by Waseem Shehzad (News & Analysis, Crescent International Vol. 52, No. 11, Jumada' al-Akhirah, 1444)
It was Henry Kissinger who had quipped, in jest one must to add, that it is dangerous to be America’s enemy but disastrous to be its friend. American rulers proclaim from every platform that the Europeans are ‘allies’ and ‘friends’. The reality, however, is very different. European rulers know that the US treats them as little more than client states.
And Europe is discovering, yet again, the disastrous consequences of American friendship. The war in Ukraine provides ample proof. A dark cold winter stares Europeans in the face where energy shortages may cause 100,000 deaths.
This is not speculation. The figure is based on the modelling by the British establishment mouthpiece, the Economist. The continent’s energy crisis is so grim that the magazine was forced to write: “In a normal winter, a 10 percent rise in real energy prices is associated with a 0.6 percent increase in deaths. Hence the energy crunch this year could cause over 100,000 extra deaths of elderly people across Europe.”
Here are some statistics that underpin this argument. Germany used to import 55% of its energy needs from Russia at extremely low prices. Under US pressure, it was forced to cut its imports to 26% by June 2022. The US did not stop there. To make sure the Europeans complied, the Americans and their British puppets blew up the Nord Stream gas pipeline that was supplying Russian gas to Europe.
The unkindest cut is that the US is now providing liquified natural gas (LNG) to Germany at four times the price what the latter was paying to Russia. The high LNG price charged to Europe coupled with the Biden regime’s $369 billion package of green subsidies under the auspices of the ‘Inflation Reduction Act’, have left the Europeans extremely frustrated. Europe’s economic competitiveness is being eroded through subsidies to US companies by the regime that claims to be its friend and ally.
The Europeans clearly see the US as duplicitous that is fighting its war against Russia not only by using Ukrainians as cannon fodder but also sacrificing thousands of European lives. The US-NATO-led sanctions against Russia have also not worked. In fact, they have proved counterproductive causing more harm to Europe than to Russia’s economy despite the collective west freezing more than $300 billion in Russian assets abroad.
German industries as well as people have been hit hard. Unemployment has soared, as have prices of basic commodities. There is real risk of people freezing to death in their homes because of gas shortages.
“In Nuremberg, they’ve stopped illuminating historic buildings at night. In Potsdam, they’ve turned down the temperature in the municipal sauna. And from his office in Berlin, the economy minister has urged people across the country to take fewer showers,” according to a report in the Marketplace last August.
Such measures will prove insufficient to address the serious gas shortages. German steel industry has been badly hit and massive layoffs have occurred.
The situation in other European countries is equally grim. In Britain, people are forced to eat pet food. “People are ‘eating pet food’ because they can’t afford real food anymore,” proclaimed the headline of Metro, a British daily. Food prices have risen by 12% over last year prompting many workers to go on strike demanding wage increases.
On the eve of Christmas when people are supposedly in festive mood, the Economist grimly warned Britain’s ruling classes: “Many Britons expect an outbreak of civil disorder in 2023”. When people are going to starve or freeze to death, there is little to cheer about. Strikes by nurses, ambulance and even drivers and even Border Security personnel for pay increases have caused immense disruption.
The situation in France is equally grim. People are up in arms over the failed anti-Russia policy. French President Emmanuel Macron has repeatedly called for keeping the door for dialogue with Russian President Vladimir Putin open. He repeated this message, couched in polite language, during his joint press conference with Joe Biden in Washington on December 1.
Upon his return to Paris, Macron was more forthright. In an interview for the French channel TF1, Macron said:
“We must think about the security architecture, in which we will live tomorrow. I am talking, in particular, about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s words that NATO is approaching Russia’s borders and deploys weapons that could threaten it. This issue will be a part of the peace discussions, and we must prepare for what will come after [the Ukrainian conflict], and think how we could protect our allies and, at the same time, provide Russia with guarantees of its own security, once the sides return to the negotiation table.”
This is a far cry from the US demonization of Putin and the demand that Russian forces must pull out of all Ukrainian territory. This is highly unlikely. Instead, Russia has intensified missile strikes on Ukraine’s power grid. Russian forces are also making steady progress in Artyomovsk (Ukrainians call it Bakhmut).
The damage to Ukrainian power grid will result in additional deaths due to lack of electricity and thus heat. In the first nine months of Russia’s assault, the number of Ukrainian civilian deaths was estimated by the UN human rights agency at around 6,600. In the coming months, this number will rise dramatically. Add to that the very high casualty rate among Ukrainian soldiers, and the country’s future does not look too promising.
Other European countries such as Italy (under a new government) and Hungary have refused to accept US demands to not import Russian gas. Even German Chancellor Olaf Scholz sent a not-so-subtle message to Biden by visiting Beijing on November 4 accompanied by top businessmen. In Biden’s National Security Strategy document, China is presented as the main threat to US interests (read that as US hegemony).
Scholz, however, made clear that “new centres of power are emerging in a multipolar world, and we aim to establish and expand partnerships with all of them.” While Washington warlords continue with the policy of aggression targeting any power that stands in their way, the Europeans are forced to pay the price. Even the Economist recognises that the continent is “at risk of mass deindustrialisation”.
With friends like the US, who needs enemies?