What, you might ask yourself, does David Cameron’s tussle with new Polish Prime Minister on migrant benefits have to do with Syria? Surprisingly, the answer is “a lot”. In a sign of the deep unease in eastern Europe at Cameron’s proposed restrictions, Beata Szydlo earlier this week warned him that the “basic principles” of the EU’s rules on freedom of movement must be respected.
At first sight, this was an odd thing for the lady to say, given that Poland, Romania and Hungary are virulently opposed to a ‘quota system’ for taking in Syrian or Turksih refugees. But her objective was twofold: eastern European countries, whose citizens are poorer than citizens from the wealthier ‘western member’ States, say a cap on benefits would breach EU laws on economic discrimination against member States….and she’s right, they would.
Geopolitically, however, Szydlo was deliberately taking on the role of ‘good European’ in order not to trigger a face-off with Brussels on the general external-to-EU immigrant question – and overall control of borders. And that goes right back to Syria, whose refugee migrants were the catalysts of confrontation in the latter part of 2015.
In the immediate term, the brick thrown into the Syrian pool by US-supported Islamists during 2011 makes waves on every shore of global politics. Too often in the West, we see only the Hyde character of Russia….not the Jekyll who, for centuries, acted as a religious protector of Eastern Europe.
When Mr Hyde the USSR finally left the stage, the former satellite States rushed to the succour of the democracies. What was there to fear, given that Kemal Ataturk had 65 years earlier reduced the Mosque to a bit player role in Turkish political and military life? A new century approached, and expansionist Islam was history.
But then Jihadism took centre stage after 2003. And the nagging cultural unease of Christian Europe returned.
To West Europeans, such thinking seems both archaic and arcane. But the further south and east one goes in Europe, the more Byzantine history matters. In its expansionist period, the Ottoman empire set out to conquer and convert huge parts of Eastern Europe. Today, with radical Islam once more on the march, the fear of having their identity smothered and challenged by Islamic intransigence is very real. In the light of the Paris attacks, these States – epecially Hungary – are saying “we told you so”. Indeed, when you travel in East and South Eastern Europe, it is remarkable how many people, on discovering you are British, say “Well of course, you have the enemy within – we’re not having that here”.
In the region as a whole, attitudes to Recep Erdogan start at suspicion and end at loathing. The deal done by Merkel with the Turkish control-freak to get money for not sending ‘too many’ refugees strikes them as madness. I’m bound to agree, and after the initial euphoria, that view is spreading to Germany. You will not be surprised to learn that my favourite German Wolfgang Schauble is busy fanning the flames.
While Wolfie’s popularity has soared to 75%, Frau Doktor Merkel’s are falling inside Germany. She may be Person of the Year on the front page of Time magazine, but at home the realities are sinking in. A convention of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union will next week include rebellious motions to restrict the intake of asylum seekers since. In defying Mutti’s open-door showboating, the CDU rank and file are firing a shot across her ample bows: polls still show that Geli enjoys strong support in the Party – but some CDU heavy-hitters want the open door to be quietly shut as soon as possible.
The Werewolf in the wheelchair is busy aligning himself with the Future but cuddling up to the CDU’s Jugend ranks.
“We have a responsibility to our country and our citizens, whose capacity to bear burdens isn’t unlimited,” the CDU’s youth organization motion says. And there are demands by Horst Seehofer, chairman of the CDU-affiliated Christian Social Union, to limit migration.
But this is a governmental and economic as well as political uprising. Merkel loftily pronouncing that Germany “has an obligation to feed and shelter people fleeing war and oppression” isn’t cutting any ice at all among state governments and local officials, who point out that towns and cities are already struggling to meet welfare and administrative demands. There are also objections from the SME end of the economy: bodies representing Germany’s ‘Mittelstand’ companies are pressing for measures to dissuade migrants from heading to Germany.
To a very large extent, of course, the two great double-dealers Cameron and Merkel only have themselves to blame. A former French foreign minister is claiming to anyone who’ll listen that he had face to face meetings with British security, military and political staff, all of whom made it clear in 2009 that “the UK’s plan was to unseat Assad and thus weaken Putin’s oil hold on Western Europe”. Camerlot didn’t come to power until a year later, but the British PM fell into line very quickly: for while strategic access to oil and gas is especially crucial for Britain, US business would also like Assad taken out, and the NATO preferred pipeline installed. Hence their happiness in standing by as the Saudis pour oil on Russia’s burning waters: it’s going to kick US frackers in the groin, but Russian export losses (they figure) will be crippling for Vlad the Virtuoso Target Bomber of ISIL.
Merkel in turn was gung-ho for the Ukraine meddling at first, but then became seriously worried by the trigger-happiness of the US military lobby. She was forced to spend a lot of time extricating the EU from Ukraine – the globetrotting drama did her no harm – but her sociopathic search for power wherever it resides is her own worst enemy: the crisis in Ukraine is far from over, and Putin outmaneouvered the West at every turn, grabbing Crimea in the process. Now – with her customary disdain for democratic EU process – she has done a massively disadvantageous deal with Erdogan that in many eyes (including mine) effectively represents spineless appeasement.
But there is a lot more to Erdogan than opportunism: the idiotic mess that is Syria has been entirely to his advantage….and it wasn’t an accident.
The much-maligned leader of Hungary Viktor Oban suggested two years ago that the ‘Civil’ War in Syria was such a mess, only a UN + major powers joint intervention could stop it turning into a mass exodus of innocent civilians. He said that with tongue firmly in cheek, as his (and other friendly) security services already knew this was very much the plan Recep Erdogan had in mind. But making the ‘chaos’ point earned him the ire of the State Department, and helped focus the odd mind of George Soros on the main task – moving Oban out of the way of American commercial colonialism’s unstoppable march.
Recep Erdogan himself is steeped in the traditional Ottoman mindset, and as such sees his mission as the desecularisation of Turkey. If Rupert Murdoch be the antiChrist restoring Mammon in the West, then Erdogan wants to be the antiAtaturk who restored Allah to the centre of Turkish life. His guiding light is the religious warrior’s mantra: disguise your agenda, feed upon your enemy’s muddle, and destabilise those you wish to convert from the inside.
In particular, he is an avid student of Balkan history, and the ability of its narrow nationalism to become unstoppable antimatter in a broader Europe. Very few sources in the region dispute that Soros has conspired with (and bankrolled) the Turkish leadership. Further, the oddly supportive pro-Ankara behaviour and speeches of David Cameron since coming to power in 2010 make the source of his orders abundantly clear: Recep Erdogan is an ‘ally’ within NATO, and knows that his political and military expansionism will be supported by the United Kingdom and the United States.
In being silly enough to give him yet more money to avoid replays of the ‘Second Wave’ of migration clearly identified by The Slog, Angela Merkel has played out the colonial plan to perfection. The UK has steadfastly kept its distance from the Athens debacle, but both NATO and the US have given Erdogan all the Cypriot and sub-oceanic energy rights he wants from the now neutered Greece. I have no idea or solid information as to whether Wolfgang Schauble is part of this dangerous game….although on instinctive grounds I suspect he isn’t. Time will tell.
For Recep the Rabid, however, so far is so very good. On the subject of border controls, joint action and British exit from the Union, he has – via his support for ISIL and the Paris attestats – created a storm more perfectly anarchic than he could ever have expected. Worse still, the appeasement of him by the fanatical EU federalist unifiers is expanding as each week passes: the statement of Security EU fuhrerin Federica Mogherini (during a meeting of EU leaders with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu) represented toadying on an industrial scale.
Mogherini stated that the EU will continue the negotiation process with Turkey “because Turkey has made great progress in terms of freedom of press and human rights”. That is hypocritical bollocks, and she knows it: he continues to lock up dissidents, close media and murder Kurdish opponents. Lest we forget, a major rationale for deposing Sadam Hussein was his similar genocidal treatment of the Kurds.
What we are seeing in this area at the moment is a psychopathically disguised religious fundamentalist with a talent for diplomatic generalship blinding the Anglo-Saxon alliance to the longer term ramifications of its desperate, short-termist actions.
The Islamic state knows it can rely on the schismatic support of Saudi Arabia and Turkey for its megalomanic plans. And in turn, Ankara knows that Texan power will always nullify any wise strategic Western approach to its problems…be they to do with advancing beyond fossil-fuel dependence, or switching to a more socially inclusive economic model.
There is a growing alliance of both rich and desperate fundamentalist maniacs in the Middle East against what they see as Godless Western society made weak by money and drugs. Via the poppy fields of the Taliban, they have yet another weapon with which to collapse the post-Roman civilisation of Europe.
Their strongest and most implacable enemy is the equally megalo Russia leader Vladimir Putin; but again the West plays into their hands by trying to cancel out Russian influence in the region. Yesterday, the Russians joined Syrian aerial photographers in producing compelling evidence of the US bombing Assad forces. While the West counters these claims, Erdogan gaily waltzes into Iraq and establishes new oilsales and munitions supply lines for ISIL’s murderous forces across the border.
David Cameron, the Brexit camp being handed gifts by Brussels, stringent new laws in France, borders chaos in Clubmed on top of existing austerity madness, Merkel’s influence waning in a morass of opportunism, the potential for new Islamic martyrs at the hands of eurocops made too powerful by panic, the rise of Donald Trump and the increasingly censorious Hillary Clinton to the top in US politics, the decaying of free interstate EU movement, and the deeply disturbing organisation of a federalist EU standing army. Add the euro farce, the Chinese slowdown and the banking system debt disaster to all that, and one can see why Recep Erdogan and his ISIL allies feel today as if they might be in sight of their crazy objectives.
The ripples made on the water by the Syrian bombfest all too quickly turn into tidal waves as they make their way around the world. But we chose to be there, and neoliberal dictates about energy supply have dragged us further into the quicksand. The result today is that unrepresentative Islamic nutters and their deranged bankrollers are dictating the future of Europe. Increasingly, it begins to feel like we are heading for a horrible cacophony of consequences.