The Struggle for Europe

Discussion of current events
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Sertorio
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Re: The Struggle for Europe

Post by Sertorio » Fri Nov 20, 2020 2:58 pm

neverfail wrote:
Fri Nov 20, 2020 1:06 pm
I will comment on the presumption that Russia Today expresses the viewpoint of the Putin government:
Sertorio wrote:
Fri Nov 20, 2020 4:47 am

Tensions between Russia and France derive from the failure to reach a post-Cold War settlement that removed the dividing lines in Europe. EU and NATO expansionism without offering membership to Russia inevitably made “European integration” a continuation of zero-sum bloc politics.
"Failure to reach a post-Cold War settlement"? On no! Of course Russia could not possibly be to blame for that. It must be the fault of the other crowd.
In the multipolar world, the US has less to offer Europe but demands more as US-Chinese rivalry intensifies. Washington therefore becomes more reliant on economic coercion to ensure the Europeans fall in line. Washington has previously sanctioned France for trading with US adversaries, and Paris now seeks greater financial and technological sovereignty to limit US judicial extraterritoriality. The clear message from Paris is that there will not be a return to normal under the incoming Biden administration.
Economic coersion? Like the economic coercion the PRC is currently attempting to impose on Australia by way of selective sanctions on a growing number of specific Australian products? In view of the rise of China as a more significent global trading power than the USA I was unaware that the US still had so much clout that it could coerce the EU. :lol: Perhaps Putin (or his RT ghost writer) is fretting over how the USA abstains from imposing economic sanctions on the EU as the well deserved sanctions imposed upon his country?
Well deserved sanctions for what? For allowing the Crimean people the right of self determination? For stopping the US doing in Syria what it did in Iraq? For making Europe less dependent on US sources of energy?...

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Sertorio
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Re: The Struggle for Europe

Post by Sertorio » Fri Nov 27, 2020 3:45 am

‘Like mafia’: US tramples over European sovereignty in bid to stop Nord Stream 2
https://www.rt.com/business/507945-us-n ... ght-mafia/

Washington’s desperate attempts to stop the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline linking Russia and Germany resemble mafia methods, senior German parliament member, Klaus Ernst, told RT, calling on the EU to fight back.

“Their actions resemble those of a mafia,” Ernst told RT Deutsch on Wednesday, speaking about the renewed threats of US sanctions against European companies involved in the project. Ernst chairs the Committee on Economic Affairs and Energy at the German parliament, the Bundestag.

Just like mafia members extorting ‘protection money’ from businesses, the US comes to Europe claiming it seeks to protect its allies from the Russians but threatens European companies with economic downfall in case such a “protection offer” is rejected, the parliamentarian said. On Thursday, it emerged that US pressure forced a Norwegian-German risk management and quality assurance company to quit.

“It’s not about our security; it’s about Americans seeking to sell us their liquified gas, their slate gas that harms the environment… and is more expensive,” Ernst, a member of the Left Party, said.

We cannot let another state to dictate to us how we should manage our energy supply.

The lawmaker added that both his fellow MPs and the German government consider the US actions a violation of international law. Merely voicing protest against such tactics would not be enough, as Nord Stream 2 is unlikely to be an isolated case of this behavior, Ernst believes, saying that Washington would hardly stop at that and would simply find new reasons to continue slapping Europe with sanctions.

The US “does not see its partners as partners but… as unwelcome competitors or as servants,” the parliamentarian said, adding that the European companies trading with China and particularly supplying chips to the Chinese tech giant Huawei are likely to be next on America’s list.

“It’s not just about gas, it’s about defending Europe’s sovereignty,” Ernst said, calling on the European leaders to respond to the US pressure with sanctions of their own. The MP particularly suggested imposing punitive tolls on US gas imports to Europe as a way of stopping America’s campaign against Nord Stream 2.

Slapping specific US officials responsible for the sanctions policy with personal restrictions could be another way out, the lawmaker believes. Strengthening the European financial system and ditching dollar transactions in the long run could also give Europe the independence it needs, he added.

“This must be stopped once and for all. We cannot stand anything like this,” he said. The only way forward for Europe is to make Washington recognize Europe’s “independence” and stop treating it “like a colony,” Ernst believes. “Everything else leads either into a dead end or into submission.”

The Russian gas pipeline project that involves dozens of European companies has been a source of irritation for Washington for quite some time. Following repeated attempts to dissuade European companies from participating in the project, the US eventually included it in an act supposedly aimed at protecting Europe’s energy independence. What it apparently does, though, is make any company participating in the project subject to the US sanctions.

Now, more than 120 enterprises face America’s punitive measures over their involvement in the Nord Steam 2 construction as the US still hopes to boost its own liquified gas sales to European “partners.” Meanwhile, construction continues, and Russian President Vladimir Putin said in January that the pipeline would be finished either by the end of 2020 or in the first quarter of next year.
I believe most Europeans will agree with this viewpoint. Now, all we need is getting rid of governments which do not have the guts to defend Europe's interests.

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Re: The Struggle for Europe

Post by Sertorio » Thu Dec 31, 2020 9:03 am

The US’ fury over the China-Europe investment deal
by Tom Fowdy
https://www.rt.com/op-ed/511221-us-fury-china-eu-deal/

It’s no coincidence that Washington slapped new tariffs on European goods just hours after the agreement was signed. A year of repeatedly seeking the international vilification and isolation of Beijing has ended in abject failure.

European Union leaders, including Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron and Ursula von der Leyen hosted a virtual summit with Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Thursday and sealed a comprehensive EU-China investment treaty. Described as the most “ambitious agreement that China has ever concluded with a third country,” the agreement serves to open up a number of sectors in China to European investment, substantially expanding their market access whilst also preserving Beijing’s existing stake within Europe.

The United States reacted with fury. The signing created a storm of controversy in Washington, with Deputy National Security Advisor Matthew Pottinger descending into a tirade, accusing the EU of disregarding the interests of the US on the eve of a new administration.

Although the deal’s been in the offing for a while, having been negotiated over seven years, Beijing set a goal with the EU to complete it in 2020 and pulled it off. Despite this, the US media had become increasingly complacent that it would not happen, with a pending Biden administration official having last week sought to send a message to the EU to unite against China.

Suddenly, within hours of this deal having been agreed, the Trump administration slapped new tariffs specifically targeting goods from France and Germany. Although these measures are stated to be part of the longstanding dispute between Boeing and Airbus, the timing is no coincidence, and it seems apparent that they are a targeted retaliation against the EU’s deal with China. One that undercuts the US position and rubbishes talk of a “transatlantic alliance” against Beijing, with Commission President von der Leyen stating: “Tomorrow’s post-COVID world needs a strong EU-China relationship, to build forward better.”

The situation represents a cold reality check for the US, and in turn an act of desperation by a losing side which will only serve to deepen the rift between America and Europe that Trump has created. Ultimately, Mike Pompeo’s talk of a “transatlantic awakening” has been exposed as utter drivel and rehashed Cold War nostalgia which has been deeply out of touch with not only the realities of contemporary Europe and the global economy, but how the administration itself has approached these issues. Thus, as 2020 comes to an end, a year where the US has sought to vilify and isolate Beijing but yielded little fruit, the Biden administration now arguably faces an enormous uphill battle if he seeks to fix this “sledgehammer” effort.

The US' obsession over common liberal values and a shared cultural heritage ignores an increasingly apparent reality that Washington and the EU are, in fact, differing and even competing geo-political actors. This transatlantic fracture has been brewing for a long time, but it has increasingly come to the surface under Donald Trump, who has had no hesitation in treating Europe as a trade competitor and seeing its protected market as a challenge to American interests. Despite this, the US simultaneously has seen European support for its security policies as a given, blinded by the historical legacies of World War II and the Cold War, and the belief that America “saved Europe.”

The White House has been contentious towards the EU, while simultaneously attempting to arm-twist it into compliance in its neo-Cold War against China, with Pompeo arguing that they have an obligation to do so as “free nations.”

Europe isn’t gullible enough to believe that, though. For example, the US has been using semiconductor sanctions on Huawei to block European companies from doing business with it, whilst issuing exceptions to American companies to seek to dominate the market. As a result, it may be construed that the US and EU are in fact competing against themselves over China, and thus it is no surprise that EU officials have shown no interest in siding with a trajectory which only serves to benefit the United States. Now, they can claim victory for choosing the path of negotiation over a rhetoric of threats.

The result is that the American position, despite all the fiery rhetoric, is increasingly isolated when it comes to China. It’s demanded other countries decouple and cut ties with Beijing in the same way it is doing, but the opposite is happening, because it’s really about US interests first above everyone else, rather than ideological solidarity. The fact that they have responded to the EU by slapping on tariffs shows their deep frustration over the fact their China vision is failing to materialize, with their leverage on Beijing having just been sharply reduced.

The result is a further deterioration of transatlantic ties, leaving Biden with a much more difficult task to rebuild them. His new presidency is not going to succeed in this unless it accepts the pragmatic reality very early on that China is not the Soviet Union, but an increasingly dominant economic superpower that countries around the world want to engage with, as opposed to signing up to a zero-sum ideological vision. Despite all the disruption, upheaval, and hatred vented towards Beijing, it’s pretty obvious that they have won 2020, and that Trump contributed to this victory more than anyone else.
The struggle for Europe's independence requires that Europe ignores the US and US selfish interests. This deal with China is a step in the right direction.

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Sertorio
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Re: The Struggle for Europe

Post by Sertorio » Thu Jan 21, 2021 8:00 am

OUTLOOK ON DEVELOPMENT OF EUROPEAN UNION’S COMMON SECURITY AND DEFENCE POLICY

Written by Colonel A. Lavrentiev; Originally appeared at Foreign Military Review 2020 #11, translated by AlexD exclusively for SouthFront

https://southfront.org/outlook-on-devel ... ce-policy/

Taking into account the changed military and political situation in the world, the leadership of the European Union (EU) considers it important to adapt approaches to the implementation of the EU Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP).

Brussels considers the need for the organisation to become a global “centre of power”, the intensification of global rivalry (primarily between Russia, the United States and China), and the emergence of fundamentally new security challenges as ground for launching this process.

The leading role in determining the priorities of the military policy of unification belongs to France and Germany. In the context of the UK’s exit from the European Union, the Franco-German tandem secured economic and political leadership in the EU and was able to promote solutions that were previously blocked by London.

In 2020, the Defence Ministers of France F. Parley and of Germany Kramp-Karrenbauer (both women) made a number of policy statements confirming the coincidence of their assessments of current threats and the future direction of the CSDP.

In particular, it was noted that the European Union in modern conditions is not able to protect its interests against the background of the return of “a number of powers” (meaning Russia) to the “policy of projecting force that violates the existing world order”. European unity is also undermined by the unpredictable course of US President Donald Trump and the activities of “populists” within Europe itself, who promote national isolationism and advocate unconditional national sovereignty in making foreign policy decisions.

According to the Franco-German assessment, a sign of the destruction of the existing system of ensuring European security is the scrapping of the treaty framework in the field of arms control. We are talking primarily about the termination of the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Short-Range Missiles, the expected withdrawal of the United States from the Open Skies Treaty, and the uncertain prospects for extending the Russian-American agreements on strategic offensive weapons.

According to Berlin and Paris, asymmetric threats (international terrorism and organised crime, the migration crisis, the risks of pandemics and the consequences of climate change) are particularly acute. In addition, attention is drawn to the emergence of military-technological dangers, including the development of new-generation weapons (hypersonic, laser) by the leading world powers. The vulnerability of information and communication systems and critical infrastructure to “unfriendly actions in the cybersphere” is emphasized.

Both France and Germany agree that the Alliance will remain the “cornerstone” of the European security system for the foreseeable future. At the same time, Paris believes that NATO is currently in a deep crisis due to the aggravation of internal contradictions.

With this in mind, the following main objectives of the CSDP are formulated: to increase the EU’s ability to independently solve military tasks without relying on the Alliance’s resources; to develop new principles of interaction between the EU and NATO; to expand the role of “United Europe” in crisis management and the fight against international terrorism (especially in Africa).

Priority efforts are also proposed to be directed to the creation of a military-industrial complex corresponding to new threats, independent of the United States. The emphasis is on expanding cooperation between the organisation’s member countries in the interests of developing promising types of weapons, increasing investment in means of fighting in space and cyberspace, as well as in innovative technologies (artificial intelligence, robotics, processing large amounts of data).

Based on the above estimates, the European Union has initiated the development of a new EU fundamental document in the field of defence, called the “Strategic Compass”. The goal is to doctrinally consolidate a single list of threats, clarify prospects and detail activities to achieve the “level of EU ambitions” in terms of the CSDP.

The document, which is scheduled for adoption in mid-2022, is expected to focus on the following issues:

- crisis management (how to ensure the effectiveness of EU operations and missions, increase readiness to respond to a sharp escalation of tension in the organisation’s areas of interest, optimise the staffing processes);

- improving the resilience of member states to external influence (how to reduce the effect of using “hybrid warfare” tools against the European Union, take into account the emergence of innovative technological developments and technologies, and introduce experience in combating the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic);

- development of military capabilities (what requirements should the EU response force meet to neutralise modern threats, what new initiatives in the field of defence integration need to be implemented, how to ensure the relationship between them);

- cooperation and support for “third countries” (how to use the potential of partners to solve the military tasks facing the EU, how to help strengthen the capacity of their security structures, develop relations with NATO and the UN).

Commenting on the work on the “Strategic Compass”, the Minister of Defence of Germany, A. Kramp-Karrenbauer stressed that the document is important to define a “common vision of Russia”, its goals and outgoing dangers, the perception of which among the EU member states allegedly “varies greatly”. The politician also believes that the European Union is not able to provide guarantees for the protection of territory and citizens, currently provided by the Unites States and NATO. However, Brussels should be prepared for scenarios where European security will be out of Washington’s focus.

In addition to the work on the “Strategic Compass”, in the near future the EU members states plan to discuss mechanisms for implementing the provision of the Treaty on European Union concerning mutual assistance in the event of aggression or an emergency. The French and Germans are promoting this initiative in order to create a full-fledged analogue of Article 5 (“On Collective Defence”) of the Washington Treaty of NATO, which can be activated if the United States refuses to participate in solving Europe’s security problems. This possibility was confirmed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the fight against which the United States demonstrated its willingness to be guided by its own needs at the expense of European interests.

(...)

Thus, the European Union, with the leadership of France and Germany, has begun the next stage of the reorganisation of the common security and defence policy, designed to strengthen the influence of Europeans in solving global problems and to promote the development of its own, independent from the United States, military capabilities of the organisation. At the same time, the prospects for achieving the goals of this process will depend on the readiness of member states to further deepen defence integration with the active opposition of Washington, which is afraid of losing its position in the system of ensuring European security, as well as on the availability of the necessary financial resources in Europe.
It seems a bit confusing, but it shows that Europe is now seriously considering building up its military capabilities, so that it no longer will depend on an unreliable US. Which is very good.

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