The US is doing its best to estrange the EU from Russia to get the upper hand in a free trade deal, and also, to manipulate European countries into buying America’s relatively more expensive natural gas.
TTIP and Ukraine
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a Euro-Atlantic free trade agreement that is the subject of ongoing negotiations between the US and the EU. The deadline for finalizing the TTIP free trade agreement is in 2015. Its goal is to create what is referred to as the Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Area (TAFTA) and to cement the European Union with the United States as one supranational trading bloc.
These trade negations have been passing under the public’s radar, because they have been taking place very discreetly behind closed doors. The very TTIP’s name is designed to conceal, and was selected by policy and trade mandarins, because of their fears a public backlash could erupt against the negotiations, as it did in the case of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) talks in 2001. Like the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), which was signed in Ottawa between Canada and the EU on September 26, wordsmiths calculatingly picked the name TTIP to try to hide the fact that it is a free trade agreement.
Washington is doing its best to disrupt trade ties between its EU partners and the Russian Federation in order to get greater leverage in the TTIP negotiations. Its strategy is to economically weaken its European partners by getting them to cut ties with Moscow through anti-Russia sanctions that will directly hurt their economies too. Washington calculates that this will force a weakened EU to maximize the economic concessions to the US in the TTIP talks.
Geopolitically, this is a story about Euro-Atlantic (read Euro-US) integration versus Eurasian (read Euro-Asian) integration. It seeks to reduce Russian influence in the EU and any risks of the strengthening of trade ties between Russia and the EU by trying to marginalize the Russians in Europe. TTIP negotiations have intensified because the US wants to amalgamate the EU with North America, because it fears that countries like Germany could start considering a Eurasian alternative involving Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in the post-Soviet space.
The crisis in Ukraine precisely serves the US’s dual purpose to weaken both the EU and Russia. It seeks not only to expand NATO and encircle Russia, but also to damage EU-Russia ties. Ukraine is literally being exploited and used by the US to create a rift between Moscow and the EU and to portray Russia as a bogyman and threat to European security.
AFP Photo/Mario Tama