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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 5/8/15

On V-E Day Europe's Future is on the Line

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Deena Stryker
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Aa the US and Russia celebrate separately their joint defeat of Nazi Germany, and the British vote overwhelmingly for the party that wants to take them out of Europe, in the above article Paul Craig Roberts accurately describes Washington's efforts to persuade Europe that its protection is needed against Russia. Noting that the Council of Foreign Relations now believes both Russia and China threaten US world hegemony, Roberts believes America's war plans against its two rivals can only be prevented by Europe's defection from the Atlantic Alliance, where it has been kept prisoner since the end of World War II.

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A significant crack in the hitherto impregnable alliance has emerged recently over the US's use of Germany's foreign intelligence service, the BND, to spy on both Germans and other Europeans, putting the hitherto invulnerable German Chancellor Angela Merkel in an embarrassing situation. TTIP, the trade agreement the US wants desperately to conclude with the EU, will probably squeak through, borne along by seventy-five years of subordination. But the arrow of time, which is irreversible, points in the direction of a European realignment. (Today, the Conservative Party won the British elections on the promise of a referendum to leave the European Union")

A massive trade agreement known as TTIP is being negotiated between the US and the European Union. It is the culmination of a process that began five years after the end of World War II with the introduction into France of coca cola, a drink that the wine and spirits industry recognized as a serious threat, and that touched off the first of many anti-American campaigns in that country. (A website called mashable has actually documented the French initiation to coke http://mashable.com/2015/03/31/coca-cola-france/, but it doesn't say anything about the campaign against it.)

I recall that anti-American sentiment was rife in those days: American help had been decisive in liberating France from German occupation, but the French had no desire to exchange one hegemony for another. Before the war, the French socialist and communist parties had been strong, providing the bulk of resistance fighters. Now, the cola was easing a recalcitrant France into NATO, together with the other liberated nations of Western Europe.

Subordination continued to rankle until in 1966, De Gaulle withdrew the country from NATO's integrated military command, forcing the organization to move its headquarters from France to Belgium and developing France's independent nuclear strike force. Surprisingly for someone who left and returned to France over long intervals, by the time France got its first postwar Socialist government, with the election of Francois Mitterrand in 1981, anti-Americanism had given way to a whole-hearted adoption of American lifestyles. And the massaging of left-leaning intellectuals through the State Department's Fulbright program had made the campaign against coca cola as quaint as girdles. By 1996, center-right President Nicholas Sarkozy was able to return France to NATO, and now the current socialist president Francois Hollande is right up there with conservatives Angela Merkel and David Cameron as Washington's closest European ally. (Never mind that each of them are spying on the other for the benefit of the CIA"..).

The post-war occupation of West Germany by the US, France and Great Britain formally ended in 1955, giving way to a string of NATO bases across the continent that would serve as back office to the alliance's extra-European adventures. The Soviet Union continued to station troops in East Germany until 1989, when a recently elected President Gorbatchev relinquished control over all of Eastern Europe. Soviet troops were soon replaced in those countries by those of NATO, in contravention of a verbal agreement between President Gorbatchev and the Reagan administration that this would not happen.

When the Berlin Wall came down on November 9th, 1989, it was simply the next logical event in a series that had begun when a fifty-four year old replaced a series of aging Soviet leaders, with the goal of transforming Communism into something more like social democracy. Washington could have heaved a sigh of relief and welcomed what academics called convergence, aligning its social system with that of a prosperous Europe. Alas, under Reagan, the Neo-Cons were determined to propel the United States into a position of permanent, unassailable hegemony, known as 'full spectrum dominance'. Although Europe's social democracies had been no threat to big business, the Neo-cons were as uninterested in the 99% then as they are today.

The American conquest of Europe - of which coke was the innocent-looking spearhead - is so complete that in 2015, after holding large exercises in the Baltic countries, NATO decided that instead of putting its hardware unobtrusively back on transport trains, it would parade them through the backroads of Europe to the base in Germany that it had operated since 1948 to show the man in the street that the US would keep him safe from Russian aggression. The announcement rang like a corrective to a phrase I once heard in the Carter State Department about Italy's Eurocommunists: "To think we used to run that place."

If Europe wants at last to run itself, it will have to dot its i's and cross its t's before it's too late. Its social system represents the highest level of civilization achieved by humans: what Americans disparagingly call "The Welfare State" would probably not have been possible without the gains made by labor before World War II under strengthened unions, such as two weeks paid vacations. Now at last the US is dismantling it with the help of the 2008 crash and the projected TTIP.

But this is only a first step. With the decisive help of militias that worship a World War II Ukrainian Nazi leader, NATO fomented a coup against the legally elected president of Ukraine, hoping to bring its bases right up to Russia's doorstep. When Putin honored a referendum of the mainly Russian population of Ukrainian Crimea to return it to the mother country (where it had been since Catherine the Great), he was accused of invading his neighbor, and moreover of planning to re-occupy the Baltic States as well as Moldova, a tiny strip south of Bulgaria.

This sounds pretty bad to Westerners who have never been told that Eastern Europe and the Baltic states are the corridors through which Russia has repeatedly been attacked, and that Stalin's insistence on making these areas Soviet satellites after World War II was all about protecting the homeland. Following centuries of skirmishes with Poles, Balts and Swedes, Russia was invaded by Napoleon, then by Germany in two world wars. As Russia gets ready to celebrate the 70th anniversary of V-E day, RT is documenting the main battles fought by the Soviet Union against the Germans, in particular the 2 1/2 year siege of Leningrad, and the two-year battle for Stalingrad, accompanied by testimonials of civilian and military survivors. In a childish, unstatesmanlike gesture, President Obama has declined to take part in memorializing the war in which Americans and Soviets fought the same enemy, underlining US support for Ukrainian Nazis.

As Roberts writes:

Washington continues to drive Europe toward one or the other of the two most likely outcomes of its orchestrated conflict with Russia. Either Europe or some European Union member government will break from Washington over the issue of Russian sanctions, thereby forcing the EU off the path of conflict with Russia, or Europe will be pushed into military conflict with Russia.

In addition to the sanctions, Europe is facing a threat that America cannot vanquish: a soft invasion of multi-colored people fleeing the damage NATO has done to their homelands in the southern hemisphere, while it was complacently perfecting its Welfare State. If the 2008 economic crash doesn't finish Europe off as a major economic player, the flood of unskilled refugees fleeing lands decimated by NATO's extra-European engagements will. Yesterday RT interviewed illegals sleeping in pup tents under the bridges of Paris and in new shantytowns near the railway stations, something that seems hard to believe for anyone who has lived in twenty-first century Paris.

Until recently, immigrants hoping to reach Great Britain, where, thanks to draconian labor conditions, unemployment is half that of France, camped in Calais, hoping to hitch a ride on the Eurostar train under the Channel. The two governments' arguments over responsibility for this unsightly situation has motivated recent arrivals to stay in Paris, boosting the anti-immigrant party of Marine Le Pen. In an extraordinary coincidence, the latest novel by one of France's foremost writers, Michel Houellebecq, is called Submission, in reference to the Muslim obligation to submit to the will of God. Not only did it come out on the day of the Charlie Hebdo massacre, it describes the election of France's first Muslim president as the only alternative to a victory by the anti-immigrant National Front.

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Deena Stryker Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Born in Phila, I spent most of my adolescent and adult years in Europe, resulting over time in several unique books, my latest being Russia's Americans.

CUBA: Diary of a Revolution, Inside the Cuban Revolution with Fidel, Raul, Che, and Celia Sanchez

Lunch with Fellini, Dinner with Fidel: An Illustrated Personal Journey from the Cold War to the Arab Spring


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