As we all have been taught, at its creation what is today called the European Union was conceived as a “peace project.” True, its first iteration in a French-German understanding on managing trade in coal and iron was purely economic. True, a later iteration was the European Economic Community or Common Market, all of which call attention to the economic dimension. However, the framers of these institutional arrangements were motivated by the need to put an end to Europe’s century long civil war, to the cleavage between the biggest economies of the Continent, France and Germany.
Regrettably, that past is now being buried day after day as the European Institutions, in particular the Commission and the Parliament, turn the 27 into NATO by another name, that is, into a war-fighting alliance directed against….Russia under the micromanagement of Washington.
Last week we learned that the Parliament passed a resolution empowering the expulsion of Russia from the SWIFT monetary transfer network and also called for an embargo on Russian gas. It is hard to imagine any action that could do more damage to European economies by “cut off my nose to spite my face” thinking.
Removal of Russia from SWIFT would instantly end the means of paying Russia for its natural gas which covers 40% of Europe’s current imports. And it would also end the means of paying Russia for the very large shipments of crude oil it now receives. Incidentally, the same would impact the USA, for which Russia has become the single biggest source of imported oil, thanks to the “cut off my nose to spite my face” policy of Washington to utterly crush the petroleum industry of Venezuela, which was the traditional supplier to US refiners. As wits in Moscow commented, expulsion from SWIFT would mean that Europeans and Americans would be ferrying suitcases stuffed with cash to Russia if they wanted to keep the lights on.
Meanwhile, the Commission is busy working at cutting all other normal ties with Russia. And that is not merely by means of expulsion of Russian diplomats and closing of diplomatic facilities, which is proceeding at a quick pace on the basis of totally fabricated accusations against the Kremlin. The case in the Czech Republic is only the most glaring; it was accompanied by “solidarity” actions of the other usual Russia- baiters – Poland, the Baltic States, Bulgaria and Slovakia.
A favored vector for poking the Russians in the eye is now the domain of “vaccine diplomacy.” Today’s New York Times has a spectacularly tendentious feature article on how the Russians are supposedly using their vaccine to create havoc within the European Union, turning Member Country against Member Country over the acceptability of Sputnik V for use in Europe. Of course, that report is turning the facts on their head. It is Brussels that is playing politics with the vaccines to ensure that the Russians are frozen out of the Europe pharma market in this as in all other dimensions. All for the purpose of denigrating and isolating the neighbor to the East.
The latest development in the vaccine war being pursued by Europe against Russia was announced on Russian news yesterday but does not seem to have found space in Western mainstream, namely the cancellation of the planned UK tour of the Bolshoi Theater, cancelled at the last minute by the UK because it now says it will not admit onto its holy soil anyone not vaccinated with a vaccine approved in the UK. Needless to say, these purists have not approved Sputnik V. The same anti-Russian policy is being implemented by the EU 27 Member States. All of which is very curious insofar as some Member States, notably Hungary, have vaccinated a substantial part of their population with precisely Sputnik V within their successful program to achieve the highest rates of vaccinated adults in all of Europe.
I do not wish to paint a totally black picture of European media. It was a very pleasant surprise to find in the mainstream Libre Belgique newspaper on 27 April an interview with the Lebanese-origin political scientist Rudolph el Kareh entitled “Biden is building on what Trump made.” Without any commentary from the editorial board, this lengthy interview overturns absolutely everything one would otherwise read in the same newspaper and in other European media about American foreign policy and its anti-Russian direction. El Kareh states openly that the whole of U.S. policy continues to be containment of Russia and China for the sake of propping up the failing U.S. global hegemony. He states openly that the United States has no allies, only vassals and slaves, and that Europe falls in the former category. To the editors, I take my hat off. But in my letter extending to them a bouquet for this interview, I ask why they otherwise print only the fake news they are handed by Washington and by lackeys that pass for governments on the Continent.
©Gilbert Doctorow, 2021