What should replace the EU is a result from the reasons why it needs to be replaced. It results from the EU’s history, and this will be explained here:
As will be documented below, the EU was created by the U.S. and UK Governments after World War II in order to carry out the plan that Cecil Rhodes had conceived of in 1877 for the UK, first, to retake (by means of U.S.-based agents) the U.S., and, then, for the joint UK-U.S. empire to take over the entire world, starting with Europe. Ultimately, Russia, which was and is, by far, the world’s largest country, was the largest and main target. After WW II, the Rhodesists’ plan to take over the world was to produce both the NATO military alliance and the EU diplomatic alliance, in order to cement Rhodesist control over Europe, so that then the Soviet Union (originally Russia) could ultimately become conquered. But it needed to start with that UK/U.S., Rhodesist, “Special Relationship” bonding between UK and U.S. (which was never publicly even so much as just mentioned until Churchill finally announced the “Special Relationship” in a speech in the approving presence of U.S. President Truman on 5 March 1946) aimed at conquering the Soviet Union. (All of this will be documented by means of the links that are provided here.)
However, the Soviet Union broke up in 1991 and ended its Warsaw Pact military alliance, and also ended its communism, at that time; and, so, the anti-Soviet ‘justifications’ for continuing both NATO and the EU were now gone. Despite that, both NATO and the EU continued, since then, but instead as anti-Russian, no longer as anti-communist, and the publics in the Rhodesist-controlled countries didn’t even blink an eye about this nor even notice it, but just went on spending, via their taxes, trillions of dollars for weaponry (etc.) that now had no non-imperialistic purpose remaining. The actual goal of the Rhodesists is — and has been — global conquest, and anti-communism had actually been only the excuse for the Cold War. So, new excuses now had to be invented, for the still-ongoing U.S.-and-allied invasions and military occupations. On 24 February 1990, U.S. President G.H.W. Bush secretly started informing America’s foreign allies about this fact — that, though the Soviet Union would soon end, and its communism would soon end, and its Warsaw Pact military alliance that had been organized by the U.S.S.R. in response to America’s NATO military alliance, would all end very soon, the Cold War itself would secretly continue on the side of the U.S. and its allies, until the entire world will be controlled by the U.S. Government. It was now clear, that the actual goal had been global conquest, all along. The cat was out of the bag on this fact (because the Soviet Union and its communism were now gone), but the ‘news’-media didn’t notice that America now had a runaway military, and the public also didn’t notice it — perhaps largely because the ‘news’-media (which, for an example, reported during 2002 and 2003 ceaselessly about such fictions as “Saddam’s WMD”) ignored the crucial realities (such as their never reporting that G.H.W. Bush had given this instruction to Helmut Kohl on 24 February 1990), and acting as if they were owned by the very same people who own firms such as Lockheed Martin and BAE, which need to grow arms-production in order to be able to grow, at all. Everything fit together, into this systemic reality of a runaway, cancerous, U.S. military that’s controlled by its weapons-makers, which control the Government, though the public don’t even know about what actually controls ‘their’ Government. (And this is supposed to be a ‘democracy’? Is that a democracy?)
All of the U.S.-allied leaders accepted this, because they all had already been conquered and occupied by the U.S. (working in conjunction with UK). But this was the time — starting on 24 February 1990 — when the ‘allied’ (actually vassal) leaders began to learn the fact, of their being (and having been) stooges, in the U.S. empire (actually the UK-U.S. empire). This was the time when any remaining ones who still believed that they were free countries inside an actual alliance, became disillusioned, and they had to recognize that they were actually regimes within the U.S. (but actually UK-U.S.) empire.
Then, finally, when Barack Obama was the U.S. President, he was able to announce, publicly, on 28 May 2014, in front of graduating cadets at America’s West Point military academy (no less), “The United States is and remains the one indispensable nation,” meaning that all other nations are “dispensable” (and could therefore become targets invaded by them, as military officers in the world’s only indispensable nation). That’s the core belief of any imperial country, in relation to its colonies, to keep those vassal-regimes under control. For example, Hitler was an imperialist, and he treated his colonies this way, just as England did and does. Perhaps France’s Emmanuel Macron had not actually faced the fact of what that statement (often repeated) by Obama had meant, until seven years later, on 15 September 2021, the UK-U.S. regime stabbed France in the back by grabbing and trashing France’s signed $60 billion contract to build, for Australia, 12 submarines, and replacing that signed contract with the September 15th AUKUS submarine-construction deal.
Certainly, Australia’s Prime Minister didn’t want to be ousted by a Rhodesist coup like the only prior Australian PM had been who had tried to break Australia’s particpation in the Rhodesist ‘alliance’ was tossed aside, and this current Australian PM, Scott Morrison, announced on September 15th that, instead of that contract going with France, Australia was now reaffirming (as he had to do) its alliances with U.S. and UK by agreeing with UK/U.S. to build 12 nuclear-powered submarines for $90 billion, which would be made in Adelaide, but really in either America or Britain. (An excellent analysis of “The Fallout From The AUKUS Deal” also appeared on September 20th, at the anonymously written “MoA” blog.)
And, as for France, Mr. Macron does, after all, accept being merely a stooge within a foreign-controlled empire, instead of the leader of an independent, free (meaning not foreign-controlled), country. Biden privately promised Macron, on September 22nd, that America will protect France — maybe like America ‘protected’ its stooges in Vietnam, and in Afghanistan — but who knows whether some sort of private bribe was also offered, which type of offer the U.S. regime does fulfill on. However, Macron had actually been hoping that the EU would back France against the UK/U.S. on AUKUS, and the EU turned him down, which probably clinched, for Macron, his decision on the 22nd, for France to cave on AUKUS — not to try to overturn it. (Macron did obtain from Biden an acceptance of a “European Army” that will be “complementary to NATO” — a proposal which had been introduced in 1996 by then-French President Alain Juppé, because it would be a boon to France’s billionaires, since France has the EU’s main weapons-manufacturerers. However, that would not eliminate America’s control over Europe. It would be a hollow change. It would not free Europeans from UK/U.S. control. Only ending NATO would do that.)
The EU, like NATO, is a crucial tool of (UK/)U.S. power. The Rhodesists had, ever since the end of World War II in 1945, aimed to control Europe not only militarily (through their creation of NATO) but also diplomatically, through, ultimately, a European Union, which became created by the CIA. The details are supplied in an exhaustive 1,000-page biography of Jean Monnet by Éric Roussel, which was published only in France in 1996, and which seems to have been successfully suppressed. It has never been translated, and has no reviews even at America’s Amazon, and only 4 reviews at Amazon in France. However, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard of UK’s Telegraph newspaper has provided some of the core information from it. Furthermore, Richard J. Aldrich’s 2003 The Hidden Hand also provides key details, such as by Aldrich’s saying, on page 366, about the American Committee for a United Europe:
ACUE, more than any other American front organization of the Cold War, was a direct creature of the leading lights of the CIA. Indeed, it was so replete with famous CIA figures that its ‘front’ was very thin. Its early years seemed to have formed something of a laboratory for figures such as [Bill] Donovan, [Allen] Dulles, [Walter] Bedell Smith and [Tom] Braden, before they moved on to other projects in the mid-1950s. Over its first three years of operations, 1949-51, ACUE received $384,650, the majority being dispersed to Europe. This was a large sum, but from 1952 ACUE began to spend such sums annually. The total budget for the period 1949-60 amounted to approximately $4 million. As the quantity of money flowing across the Atlantic began to increase, ACUE opened a local Paris office to monitor more closely groups that had received grants. By 1956, the flood of increased funding was prompting fears among the Directors of ACUE that its work would be publicly exposed. …
The emerging European Economic Community (EEC) and the growing Western intelligence community overlapped to a considerable degree. This is underlined by the creation of the Bilderberg Group, an informal and secretive transatlantic council of key decision-makers [representatives of the billionaires who controlled U.S. and U.S.-allied international corporations]. Bilderberg was founded by Joseph Retinger and Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands in 1952 in response to the rise of anti-Americanism in Europe. … Retinger secured support from Averell Harriman, David Rockefeller and Walter Bedell Smith. The formation of the American wing of Bilderberg was entrusted to Eisenhower’s psychological warfare chief, C.D. Jackson, and the funding for the first meeting, held at the Hotel de Bilderberg in Holland in 1954, was provided by the CIA.
Funds for these CIA operations came not only from the U.S. Treasury but from private sources, America’s super-rich (who control their corporations such as General Dynamics and ExxonMobil); and, also from organized gangsters, as was revealed in the 1998 classic by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair, Whiteout: The CIA, Drugs and the Press. This off-the-books private CIA funding comes from narcotics kingpins throughout the world, as protection-money, which is essential to keep them in business. Both the official billionaires and the gangsters get their money’s-worth from it, but America’s public, the taxpayers, lose enormously, because it increases the corruptness of our Government (and not only increases the problems from people who need to steal in order to buy the drugs to which those addicts are addicted). The CIA was created soon after WW II, while U.S. President Truman unknowingly was installing Rhodesists in key national security positions and reorganizing the U.S. Government so that the Soviet Union could be conquered — which he decided, on 25 July 1945, had to be done.
So, the EU was financially fueled from all of these sources, and, basically, was a bribing-operation (to end up getting the ‘right’ people into the EU’s Parliament, etc.), in addition to be receiving funds from what might be considered idealistic philanthropic donors (because the dream of a united Europe had long preceded the grubby version of it that the CIA created for Europeans).
The EU was a Cold War operation, from its very start. It remains that to the present day.
Pritchard issued two important articles about this, the first being his 19 September 2000 “Euro-federalists financed by US spy chiefs”:
DECLASSIFIED American government documents show that the US intelligence community ran a campaign in the Fifties and Sixties to build momentum for a united Europe. It funded and directed the European federalist movement. … One memorandum, dated July 26, 1950, gives instructions for a campaign to promote a fully fledged European parliament. It is signed by Gen William J Donovan, head of the American wartime Office of Strategic Services, precursor of the CIA.
The documents were found by Joshua Paul, a researcher at Georgetown University in Washington. They include files released by the US National Archives. Washington’s main tool for shaping the European agenda was the American Committee for a United Europe, created in 1948. The chairman was Donovan, ostensibly a private lawyer by then.
The vice-chairman was Allen Dulles, the CIA director in the Fifties. The board included Walter Bedell Smith, the CIA’s first director, and a roster of ex-OSS figures and officials who moved in and out of the CIA. The documents show that ACUE financed the European Movement, the most important federalist organisation in the post-war years. In 1958, for example, it provided 53.5 per cent of the movement’s funds.
The European Youth Campaign, an arm of the European Movement, was wholly funded and controlled by Washington. The Belgian director, Baron Boel, received monthly payments into a special account. When the head of the European Movement, Polish-born Joseph Retinger, bridled at this degree of American control and tried to raise money in Europe, he was quickly reprimanded.
The leaders of the European Movement — Retinger, the visionary Robert Schuman and the former Belgian prime minister Paul-Henri Spaak — were all treated as hired hands by their American sponsors. The US role was handled as a covert operation. ACUE’s funding came from the Ford and Rockefeller foundations as well as business groups with close ties to the US government.
Then, on 27 April 2016, he bannered “The European Union always was a CIA project, as Brexiteers discover” and reported:
It was Washington that drove European integration in the late 1940s, and funded it covertly under the Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon administrations. … The US has relied on the EU ever since as the anchor to American regional interests alongside NATO. … It is odd that this magisterial 1000-page study found only a French-language publisher. [Roussel’sJean Monnet. The French Wikipedia’s article on Roussel says “En 1995, il écrit une biographie consacrée à Jean Monnet2 qui reçoit le prix de l’Essai de l’Académie française, le prix Guizot, et le prix européen de l’histoire.” Despite all of those awards, the work is little-known, even in France.] Nor are many aware of declassified documents from the State Department archives showing that US intelligence funded the European movement secretly for decades, and worked aggressively behind the scenes to push Britain into the project. …
[The CIA] treated some of the EU’s ‘founding fathers’ as hired hands, and actively prevented them finding alternative funding that would have broken reliance on Washington. … The American ‘deep state’ was in up to its neck. …
Since that newspaper (like all major news-media in the U.S. and in its vassal-nations are) is both neoliberal and neoconservative (meaning U.S.-imperialistic), Pritchard approved of all this. He did it by saying: “There is nothing particularly wicked about this. The US acted astutely in the context of the Cold War. The political reconstruction of Europe was a roaring success.”
However, obviously, no authentic democracy can exist in a nation that’s governed by means of deceiving its public; nor can any democracy be an empire, neither the imperialistic nation itself, nor one of its vassal-nations, because that is merely a “Deep State” rule, behind the scenes, by its billionaires — it’s an aristocracy, and not a democracy, which reigns there. Though all of the country’s major news-media will support the aristocracy — since they’ll all be owned by the aristocracy — anyone who calls it a ‘democracy’ is transparently either a fool or a liar, because such a nation is the exact opposite of a democracy: it is instead an aristocracy, which rules there.
Crucial WW-2 history is necessary in order to understand relations between the UK-U.S. bloc and Europe during the post-WW-2 years:
Germany’s “Operation Barbarossa”, to capture the Soviet Union, started on 22 June 1941, which was even before the U.S. entered WW II; and from that time till War’s-end on 8 May 1945, more than 58% of German divisions (peaking at 86% in late 1942) were engaged in that effort — against that one nation. By War’s-end, around 90% of the remaining German divisions were in the Soviet Union. It would be reasonable to say that the Soviet Union won the Allies’ war against Hitler. (Certainly the U.S.S.R. received the brunt of the Nazis’ damages, though Truman excluded it from the Marshall Plan — because that Plan was intended as a powerful weapon against the U.S.S.R.) The Marshall Plan wasn’t only aimed at rebuilding America’s European allies, but it was — and this was even more important in the eyes of America’s aristocracy — aimed against Russia by excluding all assistance to any of the nations that had suffered the worst losses from Hitler’s onslaughts: Russia and its allies. The aim was to make Russia’s allies envy and want to become part of the ‘capitalist’ nations to their west — the allies of America. It was to help build the American empire, which Rhodes had planned back in 1877 and would be largely (and entirely secretly) run from the City of London.
In fact, there is even some reliable information regarding how consciously Britain’s Deep State were manipulating the Truman Administration. It’s in this passage from the Rhodesist CIA’s own retired Miles Copeland’s 1969 book, The Game of Nations: The Amorality of Power Politics, opening Chapter 2:
On a cold and rainy February afternoon in 1947 [21 February 1947], one year before the Games Center was established, First Secretary H. M. Sichel of the British Embassy in Washington telephoned Loy Henderson, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and African Affairs. He had two messages from the Foreign Office which were “rather important.” They were of a sort that normally should be delivered by the British Ambassador direct to the Secretary of State, George Marshall, but since General Marshall had already left the office for the weekend perhaps, Sichel suggested he could drop off the notes, have a “brief” chat about them, and allow Mr. Henderson a weekend of reflection on them before briefing the Secretary prior to meeting the British Ambassador on Monday morning.
Sichel arrived as State Department employees, after a comparatively dull week, were donning their raincoats and galoshes to take off for an indoor weekend. Loy Henderson, who habitually worked until eight or nine o’clock even on Fridays, had sent off all his secretaries and was alone in the office. The scene was the one of utter calm that skillful dramatists often establish to provide the psychological setting for a shattering announcement.
The announcement, which Mr. Sichel delivered in the course of his “brief chat,” was certainly shattering. The two messages were official notification that the Pax Britannica, which had kept order in much of the world for over a century, was at an end. Specifically, His Majesty’s Government could no longer afford the $50,000,000 or so that was required to support the resistance of the Greek and Turkish Governments to Communist aggression either, as in the first case, by guerrilla warfare or, in the second, by direct military action of the Soviet Union. Either the United States Government would fill the gap, or it would go unfilled — or it would be left to the Russians. Mr. Henderson, whose considerable diplomatic experience included assignments in Moscow and other capitals in the Soviet orbit, didn’t need a weekend of reflection to realize that more than Greece and Turkey was at stake. The vacuum of which these two countries were a part extended throughout all of southern Europe that was not already behind the Iron Curtain, and through North Africa and the Middle East. With the British announcement, delivered so calmly by Mr. Sichel, the United States was given the choice of becoming an active world power — an “on-the-ground” world power, as a lecturer at the State Department’s Foreign Service Institute was later to put it — or seeing the Soviets become a more menacing feature of world politics than Nazi Germany could ever have been.
Truman himself was an extremely receptive sucker for the idea that the Rhodesist Churchill and others were pumping to him that if the U.S. wouldn’t conquer the Soviet Union, then the Soviet Union would conquer the United States. This is how the Cold War was started, by agents for the owners of corporations such as Lockheed and BAE — the Deep State — the Rhodesists.
When FDR was America’s President, Churchill and the other Rhodesists couldn’t get to first base in their efforts to fool FDR that the Soviet Union (at that time, Stalin) had designs on conquering America, but Truman immediately believed their pitches about the necessity to conquer the Soviet Union.
Furthermore, the Soviet Union was actually the main country that had defeated Hitler. Instead of being Europe’s enemy, Stalin had actually been Europe’s main liberator. Fascism is not communism, despite the billionaires’ lies to the exact contrary. As Strategic Culture pointed out on 6 June 2020 (entirely accurately), “The Battle of Moscow [2 October 1941 to 7 January 1942] was the first strategic defeat of the German army on the ground during World War II. Moscow became the first capital city in continental Europe not to be captured as a result of German offensive. … The main reason for the Soviet victory [the first decisive victory in WW II, the second one being the 5 July 1943 to 23 August 1943 Battle of Kursk, which actually doomed Hitler] was the valiance and sacrifice of the Red Army, which lost 937,000 [soldiers] defending Moscow.”
Near the beginning of FDR’s lengthy fireside chat to the nation on 28 April 1942, he said: “On the European front the most important development of the past year has been without question the crushing counteroffensive on the part of the great armies of Russia against the powerful German Army. These Russian forces have destroyed and are destroying more armed power of our enemies — troops, planes, tanks, and guns — than all the other United Nations put together.” (NOTE: He was already using the phrase “United Nations” with the objective in mind for all of the world’s nations to view themselves as having been saved by the U.N. that FDR was intending ultimately to replace all empires and to be the sole source of international laws.) Near the War’s end, on 19 September 1944 (while FDR was still alive and so Churchill was preparing for a post-War that wouldn’t be controlled by the Rhodesists), Churchill telegrammed to Stalin “that it is the Russian army that tore the guts out of the German military machine and is at the present moment holding by far the larger portion of the enemy on its front.”
As the History Channel’s article “Operation Barbarossa” summed-up: “On 22 June 1941, German forces began their invasion of the Soviet Union, … the most powerful invasion force in history, … 80% of the German army … [plus] 30 divisions of Finnish and Romanian troops. … By the time Germany officially surrendered to the Allies on 8 May 1945, 80% of its casualties during WW2 had come on the Eastern Front [the Soviet Union].” Wikipedia’s “Operation Barbarossa” said “The failure of Operation Barbarossa reversed the fortunes of the Third Reich.” However, on 8 May 2020, U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted “On May 8, 1945, America and Great Britain had victory over the Nazis! America’s spirit will always win. In the end, that’s what happens.” So goes the myth, but certainly not the history.
Here is how the Rhodesist-controlled EU thanks Russia for that: by blaming Russia, right along with Nazi Germany, as having been their enemy during WW II. The U.S.-regime-created EU’s European Parliament voted 19 September 2019, by 535 to 66, for a resolution condemning both Hitler and Stalin as having started World War II, which is a lie — and an especially outrageous one, considering that the Soviet Union did more than any other country to defeat Hitler and to enable all of those countries to not now be controlled by a Nazi regime. (Shortly after that article, another article, by Max Parry, independently came to the same conclusion: the EU is fascist.) This Big-Lie Resolution said that
whereas it has become commonplace for Russia to deny responsibility and blame hostilities on the West in its official rhetoric, creating a reliable propaganda base upon which it can rely to justify its disregard of international law and continue its aggression against Eastern Partnership countries; [the EU]
1. Stresses that the Second World War, the most devastating war in Europe’s history, was caused by the notorious Nazi-Soviet Treaty of Non-Aggression of 23 August 1939, also called the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, and its secret protocols, which allowed two totalitarian regimes that shared the goal of world conquest to divide Europe into two zones of influence.
The actual history is: Stalin had been begging the UK to ally with the Soviet Union to defeat Hitler; and, after being snubbed each time, joined with Hitler in order to prevent an expected invasion by Hitler against the Soviet Union. It was an act of desperation by Stalin, which was forced upon him by the UK. And, now, the U.S. and its allies rewrite ‘history’ to make the Soviet Union their enemy during WW II, instead of their savior — as they actually were.
On 25 June 2021, Politico headlined “Summit exposes stark clash of EU views on Russia” and described the central fissure as being between a Russia-hating bloc comprised of Poland, Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia, and supported by the United States, versus a neutralist bloc that consisted of France and Germany. (To the latter group — though not mentioned in that article — might also be added Italy and Austria, plus Switzerland if it were to be included as being a part of Europe, which it is.)
The neutralist bloc in Europe do not want to be targets of Russian missiles if the U.S. decides to launch, or to support, a blitz invasion against Russia, as a means to achieve the victory that Hitler had attempted but failed to achieve in 1941. The likeliest way that Poland, Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia, could actually become invaded by Russia would be only if those countries are part of the U.S. alliance, as they presently are. But that is their business, and their choice, to be allied with the Russia-hating United States and having U.S. missiles on the very borders of Russia and serving as the launch-grounds for America’s (fronting UK’s) intended blitz-invasion first-strike. But, as member-nations of the EU, this endangers all Europeans — not only their own nation.
Consequently, what should replace the EU is its splitting up into a pro-WW-III bloc headed by the U.S. (actually the UK) and with its European vassal-nations being Poland, Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia; and, opposite that, on the neutralist side, an anti-WW-III bloc, which would consist of France, Germany, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, and, perhaps, also of a few other current EU-member nations such as Spain, Portugal, and Denmark.
Continuation of the U.S.-dominated EU is leading to Europe’s becoming the main battleground for WW III, just as it had been for WW I, and for WW II. Only, instead of it being against Germany, it would be against Russia (and perhaps also against China).
A neutralist EU, which would probably need to expel its current committedly U.S.-vassal nations, would be able to thrive and have peaceful relationships with Russia, China, and almost all the rest of EurAsia, excepting perhaps only Japan. By contrast, continuation of the existing EU (being actually run from London and Washington, as it is) will be toxic to all Europeans. This is especially true because, one way or another, the (UK-)U.S. empire is ending. Either the nations that are in the EU will be a part of the growing EurAsian future, or else, they will be the main battleground for WW III. It’s their choice, which to be.
The elections this year in the possibly neutralist EU nations such as Germany and France will be crucially important in determining whether Europe will again be the battleground for a world war. If they break away from their current vassalage to the (Rhodesist) Deep State of UK and U.S., the chances of avoiding a WW 3 will become greatly increased.
Europe’s enemies aren’t Russia and China, but UK and U.S. However, polls show that only very few Europeans recognize this fact — the vast majority of Europeans have been fooled by the U.S.-and-allied (Rhodesist) Deep State and its ‘news’-media. So, the prospects for Europe currently look bad. Decades of (Rhodesist) indoctrination (including lots of misleading ‘news’-reports) have established, in Europe, deep-seated prejudices against both Russia and China, and the idea that an alliance with America protects them against Russia (instead of making them actually prime targets of Russian missiles). The belief that today’s America protects Europe, instead of being Europe’s top (if not only) enemy, is stupid, but propaganda (lying) succeeds, and few people in the public ask the basic questions that expose the frauds of the Rhodesists. Propaganda requires its victims to not examine on their own, and that’s unfortunately the way most people are. However, any reader who clicks onto a link in the present article if a given allegation appears to be questionable, will see the evidence, and can judge it oneself. Then, a reader can make an informed judgment, not merely a judgment that’s on the basis of the overwhelming propaganda (which is Rhodesist).
PS: On September 23rd, Alexander Mercouris, whom I consider to be the most trustworthy of all journalists at analyzing international diplomacy, headlined “AUKUS Debacle: US Apologies to France in Biden-Macron Call, Greenlights EU Army, Johnson Frozen Out”, and presented a powerful case that the AUKUS deal had been conceived by Boris Johnson, was then stupidly accepted by Joe Biden, and then became obligatorily accepted by Scott Morrison. If that analysis is true, then the initiative here wasn’t American but instead British, which would fit perfectly with Rhodes’s plan, that whereas America would be supplying the muscle in this global-imperial scheme, the brains (such as they are) behind it would be in Britain. U.S. fronts for UK. It’s still the British Empire. Rhodes’s scheme has been stunningly successful.
Author’s note: first posted at Strategic Culture
Tactical Retreat: Madrid Makes Concessions to Catalonia and the Basque Country
The November 2019 general parliamentary elections in Spain resulted in none of the parties getting an absolute majority needed to form a government. Following two months of negotiations, a left-wing coalition between the PSOE (Spanish Socialist Worker’s Party) and Unidas Podemos (United We Can) was formed in January 2020. Having received the necessary parliamentary support, Pedro Sanchez, the leader of the socialists, assumed the post of the Spanish Prime Minister.
Catalan and Basque parties are now vital for the Spanish government
Since this is the first coalition government in the history of modern Spain that does not rely on a stable parliamentary majority, the role of regional parties has significantly increased. The PSOE-Podemos coalition only has 155 mandates, falling short of the majority (176) by 21 votes. In such a situation, success of any initiative put forward by the left-wing government depends on the support of other parliamentary parties—in particular, the nationalist movements of Catalonia and the Basque Country. The Republican Left of Catalonia (Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya, the ERC) and “Together for Catalonia” account for 13 and 8 seats, whereas the Basque Nationalist Party (BNP) and the EH-Bildu are each represented by 6 and 5 MPs.
Support of the four regional parties facilitated a number of crucial events in the Spanish political process. These include Pedro Sanchez, the PSOE leader, taking the office of Prime Minister in January 2020, a repeated extension of the state of emergency in the country in spring 2020, the adoption of the state budget for 2021 as well as passing the bill on the distribution of money from the EU recovery fund into law.
In this regard, both Catalonia and the Basque Country are now presented with more opportunities to promote their interests in broadening autonomous powers in exchange for their support of the governmental projects. At times of the bipartisan system, when the party to win general elections could independently form a majority government, regional forces had weaker bargaining positions. However, the value of their votes in the Congress of Deputies today has increased drastically. Amid such conditions, P. Sanchez has no other way but intensify interaction with the two autonomies on the issues of interest to them. He is driven by the desire to sustain support of the regional forces, ensuring the viability of his government.
Different aims: Catalonia is seeking referendum while the Basque Country is keen to broaden its autonomy
The coronavirus pandemic, which broke out in 2020, did not allow to launch another stage of negotiations between the Spanish government and the political leadership of Catalonia and the Basque Country. Notably, each autonomy has its own strategy and aims to pursue in their negotiations with Madrid.
The negotiations agenda of the new Catalan government, formed by the ERC and “Together for Catalonia” following the regional elections on February 14, 2021, includes: 1) amnesty for all the prisoners detained after the illegal referendum on October 1, 2017; 2) agreement with the government on holding another, this time official, referendum on the status of the autonomy; 3) revision of the current structure of financial inflows in favor of increasing investments from Madrid in the budget of the autonomy.
At the same time, the Basque government, headed by the BNP, has a different set of objectives: 1) implementation of all the remaining provisions enshrined in the Statute of Autonomy of the region, namely the transfer of some 30 competencies in self-governance to the regional authorities; 2) resuming talks on a new Statute of Autonomy; 3) formation of a broad negotiating platform involving the largest Spanish and Basque political forces.
In 2021, negotiations on these issues were intensified between Madrid and the regions. Each autonomy has managed to achieve certain results in pursuing their interests.
Catalonia: two tactical victories with no prospects for a referendum
Both Catalonia and the Basque Country managed to get a number of significant concessions in the course of June to October 2021. By doing it, P. Sanchez has shown the importance of the two autonomies in maintaining stability in the PSOE-Podemos coalition government.
Catalonia succeeded in achieving two important outcomes. The first victory was a judicial one. On June 23, 2021, amnesty was granted to all 12 prisoners sentenced to terms from 9 to 13 years on the charges related to the illegal referendum on the status of the autonomy that was held on October 1, 2017. This step sparked a severe backlash in the Kingdom, with demonstrations held in many regions. The majority of Spaniards (61%) expressed disagreement with such a move. However, it manifests that P. Sanchez is ready to make controversial compromises to maintain his political allies, despite possible long-term losses of the electorate support.
The second success of Catalonia was in the political domain. Due to a flexibility of the central government, the first talks in a year and a half that took place between Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Pere Aragones, the head of the Catalan government, became possible. While the sides only exchanged views on topical bilateral issues at their first face-to-face meeting on June 27, 2021, the parties could hold a substantive discussion of a plan to normalize interaction during the second round on September 15.
In the meantime, it was the Catalan side that set the agenda. This emphasizes the increasing role of the autonomy in bilateral relations, while indicating that Madrid is keen to garner support among the Catalan deputies. This is the why the central government is ready to offer some concessions.
Following the talks, the Prime Minister stated that the sides managed to agree on 44 out of 45 points of the document presented by P. Aragones. However, the only stumbling block remaining is a new referendum in Catalonia. On this issue, P. Sanchez is not going to make any concessions.
The Basque Country: higher flexibility and new competencies for the autonomy
Madrid has also stepped up negotiations with the Basque Country. However, it should be added here that the region has managed to achieve more tangible results in terms of expanding its autonomous powers in judicial and financial matters.
First, as the agreement signed in April 2021 suggests, three penitentiary centers with 1,378 prisoners were handed over to the Basque Government from October 1, namely the Department for Equality, Justice and Social Policy.
Second, the talks on July 28 between Pedro Sanchez, Spanish Prime Minister, and Inigo Urkullo, head of the Basque government, within the framework of the Joint Economic Commission resulted in new tax competencies handed over to the Basque Country. Local authorities are now in charge of collecting taxes from e-commerce, financial transactions and digital services. This may lead to an inflow of additional 220 ml euros to the Basque budget.
In response to such steps of the Spanish government, I. Urkullo made an eleventh-hour decision to attend the Conference of regional leaders on July 29, 2021. This event is of political importance as it unites the heads of all Spain’s 17 autonomies. At the same time, the Catalan Pere Aragones did not participate in the meeting. Had both Catalonia and the Basque Country been absent, this would have come as a real blow to P. Sanchez. Therefore, it was of utmost importance for the Prime Minister to persuade at least the Basque leader to attend the meeting. Urkullo’s presence partly contributed to the image of Sanchez as a politician who can reach agreement with the regions.
Key differences between the Catalan and the Basque government that influence relations with Madrid
In Catalonia, the coalition government is dominated by the ERC, which is more moderate and ready to move away from harsh rhetoric in favor of discussing common problems with Madrid. At the same time, its partner, “Together for Catalonia” that lost the February 2021 regional elections to ERC by only a narrow margin, stands for more straightforward actions.
Such a configuration within the coalition restricts Catalonia’s flexibility. The main goal of the radical wing is a new referendum. The ERC’s moderate approach is counterbalanced by “Together for Catalonia”. It does not support excessive rapprochement with Madrid or any deviation from that idea.
At the same time, the situation is different in the Basque Country. The moderate BNP enjoys leading positions in the government coalition while the EH-Bildu has a much lower weight in strategy setting. It allows the autonomy to be flexible, interacting with Madrid in a more successful manner.
Moreover, the talks between Catalonia and Madrid are still held in a narrow format of face-to-face meetings between the Prime Minister of Spain and the head of the autonomy. At the same time, the Basque Country has already resumed dialogue within the Joint Economic Commission. This is a more inclusive format that enables the sides to cover a wider range of topics.
Currently, the Basque Country’s give-and-take strategy results in smaller but more meaningful concessions, bringing about a broadening of its autonomous powers in exchange for political support of the central government. Meanwhile, Catalonia’s attempts to achieve more significant results, which may affect the image of P. Sanchez, bump up against Madrid’s reluctance to cross the red line. The Prime Minister is ready to make some tactical concessions to the autonomies in order to garner political support for his initiatives. Despite certain criticism from the right wing, such steps confirm the effectiveness of the PSOE-Podemos coalition, demonstrating the viability of the incumbent government to the electorate.
Talks have future as long as the left-wing coalition remains in power
The future of the negotiations between the center and the autonomies heavily depends on the 2023 Spanish general elections. Right-wing parties like the People’s Party, VOX and “Citizens” are not inclined to broad negotiations with Catalan and Basque nationalists. If these parties form the next government just in two years, the entire process of normalizing relations with the regions may be put on hold.
P. Sanchez’s excessive flexibility in negotiations with Catalonia and the Basque Country may lead to a higher popularity of the right-wing VOX party. Those among voters, who are dissatisfied with the policy of offering concessions to nationalists, may switch to the forces that safeguard the Spanish constitutional order. Another problem for the PSOE-Podemos government is the socio-economic recovery of Spain from COVID-19.
Little progress in these two directions is likely to result in the loss of public support. The influence of Catalonia and the Basque Country will not see a decline in the coming years. It is therefore essential for Madrid to make new concessions similar to those made to the Basque Country. But they should be gradual to provoke less publicity.
From our partner RIAC
Is British Democracy in Danger?
On Sunday 12th of December 2021 Boris Johnson went on national television to warn about a tidal wave that would threaten Britain. He was back then referring to the Omicron Covid-19 variant, little did he know back then that he could have been referring to his own political future. Johnson is facing increasing demands from his own party to step down after having admitted to attending a party in Downing Street on May 20th, 2020, during the UK’s first national lockdown.
Johnson has been facing increasing risks for quite a long time by now: from collapsing poll ratings, to violation of lockdown rules and an ill-managed pandemic that has continued to strain the National Health Service; among many others. These crises have compromised his moral authority both with the citizenry and with his own frontbenchers. Although in the UK confidence votes can happen relatively quick: the no confidence vote on Theresa May’s government was held on December 12th, 2018, just a day after she was informed that the minimum threshold had been reached, this is still not on the horizon for the current Prime Minister.
To trigger a leadership contest 15% of the Tory MPs need to submit a letter to the chair of the 1922 Committee. There are currently 360 Tory MPs, 54 of them are needed to spark a confidence vote. As up to now, very few have publicly confirmed to either have submitted or to have the intention to submit a letter. If such threshold is reached, this would open the debate as to whether there is someone suitable enough to replace him. The frontrunners are Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss; neither have the proven record of vote-winning Boris Johnson has had ever since he was the Mayor of London. Such vote of confidence is also unlikely to happen as majority of the crises the government has faced are of their own making. Johnson is not the cause; it is the symptom of a deeper decay of the British State and their politicians.
While the Conservatives will not be able to escape the cumulative effects of current and past scandals, this latest turmoil us unlikely to trigger the collapse of Boris Johnson. The next British election is scheduled to happen in May 2024, giving both Johnson and the Tories enough time to move on from this crisis and work on rebuilding electoral support. Boris Johnson has long defied political gravity and has survived a long history of scandals and mismanagements that may have destroyed the electoral chances of many other politicians and their political parties. It is highly likely that in the coming local elections in May 2022 the Conservatives will suffer electoral defeats, this is still preferable than what the political and electoral consequences for the Conservatives would be if they were to get rid of Johnson. Sacking him now would be accepting losing the war rather than losing a battle in the coming local elections. The long-term aim of the Tories is to hold on power for as long as they can, and at least ensure their electoral base is secure coming the 2024 general elections. For this, Boris Johnson still may come in handy.
Although Boris Johnson’s record has been shockingly poor; the Tories will not give Labour a chance for a general election before the scheduled for 2024, especially not now that they are leading the polls on the question as to who would make a better prime minister. The reality is that although his ratings have plummeted dramatically over recent years, there is no real threat of a general election for at least 2 years if one considers the larger political landscape.
One of the major threats British democracy does not come from Boris Johnson but rather from a deterioration of what sustains democracy as a healthy system of government. The UK electorate is highly volatile. Unlike countries like the US whose electorate has become highly polarised, the British electorate has shown less party loyalty, and voters have switched more and more between political parties in each election. However, this volatility will not get Johnson out of office, that is something only the Conservatives can do. This is closely linked to trust in politicians and the government. Lack of trust in both is one of the major issues of contemporary democracies around the world. Trust, is, after all, the basic condition for a legitimate government. Lack of trust in politicians, institutions, political parties, and the government in general enables populist tendencies, polarisation, political extremism and impacts the voting preference of citizens. It also favours the support of more stringent stances towards minorities, opposition, immigration, and human rights violations. A second threat that should not be disregarded is the attitude towards democratic institutions and bodies that sustain the British political system. While it is true that Johnson’s behaviour does not push to extremes such as Donal Trump did, or many other highly divisive politicians around the world, he is drawn to the same unconventional styles to deal with political challenges.
Democracy around the world is facing a backlash that is organised and coming from within, from elected officials. Our democratic rights can either be taken away suddenly as a result of a revolution or a coup d’état, or gradually through the election of leaders who slowly erode rules, standards and institutions that help sustain democracy. This is potentially more dangerous for the overall prospects of democracy because gradual erosion of democratic values is harder to perceive. The state, under this progressive attack, becomes prone to the systematic corruption of interest groups that take over the processes and institutions in charge of making public policy. It is during this gradual democratic backsliding that elected officials disregard norms and institutions while, at the same time, trying to redesign the structure of the state. An informed and active citizenry is crucial to prevent further erosion of democracy. We need to be aware that it is not only democratic rules and institutions that are in danger, but also the respect of our fundamental civil, political, social and human rights.
The French Dispatch: The Year 2022 and European Security
2021 has been rich in negative events for European security: the world has witnessed the collapse of the Open Skies Treaty, American-French discord concerning AUKUS, the termination of the official dialogue between Russia and NATO, and the migration crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border.
Over the past year, the Western countries seem to have been searching for new strategies. Since the end of 2019, NATO has been developing a new concept, and in June 2021 at the summit in Brussels, to the displeasure of sceptics, it was possible to agree on its basis—the transatlantic agenda NATO 2030 (# NATO2030) . While the broad formulations and a direct hierarchy of threats still require clarification, new projects in the field of weapons development, combating climate change, and increasing interoperability have already been declared.
In parallel, since the end of 2020, work has continued on the EU European Parliamentary Research Service project—the Strategic Compass. The dialectic between Atlanticism and Europeanism softened after Joe Biden came to power in the United States, but the European interests and red lines retain their significance for transatlantic relations. In 2022, together with the rotating post of the President of the EU Council, the role of a potential newsmaker in this area has been transferred to Emmanuel Macron, who feels very comfortable in it.
On December 9, the provisions of the Paris programme were published under the motto “Recovery, power, belonging” France, as expected, is reiterating its call for strengthening European sovereignty. The rhetoric of the document and its author is genuine textbook-realism. But now for the entire European Union.
Objectives of the French Presidency, are not articulated directly but are quite visible—making the EU more manageable and accountable to its members, with new general rules to strengthen mobilisation potential, and improve the EU’s competitiveness and security in a world of growing challenges.
Paris proposes reforming the Schengen area and tightening immigration legislation—a painful point for the EU since 2015, which has become aggravated again in recent months. This ambitious task has become slightly more realistic since Angela Merkel’s retirement in Germany. At least a new crisis response mechanism on this issue can be successful, even if it is not fully implemented.
In addition, the Élysée Palace calls on colleagues to revise the budget deficit ceilings of the Maastricht era to overcome the consequences of the pandemic and finally introduce a carbon tax at the EU borders. The latter allows for a new source of income and provides additional accountability for the implementation of the “green” goals by member countries.
The planned acceleration of the adoption of the Digital Markets Act (DMA) and Digital Services Act (DSA), developed by the European Commission at the end of 2020, is also aimed at unifying the general legislation and consolidating the European position in the world. In other words, the French Foreign Ministry quite soberly assesses the priority areas and vulnerabilities of the European Union and focuses on them, but with one exception.
A special priority of the French presidency is to strengthen the defence capabilities of the EU. On the sidelines, the French diplomats note that the adoption of the Strategic Compass in the spring of 2022, as originally planned, is a fundamental task, since otherwise the process may be completely buried. With a high degree of probability, this is so: the first phase of the development of the Compass—the general list of threats—lasted a year, and consisted of dozens of sessions, meetings, round tables with the involvement of leading experts, but the document was never published. If Macron won’t do it, then who will?
As the main ideologist and staunchest supporter of the EU’s “strategic autonomy”, the French president has been trying for five years to mobilise others for self-sufficiency in the security sphere. With his direct participation, not only the Mechanism of Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) in the defence area was launched, where France is the leader in a number of projects, but also the so-far failed European Intervention Initiative. Even without focusing on French foreign policy traditions and ambitions, the country remains a major European arms exporter and a nuclear power, where the military-industrial complex is closely affiliated with the state.
Implementing the 2022 agenda is also a matter of immediate political gain as France enters a new electoral cycle. The EU Summit will take place on March 10-11, 2022, in Paris, a month before the elections, and in any case it will become part of the election campaign and a test for the reputation of the current leader. Macron has not yet officially announced his participation in the presidential race, but he is actively engaged in self-promotion, because right-wing politicians espousing different degrees of radicalism are ready to take advantage of his defeats to purchase extra points.
The search for allies seems to be of key importance for victory at the European level, and the French Foreign Ministry has already begun working on this matter. In 2016–2017 the launch of new initiatives was predetermined by the support of Germany and the Central and East European countries. The change of cabinet in Germany will undoubtedly have an impact on the nation’s policy. On the one hand, following the results of the first visit of the new Chancellor Olaf Scholz to Paris on December 10, the parties announced the closeness of their positions and a common desire to strengthen Europe. On the other hand, the coalition of Social Democrats (SDP) was made up with the Greens and Free Democrats (FDP) who are not at all supporters of excessive involvement in security issues. What “strategic autonomy” means for France, constitutes a more restrained “strategic sovereignty” for Germany Therefore, an intensification of dialogue with Italy and Spain, which are both respected and potentially sympathetic, is likely. The military cooperation agreement concluded in the autumn of 2021 with Greece, an active member of PESCO, can also help Paris.
Gaining support from smaller countries is more challenging. Although the European project is not an alternative to the transatlantic one, the formation of a common list of threats is a primary task and problem for NATO as well. As mentioned above, it is around it that controversy evolves, because the hierarchy determines the distribution of material resources. The countries of Eastern Europe, which assume that it is necessary to confront Russia but lack the resources to do so, will act as natural opponents of the French initiatives in the EU, while Paris, Rome and Madrid will oppose them and the United States in the transatlantic dialogue. The complexity of combining two conversations about the same thing with a slightly different composition of participants raises the bar for Emmanuel Macron. His stakes are high. The mobilisation of the Élysée Palace’s foreign policy is one of the most interesting subjects to watch in the year 2022.
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