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America bombs, Europe gets the refugees

The US Government (with France and a few other US allies) bombs Libya, Syria, etc.; and the US regime refuses to accept any of the resulting refugees — the burdens from which are now breaking the EU, and the EU is sinking in economic competition against America’s international corporations.

Eric Zuesse

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America’s corporations remain blithely unscathed by not only the refugees that are breaking up the EU, but also by the EU’s economic sanctions against Russia, Iran, and other allies of governments that the US regime is trying to overthrow in its constant invasions and coups.

The US Government makes proclamations such as “Assad must go!” — but by what right is the US Government involved, at all, in determining whom the leaders in Syria will be? Syria never invaded the US In fact, Syria never invaded anywhere (except, maybe, Israel, in order to respond against Israel’s invasions). Furthermore, all polling, even by Western pollsters, shows that Bashar al-Assad would easily win any free and fair election in Syria.

The US Government claims to support democracy, but it does the exact opposite whenever they want to get rid of a Government that is determined to protect that nation’s sovereignty over its own national territory, instead of to yield it to the US regime, or to any other foreigners. The US regime has virtually destroyed the United Nations.

The US regime even refuses to provide restitution to Syria for its bombings, and for its arming and training of the jihadists — the fundamentalist Sunni mercenaries recruited from around the world — who are the US regime’s “boots on the ground” trying to overthrow Syria’s Government. Al Qaeda has led the dozens of jihadist groups that have served as the US regime’s “boots on the ground” to overthrow Assad, but Al Qaeda is good enough to serve the purpose, in the US regime’s view of things.

The US regime says that there will be no restitution to Syria unless Syria accepts being ruled by ‘rebels’ whose leadership is actually being chosen by the US regime’s chief ally, the fundamentalist-Sunni Saud family, who already own Saudi Arabia, and who (along with the CIA) have been unsuccessfully trying, ever since 1949, to take over the secular, non-sectarian, nation of Syria. In fact, the CIA perpetrated two of the three Syrian coups that were carried out in 1949.

The US regime, and its allies, have used the Muslim Brotherhood, in order to recruit into Syria the 100,000+ jihadists from around the world to fight to overthrow Syria’s secular Government. Even the BBC’s 13 December 2013 detailed report, “Guide to the Syrian rebels”, made clear that the “Syrian Rebels” were, in fact, overwhelmingly jihadist and largely recruited from abroad. These were hardly democrats.

Even a Tony-Blair-founded anti-Assad NGO’s study concluded that “Sixty per cent of major Syrian rebel groups are Islamist extremists (not just “Islamists” but “Islamist extremists”) and yet the Blair outfit still supported the overthrow of the committed secularist Assad (just as Blair had earlier participated himself in the US regime’s destruction of Iraq).

The fundamentalist-Sunni royal Thani family own Qatar and have been the top international funders of the Muslim Brotherhood, just as the fundamentalist-Sunni royal Saud family, who own Saudi Arabia, have been the top funders of Al Qaeda. The main difference between the Sauds and the Thanis has been that whereas the Sauds hate Shia (and that means especially Iran), the Thanis don’t. Thus, for the Sauds, this is a war against the Shia center, Iran, and not only against Syria.

This war against Syria was a coordinated US-Saud-Thani operation, in which the fundamentalist-Sunni group, Al Qaeda, provided the leadership but the (pan-Islamic) fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood provided the largest recruiting website. This entire hyper-aggressive operation was internationally coordinated. The Obama Administration started planning this operation, under Hillary Clinton, in 2010. As even the neoconservative (i.e., US-empire advocating) Washington Post reported, on 17 April 2011, from Wikileaks, “It is unclear whether the State Department is still funding Syrian opposition groups, but the cables indicate money was set aside [by the Obama Administration] at least through September 2010.” That article mentioned only “former members of the Muslim Brotherhood,” not the Muslim Brotherhood itself; and no mention was made in it to Al Qaeda, in any form.

Then, in 2013, the neoconservative Foreign Policy magazine headlined “How the Muslim Brotherhood Hijacked Syria’s Revolution” and was oblivious regarding the neoconservative Obama Administration’s having planned that “hijacking,” starting in 2010 (but going back even as far as Obama’s inauguration; this operation was a key part of his secret anti-Russia agenda, which preceded even his coming into office). But if Obama wasn’t neocon-enough to suit that magazine’s editors, then Trump certainly should be, because Trump continues Obama’s foreign policies but with an even more hostile thrust against the Sauds’ chief target, which is Iran. Above all, the US alliance’s goal has been for the Saud family’s selected (rabidly anti-Shiite) people to take over and run the Syrian Government. As Global Security has phrased this matter, “The High Negotiations Committee [which is the group who are negotiating against Assad’s government at the US-sponsored ‘peace’ talks] is a Saudi-backed coalition of Syrian opposition groups. The High Negotiations Committee (HNC) was created in Saudi Arabia in December 2015.”

So, this war in Syria has actually been the Sauds’ war to take over Syria. And it actually started in 1949, but the US-backed Muslim-Brotherhood-led “Arab Spring” in 2011 gave the US and its allies the opportunity to culminate it, finally.

And Europe receives the fall-out from it. This fall-out has been hurting European corporations, in international competition against US corporations. It’s not only political.

The US regime has continued this thrust, under Obama’s successor. US President Donald Trump demands European corporations to end their business with Shiite Iran (which the Saud family is determined to take over), and to end their business with Russia, which America’s own billionaires themselves are determined to take over, just like the Sauds are determined to take over both Syria and Iran.

And Europe receives refugees not only from places where the US and some of its NATO allies have recently been bombing, but even from Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan, and other places where NATO has bombed in the past, and even from Ukraine, where the US regime perpetrated a bloody coup in February 2014, followed there by an ethnic-cleansing campaign to kill the residents in areas which had voted the heaviest for the overthrown President.

America is no actual ally of Europe. The Marshall Plan is long-since finished, and America has been taken over by psychopaths who are Europe’s main enemies, not Europe’s friends, at all. (They’re friends of some European aristocracies, but not of any European public, not of even merely one public.)

Iran and Russia should be Europe’s allies — they didn’t cause any of Europe’s problems. America did. America’s intelligence agencies tapped (and probably still tap) the phones of Germany’s Chancellor and practically everybody else, and yet the US regime has the gall to blame Russia for interfering in the political affairs of European countries. If that isn’t the pot calling the kettle ‘black’, then what is? If anything, the EU’s sanctions should be against doing business with American firms — not against doing business with Russian firms, or with Iranian firms. European politicians who support the US support Europe’s top enemy.

Russia is, itself, a European country, which additionally traverses much of Asia, but America is no European country, at all, and yet now is so brazen as to demand that Europe must do America’s bidding — not only against Russia, but also against the Sauds’ main target, which is Iran (the same main target as Israel’s).

Why are Europeans not asking themselves: Who is Europe’s enemy in all of this — what causes this refugee-crisis? The refugees certainly didn’t.

It’s not Russia, and it’s not Iran, and it’s not China; it is America — which is the true enemy of them all, and of us all — including even of the American people ourselves, because the US Government no longer actually represents the American people. These invasions, and military occupations, and coups, do not serve America’s public; they serve America’s aristocracy. The US is no longer (if it ever was) a democracy. The US Government now is the US aristocracy — not the US public. It’s a dictatorship. And, it has the type of ‘news’media that any dictatorship has.

On June 30th, the US aristocracy’s New York Times headlined “Bavaria: Affluent, Picturesque — and Angry”, and reported “the new angry center of Europe, the latest battleground for populists eager to bring down both Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and the idea of a liberal Europe itself.” Their elitist (pro-US-aristocracy) ‘reporter’ (actually propagandist) interviewed ‘experts’ who condemn Europe’s politicians that are trying to assuage their own public’s anger against the EU’s open-door policy regarding this flood of refugees from what is actually, for the most part, the US regime’s (and its allies’) bombings — air-support of the boots-on-the-ground jihadist mercenaries. The combination of this air-support, and of the jihadists, has been the backbone of the US-Saudi-Israeli effort to overthrow and replace Syria’s Government.

Libya was a similar case, but was only friendly toward Russia, not allied with Russia, as both Syria and Iran are.

The US aristocracy funds an enormous international PR campaign for all this. These are ‘humanitarian’ bombings in order to replace a ‘barbaric’ Government — but replace it with what? With one that would be chosen by the Sauds. And this propaganda-campaign is also funded by the US-allied aristocracies. All of the major ‘news’media, in US and allies, receive their ‘expert’ ‘information’ from these privately-funded and government-funded propagandists, who are treated by ‘journalists’ as being objective and experts (which they’re not).

The NYT article says — and I add here key explanatory links:

“This is not about economics,” said Gerald Knaus, the director of the European Stability Initiative, [and though unmentioned by the Times“The Open Society Institute was a major core funder” of the ESI, which is] a Berlin-based think tank. “It is about identity and a very successful populist P.R. machine that is rewriting recent history.”

So: the Times was secretly (and they didn’t include any links to help online readers know who was actually funding their ‘experts’, at all) pumping NATO propaganda, as if it were authentic and neutral news-reporting, instead of craven service to the US aristocracy that controls the US Government and its NATO military alliance. This is the New York Times, itself, that is “rewriting recent history.” That’s how they do it — constantly (as ‘news’).

And here is some of that “recent history” the Times is “rewriting” (by simply omitting to so much as even just suggest, but which is essential backgound in order to understand the real history behind this important matter):

——

http://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/RP01-50/RP01-50.pdf

House of Commons, Research Paper 01/50, 2 May 2001

“European Security and Defence Policy: Nice and Beyond”

pp. 47-48:

On 7 February 2001 the Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, emphasised the ESDP’s [European Security and Defence Policy’s] tie to NATO during a press interview, following his meeting in Washington with US National Security Adviser, Condoleeza Rice. He said:

I have stressed that the European Security Initiative will strengthen the capacity of Europe to contribute to crisis management and therefore is welcome to a Washington that is interested in fairer burden sharing, and that Washington can be confident that Britain will insist that the European Security Initiative is firmly anchored on NATO. We are both determined to see that happen, we are both determined to make sure that the European Security Initiative carries out its promise to strengthen the North Atlantic Alliance.119

——

Though the Sauds, and also Israel’s aristocracy, are mainly anti-Iran, the US aristocracy are obsessed with their goal of conquering Russia. Since Iran, and Syria, are both allied with Russia, the US regime is trying to overthrow those Russia-allied Governments, before going in for the kill, against Russia itself. That’s what all of these economic sanctions, and the bombings and the backing of Al Qaeda for overthrowing Syria’s Government, are really all about.

Is this what today’s Europeans want their Governments to be doing — and doing it for that reason, the US aristocracy’s reason? Despite the huge harms it is certainly causing to Europeans?

Here, then, is a debate between, on the one hand a retired CIA official who thinks “Our relationship with Israel causes us war with Muslims,” versus Representatives in the US Congress who are actually representatives of Israel’s Government and definitely not representatives of the American people. Both sides in that debate are acceptable to the aristocrats who control the US Government, because neither side argues that the apartheid theocratic Government of Israel is an enemy of the American people (as is documented actually to be the case, here and here), nor that the entire problem of Islamic terrorism is fundamentalist-Sunni, and that only Israel gets hit by terrorism that’s from both Sunnis and Shiites — that Shiites (the US alliance’s targets) are no terrorist threat, at all, to Europeans (nor to Americans) — the “Islamist” threat is actually only from fundamentalist Sunnis, which are the very same groups that are secretly allied with America’s aristocracy and the Sauds. Neither side of the ‘debate’ acknowledges that both the Sauds and Israel (and Israel’s lobbyists represent internationally also the Sauds’ interests) are enemies both of the American people, and of the peoples of Europe.

As the world’s greatest blogger, the former UK Ambassador (but too honest to stay in that business) Craig Murray, recently said under the headline, “No Trump, No Clinton, No NATO”: “The destruction of Libya’s government and infrastructure directly caused the Mediterranean boat migrant crisis, which has poisoned the politics of much of the European Union.” But, of course, the US regime and its allies have also destroyed other countries than that — and thus caused refugees to Europe from many nations. And, finally, even the US Government (though as quietly as possible) acknowledges that it has destroyed Afghanistan. Ironically, that’s the very nation where America and the Sauds, in 1979, had started their war against all Governments that won’t buckle to them.

Furthermore, the US regime intends to keep it up. In case a reader might happen to think that, surely, the US regime and its allies are going to quit this rousing of hornets’ nests; Sharmine Narwani, who is one of the very few non-“embedded” journalists who reports in The West about — and (which the mainstream ones don’t) from — the war in Syria, headlined, on June 25th, “Are al-Qaeda Affiliates Fighting Alongside US Rebels in Syria’s South?” and she found that the answer to this question is a resounding yes:

Despite its US and UN designation as a terrorist organization, Nusra [Al Qaeda’s main name in Syria] has been openly fighting alongside the “Southern Front,” a group of 54 opposition militias funded and commanded by a US-led war room based in Amman, Jordan called the Military Operations Center (MOC). …

Sources inside Syria — both opposition fighters and Syrian military brass (past and present) — suggest the command center consists of the US, UK, France, Jordan, Israel, and some Persian Gulf states. … In practice, the US doesn’t appear to mind the Nusra affiliation — regardless of the fact that the group is a terror organization — as long as the job gets done.

These wars, which pour Middle Eastern (and also Ukrainian) refugees into the EU, are inter-aristocratic conflicts reflecting inter-aristocratic competitions; and the publics everywhere suffer enormously from them. The gainers from it are very few but very rich (and they hire very powerful agents in Europe and elsewhere). Those billionaire gainers, and their agents, should be Europe’s targets — not Russia and Iran. NATO must end now. Europe needs to be freed, at last, from America’s permanent-war-for permanent-‘peace’ grip. For Europeans, who are the indirect victims, to be blaming the refugees, who are the direct victims, won’t solve anything, but will simply please the victimizers, as is the public’s ancient habit (to please the powerful). A break must be made, away from that ugly past. European publics must lead the way, or no one will.

PS: Since this article asserts such a large number of things that contradict what the US Government and its agents assert, I have sought out and here linked to the highest-quality, least-contested and most highly authenticated, sources and also to sources that link to such sources; all of which, taken together, constitute a book-length proof of the title-case here, that “America Bombs, Europe Gets the Refugees. That’s Evil.” Furthermore, this online virtual “book” is tracking back to the most unimpeachable documents, all of them available merely by means of clicking, and thus without the reader’s needing to visit a huge scholarly library (which might be quite distant); so, the reader can here easily branch out to this entire, and otherwise largely hidden, world of reliable sources, which the US regime wants the public not to know, and certainly not to understand. It’s no longer necessary to be an intelligence-professional in order to come to understand what the regime wants the public not to understand.

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OdidiBobValdezLena JonesSeán MurphyRed Pilled ThoughtCrimes Recent comment authors
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BobValdez
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BobValdez

FINALLY! Eric gets it, calling the us a REGIME, which it 100% IS!

Odidi
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Odidi

Outstanding!

Lena Jones
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Lena Jones

The headline should really read: America Bombs On Behalf of Israel and Europe Gets The Refugees.

Lena Jones
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Lena Jones

“Syria never invaded the US In fact, Syria never invaded anywhere
(except, maybe, Israel, in order to respond against Israel’s invasions)”.

So Syria “invaded” israel as a response to israel’s invasions?! When the fuck did that ever happen?! LOL!

Mister writer, there is only ONE (serial) invader in the middle east and its name is israel.

Seán Murphy
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Seán Murphy

I suggest that Mr Zuesse get himself a competent editor, as this article is torturous and painful to wade through. There are lots of redundancies in it that should be eliminated and the bracketed parallel arguments are digressing and confusing.

Red Pilled ThoughtCrimes
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Red Pilled ThoughtCrimes

The bombs intent is to move people also. US helping EU facilitate kalergi plan

james
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james

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is also opposed to the scheme, cooked up by the likes of George Soros, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Turkish President Erdogan, to flood Europe with refugees from Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia. Now that the war has been almost won in Syria, the best of the former Syrian refugees are now returning with their skills to help re-build Syria. The terrible experiences of ordinary Swedes, Germans, French and British, faced with this sudden huge influx of refugees/Immigrants since 2015, show that they are also victims of the criminal wars by their rulers against… Read more »

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The conclusion of Russiagate, Part II – news fatigue across America

The daily barrage of Russiagate news may have been a tool to wear down the American public as the Deep State plays the long game for control.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Presently there is a media blitz on across the American news media networks. As was the case with the Russiagate investigation while it was ongoing, the conclusions have merely given rise to a rather unpleasant afterbirth in some ways as all the parties involve pivot their narratives. The conclusion of Russiagate appears to be heavily covered, yet if statistics here at The Duran are any indication, there is a good possibility that the public is absolutely fatigued over this situation.

And, perhaps, folks, that is by design.

Joseph Goebbels had many insights about the use of the media to deliver and enforce propaganda. One of his quotes runs thus:

The best propaganda is that which, as it were, works invisibly, penetrates the whole of life without the public having any knowledge of the propagandistic initiative.

and another:

That is of course rather painful for those involved. One should not as a rule reveal one’s secrets, since one does not know if and when one may need them again. The essential English leadership secret does not depend on particular intelligence. Rather, it depends on a remarkably stupid thick-headedness. The English follow the principle that when one lies, it should be a big lie, and one should stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous.

If there has ever been a narrative that employed these two principles, it is Russiagate.

A staggering amount of attention has been lavished on this nothing-burger issue. Axios reports that an analytics company named Newswhip tallied an astounding 533,074 web articles published about Russia and President Trump and the Mueller investigation (a number which is being driven higher even now, moment by moment, ad nauseam). Newsbusters presently reports that the networks gave 2,284 minutes to the coverage of this issue, a number which seems completely inaccurate because it is much too low (38 hours at present), and we are waiting for a correction on this estimate.

Put it another way: Are you sick of Russiagate? That is because it has dominated the news for over 675 days of nearly wall-to-wall news cycles. The political junkies on both sides are still pretty jazzed up about this story – the Pro-Trump folks rejoicing over the presently ‘cleared’ status, while of course preparing for the upcoming Democrat / Deep State pivot, and the Dems in various levels of stress as they try to figure out exactly how to pivot in such a manner that they do not lose face – or pace – in continuing their efforts to rid their lives of the “Irritant-in-Chief” who now looks like he is in the best position of his entire presidency.

But a lot of people do not care. They are tired.

I hate to say it (and yes, I am speaking personally and directly), but this may be a dangerous fatigue. Here is why:

The barrage of propaganda on this issue was never predicated on any facts. It still isn’t. However, as we noted a few days ago, courtesy of Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, at present, 53% of US registered voters believe that the Trump campaign worked with Russia to influence the 2016 election.

That means 53% of the voting public now believes something that is totally false.

Many of these people are probably simply exhausted from the constant coverage of this allegation as well. So when the news came out Sunday night that there was no evidence of collusion and no conclusive evidence, hence, of obstruction of justice by the Trump Administration – in other words, this whole thing was a nothing burger – will this snap those 53% back into reality?

Probably not. Many of them may well be so worn down that they no longer care. Or worse, they are so worn out that they will continue to believe the things they are told that sustain the lie, despite its being called out as such.

C.S. Lewis wrote about this peculiarity of human nature, in particular in the seventh book of his Chronicles of Narnia. After a prolonged and fierce assault on the sensibilities of the Narnians with the story that Aslan, the Christ figure of this world, was in fact an angry overlord, selling the Narnians themselves into slavery, and selling the whole country out to its enemy, with the final touch being that Aslan and the devilish deity of the enemy nation were in fact one and the same, the Narnians were unable to snap back to reality when it was shown conclusively and clearly that this was in fact not the case.

The fear that was instilled from the use of false narratives persisted and blocked the animals from reality.

Lewis summarized it this way through the thoughts of Tirian, the lead character in this tale:

Tirian had never dreamed that one of the results of an Ape’s setting up as a false Aslan would be to stop people from believing in the real one. He had felt quite sure that the Dwarfs would rally to his side the moment he showed them how they had been deceived. And then next night he would have led them to Stable Hill and shown Puzzle to all the creatures and everyone would have turned against the Ape and, perhaps after a scuffle with the Calormenes, the whole thing would have been over. But now, it seemed, he could count on nothing. How many other Narnians might turn the same way as the Dwarfs?

This is part of the toll this very long propaganda campaign is very likely to take on many Americans. It takes being strongly informed and educated on facts to withstand the withering force of a narrative that never goes away. Indeed, if anything, it takes even more effort now, because the temptation of the pro-Trump side will be to retreat to a set of political talking points that, interestingly enough, validate Robert Mueller’s “integrity” when only a week ago they were attacking this as a false notion.

This is very dangerous, and even though Mr. Trump and his supporters won this battle, if they do not come at this matter in a way that shows education, and not merely the restating of platitudes and talking points that “should be more comfortable, now that we’ve won!”

The cost of Russiagate may be far higher than anyone wants it to be. And yes, speaking personally, I understand the fatigue. I am tired of this issue too. But the temptation to go silent may have already taken a lot of people so far that they will not accept the reality that has just been revealed.

Politics is a very fickle subject. Truth is extremely malleable for many politicians, and that is saying it very nicely. But this issue was not just politics. It was slander with a purpose, and that purpose is unchanged now. In fact things may even be more dangerous for the President – even risking his very life – because if the powers that are working behind the people trying to get rid of President Trump come to realize that they have no political support, they will move to more extreme measures. In fact this may have already been attempted.

We at The Duran reported a few months ago on a very strange but very compelling story that suggested that there was an attempted assassination and coup that was supposed to have taken place on January 17th of this year. It did not happen, but there was a parallel story that noted that the President may have been targeted for assassination already no fewer than twelve times.  Hopefully this is just tinfoil-hat stuff. But we have seen that this effort to be rid of President Trump is fierce and it is extremely well-supported within its group. There is no reason to think that the pressure will lighten now that this battle has been lost.

The stakes are much too high, and even this long investigation may well have been part of the weaponry of the group we sometimes refer to as the “Deep State” in their effort to reacquire power, and in their effort to continue to pursue both a domestic and geopolitical agenda that has so far shown itself to be destructive to both individuals and nations all over the world.

Speculation? Yes. Needless? We hope so. This is a terrible possibility that hopefully no reasonable person wants to consider.

Honestly, folks, we do not know. But we had to put this out there for your consideration.

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Parliament Seizes Control Of Brexit From Theresa May

Zerohedge

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Schaeuble, Greece and the lessons learned from a failed GREXIT (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 117.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris examine a recent interview with the Financial Times given by Wolfgang Schäuble, where the former German Finance Minister, who was charged with finding a workable and sustainable solution to the Greek debt crisis, reveals that his plan for Greece to take a 10-year “timeout” from the eurozone (in order to devalue its currency and save its economy) was met with fierce resistance from Brussels hard liners, and Angela Merkel herself.

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Via FT

“Look where we’re sitting!” says Wolfgang Schäuble, gesturing at the Berlin panorama stretching out beneath us. It is his crisp retort to those who say that Europe is a failure, condemned to a slow demise by its own internal contradictions. “Walk through the Reichstag, the graffiti left by the Red Army soldiers, the images of a destroyed Berlin. Until 1990 the Berlin Wall ran just below where we are now!”

We are in Käfer, a restaurant on the rooftop of the Reichstag. The views are indeed stupendous: Berlin Cathedral and the TV Tower on Alexanderplatz loom through the mist. Both were once in communist East Berlin, cut off from where we are now by the wall. Now they’re landmarks of a single, undivided city. “Without European integration, without this incredible story, we wouldn’t have come close to this point,” he says. “That’s the crazy thing.”

As Angela Merkel’s finance minister from 2009 to 2017, Schäuble was at the heart of efforts to steer the eurozone through a period of unprecedented turbulence. But at home he is most associated with Germany’s postwar political journey, having not only negotiated the 1990 treaty unifying East and West Germany but also campaigned successfully for the capital to move from Bonn.

For a man who has done so much to put Berlin — and the Reichstag — back on the world-historical map, it is hard to imagine a more fitting lunch venue. With its open-plan kitchen and grey formica tables edged in chrome, Käfer has a cool, functional aesthetic that is typical of the city. On the wall hangs a sketch by artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude, who famously wrapped the Reichstag in silver fabric in 1995.

The restaurant has one other big advantage: it is easy to reach from Schäuble’s office. Now 76, he has been confined to a wheelchair since he was shot in an assassination attempt in 1990, and mobility is an issue. Aides say he tends to avoid restaurants if he can, especially at lunchtime.

As we take our places, we talk about Schäuble’s old dream — that German reunification would be a harbinger of European unity, a step on the road to a United States of Europe. That seems hopelessly out of reach in these days of Brexit, the gilets jaunes in France, Lega and the Five Star Movement in Italy.

Some blame Schäuble himself for that. He was, after all, the architect of austerity, a fiscal hawk whose policy prescriptions during the euro crisis caused untold hardship for millions of ordinary people, or so his critics say. He became a hate figure, especially in Greece. Posters in Athens in 2015 depicted him with a Hitler moustache below the words: “Wanted — for mass poverty and devastation”.

Schäuble rejects the criticism that austerity caused the rise of populism. “Higher spending doesn’t lead to greater contentment,” he says. The root cause lies in mass immigration, and the insecurities it has unleashed. “What European country doesn’t have this problem?” he asks. “Even Sweden. The poster child of openness and the willingness to help.”

But what of the accusation that he didn’t care enough about the suffering of the southern Europeans? Austerity divided the EU and spawned a real animus against Schäuble. I ask him how that makes him feel now. “Well I’m sad, because I played a part in all of that,” he says, wistfully. “And I think about how we could have done it differently.”

I glance at the menu — simple German classics with a contemporary twist. I’m drawn to the starters, such as Oldenburg duck pâté and the Müritz smoked trout. But true to his somewhat abstemious reputation, Schäuble has no interest in these and zeroes in on the entrées. He chooses Käfer’s signature veal meatballs, a Berlin classic. I go for the Arctic char and pumpkin.

Schäuble switches seamlessly back to the eurozone crisis. The original mistake was in trying to create a common currency without a “common economic, employment and social policy” for all eurozone member states. The fathers of the euro had decided that if they waited for political union to happen first they’d wait forever, he says.

Yet the prospects for greater political union are now worse than they have been in years. “The construction of the EU has proven to be questionable,” he says. “We should have taken the bigger steps towards integration earlier on, and now, because we can’t convince the member states to take them, they are unachievable.”

Greece was a particularly thorny problem. It should never have been admitted to the euro club in the first place, Schäuble says. But when its debt crisis first blew up, it should have taken a 10-year “timeout” from the eurozone — an idea he first floated with Giorgos Papakonstantinou, his Greek counterpart between 2009 and 2011. “I told him you need to be able to devalue your currency, you’re not competitive,” he says. The reforms required to repair the Greek economy were going to be “hard to achieve in a democracy”. “That’s why you need to leave the euro for a certain period. But everyone said there was no chance of that.”

The idea didn’t go away, though. Schäuble pushed for a temporary “Grexit” in 2015, during another round of the debt crisis. But Merkel and the other EU heads of government nixed the idea. He now reveals he thought about resigning over the issue. “On the morning the decision was made, [Merkel] said to me: ‘You’ll carry on?’ . . . But that was one of the instances where we were very close [to my stepping down].”

It is an extraordinary revelation, one that highlights just how rocky his relationship with Merkel has been over the years. Schäuble has been at her side from the start, an éminence grise who has helped to resolve many of the periodic crises of her 13 years as chancellor. But it was never plain sailing.

“There were a few really bad conflicts where she knew too that we were on the edge and I would have gone,” he says. “I always had to weigh up whether to go along with things, even though I knew it was the wrong thing to do, as was the case with Greece, or whether I should go.” But his sense of duty prevailed. “We didn’t always agree — but I was always loyal.”

That might have been the case when he was a serving minister, but since becoming speaker of parliament in late 2017 he has increasingly distanced himself from Merkel. Last year, when she announced she would not seek re-election as leader of the Christian Democratic Union, the party that has governed Germany for 50 of the past 70 years, Schäuble openly backed a candidate described by the Berlin press as the “anti-Merkel”. Friedrich Merz, a millionaire corporate lawyer who is the chairman of BlackRock Germany, had once led the CDU’s parliamentary group but lost out to Merkel in a power struggle in 2002, quitting politics a few years later. He has long been seen as one of the chancellor’s fiercest conservative critics — and is a good friend of Schäuble’s.

Ultimately, in a nail-biting election last December, Merkel’s favoured candidate, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, narrowly beat Merz. The woman universally known as “AKK” is in pole position to succeed Merkel as chancellor when her fourth and final term ends in 2021.

I ask Schäuble if it’s true that he had once again waged a battle against Merkel and once again lost. “I never went to war against Ms Merkel,” he says. “Everybody says that if I’m for Merz then I’m against Merkel. Why is that so? That’s nonsense.”

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