As we head into 2019 Europe is at its most tumultuous for many decades. Though major war is not imminent, internal and external challenges abound. So, in this, the first in a series of pieces, let me regress to my former role as an intelligence analyst and give you a sitrep on the current situation and its effect on the U.S. Today we focus on the issues of three European states. Next piece we deal with Britain, Germany, and Eastern Europe.
Ukraine/Russia: A serious flashpoint for the region and in international relations. The Russians have recently moved new forces to the Ukrainian eastern border. These forces could support the current Russian-sponsored insurgency in the Donbass. The Ukes have responded by severely curtailing travel and movement rights of Russians to enter their country. The Ukes have also declared martial law and are rumored to have asked NATO and the U.S. for a direct military alliance. The U.S. has responded by sailing a warship into the Black Sea and by staging a recent overflight of the Ukraine. The thing that started this last round, Russian aggression against the Uke Navy, is not resolved. Their sailors are still held by the Russians, as are their boats. Putin is, as usual, playing his hand well. If Europe makes any real moves to help the Ukes, Putin will use the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline to make them say uncle. Even Barack Obama realized this could happen and opposed the Nord 2 project. As does Trump, knowing it gives Putin a whiphand not only over gas to Europe, but also over the transit fees to the Ukraine. Those fees are up to 3 percent of the Uke GDP. If trends continue the Russians will persist in turning the screw leading to a possible limited invasion, a version of the old Soviet Hamburg Grab scenario, between twelve and sixteen months from now.
Effect on U.S.: This is an ongoing thorn in the side of Russian-American relations and will continue to be one. Giving outright laughter to the concept that Trump is a Russian-colluding puppet, the president is going to meet Putin tit for tat up to a certain point. However, Putin knows that point is far short of war and will act accordingly. If the Russians invade, with probable aid from Belarus, the outcome will be successful in the short term, though the Ukes could surprise, like Finland did against the Sovs in the Winter War, if lethal aid is soon delivered to them from the Euros and us. But long term the Russians will suffer, as their international credibility sinks to zero and they are sanctioned out of much of their out-of-country wealth. Putin has to keep his oligarchs happy and thus may back off if the heat gets too hot in the kitchen. As Europe will wuss out, it’ll be up to the U.S. and the Brits to ratchet up the fire by economic sanctions aimed very specifically at the new Russian nomenklatura.
France: You just have to read the news today to see the absolute dog’s breakfast that is the modern French state. Macron’s Monday night speech was too little too late, as the Yellow Vests want to politically do to him what Robespierre did to Louis XVI. During all of which Paris, and other French cities, still burn. Leave it to the French to take an avant garde trendy electorate and in less than one of their presidential terms turn them into the American Tea Party of 2010, except with way better pyrotechnics.
Here we see the limitations of a globalist agenda even inside the heart of the globalist experiment. Why do our Ivy Leaguers and their Ecole grads think that their overrated prissy educations give them automatic suzerainty over the rest of us? Well, actually, in Paris they have a point for reasons I have previously opined on.
We must remember, though, that much of the heat directed against Msr. le President is burning him because he is trying to enact free market reforms, which we should encourage, in a nation that has been under government control of their economy for forever and a day. He has tried to politically mitigate it with gratuitous hits at Trump and fashionable green initiatives. This last one, the increased gas tax that brought tout le monde into the streets after the G20, not the best of timing, (cue Gallic shrug) eh?
If Macron continues on his current path he could set the stage for a 2022 parliamentary rout of his freshman party and a possible Marine Le Pen presidency. Unthinkable? So was a Trump presidency in 2013. Internationally, he will keep kowtowing to the Hun. Can’t endanger that mega-luxurious EU gig after his term in office, now can the garcon?
Effect on US: You mean aside from the gales of revenge laughter emanating from the Oval Office? The Oedipal twerp has the sheer gaul (get it?) to lecture Trump on the dangers of nationalism and the glories of globalism just before his nation erupts in a violent fiery rampage against globalism. So much for his powers of predictive analysis. This will not have a tremendous effect on the United States, except to buttress the U.S. president’s credibility on questions of national interest. France has for some time subsumed her national identity in the Brussels project. Even the riots will not stop that for long. Where Berlin goes, Paris follows. Bully for you Von Schlieffen.
I guess there is an outside chance the French people will achieve a long-term reform to their highly centralized and bureaucratically aristocratic state. There also is an outside chance I will tomorrow be crowned King Olaf XVIII of Norway. One has as much chance as the other.
Coming soon, the sequel piece on Britain, Germany, and Eastern Europe. Same Bat channel. And, Happy Yuletide!