Appeasement of evil returns to Europe

When European 21st-century history is written, the picture below will be considered as emblematic of its times as the one of Chamberlain waving his "peace in our time" piece of paper in 1938.  It may be even more damning, because while there were a few isolated criticisms of the abject kowtowing of democratic politicians to the monstrous Hitler regime in 1938, not a voice of disapproval to the blatant pandering by Merkel and Macron to the evil dictatorships of Putin and Erdoğan was heard from either Brussels or the mainstream press in Europe.


Photo credit.

Instead, Macron and Merkel called shortly after their late October meeting in Istanbul with Erdoğan and Putin for an E.U. army to defend Europe from the United States, while Putin brazenly injured international law yet again by seizing Ukrainian boats in the Azov Sea.

In the meantime, a new study from the Pew Foundation and the Koerber Stiftung shows that while 70% of Americans have a positive view of Germany, 73% of Germans think exactly the opposite of America.  This is pretty much the European view across the board, egged on as it is by the unhinged anti-Americanism of the media.  The real question is, what happens when Americans, on whom Europeans continue to depend for their security, find out just how little their European allies appreciate them?

Is this something new and a passing, albeit disturbing, fancy that is likely to correct itself?  Unfortunately, much as one would wish that to be the case, this regrettable reality is the result of long-term and immutable trends in European socio-political development, unlikely to be reversed soon.  The fact is that since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the European Union has taken a sharp turn to the left, expressed in reluctance to spend money on defense, disastrous migration policies, and appeasement of the aggressive neo-imperialism of Russia and radical Islam in Turkey and Europe itself.  The eight years of Obama's leftist interlude concealed, but did not stop, the progressive political alienation between America and Europe.  The Trump administration's reassertion of traditional American values has inevitably brought this growing chasm in the open.

Two examples suffice to show to what extent Europe has gone off track in the "moral values" category, which Macron mindlessly accused the United States of having lost.  The E.U. early on declared Iran a terrorist state and signed numerous agreements with the United States to combat terrorism together.  Yet when the U.S. pulled out of the counterproductive Iran nuclear agreement, it did everything possible to sabotage Washington's decision, including an effort to circumvent U.S. sanctions by setting up a "special purpose vehicle" for funding trade with Tehran.

In the second case, Germany is actively colluding with Russia to the detriment of Ukraine and Eastern Europe by building Nord Stream 2, a pipeline designed to bypass all of the above.  This is a blatantly political project that Merkel defends hypocritically as simply "commercial."  The reality, as described by energy expert and former Bulgarian ambassador to Russia Ilian Vassilev, is as follows: "Nord Stream 2 will allow Gazprom to distort competition, pick winners and losers and transfer lavish Russian state subsidies into the heart of Europe."  Further, NS-2 would allow "Germany to act as Russia's proxy beyond German borders by using subsidies forbidden under EU legislation," thus "acting as a shield for Gazprom against EU laws."  In the meantime, despite numerous Merkel assurances that NS-2 will not happen if continued transit through Ukraine is not guaranteed, the Gazprom entity (Gazexport) responsible for that transit just issued a notification that it will no longer transit gas through Ukraine for Bulgaria, Turkey, and Macedonia after 2020.

In a brilliant recent piece, historian Victor Davis Hanson dissects Macron's European army crackpot idea and points to the real reason aggressive militarism led to WWII: craven appeasement of international bullies by the democracies until it was too late.  England, France, and the United States could have stopped Hitler, yet they tolerated his blatant disregard of the Versailles Treaty and the dishonorable dismemberment of Czechoslovakia in the vain hope of peace.  Similarly, they could have stopped Italy's aggression against Ethiopia and Japan's annexation of Manchuria, but they did nothing until it was too late.  One can only hope that this time, history is repeating itself only as a farce and not as another tragedy.

Alex Alexiev is the chairman of the Center for Balkan and Black Sea Studies (cbbss.org).  He can be reached at alexievalex4@gmail.com.

When European 21st-century history is written, the picture below will be considered as emblematic of its times as the one of Chamberlain waving his "peace in our time" piece of paper in 1938.  It may be even more damning, because while there were a few isolated criticisms of the abject kowtowing of democratic politicians to the monstrous Hitler regime in 1938, not a voice of disapproval to the blatant pandering by Merkel and Macron to the evil dictatorships of Putin and Erdoğan was heard from either Brussels or the mainstream press in Europe.


Photo credit.

Instead, Macron and Merkel called shortly after their late October meeting in Istanbul with Erdoğan and Putin for an E.U. army to defend Europe from the United States, while Putin brazenly injured international law yet again by seizing Ukrainian boats in the Azov Sea.

In the meantime, a new study from the Pew Foundation and the Koerber Stiftung shows that while 70% of Americans have a positive view of Germany, 73% of Germans think exactly the opposite of America.  This is pretty much the European view across the board, egged on as it is by the unhinged anti-Americanism of the media.  The real question is, what happens when Americans, on whom Europeans continue to depend for their security, find out just how little their European allies appreciate them?

Is this something new and a passing, albeit disturbing, fancy that is likely to correct itself?  Unfortunately, much as one would wish that to be the case, this regrettable reality is the result of long-term and immutable trends in European socio-political development, unlikely to be reversed soon.  The fact is that since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the European Union has taken a sharp turn to the left, expressed in reluctance to spend money on defense, disastrous migration policies, and appeasement of the aggressive neo-imperialism of Russia and radical Islam in Turkey and Europe itself.  The eight years of Obama's leftist interlude concealed, but did not stop, the progressive political alienation between America and Europe.  The Trump administration's reassertion of traditional American values has inevitably brought this growing chasm in the open.

Two examples suffice to show to what extent Europe has gone off track in the "moral values" category, which Macron mindlessly accused the United States of having lost.  The E.U. early on declared Iran a terrorist state and signed numerous agreements with the United States to combat terrorism together.  Yet when the U.S. pulled out of the counterproductive Iran nuclear agreement, it did everything possible to sabotage Washington's decision, including an effort to circumvent U.S. sanctions by setting up a "special purpose vehicle" for funding trade with Tehran.

In the second case, Germany is actively colluding with Russia to the detriment of Ukraine and Eastern Europe by building Nord Stream 2, a pipeline designed to bypass all of the above.  This is a blatantly political project that Merkel defends hypocritically as simply "commercial."  The reality, as described by energy expert and former Bulgarian ambassador to Russia Ilian Vassilev, is as follows: "Nord Stream 2 will allow Gazprom to distort competition, pick winners and losers and transfer lavish Russian state subsidies into the heart of Europe."  Further, NS-2 would allow "Germany to act as Russia's proxy beyond German borders by using subsidies forbidden under EU legislation," thus "acting as a shield for Gazprom against EU laws."  In the meantime, despite numerous Merkel assurances that NS-2 will not happen if continued transit through Ukraine is not guaranteed, the Gazprom entity (Gazexport) responsible for that transit just issued a notification that it will no longer transit gas through Ukraine for Bulgaria, Turkey, and Macedonia after 2020.

In a brilliant recent piece, historian Victor Davis Hanson dissects Macron's European army crackpot idea and points to the real reason aggressive militarism led to WWII: craven appeasement of international bullies by the democracies until it was too late.  England, France, and the United States could have stopped Hitler, yet they tolerated his blatant disregard of the Versailles Treaty and the dishonorable dismemberment of Czechoslovakia in the vain hope of peace.  Similarly, they could have stopped Italy's aggression against Ethiopia and Japan's annexation of Manchuria, but they did nothing until it was too late.  One can only hope that this time, history is repeating itself only as a farce and not as another tragedy.

Alex Alexiev is the chairman of the Center for Balkan and Black Sea Studies (cbbss.org).  He can be reached at alexievalex4@gmail.com.