The 62nd meeting of the Bilderberg Club, one of the most influential and closed structures of global governance that journalists have long since awarded the epithet “the global cabal”, took place in Copenhagen on 31 May-1 June 2014.
The group’s press release stated that the meeting’s agenda would cover a wide range of issues such as the future of democracy and the middle class, the new international architecture of the Middle East, and the future of Europe. This vague and ambiguous wording concealed more specific issues that also became the subject of discussion. These included the prospect of Iran’s nuclear programme, particularly given the rapprochement between Russia, China and Iran; the rise of nationalistic movements in Europe increasing the risk of its disintegration; the gas agreement between Russia and China; the European Union’s future legislation on Internet privacy; cyber wars and their influence on Internet freedom; and climate change.
There were two issues that became central: the situation in Ukraine, and Barack Obama’s foreign policy, regarded by the influential circles of the global establishment as inefficient.
The tone of these discussions was set by the latest long-term gas contract between Russia and China. According to Western observers, the contract has allowed Russia to significantly strengthen its position in the world generally, and in Ukraine particularly. A long-term gas partnership between Russia and China deprives Kiev of its latest argument – control over the pipeline linking Russia to its European counterparts. At the same time, a strategic alliance between China and Russia has long been a headache for the West, which has done everything possible to prevent a rapprochement between the two countries.
One of the participants at the Bilderberg meeting in Copenhagen confirmed that Ukraine was one of the first issues to be discussed at the morning meeting on 31 May. Who exactly took part in the meeting is unknown, but certain conclusions can be made in view of the list of people invited.
It seems that the discussion’s participants were in no doubt that America’s current strategy in Ukraine is ineffectual, but were all completely unsure how it should be changed. They were particularly unsure about the extent to which it had become necessary for the West to reduce the level of tension in its relations with Moscow regarding the Ukrainian issue.
It is presumed that NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Philip Breedlove, a four-star American general and the commander of NATO forces in Europe, also took part in the Bilderberg discussion on Ukraine. Several days before the Bilderberg meeting, after a meeting of NATO Chiefs of Staff, the same Philip Breedlove announced that the alliance was not planning on changing the format of its relations with Russia on global security issues as a result of the Ukrainian crisis, especially with regard to Afghanistan. (It apparently did not occur to the US general to discuss whether Russia would like to maintain the format of its own relations with NATO in response to their differences over Ukraine.) Rasmussen’s position is less clear, but in recent public statements, he has not called for the confrontation with Russia to be intensified.
Eugene Rumer, Director of the Russia and Eurasia Programme at the Carnegie Center who previously called attention to the fact that the problem in Ukraine is far from the “Russian factor”, but the security vacuum created by the actions of the Kiev regime following events at Maidan, was also present at the Ukraine discussion. In addition, Rumer believes that Kiev’s attempts to obtain direct military aid from the US (in the form of arms supplies, for example) is counterproductive, since Ukraine itself is the 9th biggest arms exporter in the world, and its problem is not its lack of but rather its abundance of weapons.
It is revealing that there were almost no representatives from the European Union who are dealing with Ukraine invited to the meeting in Copenhagen (with the exception of Swedish Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Bildt). According to observers, the Europeans among the global elite are gradually being pushed aside from taking part in the resolution of the Ukrainian issue.
On the whole, it was impossible for the fears of major industrialists and businessmen who traditionally make up a significant proportion of those invited to the Bilderberg meetings not to emerge during the discussions in Copenhagen, which are that the sanctions initiated by the Obama administration against Russia are wreaking havoc on their businesses without bringing any obvious benefits.
In addition, critics of the Obama administration believe that by its actions in relation to the Ukrainian issue, it has created the conditions for Beijing and Moscow to begin successfully building long-term strategic relationships which the West cannot see as anything other than a threat to the system of global governance (hence containing the development of a partnership between China and Russia is once again a priority).
After the Bilderberg Group meeting, it seems that pressure on Barack Obama is growing in the West from two sides simultaneously, from those who would like the White House to reduce the aggressiveness of its rhetoric towards Russia, and from those who are sharply critical of the US President’s indecisiveness and lack of determination regarding Ukraine and who believe that Ukraine should be kept as a territory to fight Russia in the years ahead.
It is difficult to say what the final balance of these forces will prove to be, but it is fairly obvious that dissatisfaction with Washington has grown in the West since the previous Bilderberg meeting. This dissatisfaction is shared by European leaders, transnational businesses, and even part of the US government elites. The irony of the situation revealed by the Ukrainian crisis is that there is a risk of the foreign policy isolation Washington used to scare Russia becoming real, albeit in other forms, for the US itself.
It is unlikely that the results of the Bilderberg discussions will manifest themselves tomorrow, but they will begin to be felt by the autumn, and in all the most important areas of world politics – Chinese, Russian, Ukrainian…