EU Feels Heat From Russia

EDMOND, OK -- Russia is mounting pressure on the European Union on two fronts: Ukraine and the Mediterranean. Tensions will rise till a pact is agreed between these two powers.

Russian naval vessels like this one will soon patrol the Mediterranean — in the EU’s “backyard.”

Little if any press and media coverage is currently being given to a situation that is slated soon to become one of Britain’s and America’s main foreign policy concerns. The trouble is, when the Anglo-Americans finally wake up to this threat to their national security it will inevitably be too late.

Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, European Union foreign policy gurus are deeply concerned on two fronts. For some time, Russia and the EU have been involved in a tussle over just where the eastward and southward push of the hegemonic European Union would stop.

During the time that Russia was down on the mat, mired in the mess of its failed command economy and struggling to come to grips with the loss of its Soviet empire, the European Union, encouraged by the Vatican state and the Western democracies, in particular the U.S., steamrolled across the old divide of the Berlin Wall to swallow up scads of old Soviet satellite nations destined to become new member states of this emerging European federation.

All Russia could do through the 1990s was watch helplessly as much of its post-World War II empire east of Berlin rapidly shrank way back to the Ukraine plain.

Came the 21st century, a new Russian premier, plus an unslakeable thirst for energy from the rising EU and Asian economies raking in the revenues for sale of Russia’s huge oil and gas resources, and Russia rebounded economically.

Now, with a cash box overflowing with rubles and a czarist president as leader of the new Russia, Red Russia is again sounding the drums of Cold War psychology against the West, and it is the EU that is feeling the pressure.

Since the time of the Orange Revolution, Russia and the West have been involved in a tussle over just who will control Ukraine, the breadbasket of the old Soviet Union. During the early winter of 2005, Ukrainians took to the streets in protest against vote rigging that had denied their favored candidate, Viktor Yushchenko, a legitimate electoral victory in the vote for the country’s presidency.

Known as the Orange Revolution for the color adopted by Yushchenko’s Ukraine opposition party, a color sported by the masses that gathered in largely peaceful protest outside the presidential palace in revolt against the rigged election, the outcome was a reversal of the vote counters’ earlier decision, victory then going to Yushchenko and his supporters.

Viktor Yushchenko, the darling of the West, became the country’s president, with defeated pro-Russian candidate Viktor Yanukovich retaining the office of prime minister. The Orange Revolution resulted in what some termed a “seismic shift Westward in the geopolitics of the region.” Putin pouted at this defeat of his favored Communist candidate for Ukraine’s presidency, foreseeing the prospect of the EU’s eastern border penetrating even further eastward into old Soviet territory, and most strategic territory at that!

Not only was Ukraine crucial to the Russian economy as a prime supplier of foodstuffs; whoever possessed this great flat plain of the Ukraine had possession of a prime corridor of significant military value!

In a gigantic snub to its former Russian overlord, Ukraine instantly applied for membership of the European Union.

Vladimir Putin’s response to Ukraine’s swing toward the West has been to not so subtly threaten the EU with interruption to the flow of energy from Russian-controlled resources. Russia is one of the EU’s main suppliers of natural gas, much of which transits through Ukraine. In the winter of 2005-2006, Russia and Ukraine began a major natural gas battle during which Russia cut supplies to Ukraine, triggering a Europe-wide energy crisis.

Russia has recently placed further pressure on Ukraine by concluding a rather messy deal, in the closing days of Prime Minister Yanukovich’s cabinet, over the pricing of natural gas. Pro-Russian Yanukovich is being ousted from the prime minister’s post by the populist, braided-haired Yulia Timoshenko.

The combination of Timoshenko and a messy gas deal with Russia may lay the groundwork for a similar crisis to that of 2005-2006 emerging during the current winter. Yulia Timoshenko, Yushchenko’s fellow traveler during the Orange Revolution, has stated that “any deal made by the Yanukovich cabinet will be ‘renegotiated’ once she comes to power”.

This will no doubt involve challenging the latest price hikes that Russia has imposed on Ukraine. Timoshenko has given the impression that she is spoiling for this fight. Should battle be joined again on this score, it may well culminate in a veritable rerun of the 2005 natural gas crisis plunging the EU into another winter of gas cuts.

In the meantime, the European Union is working frantically to diversify its energy supply sources so as to make it less dependant on Russia, a dependency that is viewed as an extreme strategic weakness in the European Union’s security fabric. Hence Germany and France agitating for more direct involvement in the Middle East peace process, a vital key to influencing energy suppliers in that crucial energy resource region.

Second Front

Yet, Russia is now mounting pressure on the European Union on two fronts.

At the same time as he tightens the screws at the EU’s eastern flank, Vladimir Putin plans now to apply pressure to the EU on its southern perimeter.

Earlier this month Russia announced its intention to resume naval patrols in the Mediterranean. This will place Russian naval vessels in the same waters as NATO’s Standing Naval Force Mediterranean, currently under the command of the EU’s principal economy, Germany.

The German command’s brief (which it has held for the past five years) is to secure the Mediterranean’s crucial waterways from Gibraltar to the Middle East. The presence of the Russian Navy patrolling the same beat is bound to raise tensions between the EU and Russia.

Since 2002, the German government has been establishing its navy’s global reach. “German warships are controlling a maritime area 10 times larger than Germany, from the entrance of the Persian Gulf (the Strait of Hormuz) and the entrance of the Red Sea (Bab el Mandab, near Dijbuti) — a route of great importance for the trade with East and Southeast Asia.

German naval units are stationed along the Lebanese coast and at times navigate into larger areas of the Mediterranean, as part of NATO’s Active Endeavor operations.

The point about the Mediterranean is that the EU sees it increasingly as its own backyard, given that the crucial sea gates of Gibraltar, Malta, Crete and Greece are all either EU member states or fall under the administration of EU member countries, as in the case of Gibraltar (Britain) and Crete (Greece).

Thus, any allusion to Russian interference in the region of the Mediterranean is bound to raise hackles in Berlin and Brussels. Stratfor hit the nail right on the head seeing this latest move by Russia as, for the present, being more along the lines of a foreign-policy initiative designed to apply pressure in its bargaining with competing nations, rather than an overt military strategy.

“Russia is searching for a way to use its military to achieve more in its foreign relations, and while Russian military technology should never be scoffed at, this is a move laden with political implications — not military ones. For now”.

As we have pointed out in the past, tensions are bound to continue to rise between the EU and Russia until EU expansion east and south and revived Russian imperialist thrusts cease to be perceived as threats from each by the other.

A Russo-EU pact must be agreed soon on these border and perimeter issues so that the EU and Russia cease wasting time, energy and rhetoric on matters that hinder the progress of each in working toward their major foreign policy goals of becoming global powers of significance.

This is what the latest Russian moves are designed to exact from the rising imperialist EU which has taken so much of the territory of the old Soviet empire from it.

Keep your eye on the EU and Russia.

As Herbert Armstrong consistently forecast, Russia and a European Union dominated by Germany will conclude another type of Molotov-Ribbentrop pact so that each may secure their common borders before they can continue to pursue their independent goals for global dominance.

Indications are that Russia is presently exerting pressure on the European Union to bring matters to a head such that this coming pact will be drawn up sooner rather than later. Once it is concluded, then will be the time for a titanic shift of European foreign policy against any who dare resist its attempts to take possession of the Middle East oil and gas fields.

Meanwhile, the British and American peoples remain largely ignorant of the dire consequences of this mounting crisis.

Source: Trumpet