The deep structure of the Cold War and the EU

By Mikael Böök, World BEYOND War, November 22, 2021

Strategy professor Stefan Forss says in Helsinki newspaper Hufvudstadsbladet that Russia is planning an invasion of Ukraine.

This is what it looks like.

If so, Russia is responding to preparations by the US and Ukrainian governments to permanently integrate Ukraine into the US global empire, completing the Western military advance against Russia that began in the second half of the 1990s.

Forss further believes that “the disgusting refugee crisis at the EU and NATO borders in Poland and Lithuania. . . shows the characteristics of a Russian deception operation, a “maskirovka”, which is another way of blaming what is happening at Putin’s borders.

The risk of a major military conflict has unfortunately increased in our part of the world at the same time as military-political tensions have intensified in Asia, especially around the question of the future of Taiwan. The use of thousands of migrants as playing pieces arouses justified disgust, but what feelings does the use of Ukraine’s 45 million and Taiwan’s 23 million evoke like tokens in the geopolitical game?

Maybe it shouldn’t lead to outbursts of emotion and accusations, but should be sobering.

The Cold War did not end with the Soviet Union. It continues, albeit in more Orwellian geopolitical forms than before. Now there are three world parts, just like “Eurasia, Oceania and East Asia” in Orwell’s “1984”. Propaganda, “hybrid actions” and citizen surveillance are also dystopian. We remember the revelations of Snowden.

The main cause of the Cold War is, as before, nuclear weapon systems and the constant threat they pose to the climate and life on earth. These systems constituted and continue to constitute “the deep structure of the Cold War”. I borrow the expression from the historian EP Thompson and thus hope to recall a choice of path that may still be open to us. We can try to use the UN and international law as a platform to abolish nuclear weapon systems. Or we can continue to drive the Cold War to a nuclear catastrophe due to overheated superpower relations or by mistake.

The modern and enlarged European Union did not yet exist during the first phase of the Cold War. It didn’t see the light of day until the 1990s, when people hoped the Cold War had finally made history. What does it mean for the EU that the cold war continues? At present and in the near future, the citizens of the EU tend to be divided into three parts. First, those who believe that the US nuclear umbrella is our mighty fortress. Second, those who want to believe that France’s nuclear strike force can or will be our mighty fortress. (this idea was certainly not foreign to de Gaulle and was recently disseminated by Macron). Finally, an opinion that wants a Europe free of nuclear weapons and an EU that adheres to the United Nations Convention on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).

Anyone who imagines that the third line of opinion is represented by only a few European citizens is wrong. A majority of Germans, Italians, Belgians and Dutch want to withdraw US nuclear bases from the territories of their respective NATO countries. Public support for Europe’s nuclear disarmament and accession to the United Nations Convention is also strong in the rest of Western Europe, especially in the Nordic countries. This also applies to the nuclear weapon state that is France. A survey (conducted by the FIFG in 2018) showed that 67% of French people want their government to join the TPNW while 33% think it should not. Austria, Ireland and Malta have already ratified the TPNW.

What does all this mean for the EU as an institution? This means that the EU must be courageous and come out of the closet. The EU must dare to deviate from the path currently taken by the opponents of the Cold War. The EU must be based on the opinion of its founder Altiero Spinelli according to which Europe must be denuclearized (which he presented in the article “Atlantic Pact or European Unity”, Foreign Affairs No. 4, 1962). Otherwise, the Union will collapse as the risk of a third world war increases.

States that have acceded to the United Nations Convention on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons will soon meet for the first time since it entered into force in January. The meeting is scheduled in Vienna from March 22-24, 2022. What if the European Commission expresses its support? Such a strategic move on the part of the EU would be really new! In return, the EU would in retrospect deserve the Peace Prize awarded to it too early in 2012 by the Nobel Committee. The EU must dare to support the UN Convention. And Finland must dare to give the EU a little push in this direction. All signs of life in the fight against the Cold War would be welcome. A minimal sign of life would be, like Sweden, to take observer status and send observers to the Vienna meeting.

David swanson is an author, activist, journalist and radio host. He is executive director of
and campaign coordinator for Swanson’s books include War is a lie. He blogs on
and he hosts Talking Radio Nation. He is nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019.

Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson
and Facebook.

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