“There’s a military base – a German military base, with the help of NATO – being built for urban warfare training…Why would Europe need a training camp for urban warfare if they wouldn’t expect upheavals that you may see in the case of Brexit, we don’t know yet, that you have seen already in Greece, that you may see more of in Greece, and that may happen in Italy, and in all those cities in Hungary for example, or in Poland…? All these upheavals, these civil upheavals, must be oppressed.”
– Peter Koenig, from this week’s interview.
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The latest chapter in the Brexit saga played out this past Tuesday. Members of the British Parliament soundly rejected the withdrawal agreement arrived at following months of negotiations between the government of Theresa May and EU leaders. With 430 votes against, including 118 members of her own party and elements of both the Leave and Remain camps, and only 202 in favour, it was reportedly the most devastating defeat of a sitting government’s policy in the history of the country. 
The debacle illustrates the difficulties of crafting a deal which will be acceptable both to the EU leadership and the UK Parliament, to say nothing of the general public.
Under the process currently underway, the UK is set to officially abandon the EU on March 29, 2019. Opposition Members of Parliament have been lobbying for an extension of the deadline, a second referendum on EU membership, and even a new election which would potentially lead to a different Prime Minister taking charge of the Brexit negotiations. 
Meanwhile, the Gilets Jaunes in France (Yellow Vests) are into their 10th weekend of protests. Triggered by opposition to a proposed hike in fuel taxes, ostensibly to combat global warming, the demands of the French populace have extended to encompass a wider range of concerns, generally centred around advancing prospects for the working class and ending austerity measures. Critically, they have also demanded France depart from both the European Union (FREXIT) and from the NATO alliance! 
The European Union has arguably been a culprit in undermining the democratic will of the peoples of all member states. As Belgian human rights activist Andy Vermaut pointed out in a December 2018 article, the EU through the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP), mandates that all EU members must submit their budgets to the European Commission before those budgets are discussed in the members’ national parliaments. The rules designed to “pursue sound public finances” and coordinate the fiscal policies of EU members has, Vermaut argues, resulted in “many years of austerity policy throughout Europe.” 
On top of these developments, a new Treaty is set to be signed between Germany and France on January 22nd which would align the diplomatic, economic, military, and other policies of the two European and NATO powers. It has been suggested that this pact would act as an incubator for military as well as economic integration throughout Europe. Such a development naturally invokes questions as to the democratic sovereignty of constituent nations. 
On this week’s Global Research News Hour we build on the EU-connected political developments of recent weeks with analyses from two guests.
Peter Koenig provides some insights into the Brexit vote last week and what lies ahead for the UK. He also provides some background on the origins of the European Union project, which did not originate from Europeans themselves, and describes the forces that shaped its trajectory through the creation of the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1957, and the signing of the Maastricht Treaty in 1992 which established the European Union and a common currency (the euro.) Koenig also shares his thoughts about the upcoming Franco-German Treaty and its implications for military containment and suppression of civic unrest.
In the final half hour, Diana Johnstone returns to share her perspectives on the Gilets Jaunes in France, who they are, what they are demanding, and what distinguishes this movement from other popular mobiliizations such as the Occupy Wall Street Movement.
Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a water resources and environmental specialist. He worked for over 30 years with the World Bank and the World Health Organization around the world in the fields of environment and water. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe. He is also a co-author of The World Order and Revolution! – Essays from the Resistance. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.
Diana Johnstone is an American political writer based in Paris. Best known for her book, Fools’ Crusade: Yugoslavia, NATO and Western Delusions, Johnstone is also the author of Queen of Chaos: The Misadventures of Hillary Clinton. Diana Johnstone is a past guest of the Global Research News Hour and a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization
(Global Research News Hour Episode 245)
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- Alex Hunt & Brian Wheeler (January 16, 2019), ‘Brexit: All you need to know about the UK leaving the EU’, BBC News; https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-32810887
- David Scott (January 16, 2019), ‘Will the New Treaty of Aachen make the EU Dream Come True?’, UK COLUMN; https://www.ukcolumn.org/article/will-new-treaty-aachen-make-eu-dream-come-true