Europe under the Atlanticist thumb: "Free trade" and "free migration" destroying nations
In the contemporary European Union, the nation-state is undergoing a profound crisis which threatens not only the stability and well-being of the peoples of these countries, but also the viability of any project of European integration. What are some of the signs that European states have lost or are losing their last vestiges of sovereignty, and is the process irreversible on national grounds?
The refugee crisis and the US-initiated TTIP are two of the more controversial issues which can be considered symptoms of the crisis of nominally sovereign European nation-states which in turn are united in a supposedly sovereign EU. The TTIP economic agreement continues to loom over and threaten Europe. As Andres Barrera Gonzales summarizes in his study of American imperialism in Europe, the TTIP is:
…from its very foundations designed to serve the interests of corporate America, to benefit the larger multinational corporations and big financial Capital; rather than for the benefit of the people, or to attend to true national or multinational interests. The deplorable subordination of the EU to the USA’s strategic interests, therefore the lack of autonomy in defining their own path in key issues like defence, foreign affairs, or economic policy for that matter, may have very damaging and tragic consequences for the EU in the (not so) long run.
The TTIP indeed threatens to guarantee that European states and the EU as a whole remain economically beholden to the United States’ “free trade”. The actual result is the exclusion of the European public from the decision-making processes on economic agreements, and the prevention of beneficial economic relations between Europe and other global players such as Russia and China.
As such, the TTIP presents itself as a barometer of the quelling of Europe’s sovereignty by the US. It not only exposes the subjugation of the EU at large, but also the repression of individual EU nation-states by supranational Atlanticist structures inside the EU, as demonstrated by the top-down level and secrecy of TTIP negotiations as well as the crude reality that, if the TTIP is implemented, EU national governments will no longer be capable of holding transnational corporations accountable, while the latter can freely sue states over unprofitable policies.
The refugee/migrant crisis is another signal of the weakness of the remnants of European nation-states’ sovereignty. European border security systems are collapsing and massive waves of frustrated, desperate, war-torn people from foreign cultures and with unknown backgrounds are overwhelming European states. This threatens to disrupt an already problematic social and demographic stability and impose new burdens on already crisis-ridden budgets. Even Germany, whose leaders are the main proponents of “compassion” towards the influx of refugees, can hardly be called sovereign representatives of Germany insofar as they have allowed their own citizens to become the targets of mass scale sexual harassment and even assault (while the opposition of the majority of Germans to more migration is ignored). The same has happened in Sweden, where police and politicians have also been accused of covering up similar incidents. It is indeed extremely difficult to imagine how a truly sovereign state can passively allow such a potential catastrophe to cross and accumulate within its borders.
Indeed, many of Europe's nations have been deprived of political and geopolitical sovereignty and have been alternately enticed and coerced into economic submission to the US. They are denied the right to maintain their respective national and European cultural heritage and instead are being forcibly served the dishes of neoliberalism, austerity, "human rights" (which apparently do not include the right of women not to be raped) and "multiculturalism", which in recent months have led to social and demographic tensions that now border on explosions within the context of the refugee/migrant crisis.
The pragmatic realism of one of the leaders of the Slovak social-democratic SMER party shows just how much the handling of the refugee crisis exposes the anti-sovereign nature of the Atlanticist EU, and can help one gauge the extent to which many such “European problems” are in fact problems placed upon Europe as a consequence of the anti-European nature of Atlanticism. It is important to keep in mind that the migrant crisis itself is a result of the EU’s trailing of American foreign policy’s endless wars and destabilization campaigns, for which, at the end of the day, Europe has paid a high price.
The refugee controversy and the TTIP are just the tip of the iceberg of the deep-rooted dependence of EU structures on the United States, and are the most recent confirmations of the deteriorating sovereignty of Europe. For the past two decades, the unipolar, Atlanticist rule of the United States with its enforcement of "liberal values" and its parasitic late capitalism has had unquestionably negative and erosive consequences for European nation-states. The contemporary European Union itself, despite certain myths surrounding its origins, was indeed a product of the American conquest of post-war Europe. This was part of the overarching Atlanticist project, and is itself in arranged to suppress national sovereignty, which instead must be the elementary building block of any genuine European integration project. The case of Greece is a glaringly evident example, and just as many of its individual states internally, the EU as a whole bears signs of being an Atlanticist colony.
While the symptoms of the refugee crisis, the TTIP, and the US's general hegemony over a crucial portion of EU structures and policy are indeed salient features, a further dimension of the issue of sovereignty lies at the heart of the crisis of globalization. The collapse of socialism in the Soviet Union signaled the end of the Cold War and the global triumph of the United States and its liberal capitalist model. This in turn ignited the next phase of globalization, and put the nation-state in a weakened position. The historic ascent of the global ideology of Liberalism after the Cold War, when the “End of History” was declared, shows that the nation-state and "nationality" itself were slated for dismantlement under the pressure of Liberalism’s progressive atomization. The nation-state was and is to be replaced by the full course of the "New World Order" and "universal human rights and democracy" of the American variety. Needless to say, “human rights” does not mean “social rights” nor anything substantial but merely the justification for regime change and for the imposition of extreme neoliberal policies, declining public healthcare, and also, in growing cases, Monsanto food (in other words, “human rights” does not mean the right to health and to a long life). The crisis of Europe today and its offshoot problems can be traced back to the ideological, economic, and geopolitical dimensions of this End of History.