Sunday, May 20, 2018

The U.S. vs the EU - 'Brussels Rises In Revolt Against Washington'

Brussels Rises In Revolt Against Washington: A Turning Point In US-European Relations

The May 16-17 EU-Western Balkans summit did address the problems of integration, but it was eclipsed by another issue. The meeting turned out to be a landmark event that will go down in history as the day Europe united to openly defy the US. The EU will neither review the Iran nuclear deal (JPCOA) nor join the sanctions against Tehran that have been reintroduced and even intensified by America. 

Washington’s unilateral withdrawal from the JPCOA was the last straw, forcing the collapse of Western unity. The Europeans found themselves up against a wall. There is no point in discussing further integration or any other matter if the EU cannot protect its own members. But now it can.

President Trump has his own reasons to shred the Iran deal, but he needs Europe to strong-arm Tehran into signing a “better” agreement. 

Were it to do so, the US administration would make it look like a big victory. Washington does not shy away from threatening its allies with punitive measures but the EU is standing tall, deepening the rift. As European Council President Donald Tusk put it“With friends like Trump, who needs enemies?” 

According to him, the US president has “rid Europe of all illusions.” Mr. Tusk wants Europe to “stick to our guns” against new US policies. 

Jean-Claude Juncker, the head of the EU Commission, believes that “Europe must take America's place as global leader” because Washington has turned its back on its allies. 

Washington “no longer wants to cooperate.” It is turning away from friendly relations “with ferocity.” Mr. Juncker thinks the time is ripe for Europe “to replace the United States, which as an international actor has lost vigor.” It would have been unthinkable not long ago for a top EU official to say such things and challenge the US global leadership. Now the unthinkable has become reality.

The process of shifting away from America does not boil down to just words of indignation and open defiance.Plans are underway to take practical steps. For instance, the EU is to ditch the use of the US currency in its payments for Iranian oil. It can be done. Russia and Iran have already launched an oil-for-goods exchange program in order to leave the greenback behind. The bloc plans to activate a 1996 law (the blocking statute), which bans European businesses from compliance with US sanctions on Iran. The legislation protects "against the effects of the extra-territorial application of legislation adopted by a third country."

The EU-Iran discussions have already been held. And it is America’s closest ally who is to deal the first powerful blow against US global dominance. This is a demonstration of the “no retreat, no surrender” spirit before the not-yet-unleased war is in full swing.

If Europe is resolved to fend off US attempts to dictate its policy on Iran, why should it reconcile itself to the pressure to keep the sanctions against Russia intact? May 17 marked a turning point in the US-European relationship. Europeans joined ranks to resist a policy that encroaches on their right to decide their own fate. It’s Europe, not the US, who is negatively affected by the punitive measures, creating deep divisions within the EU at a time when that group is faced with many problems. The time is ripe for Brussels to stop this sanctions-counter-sanctions mayhem and stake out its own independent policies on Russia, Iran, defense, and other issues, that will protect European, not US, national interests. May 17 is the day the revolt started and there is no going back. Europe has said goodbye to trans-Atlantic unity. It looks like it has had enough.

France is looking to see if the European Union could compensate European companies that might be facing sanctions by the United States for doing business with Iran, said French finance minister Bruno Le Maire on Sunday.

Le Maire referred to EU rules going back to 1996 which he said could allow the EU to intervene in this manner to protect European companies against any US sanctions, adding that France wanted the EU to toughen its stance in this area.

In 1996, when the United States tried to penalize foreign companies trading with Cuba, the EU forced Washington to back down by threatening retaliatory sanctions.

European firms doing business in Iran face sanctions from the United States after President Donald Trump withdrew from a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.

"Are we going to allow the United States to be the economic policeman of the world? The answer is no," Le Maire told C News TV and Europe 1 radio on Sunday.

Despite the fact that Iran is using their new-found wealth to build ICBMs, sponsor terrorism around the world, and attempt to establish hegemony in the region, the European Union has purhed forward two measures to help the bloc’s firms avoid possible U.S. sanctions should they continue to do business in Iran.
They will not let Washington isolate the terror nation of Iran if they can help it. They did the same thing with Castro’s Cuba.
The EU has been unhappy about President Trump leaving the unsigned nuclear agreement between Iran, Barack Obama and five European nations.
One of the major reasons is they have set up lucrative trade deals with Iran. It’s money over honor and world safety. At the end of the nuclear ‘deal’, Iran will be able to build up its nuclear program and become a world power.

One measure would reactivate the EU’s “blocking statute”, a rule forbidding EU companies and courts from complying with foreign sanctions laws. It was used in 1996 to work around the U.S. trade embargo of Cuba. That led to an agreement with Washington that shielded EU companies from secondary sanctions.
“We have the duty, the Commission and the European Union, to protect our European businesses,” European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Thursday, according to POLITICO.
“We must act now and we will act now,” he added. “That’s why we are launching the process to use the 1996 ‘blocking statute’ to neutralize the extraterritorial effects of U.S. sanctions on European companies.”
It will take about two months for the European Parliament to approve it.
Another is a more immediate proposal. They will ask member states to make direct cash transfers to Iran’s central bank to avoid U.S. penalties. The EU firms could pay Iran for oil and repatriate Iranian funds in Europe, according to Reuters.
They are doing this knowing that Iran uses cash to sponsor terrorism and have been doing so for decades.

For seven decades the West’s foreign policy establishment has been trying to call Middle East peace from depths of endless summits and conferences and agreements with ritualistic chants of “land for peace” and “two-state solution.” But all they’ve managed to produce is war, terrorism, and groveling appeasement. Peace hasn’t answered their call.

The EU has been particularly feckless, spending billions of Euros paying off the Palestinian Arabs so that they and their fellow jihadists don’t unleash terrorist hordes to disturb la dolce vita of European elites. Fearful of the disgruntled unassimilated Muslim immigrants they have let invade their countries, they have demonized Israel’s “illegal occupation” and “disproportionate use of force,” and winked at growing anti-Semitism and Muslim violence, all in the hopes that they will escape the wrath of Allah’s “martyrs.” Of course, they haven’t, as attested by the blood and gore spattering the streets of Paris, London, Brussels, Berlin, and Madrid. Nor have they bought a reprieve from the “Little Terror,” as Norwegian blogger Fjordman calls it, of daily vandalism, rape, assault, and creeping sharia, along with the commandeering and colonization of public spaces and civic institutions.

Yet despite their failure to raise from the deeps the spirits of regional peace and reconciliation, the EU political elite continue furiously to repeat their diplomatic mantras. The latest came in the form of a response to President Trump’s fulfillment this week of his promise to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, the spiritual, cultural, and political capital of the Jewish people for 3000 years, a city whose Arab influences came by dint of invasion, occupation, and colonization. 

Decades of failure, however, have not schooled the EU clerks into reassessing their received wisdom. On the eve of the U.S. embassy’s move to Jerusalem, EU diplomats prepared a joint EU statement laying out their reasons for rejecting it: 

Beneath this boilerplate lies the central fallacy of Western diplomacy on the conflict: that the Arabs we have magically transformed into a “Palestinian” people desire their own nation-state living “side-by-side in peace” with Israel. Further fantastical assumptions are that the region is an ancient homeland of this people, that Jerusalem is particularly sacred to their history, and that the recovery of Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem during the Six Day War in 1967 is an “illegal occupation” characterized by apartheid-like discrimination.

All these assertions that lie behind Western diplomacy and demonization of Israel are distortions or outright lies.  Take the phrase “illegal occupation.” It is historically meaningless. There is no occupation under international law, because there has never existed a modern nation to be occupied. The territory to this day remains disputed, not “occupied.” That’s why it’s described geographically as the “West Bank” of the Jordan River. “Palestine” was the name used to describe a province of the Ottoman Empire, and “Palestinian” designated any subject, whether Christian, Jewish, or Muslim, who lived there. 

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