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Sunday, 18 August 2019

The Atlantic community

Ahmed Al-Moslemany , Friday 9 Aug 2019
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Views: 2554

There are one hundred secessionist movements in Europe. The majority of these are of limited weight and some of them have even declared independence.

This wasn’t conceivable a short time ago, when Europe was heading from “continent” to “state,” from “the European Union” to “the United States of Europe” or to “Great Switzerland.”

A few years ago, former American national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski mentioned that European officials had told him: “The historical moment which Europe is witnessing now is the moment preceding one grand state…It resembles the political situation in the USA between the years 1776 and 1789.”

Since the end of World War II, Europeans have faced a choice of three different paths: Washington, Moscow or Brussels.

Europe must have an alliance with the USA, or with Russia, or choose independence and opt to not be an ally of either the East or the West.

The word “alliance” isn’t the only word describing the paths; there is a more common phrase.

The path of America is the “Atlantic frame”, the Russian path is the “Eurasian frame” and the Brussels path is “the United States of Europe.”

Along every path there are major hurdles.

The Brussels path no longer seems as attractive as it used to.

Scotland has conducted a referendum on independence from the UK and Britain is exiting the EU. As a result,  secessionist ideas in Scotland and Northern Ireland have resurfaced.

Boris Johnson, the British prime minister, is attempting to endorse a unionist approach through visits, investment and through enthusiastic speeches talking about “the nuclear renaissance in the country,” “believing in Britain once again,” and “rising like a sleeping giant.”

However, some research circles believe that Britain’s disintegration is a possibility, and although the return of the British-American alliance with the “Johnson-Trump” pairing has weakened Europe, it hasn’t ensured Britain’s strength.

In almost every European state there are secessionist movements, and according to a statement made by an Irish politician to the Irish Times, there are weak points in every place in Europe.

The English Daily Mail believes that Europe would “go back to the Middle Ages” if every separatist movement got their wish.

Stanford University economics professor Michael Boskin holds the view that Britain, Spain and Belgium are prone to disintegration.

The USA is also susceptible to the same fate, as an idea of dividing California into two states has been raised, and one of the capitalist adventurers has suggested voting on splitting California into six separate states.

Robert Reich says in his book Inequality for All that 1 percent of the Americans control 90 percent of the nation’s wealth, and this drives some to rage, rebellion and thinking about secession.

In 2012, the White House’s website received a petition demanding the independence of Texas, signed by 125,000 citizens. In 2014, 35,000 people signed a petition requesting the independence of Alaska. One of the Alaskan secessionists raised a banner during a demonstration bearing the slogan: “The sale of Alaska to America is void!”

Canada has also seen a strong independence movement in Quebec. Canada is a country which was founded in the modern era by both the British and the French. In 1960, Quebecois intellectuals raised the idea of independence and the famous statement by de Gaulle: “Long live free Quebec! Long live French Canada!” was inspiring to many secessionist Quebecois and made them steadfast in their opinion.

It seems that there is no serious possibility of Quebec’s independence in the foreseeable future, and any independence attempt by any American state is still impossible.

Moreover, most of the secessionist movements in Europe, save in Britain and Spain, are weakly organised and of mediocre importance. But the commonness of the partition and secession culture and the waves of anger towards capitals and sovereign authorities have made both sides of the Atlantic a weaker place than before.

If we consider the rise of the far right in Europe, the continuing waves of illegal immigration, and the probability of terrorist and organised crime groups’ infiltration of Europe, the continent’s future is unknown.

Washington doesn’t believe in the EU anymore; President Donald Trump has gone as far as threatening to disband NATO itself.

According to retired admiral James Stavridis, who was considered at one point to be a potential vice president by Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign: “Even discussing the idea of American withdrawal from NATO will make only Putin happy.”

China is increasingly present in Europe, with 56 percent of total Chinese investments going to Europe.

Some speak about the political objectives behind Chinese capital. According to Russia Today website: “China is trying to buy Europe and Europe doesn’t mind.”

A number of right-wing European parties have begun to reconsider the alliance with America and examine ending the Cold War with Russia.

An Alternative for Germany (AfD) MP spoke about this path clearly: “Establishing a free trade zone between Europe and Russia from Lisbon to Vladivostok is my dream. Eurasian horizons are more important than transatlantic cooperation.”

As a result, the Brussels path isn’t as glamorous as it used to be, while even Washington doesn’t want the Washington path.

Of all these options, the Eurasian proposal is rising and the Atlantic proposal receding.

The concepts of “a European society” as well as “the Atlantic community” have declined. Perhaps the next years will see a “Eurasian community” from Russia to Portugal.

The world is changing in a terrifying way and history won’t forgive those who are late to understand it.

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