The current U.S. President, Donald Trump, claimed on June 18th, that Germany’s leadership, and the leadership in other EU nations, caused the refugee-crisis that Europe is facing: “The people of Germany are turning against their leadership as migration is rocking the already tenuous Berlin coalition. Crime in Germany is way up. Big mistake made all over Europe in allowing millions of people in who have so strongly and violently changed their culture!”
The U.S. Government is clearly lying about this. The U.S. Government itself caused this crisis that Europeans are struggling to deal with. Would the crisis even exist, at all, if the U.S. had not invaded and tried to overthrow (and in some instances actually overthrown) the governments in Libya, Syria, and elsewhere — the places from which these refugees are escaping? The U.S. Government, and a few of its allies in Europe (the ones who actually therefore really do share in some of the authentic blame for this crisis) caused this war and government-overthrow, etc., but Germany’s Government wasn’t among them, nor were many of the others in Europe. If the U.S. Government had not led these invasions, probably not even France would have participated in any of them. The U.S. Government, alone, is responsible for having caused these refugees. The U.S. Government itself created this enormous burden to Europe, and yet refuses to accept these refugees that it itself had produced, by its having invaded and bombed to overthrow (among others) Libya’s Government, and then Syria’s Government, and by its aiding Al Qaeda in organizing and leading and arming, jihadists from all over the world to come to Syria to overthrow Syria’s Government and to replace it with one that would be selected by the U.S. regime’s key Middle Eastern ally, the Saud family, who own Saudi Arabia, including its Government, and who are determined to take over Syria. Trump blames Angela Merkel for — in essence — having been an ally of the U.S. regime, a regime of aggression which goes back decades, and which Trump himself now is leading, instead of his ending, and of his restoring democracy to the United States, and, finally, thus, his restoring freedom (from America), and peace, to other nations, in Europe, and elsewhere (such as in Syria, Yemen, etc.). He blames Merkel, not himself and his predecessor — not the people who actually caused these refugees.
Hypocrisy purer than that which Trump there expressed, cannot be imagined, and this hypocrisy comes from Trump now, no longer from Obama, who, in fact, caused the problem.
As the 2016 study, “An Overview of the Middle East Immigrants in the EU: Origin, Status Quo and Challenges” states in its Abstract:“EU has the most inhabited immigrant population; it has up to a population of 56 million foreign-born people. And due to the perennial war and chaos in the Middle East, the amount of relocated population in the region, especially the number of refugees, ranks the No.1 all over the world. … There are a large number of refugees and asylum seekers heading to EU countries; it can be divided into four stages. Since the Arab Spring, especially after the outbreak of the civil war in Syria in 2011, and the rise of the “Islamic State” in 2013, the whole EU area have experienced the biggest wave of refugees since World War II.”
All of these invasions have been, and are, invasions of countries where the U.S. regime demands regime-change.
In order to understand the deeper source of this problem, one must understand, first, the U.S. regime’s continuing obsession to conquer Russia after its communism and Warsaw Pact military alliance, had ended (click onto that link to see the documentation); and, second, one needs to understand the U.S. regime’s consequent and consistent aim after the supposed end of the Cold War, to take over control of Russia’s allied countries, including not only those within the Soviet Union and its military Warsaw Pact, but also within the Middle East, especially Syria and Iran, and even countries such as Libya, where the leader was nominally Sunni but nonetheless friendly toward Russia. (The link there provides documentation not only of what’s said here, but it also documents that the alliance between the two aristocracies, of the U.S. and of Saudi Arabia, is essential to the U.S. aristocracy’s Middle-Eastern objective; and Israel’s aristocracy serves as an essential agent of the Sauds in this crucial regard, because the Sauds rely heavily upon the Israeli regime to do its lobbying in Washington
. In other words: America’s consistent objective is to isolate Russia so as for the U.S. regime to emerge ultimately in a position to take over Russia itself. That’s the deeper source of Europe’s refugee-crisis.)
Back at the start of the promised post-Cold-War period, in 1990, the U.S. regime, under its then-President, George Herbert Walker Bush, privately and repeatedly agreed with the U.S.S.R. regime, under its then-President Mikhail Gorbachev, to end the Cold War — agreed that NATO would not expand “one inch to the east” — that there would be no expansion of the U.S. military alliance against the U.S.S.R. (soon to become against Russia alone). The U.S. regime’s promise was that NATO would not take in and add to NATO’s membership, any of the countries that then were either in the U.S.S.R’s military alliance the Warsaw Pact (Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, and Romania) or in U.S.S.R. itself other than Russia (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Byelorussia, Estonia, Georgie, Kazakhstan, Kirghizia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldavia, Tajikistan, Turkmenia, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan), except for the eastern part of Germany. The U.S. regime simply lied. But the Russian Government followed through on all of its commitments. Russia was now trapped, by Gorbachev’s having trusted liars, whose actual goal turned out to be world-conquest — not peace.
Currently, the membership of NATO includes all of the former Warsaw Pact nations, and now the U.S. regime aims to bring in also to “NATO membership: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia¹ and Ukraine.” Georgia and Ukraine are the first parts of the former U.S.S.R. republics — not merely parts of the Warsaw Pact but parts now of the U.S.S.R. itself — to join the anti-Russian military alliance, if either of them gets allowed in. The very possibility of this happening, goes beyond anything that the naive, trusting, Mikhail Gorbachev, would ever have imagined. He hadn’t the slightest idea of how evil was (and still is) America’s Deep State (that which controls America). But now we all know. History is clear and unambiguous on the matter.
The NATO mouthpiece, Brookings Institution, headlined on 15 November 2001, “NATO Enlargement: Moving Forward; Expanding the Alliance and Completing Europe’s Integration” and pretended that this expansion is being done in order to help Europeans, instead of to conquer Russia.
Ukraine has the longest of all European borders with Russia and so has been America’s top target to seize. But before seizing it, the U.S. had tried in 2008 to turn Georgia against Russia, and the Georgian Mikheil Saakashvili was a key U.S. agent in that effort. Saakashvili subsequently became involved in the violent coup that overthrew Ukraine’s Government in February 2014. Saakashvili organized the Georgian contingent of the snipers that were sent to Ukraine to shoot into the crowds on the Maidan Square and kill both police and demonstrators there, in such a way so that the bullets would seem to have come from the police (Berkut) and/or other forces of Ukraine’s democratically elected Government. (Click on this link to see two of the Georgian snipers casually describing their participation in the coup, and referring tangentially to former Georgian President Saakashvili’s role in it. Here is a more comprehensive video compilation describing and showing the coup itself. As I have pointed out, the testimony of these two Georgian snipers is entirely consistent with what the investigation by the EU’s Foreign Ministry had found out on 26 February 2014 about the snipers, that “they were the same snipers, killing people from both sides” and that these snipers were “from the new coalition government” instead of from the government that was being overthrown — that it was a coup, no ‘revolution’ such as Obama’s people claimed, and Trump’s people now assert.) The U.S. regime has agents in all regions of the former Russia-affiliated bloc — not only in Western Europe.
Obama’s coup to grab Ukraine away from its previous neutrality and to make it immediately a neo-Nazi rabidly anti-Russian country, has destroyed Ukraine — not only from the standpoint of the EU, but (and click on the link if you don’t already know this) from the standpoint of the Ukrainian people themselves. Who wouldn’t want to leave there?
Europe has refugees from the Ukrainian operation too, not only (though mainly) from the Middle Eastern ones.
Europe’s enemy isn’t Russia’s aristocracy, but America’s aristocracy. It’s the billionaires who control America’s international corporations — not the billionaires who control Russia’s international corporations — it is specifically America’s billionaires; it is the people who control the U.S. Government; these, and no Russians at all, are the actual decision-makers, who are behind bringing down Europe. In order for Europe to win, Europeans must know whom their real enemies are. The root of the problem is in the U.S., Europe’s now fake ‘ally’. Today’s America isn’t the America of the Marshall Plan. The U.S. Government has since been taken over by gangsters. And they want to take over the world. Europe’s refugee-crisis is simply one of the consequences.
In fact, Obama had started, by no later than 2011, to plan these regime-change operations, in Libya, Syria, and Ukraine. But, in any case, none of the regime-change operations that caused the current unprecedented flood of refugees into Europe started because of what Europe’s leaders did (other than their cooperating with the U.S. regime). Today’s American Government is Europe’s enemy, no friend at all, to the peoples of Europe. Trump’s blaming this crisis on Europe’s leaders isn’t just a lie; it is a slanderous one.
And this fact is separate from Trump’s similar slanderous lie against the refugees themselves. On May 8th, Germany’s Die Welt newspaper had headlined “Number of crimes falls to lowest level since 1992” and reported that Germany’s Interior Minister, Horst Seehofer, announced the 2017 national crime statistics, and he said, “Germany has become safer,” the safest in the last 30 years. Seehofer happens to be a member of Chancellor Merkel’s Administration who is angling to replace her as Chancellor by appealing to the strong anti-immigrant portion of their own conservative party, but even he had to admit, essentially, that the anti-immigrant slur that Trump subsequently made on June 18th is a bald lie; it’s even the exact opposite of the truth. Trump’s tweeted comment then was a lying slander not only against Merkel and other European leaders, but also against the refugees that the U.S. regime itself had produced. How depraved is that? How depraved is Trump?
The refugee crisis isn’t due to the refugees themselves; and it’s not due to Europe’s leaders; it is due to the almost constantly lying U.S. regime — the people who actually control America’s Government and America’s international corporations.
On June 21st, Manlio Dinucci at Global Research headlined “The Circuit of Death in the ‘Enlarged Mediterranean’” and he opened by saying, “The politico-media projectors, focussed as they are on the migratory flow from South to North across the Mediterranean, are leaving other Mediterranean flows in the dark – those moving from North to South, comprised of military forces and weapons.” But the world’s biggest international seller of weapons is the U.S., not the EU; so, his placing the main focus on European billionaires was wrong. The main culprits are on Trump’s own side of the Atlantic, and this is what is being ignored, on both sides of the Atlantic. The real problem isn’t across the Mediterranean; it is across the Atlantic. That’s where Europe’s enemy is.
On 7 August 2015, I headlined “The U.S. Is Destroying Europe” and reported that: “In Libya, Syria, Ukraine, and other countries at the periphery or edges of Europe, U.S. President Barack Obama has been pursuing a policy of destabilization, and even of bombings and other military assistance, that drives millions of refugees out of those peripheral areas and into Europe, thereby adding fuel to the far-rightwing fires of anti-immigrant rejectionism, and of resultant political destabilization, throughout Europe, not only on its peripheries, but even as far away as in northern Europe.”
It’s continuing under Trump.
Author’s note: first published at strategic-culture.org
Belgrade and Pristina: Will a territorial exchange really happen?
The European Union is dialing up pressure on Serbia and Kosovo in an effort to convince Belgrade and Pristina to sign an agreement on normalizing bilateral relations. This would allow Brussels to seize the initiative in the Balkans from the United States, which has previously managed to get the two sides clinch a similar deal on trade and other economic issues. Moreover, the EU is even ready to break from its previous policy and give a nod to a territorial exchange between Serbs and Albanians, which was categorically rejected, above all by Germany. However, while the Serbian leadership largely welcomes the idea, the Kosovo Albanians’ radically-minded leaders rule out any territorial concessions to Belgrade, thus deepening the Kosovo impasse.
Albin Kurti, the leader of the radical Vetëvendosje (“Self-Determination”) movement, who has regained the Kosovo premiership, categorically rejected the idea of any territorial exchange with Serbia, proposed by the EU’s High Representative for International Affairs Josep Borrell.
“I do not think that we should give anything away.” … “This is pressure from Serbia. They want us to give in,” Kurti said.
That being said, the former Kosovo president, Hashim Thaci, actively lobbied the idea of a territorial exchange, even more than others. Back in August 2018, he and his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic reached a preliminary agreement on this when meeting on the sidelines of the European Forum in Alpbach, Austria. Thaci and Vucic voiced their intention to double down on signing a comprehensive deal, and invited the EU to act as its mediator and guarantor.
“We have a small window of opportunity,” Hashim Thaci said at the time. The planned agreement was supposed to be inked in Brussels already in September 2018, with the participation of the EU leadership. However, the whole process immediately hit a snag due to disagreements over border delimitation and opposition protests in both Belgrade and Pristina.
According to the plan, devised by Hashim Thaci, the delimitation issues should be discussed as a “package” and provide for a complex exchange of territories, including both the Serbian-populated North Kosovo communities of Leposavic, Zvecan and Zubin Potok (roughly one-fifth of the territory of Kosovo), and the southern Serbian communities of Buyanovac, Presevo and, preferably, Medvedja, adjacent to Kosovo, populated mainly by ethnic Albanians. The Kosovar leader argued that a territorial exchange whereby regions with a majority Albanian population would end up in Kosovo, and those with a predominantly Serbian population – in Serbia, would help ease tensions between Belgrade and Pristina.
According to the latest census in Serbia, about 90,000 people live on the territory of the three southern Serbian communities: in Presevo, 89 percent are Albanians and 9 percent are Serbs; in Bujanovac, 55 percent are Albanians and 34 percent are Serbs; in Medvedja, 26 percent are Albanians and 67 percent are Serbs. Thus, Albanians already make up the majority of the population of Presevo and Bujanovac. In Medvedja, their share has also been steadily rising.
While President Aleksandar Vucic generally agrees to the partition of Kosovo with the return of control over the province’s northern regions to Belgrade, he is still against the idea of extending the “package” exchange to include the southern Serbian communities of the Presevo Valley.
There is no unity on this issue outside the Balkans too, with Germany and France initially rejecting the idea of territorial exchanges as such, arguing that this could fire up tensions in North Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“The territorial integrity of the Western Balkan states is already a hard fact and cannot be changed,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said.
Austria has been foursquare behind the partition of Kosovo as a means of normalizing relations between Belgrade and Pristina.
“If Serbia and Kosovo agree on a border correction, the agreement will have our support,” Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said.
The EU’s Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighborhood Policy Johannes Hahn equally favored the upcoming agreement. He urged his EU colleagues not to obstruct the deal between Pristina and Belgrade, even if it involves changing borders. Such an agreement, if it is reached, will be a one-off affair though and “should not be used as an example for solving other problems,” Hahn said at the end of August 2018.
The US administration backed the upcoming deal, with President Trump’s national security advisor John Bolton going on record saying that “Our policy, the US policy, is that if the two parties can work it out between themselves and reach agreement, we don’t exclude territorial adjustments.”
The agreement on the exchange of territories, drawn up in 2018 never came to fruition though. Responsibility for this failure lies with radical nationalist forces in both Belgrade and Pristina, not interested in any compromise solutions that won’t sit well with their own political intentions. While Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic is still in power and has not changed his position, Vjos Osmani, who replaced Hashim Thaci as President of Kosovo, is less inclined to accept any compromises with Belgrade.
This situation adds to EU and US headaches with Barack Obama’s de facto foreign policy team, now back in power in Washington, being eager to strengthen the position of the United States in the Balkans through more active military and political activity and pressure (not trade and economic scenarios and proposals, as was the case under Donald Trump). The EU and the US now have two options to choose from – either to ramp up pressure on Serbia in order to force it to recognize Kosovo without any territorial exchanges (which is more to the Joe Biden administration’s liking), or to convince the Kosovar leaders to accept territorial compromises (more preferred by the EU).
And here we should not forget about the Bosnian factor, since any changes to the status and borders of Kosovo will inevitably reflect on the domestic political situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and, in particular, on the position of the Bosnian Serbs. When briefing reporters a few days ago, the chairman of the Presidium of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Milorad Dodik, said that in any case he would insist on the implementation of the concept of “peaceful divergence,” that is, the disintegration of the country, which, according to him, is already happening. He stated that the integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina cannot be maintained, and this is something that has increasingly been discussed by the international community.
“We are waiting for the moment when a peaceful gap becomes real,” Milorad Dodik noted, adding that he was not a warmonger and was only offering a way out of the current situation, which he described as unstable.
The EU too appears ready to “reformat” Bosnia and Herzegovina. When, during a visit to Sarajevo in early March of this year, Slovenian President Borut Pahor informally asked members of that country’s collective leadership whether a “peaceful divergence” was a possibility. Bosnian Muslim Shefik Jaferovic and Croat Zeljko Komšić responded that this was impossible, while Milorad Dodik, for his part, said that it was a likely scenario.
The current situation of “unstable equilibrium” around Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina is serious enough to prod all the disputing parties to more actively seek Russia’s mediation. Serbia and Republika Srpska maintain partner relations with Moscow. Meanwhile, the disagreements between the EU and the United States could make the other participants in the discussions more accommodating, including the Kosovar Albanians, who are interested in normalizing relations with Belgrade and implementing large-scale regional projects.
From our partner International Affairs
A leaderless ship: The Bulgaria’s political crisis and the storm to come
Internal and international tensions
Politics tends to develop in a complex conundrum in all Balkan countries. Thus, never can observers take their eyes off the ball, investors feel completely safe or international partners express enduring satisfaction. In effect, this is the case also for bits of the region that have joined the European Union in the last decade. Recently, Bulgaria has been the most interesting hearth of, popular outrage, institutional instability and international tensions amongst the latter countries.
Actually, the atmosphere began simmering back in Summer 2020, when thousands of people took to the streets for several weeks. Arguably, the combination of the umpteenth high-echelon corruption scandal involving andthe pandemic-induced recession was only the most immediate cause. Swiftly, dissatisfaction led to vigorous calls for the Prime Minister’s and the Attorney General’s resignation and early election. Even the President of the Republic, Rumen Radev, broke with his supposed non-partisanship and joined the protestors gathering vast support. However, the winter suppressed street protests and Boyko Borisov, the Prime Minister, exploited the pandemic to justify his indifference.
In the meantime, the cabinet embroiled Bulgaria in a dispute which the country had refrained from ever since 1991. The so-called ‘Macedonian question’predates the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’s independence, but only then turned into a crisis. Indeed, the hardest-fought issue was that surrounding the use of the name ‘Macedonia’, which Greece opposed until the Prespa Agreement. But the newly named Republic of North Macedonia has failed to acknowledge the deep historical and cultural connection with Bulgaria. Eventually, the former’s lack of real cooperation led Sofia to veto the opening of negotiations on EU membership. Thence, scholars have criticised the country’s government while foreign politicians tried to persuade Borisov to lift his veto.
Against the background of such a delicate, multifaceted domestic and international circumstances Bulgaria celebrated regular election on April 4. The country needed everything but being left leaderless, but this is exactly what happened.
Election results: Who to form a cabinet?
The most recent elections speak volume about the difficulty in understanding Bulgarian politics and understanding what the popular sentiment is. For a start, GERB, Borisov’s party, lost about 300,000 votes falling from 33.65%in 2017, to 26.18% this year. Moreover, the nationalist collation United Patriots, GERB’s reliable allies, split up and failed to clear the 4% threshold. Thus, with his 75 MPs in the 240-seat Parliament Borisov had no more a majority and desperately needed a partner.
At the same time, the elections produced an unusually hostile environment for GERB. In fact, a number of new leaders and formations emerged — all of which declared GERB a “most toxic party”. Still, opposing Borisov’s “model”, as they use to say, was not enough to form a government. Neither the protest party There is such a people (ITN) nor the establishment Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) even tried. Therefore, the two smaller protest parties – Democratic Bulgaria (DB) and Stand Up! Bastards Out (ISMV) – and the Muslim Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) had to accept new elections in July.
In effect, once the elections results became clear, no one nurtured many hopes for a stable government. The BSP had offered it external, conditional support to an ITN cabinet as the DPS and even GERB did. Perhaps, members of DB and ISMV could have joined the project to ensure wider representation. But all attempts failed in front of ITN’s leader, the showman-turned-politician SlaviTrifonov, display of “political fearfulness”. The ultimate result of these developments was the shortest parliamentin Bulgaria’s two-century history.
What the parliament produced
Without a fully-functioning political government and with a lame-duck Parliament, Bulgaria is traversing a difficult period. The legislature has yet to approve the Recovery and sustainability plan towards which the EU has granted €6bln ($7.3bln). Without these funds, it will be harder for the country’s economy to rebound after the last recession. At the same time, no one is in charge of managing the ongoing feud with the Republic of North Macedonia. Hence, Sofia can neither substantiate its claims and pretences vis-à-vis Skopje nor backtrack and let membership negotiations start. Finally, in the last weeks tensions between Bulgaria and Russia have risen with mutual expulsion of several high-ranking diplomats. In fact, Czech authorities have found out about a “Bulgarian connection” in the incidents allegedly blamed on Russian security services.
On the offense: ITN, DB and ISMV against GERB
Yet, the parliament has found not time to address any of these really pressing issues. As it often happens after the elections, foreign policy has disappearedfrom the order of the day. There was no discussion of either the bilateral relations with Russia nor the North Macedonian issue.
Representative from ITN, DB and ISMV wrapped up the Recovery plan into their wider attempt to publicly discredit GERB. Thus, they refused to let the competent executive official introducing the bill and pretended Borisov himself did it.
Meanwhile, the three parties and the BSP also forced a vote on the cabinet’s resignation. Hence, the government is officially in charge only of managing current affairs: it cannot update the budget or adopt new economic measures. The opposition also blocked the automatic renewal of key concession for Sofia’s airport and some highways to Borisov’s closest allies.
So-called ‘Protest parties’ also formed a parliamentary commission to investigate Borisov governments’ misdeed. However, the legislature will soon dissolve, so nothing will come out of it besides some gossipy kompromat. The only real change is a new electoral law,remedying to some of the previous legal framework’s most evident fallacies. The hope is that it will curb the purchase of votes and other instances of fraud.
Wait-and-see: Borisov’s unkind defence
Borisov’s loyalists in the government, in the Parliament and, more importantly, in the media are repelling this frontal assault vehemently.
Figure 1 Acting Prime Minister Boyko Borissov called the Parliament “a show” in a video on his Facebook page.
Acting foreign minister Ekaterina Zakharieva has spoken out against the supposed attempt to make 850,000 GERB voters ‘disappear’. The chair of GERB’s parliamentary group, Desislava Atanasova, accused other parties of having “failed to fulfil society’s interests”. Borisov himself went out for the biggest prey: President Radev.On Facebook he declared
I hope that Radev is not proud [of the result of last year’s protests …]: This parliamentary show costs 19 million [leva, €9.5mln] a day. It is better that they closed it because we would have gone bankrupt.
The opposition motto offers no way forward behind the idea that “What GERB did must be cancelled”. Yet, GERB is not less destructive in its agenda. Currently, Borisov’s clique is challenging both the moratorium of concessionsand the electoral reformin front of the constitutional court. According to many experts, the justices could strike down or rescale at least one of these two measures. Hence, all hopes for a real democratic change will likely evaporate as long as GERB holds the levers of power.
Forecast: A leaderless ship in a stormy sea
Some have been talking about the rebirth of parliamentarism. But partisanship, anger and personal hatred currently dominate Bulgaria’s politics. Thus, a disenchanted observer could only see the dismaying polarisationand personalisation of the mainstream political discourse. At this time, Bulgaria is like a ship whose crew has mutinied, but whose captain refuses to jump off. Fortunately, the peaks of the economic and sanitary crisis seem over — for now. But the international setting conspires against the vessel. A storm is mounting from the East and the West. Winds of reprisal spire from Russia, whereas the EU is increasingly discontent with Bulgaria’s management of the North Macedonian issue. Assuming that the next elections will produce a working government, either the mutineers or the old captain will be just in time to manage the gale. But should this not happen, the country may soon regret the current lull.
Geopolitics of Europe and the Third Wave
With hospitals filling up across the continent, new variants of the virus proliferating and vaccine shortages biting back, Europe can be seen to be under the third wave of the COVID crisis. This wave has been a confused sea across Europe in which some national epidemics are worsening, some are reaching their peak and some are declining. Although lockdowns have eased as vaccine drives make headway, the end of state emergency does not undermine the inevitable long-term consequences of the crisis. COVID has brought to the forefront new geopolitical dynamics and created risks for the foreign policy of the European Union on several fronts. Beyond the epidemiological challenge of the impending health calamity, economic, political and geopolitical challenges are also plenty.
The crisis has held up a mirror to the Western countries as their effectiveness in managing the pandemic has been distorted and has brought about de-Westernisation of the world. As globalisation is under strain, the crisis is bound to redraw the borders between the state and the markets in democracies such as the Member States of the EU. Such an environment is likely to emphasise on national initiatives to the detriment of international cooperation. In a post-COVID world, the EU may have to deal with its geopolitical problems with less external credibility as well as internal solidarity among its member states.
The potential geopolitical consequences of the virus can be identified by extrapolating those trends that were taking place before the onset of the virus. Amidst evolving global scenarios, there has been a constant push from the EU to establish itself as a relevant geopolitical actor to realise its global power aspirations. In this context, it becomes important to note the two areas of concern raised by the crisis consist of questions on the internal cohesion of the EU and Europe’s ability to adapt to the increasing rivalry and competition among other global powers.
The EU as a player derives its identity from its supranationalism. However, with COVID wreaking havoc on the already unequal economy of the Northern and Southern Europe, the downslides of globalisation are being highlighted. This is likely to further embolden nationalist narratives, rather than European solutions. This will lead to the fragmentation of the region into its component member-states part, threatening the very identity if the Union. This has been a challenge to the EU as the Union recognizes solidarity as a fundamental principle as per Article 2 of the Treaty of the European Union. With the EU is facing the increasingly centrifugal ‘member states first’ approach put forward by the European capitals, the European integration project is under threat.
Further, with the pre-existing tensions between US and China, the European Union has been facing heat from both the sides of the Pacific. While the EU has put forward its own Indo-Pacific Strategy in order to constructively engage with the region, it continues to be challenged by America’s confrontational foreign policies and also being apprehensive of China’s refusal to open up their markets at a time of dwindling global economies, China’s assault on Hong Kong’s independence as well as China’s growing support towards the populist parties of Europe. The EU has come to perceive China as a systemic rival promoting alternative models of governance with this perception largely being shaped by China’s revisionist challenge and its alarming nationalist narrative.
It is important to understand that coronavirus is not here to kill geopolitics. However, the European Union will have to strengthen their efforts towards ensuring that the pandemic does not kill the EU as a geopolitical force. The European Commission must step up its efforts to broker the Multilateral Financial Framework (MFF) among member states which was long pending even before the pandemic struck the continent. It would enable the Union to act collectively in funding recovery efforts in a post-COVID reconstruction of the economies. Further, the EU should focus on shortening their supply chains pursuing a policy of strategic autonomy such that EU’s external dependencies are diversified. The need of the hour is to rebuild an economically sound healthcare Europe while at the same time working towards a more geopolitical Europe. This will require EU to continue investment as a full-spectrum power in military as well as other security capabilities along with assistance and aid to the neighboring countries to rebuild their resilience in a geopolitically volatile environment.
The EU needs to defend and promote the European model which is struggling to stand amidst the global battle of narratives along with maintaining its strategic autonomy in health, economic and other sectors. At the same time, the Union needs to bolster existing and forge new alliances in order to fill the gap on multilateralism. It needs to locate a strategic edge to resist the external pressures and protect its presence in the global scene and continue being relevant in the changing global order with its extraordinary transcontinental presence of soft power.
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