December 30, 2014
Recently, on a transatlantic flight, for lack of better ideas, I watched a new film “Grace of Monaco”, released in May 2014. I expected a romantic melodrama about a famous actress who gave up her professional career after a marriage to a prince. And, considering that the role of Grace Kelly is played by Nicol Kidman, inevitably, also a certain number of risque scenes.
However, it became apparent fairly quickly that the producers and scenarists of this film were guided by very different, cleverly constructed, essentially geopolitical ideas, far from the slogan “make love” and much closer to the slogan “make war”. As the film progressed, it became clear to me that the key aspect of the film was not the question of romantic entanglements and individual crises of conscience as I had expected, but that it was an attempt to re-write one period of Cold War European history in accordance with the needs of contemporary Anglo-American foreign policy. The main message of the movie, in fact, had very little to do with the fate of the unhappy beauty Grace Kelly, but much more with the political attitudes and actions of the French president at the time Charles de Gaulle. The story about Grace was nothing more than a convenient instrument to demonize de Gaulle and blacken his political reputation before not only the American, but also the global film audiences.
In the film, De Gaulle is presented as a brooding tyrant, almost a Hitler’s twin brother, who, as a proof of his irrational Nietzschean will-to-power, wants to occupy and, in the long run, destroy the peace-loving and prosperous Monaco. But, right then, on the scene appear considerate and well-meaning American advisors and intelligence operatives who successfully assist Grace and her husband prince Rainier to prevail over the terror of the French. And so, the good guys (plus a girl) win over the bad guys. De Gaulle’s intentions are frustrated and blocked, his allies within Monaco publicly humiliated, and all the rest can now live happily ever after.
The real story, however, that at the time Rainier ruled Monaco in the manner of an authoritarian medieval monarch, that for a long time he did not recognize even the basic democratic principles of the ordinary citizens, and that the statelet was a gamblers’ and smugglers’ paradise was swept under the rug. The film viewers are served an aestheticized caricature in line with the existing Anglo-American hegemonic interests, instead of being shown a complicated geopolitical reality where, very often, behind the dignified words and humanistic discourse lurk the forces of evil and death.
It is very important to note that, in light of the current political and economic processes in Europe, the demonization of de Gaulle is not at all accidental. Ever since the end of the World War II, he was seen as a formidable political obstacle by those circles who wanted to make a yet another Anglo-American colony out of Western Europe. He famously talked about Europe “from the Atlantic to the Urals” in his 1959 Strasbourg address, that is to say, Europe, which includes Russia, but perhaps not Great Britain. Because of such authentically integrative (continentalist) political ideas, which de Gaulle advocated with no less courage and determination than he had when he fought Nazis during the WWII, he was a frequent target of planned violence. Certain experts have counted more than thirty assassination attempts. After one such attempt in 1966 for which there is credible evidence that it was related to the activies of Anglo-American intelligence agencies (whose networks often included former Nazis) and coordinated by certain clandestine structures within NATO, de Gaulle ordered the withdrawal of France from the NATO command and control mechanisms as well as the expulsion of NATO headquarters from Paris. The NATO leadership then moved to Brussells where it is located to this day. A few years ago, though, they have started building a new headquarters complex, the financing of which led to a scandal in which, among others, the former NATO General Secretary Anders Fogh Rasmussen was also implicated. Nothing in NATO can pass without a scandal (which, however, is soon enough swept under the rug).
The last act of resistance of the French foreign policy against the “Atlantic” vision of Europe was offered by the president Jacques Chirac in 2003 when he refused to agree with the participation of French troops in the invasion of Iraq. This led to such an anti-French hysteria in the dominant American political circles that even certain common terms of English language were changed. For instance, two Republican Congressmen, one of which chaired a committee who had oversight over the work of the Congress cafeteria, initiated the re-naming of “French fries” to “Freedom fries” and of “French toast” to “Freedom toast”. But, when Chirac’s successor Nicholas Sarkozy brought France back into NATO, there was nothing to impede the French fries being triumphantly restored in the cafeteria menu.
The biggest problem with the “Atlantic” vision of Europe which de Gaulle and Chirac both resisted is that it is, in essence, impossible to realize. For this reason, it is the incubator of permanent political and economic instability on the European soil. This vision demands the subordination to the Anglo-American interests not only the dominant European economies, the economies of Germany, France, Italy and others, but also of Russia. While Russia was led by the president Boris Yeltsin, the Russian elite accepted this inferior geopolitical status which led to the horrific abuses of ordinary citizens by domestic and foreign predators and criminals. However, things began to change already towards the end of the 1990s, when the prime minister became Yevgeniy Primakov, but they reached a full geopolitical turn (that is, a revolution in the astronomical sense of the term) during the third mandate of the president Vladimir Putin.
That the “Atlantists” will neither tolerate nor forgive Russia these acts of resistance is shown by the flare-up of war in Ukraine, the ring of sanctions which is getting tigher and tigher and which led to the 25 percent fall in the value of the ruble since the beginning of the year, and the sudden, artifically engineered fall of the price of oil, one of Russia’s key exports.
At the end of October, Putin delivered an important address at the meeting of the Valdai International Forum organized by some of the best known European politicians and intellectuals. In many ways, it resembled de Gaulle’s Strasbourg speech. Putin’s proposals, it seems to me, represent one of the last chances for the peaceful settlement of global problems before the possible onset of a nuclear Apocalypse.
I wonder whether the Montenegrin ruling political elite and their media amplifiers undestand that Europe is one step from the abyss. Instead of parroting the ten points from NATO propanda leaflets, by choosing the policy of military neutrality, they could give an authentic contribution to the calming of passions and the reaching of reasonable agreement among the Big Powers.
This article was originally published in the Montenegrin daily newspaper Vijesti on November 13, 2014. It was translated into English by the author.