...OK, I freely admit that I've never been able to wrap my mind around the policies of Europe's two largest powers - France and Germany - and their refugee policy in particular, or, for that matter, their sanctions policy against Russia for the latter's "aggression" in the Ukraine. By any objective standard, the USSA is as much to blame for the mess in the Ukraine as Russia, and it's debatable that Russia is much to blame at all. What has not made sense to me is, quite bluntly, the willingness of Paris and Berlin to go along with Washington's kooky agenda in the Ukraine with the sanctions regime. Plain economic reality, it seemed to me back then, would dictate that sooner or later, those two countries would break with Washington, and I strongly suspected that it would be France that would crack the egg and make the omelet first.
This article from Russia's RT was shared by Mr. P.K., and it seems that, true to form, the French have (once again) had it with Washington:
There's a potentially very subtle game being played in Paris, and perhaps these passages from the RT reportage hint at what it may be:
The debate on canceling sanctions was held at the National Assembly for the first time, the politician said. Mariani stressed that anti-Russian sanctions should be lifted because they only cause harm.
"We are demanding that the sanctions be lifted because they are totally ineffective and they are dangerous for our economy," he told the Assembly.
"I have seen our minister of agriculture standing in front of our farmers and say 'We have to lift the sanctions.' I've seen the minister of finance reiterate the same thing. And all they do is say 'We can't do anything, Europe is to blame'," the MP told RT, saying that while he is "part of the opposition," regarding this matter he wants "to help the government."
"France is constantly saying that it's the birthplace of human rights, that the people's will should always be respected. So now I'm waiting for France to accept the will of the parliament and demand the lifting of the sanctions during the next talks," Mariani said in an interview with RT France after the vote.
The MP said that he does not know of any resolutions that haven't been considered by the government, and said that Francois Hollande "must take the responsibility" and make a move towards a restrictions-free policy in relations with Russia.
If the parliament's position on the issue is not accepted, "it will be the strongest slap in the face of democracy," Mariani said.
Earlier this year, France’s Minister of Economy, Industry and Digital Affairs Emmanuel Macron said that by this summer France will assist in lifting Western-imposed sanctions on Russia.
France's agriculture has suffered significantly from the EU's political decision. As a result of embargoes imposed by Moscow on European food products in response to the sanctions, French farmers have found themselves in increasingly difficult conditions. With reported losses of millions of euros in a number of France's agricultural industries, the farmers' unions have organized nationwide strikes designed to highlight their difficulties. Since 2014, French farmers have been setting their produce on fire and blocked roads with tractors in protest at their government's policy against Russia.
In December last year, the European Union prolonged its sanctions against Russia – originally initiated in August of 2014 – for another six months. Italy initially delayed the decision to prolong anti-Russian measures, demanding the issue be discussed rather than merely rubber-stamped.
What's the nature of the subtle game? I suggest that it is twofold: (1) with respect to the actual structure of the European union as currently constituted as a non-democratic, non-representative regulatory body in Brussels, versus the member states that comprise it, and (2) a game between the French legislative and executive branches. As the article notes, the EU's sanctions regime are hurting the economies of two of the EU's largest and most powerful members, France, and Italy, and one must conclude from this they are not helping the German economy, Europe's largest by far, exceeding even that of Russia. The EU, in other words, is acting as the obedient sockpuppet for Washington, whereas the political and economic realities in Paris and Rome are very different. The message? Either the EU adopts a policy representative of the interests of its member nations, or one can kiss the EU goodbye, and that will leave Germany in the catbird seat, and no one wants that (not even, it seems at times, the Germans, with, maybe, the exception of Herr Steinmeir).
The game that interests me the most, however, is that which seems to be currently played between M. Hollande and the Assembly. In the wake of the recent sad attacks in Paris and Brussels, the French securities services have quietly raided and cracked down on a number of mosques in France. While not belaboring the point, the French found what one only expected they would find: caches of arms and "literature" extolling the virtues of Islam and excoriating the very laws, culture, and institutions of France. So much for the policy of tolerance and multi-culturalism. Much more importantly, this resolution comes at a time that Saudi Arabia is under increasing scrutiny for its well-known role in terrorism sponsorship, and at a time when Washington's policies are increasingly under scrutiny in Europe, and being found greatly wanting.
M. Hollande, you'll recall, sent the French aircraft carrier, the Charles de Gaulle to Syria to drop a few bombs on ISIS, coordinating this effort with the then-ongoing Russian effort, and gaining some logistical support from Frau Merkel, which included German space assets of an unspecified nature, but we can guess what those were.
So what's the game, the high octance speculation? Time will tell, of course, but the action of the French assembly now hands M. Hollande some maneuvering room he didn't have before, up to, and including, the possibility of a French withdrawal from the sanctions regime imposed by Brussels in response to "domestic political and economic pressures" that he probably isn't - at least privately - in that much disagreement with.So how will this reading be corroborated?
The article itself suggests the nature of the game: watch Italy, and, by extension, Germany. In the latter case, local German Laender (states) are already passing similar resolutions, and Merkel's government is weak because of her assinine refugee policy. The backlash is going to spread, in other words, from France. It has already spread to Rome. It's only a matter of time until it spreads to the Bundestag.
Can you say "vote of no confidence"?
See you on the flip side...