What is the European Union for?

After all the initial eu(ro)phoria and hopes placed upon the original concept of a non-aligned, social-democratic Euro-bloc, the reality has turned out somewhat differently.

In a pamphlet written in 2011 – Europe: The Unfinished Project – I wrote:

At the present time the EU project seems to be stuck in no-man’s land, unable to press ahead with full political integration, or retreat back into a northern European protectionist Deutschmark zone, and leaving the peripheral member states to the tender mercies of unfettered, globalized capitalism. However there seems to be a sufficient residue of the original EU idealism in the present stage of development to persevere further with the political struggle taking place.” Ibid, page 19

I believe that this view, which seemed justifiable and plausible enough at the time of writing, has now become difficult to sustain. And the reason for this came in the next sentence, viz.

One only has to consider the Anglo-American alternatives (to the Euro model) and globalization more generally to make this choice.”

This statement was, however, based on the tacit assumption that the Euro model of capitalism was somehow fundamentally different from the Atlanticist model, a paradigm exemplified by the US/UK axis. In the fullness of time this has, unfortunately, turned out to be a fundamental misconception. The UK of course has always been bound hand and foot to the US in terms of both foreign and economic policy with the ending of the system of imperial preference demanded by the US as the quid pro quo for the American loan negotiated by Keynes in 1946; next came the American intervention in the Suez crisis in 1956 which effectively ended any independent UK foreign policy. This dog-like devotion to American imperatives – the “special-relationship” – then extended with the neo-liberal turn and the Reagan-Thatcher counter-revolution of the 198Os. True, the UK was always more Atlanticist in its outlook than its European neighbours. However, continental Europe is as enamoured of Atlanticism as is the UK – and those more recent EU ex-communist states, probably more so.

It is not only the UK which is Atlanticist, the continental European states are no less so … proof of this is given by the central position of NATO in this political construction. That a military alliance with a country outside the union (the US) has been integrated de facto into the European constitution – in terms of a common foreign and security policy – constitutes an unparalleled anomaly. For some European countries (Poland, Hungary and the Baltic States) NATO’s protection – that is, that of the United States against their ‘Russian enemy’ is more important than their adhesion to the European Union.” Samir Amin – The Implosion of Capitalism, 2014

This Americanization of Europe – this invisible annexation – has been achieved by a combination of soft and hard power – a cultural, political, economic and militaristic assimilation of the old world by the new. It should be understood that the US does
not do ‘partnerships’; any relationships the US enters into with other states is always on the basis of ‘Me Tarzan, You Jane.’

It follows from this that the neither the European Union nor any of its component states any longer have an independent foreign policy. The facts show that there is one single reality: alignment behind whatever Washington (perhaps in agreement with London) decides on its own.” Amin – Ibid

European Economic policy is similarly aligned to US interests and US practises. This is hardly surprising since the US has been the dominant economic force (although now in a declining trajectory) for the last 100 years. It has control of the world’s reserve currency which allows it to run persistent deficits on its current account since it can simply pay for its imports with by printing its own currency. The US also tends to dominate the multilateral institutions such as the IMF and WTO, having the largest bloc of votes in the IMF. American policymakers have used their influence in the IMF to pursue American financial and foreign policy objectives. The IMF offers larger loans to countries heavily indebted to American commercial banks than to other countries. In addition, the IMF offers larger loans to governments closely allied to the United States. (International Politics (2004) 41, 415–429). New York is the second largest financial centre (after London) with the most deeply liquid capital markets, and in absolute terms the US is largest economy in the world. (Although in terms of purchasing power parity, the Chinese economy is now larger.)

Additionally, the ‘soft power’ the US (and UK) which includes, university economics departments, economic think-tanks, publications – The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, The Economist – Business and Financial circles, and the universal language of business and diplomacy – English – have effectively dominated and structured the global ideological discourse. The ‘Washington Consensus’ along with the deadly weapons of financial mass destruction – the lethal derivatives – have come to dictate policy and policy making the western world. Recently, however, the neo-liberal, neo-conservative project has run into difficulties as instanced in the twin crises now besetting the Euro-Atlanticist bloc: namely, Greece and Ukraine.

Greece

At the outset it was wholly predictable that the accession of Greece into the eurozone was going to lead to trouble. In order to qualify for admission Greece needed to demonstrate that it conformed to the Maastricht Criteria. The Maastricht rules threaten to slap hefty fines on euro member countries that exceed the budget deficit limit of three percent of gross domestic product. Total government debt mustn’t exceed 60 percent of GDP.

The Greeks had never managed to stick to the 60 percent debt limit, and they only adhered to the three percent deficit ceiling with the help of blatant balance sheet cosmetics.

Not to worry, in 2010 some creative accounting was supplied by the premier (infamous?) US Investment Bank, Goldman Sachs. GS’s selling point for financial legerdemain is well known; in this instance cross-currency swaps where government debt issued in dollars and yen was swapped for euro debt for a certain period – and then exchanged back into the original currencies at a later date. Hey, presto! The figures added up (for a while at least). Goldman Sachs collected a $15 billion kickback for their labours.

As members of the eurozone the Greeks then had access to cheap credit from eurozone banks, particularly French and German. But any deal between borrower and lender means that both should act responsibly. The creditworthiness of the borrower has to be assessed before the loan is made. But such rigorous investigations of this sort were not carried out; with the deregulation of finance such tiresome procedures had been done away with and banks lent to almost anyone who had a pulse.

The rest as we say is history.

But if these lenders knew that borrowers would not be able to repay the loans, this would have amounted to ‘odious’ debt’. That occurs when the national debt incurred by a regime for purposes that do not serve the best interests of the nation, should not be enforceable. Vulture capitalism is another equally unprepossessing term for the policy toward Greece. Vulture funds target distressed firms or countries buy their the bonds and stocks at knock-down prices, then when the company fails, sue the owner not only for the interest but also the principal. The Troika policy toward Greece has been one of Loan and Foreclosure.

If Greece remains in the eurozone it will continue to be bled white, privatised and ultimately dismembered. An example must be made to stop others in the southern periphery from getting ideas. And just as Thatcher was the junior partner of Reagan in shaping the EU, Merkel has been Obama’s enforcer in the Euro’s restive US provinces.

It is interesting to note that one, Victoria Nuland, rabid neo-con – more of which below – Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs at the United States Department of State, visited Athens on 17 March and had talks with Tsipras regarding the turmoil. Suffice it to say it was geopolitics and the retention of Greece in the EU and NATO she was concerned with, rather than debt. She no doubt reminded Tsipras that there might be consequences if Greece did not toe the EU line. As Assistant Secretary for regime change in the State Department the redoubtable Ms Nuland’s brief has been to threaten or bring about regime change in countries of which the US and its vassals disapprove.

Ukraine

Earlier the peripatetic Ms Nuland was also busy in Ukraine promoting regime change – a process which had been going on since 2004 – and the installation of an oligarch-fascist regime paid for ($5 billion according to Ms N) and whose leaders were hand-picked by herself and the US Ambassador in Kiev Geoffrey Pyatt. (I have written extensively on this issue in Chartist available as an e-book on the website.) But it is interesting to note how the IMF’s treatment of the Kiev regime differs significantly to that meted out to Greece. Firstly a $40 billion aid package is granted to Ukraine over the next 4 years.

Secondly Madame Lagarde has stated that:

In the event that a negotiated settlement with private creditors is not reached and the country determines that it cannot service its debt, the Fund can lend to Ukraine consistent with its Lending-into- Arrears Policy” 12 June 2015

In other words if Ukraine defaults, and there is a strong possibility that the IMF will – in violation of its constitution – come up with the cash. Moreover, the IMF is also not mandated to lend to states which are at war. Of course, this is hardly even-handed way of operating, but then the IMF is a highly politicised institution and a key part of the neo-liberal, neo-conservative global establishment. Blatant confirmation of this politicisation of the IMF was occasioned by Kiev’s outright default on a $3 billion loan from Russia negotiated in 2013 before the Maidan. Customarily sovereign loans between states are sacrosanct: they must be paid or at the very least restructured. But the flat-out refusal by Kiev to repay its debt to Moscow was a flagrant default.

At that point the entire program to resurrect the Ukrainian economy, along with the most recent loan agreement, would go off the rails. And that would be unacceptable, since the biggest shareholder is insistent that the IMF support the regime in Kiev unconditionally. The IMF even went so far to change its constitution to allow this political jiggery-pokery to take place.

Changing its rules to clear the path for the IMF to make loans to Ukraine and other governments in default of debts owed to official lenders is rightly seen as an escalation of America’s New Cold War against Russia and also its anti-China strategy.” Michael Hudson – Counterpunch – December 2015

Conclusions

The decision to expand the EU and with it NATO right up to Russia’s borders, initially under the guidance and policies of the Clinton administration, was a clear indication that the governments of the EU had come under American domination. With this decisive shift the EU project – i.e., from the quasi-Gaullist, third force in world politics, and the Delors social chapter – was over. It has been replaced by a North Atlantic neo-liberal, neo-conservative project under American command. The hegemonist strategy of the US – made abundantly clear in both the Wolfowitz doctrine and the more recent enunciations and actions of the dominant US war party, a coalition of neo-cons, liberal hawks and liberal interventionists – is clearlyvisible behind the disappearance of the European project.

However it is quite possible that even against US wishes and geopolitical imperatives the EU might well fracture internally due to inter-state tensions and contradictions. One thing is certain: in its present structure the EU cannot endure, nor does it deserve to.


Originally published on 2016-11-25

Author: Frank

Source: Off Guardian

Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!

Donate to Support Us

We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.

Save

READ MORE!
Media Literacy 101: Kosovo and Libya
The media never merely report the news. They manipulate and distort the news. They want to tell you what and how to think. Pursuant to this role, they routinely rewrite history. A striking instance of media rewriting of history is in the reporting on Kosovo. In the AP article “US Prosecutor to Probe Kosovo Organ Trafficking”, it is reported that the alleged atrocity occurred “during Kosovo’s war for independence from Serbia” in 1999. Everyone remembers that war as one to prevent genocide and ethnic cleansing, that it was “a humanitarian intervention”. But here it is now characterized and defined as a ...
READ MORE
The Future of the EU at Stake in Catalonia
Fascist Franco may have been dead for more than four decades, but Spain is still encumbered with his dictatorial corpse. A new paradigm has been coined right inside the lofty European Union, self-described home/patronizing dispenser of human rights to lesser regions across the planet: “In the name of democracy, refrain from voting, or else.” Call it democracy nano-Franco style. Nano-Franco is Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, whose heroic shock troops were redeployed from a serious nationwide terrorist alert to hammer with batons and fire rubber bullets not against jihadis but … voters. At least six schools became the terrain of what was correctly called The ...
READ MORE
The Unspoken Crimes of World War II: The Dresden Massacre of 1945
It is 70-years anniversary of the end of the WWII – the bloodiest and most horrible war ever fought in the human history. The war that caused creation of the UN in 1945 in order to protect the world from similar events in the future – a pan-global political-security organization of which first issued legal act was the UN Charter, which inspired the 1948 Geneva Conventions’ definition of genocide. The Nüremberg and Tokyo Trials were organized as “The Last Battles” for justice as the first ever global trials for the war criminals and mass murderers including and the top-hierarchy statesmen and ...
READ MORE
The Simulation of Democracy
One of the most complicated and frustrating aspects of operating a global capitalist empire is maintaining the fiction that it doesn’t exist. Virtually every action you take has to be carefully recontextualized or otherwise spun for public consumption. Every time you want to bomb or invade some country to further your interests, you have to mount a whole PR campaign. You can’t even appoint a sadistic torture freak to run your own coup-fomenting agency, or shoot a few thousand unarmed people you’ve imprisoned in a de facto ghetto, without having to do a big song and dance about “defending democracy” ...
READ MORE
Khashoggi vs. 50,000 Slaughtered Yemeni Children: Europe has no Morals, no Ethics no Nothing
The European Parliament has asked yesterday (25 October) for an immediate embargo on the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia, hence sanctioning the Kingdom of rogue Saudi Arabia which is joining the United States and Israel as the main purveyor of crime throughout the Middle East and the world. France still said they will apply sanctions only if it is proven that Riyadh was indeed involved in the killing of the controversial Saudi journalist. Madame Merkel at least days ago said that Germany would no longer supply the Saudis with arms – as a result of the heinous crime committed ...
READ MORE
The Forgotten Genocide of the Greeks of Asia Minor
George Mauropoulos, "The Forgotten Genocide of the Greeks of Asia Minor", AHIF Policy Journal, American Hellenic Institute Foundation, Inc., Vol. 8, Spring 2017, pp. 3 Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection & Pinterest. Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement! Donate to Support Us We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.
READ MORE
Killing a Republic – Kissinger and Cyprus
In July 1974 the US-controlled Athens military junta organized a coup d’état in Cyprus and an assassination attempt against the President of Cyprus Archbishop Makarios. Everything was executed in exactly the same way as it had been a year before in Santiago Chile. (Cyprus is an island of great strategic importance, now a member of EU and Eurozone. 82% of his population are Greek by nationality and 18% Turkish Cypriots. The country obtained its independence from Britain in 1960, after one of the most successful national-liberation struggles after the 2nd World War). Unlike Salvador Allende, Makarios escaped death and with him ...
READ MORE
International Systems of States and Global Security Models
Introduction The fundamental aim of the text below is to deal with the concept and models of global security as one of the crucial topics of global political studies. We have to keep in mind that a term and notion of security usually imply a kind of sense of protection and safety from different possible harms coming from „outside“. Therefore, it can be generally acceptable and understandable that the states want to protect their own territories by expanding great resources in making their territorial safe. Security topics are of very different kind, ranging from the causes of conflict between states to ...
READ MORE
Western Democracy is an Endangered Species on its Way to Extinction
The British Labour Party no longer represents the working class. Under UK prime minister Tony Blair, the Labour Party became a vassal of the One Percent. The result has been a rebellion in the ranks and the rise of Jeremy Corbyn, a principled Labourite intent on representing the people, a no-no in Western “democracies.” Corbyn is too real for the Labour Party Blairites, who hope to be rewarded with similar nest eggs as Blair for representing the capitalist One Percent. So what is the corrupted Labour Party doing to prevent Corbyn’s election? The answer is that it is denying the vote to ...
READ MORE
The “Snipers’ Massacre” on the Maidan in Ukraine
The massacre of almost 50 Maidan protesters on February 20, 2014 was a turning point in Ukrainian politics and a tipping point in the conflict between the West and Russia over Ukraine. This mass killing of the protesters and the mass shooting of the police that preceded it led to the overthrow of the government of Viktor Yanukovych and gave a start to a civil war in Donbas in Eastern Ukraine, Russian military intervention in Crimea and an international conflict between the West and Russia over Ukraine. A conclusion promoted by the post-Yanukovych governments and the media in Ukraine that ...
READ MORE
US Elections: Neither Free nor Fair
Media across the world are literally transfixed by the spectacle of US elections. The Donald Trump-Hillary Clinton, Republicans vs. Democrats battle is captivating enough to distract public attention from other issues. Democracy promotion has been a centerpiece of US foreign policy for over half a century since the days when President Woodrow Wilson crafted a new foreign policy that involved active democracy promotion. The implementation of the «beacon on the hill» concept presupposes that the United States would act as a model of excellence for others to follow is analogous to contemporary soft-power democracy promotion efforts. Lecturing on democracy is a ...
READ MORE
The Banana Republic of America: Democracy be Damned
We are witnessing a presidential election of epic farce. The Republican Party nominates the caricature of a tinpot dictator. The Democratic National Committee is a caricature too, of comic opera: exposed in collusion with a favored candidate it anoints a felon, shown to be such but unindicted. We are witnessing the collapse of democratic presidential politics. It is a derelict process, complex, absurdly long, insanely expensive, tedious, inconsistent and now chaotic. Professional football is a public extravaganza, its six-month season culminating in the tangible climax of the Superbowl. It is dwarfed in spectacle however by the same suspense and dramatic finale of ...
READ MORE
The Social and Economic Achievements of North Korea
“My conscience leaves me no other choice than to break the betrayal of my own silences…I know that the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today is my own government.”  The Reverend Martin Luther King, Recipient of the Nobel Peace prize.“The United Nations which was created to prevent the scourge of war has become an instrument of war.”  Former U.S Attorney General Ramsey ClarkIntroductionWashington, D.C.  White House tape recordings, April 25, 1971President Nixon: “How many did we kill in Laos?”National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger: “In the Laotian thing, we killed about ten, fifteen thousand”President Nixon: “See the attack in ...
READ MORE
Christianity in Europe During the WWII
Introduction The propaganda by the Christian churches in regard to their role during WWII in Fascist Italy, Yugoslavia, and Nazi Germany has so conditioned their believers that most of them believe that Christianity played an honorable role at best, and only a silent role at worst. Yet there seems little recognition that the very framework of the beliefs owned by the Fascists and Nazis came from their Christian upbringing from church, school, and Christian traditions. The entire anti-Jewish and racial sentiments came not from some new philosophy or unique ideology, but rather from centuries of Christian preaching against the Jews, gypsies, ...
READ MORE
Why V. Yanukovych Said No to the European Union
Christopher Marsh and I, in our recently published book (Russian Foreign Policy: Interests, Vectors and Sectors), sketch out what we term "Putin's Eurasian dream"—the ambition to create a Eurasian economic and political zone where Moscow sets the overall agenda and is able to hold its own in the global geopolitical competition with the United States, the EU and China—and to have the foundations laid by 2015. A major obstacle to this vision was abruptly removed on Thursday when Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych announced that his country would not sign a landmark partnership agreement with the European Union—which Russia had consistently ...
READ MORE
Western Silence as 20,000 Neo-Nazis March in Ukraine
In one of the largest, if not the largest, Neo-Nazi demonstration in Europe since WW2, 20,000 facists marched through the streets of Ukraine’s capital Kiev last weekend under the silent gaze of the western media. Other than Russian state media RT and Sputnik News facists throwing Nazi salutes and parading in their tens of thousands in a European capital didn’t concern any of the major western news outlet. Nothing on BBC, France24, CNN, New York Times, The Guardian…the silence of the media lambs when it comes to a growing facists movement in Ukraine is deafening. The Ukrainian Nazis were honoring their ...
READ MORE
NATO’s War against Yugoslavia was Based on Lies
Germany joined the war against Yugoslavia under the pretense of fabricated facts. Sensational confession of German policeman Henning Hentz who served in the OSCE in Kosovo in the 90s confirmed that.The reason here is that photographs taken by Hentz in late January 1999 were used by then German Defence Minister Rudolf Scharping to justify the immediate interference of NATO in the Kosovo conflict. He presented the photographs of the militants killed in Rugovo as photos of innocent Albanian victims.What did really happen in Kosovo in late January of 1999, several months before NATO launched its operation against Yugoslavia?According to Serbian ...
READ MORE
“Megali Idea” and Greek Irredentism in the Wars for a Greater Greece, 1912−1923
The origins of Megali IdeaEleftherios Venizelos and a Greater Greece (1910)Greece became the independent state (from the Ottoman Empire) in 1829−1833 with the crucial diplomatic, political, financial and military assistance by the UK and Russia. It was a very fact that the Kingdom of Greece incorporated at that time only around 25% of the Greeks who were living at the Balkans and Asia Minor (the Near East). Such situation created tensions between Greece and the Ottoman Empire as the Greeks wanted their total national unification what was possible only under the conditions of the destruction of the Ottoman Empire. Therefore, ...
READ MORE
Draza Mihailovich in Film and TV: On the Set of the TV series Ravna Gora
Ravna Gora is a Serbian television series produced by Radio Televizija Srbija (RTS) and Contrast Studios which will debut on November 2, 2013 on Serbian television. The series began filming on July 24, 2012 on location in Mokra Gora in western Serbia. The series will be a trilogy entitled “1941-1945”. The first part, Ravna Gora, will consist of 15 episodes each an hour in length. It is a historical dramatization of the events that occurred in Yugoslavia during World War II when the country was invaded, occupied, and dismembered by the Axis. The series focuses on the rival guerrilla movements ...
READ MORE
A Letter From the Greek American Community on the Cyprus Talks
On the eve of the Conference on Cyprus, we feel compelled to express our views on the Cyprus negotiations on behalf of the Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC), the International Coordinating Committee Justice for Cyprus (PSEKA), the Federation of Cypriot American Organizations (FCAO), the American Hellenic Institute (AHI), the American Hellenic Council (AHC), the Hellenic Federation of New Jersey, and the Coordinated Effort of Hellenes (CEH). Our community has worked with successive US Administrations on behalf of a workable and lasting solution on Cyprus. In 2004, when we warned that the flawed Annan Plan was headed in the wrong direction, ...
READ MORE
Media Literacy 101: Kosovo and Libya
The Future of the EU at Stake in Catalonia
The Unspoken Crimes of World War II: The Dresden Massacre of 1945
The Simulation of Democracy
Khashoggi vs. 50,000 Slaughtered Yemeni Children: Europe has no Morals, no Ethics no Nothing
The Forgotten Genocide of the Greeks of Asia Minor
Killing a Republic – Kissinger and Cyprus
International Systems of States and Global Security Models
Western Democracy is an Endangered Species on its Way to Extinction
The “Snipers’ Massacre” on the Maidan in Ukraine
US Elections: Neither Free nor Fair
The Banana Republic of America: Democracy be Damned
The Social and Economic Achievements of North Korea
Christianity in Europe During the WWII
Why V. Yanukovych Said No to the European Union
Western Silence as 20,000 Neo-Nazis March in Ukraine
NATO’s War against Yugoslavia was Based on Lies
“Megali Idea” and Greek Irredentism in the Wars for a Greater Greece, 1912−1923
Draza Mihailovich in Film and TV: On the Set of the TV series Ravna Gora
A Letter From the Greek American Community on the Cyprus Talks
Policraticus

Written by Policraticus

SHORT LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The website’s owner & editor-in-chief has no official position on any issue published at this website. The views of the authors presented at this website do not necessarily coincide with the opinion of the owner & editor-in-chief of the website. The contents of all material (articles, books, photos, videos…) are of sole responsibility of the authors. The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not morally, scientifically or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the contents of all material found on this website. The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not responsible for the content of external internet sites. No advertising, government or corporate funding for the functioning of this website. The owner & editor-in-chief and authors are not morally, scientifically or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the text and material found on the website www.global-politics.eu

Website: http://www.global-politics.eu