Rift Widens Between Anglo-Americans and Continental Europeans
July 16, 2014 (EIRNS)—Both strategically and economically, some European countries are being forced to move away from the Anglo-American (British Empire) faction because of the sheer insanity of the latter’s policy. Relations with Russia is a case in point. As of July 3, the German, French and Russian foreign ministers have begun direct diplomatic talks with their Ukrainian counterpart, without the participation of the U.S. State Department.
Italy’s Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini, who now has the rotating chairmanship of the EU Council, visited Kiev and Moscow last week, announcing that Ukraine, the European Union and Russia would begin talks on implementing the Ukraine-EU association agreement. This is “another achievement within the context of Italian and European diplomatic efforts,” as reported on Italian foreign ministry website.
Mogherini had two days of talks in Kiev with Ukraine leaders, before meeting with President Putin July 9 in Moscow, to urge with all “a bilateral ceasefire”. However, the main obstacle to a ceasefire remains the ongoing military offensive by Kiev against the pro-Russian federalists in Eastern Ukraine.
Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn has also been actively promoting diplomacy with Russia. Asselborn warned that Europe and the U.S. cannot dictate policy to Russia and China, so he proposed that “the West should pause to reconsider its policy.” Of particular interest is the example he chose:
“Tony Blair is still convinced that the war in Iraq was the right option, though tens of thousands of people were killed there for no reason. The country is still in chaos today.”
As for the most important ally of the United States in Europe, Germany, relations are at a low. In addition to the widespread opposition to economic sanctions and a confrontationist line toward Russia, the revelations on the outrageous spying practices of the NSA and CIA have created an uproar. So much so that Foreign Minister Steinmeier, on behalf of the Merkel government, took the unprecedented step July 10 of calling on the U.S. State Department to pull its CIA station chief out of the Berlin embassy, after it was revealed that he had been paying a BND agent to obtain secret documents. While short of a formal expulsion, that decision apparently shook up Obama’s entourage, who had not expected such a strong reaction.
To make matters worse, shortly after that scandal came after the arrest of another spy for the CIA working at the German Defense Ministry. According to some reports, the Americans believe they have to operate behind the back of German intelligence, because of heavy Russian infiltration.
France is also in an uproar against the United States, as a result of the unprecedented sanctions imposed by the U.S. Department of Justice on the French multinational bank, BNP Paribas.
The penalty imposed on the bank for violating a U.S. embargo against Sudan, Cuba and Iran between 2002 and 2009, goes way beyond anything previously inflicted. BNP Paribas has been ordered to pay $8.9 billion in fines, and to fire a dozen bankers involved in those transactions, including its vice-Director General, and it is prohibited from carrying out dollar-clearing operations during 2015! This, despite the fact that the transactions were not illegal under French or Swiss law.
Moreover, two other international French banks, Société Générale and Crédit Agricole, are also being targeted. All three, which operate in dollar markets, are charged with infringing upon U.S.-imposed extraterritorial embargoes, although it is illegal from the standpoint of international law!
The first expression of French anger was the government’s refusal, despite massive U.S. pressure, to cancel the sale of three Mistral helicopter carriers to Russia. Vladimir Putin himself said July 1: “We know that the U.S. hinted that if the French do not deliver the Mistrals, then sanctions will be gradually lifted from the banks, or at least reduced to minimum.”
The outright blackmail tactics of the White House are forcing this French government to declare independence from the U.S. Finance Minister Michel Sapin told the Financial Times (July 6), on the sidelines of a conference of the highly influential Circle of Economists at Aix en Provence:
“We [Europeans] are selling to ourselves in dollars, for instance when we sell planes”, he said. Is that necessary? I don’t think so. I think a rebalancing is possible and necessary, not just regarding the euro but also for the big currencies of the emerging countries which account for more and more of global trade.”
Other French business officials have also mooted a move out of the dollar. And on June 28, the Bank of France signed a protocol with the Popular Bank of China, to set up in Paris a system of payments in Chinese currency, as a first step towards a compensation and payments facility in Chinese RMB.