“It is time for Europe to return to its own culture”

EFTA free trade versus globalisation made in USA

by Dieter Sprock

The real existing globalism has plunged Europe and much of the world into a deep crisis: the hotbeds of war in the Middle East and Ukraine have the potential for a global war. Will this be directed gainst Russia again? Likewise the uneven distribution of material goods harbours abundant social dynamite.
The gap between rich and poor countries is becoming ever greater. For example, many full-time workers in the former Eastern Bloc countries earn less than welfare recipients without work do in some of the rich countries. But even within the poor as well as within the rich countries income disparities are scandalous. Alongside an unprecedented wealth and luxury poverty and even extreme poverty can be found in both. According to Eurostat the unemployment rate in the euro-area amounted to 10.7 per cent in October 2015, i.e. 22.5 million people were out of work, not counting those whose right to unemployment benefits had already expired. In some European countries, such as Greece, Spain and Croatia, youth unemployment is at 40 per cent and more. Add to those more than one million young people whom uncontrolled immigration brought to Europe in the last year, and who in this context have little prospect of being integrated into the labour market. They remain for years, sometimes for a lifetime, reliant on welfare and thus threaten to shatter the social systems even of the richest countries.

“Flourishing landscapes”?

After the collapse of real existing socialism at the beginning of the 90s, the West let fall any restraint and urged the countries of the former Eastern Bloc to open their markets for the globally operating financial world and to abandon their protection of their own economy.
The opening of the GDR turned into a kind of test run. In a very short time the West succeeded to take over its market of 16 million consumers and to eliminate the local economy and industry. Virtually overnight East German products were replaced by Western goods on the shelves of supermarkets. The life achievement of those people who had earned and built their lives in an economy of scarcity, their knowledge and skills, their excellent schools and training centres were completely ignored by the arrogant West. The West had no questions.
The other countries who later joined the EU went through a similar process. In order to participate in the EU internal market, they had to largely abandon their political and economic sovereignty. They have been turned into a sort of extended workbench where the groundwork for Western high finance is done, where it produces its expensive goods cheaply, taking the surplus value for its own coffers. Twenty-five years of globalisation by radical free-market recipes have not brought the promised flourishing landscapes!

“Neoliberal freedom”

The autocracy of the neoliberal ideology has not only influenced economy and banished every social and ethical thought from it, it has also encroached strongly on the social and private lives of individual people and transformed many areas of life by neoliberal ideas:
The most massive interventions have been made in education and training. According to neoliberal ideas children should be allowed to develop free from the disturbing influence of their parents. Education became a taboo word, and parents were recommended to adjust fully to the needs of their child.
Intervention in school pointed in the same direction. Teachers were instructed to refrain from the communication of content and to efface themselves as educators as much as possible – children were to discover everything for themselves. At the same time everything necessary for their identification with their home as well as the history of their own country was discarded from the curriculum. Globalised economy needs people who have only weak ties and can easily be deployed any-
where. Its ideology is aimed at the destruction of historically grown values and institutions.
Thus the traditional family with a father and a mother has gradually come to be seen as an involuntary and coercive community, from which an absurd gender phantasy is to free everyone. According to this phantasy every child, regardless of its natural sex, should be forced to – freely – choose whether it wants to live as a boy or as a girl.

And man is even to be able to determine freely on the end of his life…

The enforcement of the neoliberal economic concept is accompanied by the revaluation of all values. For example, the term tolerance is used to destroy binding values of coexistence and thus to overthrow its original meaning, namely indulgence and forbearance. With a hardly to be beaten measure of intolerance, the new opinion dictators demand that the opinions they have created must not only be tolerated but adopted without argument.

Globalisation made in the US

The now US-dominated market-radical globalism has discredited valuable ideals like democracy and freedom in many parts of the world. The supranational organisations such as the IMF, World Bank, OECD, NATO and the EU are without exception under American control. None other than former national security adviser to US President Carter, Zbigniew Brzezinski, who is still active today in the Obama administration, boasts about the American dominance in these international institutions with provocative straightforwardness in his book “The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives”. He writes: “The Atlantic alliance, epitomized institutionally by NATO, links the most productive and influential states of Europe to America, making the United States a key participant even in intra-European affairs. […] Even the former Soviet space is permeated by various American-sponsored arrangements for closer cooperation with NATO, such as the Partnership for Peace.
In addition, one must consider as part of the American system the global web of specialized organizations, especially the “international” financial institutions. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank can be said to represent “global” interests, and their constituency may be construed as the world. In reality, however, they are heavily American dominated and their origins are traceable to American initiative, particularly the Bretton Woods Conference of 1944.” (From the chapter “Hegemony of a new type –the American global system” pp. 26)
Brzezinski pays special attention to the geopolitical importance of Ukraine. He writes about it: “Ukraine, a new and important space on the Eurasian chessboard, is a geopolitical pivot because its very existence as an independent country helps to transform Russia. Without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be a Eurasian empire.” (p. 46) And that is precisely America’s declared strategic objective. To achieve this, America is ready to accept “the German leadership role in Europe”, “as long as it is subsumed under America’s primacy”. (p.79) Twenty years after its publication Brzezinski’s book reads like the scenario for the wars America has already waged or is apparently still planning.
The fact that even the EU is an American project is likely to have gotten about. For Brzezinski “Europe is America’s essential geopolitical bridgehead on the Eurasian continent” and “any expansion in the scope of Europe becomes automatically an expansion in the scope of direct U.S. influence as well.” (p. 59)
In his very readable booklet “How to make the European orchestra sound well again” Werner WŁthrich demonstrates how the United States actively prevented a merger between the then six EEC states with the seven EFTA countries and vetoed against a European Free Trade Association in the 60s. The US specially sent its Under Secretary of State George Ball to Berne for talks with Federal President Traugott Wahlen and Federal Councillor Hans Schaffner, who is called the father of EFTA, to negotiate on the issue of EFTA. Ball indicated that a free trade zone for all of Western Europe – without a political approach – would not be tolerated by the United States. And Federal President Traugott Wahlen commented the visit from Washington as follows: “The United States supports the objectives of the EEC and strives to create the United States of Europe. Whoever closes their minds to this objective cannot count on Washington’s sympathy. “(From the Federal Archives under www.dodis.ch/30116, quoted by Werner WŁthrich, pp. 34)

The EFTA as a possible way out of the crisis

America is no longer the only superpower. The former splendour of the American way of life has faded. Even in the EU countries, dissatisfaction is spreading widely. People want to break loose from the dictation of the EU, the governor acting for the US, because it is not in their interest to be the bridgehead for American war policy against the East. The people of Europe do not want war.
There is no shortage of analyses of today’s hazardous situation, and the ever-new revelations do more to divert attention from the actual problem than to contribute to its further elucidation. It is time for Europe to return to its own culture. Europe can look back on a long tradition of matters of upbringing and education, economy, democracy, psychology, as well as art and philosophy. It is imperative to bring this rich bouquet of knowledge and ideas back to flourish before the crumbling EU sinks into chaos and new power structures again directed against the interests of its people grow from it.
The wheel does not have to be reinvented. The structures of the EFTA may form the framework for a liberal interaction of the countries of Europe. Contrary to the EU, the EFTA respects the states’ sovereignty. Its members work together only in those areas along which they themselves have determined, and they negotiate their agreements themselves. Europe definitely needs no American paternalism and certainly no war!     •