THAT FRANCE-GREECE PACT: BYPASSING NATO AND THE USA
I and many other sources in the new (alternative) media, not to mention the old (propatainment) media, have been sounding the alarm about the geopolitical fallout of the USA's botched Afghanistan withdrawal debacle. In that regard there has been a significant development with the recent signing of an arms-and-mutual-defense pact between France and Greece, according to the following article shared by V.S., for there are two highly important points that are highlighted in the article, with a third lying in the background:
To be sure, the USA lurks in the background here as probably having green-lighted the deal as a compensation to Paris for ruining its submarine deal with Canberra. But there's little in the deal itself that is terribly reassuring to the mandarins in Swampington, D.C. Consider the following:
The Franco-Greek relationship has been forged in rivalry with Turkey, which last year squared off with Greek warships around Cyprus, and with French ones off Libya. An anti-Turkey bloc, including France, Greece, Israel, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, has gradually taken shape. Mr Mitsotakis, eager to secure French support and bolster his own armed forces, had already agreed to buy 18 Rafale warplanes from France in January, at a cost of €2.5bn ($2.9bn), and six more in September. Now he will also buy three new French frigates, with the option of one more.
Yet both sides were keen to show that this was no mere arms contract. “It strengthens…our strategic autonomy and our European sovereignty,” said Mr Macron. Mr Mitsotakis agreed that it was “the first bold step towards European strategic autonomy”. Mr Macron has long been fond of such language—often irritating his eastern European allies, who see it as antagonistic to America—but it has a particular resonance after aukus. French officials have portrayed the Anglophone pact as a demonstration of American unreliability and a wake-up call for Europeans to collaborate more on defence matters.(All emphases in the original)
This is the first of those significant developments: the emphasis on the necessity for Europe to become "autonomous" of the USA in its strategic planning, a view expressed both by President Macron and by Greek Premier Mitsotakis. In other words, it's not merely France talking, it's long-time American ally Greece. And both parties to the agreement agree on that principle. France provides the reason why: "American unreliability." This constitutes Europe's agreement with Russia's assessment a few years ago: because of the rampant corruption of the American government and the increasing divisions within its body politic, the USA is "not-agreement-capable."
This brings us to the second significant point:
To that end, the new agreement also includes a striking element that is absent from AUKUS: a mutual defence clause. France and Greece are already obliged to support each other in the event of an attack, through Article Five of nato’s charter and the more obscure Article 42:7 of the EU’s Lisbon treaty. Notably, Mr Mitsotakis said that the partnership now “goes beyond” those obligations. The decision to formalise a separate, bilateral alliance suggests that both Mr Macron and Mr Mitsotakis are concerned that, should a serious crisis erupt in the Mediterranean, Turkey might stymie NATO from the inside.
The idea of a mutual-defence clause that is beefier than Article Five—which obliges an ally only to take “such action as it deems necessary”— is not unprecedented. France did the same thing with Germany in the Aachen treaty of 2019. The Anglo-French Lancaster House treaty of 2010 also implies far-reaching nuclear guarantees.
But such bilateral deals are bad news for NATO, says Wess Mitchell, an American former state department official who co-chaired a reflection group for the alliance last year. The new pact “will be viewed in NATO and especially by eastern members of the alliance as implicitly undermining Article Five,” he says. Others, like Poland, may be encouraged to seek their own ad hoc guarantees from America.
In other words, the Franco-Greek agreement takes precedence over any commitments those two nations have via NATO. Or to put it as bluntly as possible, NATO is dead, at least in part. As the above quotation indicates, this will pressure eastern European countries to seek similar agreements with the USA. Why not France? Because those nations recall the French commitments to Eastern Europe between the world wars, with post-World War I France engineering the so-called "cordon sanitaire" with alliances and pledges to Czechoslovakia, Poland, and Romania, creating a bulwark against further Communist incursions and also as a means to hem in Germany, a system of alliances and assurances that as any glance at the map will show, would have been difficult for France to honor, and in fact, did not and could not honor when war broke out between Germany and Poland in 1939. Having given Poland a "guarantee" in 1939, neither Britain nor France did much of anything militarily to come to Poland's aid as the Nazi armies rolled over the country.
Such circumstances and historical memories make it unlikely that eastern Europe will turn to France, unless, of course, France concludes similar agreements with Poland and other Eastern European countries, and is willing to bear the expense of placing bases there. One circumstance might induce such a scenario: with the American "pivot to the Pacific" pulling more and more military resources there, it may be inevitable that a vacuum might be created, which France could fill (but only with difficulty).
All of this, however, highlights a third significant development lurking between the lines of the article, and that is that France has now emerged as the leader of Europe, thanks to the 16 year disaster of Ms. Merkel's term in the German chancery. When she entered the chancellorship, she inherited a relatively robust German military and economy. During her tenure the military has been allowed to decline significantly, and the weakness of her government has been such that the new government in Berlin has yet to be formed, and whatever coalition as emerges in Germany after last month's federal elections is likely to remain a weak government, with little long term strategic vision. This, again, puts Paris in the driver's seat, and France has already indicated its course: America is unreliable, the inherent conflicts in NATO (Turkey and Greece both being members) means that NATO is an organization formed for bygone geopolitical realities, and new vehicles of cooperation in European strategic defense matters must be forged.
And for the moment, the only country in Europe capable of doing that is France.
See you on the flip side...
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