Europe’s foreign policy has been hacked and the consequences are dire

 Israel’s genocide, US assistance, and consequences thereof .Democrats now provide insidious cover by claiming the US is motivated by protection of democracy and human rights. 

Europe’s foreign policy has been hacked and captured by US Neocon interests. That capture poses a dire threat to both European democracy and global security. The threat to global security is because Europe is now captive in the US Neocon war on China and Russia. The threat to democracy comes from European voters gradually intuiting they have been sold out, which helps explain their turn against the political establishment.

The consequences of hacking are simple and dire, but exposing it is difficult. The status quo is privileged and there is resistance to acknowledging unpleasant facts. This essay presents those facts.

What is Neoconservatism and who are the Neocons?

The starting point is understanding Neoconservatism and the Neocons. The former is a US political doctrine which rose to ascendancy in the 1990s. It holds that never again shall there be a foreign power, like the former Soviet Union, which can challenge US global hegemony. The doctrine gives the US the right to impose its will anywhere in the world, which explains why the US has over 750 bases in 80 countries, ringing both Russia and China.

The doctrine initially seeded itself among hardliner Republicans like Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, and it was then adopted by Democrats like Hillary Clinton and Barrack Obama. That makes it even more dangerous as it has captured both US political parties. Moreover, Democrats now provide insidious cover by claiming the US is motivated by protection of democracy and human rights.

The Cold War, the Lovestone model, and Germany’s Green Party

The US has a long history of political hacking. Perhaps the most famous European incident is the Italian election of 1948, which some argue was decided by huge covert US financial support for the Christian Democrats.

However, far more revealing about today’s world is the Cold War history of US interference in Europe’s trade union movement. That history is exemplified by the career of Jay Lovestone who was a US trade unionist and CIA operative, and is said to have been one of the five most important people in the Cold War hidden power structure. Lovestone ran a covert hacking operation that gained significant influence within the European and international trade union movements, and traces of that influence are likely still present.

Lovestone’s model provided an operational template for hacking the labor movement, but there are reasons to believe it may also have been employed to hack Germany’s Green Party. The Greens have their political roots in the 1970s peace movement which opposed deployment of US tactical nuclear weapons in Germany. Yet today, under the leadership of Annalena Baerbock, the Green Party has become the foremost party of war and a leading ally of US Neocon interests. Moreover, as discussed below, that alliance has inflicted grave environmental damage, which is completely counter to the Green’s political purpose.

The mechanics of hacking

Today, the hacking process works via the US government and its corporate partners placing a thumb on the political scale of foreign countries. They do so by assisting friendly politicians, and by promoting supportive journalists and academics. Friendly political interests benefit from financial and media support. Talking class professionals are rewarded via career advancement and higher pay that comes with increased access, visibility, and establishment endorsement.

Think-tanks are a critical tool. They provide a placeholder and a stage for politicians and talking class professionals, and they develop the political narratives which are fed into society’s larger echo chamber.  They also provide intellectual credibility that legitimizes the Neocon story and its authors. Well-known think-tanks include the German Marshall Fund, the National Endowment for Democracy, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Atlantic Council, and Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.

Speaker fees and consultancies also play a critical role. Serving politicians are rewarded with well-paid speaking gigs and extra-curricular second jobs. Politicians who have temporarily stepped out of the ring receive even cushier engagements that are an investment in the future. The services of ex-leaders are similarly enlisted with ludicrous speaking fees and ad hoc advisory jobs.

Such practices are particularly visible in British politics. Fees and pay vary with perceived value, and the system is open to politicians of different stripes. Recipients include stars like Tony Blair and Boris Johnson, lesser lights such as Theresa May and  Gordon Brown, and Liz Truss. Keir Starmer appears to be a solid future prospect given his endorsement of US policy toward Ukraine and the Middle East. In Germany, former Green Party leader Joschka Fischer is a beneficiary of the system, and he has declared himself a strong supporter of the US position re Ukraine and Russia.

Evidence of hacking

The mechanics of hacking is one side of the story. The other is evidence of hacking, which is inevitably denied. Hacking is not advertised and there is no algebra to prove it. Instead, all that can be done is present the arguments and interrogate them for accuracy, logical consistency, and motive. That process is like a jury trial and can easily fail. Surfacing the truth requires a fair hearing and the jury must be open-minded.

The striking feature of Europe’s foreign policy is the huge self-inflicted injury. Europe has pushed policies that have worked against it and for the US. That is the classic hallmark of hacking.

1. Middle East policy.

Europe’s Middle East policy reveals the depth and costs of US hacking. That policy has contributed to multiple conflicts from which Europe has had nothing to gain and much to lose. In particular, they have triggered massive politically destabilizing refugee flows into Europe. Contrastingly, the US has seen next-to-none of that conflict backwash as it is protected by the Atlantic and Pacific.

The policy failure is exemplified by European participation in the illegal 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq. The invasion was justified by the falsehood Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (WMD).  The reality is it was driven by US offense at Saddam Hussein’s independence, his friendliness to Russia, and his threat to accept non-dollar payment for oil. That threatened dollar hegemony, which is a pillar of US economic and geopolitical power.

The Iraq war contributed to the 2011 Syrian civil war, which the US fostered and has participated in. That war flooded Europe with Syrian refugees, while the Atlantic again protected the US. Whereas Europe had no vital interests in Syria, US Neocons viewed Assad’s Syrian regime as a fundamental threat to US hegemony in the Middle East owing to its alliance with Russia.

A similar story holds regarding European participation in the 2011 US-led military intervention in Libya. Paralleling Iraq, the intervention was driven by US offense at Gaddafi’s long-standing independence, friendliness to Russia, and potential openness to non-dollar payments for oil. That reality was cloaked with appeals to public opinion re punishment for the 1988 Libyan sponsored Pan Am Lockerbie bombing, even though Libya had paid compensation and the lead perpetrator had been convicted years earlier. Once again, the migration consequences were huge for Europe and nil for the US. Libya was a barrier to African migration, and its destruction opened the floodgates.

In sum, all three conflicts have worked against Europe’s interests and for US Neocon interests. Yet, Europe has facilitated or participated in all of them.

2. NATO expansion and transformation.

NATO is a critical channel whereby Europe’s foreign policy has been hacked. NATO is dominated by the US, which has used its standing to hack Europe’s military and foreign policy establishment, thereby drawing Europe into supporting policies that benefit the US despite injuring Europe.

There are two dimensions to the NATO story: expansion and transformation. The latter has flown under the radar but is also important.

The eastward expansion of NATO is widely known. The process was initiated almost immediately after the end of the Cold war, and it breached the US commitment not to expand made to President Gorbachev. The aggressive and dangerous implications were noted by George Kennan, author of the Cold War Containment doctrine, in a 1997 New York Times op-ed.

For US Neocons, NATO expansion is readily understandable. Russia had not been defeated militarily and forced to surrender unconditionally (as had Germany and Japan), and Neocons viewed it as a continuing threat to US global hegemony. Expansion of NATO strengthened the US military position and weakened Russia’s.

However, there was only downside for Europe. The new NATO members added little defense capability, while bringing multiple pre-existing animosities and conflict threats. They also lacked a shared political culture. Most importantly, any conflict would be fought within Europe. Consequently, Europe would bear the brunt, giving US Neocons incentive to be even more aggressive versus Russia.

The other side of the NATO story is its transformation from a regional (North Atlantic) defensive alliance into a globally aggressive interventionist alliance. That transformation began with NATO’s 1999 bombing of Belgrade, deepened with NATO’s participation in the US-led 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, and was cemented by the 2011 Libya intervention which was initiated under NATO’s auspices.

As with expansion, NATO’s transformation is readily understandable from a Neocon standpoint. The US has a global hegemony agenda, and NATO’s transformation meant other countries shared the burden of that agenda. It also bought multilateral cover for the US. However, once again, there was nothing in it for Europe which has no equivalent agenda.

In sum, NATO’s expansion and transformation strongly points to hacking.

2. The Ukraine war

The Ukraine war discourse is the most comprehensively hacked, which makes it the most difficult to unravel. The best starting point is who has gained and lost economically from the war. There, the accounts are clear. The US has been the big winner, whereas Western Europe (and especially Germany) has been a big loser. German workers have been hardest hit of all.

The US has gained by severing Germany’s and Western Europe’s reliance on Russian energy. Moreover, Russian energy has been replaced by expensive US-supplied energy. That constitutes a triple for the US: it has weakened Russia, increased Western Europe’s dependence on the US, and benefitted US producers. The US has also been a big winner because increased arms production has provided major fiscal stimulus to US manufacturing. That overall configuration helps explain why the US has avoided a recession. The one big downside was the temporary surge in inflation caused by the war’s outbreak.

Western Europe, especially Germany, has been a huge loser. Cheap Russian energy has been replaced by expensive US energy. That has undercut Germany’s manufacturing competitiveness and contributed to even higher European inflation. Europe has also lost Russia’s huge market where it sold manufactured goods. Additionally, it has lost the lavish spending of Russia’s elite. That combination explains Europe’s weakened economy. Furthermore, Europe’s economic future has been gravely compromised as the changes seem permanent.

German workers have been further hit by the mass influx of Ukrainian refugees. That has increased downward wage competition and created a housing shortage that has increased rents. It has also resulted in crowding of schools and social services. To a lesser degree, the same afflicts all European workers.

Lastly, the switch in energy supplies has been environmentally disastrous. US (Texas) fracked gas is some of the dirtiest in the world, and there is shipping pollution on top of that. The war has also been a direct source of massive environmental and climate damage. That speaks to the hacking of Germany’s Green Party.

The European establishment’s justification for rejecting compromise is Russia poses an existential threat to Europe. That is the think-tank line pedaled by Neocon authors like Anne Applebaum and Timothy Garten Ash of the Hoover Institution.

The Neocon argument appeals to legacy Cold War prejudices, is riddled with incompleteness, and lacks substance. It ignores the reality of eastward expansion of NATO, the security threat that poses to Russia, and conflicts within Ukrainian civil society which include oppression of ethnic Russians. Most importantly, the claim of a Russian threat to Europe does not compute.

Russia is in demographic decline and lacks the resources to re-establish hegemony in central Europe. Its weakness has been shown on the battlefield where Ukraine has checked Russia with just modest weapons assistance from NATO. Indeed, that weakness speaks to the legitimacy of Russia’s need for a demilitarized Ukraine as a protective buffer. The reality is the US Neocon project benefits from continuation of the war which wears Russia down and weakens its international standing.

In sum, Europe has lost economically from the war, whereas the US has benefited. Likewise, the war benefits the US geopolitically, but not Europe. Despite that, Europe’s establishment has embraced the war. In 2022 Britain torpedoed a peace agreement negotiated shortly after the war began. Moreover, in his 2023 resignation speech, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson openly urged that the UK “stay close to the US”. Once again, the fingerprints of hacking are clearly visible.

4. China

Lastly, there is Europe’s policy toward China, which is an emerging issue US Neocons hope to hack. They see China as the greatest threat to US global hegemony. That threat is economic, geopolitical, and military. China’s economy threatens to significantly exceed the US in size, enabling it to challenge US global soft power and enabling it to challenge US military hegemony in East Asia.

Europe faces no such challenge and has a robust economic partnership with China. European companies profit from investments in China and from exporting capital goods to China, which China repays with consumer goods.

The US think-tank world presents China as an enemy of Europe. Part of the argument is China is supporting Russia, and Russia is Europe’s enemy. Ergo, China is Europe’s enemy. Having hacked Europe’s policy re Russia, that breach is then used to hack Europe’s China policy.

Additionally, Neocon think-tanks fictitiously present China as part of an axis of authoritarianism, engaged in a global war against democracy. The reality is China is under attack from US Neocons who assert a right to global hegemony. The US has a long history of violent interventionist foreign policy, and it willingly supports authoritarians who accept US hegemony. Had China accepted US hegemony, it would have been embraced as a partner. The same holds for Russia.

In sum, Europe’s China policy is an emergent case of hacking. The US benefits in two ways by detaching Europe from China. First, that injures China. Second, it makes Europe weaker and more dependent on the US. However, there is no benefit for Europe and no benefit for democracy.

Consequences of hacking

The immediate consequences of hacking are twofold and dire. First, the Neocon capture of Europe’s foreign policy endangers global security. That is because Neocons believe the US has a right to global hegemony, which endangers global security by inevitably creating conflict with China and Russia.

China and Russia view US intervention on their borders and efforts at internal regime change as national security threats. Border interventions are also an invasion of their regional spheres of influence. The result is a cycle of challenge and response that inexorably leads to conflict.

Second, the hacking of Europe’s foreign policy endangers European democracy as the consequences drip back into society. That is happening with Ukraine. Working class voters are gradually intuiting they have been sold out, and they are bearing huge economic costs on behalf of a conflict that is not in their interest. With both sides of the political establishment implicated and the left suffering from rigor mortis, the far-right is the only place those voters have to go.

Conclusion: the challenge ahead

There is compelling evidence Europe’s foreign policy has been hacked on behalf of US Neocons. Hacks cannot be fixed until they are recognized. Unfortunately, there is no algebra of proof, and the argument is dense. Furthermore, there is also persistent danger of losing the thread. When conflict erupts, establishment media present history as beginning then and ignore all that went before. The result is to focus on the immediate conflict and ignore the cause, which keeps the hack in place. A fix will not be easy, but failure will be disastrous. The task begins with surfacing the problem.

Thomas Palley

Thomas Palley is Schwartz economic growth fellow at the New America Foundation; Senior Economic Policy Adviser, AFL-CIO. His most recent book “From Financial Crisis to Stagnation” has just been released in paperback by Cambridge University Press (February 2013).

Member of Insight Editorial board.