From Hamburg to Warsaw
The once powerful United States of America are aligning themselves with the values and policies of Putin’s Russia. We should be alarmed not by secret memos and covert operations but with what’s going on in plain sight. As the Zombies protested at the G20 in Hamburg, its become clearer and clearer that this has consequences for global security and for Theresa May’s dissolving Brexit negotiations.
In a frankly terrifying breakdown in Politico writer Molly McKew assesses how ‘Trump Handed Putin a Stunning Victory’ . She summarises the outcomes from the President’s Warsaw ‘summit’ as:
- First, the United States will “move on” from election hacking issues with no accountability or consequences for Russia; in fact, the U.S. will form a “framework” with Russia to cooperate on cybersecurity issues, evaluating weaknesses and assessing potential responses jointly.
- Second, the two presidents agreed not to meddle in “each other’s” domestic affairs—equating American activities to promote democracy with Russian aggression aimed at undermining it, in an incalculable PR victory for the Kremlin.
- Third, the announced, limited cease-fire in Syria will be a new basis for cooperation between the U.S. and Russia; Secretary of State Rex Tillerson went so far as to say that the Russian approach in Syria—yielding mass civilian casualties, catastrophic displacement, untold destruction and erased borders—may be “more right” than that of the United States.
Britain’s Atlantacist era – in which a generation of UK politicians sunned themselves in the Democrat sun and soaked up ideas, influence, mythology and the aura of Western progress – is dead in this context. As we look inwards, and scrabble for friends and strategic allies in the coming wake of Brexit, we find only confusion, ‘deep state’ mysticism and latent authoritarian oligarchy.
The death of Atlantacism will make the world a much more lonely place for Global Britain, the new brand being pushed by Boris and the Brexiteers. As John Williams noted way back in 1997:
“Europe suffers from an identity crisis. The consequence is a crisis of collective political will in organising its own post-cold-war security system. This has resulted in Europe failing both to identify its actual security requirements and to generate the necessary collective political will to fulfill them. The root cause of these combined failures lies in Atlanticist theology. Like all theologies, the theology of Atlanticism is based on a myth – namely, that the geo-political and geo-strategic interests of Europe and America being inseparable in the final analysis. Like all theologies, too, it is theology that dictates a code of long term accumulative behaviour irrespective of the logic or illogic underpinning it.
Hence the fundamental characteristic dominating post-second-world-war international relations has been the lack of a distinct European identity. This is because post-second-world- war international relations, rather than being governed by geo-political and geo-strategic logic, was dictated by Atlanticism generating a cold-war syndrome based on the myth of the Soviet threat. Split into two, Europe’s potential post-second-world-war collective international identity and political will were the casualties. This has resulted in Atlanticism generating a false sense of European security. Europe, having been sapped of its collective self-identity and political will, consequently finds itself in a self-identity crisis concerning how to fulfill Europe’s post- cold-war security requirements.”
Now, in the fire forged by insurgent English nationalism, Russian aggression to the east, and American collusion, a new European identity is emerging, as the myth of imminent post-Brexit collapse is exposed as so much wishful thinking. This will strain NATO but the collapse of the central myth that US and European interests are inseparable has wider more immediate implications.
A Very Special Relationship
In such emerging chaos wiser heads have called for the “urgent need to slow down”. Trump is promising the opposite. His statements after meeting May at the G20 in Hamburg included promising to come to London saying:
“No country could possibly be closer than our countries,” he said.
“We have been working on a trade deal which will be a very, very big deal a very powerful deal, great for both countries and I think we will have that done very, very quickly.”
Expect chlorinated chicken soon.
Trump added that he and May have “developed a very special relationship.”
Meanwhile as Britain grasps at whatever ‘good news’ it can lay its hands on, the Brexit negotiations are not going well. As former negotiator Steve Bullock points out:
“The pre-negotiation phase has been a disaster for the UK. The UK government first tried to divide the EU27, and then, when that didn’t work, set about deliberately breeding resentment and mistrust. The balance of power is such that the EU27 hold almost all the cards, but the government seems in a state of denial about this. Its Cabinet ministers hectored, smeared and threatened the very people they are asking for help and concessions from.
The EU27’s carefully drafted position papers synthesise a multitude of opening positions from 27 governments, the European Parliament, and the Commission. While these papers do not represent a final offer, they equally do not represent a first go at a vague wish list. The UK government knows this. Yet its approach has been to pretend that the EU27’s positions were mere posturing, particularly over the sequencing of negotiations (which the UK caved in on in the first hours of negotiations), citizens’ rights and the Four Freedoms. This was absurd and served to make UK look like it was not a serious negotiator.”
As many have pointed out this may be the plan all along. In the absence of a coherent alternative, the No Deal catastrophists still have the wheel. May is weak but not weak enough. It is difficult to see how we are to avoid going over the abyss into a World Trade scenario hand in hand with an unhinged American President.
As McKew points out, in Warsaw: “Trump attacked NATO and the EU, the twin pillars of the post-World War II transatlantic architecture, again demonstrating he has no interest in being the leader of the free world, but rather its critic in chief. ” And crucially: “Trump did not defend Western democracies: In fact, he did not once mention democracy in his speech. As for values, he mentions them seven times: first, in the negative—immigrants who are against them—and second, in the context of traditionalism.”
The Zombies are coming.