The European Union enters 2019 with a mass of unresolved problems, in addition to being torn apart by the most severe contradictions.
By Rostislav Ishchenko
Russian-Ukrainian Political Scientist
The first and main problem is that the EU was created as one of the mechanisms of the US’ control over Western Europe. Without the American Marshall Plan, without opening American markets for European goods, without American troops on the European continent, without NATO, eventually, the European Union wouldn’t be possible.
When it is said that the EU was conceived, among other things, as a way of removing German-French contradictions, for the purpose of preventing future conflicts that led to the First and Second World Wars, it is the truth. But it must be kept in mind that the German-French unity was necessary and favourable exclusively for the US. Great Britain, on the contrary, during all its history fought to split Europe and to prevent a situation where one state or a union of states could dominate on the continent.
The US was separated from Europe not by a strait, but by an ocean. In addition, they were much stronger than Great Britain was at the peak of its power. A strong and united Europe was needed by the US as an ally in the fight against the USSR. This approach ensured trade preferences and military protection for Europe. I.e., the US allowed the EU to earn money on their market, shared out bonuses from it neocolonial policy, and in addition it also bore the main weight of the armed protection of the EU, exempting Europe from a considerable part of military expenses. In exchange, Europe was becoming a theatre of military operations of the nuclear Armageddon being prepared, allowing the US to remain once again on the sidelines. At least, that’s what Washington thought.
In the 21st century the situation started to slowly change, and in 2017, with the coming to power of Trump in the US, it changed at once and with drama. The US faced a deficit of resources, which at first was supposed to be filled at the expense of looting Russia and China. But when it became clear that this plan can’t be realised, the US cutting its expenditure on the EU became the only way of reducing its resource deficit. Moreover, by the beginning of the 2010’s Washington started to consider their European allies as a lawful trophy. Looting the EU could also temporarily and partially solve the American problem of a deficit of available resources.
In these circumstances, the renaissance of conservative forces challenging the power of globalists started in Europe. And since globalists leaned on the US and received support from Washington, conservatives, at least some of them, started to turn their heads towards Russia.
The erosion of the foundations of the European-American union, as well as the split of the European elites and the reorientation of some of them towards Russia, led to Washington losing (fully or partially) its mechanisms that allowed it to control the European Union. The danger of the EU switching to an economic, and then military-political, union with Russia actualised for the US the old British concept of a shattered Europe. Washington didn’t and doesn’t have the desire to give Moscow a mechanism for the management of Europe that is as effective as the European Union. In this regard the US tried to start the dismantlement of the EU.
Great Britain’s exit from the EU, unrest in France and Hungary, attempts to spread this disorder to Germany (so far unsuccessfully), Warsaw’s actualisation of Polish-German contradictions, in general – setting Eastern Europe against Western Europe (Polish-Baltic-Romanian bloc vs German-French bloc). Against this background the contradictions between the rich North and the poor South, which until recently were the main contradictions for the EU, temporarily faded into the background, but didn’t disappear anywhere and at any moment can flare up with a new force.
We can ascertain that intra-European contradictions are too strong, and centripetal forces don’t have a notable superiority over centrifugal forces. That’s why the sustainable and stable development of the EU is possible only in conditions where the concept of a united Europe and its implementing forces receive political support from a powerful external ally interested in the unity of Europe. Today only Russia can be such an ally, especially since Moscow sees the advantage of an alliance with the EU not in paying Europe for a self-destructive policy, but in achieving a cumulative effect from economic interaction.
Russia has extended a hand to the European Union for more than twenty years. However, traditions of Eurocentrism, political inertia, ideological tunnel vision, and also the initial absence of trust towards Russia’s ability to revive itself as a global power inhibited the turning of the EU towards cooperation with Russia. As a result, that moment when Europe could rather painlessly, without hurrying, and quietly carry out a strategic turn was ineptly missed by Euro-politicians and Euro-bureaucracy.
Nowadays the European Union is under threefold pressure. Firstly, this is the pressure of the people at large, who don’t like the inevitable decrease in the standard of living. They got used to considering themselves as the “salt of the earth” and are sure that they are owed high social standards by their birthright. Secondly, this is also the pressure of national states pulling in different directions.
Having lost the opportunity to ensure financing for the globalist policy at the US’ expense, Euro-bureaucracy started to be uninteresting for national governments. It does a lot of squealing, but it doesn’t have enough wool. Respectively, ethnic contradictions, which in the past were softened by the all-European policy, again come to the forefront, tearing “united Europe” apart. Thirdly, the US isn’t interested anymore in maintaining a high standard of living in the EU, closes its markets to them, and tries to kill off European industry as a competitor to their own one. Washington is also interested in redistributing the resources controlled by the EU in its own favour. And lastly, seeing the danger of the in-motion (although slow) drift of the EU towards Russia, the US isn’t interested in leaving for Moscow a united European Union, which can be put into order rather quickly. The policy of Washington over the past two years is designed to destroy the EU.
What happens next depends on the European Union. Its rescue lies in accelerating the reorientation towards political-economic cooperation with Russia. American pressure cannot penetrate a Russian-European bloc. Today this reorientation is most strongly slowed down by “Euro-Atlantic structures”, which have no place in the new European world, and these are the thousands of influential politicians and military men, as well as representatives of traditional globalist bureaucracy. People who built their career over 20-30 years on the unconditional submission of Europe to the interests of the US aren’t able to change their policy. This contradicts their interests, and in addition they passed through negative selection, and it means that the features of their intelligence simply don’t allow them to realise the danger threatening Europe.
The replacement of globalists with nationalists at the level of the national states picks up speed in Europe. Even the globalist Macron was forced to implement the ideas of conservative nationalists. But it isn’t clear yet if the replacement of the elite will have the time to take place and whether or not new politicians will manage to change the course of the European ship before it will be definitively broken on the rocks.
A lot of things will depend on European Parliament elections in 2019. If nationalists are able to receive a majority in the European Parliament and then force globalists out from the leading heights of the European Commission and other leading structures of the EU, then the European Union will have a chance. If the current state of affairs will remain unchanged, then most likely we will be forced to forget about a united Europe for a long time and start building a system of unions with certain states – in particular, with Germany.
Originally published by The Saker, 01.09.2019, under the terms of a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license.