Is the United States losing the goodwill and trust that was once placed in it by an ever increasing number of countries? The current administration certainly added fuel to the fire when President Trump announced that during his watch it would be ‘America First’.
China and Russia have been generally viewed as potentially the greatest threats to the American way of life. Many of President Trump’s statements in the past two years have not only enraged the liberal left and other so-called democratic parties within the US, but have also provoked an ill-will and distrust among America’s European allies.
NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) was founded in 1949, in Washington DC, and is an alliance of 29 European and North American nations. It was initially founded to counter a feared Soviet Russian expansion into Europe. After the dissolution of the former USSR and an end to the so-called Cold War, NATO was reorganized to also participate in foreign military interventions. Present day political and military ambitions of President Putin have revealed the necessity of re-evaluating NATO’s purpose and the growing threat of a revamped Soviet-style dictatorship in Moscow.
President Trump, initially cast doubts on the continued value of NATO, and especially the financial burden to the US (not without merit it must be said) of maintaining the alliance in its present form. He appears to have back-tracked somewhat on his initial evaluation of the alliance, although he appears to stand-bye his demands that all the other alliance members should contribute a greater proportion of the financial costs in maintaining it.
Threats of trade sanctions and ‘America First’ rhetoric, have, however, soured the relationship between the United States and Europe – especially so in France and Germany.
The call for a EUROPEAN ARMY has been voiced over the past few years by a number of European countries. Germany has been busy laying the foundations for a number of years.
Prior to the centenary commemoration of World War 1, which was held in November 2018, French President Emmanuel Macron, reportedly stated the need for a European Army – ‘to protect ourselves with respect to China, Russia and even the United States’. He reiterated this statement during the commemoration week when he is reported to have stated that – ‘We will not protect Europeans unless we decide to have a true European Army’. A few days later Chancellor Angela Merkel supported Macron by stating that – ‘We have to work on a vision of one day creating a real, true European Army’. Two leaders of the most powerful and influential countries in Europe (Germany and France) agreeing on the need for a stronger and more united European Army – Should we be concerned about this? Anyone with even a basic knowledge of European history should be!
During his speech at the centenary commemorations, President Macron, took another opportunity to denigrate the United States and particularly President Trump by explaining the difference between nationalism and patriotism. ‘America First’, and it practical applications are viewed with abhorrence in Europe.
The French Finance Minister, Bruno Le Maire, is a traditional Gaullist, favouring French national independence. He has argued for a reinforced European defence policy to secure the bloc’s exterior borders and fight terrorism, with more spending on the military by Germany in particular. He is reported as stating that the European Union must become a ‘form of Empire, like China and the United States … I use the term to sharpen awareness that we are going into a world where power matters. Europe should no longer shrink from deploying it power’
Yet another European leader, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, a conservative Roman Catholic whose views often overlap with those of the far-right Freedom Party, has close ties to the church and seeks guidance from the priesthood.
The Catholic Herald calls him Europe’s Christian Chancellor!
From July to December 2018, Austria held the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union. It is usual for a sitting president to promote an issue that is considered relevant to the success of European unity. Austria chose to feature Austria’s imperial and cultural history – called ‘Museum in a Nutshell’. In the reception area of the headquarters of the Council of the European Union in Brussels a small exhibition was on display highlighting Austrian museums, with the centre-point of the exhibition a large photograph of the Crown of Charlemagne.
In brief, Charlemagne is credited with being the first leader to unite Western Europe – using far from peaceful means to achieve his ambition. He is venerated by many as the father of Europe. On Christmas Day (25 December) 800 A.D., when Charlemagne knelt at the altar to pray, the Pope (Leo III) crowned him Imperator Romanorum (“Emperor of the Romans”) in Saint Peter’s Basilica.
By bestowing the Imperial crown upon Charlemagne, the Pope arrogated to himself the right to appoint the Emperor of the Romans, establishing the imperial crown as his own personal gift but simultaneously granting himself implicit superiority over the Emperor whom he had created. 800 A.D. saw Charlemagne initiate the First Reich, which continued through to 1806 until Napoleon put an end it. Not, however, permanently.
The crown now resides in Vienna, in the Imperial Treasury at the Hofburg in Austria.
More HERE: https://aeon21blog.wordpress.com/2018/07/03/european-union-democratic-part-2/
Europe awards the Charlemagne Prize each year to a person who has promoted and worked toward greater European unification – The recipient in 2018 was President Emmanuel Macron of France. – Past recipients can be viewed HERE
The imperial crown’s importance and history was treasured, relatively recently, by Adolf Hitler. To emphasise his strong believe in an imperial Germany he removed the crown from Vienna to Nuremberg. This was to be the new permanent home of the imperial crown of the then Third Reich. The defeat of Germany in WWII saw the crown returned to its present location in Vienna, Austria.
Germany retains its concordat with the Roman Catholic Church, signed prior to WWII. It was signed on 20 July 1933 by Secretary of State Eugenio Pacelli (who later became Pope Pius XII on 2 March 1939) on behalf of Pope Pius XI and Vice Chancellor Franz von Papen on behalf of President Paul von Hindenburg and the German government respectively.
The treaty guaranteed the rights of the Roman Catholic Church in Germany. The treaty places constraints on the political activity of German clergy of the Catholic Church. This contributed to a decrease in the previously vocal criticism of Nazism by the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in Germany, after September 1933, when the treaty was ratified. More HERE: https://aeon21blog.wordpress.com/2017/12/04/universal-nature/
German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, endorsed French President Macron’s call for a European Army in a speech to the European Parliament in November 2018. Merkel also stated that the army was not to be seen as and adversary but as a complement to NATO. She also reiterated Macron’s view that Europe could no longer count on the United States and that the times when we could rely on others are over. European Union (EU) treaty provisions should also be changed to allow a qualified majority (what exactly that means remains to be seen? Ed.op) of member countries to initiate security and defence measures instead of the normal unanimous vote currently required. Merkel additionally proposed a European Security Council to enable important decisions to be made quickly (United Nations Security Council not fit for purpose? Ed.op.).
Needless to say, President Trump responded: Macron’s proposal for an EU army to protect against threats from Russia, China and even from the United States is “very insulting.” He has also suggested in a tweet that the French would be speaking German today if not for U.S. support during the two World Wars.
President Trump should not be surprised at Macron’s views regarding his overtures to Germany. During the few days devoted to the centenary commemoration of WWI, mentioned above, he (Macron) visited a number of former battle fields in Northern France. During his visit he paid tribute to Marshal Philippe Pétain – the WWII French general who led France’s infamous Nazi-allied Vichy regime. France was about to fall to Nazi-German forces in World War Two. Pétain was appointed Prime Minister of France. He collaborated with Germany and his administration was based in the unoccupied part of the country known as Vichy France. Francis Kalifat, the head of France’s leading Jewish group, the CRIF, commented that Pétain authorized the deportation of 76,000 French Jews to Nazi death camps. After the war, Pétain was sentenced to death for treason, however, then-President General Charles de Gaulle, reduced the punishment to life in prison.
In March 2017 the EU approved a new headquarters for joint military operations abroad. Some member states objected to this stating that it would undermine NATO. “Today we decided to establish a MPCC (Military Planning Conduct and Capability facility) which will command the EU’s non-executive military missions”, said EU Foreign Affairs Minister Federica Mogherini. The initial responsibilities of the facility will be to orchestrate military training missions in Somalia, Mali and the Central African Republic.
Germany, however, has been planning a joint European military before the MPCC was announced. The Dutch 11th Airmobile Brigade came under German command in 2014, followed by the 43rd Mechanized Brigade that officially became part of the German 1st Armoured Division in 2016. Poland, Rumania and Czechoslovakia are showing interest in following Holland into becoming part of the German Bundeswehr. German Defence Minister, Ursula von der Leyen, said she wants to build a European army. In February 2016 she announced, “We will set up a multinational panzer division next year.”
It is planned that Romania’s 81st Mechanized Brigade will join the Bundeswehr’s Rapid Response Forces Division, while the Czech 4th Rapid Deployment Brigade, which has served in Afghanistan and Kosovo and is considered the Czech Army’s spearhead force, will become part of the German 10th Armoured Division.
The German plan springs from NATO’s ‘Framework Nations Concept’ which was introduced to NATO in 2013. The development of multinational units would, in theory, increase sustainability and help preserve military key capabilities. Smaller armies could plug their remaining capabilities into an organizational backbone provided by a larger, “framework” nation – Germany.
The Germans realized that the Bundeswehr needed to fill gaps in its land forces in order to gain political and military influence within NATO. A joint European force that combined the forces of other partners would increase its military capacity quickly.
The United Kingdom (UK) has always been against the formation of a European Army outside of NATO. European history reveals the reason why. Now that the UK is on the cliff-edge of dropping-out of the Union, Germany appears to be attempting to seize the opportunity to command an expanding military force.
What are Germany’s primary ambitions? The eventual rise of a European Empire that is capable of fielding a powerful military – independent of the United States?
German/French Treaty – Aachen Treaty
On 22 January 2019, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron, signed a new treaty of friendship. The two most economically powerful countries within the EU are now officially aligned and will speak with a powerful common voice on important issues relating to Europe. This is an attempt to subvert the current divisions within the EU and create a more cohesive and action oriented Europe.
With the UK set to leave the EU and the USA foreign policy toward Europe becoming more insular under the present administration; Germany and especially France (Macron), have shown hostility towards both the UK and the USA. European independence, both politically and militarily, is high on the list of priorities for this new alliance.
Another priority for this new German/French alliance is to obtain a seat for Germany on the United Nations Security Council. France (has a permanent seat on the council) is lobbying for Germany to be given a seat. Most readers will be aware that Germany, up to the present date, has been denied a seat after instigating two world wars within the last century. German and French future goals are not only to enable an independent European militarily but also to have an effective independent common foreign policy with global ambitions. Other countries with a permanent seat on the council, alongside France, are the USA, UK, Russia and China.
President Macron, supported by German Chancellor Merkel, has repeatedly called for a strong European military union. The signing of the recent treaty between the two countries will, in effect, join the defence abilities of France and Germany. As we have already briefly mentioned above, Germany had already begun assimilating military units from other European countries before the treaty was signed. Immediate plans include joint training of soldiers, joint armaments projects and joint units deployed for so-called stabilization missions! For a country that was banned from amassing a standing army after WWII, Germany is now surreptitiously building a new one – although under the umbrella of European unity.
France is playing a rather devious game. Germany invaded France twice during two world wars in the last century. President Macron, however, does not appear to find this former enmity a hindrance in pursuing his own personal goals. The two countries that rescued France from occupation – UK and USA – twice in recent history are now seen as obstacles to the European Plan. Obstacles that are to be defended against – hence Macron’s statement during the WWI armistice commemoration in November 2018 about the need for a European Army – ‘to protect ourselves with respect to China, Russia and even the United States’.
You may be of the opinion that there is little chance of European nations combining to threaten the USA? Well think again. The combined military budget of EU countries is around three times that of Russia and currently approx. half of the US budget. While the current US administration is tearing up trade deals with numerous countries, the EU is signing-up for trade deals with China, Japan and other Asian states. Trade between Russia and Germany has always been vigorous – especially energy supplied from Russia and technology from Germany to Russia in deals known and unknown. Russia and Germany have historically always had on/off relations with treaties made and then broken whenever it suits. https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/MS.MIL.XPND.CD
Gerhard Schröder, former German Chancellor, and good friend of President Putin, left office in 2005 and soon after was nominated by Russian Gazprom to head-up the shareholder committee of Nord Stream AG. Nord Stream 1 supplies gas to Germany through a pipeline that runs through the Ukraine. To circumvent any interruption of supplies to Germany and from there to other European countries through possible Russian sanctions on supplies to the Ukraine, Nord Stream 2 pipeline direct to Germany under the Baltic was begun. Schröder became manager of Nord Stream 2 in 2016. Gazprom is the only shareholder. In 2017 Schröder was nominated by Russia as an independent director of the board of Russia’s biggest oil producer, Rosneft.
The city of Aachen was chosen for the recent signing of the treaty between Germany and France. Some months previously, as mentioned above, President Macron had received the European Charlemagne Prize for 2018 here.
It was from this city that Charlemagne (Charles the Great) began his unification of Western Europe and subjected much of what is known as Western Europe today to his rule, and forced conversion to a type of so-called Christianity. It took 30 years or so to subjugate the various ruling tribes and clans by wading through a sea of blood, sweat and tears. His eventual reward was, as we have mentioned, to be crowned Holy Roman Emperor by Pope Leo III in 800A.D. Future Emperors were crowned in Aachen, continuing the legacy of Charlemagne
Throughout these centuries, the empire’s emperors were crowned in Aachen, worshiping Charlemagne’s legacy. Aachen was the seat of Charlemagne’s power. The history and legacy of Charlemagne and the imperial crown is once again honoured by the signing of the treaty between Germany and France. The first steps in attempting to resurrect a new European unity by pushing for a stronger, more independent military, while at the same time praising the accomplishments of Charlemagne.
At the time of writing the European Union is going through a rather tumultuous period. Authoritarian, conservative heads of state are to be found in Hungary and Poland. France has experienced mass protests over Macron’s policies with ‘yellow-vest’ protesters by the thousands filling the streets. Many so-called mainstream political parties in a number of EU countries have found themselves losing seats in their respective parliaments to fringe populist parties that until recently were viewed as extreme and had little political clout. Angela Merkel renounced her leadership of her own party, the CDU, and will not stand again as Chancellor at the next German federal elections. The far right party, Alternative für Deutschland, gained seats for the first time in German elections and are vocal in their resistance to many of Merkels policies, especially on immigration policies. Germany has always been the power house of Europe economically – often to the detriment of the southern member states.
The German economy is export driven but is now experiencing a stagnation which could lead to recession – The threat of a no-deal Brexit only increasing the risk of a downturn in German exports.
In Italy (in recession), two former populist parties, Lega and Five Star, obtained government posts and have been at odds with the EU over their overly ambitious budget that breaks all EU monetary policy. They are facing sanctions for breaking EU fiscal policy. Meanwhile, France consistently breaks fiscal policy but is never sanctioned. Sweden was without a proper government for months when main-stream parties refused to have any dealings with the right wing Sweden Democrats who captured an unexpected number of seats in elections. Belgium regularly has governmental problems due to the country being split between French and Dutch speaking fraternities. In Spain, the far-right Vox party has, for the first time in Spain’s democratic history, gained seats in Andalusia. The city of Barcelona attempted to become unilaterally independent of the Spanish government.
European elections for the European Parliament are due to be held in May of this year. Current polls would suggest that the so-called populist parties are going to take a good many seats away from the traditional mainstream parties. The populist right-wing parties do not want to destroy the Union but they will endeavour to change its focus by strengthening their own political philosophy within the Union and also without – against ideological adversaries and geopolitical rivals.
The on-going immigration crisis from the Middle East and North Africa into Europe is one that all Europeans are united on combating. Right-wing parties are particularly supportive of military solutions to social problems. Current policing/military operations in North Africa and Sub-Sahara regions will doubtless be given increased funding in the coming future. To this end, and to further the collective power of the Union, we can expect to see a substantial European military expansion (already underway). It has already been decided to increase the strength of EU border patrols by 10,000 personnel.
Matteo Salvini, leader of the Lega party in Italy, Deputy Prime Minister of Italy and Minister of the Interior since 1 June 2018, is aiming to encourage Austrian, Dutch, French, and Swedish far-right parties into his new group in the hope of getting 140 or so MEPs in the European Parliament (EP) after the EU elections. Salvini also recently met with Polish leaders – Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, Jaroslaw Kaczynsk, leader of Poland’s Law and Justice Party and Interior Minister Joachim Brudzinski.There are some ideological differences between them – however, they agree that that the EU needs to change.
Salvini reportedly (EU Observer. Jan.2019) described Italy and Poland as defenders of orthodox values against an EU which threatened traditional families by promoting LGBTI rights. He also remarked that Poland had rightly said “Europe must return to its identity, to its Judeo-Christian roots – which is being rejected in Brussels in a crazy way, where family values are rejected,” The term Judeo-Christian roots as stated by Salvini means Catholicism.
The citizens of both Italy and Poland are predominantly Catholic, so that should be no surprise. Salvini is not the only European politician to state that Europe needs to return to its Judeo-Christian roots. Indeed Pope Francis himself said much the same in his first public mass in 2013 – urging the Catholic Church to stick to its Gospel roots and shun modern temptations, warning that it would become just another charitable group if it forgot its true mission. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-pope/new-pope-urges-church-to-return-to-its-gospel-roots-idUSBRE92D05P20130314
In 2017, Pope Francis, sent a telegram to the new President of France, Emmanuel Macron, offering his prayers and wishes that in his new role, he will support the rich moral and spiritual traditions of the country, including that of Christianity. https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/pope-francis-urges-macron-to-strengthen-frances-christian-roots-16818
On more than one occasion Pope Francis has made clear his views on the building of walls (not, however, on increased border protection for Europe) and on the capitalist system in general. Was this indirect criticism of the USA? The Vatican State and the Vatican Bank have both enjoyed the plentiful fruits of capitalistic ventures and investments, while accepting that many of the church’s followers live in destitution. Perhaps Pope Francis would prefer that we all follow in the footsteps of the South American Socialist paradise of Venezuela?
The Christian roots of Europe were nourished with the blood of countless innocent people who refused to convert to Catholicism or were seen as a threat to the church and to the empire. As for the Judeo-Christian roots – the Catholic Church was not particularly protective of the Jews during the period of the crusades – and today is more aligned with so-called Palestinian rights and demands than with those of modern-day Israel. What the church is really interested in is re-gaining the Holy City of Jerusalem. Biblical prophecy (how many people understand, believe or are even interested in Biblical prophecy today?) would appear to indicate that they may-well be successful in the coming future when once again we may see the resurrection of a Holy Roman Empire in Europe? – For a short period of time!
One ingredient is missing from a future Europe – A strong secular leader who will come during a time of crisis and transform Europe into a cohesive global actor – one who will recognize the Catholic roots of empire and act accordingly.
The future rise of a powerfully militarized Europe that is no-longer aligned with the USA or the UK is not unthinkable. This, together with its trading treaties with trading partners in the East and Far-East could well completely change the global balance of power and sideline the USA? The free-trade agreement between EU and Japan came into force in February 1 of this year. Japan has also signed fee-trade agreements with Australia, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei, Vietnam, Chile, Malaysia and Peru. The EU is pursuing trade deals with the South American Mercosur trading bloc countries established in 1991. The bloc’s members are: Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. Venezuela was a full member but has been suspended since December 1, 2016. Associate countries are Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru and Suriname. Observer countries are New Zealand and Mexico.
Trade deals are currently being made globally that do not include the USA. The US economy may presently be on an upswing but a day of economic reckoning is waiting to pounce.
Europe has already demonstrated that it is already willing and able to react to US sanctions against the bloc and against other countries that upset the Trump administration. A major stumbling block for all countries is that the dollar dominates the global financial system. The majority of international inter-bank messages use the SWIFT network. Financial institutions worldwide use SWIFT to send and receive information about financial transactions. When the Trump administration began sanctioning Iran again last year, some Iranian banks were cut-out of the SWIFT network and banks were not allowed to sell dollars or loan money to the Iranian government. In November last year president Trump banned the buying of Iranian oil (some countries were exempted). A number of European countries and companies were wary of doing business with Iran due to the fear of finding that they could also be cut-off from the global financial network along with the threat of losing access to US markets. In January 2019, the UK, France and Germany created INSTEX (Instrument in Support of Trade exchanges). It is a payment channel between the EU and Iran to help continue trade and circumvent US sanctions. Washington has cautioned EU nations against such actions. The new entity acts as a sort of euro-denominated clearing house for Iran to conduct trade with European companies. INSTEX works as a barter arrangement operating outside of the US-dominated global financial system. Trade is initially expected to focus on non-sanctionable essential goods such as humanitarian, medical and farm products.
This may not look to be such a big deal in terms of trade deals and treaties in general. It is, however, just one more indication of Europe’s, and other rising powers, dislike of US domination in global affairs, and that Europe, along with others nations, are not willing to accept the dictates of modern-day USA. The day is coming when that dominance will be weakened by trading blocs that exclude US interests.
Are we to, once again, underestimate the potential power of Europe? Will the imperial ambitions of Germany and France, once again, become the ambitions of Europe?
TIME WILL TELL
In the light of current events, widely reported, concerning Europe and the USA it may be enlightening to recall how the world reacted to a relatively recent historical event?
The following is an interesting little article from 2013, about the past that, perhaps, may give us an insight into the present. The coming future will give us time to reflect on the matter.
How Diplomats Misjudged Hitler’s Rise
“The political situation now is so complicated and is subject to so many psychological factors that it is impossible to make any definite forecast,” George S. Messersmith, the United States consul general in Berlin from 1930 to 1934, wrote in a dispatch to the State Department on Feb. 3, 1933…
..diplomats in Berlin in 1933 did not immediately recognize that the appointment of the new government marked a historical turning point. At that early stage, no one predicted that the Nazi regime would last for 12 years and end with a disaster on the scale of World War II. Initially, Hitler’s cabinet was viewed as just another in a series of more or less short-lived German governments…
..But, in subsequent weeks, the regime began to unleash its campaign of violence and terror — on a governmental and administrative level as well as on the street. It was only once foreign consulates started seeing rising demand for immigration visas and a growing exodus to neighbouring countries that the significance of the events of January 30 began to sink in…
..reported extensively on the Nazi policy of Gleichschaltung, enforcing political conformity in all sectors, from the economy and trade associations to the media, culture and education…
..From its very inception, it excluded and mercilessly persecuted demographic groups while at the same time providing those it viewed as belonging to the Volksgemeinschaft, the “community of the (German) people,” with attractive ideological and material incentives…
“It is now quite clear that it is the most extremely national government which one can conceive of,” wrote Messersmith on May 9. Although it desires very earnestly peace for the next few years in order to consolidate its position, there is on the other hand every reason to believe that once the consolidation is achieved ‘the new Germany’ will strive in every way to impose its will on the rest of the world.”
READ – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/leveson-inquiry/9817625/Leveson-EU-wants-power-to-sack-journalists.html
Food for thought perhaps?