Monday, June 13, 2016

Europe: A Peninsula Twixt Spheres of Influence and Phony Wars

Europe is the birthplace of most of the ideas that gave Western Civilization its edge over the rest of the world, yet geographically it is a peninsula of Eurasia, and Africa’s backyard. Dribbling away to the West of the earth’s largest landmass, at its most extensive from North to South it is only equal to one third the area of Eurasia, and Mare Nostrum makes clear that another immense continent is only a boat ride away. Add the fact that forty or so nationalities are crammed into a space less than one tenth that of Eurasia, and it’s easy to see why Europe has been the scene of endless internecine squabbles and major wars.
Catholic and Protestant Europeans fought each other for a hundred and fifty years, from 1524 to 1648. But the difference between Protestantism and Catholicism, while seeming huge at the time, pales in comparison to that between Christianity and Islam today. The religions of the book as they are  called (the third being Judaism), acknowledge several of the same major figures (such as Abraham and Jesus), but that matters not a whit when compared to the cultural abyss between the me revolution and underdevelopment.
Stepping back a moment, the lead-up to World War II was known as the ‘phony war’: Military alliances required the United Kingdom and France to defend Poland from a German invasion, but they did nothing until they were attacked eight months later. After the war, Europe was divided into Soviet and American ‘spheres of influence’. Coca Cola and jazz were thrust into the wine and beer drinking lands of Beethoven and Debussy, distracting their people from the fact that the US was provoking coups and revolutions in the Islamic world. 
In he fifties, when Europe decided to unite to prevent further wars, the US directed the process to make certain it remained hostile to the Soviet Union. Although it was never in the cards, in another, decades-long phony war, Washington claimed that without its protection, Soviet tanks would roll across Europe to the Atlantic. When the Soviet Union was dissolved, Eastern Europe was integrated into the Western-oriented European Union, and the US moved the North Atlantic Treaty alliance’s military arm, NATO, right up to Russia’s frontiers, ignoring its promise to Gorbatchev that this would not happen. 
Today, NATO tanks roll from their base in Germany across Eastern Europe into the formerly Soviet Baltic states, which Washington claims Russia wants back, yet Europe is again accused of shirking its frontline role in Washington’s standoff with Russia. A midsize political commentator, Mark Halperin claimed recently in the Wall St. Journal that ’The Candidates Ignore Rising Military Dangers’
American politicians have become fit for the fall of Rome… Russia, China and Iran have been racing ahead, stimulated by a disintegrating Europe that neither spends sufficiently on its defense, nor defends its borders… The US has allowed its nuclear forces to stagnate and decay into literal disarmament. 
This third phony war is part of a plan published by Zbignieuw Brzezinski in 1997 under the title The Grand Chessboard, to divide Russia into smaller, easier to control entities. As a first step toward that goal, in 2009 an obedient Europe tried to draw former Soviet republics away from Russia through an “Eastern Partnership.” That having failed, in 2014, the US spent five billion dollars, as Victoria Nuland bragged to a Washington audience, on a ‘popular’ coup against Ukraine’s president, backed by militias faithful to World War II fascists. 
Fascist militias are just about the only thing the Ukraine has in common with today’s Europe. Thanks to decades of deliberate labor policies, 10% of the French and German populations are now Muslims and they have responded differently to assimilation strategies. While native-born Germans torch new refugees shelters, many of France’s second generation Muslims, feeling like strangers in both worlds, leave to join ISIS, while security services worry about ISIS members pretending to be refugees. 
 In this latest phony war, as Russia’s air force rightly buzzes the US fleet just outside its Baltic waters, Europe must recover its independence before it becomes Eurasia’s Atlantis.

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