The European Union was a creation of CIA, especially of “Wild Bill” Donovan, the first organizer of the Office for Strategic Services, the forerunner of the Agency, and of Walter Bedell Smith, the first President of the Agency. The idea was simple and rational, namely to organize the non-NATO European countries and the Alliance ones in a network of US-EU bilateral economic relations, which would serve as “glue” of the European Federalist Movement led by a lukewarm pro-European man, Winston Churchill.
All this pending a war, which was considered forthcoming, between the United States, Europe and the USSR, and an economic penetration of free Europe by the Soviets.
Oil, some non-oil commodities and various minerals had been used by Russia to enter the West European markets, waiting for reaping the political benefits of those moves.
Hence the first step was the “Anglo-American loan” in London equal to 206 billion pounds, which began in 1946 and was fully repaid in 2006. It was negotiated by John Maynard Keynes and it was such as to transfer every British economic and colonial asset to Wall Street.
Later, the second step was a limitation on the British nuclear weapons, which had to be few and of “last resort”; the final step was a series of trade links which favoured the United States, also in Great Britain.
A historical and linguistic link through which the United States wanted to penetrate the future EU, simplified and relegated to the impossible level of “United States of Europe” and make it economically and strategically subordinate.
Hence the industrial reconstruction fostered by the Marshall Plan and by the European Recovery Program (ERP) was the transfer of North-American second and third technologies to the defeated countries, which produced “mature” goods and services at a low price and repurchased in dollars. The goods that the United States had no longer interest in producing in their country triggered the new European growth off. It is also worth recalling that the ERP had been offered also to the URSS.
This is basically what the United Europe was and still partly is.
A “federation” of nations in which Great Britain controlled Germany and wanted to remain the arbiter of the Mediterranean against Italy and France. A “federation” in which it also intended to manipulate and enlarge its link with the United States, which often took it too seriously.
Germany became an economic power to resume the Third Reich project without waging a war and, as soon as the USSR collapsed, it regained the Slavic and Germanic East in a short lapse of time.
The Cold War was the “family photo” of the winners with the main losers of the Second World War, and the primary glue was the fight against communism, created in World War I, developed in World War II and acting as political intermediary of most European national party tensions.
The Cold War was the final part of the “European civil war” about which the recently deceased Ernst Nolte spoke.
In that context, Great Britain wanted to believe in its old imperial memories and kept a significant military standing, so as to make the United States understand that it was not like South Carolina and to defend itself autonomously from a possible continental Europe partially or totally in the hands of a Communist enemy.
In Cold War Europe, everybody played the game of European unity and of sovereign autonomy, both when the neighbour was conquered by its PC or by the troops of the Warsaw Pact. Only Italy did so weakly and irrationally.
Hence today more than ever in the past, Europe is a paradox in itself. It survives in a rhetoric which, in the future, will manifest itself with its anthem, Ode to Joy, by Schiller and Van Beethoven, but it lives just as constantly intermediating between the Brüder, the “brothers” of the European continent, by also accepting the adverse geopolitics devised by the United States: no serious presence in the Middle East; the Maghreb region left naively at first to the pro-Soviet “liberation movements” and later to the frenzy of “total democracy”; the Balkans given as a guarantee to the dubious “self-managed” socialism of Marshal Tito, already designated heir apparent to Stalin – that cost a lot of money to Italian taxpayers..
A Europe surrounded by wolves that the New World Order was playing precisely with the USSR.
The three subsequent “doctrines” of nuclear use developed by NATO proved it.
From massive retaliation to “flexible response” until the most recent doctrines, all NATO doctrines have proposed Europe as the bone of contention and trigger of war.
Hence everything was planned for a future confrontation, the Mors Aeuropae, to be accomplished in a short lapse of time, while the freezing of equilibria was equally quick, but unexpected.
As André Malraux said, “the United States are the first nation which has become powerful without pursuing this goal”.
Two factors have changed this scenario completely: Brexit and China’s new global presence.
It is worth recalling that the United States have never accepted the euro and have considered it an account currency in the EU or, more severely, a global monetary nuisance.
I can remember the old banknotes of the Bank of England when there was speculation that the UK might enter the euro: “We will not enter”, they said in Threadneedle Street, “since the Euro means participating in others’ debt without guarantees, because the currency as such is not a guarantee.”
Hence, now with Brexit and Prime Minister Theresa May who manages it, the issue is turning irrelevant, but the British Premier has created, with a stroke of geopolitical genius, a new axis for Great Britain, namely China.
China has already had excellent relations with Great Britain: a case in point is Hinkley Point C, a nuclear power plant which is worth 18 billion pounds, of which China holds a 30% stake. The deal was managed by David Cameron and Xi Jinping.
Even the future reactors Sizewell and Bradwell are supposed to have a Chinese share of funding, as well as support towards foreign merchant banks.
Now Prime Minister May has delayed the project, causing some nervousness in China, but she wants some clarifications on the British national security mechanisms for all the plants concerned.
It is worth noting that Chinese investment in the UK is already higher than China’s investment in Germany, France and Italy.
It is also worth recalling that the jobs created thanks to the Chinese investment in Great Britain are as many as 265,000.
China, which knows the history of the euro and of “European federalism” all too well, does not want to be bogged down – except for large, clear and profitable business – in financial mechanisms not yet stabilized but indeed, being deconstructed, as the single European currency, which was created for political purposes, but will soon die for the same reasons.
On the other hand, a currency was “reversed time” and even “signum potestatis” – indeed, precisely the monetary “sign” of the military and political might of the king portrayed on it. Something very different from the “bridges”, like those on the euro bank notes – all highways in the void, or rather Roman aqueducts.
However, let us revert to Prime Minister May: China will become Great Britain’s economic bulwark after Brexit, although – due to its complex strategy towards China – as early as 1990, Great Britain has used also the direct channels between the EU and China.
Now Great Britain will use its national channels and, certainly, Prime Minister May will manage the Chinese strategic support to: a) become the pivot of China’s presence towards the EU; b) balance, with China, the possible US mainmort, also strengthening its conventional nuclear and military apparatus; c) become the end point, for Northern Europe, of the major Belt and Road initiative devised by Xi Jinping that, with Great Britain, would arrive easily to the North Atlantic Ocean and would touch the US initial Ocean.
Dayton Peace Accord 23 Years On: Ensured Peace and Stability in Former Yugoslavia
For the past twenty-three years life has been comparatively peaceful in the breakaway republics of the former Yugoslavia. The complicated civil war that began in Yugoslavia in 1991 had numerous causes and began to break up along the ethnic lines. The touching stories and the aftermath effects of the breakaway republics of Bosnia- Herzegovina, Croatia and in Kosovo are still unfolding. Though the numbers of deaths in the Bosnia- Herzegovina conflict in former Yugoslavia are not known precisely, most sources agree that the estimates of deaths vary between 150,000 to 200,000 and displaced more than two million people. During the conflict a Srebrenica a North-eastern enclave of Bosnia once declared as a United Nations (UN ) safe area” saw one of the worst atrocity since second world war.
It has been estimated that more than 8,000 Muslim Bosniaks were massacred in Srebrenica and it was one of the most brutal ethnic cleansing operations of its kind in modern warfare. The US brokered peace talks revived the a peace process between the three warring factions in Bosnia- Herzegovina. For Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina a United States (US ) -brokered peace deal reached in Dayton on 21st November 1995. In a historic reconciliation bid on 14 December 1995 , the Dayton Peace Accord was signed in Paris, France, between Franjo Tudjman president of the Republic of Croatia and Slobodan Milosevic president of the Federal Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro), Alija Izetbegovic, president of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
When conflict in Bosnia- Herzegovina, Croatia ended, the reconciliation began between ethnically divided region. The US played a crucial role in defining the direction of the Peace process. In 1996, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) -led 60,000 multinational peace enforcement force known as the Implementation Force (IFOR)) was deployed to help preserve the cease-fire and enforce the treaty provisions. Thereafter, the Court was established by Resolution 808 and later, Resolution 827 of the United Nations Security Council, which endorsed to proceed with setting up of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) to try crimes against humanity . International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) was the first United Nations (UN) war crimes tribunal of its kind since the post-second world war Nuremberg tribunal.
In the late 1990’s, as the political crisis deepened a spiral of violence fuelled the Kosovo crisis between the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and the Yugoslav forces. Unlike the Bosnia- Herzegovina, Kosovo was a province of Serbia, of former Yugoslavia that dates back to 1946, when Kosovo gained autonomy as a province within Serbia. It is estimated that more than 800,000. Kosovos were forced out of Kosovo in search of refuge and as many as 500,000 more were displaced within Kosovo.
Subsequent t hostilities in Kosovo the eleven week air campaign led by NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) against Yugoslavia in 1999 the Yugoslavian forces pulled troops out of Kosovo NATO. After the war was over, the United Nations Security Council, under the resolution 1244 (1999) approved to establish an international civil presence in Kosovo, known as the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). Nevertheless UNMIK regulation No 1999/24 provided that the Law in Force in Kosovo prior to March 22, 1989 would serve as the applicable law for the duration of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).
In this context reconciliation is a key to national healing of wounds after ending a violent conflict. Healing the wounds of the past and redressing past wrongs is a process through which a society moves from a divided past to a shared future. Over the years in Serbia, Bosnia- Herzegovina, Croatia and in Kosovo the successful peace building processes had happened. The success of the peace building process was possible because of participation of those concerned, and since appropriate strategies to effectively approach was applied with all relevant actors. The strengthening of institutions for the benefit of all citizens has many important benefits for the peace and stability of former Yugoslavia. Hence, the future looks bright for the Balkan states of Serbia, Bosnia- Herzegovina, Croatia and Kosovo.
Hungarian Interest, Ukraine and European Values
Diplomatic conflicts that have recently arisen between Hungary and its neighboring countries and the European Union as a whole most clearly show the new trend in European politics. This trend is committing to national and state values of a specific European country, doubting the priority of supranational interests within the European Union. Political analyst Timofey Bordachev believes that “the era of stale politics and the same stale politicians, who make backstage decisions based on the“ lowest common denominator,” are finally coming to an end. Politicians with a new vision of the world order come to power, such as Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Austrian Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurtz, or the new head of the Italian Interior Ministry, leader of the right-wing League of the North Party, Matteo Salvini ”.
It is not the first year that Hungary is trying to protect the interests of its citizens and the state from external influence, to protect the Hungarians in the territory of neighbouring states by establishing for this a special position (Commissioner for the development of the Transcarpathian region of Ukraine), to determine relations with other countries on the basis of their attitude to the rights of Hungarians. This is how conflicts with the European Union arose, after Hungary refused to let migrants into the country, in the same manner, a conflict arose with Ukraine, which is trying to build a state ideology, based on nationalism, which a priori does not provide for the proper level of realization and protection of the rights of non-titular nations.
In relation to Hungary, Ukraine follows the same policy as in relation to Russia – to initiate various accusations, to call for punishment, to talk about the inconsistency with European values of the Hungarian policy under the leadership of Orban. Doing so Kiev has its multifaceted interest: cooperation with NATO and the EU, support for any decisions of Brussels, the anti-Russian course, domestic policy based on the nationalist ideology. And in all these areas Hungary poses a problem for Ukraine. In the description of relations with Hungary Kiev even uses the word “annexation“.
Hungary is hardly planning to seize any Ukrainian territory, but on what grounds Ukraine falsely accuses Hungary of its annexation intentions in relation to Transcarpathia? The Ukrainian side highlights several positions:
Issuing Hungarian passports to Ukrainian citizens (ethnic Hungerians)
This is an old story, it has come to light again recently due to the growth of Ukrainian nationalism. Moreover, there are concerns about the implementation by Hungary of the “Crimean scenario” in relation to Transcarpathia.
The Hungarian government has created the position of “Commissioner for the development of Ukraine’s Transcarpathian region and the program for the development of kindergartens in the Carpathian region”.
Ukraine demanded an explanation. A note of protest was delivered to the Hungarian Charge d’Affaires in Ukraine, and the Foreign ministers of Ukraine and Hungary had a telephone conversation on the problem. Hungary continues to ignore the requirements of Kiev.
Ukraine fears further disintegration processes
At the same time, in Kiev there is no understanding of the fact that combining the ideology of nationalism with the country’s national diversity and European integration is hardly possible.
Ukrainian experts note the growth of separatism in the Transcarpathian region, as well as the “strange behavior” of the governor, who plays on the side of Hungary. They also complain that “pro-Ukrainian ideology”(?) is not being сonsolidated in Transcarpathia, and this region is not controlled and monitored by the Ministry of information. In a word, the state is losing control over the territory, which it neither develops nor controls. Such behavior of the governor and the region’s residents may indicate that the state is not sufficiently present in the lives of residents of Transcarpathia, and this a financial and humanitarian drawback they compensate with the help of Hungary, – experts believe.
Apparently, Ukraine is unable to reach an agreement with Hungary as relations are tense. In response to the Ukrainian law on education, adopted in the fall of 2017, which infringes the rights of national minorities, Budapest blocked another, the third, Ukraine-NATO meeting. Ukraine witnessed this embarrassing situation in April 2018. At the same time elections were held in Hungary, in which Viktor Orban’s party won a majority in the parliament. Such a tough stance of Budapest in relation to the Ukrainian educational policy Kiev considered to be just a sign of electoral populism. However, this was a mistake.
Viktor Orban’s victory in spring 2018 was convincing, and a convincing victory means obvious support of his migration policies as well as his support for compatriots abroad. The party of Orban – Fides – not only won a majority but a constitutional majority – 133 of the 199 seats in the National Assembly of Hungary.
There is no doubt that Hungary has become Ukraine’s another serious opponent in the process of its European integration. And it is unlikely that either country will take a step back: there will be presidential elections in Ukraine soon, and in Hungary, the victory won by Orban, apparently, confirms the approval of his independent foreign policy by the citizens. So the conflict is likely to develop.
First published in our partner International Affairs
Belt and Road Alternatives: The European Strategy
The European Union (EU) has put forward a plan for enhancing connectivity within Asia, which has been dubbed as the Asia Connectivity Strategy.
The EU does not want to give an impression, that the Asia Connectivity Strategy (ACS) is a counter to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Yet, senior officials of the EU, while commenting on the broad aims and objectives of the project, have categorically stated, that the primary goal of the Asia Connectivity Strategy, is enhancing connectivity (physical and digital) while also ensuring, that local communities benefit from such a project, and environmental and social norms are not flouted (this is a clear allusion to the shortcomings of the BRI). There are no clear details with regard to the budget, and other modalities of the project (EU member countries are likely to give a go ahead for this project, before the Asia-Europe Meeting in October 2018). EU has categorically stated, that it would like to ensure that the ACS is economically sustainable.
Other alternatives to BRI
It is not just the EU, but even the US, along with Japan and Australia. which are trying to create an alternative vision to the BRI.
The US alternative to the BRI, is being funded by the recently created United States International Development Finance Corporation (USDFC) (an organization which will merge Overseas Private Investment Corporation and other Development Finance Programs) which came into being after the passing of the BUILD (Better Utilization of Investments leading to Development) Act recently.
It would be pertinent to point out, that the US which has been accused of lacking a cohesive vision to counter China’s BRI has in recent months spoken, on more than one occasion, about greater the dire need for robust connectivity in the Indo-Pacific. In July 2018 US Secretary of State while speaking at the Indo-Pacific Business Forum committed an amount of $113 million for U.S. initiatives to support projects related to digital economy, energy, and infrastructure. The Secretary of State, while speaking about close links between US and Indo-Pacific, also spoke about the need for greater private sector involvement in projects in the Indo-Pacific. Pompeo off late, has also been reaching out pro-actively to a number of countries in South East Asia, and visited Malaysia, Indonesia in August 2018.
It would be pertinent to point out that OPIC (now part of USFDC) has already signed with the overseas finance development arms of Japan and Australia, and is in talks with India to work jointly. Some of the areas being explored for joint investments are energy, infrastructure.
It is not just the US, even Japan has come with it’s own alternative, Partnership for Quality Infrastructure (PQI), to the BRI.
Potential Appeal of the Asia Connectivity Strategy
So the question then arises, why would countries seeking an alternative to China, not come on board the US’ connectivity initiative. The ‘Asia Connectivity Strategy’ may be especially acceptable to leaders, who do not want to be seen as blindly following US diktats, but who are also uncomfortable with Beijing’s economic policies, and want to avoid falling into what has been dubbed as Beijing’s ‘debt trap’ diplomacy. A perfect example being Malaysian Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohammad who scrapped projects worth 40 Billion USD, and also referred to the rise of a ‘new colonialism’ being promoted by China. The Malaysian PM has not shared a particularly cordial relationship with the US in the past. While addressing the United Nations General Assembly (unga), Mahathir made some interesting points, saying that Malaysians want a Malaysia, which seeks relations based on ‘mutual respect’ and a Malaysia, that is ‘neutral’ and ‘non aligned’
EU itself trying to strike a balance
EU Chief, Jean Claude Juncker, has been pitching for a more pro-active response to Trump’s insular policies, as well as China’s BRI. Given the fact, that EU has taken a divergent stand from US on the Iran issue, and has proposed a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) which will ensure that trade with Iran continues, even before the impending US sanctions to be imposed on Iran in November 2018. The SPV was announced, jointly with Russia and China, on the sidelines of the UNGA.
At the UNGA, French President, Emmanuel Macron disagreed with Trump’s views with regard to Iran, and supported the 2015 Vienna Accord. Said Macron: We know that Iran was on a nuclear military path but what stopped it? The 2015 Vienna accord.”
While it remains to be seen, if the SPV set up by EU works or not, but a number of countries which do not want to be part of the Chinese or American orbit would be attracted towards the EU, in spite of all the problems it is facing, due to it’s capacity to take an independent stand.
Asia Connectivity Strategy is not only about competition
It remains to be seen whether the Asia Connectivity Strategy can gain traction. In terms of connectivity, there may even be strong overlaps with the ‘Indo-Pacific vision’. France, which has strengthened strategic ties with Australia and India, is already seeking to play a pro-active role in the Indo-Pacific.
French President Emmanuel Macron had referred to the need for a strong Paris-Canberra-New Delhi axis, during his Australia visit, as a counter to China’s increasing assertiveness.
Interestingly, while there is a realization, that Asian Connectivity Strategy has a competitive element, and there are some clear differences between EU’s strategy and BRI, there are also some who believe, that there is space for collaboration between the Asia Connectivity Strategy and BRI. This point has been put forward by some policy makers and strategic commentators in EU, as well as sections of the Chinese media. Wang Wen Wen in an article for the Global Times, argues:
‘Asia needs Europe as much as it needs China. Since the EU and China are the two largest economic entities in Eurasia, it is vital that they steward the continent’s economic development agenda. Some programs in the BRI have carried out cooperation with the European side on technology and equipment procurement.’
In conclusion, the Asia Connectivity Strategy is an interesting idea. A lot will depend upon available resources and the response of potential stakeholders. But EU going ahead with such an initiative in spite of numerous problems within is truly laudable.
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