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  Old Europe: nothing new

Vadim Volovoj, Doctor in Political Sciences
2014 08 01

The West tries to reach an agreement on stricter sanctions on Russia, but the Americans do not want to act unilaterally and seek support from the EU. For that it is first of all necessary to get consent of Germany and France; in case of success, it would be easier to convince the British.

However, Old Europe doesn't  want to worsen relations with Moscow, especially when it comes to its economic interests. It seems that there are groups in the political-economic elite of Germany and France which destroy the Transatlantic unity by in-directly strengthening Moscow‘s positions in Europe.

The information that American intelligence was listening to Angela Merkel‘s phone calls lead to beginning of warming relations between Washington and Berlin. Russia‘s aggression in Ukraine reduced the gaps between the positions of Berlin and Washington, although at the beginning of Ukrainian crisis not everyone in Germany was satisfied with the improving Transatlantic unity.

On 2 May, during the official visit of Angela Merkel to the U.S. the leaders of the two countries decided to widen sanctions on Moscow if it disrupted presidential elections in Ukraine. On 4 May the German Bildwrote about the CIA and FBI agents helping the Kiev Government manage the crisis in Eastern Ukraine. On 11 May German weekly Spiegel informed that the U.S. mercenaries from private military companies which are closely related to American Government are fighting in Ukraine.

Do the above publications imply that Washington‘s direct and indirect interference into Ukraine‘s affairs is an accidental coincidence in time? And now we hear about another scandal: an employee of the German intelligence has been working for America and passed on several hundreds of secret documents to the U.S. for a sum of 25 thousand Euros.

In response to this, Angela Merkel said that if reports a German intelligence employee spied for the U.S. are proven true, that would be a clear contradiction of trust between the allies. According to Bild, CIA resident at the American embassy in Berlin has been asked to leave Germany, and Angela Merkel has instructed German intelligence services to minimize intelligence ties with the U.S.

In this situation Russian president Vladimir Putin should be shouting for joy. Another  coincidence: according to Bild, an American spy was detained when he tried to reach an agreement with Russia‘s consulate in Munich on cooperation. Wasn‘t it Moscow to help German special services arrest the U.S. agent?

The impression is that somebody in Germany prefers friendship with the Kremlin to the U.S. This camp tries to convince Angela Merkel that Washington is truly evil, and that South Stream (and North Stream) is good.

The moods and sympathies differ not only in Berlin. President of France Francois Hollande pledged support for military action in Syria and this was against Russian interests. Today he and Angela Merkel urge Kiev and Moscow start negotiations in Ukraine (first of all this is beneficial for separatists, and, of course, for the Kremlin). Moreover, when problems emerged concerning the Mistral contract and Russia threatened to impose fines for a refusal to sell warships, Paris decided to follow commitments. Barack Obama urged Francois Hollande to change the mind for it is not wise to condemn Russia‘s aggression in Ukraine and at the same time equip it with the state-of-the-art weapons, i.e. show a bad example to other allies which might think that their interests could also be betrayed.

But Paris didn‘t change the mind. Then a famous French bank BNP Paribas has started facing problems: it had to pay almost $ 9 billion over charges to resolve accusations it violated U.S. sanctions against Sudan, Cuba and Iran. The bankers did acknowledge their fault, but French Government was very unhappy with the amount of the required compensation. Vladimir Putin evaluated this situation as follows: „We know about the pressure which our American partners are applying on France not to supply the Mistrals to Russia. And we even know they hinted that if the French don‘t deliver the Mistrals, they would quietly get rid of the sanctions against the bank, or at least minimize them. What is this, if not blackmail? Is this the right way to act on the international arena?“

The answer: yes, it is blackmail, and it is the right way to act on the international stage, because such is the current international policy, and Russia acts more and more imprudently. Vladimir Putin is obviously happy about the decision of Paris not to obey Washington‘s orders.

Finally, Marine Le Pen, the leader of the French National Front has become an honourable figure in Moscow. She openly supports Russia‘s actions in Ukraine and in principle defends Russia‘s interests in the European Parliament. An interesting tendency could be discerned in the article of The Washington Post „It‘s not just Ukraine: Putin‘s friends in Europe are gaining strength.“ The article says: „The populist, Euroskeptic surge, while worrying news for Europe‘s establishment, is bound to have at least one major world leader smiling: Russian president Vladimir Putin. As the crisis in Ukraine intensified and the U.S. and European Union imposed sanctions on Moscow, quite a few of Europe‘s leading far-right and Euroskeptic politicians have come to Putin‘s defence.“

Thus, Old Europe is striking the fundamentals of European and Transatlantic unity and putting economic interests above civilisation interests, whereas Putin makes the best of this situation. Maybe it‘s time to shake things up?  

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