European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso makes a speech at the EC headquarters in Brussels October 12, 2012, after the European Union won the Nobel Peace Prize for its long-term role in uniting the continent.
The European Union (EU), this Monday in Oslo, received the Nobel Peace Prize for advancing peace, reconciliation, democracy and human rights.
How exciting. Look at the cast selected to receive the award; the spectacularly useless Herman van Rompuy (president of the European Council); the spectacularly mediocre Jose Manuel Barroso (president of the European Commission); and non-entity Martin Schulz, president of the European Parliament. The Rolling Stones may be geriatric, but at least they still know how to work a crowd.
Barroso must have been loaded on Douro wine; he said the EU is "a powerful inspiration for many around the world". Well, the love affair of the Chinese masses with Audi and Prada is not exactly inspired by the EU. He also said the EU is about "the free consent of states to share sovereignty"; well, the Brits are so thrilled with it that an overwhelming percentage of the population wants to leave.
But Barroso may have been on to something when he defended the euro: "We will stand by it."
So what the Norwegians - which, wisely, are not part of the EU - did was to award a Nobel Prize to the (battered, devalued) euro. Take it as a PR boost; after all no two EU members are able to agree on taxation, on regulating financial turbo-capitalism, on what to do about a bankrupt Greece and soon the whole Club Med, or on what those somber suits at the European Central Bank (ECB) are really up to.
As a matter of fact, few apart from that legion of Brussels bureaucrats on fat expense accounts know what the hell the EU is for, other than lunch in Paris and dinner in Parma without carrying a passport (oh yes; fabulous gastronomy is the EU's saving grace, at least for those who can afford it).
The EU exists basically to uphold article 3 of the Lisbon Treaty; it's supposed to be a "highly-competitive market social economy", transacting in euros. Yes, you have the right to remain puzzled - because any examination of recent headlines reveals this scheme is not working. The scheme is run by a technocratic caste addicted to "structural adjustments" that condemn dozens of millions to the pit of austerity. It's as if those Brussels bureaucrats were saying" You're either with us - with the euro - or against us (and then it's war). Yet the fact is, economic war - on European citizens - is already on.
It's only rock'n war...
The EU's foreign policy may also be a joke, as in 27 headless chickens shooting at random - and at each other - on everything from Palestine to the admission of Turkey. But one thing the EU really well does is to produce, market and sell weapons to everyone involved in the business of war.
Asia Times Online has independently confirmed with two EU-based diplomats that the EU - via its US-dominated military arm, NATO - is getting ready to yet another war, in Syria. This confirms a recent report along the same lines by German daily Suddeutsche Zeitung (Moon of Alabama offers a very good translation here).
The diplomats confirmed to ATol that the secretary general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) - the spectacularly mediocre Anders Fogh Rasmussen - is itching for a war in Syria, enveloped in "NATO must not bury its head in the sand" rhetoric.
Reciting his lines directly from Washington, Rasmussen is strongly supported by Turkey, Britain and France, with Germany caught in an extremely ambivalent position; German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has discarded war in favor of a political solution.
Yet itching for war is one thing, clinching the deal is another. Even a directive for NATO to start getting its act together in Syria needs to be approved by all 28 NATO member countries. Still, here is the skeleton of the deal; Washington will keep ordering its Danish puppet Rasmussen to prepare the ground for war, by all means necessary. Welcome to Syria as Libya 2.0 - even though there's no way Washington can justify yet another Responsibility to Protect (R2P) scam at the UN Security Council.
Yes Brussels, we got a problem. This is happening just as Patriot missiles are being deployed to the Turkish border, along with 400 German troops. German public opinion does not want yet another war in the Muslim world. There are elections in Germany in 2013. Angela Merkel and Westerwelle are not exactly a suicidal bunch.
The spin on the Patriot missiles - that they will "protect" Turkey against any possible missiles launched from Syria - comes straight from the weapons of mass deception playbook. Frederick Ben Hodges, the head of NATO's brand new Allied Land Command, based in Izmir, Turkey, told the Anatolia news agency that the Patriots will be there to stop Syrian chemical missiles.
As if Bashar al-Assad, as much as Frau Merkel, was a suicidal nut. The only people who really believe the Washington-instigated intel hype according to which Damascus "might" use chemical weapons as a last resort are Danish lapdog Rasmussen and the British/French/Turkish club of political mediocrities. Crude NATO psy ops is not likely to scare the Syrian government.
As for the spectacularly erratic Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, he has been consistent in only one thing; he's got a fever, and the only prescription is a no-fly zone. Even though Turkish public opinion also does not want a war, Erdogan could not get rid of his fever. The US/NATO spin machine tried everything - from bribing hordes of officials in Damascus to blaming mini-Holocausts on Assad every other week. It didn't work.
The so-called "rebels" - infested with Salafi-jihadis - in fact "control" only rural, Sunni-majority backwaters or slums around the major cities. There may be as many as 40,000 fighters around the suburbs of Damascus; but they may be about to step into a monstrous ambush set up by the Syrian Army.
So the alleged game-changer has got to be extended show time for the chemical weapons scare, leading - hopefully? - to the no-fly zone Holy Grail.
...But I like it
Never mind that the incessantly hyped "pro-democracy" Free Syrian Army (FSA) - a dodgy bunch financed and logistically supported by the US, NATO and those Persian Gulf paragons of democracy - is totally infiltrated by Libyan/Syrian/Iraqi hardcore jihadis killing civilians indiscriminately on behalf of the human rights-loving Nobel Peace Prize EU.
Yet they persist. Under the watchful eyes of the US and NATO-GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) club, top rebels met in Turkey last Friday to elect a "30-member unified command". Predictably, these are all linked to either the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) or Salafis; from Islamist commanders Jamal Marouf and Ahmad al-Issa to Salafi icon Colonel Abdelbasset al-Tawil. The top two from Aleppo are - what else - Salafis. Translation; these are the ones that the US State Department has not rebranded (yet) as "terrorists".
The overall modus operandi is to be expanded: more European-financed weapons to Salafi-jihadi killer gangs. France is showering euros on them across the Turkish border. And this Wednesday the Friends of Syria meet again in Marrakech, Morocco, heavily biased towards the NATO-GCC "we want war" nucleus.
Norwegians, you have nothing to lose but your sense of ridicule - as if that was not already lost; after all, if a messy EU, messy currency and all, may bag your Nobel Peace Prize, it's time to award a struggling NATO a Nobel War Prize. Rasmussen may be no Mick Jagger, but he's itching for it; it's only rock'n war, and he likes it.
Reprinted with permission from Pepe Escobar.
Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His most recent book, just out, is Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).
He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org