Brexit negotiations pessimistic forecast

Anna van Densky, OPINION

The repeated requests for ‘clarifications’ from behalf of the EU27 articulated by the chief negotiator Michel Barnier reflect the state of the disbelief of the block vis-à-vis Britons who voted for abandoning of Europe’s project. In a long list of issues to be settled to the UK membership expiration date, the rights of the EU citizens, and the payments of fees beyond departure date are among the most controversial.

The demands of Barnier to create a three million strong growing expat community in UK, subdued to the EU law under umbrella of the European court of Justice, attributing it supremacy in jurisdiction over these citizens, and offering the European Commission right to monitor the situation, is de facto a claim of creating a EU27 enclave in the UK.

Nowadays the two groups of expats are different not only in numbers, as the Europeans are roughly three times more numerous in the UK, but also have different demographic potential. If the UK group has a large segment of senior citizens, which will be reduced with time for natural reasons, the Europeans represent the young generation with growing families, eager to pass their status to children. The demographic potential of 3,3 million of Europeans including more than a half a million of children in need of schooling  is in stark  contrast with the decreasing group of British wealthy senior citizens purchasing properties, and healthcare on continent.  As the recent study shows the biggest UK citizens community resides in Spain – more than 300 thousand people, and one-third of them are over 65, presumably retired.

However it is not economic, but political potential of EU growing group that should be of concern for Britons, risking to face a sizable problem in hosting a young and fast growing community, which can be a subject to a different kind of manipulations in the hands of the Brussels bureaucracy. In reality Barnier promotes the European community in the UK as a Trojan horse, serving the EU interests in the UK, and not the interests of the community itself, which naturally should be aiming at integration, and not prioritising the ties with the continent they have abandoned.

The other contradictory claim derives from the EU27 ‘divorce’ concept of Brexit, which is also at odds with the enshrined in Lisbon Treaty right of a state to cancel its membership. With the  ‘divorce’ concept Brussels is attempting to plant in public conscience the idea of ‘allowance’,  ethically framing the move of taking Prime minister Theresa May to cleaners.

If brushing away the profane description of the process, imposed by the European Commission, the membership cancellation does not include any membership fee beyond the actual legal period of being in the ranks of the European Union project. However the EU27 with a remarkable tenacity attempts to force the UK to pay the fees until the end of the financial term to ensure the stability for the European programmes until the finale of the current institutional mandate for the EU top executives, prioritising their personal political ambitions over long standing strategic interests of the continental Europeans, and Britons.

The exaggerated claims of the EU27 are rooted in the denial  of the reality of Brexit, namely the rejection of the UK citizens to continue their engagement with the European project, shifting from Single Market to European superstate. The obsessive pursuit of Brussels financial interests, and claims of an exclusive status to EU expats, will force the UK to leave without a deal, and this episode will leave a profound scar in relations between former partners for generations to come.

Mogherini ignores Sophia mission failure

The EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini ignores the obvious Sophia operation failure in Mediterranean, in spite of the clear will of Belgium to cancel the participation of their vessel in sea rescue mission. Mogherini also pretends to be unaware of the assessment of the House of Lords, openly stating the EU mission has failed to prevent massive migrant smuggling to Europe.

Ahead of the Council meeting the Foreign minister of Belgium Theo Francken clearly stated during a national TV programme that his country has the intention to end Louise-Marie frigate participation in the Mediterranean operation, because of the double message it sends inspiring more migrants to undertake the risky journey in a hope to be saved and transported to European coasts, thus not only saving lives but also  increasing flows of the ‘illegal migrants” eager to gamble.

The UK House of Lords report on Sophia mission is even more eloquent in its assessment, entitled: “Failed Mission”. The major recommendation is to disrupt the business model of smuggling networks through required ‘concerted action’ at Libya’s southern land border.

The Council agenda foresees discussion on migration, focusing on the situation on the Central Mediterranean route. Filippo Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and William Lacy Swing, Director-General of the International Organisation Migration will both take part in the discussion.
Grandi is also known for his criticism of the ‘xenophobic climate’ in Europe vis-à-vis mass migration from Africa and Middle East.

EU-Russia talk – falling on deaf ears

The consultations between Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov and EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini were very brief, and hardly resembled the ostentatious format of the strategic partnership, practiced between the EU and Russian in the recent past, before the Maidan revolution in Ukraine. Lavrov did not make a secret of the EU meeting taking place as an addition to his visit to Belgium, however he agreed to accept the invitation, and thanked for it, considering exchange as useful.

However even at a glance at two gloomy and tense officials one could assess the talks as a formal exercise, where none of the parties expected a rapprochement. The long list of issues from the international agenda, cited by Mogherini, just made one think how little left in common between two neighbours, sharing the responsibility for the security and stability of the European continent.

Although Lavrov expressed confidence in returning of the EU-Russia relations to  its ‘normal course’, it is difficult to imagine how this normalisation is possible with the incumbent EU leadership’ hostility towards Kremlin. The comparison of Russian press to Islamic state propaganda in a resolution of the European Parliament marks the lowest of the relations since collapse of the USSR. But high tight is possible: fragile after the departure of the second net contributor in two years time, the EU after Brexit will have no reserves to continue its ‘crusade’ against Kremlin. “Money is a nerve of war’.

Cornered by the US request to contribute to NATO according to the engagement, and cut off the UK fee to the European purse, the EU27 will be pushed to reconsider its strategy towards Moscow unable to maintain the current level of hostility for purely economic reasons. Moreover in the end of the day the heavily  indebted Ukraine does not have the required features to remain an Appel of Discord for long – political instability and endemic corruption make it an unsuitable  partner for the EU, and unreliable client of Siberian gas for Russians. But coming on terms with realities of life is not an easy exercise for the ambitious Brussels bureaucrats, subsequently at the moment Lavrov’s reasoning falls on deaf ears.

 

Schaeuble: liberal world needs commitment of US

Germany Sch

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said on Thursday it would be possible to develop the euro zone’s European Stability Mechanism (ESM) rescue fund into a European monetary fund soon.

Asked if this would be possible in the short term, Schaeuble replied: “Yes, I think so.”

Speaking on the sidelines of International Monetary Fund meetings in Washington, he also said any new aid programs for euro zone countries should be without the international lender and so under European auspices.

Tillerson’s visit as a glimpse of hope

Tillerson Moscow

The reception of State Secretary Rext Tillerson in Kremlin gives hope that the superpower leaders are prepared to assume their responsibilities towards global community, and stabilize the rapidly deteriorated US-Russia relations.

The high expectations of Russians did not come true – the change of the administration did not bring a major change in foreign policy. Whoever is the master of the White House, it is the  US military-industrial complex having the last say.  In this way Trump’s presidency will not become any different. Bowing to the Pentagon, Trump had to retreat into admitting that NATO is ‘not obsolete’. Acceding power, he had to follow the path of his predecessors,  meaning to stay in a rut of the US expansionist foreign policy.  We all have to come to the terms that none of his revolutionary anti-war proposals, captivating the moods of his electorate, can be transformed into reality,  and both Russian and American people have to live with that sinister truth.

In spite of the economic crisis the US launched without blinking a missile offensive on Syria – the firing a shot worth USD 88 mln  demonstrates that there will be no savings on military adventures. The offensive that also left in ashes the Kremlin hope of ‘peaceful coexistence’ of the nuclear superpowers.  Syria and Ukraine as the frontlines set ablaze.

Putin and Tillerson

However the pressure of the international terrorism still might push even those the most reluctant into a coalition with Russians. The rapidly spreading network of jihadists worldwide has no other solution, but a united effort.

Although the agenda of almost two-hour discussion between Putin and Tillerson was not revealed, it is certain that the anti-terrorist coalition proposal had its prominent place.

(Photo: illustration)

Tillerson’s voyage to Moscow

Tillerson Moscow

Anna van Densky OPINION

It does not make much sense to discuss the possible outcome of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s (pictured)  first visit to Moscow, because the new US administration was not given an opportunity to work out their political strategy, or even modify the concept of the Obama’s administration. From the moment of the inauguration the inner political struggle took all the energy and resource, hardly leaving an opportunity to bring to live any of campaign foreign policy promises,  including the alliance with Russia against international terrorism.

While eager to play the doves of peace, the Democrats intentionally pushed the Republicans into the role of demons of war. The first visit of #Hillary to Moscow with a ‘reset button’ was a sheer public relations operation, however it worked on global popularity of Obama’s administration, profiling him on long-term as Nobel peace prize winner. On contrary the faux pas of the missile offensive in Syria shapes the image of Trump as a hawk, representing the unpredictable punitive forces with tyrannic inclinations, ignoring the international laws. Rex Tillerson’s mission is defined and shaped by this spontaneous US offensive in Syria.

However the US military action in Syria by no means is a result of a profound political thought, neither a beginning of a new strategy, but a haphazard tactical move to distract attention from #russianconnectons scandal during  the initial period of Trump’s presidency.

It seems that in the eyes of President Trump’s advises the offensive in Syria is about a creation of a backdrop to spoil the game of the Democrats, an answer to #russianconnections allegations. The allegations intensely undermining president’s Trump image in an attempt of the Democrats to win majority in the Congress in the future.

Tillerson’s call to Russians to abandon president Assad is largely a rhetoric exercise for a number of reasons, not the least an absence of an alternative – there is no opposition figure in Syria able to take the responsibilities, and enhance the reconciliation process.

The talks about dismissing Assad in military action in ‘regime change’ favorite US concept are even more surrealistic after the assassination of Libya’s leader colonel Gaddafi, whose death marked a beginning of an ongoing turmoil, transferring the entire country in a huge playground of jihadists.  Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya – the US foreign policy has demonstrated an out of ordinary capacity to destroy, but not reconstruct. Subsequently in Kremlin there is an understanding of that ‘creative capacity’ of the US, and certainly there is no slightest desire to give up a secular ally as Assad, who was educated in London, to one of the so-called ‘moderate opposition’ bearded fanatics.

The decision of Kremlin to decline the meeting between Putin and Tillerson indicates the initial pessimistic modality of the talks in Russian foreign ministry, because in first place there is no political agenda or strategy. Today State Department activity is a hostage of the warfare the Democrats declared to the Republican president, rejecting to accept his power and the choice of American people.

Without any new doctrine, scattered in tactical moves the US administration is chosing for spectacular actions and loud declarations to disguise its huge problems at home. No one expects any results from Tillerson-Lavrov (illustration) talks: Russians will not bow to the US to retreat from the Middle East, leaving Assad to the  wolves and Americans, stuck with home politics problems, will continue to use tactic of distracting of public attention from its interior weakness and failures by the belligerent rhetoric and operations, flexing steroid muscles of the military-industrial complex, – the true master of the game behind the scenes.

Dulce bellum inexpertis! *

(* War seems lovely to unexperienced, Latin)

PUBLISHED in @EuropeDiplomatic

Syria: Trump starring Machiavelli

Trump US Syria

The President Trump’ missile strikes on Syria amid #RussianConnections investigation give a déjà vue feeling reminiscent of Bill Clinton’ bombing of Iraq amid #MonicaGate. The initiative of a crusade for alleged chemical weapons used by president Assad reminded many,  including UN diplomat is, the bulb with white powder, demonstrated by gen.Powell before US invasion in Iraq.  Trump’s missile strike evoked so many memories…

It is hard to belive the US President was so touched by the dead babies in Syria, as some suggest,  to order a strike in an emotional move. Just couple of weeks ago (17.03.2017) he let pass unnoticed the assassination of 300  civilians in residential area of Mosul. There were certainly babies among the Iraqi victims too, but it was qualified as an ‘an unintentional accident of war’ without any consequences for the perpetrators.

Nobody was indignant about these casualties, the slain were not honored by Ambassador Haley demonstrative grief and indignation at UN emergency meeting, and there was no urgent meeting as such. The information in the beginning came to public attention  through non-American media sources, while  the US representatives were trying to find excuses for the  massive loss of human live, ‘further investigating’ and ‘learning lesson’.

In case of late US missile strike on Syria is became clear that is was planned sometime before the alleged chemical incident reported by  human rights NGOs used by the administration in bona fide, and merely as a pretext to intervene. Why ?

The first explanation is on the surface: it allows to distract attention from ongoing #RussianConnections investigation fuelled by the Democrats. Startled to discover the President is acting towards Assad in the same lines as Hillary Clinton suggested, the opponents have to put their criticism of Trump’s foreign policy on a halt, finding themselves in confusion over the U-turn strategy of the Commander-in-Chief.

Even more so the Democrates were puzzled with stakes in prism of policy towards Russia – just a week before Rex Tillerson visit to Moscow, – the missile attack on Syria, a Russian ally, transforms the US Foreign Secretary in a powerful foe, entering Moscow in the context close to the dark times of Cold War. Although there is some feeling that the Americans were sure, that president Putin would not clash with them over a remote airbase in Syria.

Awkwardly the ‘imperialistic’ ambition of Trump’s administration would help a great deal to President’s Putin re-election (endorsement) for the fourth term, uniting the nation in face of ‘American threat’, convincing a regular Russian in need of a ‘strong man’ at a steering wheel in turbulent times.

Altogether with one strike President Trump hit many goals: distracting attention of his opponents at home, pleasing his electorate with an image of a powerful and fearless world leader, protecting world order and going back to blacks of international politics making some of the European leaders delighted by clashes with Kremlin, and later paradoxically not so discontent, how it might look at first glance, benefiting from US unlawful military action in domestic political discourse. The revival of the US ‘imperialistic ambitions’ will help Putin in re-elections (endorsement) of his fourth term by regular Russians, convincing them he is a ‘strong man’ they need to withstand the predator’s instinct of ‘American imperialism.’

Machiavelli style of President Trump, making it an almost perfect a ‘knights move,’ is certainly impressive in many ways, if not contributing to Daesh survival, but never mind. Most probably DAESH was not ment to vanish, creating a protracted conflict in the Middle East. However it is a different issue. Today the mega-winner of the strikes is the Commander-in-Chief himself. Vivat!