December 6, 2015
Some time ago, on a transatlantic flight, for lack of better ideas, I watched “Grace of Monaco”, a film released in May 2014. I expected a romantic melodrama about a famous actress who gave up her professional career to marry a prince. The role of Grace Kelly was played by Nicole Kidman.
Yet, fairly quickly after the film’s opening credits, I realized that the producers of this film were not guided by the spirit of romance. In fact, they appeared to have a very clear, cleverly constructed geopolitical agenda. Instead of advocating “making love,” they were pushing the agenda of “making war.”
This film was not about the emotional entanglements and individual crises of conscience. It was an attempt to re-write a past period of the Cold War European history in line with the needs of the contemporary U.S.-NATO foreign policy. The main message of the movie had very little to do with the tragic fate of the beautiful Grace Kelly. Its focus was much more on the atttitudes and actions of Charles de Gaulle who at that time was the President of France.
The story about Grace was nothing more than a convenient instrument to demonize de Gaulle and blacken his reputation before not only the U.S., but also the global film audience.
In the film, de Gaulle is presented as a brooding tyrant, almost a Hitler’s twin brother, who, displaying 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 the considerate and well-meaning U.S. advisors and intelligence operatives who successfully assist Grace and her husband, Prince Rainier III, to prevail over the terror of the French. And so, the good guys (plus the 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, is that at the time of the events portrayed in the film Prince Rainier III ruled Monaco in the manner of an authoritarian medieval monarch. He did not recognize even the basic democratic principles of the ordinary citizens and made Monaco into the gamblers’ and smugglers’ paradise. The viewers of the film were given the aestheticized caricature of Rainier’s rule and the complex political realities of the times were conveniently swept under the rug. The humanistic discourse was used to hide the true U.S.-NATO interests. Why?
The explanation has less to do with the late 1950s Europe and more with the contemporary geopolitical confrontations. The demonization of de Gaulle is not accidental.
Ever since the end of the World War II, de Gaulle was seen as a formidable political obstacle by those circles who wanted to keep Western Europe under control as a U.S-NATO satellite. Recall that de Gaulle famously talked about Europe “from the Atlantic to the Urals” in his 1959 Strasbourg Address. This was the Europe that included Russia, but was not too enthusiastic about Great Britain.
De Gaulle advocated the integrative European continentalist political ideas with no less courage and determination than he had when he fought the Nazis during the World War II. As a result of that, he was a very frequent target of planned violence. Certain experts have counted more than thirty assassination attempts.
In 1966, after one such attempt on his life which certain circumstantial evidence links to the activities of clandestine structures within NATO, de Gaulle ordered the withdrawal of France from the NATO command and control mechanisms. He also demanded that NATO headquarters be removed from Paris. The NATO leadership then moved to Brussells where it is located to this day.
It appears that the last act of public resistance by the French foreign policy establishment against the U.S.-NATO “Atlantic” vision of Europe was made by the president Jacques Chirac in 2003. At that time, Chirac refused to allow the participation of the French troops in the invasion of Iraq.
As will be recalled, this led to such an anti-French hysteria in the dominant U.S. 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 congressional cafeteria, initiated the re-naming of the “French fries” to the “Freedom fries” and of the “French toast” to the “Freedom toast.” When Chirac’s successor Nicholas Sarkozy brought France back into NATO, the French fries could quietly be restored in the cafeteria menu.
In my opinion, the biggest problem with the U.S.-NATO “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 U.S.-NATO interests not only of the dominant European economies, the economies of Germany, France, Italy and others, but also that of Russia.
While Russia was led by President Boris Yeltsin, the Russian elite accepted such an inferior geopolitical status which facilitated the horrific abuses of ordinary citizens by both foreign and domestic criminal privatization schemes. Things began to change already towards the end of the 1990s when Prime Minister became Yevgeniy Primakov. It is evident that they have reached a full geopolitical turn during the current, third mandate of President Vladimir Putin.
The current ring of economic sanctions against Russia as well as various proxy wars close to Russian borders show that the U.S.-NATO elites will neither tolerate nor forgive Russia’s attempts at resistance. They will not take seriously Putin’s proposals which in many respects mirror de Gaulle’s mid-20th century political agenda.
In this way, notwithstanding Hollywood’s efforts to convince us that both de Gaulle and Putin represent demonic forces, the whole world might end up a loser. If there is no reasonable cooperation and agreement on crucial geopolitical issues among the Great Powers, a nuclear apocalypse may be around the corner.Kovacevic on Geopolitics