Weekly cables

Week 12 - 2017

Many observers and commentators across Europe have welcomed the results of Dutch general elections which show moderate prime minister Mark Rutte holding onto power and the Euroskeptic Party for Freedom obtaining less than expected seats in the House of Representatives. While those results apparently break the momentum of the so called Euroskeptic wave, they do not necessarily bode well for the future of the Eurozone and the European Union. Throughout the years Rutte’s government has signaled the intention of integrating more into Germany’s sphere of influence rather than upholding Europe’s current institutions. In 2014 and 2015 The Hague and Berlin agreed to integrate several army units and signed a similar deal for their naval units. Moreover the Netherlands has often implied being ready to adopt a German-led Northern Euro in case of implosion of the common currency. Geopolitical reality and contraints always trump political intentions and help us not to overestimate electoral results.

As major powers are revving up for the final assault on Raqqa, the US is working hard as to prevent Turkey from gaining control of Eastern Syria once the Islamic State is dislodged from its territory. Key to such effort would be the Syrian Kurds’ cooperating with the Assad’s regime. According to a specific Pentagon’s blueprint, the Kurds would yield control of a conquered Raqqa to the Syrian regime right away, or at least before Turkish-led forces reach the city. What recently happened in Manbij where Kurds ceded control over several villages to regime forces in the attempt to hold approaching Turkish-led forces at bay.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced that the Golden State is setting up an office in Washington, an unexpected decision aimed at curtailing Trump administration orders which might conflict with Sacramento's interests. In the past weeks Becerra has filed three amicus briefings in lawsuits in order to fight Trump's edicts and now intends to work with California's congressional delegation mostly on matters related to immigration. Following Trump's election California has grown more vocal by the day, to the point of invoking a possible secession from the Union. Although a secession must be considered next to impossible - mostly because no State can leave an empire peacefully - such a development adds to the numerous constraints Trump must face while trying to implement his agenda.