Whatever the outcome of the war between Russia and Ukraine, Europe will be weakened vis-à-vis the United States. One year after the war started, the outcome could not be bleaker. The European institutions and governments have capitulated. They have not been able to create an alternative to war. They have decided to do the bidding of the White House and NATO, thereby risking a global confrontation as it is now de facto. What else was the purpose of Biden’s surprise visit to Ukraine and the statements by Vice-President Kamala Harris? On the ground there are German tanks, American missiles, Spanish howitzers, French, Italian, and British weapons. In short, a whole arsenal of weapons “made in Western Europe” are in the hands of Ukraine.
The war has consequences for daily life: the rise in the price of basic foods. There is no product − bread, milk, meat, fruit, vegetables, coffee or beer − whose price has not risen. Heating, electricity, and petrol have become luxury goods. Inflation is skyrocketing and dependence on US hydrocarbons is growing. The sabotage of the Nord Stream pipeline, as Seymour Hersh showed, was planned by NATO and the Norwegian Navy and was a turning point towards Europe’s energy dependence on the United States. For Germany, it meant importing more expensive gas from the US. Biden said he would rather see Germany freeze in winter than reduce its arms supplies to Ukraine.
In January this year, German Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht resigned. She was the focus of criticism from NATO, which accused her of delaying the delivery of weapons to Zelensky. The US base at Ramstein on German soil, where most of the meetings of the anti-Russian coalition take place, has been converted into a training camp for Ukrainian soldiers. There they are trained in the use of sophisticated weapons systems, tanks and state-of-the-art missiles, so that they can then go into battle in Kiev. The US Chief of Staff, General Mark Milley, has also taken part in this training.
Europe exists only to serve the United States. In this context, the NATO defence ministers agreed at their meeting in Brussels to send more war material to Ukraine. Following this logic, French President Emmanuel Macron told Zelensky: “It is better to prioritise useful supplies to allow the Ukrainians to resist and carry out operations than to make commitments that will come too late.” Zelensky grows up. He travels around Europe and is showered with awards. Joe Biden visits him in Kiev and makes clear his plans and Europe’s role: keep your head down and nod to the US plan.
Another humiliation for the European Union. Ukraine is a time bomb that the United States will detonate when it sees fit, in which case Zelensky will merely be a broken toy.
Josep Borrell, the head of European diplomacy, stresses without blushing: “Since they are the ones providing the dead, we should help them [...] Zelensky and the Ukrainians get a lot of applause but have no ammunition [...]. That is the paradox. There needs to be less applause and a better supply of weapons.” For Borrell, the war means that the EU has “come of age [...] and become a credible actor capable of using coercive means”. Unabashedly, he suggests that the arms industry should be promoted as an engine of development. “We are growing up,” he said, before addressing the challenges facing the EU in wartime: “gaining credibility as a global player, taking strategic responsibility as a security and defence supplier, and engaging more with our partners around the world.” Europe is living in a war economy.
Ukraine must resist, no matter how high the death toll. Meanwhile, the European Union signs the tenth sanctions package. The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, puts the cost to Russia at eleven billion euros. In that one year, among other things, visas were denied, bank accounts frozen and the import of luxury goods, electronic equipment, and dual-use goods made impossible. In air, sea and land space. Russian planes have no access to EU airports. Russian merchant navy cannot call at EU ports. Banks are banned from accessing the Swift system. Broadcasting licenses have been revoked. Not to mention the purchase of crude oil and gas. But as is so often the case, sanctions have a boomerang effect. It is the small entrepreneurs, technology exporters, engineering firms and traders who foot the bill. Meanwhile, the war industry gets richer and richer.
Europe lost its dignity long ago. Its leaders remind me of a scene from the film “The Marx Brothers in the West” where Groucho shouts “more wood, it’s war” to chase bad guys on a rickety train with no fuel. Unfortunately, we are not in a fiction. After a year of war, only death is on the horizon. Let us hope that peace will become possible, but for which a 180-degree turn is required. •
Source: La Jornada of 24 February 2023, https://www.jornada.com.mx/notas/2023/02/24/politica/la-guerra-debilita-a-europa-frente-a-estados-unidos/?from=-page&block=politica&opt=articlelink
(Translation Current Concerns)
* Marcos Roitman Rosenmann, born in Santiago de Chile in 1955, is a Spanish-Chilean sociologist and political analyst. In 1974 he went into exile to Spain, where he still lives today. He is professor of Latin American Social Structure, Contemporary Social Structure and Spanish Social Structure at the Faculty of Political Science and Sociology of the Universidad Complutense Madrid. As guest lecturer, he has worked at various universities in Latin America, including countries such as Mexico, Chile, Ecuador, Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Cuba, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Panama, Costa Rica and Bolivia. He writes regularly for the Mexican newspaper “La Jornada”, which is read throughout Latin America, and other newspapers in Latin America and Spain.
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