Pindo-European tensions remain despite reassurances on NATO
Bill Van Auken, WSWS, Feb 20 2017
A series of speeches by top Pindo boxtops at this year’s Munich Security Summit has failed to assuage growing concerns among Euro vassals that the “Pindostan First” policy enunciated by Trump will be pursued at their expense, threatening an accelerated break-up of institutions and alliances that have undergirded capitalist Europe since the end of WW2. Pindo VP Pence delivered the main message from Faschingstein to the conference, which brings together leading state officials, top military personnel, security experts and big business figures. For the first time in 62 years, the Conference sees the greatest threat to stability as emanating from Faschingstein itself. Its concerns stem from Pres Trump’s statements dismissing NATO as “obsolete,” suggesting a unilateral lifting of Russia’s sanctions and supporting Brexit, while encouraging other countries to follow Britain’s example in defecting from a EU that he contemptuously referred to as the “consortium.” In his remarks to the Conference on Saturday, Pence delivered a rhetorical pledge of allegiance to the NATO alliance, while mentioning the name “Trump” a dozen times. He repeatedly assured his audience that he was speaking on Trump’s behalf, in evident anticipation of intense skepticism that anyone in Faschingstein can spell out the real foreign policy of the new administration. Pindostan would be “unwavering” in its support for NATO, Pence declared, and Donald Trump would “stand with Europe.” He added:
Know this! Pindostan will continue to hold Russia accountable, even while we seek common ground with them!
After his remarks, Pence met with Ukraine’s Poroshenko and according to a White House statement:
He underlined that Pindostan does not recognize Russia’s occupation and attempted annexation of the Crimean peninsula.
Pence’s statement regarding Russia followed similar remarks last week by ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis, who ruled out any military collaboration with Russia until Moscow “proves itself” regarding Ukraine and Crimea. Even more bellicose were members of a bipartisan congressional delegation present in Munich. Lindsey Graham said on Sunday:
2017 is going to be a year of kicking Russian ass in Congress!
He vowed that Congress would pass new rounds of sanctions against both Russia and Iran. Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut who spoke on the same panel as Graham in Munich, said there would be no “partisan divide” on the push in the Senate for redoubled sanctions. Whatever differences have surfaced between the Trump administration and Faschingstein’s NATO vassals (fearing to be lost without their master – RB) the western build-up continues with the deployment of some 4,000 Pindo grunts to Eastern Europe, while the remarks in Munich suggest that no lifting of sanctions against Moscow is imminent. Konstantin Kosachyov, the head of Russia’s parliamentary foreign affairs committee, present in Munich, responded:
I heard nothing in the speech. The new Pindo leaders have started to reproduce the negatives accumulated under the previous administration.
Much of Pence’s speech was given over to a celebration of Pindosi militarism, and vows that under Trump the Pindo build-up to war would undergo a dramatic acceleration. He said:
I can assure you that Pindostan will be strong! Stronger than ever before! We will strengthen our military, restore the arsenal of democracy and, working with many Congress critturs gathered here today, we’re going to provide soldiers, sailors, airmen and coastguard with renewed resources to defend our nation and our feudal vassals from the threats of today and the unknown threats of tomorrow.
Pence, like ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis, chided Euro vassals for failing to pay their “fair share” to fund NATO, saying:
Some of our largest allies are not on track to meeting their commitment to devote 2% of GDP to defense.
In her own defensive remarks to the conference, in relation to the demand that Germany boost its military spending to 2% of GDP, nearly doubling the current military budget, Merkel said:
We will do everything we can to fulfill these commitments!
Responding to a question after her speech, Merkel pointed out:
Germany is increasing its military spending by 8% this year! We cannot do more!
Her remark reflected the fact that the German ruling establishment faces overwhelming popular hostility to any military build-up, and that the cost will have to be imposed on the German working class through draconian cuts in social spending and living standards. Both Merkel and Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel suggested that Germany’s spending on refugees and social development should be counted toward NATO’s 2% mandate. Elsewhere, the demand from Faschingstein for Germany’s remilitarization has been welcomed. In its Feb 18 edition, Der Spiegel carried an editorial, declaring:
Donald Trump is right! The era in European history when the Continent could delegate its security to a partner across the Atlantic has irrevocably passed. That will remain true even after Trump is no longer in the White House. Trump is a symptom of the crisis in the West, not its cause. It would be reckless and naïve if Europe were not to prepare for the fact that it can no longer unconditionally rely on Pindostan. Europe must massively expand the EU’s Common Security and Defense Policy. … The idea of Europe being a junior partner could finally be consigned to the dustbin of history, and lead Europe to begin defining its own interests. … Germany does not necessarily have to develop its own nuclear weapons, if it can develop a level of trust in the nuclear power of France.
One notable feature of VP Pence’s speech was that while it included multiple vows of support for NATO, it made not a single mention of the EU, which some in Munich took as a warning that Faschingstein is embarking on an aggressive pursuit of Pindosi imperialist interests at Europe’s expense. Wolfgang Ischinger, the former German ambassador to Washington who chairs the Munich Security Conference, told Deutsche Welle:
If the Trump administration continues to take a hostile attitude to the EU, it would amount to a kind of non-military declaration of war. It would mean conflict between Europe & Pindostan. Is that what the Fuhrer wants? Is that how he wishes to make Pindostan great again?
It was Ischinger who drafted the report issued at the opening of the Munich conference, which warned:
The international situation is arguably more volatile today than at any point since WW2! Will this new era again be marked by greater tensions and possibly even outright conflict between the world’s major powers, not least between China & Pindostan?
Given the issues that dominated the conference, the same question clearly applies to Europe & Pindostan.