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    The Implications of Europe's Coming Tectonic Break With the USA

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    Commenting on what he sees as a new attempt by US policymakers to use Europe as a battering ram against Russia, a prodigious Russian blogger and geopolitical analyst ponders the implications of the titanic efforts being made by Russia and China to detach the continent from Washington's embrace.

    In his analysis, published by the independent news and analysis platform PolitRussia, the independent blogger and journalist who goes by the moniker crimsonalter suggested that when it comes to figuring out Russia's strategy toward Europe, "it is simple and clear to anyone who has studied the history of the 20th century."

    "Today, we are witnessing a third attempt [in a hundred years] to use continental Europe as a battering ram against Russia; moreover, Washington is hoping to use the same simple trick," the blogger noted. At its core, the strategy calls for the Europeans and Russians to duke it out, politically and economically and perhaps even militarily, with the US stepping in at the last moment to pick up the pieces, along with the spoils of victory.

    "Fortunately," the blogger added, "the Kremlin finds such a scheme unacceptable…The results of Moscow's consistent work with the independent-minded forces within the European elite, which themselves are unsatisfied with the prospect of securing the continent's status as a battering ram against Russia, manifest themselves more than anywhere in perhaps the most area – the economy."

    "It's important to emphasize that the main geopolitical conflict in the world today is not Syria, and definitely not in Ukraine, but the conflict around the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, which the United States is attempting to thrust upon the European Union. This agreement includes literally thousands of elements, describing economic, technical and even legal cooperation between the US and the EU."

    Moreover, while the TTIP has been presented to the public as a 'stronger version' of an ordinary trade deal, "in fact," the blogger suggested, "its key element is the total elimination of European sovereignty. Under the pretext of protecting the interests of American institutional investors, it is proposed that private arbitration courts be given the right to block laws passed by the European Parliament in the event that they threaten the interests of US companies."

    "Factually, if it were to sign the TTIP in its current form, the EU would become a colony of the United States, with fewer rights than Puerto Rico. It is obvious that Washington will use all methods of influence at its disposal to sign the agreement as soon as possible."

    Consumer rights activists take part in a march to protest against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), mass husbandry and genetic engineering, in Berlin, Germany, October 10, 2015
    © REUTERS / Fabrizio Bensch
    Consumer rights activists take part in a march to protest against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), mass husbandry and genetic engineering, in Berlin, Germany, October 10, 2015

    "But here," crimsonalter pointed out, "those who believe that Europe is already a weak-willed US colony were struck with a fact which broke their pre-fixed expectations, because the EU in the face of Germany and France has successfully evaded signing the agreement. Meanwhile, every attempt to drag it through the European Parliament has also come to nothing, as have all direct negotiations between Washington and Brussels."

    "For two years now, all manner of experts and 'thought leaders', convinced of the USA's omnipotence, have declared that the TTIP is an inevitability, and that if Obama demands that it be signed, it will be signed, with Europe having nowhere else to turn. Those who hope for the European elite to display independence have been written off as living in a pipedream."

    However, events have proven otherwise. "Not only has the TTIP not been signed; it is breathing its last breath, with Washington already publically acknowledging that the agreement must be signed before the end of President Obama's tenure, or risk being postponed indefinitely."

    Washington's chances to clinch the deal began to falter after the European Parliament adopted a series of requirements, including the elimination of supranational courts, together with demands that US corporations be subordinated to European laws after all.

    Recently, the blogger recalled, "the independence-minded part of the European elite has decided to strike another blow to US ambitions: French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has said that agreement on the TTIP would remain impossible if it did not take European interests into account."

    "No free trade agreement should be concluded if it does not respect EU interests. Europe should be firm. France will be vigilant about this," Valls recently said. "I can tell you frankly, there cannot be a transatlantic treaty agreement. This agreement is not on track," he added.

    For their part, crimsonalter noted, "US media have noted with melancholy that the United Kingdom's exit from the EU would even further undermine any chance to secure the agreement, since London was one of the main supporters of the TTIP within the bloc."

    Election workers in the United Kingdom counting ballots following the country's vote on EU membership, June 24, 2015
    © Sputnik / Alexey Filippov
    Election workers in the United Kingdom counting ballots following the country's vote on EU membership, June 24, 2015

    In this light, the blogger added, "it is significant that German Chancellor Angela Merkel has decided to return to the idea of a common economic space stretching from Lisbon to Vladivostok. Whatever skepticism Russian commentators might have, this gesture should be taken very seriously, even if only as a step…meant to gradually accustom European society (and even part of the elite) to what may now seem like the most unlikely of future scenarios." 

    Several other events, including resolutions by Italian lawmakers in favor of recognizing Crimea as part of Russia, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier's criticism of NATO exercises on Russia's borders, and European Commission chair Jean-Claude Juncker's visit to the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, despite protests from the US State Department, should be viewed in the same light, according to the analyst.

    "It is in this same context that the joint work of the presidents of Russia and China should be judged; they are attempting to offer the Europeans (and not just them) an alternative vision of the future, one without subordination to the US. The attempt to 'tear Europe off' from the United States, or more accurately to help the independent minded portion of its economic elite to do so, is a joint Russian-Chinese project, of equal importance to Moscow and Beijing."

    Ultimately, the blogger suggested, "it shouldn't be forgotten that China's main geopolitical project – the Silk Road Economic Belt, will be absolutely meaningless if Europe does not participate in it, or if the rules of the game on the European continent are decided in Washington." At the same time, "it's not difficult to understand why Russia too is needed in this arrangement. On the one hand, Moscow can act as a guarantor of security on the European continent; on the other, it can serve as the manager of the 'logistical bridge' between Europe and China – one which cannot be cut off by any carrier battle group."

    If the project to detach Europe from Washington's embrace is successful, all future American attempts to maintain global hegemony would be left cut off from the world's largest continent. "For the sake of the realization of this scenario, it's worth making an effort," the blogger concluded.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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    Tags:
    geopolitical shift, tectonic shift, commentary, geopolitics, analysis, Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), European Union, China, Europe, United States, Russia
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