it welcomed the opportunity to normalize relations with Washington as Trump has indicated. He has intimated that he is prepared to lift economic sanctions that Washington imposed on Russia since 2014 over the Ukraine conflict.
Despite their pretentious bluster, the truth is that European leaders of all political shades have been absolute lackeys to Washington for the past several decades. Not one European state has dared to stand up to American foreign policy misconduct.
In reaction to Trump’s latest broadsides, European leaders are piously claiming to be independent from Washington. Nothing could be further from the truth about the current and past crop of European politicians.
Germany’s deputy Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel hit back at Trump’s savaging of Merkel’s “disastrous” immigration policies. He said that the real cause of the refugee crisis in Europe was America’s military interventions in the Middle East and Central Asia. Well, yes, that is true. But if Sigmar Gabriel knew that was the real cause, then why hasn’t Germany – the most powerful EU member – stood up to Washington to oppose its relentless warmongering.
The fact is that the EU has gone along with each and every US-led war around the world over the past 25 years. Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya among others.
Look at Syria, for instance. The EU has imposed economic sanctions on that forsaken country, in line with Washington’s agenda for regime change, thus exacerbating the exodus of refugees. If the EU had some independent backbone, as it likes to pretend, then it should have firmly opposed the US-led covert intervention in Syria. But it didn’t. The EU is fully complicit.
The pernicious role of Britain has to be acknowledged here. No other member of the EU has been such an avid cheerleader for NATO and American atlanticist sway over European affairs. Britain has loyally followed the US into foreign wars, thereby dragging Europe into such follies. If Britain had not been a member of the EU, perhaps the bloc might have had more critical foreign policy, one that was more critical of Washington’s lawless depredations.
Ironically now, Britain is leaving the EU after 43 years of membership. But it bequeaths a legacy of subservience to Washington that all remaining EU members find themselves bound by.
Perhaps the clearest example of European servility to US foreign policy is its acquiescence to Russophobia and the hostile expansion of US-led military forces along Russia’s borders.
European governments have colluded with Washington to meddle in the affairs of Georgia and Ukraine and then seek to cover up the tracks of conflict by blaming Russia for the unrest. Moreover, the EU slavishly followed Washington’s lead to slap economic sanctions on Russia. Those sanctions have caused minimal disruption to America’s economy, but they have wreaked havoc on European farmers, workers and businesses.
The incumbent European governments are pathetic. Special mention must be given to French President Hollande, the most unpopular leader ever. To illustrate the puppet status, recall the Mistral helicopter-ship deal worth about $2 billion with Russia. Hollande axed the contract and hence hundreds of French jobs because the Americans instructed him to do so, allegedly to maintain a unified sanctions policy on Moscow.
Europe is facing several key national elections this year, in the Netherlands, France and Germany. As with other EU countries there is a popular revolt against the status quo. The mainstream media paint the opposition parties as extremist and racist. The media also claim that Russia is covertly subverting European democracies. This is just scapegoating. Closer to the truth is that ordinary EU citizens are fed up with governments that are in hock to a foreign power – Washington.
The atlanticist “alliance” has been nothing but a euphemism for Washington to dominate politically, financially and militarily over Europe. To the point where Europe has trashed its historic links and natural relations with Russia.
After decades of kowtowing to Washington, there is now a new US president who is snubbing the “loyal Europeans” and showing disregard for atlanticism.
Trump’s comment that he trusts Vladimir Putin equally with Angela Merkel is surely a sharp putdown to Europeans who have allowed his predecessors to dictate disastrous policies for the EU.
Under Trump, the US may well move to cancel its sanctions on Russia. What will European lackeys do then? Keep their own futile anti-Russian sanctions that are wrecking their economies, or sheepishly repeal the sanctions because the Americans have done so?
But by then it will be too late for the EU. The European Union is already teetering on implosion because for decades its leaders had no courage or vision to serve the interests of their citizens instead of Uncle Sam’s atlanticist designs.
Trump’s indifference towards European subservience and the NATO project is a potentially promising new direction to a more balanced international configuration, especially with regard to restoring relations with Russia.
It may not work out, of course. Trump has plenty of enemies at home among the Washington establishment who see atlanticist domination of Europe and antagonism towards Russia as a cornerstone of US global hegemonic ambitions.
Nevertheless, Trump’s skepticism towards the EU and NATO is setting the cat among the European pigeons. Because it is exposing them as impotent flunkies who have ruined their countries by prostrating themselves as pathetic dependents on American patronage.
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