France and Germany's Rejection of a Lame Duck TTIP from Moscow's Perspective

As V the Guerrilla Economist mentioned in his August 30th Mornings with V podcast, Germany's outspoken (SPD/Social Democrat) Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, who had previously said "The period of frosty relations with Russia must end", declared that negotiations between EU and U.S. representatives on the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) had failed, despite "nobody admitting it". Gabriel was speaking about the 14th round of negotiations between American and European Union officials about the pact held in July in Brussels. Gabriel also, incidentally at a time when RogueMoney's Ken Shortgen Jr. reports Canada is seeking a free trade pact of its own with China separate from Washington, pointed to an EU/Canadian agreement as an alternative to the failing TTIP.

Gabriel's rebuff of Washington followed his fellow SPD German cabinet member, Foreign Minister Frank Walter-Steinmeier telling the U.S. and NATO to stop 'sabre rattling' along Russia's borders in June. It should be noted that Gabriel's comments, like those of Steinmeier's, are and were an explicit rebuke of their nominal boss Angela Merkel's policies. Merkel declared just weeks ago that the TTIP was in Europe's best interests, but she cannot keep her own cabinet members in line to support it. So much for the notion, even if Merkel is an American puppet blackmailed over her Stasi past, that Washington can achieve everything it wants through the weak vessel of Mutti -- the most "powerful" (despised) woman in Europe if not Germany. The TTIP is now dead on arrival or at least dead until a Hillary Clinton Administration takes office and tries to ramrod it through under a new name also shows the uselessness of a lame duck President Obama.

The project is infinitely more than a trade deal. It is part of a strategic push to bind together the two halves of North Atlantic civilisation at a dangerous moment when the Western liberal order is under threat. The two sides are currently drifting towards divorce.

“TTIP was supposed to set the rules for the global trade,” said Rem Korteweg, a trade expert at the Centre for European Reform. “It was to be a central pillar of an alliance of like-minded countries. If it all falls apart in acrimony, what kind of global governance are we going to have?” he said.

Not surprisingly given Franco-German tendencies to work as a bloc within Europe, the French trade minister Matthias Fekl followed up on the remarks of his German colleague the Vice Chancellor a day later. Fekl spoke in even stronger terms, blaming the failure of the talks on American intransigence. Clearly Fekl's boss French President Francois Holland, whose approval rating hovers in the mid-teens, has come under enormous pressure from the powerful French agricultural lobby to reject the authoritarian if not fascist portions of the TTIP that would enable American corporations like Monsanto to sue French authorities for keeping Monsanto's GMO products out of France. The secrecy surrounding the TTIP, including draconian provisions that have barred Members of the European Parliament from copying or discussing provisions of the tentative agreement under penalty of prosecution, have outraged MEPs from the 'Left' and 'Right' alike. (In another nod to the French agribusiness lobby, Hollande also declared this week that he "regrets" the EU sanctions against Russia and wants to see them lifted sooner).

As "Mr. Brexit" Nigel Farage said this week, the Establishment is losing control over the peoples of Europe and soon America:

We’ve got the American elections going on, we’ve got a big referendum coming up in Hungary on migrant quotas from Germany, we’ve got a rerun of the Austrian presidency where the right-wing candidate was cheated by false votes,” Farage said. “So they’ve got a real problem, they’re fighting us now on a whole series of fronts.”

“What will they do to fight back? I don’t know the answer to that yet, and you know something? Nor do they.”

“Brexit is the first strike-back against this phenomenon of the big banks, the big businesses, effectively owning politics, willfully destroying nation-state democracy, getting rid of that thing our forbearers actually fought and shed their blood to create and to preserve our liberties and our freedoms,” he continued. “All of that being taken away and suddenly in a referendum that no one said we could win, and we’ve done it.”

The rejection of the globalist technocrats and corporatist fascists wet dream of a treaty negotiated in strict secrecy without any democratic accountability whatsoever by the French and German governments does at least, demonstrate that public opinion matters to a certain extent. However, the German government is not yet done inundating small towns from Bavaria to Bremen with Middle Eastern migrants, and has released estimates of as many as 300,000 more migrants arriving in 2016 compared to the one million plus admitted in 2015 under Merkel's 'wir schaffen das' (we can do this) policy. A pathological altruism that has set Berlin not only against a near majority if not the silent majority of Germans, but also other European governments with which it once enjoyed warm relations in Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic.

For both Merkel and the rest of Europe particularly the Visegrad bloc of former Warsaw Pact nations to Germany's southeast, the full consequences of Merkel's tragically stupid policies are yet to be felt. But in this context, even staunchly pro-NATO Poles would have to ask themselves whether any trade policy advocated by a leader like Merkel can be trusted, in light of Berlin's threats to fine the Polish government a certain amount of euros every day for every migrant Warsaw (actually listening to its people) refuses to host at the Polish taxpayers' expense. As the old expression goes, defiance begats defiance, and if the globalist/Atlanticist Empire cracks on trade, this only widens the soon to be chasm on others, like migration and nationalism. The great threat to Atlanticism that Hillary Clinton attacked last week in Reno, Nevada, in a rambling and paranoid speech that left her looking weak and reactionary.

Ironically, the election of Donald J. Trump as President of the United States, with his overt condemnation of Merkel's open borders policies, might buy NATO and the EU some time, as greater defiance of Brussels and Berlin from Budapest and Warsaw could be blamed on the American President -- and not just on Russian influence, which is already being blamed for exploiting existing divisions in Europe. But if Hillary Clinton is elected President and offers her firm support for a lame duck Merkel as expected, than mass demonstrations, non-violent civil disobedience and greater street-level violence including arsons of refugee centers before (or worse, after) they open are not only likely, but inevitable. 

As Nigel Farage said the upcoming referendum on rejecting the Berlin-demanded migrant quotas for EU states in Hungary, and the likely election of a borders-enforcing right-leaning Austrian government, this autumn is only going to embolden counter-establishment forces. 

Who could have seen all this coming? Perhaps none other than Vladimir Putin's principal 'there are no former Chekists' think tank adviser, retired Lt. Gen. Leonid Reshetnikov, who said last year that the American Empire was running out of time to take down Russia before coming apart in Europe. He also understood, perhaps intuitively if not from years of studying European 'far' Right nationalist parties such as Greece's Golden Dawn, certain facts. One of those being that the globalists were pursuing inherently contradictory goals -- that the 'correlation of forces' to use the old Soviet phrase was turning against them. In order for Europe to be united against 'Russian aggression', the last thing one would want to do is flood it with migrants from the Middle East that would remind Europeans that America and her allies, not Russia's, started the wars in Iraq and Syria. This is what the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies' (RISS) Reshetnikov meant when he said the following:

Now there is a redesigning of the financial and economic system of the world under way. There is an attempt to rethink the whole structure of capitalism, without abandoning it. Foreign policy is changing dramatically. Suddenly, the US actually ditched Israel, its main ally in the Middle East, for the sake of improving relations with Iran. Why is Iran more necessary and important than Tel Aviv? Because it is part of a belt encircling Russia. These clandestine forces are determined to liquidate our country as a serious player on the world stage. After all, Russia bears a civilizational alternative to the whole united West.

Especially so now, when there is an explosive growth of anti-American sentiment in the world. Hungary, where conservative right-wing forces are at the helm, and the Greek leftists – initially diametrically opposite forces – in fact united and “bucked” against the dictation of the United States on the Old Continent. There is someone ready to “buck” in Italy, Austria, France and so on. If Russia this time stands out, processes in Europe will start that will be disadvantageous to the forces aspiring to world domination. And they understand that perfectly.

With exceptions in Poland, Ukraine and the Baltic countries, the same political parties opposed to mass migration from the Mideast and Africa into Europe also are opposed to heightened tensions with Russia. Individuals like Lt. Gen. Reshetnikov understood this from the beginning of Merkel opening the floodgates to mass migration from Syria and the greater Middle East and North Africa in summer/autumn 2015. Thus, in trying to create a 1930s style 'Red-Brown' 'Nazi' nationalists versus Islamists (Black vs. Green) dialectic in Europe, the globalists inadvertently undermined their other grand project of sustaining Cold War 2.0. Unless you believe that the militarization of police forces and border controls that some nationalists support could be used as a cover for a low intensity conflict with Russia, starting with oppression of ethnic Russians in the Baltics. But the latter is an unlikely prospect and would require human rights violations that could not be hidden from the outside world, much less media on Russian territory a few miles away from Baltic cities where ethnic Russians reside as EU Schengen passport holding citizens.

As armies 'train like they fight and fight like they train' no SVR or GRU intelligence officer would confuse an armored battalion rehearsing for war in the Suwalki Gap or eastern Ukraine with an expanded Bundeswehr increasingly resembling a home guard supporting the police in deporting young aggressive male migrants and/or an EU borders protection force. Which is what the Czechs and Hungarians are hinting at when they talk about the urgency of a 'European Army' which won't be under NATO command holding the line in southern Italy or Greece against the influx of humanity. The Czech rebuke is an implicit recognition that the American-led NATO has abdicated any responsibility for Europe's borders if the threat doesn't involve 'little green men' invading from Russia. In fact, by keeping Turkey in NATO at almost any cost, Washington enhances the Turks ability to blackmail the EU for more money using the threat of sending millions of Muslim refugees into the Continent. 

Either we assume that the globalists in their hubris did not anticipate how their parallel track trains of open borders and Cold War 2.0 could collide, or we surmise that bringing in over a million Muslims into Germany was a higher priority for George Soros even than his soft power war against Russia via Ukraine. If we accept a third possibility, proposed by the Katehon think tank, that the migrant crisis was engineered to be both a punishment and warning to the Europeans as to the price of withdrawn American protection, then the blowback is already evident. Overcoming it and maintaining the veneer of NATO/EU unity requires keeping Europeans economically, and not just militarily, on side against Russian (and even more subtly, Chinese) efforts to woo Germans, French and Italians through peaceful trade. 

The belated recognition of the AIIB and One Belt One Road initiatives as a far more serious threats to the Empire's hegemony than some Russian military exercises or man-made islands in the South China Sea has come far too late. What's left then, to Washington's master of chaos, is likely a shift from attempts to bribe and cajole Europeans into propping up the dollar via TTIP, towards punishments. And since the French and German banking systems led by the rotten house of cards known as Deutsche Bank are extremely vulnerable to the slightest pressure, what we have is a situation where one part of the globalist Establishment may find itself at odds with another.

In this case, 'the power guys' or American siloviks at Langley may be determined to teach the Franco-German axis a lesson about defying Washington on the TTIP. But the damage from a Deutsche Bank or any other major European bank going under could blow a hole in JP Morgan or Goldman Sachs below the waterline. Hence the frustration as one set of imperial policies continue to undermine another, and one Deep State faction finds itself at odds with the other. Meanwhile, whatever you think of Mr. Putin, it would appear his advisers like Lt. Gen. Reshetnikov have reason to be confident in their forecasting abilities, and to declare, "we have to be honest, to bravely and consistently defend our principles and our country. And we will win!"