By Raúl Ilargi Meijer, editor-in-chief of The Automatic Earth. Originally published at Automatic Earth
Perhaps the best way to show what a mess Europe is in is the €3 billion deal they made with Turkey head Erdogan, only to see him being unmasked by EU archenemy Vlad Putin as a major supporter, financial and who knows how else, of the very group everyone’s so eager to bomb the heebees out after Paris. It could hardly have been more fitting. That’s not egg on your face, that’s face on your egg.
But Brussels thinks it’s found a whipping boy for all its failures. Greece. It’s fast increasing its accusations against Athens’ handling of the 100s of 1000s of refugees flooding the country. Everything that goes wrong is the fault of Greece, not Brussels. The EU has so far given Greece €30 million in ‘assistance’ for the refugee crisis, while the country has spent over €1.5 billion in money it desperately needs for its own people. But somehow it’s still not done enough.
The justification given for this insane shortfall is that Greece doesn’t blindly follow all orders emanating from Europe’s ‘leaders’. Orders such as setting up a joint patrol of the Aegean seas with … yes, Erdogan’s Turkey. Where Greece gets next to nothing as the children keep drowning, Turkey gets €3 billion and a half-baked promise to join the Union sometime in the future.
Which was never going to happen, the EU would blow up before Turkey joins and certainly if it does, and most certainly now that Russia’s busy detailing the link between the Erdogan cabal and Europe’s supposed new archenemies -move over Putin?!, which, incidentally, are reason for France to ponder a kind of permanent state of emergency; ostensibly, this is Hollande’s way of exuding confidence. ‘We must protect our way of life’.
Given Schengen -while it lasts-, which effectively erases all frontiers, this de facto means permanent emergency across the entire EU. And that, to a degree, though the two may seem unrelated, plays into the EU’s insistence to station foreign border guards (military police) at Greek borders. A, we can’t put it in different words, completely insane demand to which Alexis Tsipras’ government has apparently even acceded.
Insane because once you have foreigners deciding who can enter or leave your country, you’re effectively a country under occupation. It really is that simple. This latest attempt at power grabbing on the part of Brussels could have some ‘unexpected side effects’, though. And that may be a good thing.
We are not specialists in the Greek constitution -terribly hard to read-, but we very much question whether an elected government can decide to give up its nation’s sovereignty this way. Two -related- issues here are: 1) does the EU have the legal capacity to force this (EU border guards agency Frontex) on a member state, and 2) does Tsipras have the legal capacity to sign over the sovereignty of his country to foreigners?
Brussels may claim that Athens voluntarily ‘invited’ in German and Polish ‘officers’, but that’s far short of even half the story. EU countries have been complaining about the way Greece has dealt with the refugee crisis, stating that it is not capable of protecting its borders, which it ‘should’ under Schengen.
Nonsense of course. Athens is very capable of protecting its borders, but it has stated -quite correctly, it would seem- that it protects its borders from enemies, and the refugees are not enemies. The reason the refugees keep arriving -and/or drowning-, mind you, has a lot more to do with Angela Merkel’s ‘invitation’ for them to come, and with Turkey’s eagerness to let them leave, than it does with anything Greece has done. Or not done.
But that’s not what Brussels talks about. Far from it. The EU claims it has the power to take over, even if Greece would resist. Reuters quotes a EU official as saying: “One option could be not to seek the member-state’s approval for deploying Frontex but activating it by a majority vote among all 28 members..”
In other words, if 15 countries vote to occupy Greece, it’s a done deal. Once more, we’re quite shaky on Greek constitution at the moment, but we’re thinking someone somewhere (preferably but not necessarily Greece) should take this to a constitutional court. Again, preferably in Athens, but that’s not where the buck stops.
Because if the EU can do this to Greece, it can ostensibly do it to any member state. All 28 countries in the EU could be subject to their borders being taken over. And no matter how shaky we are on any of the 28 constitutions, we are darn sure that at the very least some of them will not allow for this kind of tomfoolery. A nation is either sovereign or it’s not.
Can anyone imagine Frontex taking control of British borders, or German or French? The very notion is too silly to even bring up in serious conversation. But that is exactly what Tsipras has just accepted. It would seem wise to let that sink in.
And we, in all the innocence and ignorance we have, and we have plenty, fail to see how Alexis Tsipras can retain his position as prime minister in the face of this. No prime minister gets elected to sign over his country’s sovereignty to some group of bureaucrats the country happens to be aligned with on one way or the other.
There must be terms written into the Greek constitution, too, that prevent this from happening. Or else the nation was handed over to the dogs long ago, just waiting to be conquered once again. We don’t think Greeks are stupid, and most certainly not that stupid.
The refugee crisis is not Greece’s fault. In much the same way that the EU/ECB decision to bail out French/Dutch/German banks from their losses on Greek casino loans was not Greece’s fault. The EU is turning rapidly into a theater where the largest and most powerful countries get to play the weaker for whatever they desire. And that won’t last. Not with sovereign nations and their constitutions.
The internal problem in Greece, and we have to hand it to Tsipras that he understands this, is that when he leaves, the old guard will take over again. And that will be even worse for Greeks. Whose economy is being systematically dismantled by Brussels as we speak. Greece has zero chance of recovering from its crisis under the terms the EU has forced upon it.
But that doesn’t mean that an elected prime minister has the legal power to sign over the entire nation to a bunch of international bankers and power-thirsty politicians. There are still laws in this world. Written into constitutions.
Europe’s own Real Donald (there’s one on each side of the Atlantic), the one called Tusk, who owes his job exclusively to badmouthing Putin, on top of all sorts of suggestions to halt Schengen for 2 years or so, talked about detaining all refugees for 18 months, pending background checks and the like.
And we’re thinking, in our innocence, pray tell where, Don? In Poland, where you guys have such great experience with detention camps? But we’re drifting, straying… We’ve written too many times to count over the past while that the EU is bound to collapse because its structure selects for sociopaths. Who dream of power, night and day.
Look, Greece should leave while it can. Britain’s going to sign some convoluted deal to keep up appearances, though the ECB is not at all pleased with the idea of a multi-currency union, but deep down David Cameron is a second-hand car salesman who can’t even spell principles or morals, so it’ll get done.
The Danes voted down more EU in their country this week, in an outcome eerily familiar when it comes to actual votes on the Union. It seems every time such a vote takes place, Brussels loses.
But neither Britain nor Denmark not any other EU nation would vote to give up their sovereignty, their borders, their control over who enters and who leaves. And very rightly so. Greece shouldn’t either, it’s gone way too far already trying to please the bully.
Alexis Tsipras has made exactly that decision, however. And that makes his position untenable, even though neither he nor -allegedly- anyone else realizes it yet. He’ll be lucky not to face trial for treason. We’re not kidding.
Human rights intervention has taken us on the slippery slope of Sovereignty as Responsibility or Right to Protect.
“”Prevention requires apportioning responsibility to and promoting collaboration between concerned States and the international community. The duty to prevent and halt genocide and mass atrocities lies first and foremost with the State, but the international community has a role that cannot be blocked by the invocation of sovereignty. Sovereignty no longer exclusively protects States from foreign interference; it is a charge of responsibility where States are accountable for the welfare of their people. This principle is enshrined in article 1 of the Genocide Convention and embodied in the principle of “sovereignty as responsibility” and in the concept of the Responsibility to Protect.””
Adam Branch examines this is some detail in Displacing Human Rights: War and Intervention in Northern Uganda.
such as “The aerial bombing campaign, according to the resolution, is merely “remodel(ing) the features of governments to live up to their responsibilities,” in the words of Sovereignty as Responsibility.” and
“Sovereignty as Responsibility can argue that, when the state fails in its protection role, sovereignty is passed upward to the international community as a “pooled function.” Such pronouncements make clear how the report can issue such apparently oxymoronic statements as calling international intervention a fulfillment of national sovereignty.”
With the powers that be that claim this moral high ground to intervene being strongly neoliberal this can be problematic. ISIS and other groups flourish by providing basic needs such as food and medicine.
William Polk thinks it’s important to try and find the causes of the problem in the first place.
“”As in other European nations, the combination of fear of terrorism and the influx of refugees will make implementation of what will be described as a pro-Muslim program unlikely.
Perhaps even more unlikely is one that I think ISIS would most fear. The “ISIS strategist” has told us that the major resource of the movement is the community, but he recognized that, despite horrific memories of imperialism, the public has remained relatively passive.
This attitude could change dramatically as a consequence of invasion and intensification of aerial bombing. ISIS believes it will, turning increased numbers of now “neutral” civilians into active supporters of the jihadis or into jihadis themselves.
Obviously, it would be to the advantage of other countries to prevent this happening.
Some prevention of ISIS violence can be accomplished, perhaps, with increased security measures, but I suggest that a multinational, welfare-oriented and psychologically satisfying program could be designed that would make the hatred that ISIS relies upon less virulent.
Inadvertently, ISIS has identified the elements for us: meeting communal needs, compensation for previous transgressions, and calls for a new beginning. Such a program need not be massive and could be limited, for example, just to children by establishing public health measures, vitamins and food supplements.””
Rather ironic….through the centuries Europe has weathered plague, famines, wars and invasions only to discover that their real nemesis are the money lenders. Debt is a far more effective tool of control than tanks. So Western “Civilization” ends up ground under the heel of Payday Loans (aka Brussels). The only violent act Jesus performed was to throw the money changers out….labeling them as a “den of thieves.” He had that right. To the four horsemen of the apocalypse, war, famine, pestilence and death there should be added a fifth rider—debt. We have seen the rise Age of the Reason, the Industrial Revolution and now we are entering the Age of Bankers. Sic transit gloria mundi.
+ hundreds of trillions
good insights – well stated
Fortunately – or not, depending on how quickly they can wreck up the joint – it won’t last very long.
We are entering into a new era of supranational kleptocratic rule, where the old legal niceties are fast becoming quaint old archaic customs, like the wigs on British judges. The proposed new global TPP/TISA/TTIP regime is an attempt to put legalistic lipstick, on this pig of planet-wide kleptocratic rule. The de facto situation has been, for years now, that we are all (not just in Greece) subjects of the banksters, with no meaningful rights of citizenship.
The actual physical takeover of Greek borders reflects the kleptocrats’ desire to transform their de facto global rule into a new de jure regime, accountable only to the overlords of profit and their corporate lawyers. The old institutions will remain, yet they will have even less real power than the Roman Senate did– after Augustus proclaimed himself divine.
It’s interesting how things like the Roman Senate continue a formal existence long after they have become essentially meaningless. The Roman Senate still existed as a formal body in 600 AD long after the total collapse of the Western Roman Empire. The Holy Roman Empire was formally abolished only about 1800 by Napoleon although the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648 ended it as a real entity.
Things like the US Constitution and other written constitutions are similar. They continue to exist formally long after there is little left of them in practice.
Somebody should do a research project on the meaning of “on the side of history.” History has a mind of its own.
December 6, 2015 at 9:14 am
The most important thing, according to every politician on the planet, is protecting, sustaining, and increasing the skim…
Second the motion — “Look, Greece should leave while it can”! Otherwise serfdom will be the only result! Other small countries should take careful note.
Blaming Poland for the German camps on its territory is a low blow.
I don’t think this post does anything like blame Poland for German detention camps. Rather, it seeks to remind the Poles, and all other Europeans who still suffer consequences from WWII, that detention camps should never be built again!!
Odd you would assume the German torture camps. I figured it was the more recent CIA ones. The European Court seems to think Poland culpable for those.
One thing that has never been clear to me is how an EU countries will hold a referenda on something EU-related, it will be roundly rejected, and yet be adopted anyway.
What accounts for this, and for the citizenries’ apparent acceptance of it? Are they detached, cynical, powerless? Stymied by the fact that the only organized opposition are far-right parties that at best they disagree with on every other particular, at worst racist xenophobes?
What accounts for this, and for the citizenries’ apparent acceptance of it? Are they detached, cynical, powerless?
The fact that: When arguing ones case does not work, voting does not work, replacing the government using the democratic procedure does not work, then, in order to put a stop to these people, we would have to adopt the way of the bomb and the bullet.
Most sane people are really not ready for that kind of life. yet. However, we are busy creating a lost generation which will only have an entire lifetime of job-migration and zero-hour contracts to lose by “obeying the law”.
In the meantime, people will vote for worse and still worse nut-bags just to “front the system”. Since voting doesn’t change anything, what’s the risk – right?
It’s a good thing people are not yet desperate enough to resort to the bomb and the bullet. Really they must reach a point where they have nothing to lose before they will risk everything by revolting. Even then you end up with people in Greece committing suicide. Sad. In that position I’d certainly take a financier or politician with me. That begs the question: do people even realize who is responsible for the destruction of their lives?
Now the bad thing is that history indicates people will tolerate a great deal before they even consider opting for violent change. Given our spoiled existence, we’ve a long way to fall before we reach the bomb and the bullet. A perfect scenario for any power hungry psychopath who comes along.
Greece’s border refers to its border with Macedonia, not its islands. Screw the islands. But why, along the border with Macedonia and not Turkey, Hungary or Austria, etc? One thing going on is Macedonia becoming part of the EU/EZ – under the radar. Downplayed. Kerry sanitizes both NATO and the EU which really isn’t a union but comes together reliably in the NATO treaty – hence Turkey won’t ever manage to be an EU member, just a shit-stirrer. The EU is pushing its international vulnerability as far away as it can. And the curious meeting between Vicky Nuland and Tsipras has never been explained; nor the US instruction to Greece to take whatever the Troika offers and stay in the Union; nor Kerry’s recent promise to Tsipras that the US would help them with their expenses re the refugees; and plenty of other puzzles like what are Hollande and Merkel thinking – joining the “Syrian War”. If it is true that all fossil fuels will have to be conserved, kept in the ground, because we do not know what emergencies we will face in the coming century re climate change then taking control of the Mid East makes at least some sense, however chauvinistic. Otherwise it’s nuts. So logically, the EU should accommodate the refugees and they’re not really into that part. They want the oil security, not the people they looted. And nobody wants to let on that they are batshit panicked. Over the climate.
“But why, along the border with Macedonia and not Turkey, Hungary or Austria, etc?”
Because this is the next Ukraine/Syria situation?
Meeting between Nuland and Tsipras? Sounds interesting and significant.
Was that recent? How did you hear about it?
July 6, 2015 at 8:49 am
I’m reminded of an economic hit man when I see Nuland sitting there.
The colored revolutions have an easier time in Ukraine and north of Greece.
As this ‘extreme extraction’ moves into more ‘popular’ areas it is getting some strong pushback.
EU was sold by the economic right to the social left as some kind of peace and understanding project, while it has brought nothing of the sort (at least not on any time scale the social left envisioned).
Sadly it broke the port-ww2 link between the social and economic left, allowing the social right to take root once more.
As long as the Greek people remain desperate to be accepted as White EUropeans fit to be part of White EUrope, the Greek people will accept an infinite number of humiliations and colonizations like this. There will be zero repercussions for Tsipras of any kind. If the Greeks decide to understand the basic fact that EUrope is Greece’s evil blood enemy, then the Greek people will be ready to think in terms of survivalist defense against the EUropean agenda of kinder gentler holodomor for Greece.
Greece has a population of about 11 million. Turkey has a population of about 78 million. Renouncing the West is probably not advisable for the Greeks.
Genetically the population of Greece is roughly intermediate between Italians and Persians, both of whom are “white” according to the normal usuage of that term. In its long history Greece has generally had more to fear from the East than from the West.