Part of the European critical left think that the widening of the Atlantic Ocean is unyielding and, the more Europe distances itself from the United States the better it will be for the human race. We spoke about this topic with Giulietto Chiesa, member of the European Parliament.
Giulietto Chiesa was born in Piamonte in 1940. Being a journalist, he was correspondent in Moscow, first for L’Unitá and then for La Stampa, an experience that turned him into one of the best "Sovietologists" of the world. He wrote for many media outlets in Russia, The United States, Switzerland and Germany, as well as for Vatican Radio. In his works as essayist, essential to understand the twilight of the USSR, he has studied globalization, the world media system and the wars. In his books "The Infinite War" and «Super plan» he puts forward his theory about the superseding of the liberal democracy, destroyed by a new world super elite. In June, he was elected member of the European Parliament by the group Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE).
Question: We are at the beginning of the second term of the Bush Administration. During the first one, the symbol of the US-Europe relationship was may be Donald Rumsfeld’s speech about the "Old Europe". The Atlantic was widening.
Giulietto Chiesa : And there is no sign that it will stop widening. Rumsfeld made this reality very clear. Robert Kagan wrote that "the West Already Was and I agree". The neocons (neo-conservative) represent the distancing of the United States of the rest of the West and the expression of its autonomy. Perhaps they still considered themselves the West but a new definition is necessary: the United States is no longer the West.
However, in spite of certain differences - energy, steel, Kyoto, the Euro-Dollar competition - there are still convergent interests between what we call First World and the rest of the planet.
Giulietto Chiesa :In the great historic events, not all is immediately clear but the force-ideas emerge. Today, there is a sole economic system to which Europe belongs and of which Europe shared the bases, for example, with the market economy. However, there are differences. Although «the Europe of the multinationals» looks like the «United States of the multinationals», these two market economies are still different.
And, in what sense would the Third World have to perceive these differences?
Giulietto Chiesa :The mental structure of the European market does not coincide with the mental structure of the US market. In the United States, the ruling principles of the Capitalist tradition have been superseded by a structural transformation: there is no property anymore. In the big US business the big families disappeared and property has been replaced by the control of the managers. It is a new class that I call "superclan", which does not exist in Europe.
Why could not Europe be just 15 or 20 years behind in the implementation of this model? Why, for example, a Latin American who saw the pillage policy of Spain’s Repsol would have to see any difference with the pillage policy of the Shell? Giulietto Chiesa :It is true. But the international situation changes constantly and there is no time for Europe to go in the same direction. We are facing an unprecedented crisis of the relationship between the human beings and nature. Without this crisis, the entire planet would probably be absorbed by the US vision that entails the end of the western democracy, the end of social contradictions and the birth of a world much worse than the Orwellian. However, the European multinationals are not, at least not right now, ready to follow the Americans.
The European civil society is a thousand times more powerful than the American civil society, which has already been destroyed. There, the multinationals and the super clan acted without any obstacles. But not here. And the more the differences grow the more the national and popular reaction increase here. In addition, a project to transfer the US model to Europe is literally impossible. Though we see our resources exhaust, we still have the illusion that they are everlasting. This unveils the biggest contradiction upon which the system lives: the infinity of wishes.
The big factory of dreams, an economy based in the encouragement of infinite dreams and induced and useless consumption, today clashes with the fact that resources are not infinite. This contradiction will explode in the next 20 years, long before a possible European adaptation to the model.
If the neocons have any merit, it is that they offer a clear model of development and control. However, if it is a matter of time, will the Europe of the structured civil society - also the Europe of the complex political representations, of the environmentalism and of pacifism - have time to save the planet from the disaster of the neo-conservative model?
Giulietto Chiesa :We cannot be sure that we will be able to stop them. To oppose them means to begin doing concrete things to stop them and to condition them and, in addition, we cannot take for granted that the good ideas will win. But I am confidence that if this crisis causes so much tension between the United States and Europe, imagine what would happen between other civilizations and different and hostile cultures: China, India, the Muslim world, Russia - which is not dead. These are realities that oppose the totalitarian and pretentious sole thinking and with the equation between the US national interest and the administration of world power.
Today, the US national interest is simultaneously in contradiction with the national interest of all other historic realities. If we speak today about a clash of civilizations, it is not between the West and Islam but between the United States and the rest of the world. And I see it very clearly.
And a good example is Latin America. Following the idea that what is good for the United States is also good for everyone, the open declaration of a hegemonic plan, the "New American Century", what acceleration did Bush’s first four years represent?
Giulietto Chiesa : It is acceleration because the current US leading classes, both in the scientific-technical and in the religious area, think of the apocalypse. And I am not being ironical. The religious neocons really think of an apocalypse as Gore Vidal and others already wrote about it. In their vision of the world, they are convinced that we have to face a big tragedy: to convert o to extirpate. It is clear that they think of a horrible palingenesia.
But also from the scientific point of view we know that best informed leaders have, long before September 11, information to think that a September 11 would have been very useful. There is a decisive assertion in the "Project for the New American Century": the transformation that we want to implement in the world would need, in normal conditions, a lot of time. However, we have to reason as if there had to be an artificial and drastic mutation to shorten the time of this transition.
They know, and we know, that the resources will soon exhaust and thus they need to impose a drastic mutation through the use of force. The quote ends with the phrase: unless something like a new Pearl Harbor or anything similar takes place.
«Like a new Pearl Harbor» they literally say, I am not making it up. They know the world will soon have to answer. The exhaustion of resources will be the visible element, close and inevitable, and the United States must immediately address itself to the problem of the control of the planet and all its resources. This is not a task that can be achieved overnight; they have to prepare it all and get ready for the clash that is approaching against China: the big eater of resources that is arriving and which needs to compete with the United States. It has to be stopped before!
And, in this scenario, from a geopolitical point of view and with an anti-China perspective, an alliance with Russia would be very natural. However, we are witnessing a political convergence in the issue of terrorism accompanied by a geo-strategic difference, starting in the Caucasus and Central Asia. This is probably part of the US idiosyncrasy that proclaims the annihilation of the enemy. But only with the Russian power can the United States set up a cordon sanitaire around China. Giulietto Chiesa :This would involve intelligence in the US political elites, much more than what they have showed to have. They only think of the use of force in all directions. Today, the United States does not want any allies or alliances, it wants servants and subordinates. The imperial policy is leaving them completely blind. They have hastily thought they colonized Russia with Eltsin. They thought it was enough. With Eltsin gone, they let Putin take the power and they thought he would follow the line of his predecessor. Unfortunately, it is not that way. Putin is a man fond of all the most terrible power games. But Putin is Russian. And this is something that reveals the terrible naivety of the neocons. They have not read Fernand Braudel, they know nothing of the deeply rooted forces of history and they think they definitely colonized Russia.
And they have not. And right now, we are witnessing the breaking-off between Russia and the United States. Eltsin’s heirs, those who demolished the Soviet Union, for a while have played a game that threatens them. Vladimir Putin intelligently perceives that the United States is ready to hit them. The Chechen war has been built by the Americans. Turkey played an important role, the services have cooperated. Those who financed the Chechen terrorism, the Saudi Wahabits, the Pakistani Isi, the Torkish services, have been allowed to act.
And it was not by chance that, in the middle of the Chechen war and waiting for the fall of Boris Eltsin, President Clinton traveled to Ankara to sign an agreement for the construction of the oil pipeline that will go through Georgia and Turkey but not Russia. The war in Chechnya has been brilliantly used to back-stab Eltsin while he was being treated like a Quisling .
- Elbio Ramírez
- « Natividad criolla»
Can we think that Putin did not understand it? Putin understood that his role in the game is only subordinate. But he is clever and he thinks that Russia has to be great. He made anything possible so that Russia would not be a target for the United States. He did not succeed. When we look beyond the front of the fight against international terrorism, it is all clear: the attack against Putin began when Mikhail Khodorkovskij entered the world of politics. He was selling the Yukos to the Exxon-Mobil for 25 billion dollars. Putin understood it, arrested him and began to play his game. Those things are not said but rather done.
The New York Times, after many years of silence, surprisingly, in an unsigned editorial, tried to draw people’s attention toward the danger of the Russian atomic weapons. Nothing else had been said about this issue because Eltsin had given the Americans the codes of the Russian atomic weapons. But Putin, quietly, renovated the codes and kept them away from the United States. And all of a sudden the Russian nuclear weapons made headlines again and the Times asked that the Russians be helped in dismantling the weapons. But Putin no longer wanted to do that and the United States of today is not able to give any speech of joint management but it only speaks using imperial terms.
Going back to the relationship with Europe, if some countries, regardless of what kind of government they have, take distance from the United States, there are still many countries that will continue to be subordinated to Washington’s unilateralism. Giulietto Chiesa :It is true, although I have a heterodox interpretation. It is not by chance that Germany and France, without their respective political majorities, both face the United States in a similar way. It is a physiological reaction that has a great importance from the political and cultural viewpoints. The most powerful European state powers express the last traces of the democratic representation of then Western State. It is not a whim of Gerhard Schröder or Jacques Chirac: the "Europe of nations" is the only bastion against the "Europe of the multinationals" and against the end of democracy. Two souls live together in Europe: the Europe of nations and peoples and the Europe of multinationals. And there is an abyss between them.
The paradox is that the Europe of nations, the more intellectually advanced Europe, the one that has built the Europe of the supranationality, is the one that has understood that many decisions can not be made by national states. And there is still a piece of democracy, of representation of the civil society.
The institutions that represent the liberal and bourgeois democracy thus defend themselves from an idea, but the very concept of liberal democracy is demolished by the superclan, which is the opposite of liberal democracy. This is a process that is developing. I do not know who will win, the multinationals that have a Wall Street-like way of thinking or the national states. But I am very confident that the European national states, all united, can launch an offensive against the end of democracy planned by the super clan.
However, the incorporation of ten new countries and the perspective of Turkey also joining the European Union are steps marked by the United States and Great Britain that want the dissolution and weakening of the European construction.
Giulietto Chiesa :It is exactly what I see with my own eyes here in Brussels. The arrival of the ten countries weakens Europe. Europe did not know how to look eastwards. Helmut Kohl’s Germany could only look at the other German piece. And, in fact, it delegated to the United States the task of reconstructing Russia and East Europe.
The United States has assumed that responsibility, in the narrow sense of colonization, and has had an immediate and fantastic success as it has brought all these countries under its control. And it has done it using NATO. Thus, the European Union has unified Europe after and only after the United States already did it through NATO.
Is this a permanent solution? I do not think so. The public opinion in the East has been more receptive to the idea of Europe than its leading classes. The war - to which most of the eastern governments enthusiastically adhered - frightens the peoples of the East and the West.
So, we don’t know for how long this US supremacy will last, but we see the alignment of a Europe with Germany, France, Spain, Greece - which is strongly anti-American in site of the center-right government -, and Italy if Silvio Berlusconi falls. Thus, a process of supranational and national homogenization would gain speed. Gramsci would have spoken of hegemony and the US supremacy is eroding day after day in Iraq. A Europe with excellent states-men could carry out a strong hegemonic counter-offensive. It could be done along with Russia, China or the Middle East.
It could also be achieved with the Latin American bloc if they do not do it in the pillage-like and pro-coup way of, for example, José María Aznar.
Giulietto Chiesa : Naturally, it can be achieved. And all the rules of international trade have to be changed. Some doors are already opening. Europe needs to get closer to Russia: an open policy of visas, culture, economic and military cooperation, a big re-conquest operation. But we have to know that it will be a long and dramatic battle and the coming years will be crucial.
The failure of the coup d’état in Venezuela is an element that has accelerated the war in Iraq. The situation is now evolving in spite of the obstinate extremism with which the Iraqi war has been conducted. There are opposed diplomatic signs like the honeymoon between Egypt and China or, in spite of the war disaster, the frictions with historic allies in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia or Egypt itself.
Giulietto Chiesa : The plan of the neocons is to demolish the order of the moderate Arab countries and to transform them into American colonies. Moderate countries are no longer useful; they have to be only vassals. Thus, if Bush - as I am afraid - is re-elected, these regimes, I am speaking about Egypt and Saudi Arabia in the first place, will be overthrown, in different ways. The first attack will be against Iran where the most important game takes place and probably the next war.
And when Iran has fallen and Israel can occupy all the West bank of the Jordan river and definitely eliminate the Palestinian state, then they will be able to do away also with the Hashemite dynasty in Jordan, get rid of the Saudi sovereigns and Hosni Moubarak in Egypt. I am not making prophecies here: this is what people like Michael Leeden or Paul Wolfowitz want. And they already started the war in Iraq as part of the plan.
Richard Perle, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, his deputy Lewis Libby, head of Cheney’s office, William J. Bennett, former minister of Reagan, and Zalmay Khalilzad, Bush’s ambassador to Afghanistan, signed the «Project for the New American Century».