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American Resistance To Empire

The Thirty-Six Countries That We Have Slapped Around This Week

What diplomacy? Here are 36 countries the US has bullied this week

What diplomacy? Here are 36 countries the US has bullied this week
It’s been a busy few days for American diplomacy, with three dozen nations ending up at the receiving end of threats, ultimatums and sanctions this week alone. And it’s only Friday.

Mexico is the latest target, slapped with 5 percent tariffs on each and every export, gradually increasing to 25 percent until it stops the flow of Latin American migrants into the US, thus fulfilling one of President Donald Trump’s election promises. Most of those migrants aren’t even from Mexico.

On the other side of the world, India is reportedly about to be forced to face a choice: ditch the purchase of Russian S-400 air defense systems or face sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA, Washington’s go-to cooperation enforcement instrument).

COMUS threatens ‘serious implications’ for defence ties with India as it stands defiant over S-400 deal

Turkey is facing a similar ultimatum: abandon S-400s (something Ankara has repeatedly refused to do) or lose access to the F-35 fighter jet program. This threat was repeated on Thursday by Kathryn Wheelbarger, US acting assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs. Ankara has already invested some $1.25 billion into the super-expensive American fighter, but with a lot of its parts being made in Turkey, it’s still an open question who would be the bigger loser.

The entire European Union could be facing punishment if it tries to trade with Iran using its non-dollar humanitarian mechanism to bypass the American embargo. Having worked hard on the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran, which has repeatedly been confirmed to be working, EU member states are not ready to ditch trade at Trump’s whim – and US Special Representative to Iran Brian Hook on Thursday reaffirmed the threat of CAATSA sanctions.

COMUS to punish anyone using EU’s alternative payment system with Iran to skirt sanctions 

Cuba, the rediscovered scapegoat of the Trump administration’s newfound anti-socialist drive, is being called out for supporting Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. On his Thursday visit to Canada, US Vice President Mike Pence said Ottawa must stop Havana’s “malign influence” on Caracas’ affairs – despite Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s meek objections that it could play a “positive role” in settling the crisis there.

That’s 32 countries bullied, threatened or sanctioned in one day (counting the 28 EU members). Years’ worth of gunboat diplomacy, packed into a busy few hours in Trump’s signature “my way or the highway” style.

Mentioning Iran (which was almost certainly behind a recent inept attack on oil tankers near the Persian Gulf), China(which dares to buy Iranian oil), Russia (which has probably restarted low-yield nuclear tests) and Venezuela (where the ouster of its elected president is the only result of long-awaited talks with the opposition that Washington will accept) – is almost an afterthought. There’s hardly a week passing without the Trump administration churning out half-a-dozen accusations and threats against one or all of those – and this week, the gears were grinding as hard as ever.

Here’s a visual aid: every nation the US has threatened this week, colored in on a map.

American influence, built up over decades, is undeniable: even its adversaries depend on the US dollar and are arguably at the mercy of its myriad military bases all over the globe. Trump and his hawkish inner circle have been more than willing to spend that credit by shouting at everyone to get in line.

In the worst-case scenario, he is dragging the world into devastating wars. In the best case, he is throwing that influence away, showing allies and rivals alike that an ugly divorce could be the only way out of this abusive relationship.

Iraq Delegates Leading the Pro-Iran Defense At Saudi Anti-Iran Confab

ALMANAR

Iraq’s president calls on neighbours, allies for Iran’s stability

Gulf and Arab leaders are in Saudi Arabia for high-level meetings over rising US-Iran tensions.  Iraq’s president Barham Salih has called upon neighbouring countries and allies to support Iran’s stability.

Iraq has also refused to sign the final joint statement issued by the Arab League following its meeting in Saudi Arabia, which is also hosting talks with the leaders of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

Earlier, Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud accused Iran of interfering in the internal affairs of Arab states.

Qatar‘s Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser Al Thani is also attending the summits amid the country’s ongoing blockade by Saudi Arabia and its allies.

Andrew Simmons reports.

Iraq Breaks with Saudi on Iran During Mecca Summit

 

Iraq has opposed the final statement of an emergency meeting in Saudi Arabia, which condemned what it called Iran’s “interference” in countries of the Middle East region.

A statement by the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council and the communiqué issued after a wider summit both underlined the rights of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to defend themselves against Tehran.

The statements mainly cited concerns about the recent sabotage attacks against several ships off the UAE.

Both Saudi and Emirati officials have blamed the mysterious “sabotage” attacks on Iran while Iran denies any involvement.

“The absence of a firm deterrent stance against Iranian behavior is what led to the escalation we see today,” King Salman told the two consecutive meetings late on Thursday night.

He also pointed to Iran’s ballistic missile and nuclear programs as sources of concern, and expressed concern about what he described as Iran’s threats to cripple global oil supplies by closing down the Strait of Hormuz in case the US seeks to zero out the Islamic Republic’s oil exports.

Iraq, however, which maintains close ties with neighboring Iran and has strong ties with Washington as well, objected to the communiqué, which required “non-interference in other countries” as a pre-condition for cooperation with Tehran.

Iraqi President Barham Salih asked the gathering to support his country’s stability, arguing that rising tensions with Iran could cause war. He voiced hope that Iran’s security would not be targeted.

“We are watching before our eyes the escalation of a regional and international crisis which can turn into war that will engulf all. If the crisis is not managed well, then we will be faced with the danger of a regional and international confrontation which will bring tragedy to our countries,” Salih said.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran is a Muslim country that is a neighbor to Iraq and Arabs. It is certain that we do not wish the security of Iran to be targeted. We share a common border that is 1,400 km long and a long history and relations, and it is also certain that the security of a fellow Islamic country is in the interest of Arab and Islamic countries. The region needs stability based on a mechanism of joint security that guarantees non-interference in internal affairs and the rejection of violence and extremism,” he added.

The Mecca communiqué also said the Riyadh regime had all the rights to defend itself against retaliatory drone strikes by Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah fighters, after a number of drones flew hundreds of kilometers into Saudi Arabia and targeted two of the kingdom’s oil pumping stations earlier this month.

The oil-rich kingdom also accused Tehran of ordering the drone strikes against its oil facilities.

Source: Press TV

Saudi Arabia Invited Qatar To its Anti-Iran Summit

  • Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman extended his invitation to Qatar and Doha accepted, marking the first landing of a Qatari jet in Saudi Arabia since June of 2017.
  • While the move is significant, it does not address the underlying divide between Qatar and many of its Gulf counterparts.
  • Achieving a united plan of action against Iran among Gulf states will likely prove challenging, experts say.
Premium: Mohammed bin Salman 180307
Mohammed bin Salman
Will Oliver | Pool | Bloomberg | Getty Images

DUBAI — Arab leaders have convened in Saudi Arabia’s holy city of Mecca for a two-day emergency meeting aimed at addressing increasing tensions with Iran.

The Gulf states have even reached out to Qatar, the estranged neighbor that Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Egypt cut off via a land and sea blockade two years ago. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman extended his invitation to Qatar and Doha accepted, marking the first landing of a Qatari jet in Saudi Arabia since June of 2017.

“The fact that the Saudis contacted the Emir of Qatar directly suggests that the tension with Iran is taken very seriously in Riyadh,” Andrews Krieg, a lecturer at the King’s College London School of Security Studies, told CNBC.

“So the kingdom is ready to build a broader than usual consensus on how to deal with Iran.”

But does this signal a breakthrough in Qatar-GCC relations and a possible end to the blockade? Don’t hold your breath, regional experts warn.

“While the invitation to (Qatari Emir) Sheikh Tamim is a positive step in a potential thaw in the Gulf rift, it should not be overblown,” said Becca Wasser, a policy analyst and regional specialist at the Rand Corporation. “Such invitations are symbolic and important, but they do little to solve the underlying factors that led to the rift.”

Giorgio Cafiero, founder of Washington D.C.-based think tank Gulf State Analytics, poked further holes in the prospect of a warm reunion between the alienated states.

“Talk of the summits leading to a resolution of the Gulf crisis is premature,” he wrote in an article for foreign affairs website LobeLog along with Qatari academic Khalid al-Jaber. ”In fact, the Saudis continue banning Qatari jets from the kingdom’s airspace. The Qatari jet that landed in Jeddah on May 27 was permitted entry into Saudi airspace just because of the upcoming Mecca summits, not due to any overall change in Saudi policy. ”

While reports describe the Qatari monarchy as receiving the invitation warmly, Doha is sending its Prime Minister Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani rather than its head of state, given that official relations between the two remain frigid. The economic and political blockade was launched based on charges that Qatar supported extremism and enjoyed cozy ties with Iran, accusations the Qataris reject.

A united front against Iran?

But in terms of creating a united front against Iran, the fact that not all of the Gulf states have been directly targeted by Iran or its proxies “makes Iranian subversion a difficult rallying cry,” Wasser noted. Still, she pointed out, the attacks on oil tankers “increases the buy-in of many of the states as shipping lanes are essential to their economic health.”

Krieg at King’s College London agreed. “The irrational securitization of Iran in Riyadh and Abu Dhabi are not shared among the smaller states of the Gulf,” like Qatar, Kuwait and Oman, who have often acted as mediators during regional crises, Krieg said. “So the least common denominator that they can agree on might be far off from an actionable policy towards Iran. At the most we can expect a common position that will call on Iran not to escalate,” he added.

The summit follows several weeks of escalatory developments in the Gulf region, most significantly a mysterious attack on four tankers off the UAE coast that White House officials have blamed on Iran, and drone strikes on Saudi oil infrastructureclaimed by Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton was in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, meeting with Gulf allies to chart a course of action in response to what the President Donald Trump administration has cited as increased and serious threats from Tehran. Washington has already announced it will send 1,500 additional U.S. troops to the region, and last week pushed through an $8 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Jordan without Congressional approval.

While the White House has repeatedly said it is not seeking war or regime change, experts fear a miscalculation could lead to more serious confrontation. Iranian officials have denied involvement in the recent attacks, calling the charges “ludicrous.”

But some analysts feel that Bolton is looking for an excuse to harden his already hawkish stance toward Iran. The former diplomat has openly called for regime change in Iran in the past.

Tehran, under pressure from heavy U.S. sanctions, has announced an end to some of its commitments to the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal, which was meant to curtail the country’s nuclear program in exchange for financial relief. Iranian Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who controls the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps recently designated by Trump as a terrorist organization, has repeatedly vowed that his country would not cower to U.S. pressure.

France, UK and U.S. Navies Rehearse Underwater Sabotage/Defense, One Month Before UAE Sabotage, In Artemis Trident 19 Wargames

Royal Navy sailors hoist a Sea Fox C-Round Mine Disposal System above the water, preparing to drop it in the sea for a training mission aboard the Royal Navy minehunter HMS Ledbury (M30) during Artemis Trident 19.

[Could this shaped-charge torpedo interceptor be responsible for ship “sabotage” in UAE?]

The U.S. Navy expeditionary sea base USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB 3), fleet ocean tug USNS Catawba (T-ATF 168), Avenger-class mine countermeasures ship USS Sentry (MCM 3), U.S. Coast Guard Island-class coastal patrol boats USCGC Maui (WPB 1304) and USCGC Wrangell (WPB 1332); the Royal Navy landing ship dock RFA Cardigan Bay (L3009); the French Marine Nationale minehunters FS L’Aigle (M647) and FS Sagittaire (M650); the Royal Navy minehunters HMS Shoreham (M112) and HMS Ledbury (M30); and Mine Countermeasures Squadron (HM) 15 MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopters navigate the Arabian Gulf in formation during Artemis Trident 19.

France, UK and U.S. navies complete Artemis Trident 19

The U.S. Navy expeditionary sea base USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB 3), fleet ocean tug USNS Catawba (T-ATF 168), Avenger-class mine countermeasures ship USS Sentry (MCM 3), U.S. Coast Guard Island-class coastal patrol boats USCGC Maui (WPB 1304) and USCGC Wrangell (WPB 1332); the United Kingdom Royal Navy’s RFA Cardigan Bay (L3009); the French Marine Nationale’s minehunters FS L’Aigle (M647) and FS Sagittaire (M650); the United Kingdom Royal Navy’s minehunters HMS Shoreham (M112) and HMS Ledbury (M30); and Mine Countermeasures Squadron (HM-15) MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopters navigate the Arabian Gulf in formation during Artemis Trident 19. Artemis Trident is a mine countermeasures exercise conducted by France’s Marine Nationale, the United Kingdom’s Royal Navy and the U.S. Navy in the Arabian Gulf focused on increasing interoperability and demonstrating the nations’ shared commitment to ensuring unfettered maritime operations.

MANAMA, Bahrain–France’s Marine Nationale, the United Kingdom’s Royal Navy and the U.S. Navy completed the U.S. 5th Fleet mine countermeasures exercise Artemis Trident in the Arabian Gulf.

The scenario for the defensive exercise was for coalition forces to provide safe passage to humanitarian relief vessels through a mined area.

“Mines threaten maritime traffic indiscriminately,” U.S. Navy Capt. Jeffrey Morganthaler, Commodore of Task Force 52 and lead for the exercise, said. “Training together ensures we can collectively protect unfettered operations of naval and support vessels, as well as commercial shipping movements, throughout the maritime domain.”

In the fictional scenario, 70 nautical miles of channels and routes were cleared for simulated shipping using multiple, integrated sensors. Geographically dispersed forces practiced choke point clearance and harbor breakout.

The exercise involved over 700 personnel, 10 ships, and five helicopters from the three nations. The ships included the U.S. Navy expeditionary sea base USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB 3), fleet ocean tug USNS Catawba (T-ATF 168), Avenger-class mine countermeasures ship USS Sentry (MCM 3), Island-class coastal patrol boats USCGC Maui (WPB 1304) and USCGC Wrangell (WPB 1332); the United Kingdom Royal Navy’s RFA Cardigan Bay (L3009) and minehunters HMS Shoreham (M112) and HMS Ledbury (M30); and the French Marine Nationale’s minehunters FS L’Aigle (M647) and FS Sagittaire (M650).

Cmdr. Steve White, commander of Royal Navy mine countermeasure forces deployed to the Arabian Gulf, speaks to the crew of the Royal Navy minehunter HMS Ledbury (M30) during a command update aboard the Ledbury during Artemis Trident 19.

As part of the exercise, FS L’Aigle and HMS Ledbury simultaneously rafted with the RFA Cardigan Bay. RFA Cardigan Bay’s support increased the endurance of the mine hunters, demonstrating how a multinational force could conduct sustainment and repairs during extended mine clearance operations.

In another scenario, six of the ships practiced collective self-defense, working together to defend themselves from simulated air and surface threats.

“The exercise has been a highlight in our current deployment, and it exemplifies how we are stronger together, in an area that is so complex,” said France’s Marine Nationale Lt. Pierre, mine clearance diving officer aboard FS L’Aigle. “France deploys MCM vessels on a regular basis to the Arabian Gulf, to maintain expertise of the local environment, and I am looking forward to the next exercise.”

Command and control was fully integrated throughout the exercise. The Commander UK Mine-Counter Measure Forces and his staff led Combined Task Group 52.2 from aboard the RFA Cardigan Bay, leading RFA Cardigan Bay, HMS Ledbury, FS L’Aigle and a U.S. Navy mine hunting unit. The United States Navy led Combined Task Group 52.3, focused on expeditionary mine countermeasures with diving forces from all three nations. The French Battle Staff, embarked on USS Lewis B. Puller, served as Combined Task Group 52.4 and led Puller, USS Sentry, FS Sagittaire and HMS Shoreham.

Royal Navy Able Rate Mine Warfare Jonathan Grayson, left, Able Rate Mine Warfare Oliver Leach, and Leading Seaman Garreth Miles, maneuver the Sea Fox C-Round Mine Disposal System from the magazine of the Royal Navy minehunter HMS Ledbury (M30) onto the deck to assemble the Sea Fox C-round in preparation for a training mission during Artemis Trident 19.

“There are many similarities between all three MCM communities from the comradeship and professionalism onboard these small ships, to the quest to embrace emerging maritime autonomous technology,” Royal Navy Commander Steven White, commander of Combined Task Group 52.2, said. “MCM is a complex and dangerous business that many people do not understand, these exercises allow me along with my fellow task group commanders, and commanding officers of ships and diving units to practice and refine our skills and procedures so we are ready when called upon to do this for real.”

Task Force 52 plans and executes mine warfare operations in support of U.S. 5th Fleet operational objectives.

U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations encompasses about 2.5 million square miles of water and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean. The expanse comprises 20 countries and includes three critical choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, the Suez Canal and the Strait of Bab al-Mandeb at the southern tip of Yemen.

 

Khalifa Haftar, CIA Frontman In Libya, Supported By All Sides, Except For Turkey and Qatar

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The US-NATO Invasion of Libya Destroyed the Country Beyond All Recognition

CIA’s Man In Libya, Gen. Haftar, Backed By Russia, Egypt, UAE and Saudi Arabia

Russia + Saudi Arabia + Qatar, Except When In Syria

Pentagon Plans To Turn Anti-ISIL Efforts Into N. Africa Offensive Against Someone

Arab Fratricide In Libya–Qatar and Turkey vs. UAE and Egypt

Haftar salms UN envoy to Libya as biased

Warlord Khalifa Haftar hires US lobbyist

Battle for Libya’s capital after Trump’s call with Haftar will be very long

Haftar air forces strike House of Representatives in Libya capital

Image: Libyan Strongman Khalifa Haftar salutes during a military parade in the eastern city of Benghazi

Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar at a military parade in the eastern city of Benghazi.Abdullah Doma / AFP – Getty Images file

Who is Khalifa Haftar, whose forces are attacking Tripoli, Libya?

 

Libya is like “‘Game of Thrones’ where every house is ruled by Joffrey,” one expert said.

By Alexander Smith

Chinese Threaten To Withhold Rare Earth/Strategic Minerals, Sending Stock Market Into Nose-Dive

donald trump, dow jones industrial average
The Dow plummeted on Wednesday after Beijing exposed its “devastating” strategy to pressure Trump into capitulation in trade war negotiations. | Source: Brendan Smialowski / AFP

Dow Flails After ‘Devastating’ Beijing Bombshell Pummels Trump

By CCN: The Dow recoiled on Wednesday after China exposed its bombshell strategy to win the trade war by pressuring the Trump administration into capitulation.

DOW SLIPS INTO FREEFALL

All of Wall Street’s major indices lurched lower, as intensifying trade war fears thundered across the global market.

As of 10:39 am ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had plummeted 160.52 points or 0.63%, thrusting the DJIA down to 25,187.25. The S&P 500 dropped 14.04 points or 0.5% to 2,788.31, and the Nasdaq fell 38.18 points or 0.5% to 7,569.17.

dow jones industrial average chart

The Dow endured a brutal sell-off after Beijing suggested that it would weaponize its rare earths exports. | Source: Yahoo Finance

BEIJING BOMBSHELL THROWS TRUMP ON HIS HEELS

Stocks plunged after Beijing revealed the ace up its sleeve in the rapidly escalating conflict with the United States: rare earths.

An editorial in the China’s People’s Daily – the Communist Party’s official newspaper – called for Beijing to drastically reduce exports of rare earths, which are vital to key industrial sectors including defense, energy, and automobile manufacturing.

Around 80% of all US rare earths imports come from China, and they’re crucial for producing everything from nuclear batteries to smartphones.

US rare earths imports, trade war, dow jones

China single-handedly controls the fate of every US industry that relies on rare earths imports. | Source: Bloomberg

Jack Lifton, co-founder of Technology Metals Research LLC, told Bloomberg that China’s rare earths weaponization would deal the US – and Trump – a “devastating” blow.

“There is no such thing as an automobile sold in the U.S. or made in the U.S. that doesn’t have rare-earth permanent magnet motors somewhere in its assembly,” Lifton said. “It would be a tremendous hit to the consumer appliance industry and the automotive industry. That means washing machines, vacuum cleaners, cars. The list is endless.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping previously warned the country to prepare for a “new Long March” filled with “difficult situations,” implicitly threatening the US with a prolonged trade conflict that could not only outlast Trump but also several of his successors.

Almost as if penned by Xi himself, the China’s People’s Daily editorial issued an ominous threat:

“Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

Most trade war coverage has focused on the tariffs that the US has threatened to impose on Beijing. However, as China’s apparent move to slash rare earths exports demonstrates, China has plenty of ammunition to pinch the Trump administration where it hurts.

Beijing’s rare earths weaponization immediately places Trump on the defensive, and it further risks making his “We’re not ready to make a deal” boast ring more than a bit hollow.

ANALYST: STOCK MARKET STANDS ON BRINK OF 10% CRASH

dow jones industrial average, stock market

The stock market could suffer a 10% crash once Wall Street sobers up to the alarming trade war reality. | Source: Drew Angerer / Getty Images / AFP

Analysts have been sounding the alarm on US-China tensions since negotiations suddenly went south earlier this month, but investors seem to have anesthetized themselves to the gravity of the situation.

This collective delusion can’t last forever, and the stock market could endure a 10% crash once Wall Street sobers up.

“The market is deeply underestimating how bad it can get,” Sebastien Galy, a senior macro strategist at Nordea Asset Management, told MarketWatch. There’s a “60% chance that things go quite awry on the trade side,” and a 5% to 10% pullback for stocks is “quite likely.”

DOW SPEEDS TOWARD 6TH-STRAIGHT LOSS

Wednesday’s sell-off placed the Dow firmly on course for a sixth consecutive weekly loss. On May 28, the DJIA lost 237.92 points or 0.93% to 25,347.77, despite leaping more than 100 points at the opening bell.

The S&P 500 slid 0.84% to 2,802.39, and the Nasdaq outperformed with a 0.39% decline that reduced the tech-heavy index to 7,607.35.

Click here for a real-time Dow Jones Industrial Average price chart.

EU Power Shifts From France To Italy, As Populism Stings the Neo-Liberal Order

French far right shows renewed strength in blow for Macron

Matteo Salvini, Italy’s interior minister and leader of the anti-migrant League Party, in Milan, Italy, on Monday.CreditGuglielmo Mangiapane/Reuters

Matteo Salvini’s anti-immigrant, populist party the League made big gains in Italy.

Results as of 2 p.m. EST on Monday, May 27. Euroskeptic parties include those with policies that seek to weaken the E.U. and devolve power away from it, both on the left and right. For the purposes of this map, we omitted Britain, which is in the midst of a tumultuous process of trying to leave the E.U.

Source: European Parliament

“There is a wind of positive energy,” said Mr. Salvini, whose anti-immigrant party won 34 percent of the vote in Italy. “It has brought in fresh air.”

Maybe. While the populists increased their share of seats in the European Parliament, they were denied the sort of Continent-wide earthquake they and their boosters had predicted — and their critics had feared — as turnout jumped in some places to the highest level in 20 years.

Some 75 percent of voters still backed parties that support Europe, blocking a major populist victory. Pro-Europe parties like the Greens picked up unexpected gains.

For Mr. Salvini’s critics — who see him as Europe’s version of the kind of populist strongman who now seems ascendant around the globe — the air he let in has a noxious whiff to it.

Recent elections in India, Australia and the Philippines have shown public support for tough leaders, and Mr. Salvini and other European populists are trying to push some of the same buttons. They oppose immigration, promote nationalism, blame globalization and promise a return to better, bygone eras.

Supporters of France’s far-right National Rally celebrated election results in Paris, on Sunday night.CreditCharles Platiau/Reuters
But as the European elections broadly revealed, that appeal has limits, at least for now, as opponents also mobilize in an age of political volatility. Polls show the public does not want to tear down the European Union, and if many people want to change the bloc, they often disagree on how to do it.

If little else was clear from the fractured returns in Europe, the elections showed that battle lines between populists and the political establishment are still forming in a crucial — and complicated — political arena.

“The old left-right divide is being replaced by a dominant rift between populists and anti-populists,” said Zaki Laïdi, a professor and political analyst at Sciences Po in Paris.

Europe has been in a state of political ferment since the 2008 financial crisis, which created divisions between north and south, rich and poor, and generated resentments that exploded in a populist backlash after the migration crisis in 2015.

New parties or those once on the fringes in many countries suddenly found new constituencies, while the political establishment crumbled in Greece, Spain, Italy, France and elsewhere.

In the weekend voting, France’s far-right, nationalist leader, Marine Le Pen, edged out President Emmanuel Macron, who presented himself as the face of pro-European modernity.

In Eastern Europe, right-wing leaders in Hungary and Poland now lead the national governments and routinely challenge the democratic and institutional norms of the European Union. The party of Viktor Orban, the Hungarian prime minister who has eroded democratic norms, won more than half the electorate.

But in Germany and elsewhere, populist forces did not meet expectations, and the threat to a European establishment that lost votes came from strong showings by the Greens and liberals, both of whom are solidly pro-European.

Marine Le Pen, in France, came back from what seemed like her exile by edging past President Emmanuel Macron in the elections for the European Parliament.CreditCharles Platiau/Reuters
In Italy, the birthplace of fascism and later a founding member of the European bloc, Mr. Salvini punched through the ceiling of even the highest expectations he had set for the returns. That outcome has already cemented his dominance in Italy’s politics.

But it was also accompanied by the collapse of another populist force — his coalition partners in the Five Star Movement — as well as the surprising revival of the pro-Europe, center-left Democratic Party, after its near-death experience in Italy’s national elections last year.

The divisive language against the European Union as the root of all the Continent’s ills “has actually galvanized people,” said Nathalie Tocci, the director of Italy’s Institute of International Affairs and a senior adviser to Europe’s foreign policy chief. “All of a sudden Europe means something.”

Ms. Tocci argued that as a result of that turnout, and a rejuvenation of the European political space by new Green voters and liberals, “the nationalists did not do as well as many feared.”

Mr. Salvini’s victory, she said, all but guaranteed Italy’s isolation in Europe and she considered his intention to form a populist group in European Parliament with up to 140 members “completely irrelevant.”

Outside of Italy, it was not clear that there was even a cohesive, pan-national populist movement to lead.

“Already within this nationalist alliance or whatever he calls it, already within that group they disagree with one another,” she said.

“Yes, they are all anti-migration but Salvini is the one who says other European countries have to take the burden,’’ she added. ‘‘You try and convince Orban about this. Be my guest. This is the point of nationalists. They are nationalists. They don’t help each other.”

Though far-right populists in Europe fell short of the worst fears of the political establishment, Mr. Salvini nonetheless captured nearly a third of votes in his country.

He did so sailing with the prevailing political winds blowing in much of the world, as autocrats in Russia and China set the pace of geopolitical competition, and President Trump acts as a one-man stress test on America’s system of checks and balances. Strong-fisted leaders, often with anti-democratic impulses, have risen to power all around.

India’s incumbent prime minister, the polarizing, right-leaning Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi, won a stunning re-election victory last week, with a populist agenda favoring India’s Hindu majority and stoking fresh fear in the country’s minority communities, especially Muslims.

President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, who has waged an antidrug campaign that human rights activists estimate has killed 20,000 people, won more seats this month in the Senate, while opposition candidates did not win any seats in the upper house, for the first time since 1938.

“This is how a democracy dies in our age, perishing on the back of a demagogue who ushers in popular dictatorship with consent of the masses and even the elite,” said Richard Heydarian, a professor of political science and author of “The Rise of Duterte: A Populist Revolt Against Elite Democracy.”

Each country had its nuances and complexities, but from a global view, it was clear which way the political axis tilted.

“There is this rightward shift of the political balance,” said Stefano Stefanini, a retired Italian ambassador to NATO.

“Leaders are able to or try to bypass institutions and the traditional systems of checks and balances by going directly to the people,’’ he said. ‘‘And that can lead to a phase where you actually do away with democracy.”

The party of Viktor Orban, the Hungarian prime minister who has eroded democratic norms, won more than half the electorate in the voting for the European Parliament.CreditSzilard Koszticsak/EPA, via Shutterstock

That stage had not arrived, but he worried that social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter, so adored by Mr. Trump and Mr. Salvini, could speed the process.

“Contemporary democracy runs the same risk of ancient Greece democracy: turning into tyranny,” he said.

In Europe, upheavals in identity politics — migration, globalization and an economic inequality — had led to a serious questioning of the liberal market democracy, said Roberto Menotti, a senior adviser at the Aspen Institute Italia.

“Change in general create fears, and that’s probably one simple explanation of this shift” to the right, he said. “But at the same time, it seems to me, the other big trend has been volatility.”

Parties that have been at the heart of the European political life since World War II are falling apart, and the election results eroded them further. The Brexit Party, a veritable political pop-up which sprouted only weeks ago, won about 32 percent of the vote in Britain.

“Whether this is a sort of terminal illness or just a temporary big headache of course we don’t know,” said Mr. Menotti.

What is clear from recent European history, especially in Europe, is that things change very quickly. Only five years ago, former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, of Italy’s Democratic Party, became the toast of Europe’s left by winning more than 40 percent in European elections.

The Five Star Movement, the League’s coalition partner, became the leading party in Italy in national elections last year, but have now lost half of their support and trail the Democratic Party.

Mr. Salvini, a lifelong political operative, didn’t waste any time trying to consolidate his victory into gains that could help his longevity.

On Monday afternoon, he hit the campaign trail again, arguing in Rome that the election result gave him a mandate to renegotiate European budgetary rules imposed to bring down Italy’s dangerously inflated debt, but which would hurt his plans of introducing politically popular tax cuts.

“I will use this consensus to try to change European rules that are damaging the Italian people,” he said.

Jeffrey Gettleman contributed reporting from New Delhi, Aurelien Breeden from Paris, Elisabetta Povoledo from Rome, Richard C. Paddock from Bangkok, Christopher F. Schuetze from Berlin, Niki Kitsantonis from Athens and Carlotta Gall from Istanbul.