On May 15, Serbia’s oldest evening paper, Večernje novosti (Evening News), published an interview with our Chronicles Foreign Affairs Editor Srdja Trifkovic under the headline, “Debt Bondage to America,” and the subheading, “Srdja Trifkovic on the punishment that Europe imposed on itself.” We bring you the English translation of this article, which was the most popular item on the paper’s site that day.
The hegemonic clique that conducts American foreign policy has managed to bring Europe under control more firmly and radically than at any time during the Cold War, says historian, author, and professor of international relations Srdja Trifkovic. In his opinion, the political class in Europe has caved in to pressure. The old aspirations for a common European defense, foreign and security policy have been rendered meaningless; the Old Continent has been made fully compliant by the transatlantic hegemon, the United States.
Trifkovic: The hegemonic clique that plots American foreign policy with Biden as the façade—a Potemkin village of a president—has managed to bring Europe under control more firmly than at any time during the Cold War. At the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis in the fall of 1962, at the peak of Cold War tensions, we still had a De Gaulle in France, who represented the voice of reason and independent opinion. Later, in the ’70s and on, there were Willy Brandt and Helmut Schmidt in Germany; Pompidou, Giscard d’Estaing and Mitterrand in France. Today there are none. We have characters such as Annalena Baerbock at the helm of the German foreign ministry, which is just tragicomic.
There is no way for Europe to emerge unscathed from the global crisis caused by the war in Ukraine, Trifkovic believes. Current European leaders are not up to the challenge which the nations of Europe collectively face.
Trifkovic: I don’t see how Europe can get out of the slump if it obeys the U.S. dictate and gives up on Russian energy, even at the cost of declining GDP and multiple increases in energy prices. If it continues in addition to the suicidal immigration policy—leading to demographic replacement of the French, Germans, Dutch, Belgians, Italians, etc. with millions of “invaders” from the other side of the Mediterranean—then it is difficult to put together a model of European recovery. That model could be embodied by Viktor Orban, who fights to preserve the authenticity of his nation, its traditions, its social and state institutions against the Brussels machine. Certainly [the model] cannot be provided by Emmanuel Macron or Olaf Scholz or the team of dwarves who rule the European Union today.
Trifkovic has toured the United States, France, Germany, and Switzerland for over a month recently and shared his impressions on how the political-media elite and public opinion in those countries perceive the Ukrainian crisis.
Trifkovic: There is a surprising uniformity of the dominant media and political elite reaction on both sides of the ocean, evident in the near-hysterical Russophobia. Not just condemning Putin’s regime, but all things Russian. Certain forms of the collective pathology of the West are visible here, and they are not new. Dostoevsky wrote about it in the second half of the 19th century and Berdyaev in the early 20th. We see the extent to which the feeling of Russia as the Other, something alien to the Western spirit and civilization, has been present all along in a latent form. It’s a remarkable mixture of hostility and repulsion that is primarily culturally motivated rather than geopolitically driven. When you see the blue and yellow flags of Ukraine flying on restaurants, public buildings, balconies—you realize that finally the gloomy, declining collective West has found something around which it can rally.
He added that citizens who do not share the views of the leaders better keep quiet:
Trifkovic: There is no equivalent unanimity among the people at large as among the elite. The view is still present, quite apart from the intensive Russophobic propaganda, that this is a matter of illegal and unprovoked Russian aggression which should be resisted. More sophisticated analysis is to be found mainly on social networks, including questions about the Western contribution to such an outcome, prodding Ukraine to turn anti-Russian and aggressively expanding NATO eastward. Saying these things opens one to the accusation of being Putin’s stooge, but such voices do exist. If you express doubts about the approved discourse, you can expose yourself to many inconveniences, career included. But even people [in Europe] who shy away from civic courage are not unaware that their countries obey the transatlantic orders.
Trifkovic noted that the adverse effects of the Ukrainian crisis in Western Europe are mostly reflected in the prices of food and fuel. He said that the U.S. seems especially intent to undermine the industry of Germany and Italy.
Trifkovic: What has not yet been sufficiently absorbed by the public of these countries is that this is not a temporary, transient phenomenon. By joining radical sanctions against Russia, by extending them to gas, oil, and all derivatives, [the countries] condemn themselves to debt bondage in relation to the U.S. [The U.S.] will not be able to provide them with more than 15-18 percent of LPG, but by dictating the redirection of Russian energy to the East, it will leave Europe in a terribly vulnerable position. That’s what Americans seem to want: to undermine two EU countries that still have significant industry, namely Germany and Italy. They will be worst affected by sanctions on Russian gas and oil. Increases in production costs mean Europe will be losing its economic, and thus political, power to counter American domination. Italian and German employers and unions oppose this, and here they sing from the same page. This has no political weight, however, because the levers of power are firmly set and unyielding. Decision makers ignore such pressures, regardless of what the majority of ordinary citizens may think.
The new totalitarianism in Europe will be similar to Bolshevism: all those who do not fit into the scheme of the globalist elite will be duly “canceled.”
Trifkovic: It will not take the form of Chekists putting people against the wall. The velvety glove will allow the deviants to drive Amazon vans or flip burgers. They will not be able to teach at the university or to practice journalism or to work in the civil service. Europe will continue to swear by human rights, the rule of law, etc., but the essence of the new totalitarianism is not much different from Soviet Bolshevism. One major difference is that, in the system of real socialism, ordinary people knew that the government was lying to them, that what was served to them through the media was an ideologically packaged lie. In the Western world, a majority of people are still not fully aware of that fact.
Image: Bars from Marshalsea Debtors Prison (John W. Schulze, CC BY 2.0, via flckr)