Wobbles in US-EU Axis
By Finian Cunningham
January 06, 2015 "ICH"
TV" - - French
President Francois Hollande this week called
for an end to Western sanctions on Russia.
He is the latest senior European political
figure to express misgivings about the
hostile policy that Washington and Brussels
have embarked on against Russia over the
year-old Ukrainian crisis.
Hollande was speaking during a traditional
New Year interview with French media
covering a range of issues, both domestic
and international. Referring to upcoming
political negotiations in Kazakhstan aimed
at finding an end to the Ukraine conflict,
Hollande said that he was in favor of
lifting sanctions imposed on Russia "if
progress was made" at the talks.
Senior French, German and Russian officials
are to meet in the Kazakh capital Astana on
January 15, along with representatives from
Ukraine. The aim is to find a lasting
solution to the violence that has been
raging in eastern Ukraine since last April.
That conflict has taken nearly 5,000 lives
and threatens to escalate, despite a shaky
ceasefire put in place last month.
As a preliminary to the Astana summit,
officials from the above countries were
meeting in Berlin this week to sketch out a
possible agreement. Significantly, American
officials are not involved, even though
Washington is closely aligned with the
regime in Kiev that seized power illegally
last February, and which has launched a
military offensive on the eastern Donbas
Russian-speaking population, who refuse to
recognize the legitimacy of the coup.
Washington and Brussels have sought to blame
Russia for the crisis, claiming that Moscow
is fueling separatist fighters in Donbas to
undermine the Western-backed Kiev regime.
Russia has repeatedly denied any such
involvement. Moscow has pointed to the
dearth of evidence for Western claims. It
says the crisis stems from the illegal
intervention in the internal affairs of
Ukraine by the Western states, and that the
ethnic Russian populations of Crimea and the
eastern regions have simply responded, out
of their own volition, with dissent towards
the neo-Nazi anti-Russian regime that seized
power in Kiev.
The Washington-Brussels axis has slapped
economic and diplomatic sanctions on Russia,
which have been met by counter-sanctions
from Moscow. The deterioration in relations
is not only having economic impacts on
Russia, it is rebounding to cast a pall over
Europe's own faltering economy. Trade and
commerce between Russia and the European
Union are tenfold that between Russia and
the US, so in the unfolding economic war the
EU has much more to lose than Washington.
This partly explains why EU leaders are
increasingly showing trepidation over the
"France seeks end to Russia sanctions over
Ukraine," reported the BBC this week on
Hollande's public call for restraint. The
French leader is the latest high-profile EU
figure expressing serious doubts about the
Washington-Brussels aggressive policy
As the BBC report added: "Politicians in
Italy, Hungary and Slovakia are among those
who want the sanctions eased."
To that list we could append Germany,
Austria, Spain, Greece, Czech Republic and
Bulgaria, among others.
Last weekend, Czech President Milos Zeman
deplored the warmongering attitude of the
Kiev regime, denouncing the CIA-installed
Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk as "the
prime minister of war."
The day before Hollande made his comments,
Germany's Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel
warned against sanctions bringing Russia "to
its knees" and risking "a conflagration."
Germany's second highest politician, and
deputy to Chancellor Angela Merkel, is thus
giving notice of significant opposition to
the Washington-Brussels axis and its
anti-Russian policy, which his boss, Merkel,
has been up to now an ardent supporter of.
Gabriel told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper
that the Washington-led policy is ruinous.
"The goal was never to push Russia
politically and economically into chaos,"
said Gabriel, a member of the Social
Democrat party, which historically prefers
cordial relations with Russia.
In a hint at malign external forces thriving
on conflict between Europe and Russia,
Gabriel noted: "Whoever wants that [Russia's
political and economic chaos] will provoke a
much more dangerous situation for all of us
At the end of last month, German Foreign
Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, a fellow
Social Democrat member, also voiced disquiet
over the Washington-Brussels axis that
Merkel has dutifully followed.
"It cannot be in our interests that this
runs out of control. We need to keep this in
mind in our sanctions policy," said
Germany's top diplomat, as reported in
Deutsche Welle on December 19.
Hollande's latest high-profile call for a
reversal in policy towards Russia is not
based on vague altruism. France, like
Germany, is feeling the brunt of the
French unemployment hit a record high at the
end of the year, reaching near 3.5 million
or 10.5 per cent of the workforce. Bad news
on the parlous state of the French economy
keeps on piling up, and Hollande's personal
rating among increasingly angry French
voters keeps on plumbing new depths.
European citizens know that the crisis over
Ukraine and between Europe and Russia is
wholly unnecessary. They know that the
tensions have been whipped up by Washington
for its own selfish strategic interests of
driving a wedge into the continent. Up to
now, EU leaders have stupidly gone along
with this reckless policy even though it is
rebounding in further economic hardship for
EU citizens and risking an all-out war.
The latest wobble in the Washington-Brussels
axis against Russia, as expressed this week
by Francois Hollande, has to be seen as good
news. In that, at last, finally, official
Europe is coming to its senses about the
dangerous course the US is driving.
A political theme that has gained momentum
over the past year is the "democratic
deficit" across the EU that is alienating
millions of its citizens. What more
disturbing democratic deficit can you get
than Brussels slavishly following
Washington's warmongering policy against
Russia - in total detriment to the interests
of EU citizens over crucial matters of their
livelihoods and ultimately over the risk of
an all-out war in Europe.
British mis-leader David Cameron is too much
of an American puppet to ever come to his
senses. But with France's Hollande now
beginning to show some long overdue common
sense towards Russia, there may be grounds
to believe that European governments are
waking up to the recklessness of the
Washington-Brussels axis against Russia –
and ditching it.
Finian Cunningham (born 1963) has written
extensively on international affairs, with
articles published in several languages. He
is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural
Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor
for the Royal Society of Chemistry,
Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career
in newspaper journalism.
Finian is now located in East Africa working as a freelance columnist for
Press TV and Strategic Culture Foundation
Copyright Press TV.
Translation may take a
moment to load.
What's your response?
Scroll down to add / read comments
before posting -
It is unacceptable to slander, smear or engage in personal attacks on authors of articles posted on ICH.
Those engaging in that behavior will be banned from the comment section.