Nothing more ironically illustrates the end of the ‘American Century’ than the abject failure of the American President to fully participate in the ceremonies marking the hundredth anniversary of what is still recognized as the most deadly war the world has ever seen. President Trump flew across the Atlantic to meet with his minions, but couldn’t be bothered to pay tribute to the American soldiers who died in the ‘war to end all wars’ because it was raining. Absurdly, he wants Europe to pay more for NATO instead of having its own military alliance. But that is not going to happen.
Those who can access French television in English — France 24 — saw Angela Merkel and Emanuel Macron pausing in the wood-paneled railroad car — the way first class used to be — where the armistice to World War I was signed. Kaiser Wilhelm’s Germany and his adversaries agreed that no more shot were to be fired at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month: November 11, 1918. How ironic can the world be? Many wars later, we are contemplating a nuclear ending with scarcely a murmur from those who will be responsible for the ultimate slaughter.
The face-off in Paris between Donald Trump and French President Emanuel Macron is all about the American President wanting to have his cake and eat it: He wants Europe to contribute more money to NATO, whose principal raison-d’etre is to try to bring down Russia, while the Europeans have at long last realized that Russia — and China — are potential allies.
Merkel said it first, a few months ago: ‘Europe has to realize it can no longer depend on the US. It has to be responsible for its own safety,’ and now, Macron is fleshing out that proposition. After the American president foolishly accused Europe of not paying enough for its defense against an imaginary Russia intent on adding it to its ‘empire’, he made it even easier for Europe to say, effectively: “Thanks very much, but we don’t need your so-called protection.”
Angela Merkel is on her way to retirement, but she backs Macron — in a sort of mother-son relationship clearly visible in footage of her leaning on his shoulder, visibly moved at the dreadful anniversary. Was she channeling the fact that the harsh conditions imposed on Germany for starting World War I eventually led to World War II which led to Merkel’s part of Germany being ruled by the Soviet Union while she was growing up? And yet, Stalin’s successor participated in the memorial, even as he is forced to prepare Russia for what could be, for everyone, the final round…..
Whatever he former bankers’ sins vis-a-vis French workers, Macron is Europe’s best hope of becoming strong enough to be free to align with its Russian neighbor, in the interest of all. I have been writing for decades that it cannot be in Europe’s interest to be tied to a country located on the other side of a vast ocean especially given the fact that the US’s ‘enemies’ invariably turn out to be Europe’s neighbors, such as Iraq or Iran. The more proficient President Putin becomes at making friends and influencing countries across the globe — starting with but not limited to China — the less it is in Europe’s interest to side with the United States against everything Russia stands for: peaceful cooperation and saving the planet.
Russia and China are fast becoming the global center of gravity, but in their ignorance of both history and geography, America’s rulers still imagine it can project power across two oceans, when in reality those oceans are increasingly isolating them from the rest of the world. Nothing illustrates this more eloquently than the participation of the Russian President in Macron’s forum on world peace, as the American President flies home to his golf clubs. As the midterm elections undergo recounts that increase already dramatic Democratic wins, Europe and its allies are discussing the possibility of a future not led by the ‘indispensable nation’, having at last realized that it is the greatest threat to world peace.
The philosopher Slavoj Zizek recently called in RT for humans to realize that we live in one world, adding “Is such a change a utopia? No, the true utopia is that we can survive without such a revolution.”Lately, a few American organizations have decided to campaign against nuclear weapons, via a stream of emails requesting that the public chip in. One can’t help but point out that had it depended on donations, the Bastille would never have been taken.
Deena Stryker is an international expert, author and journalist that has been at the forefront of international politics for over thirty years, exlusively for the online journal “New Eastern Outlook”.