The Netherlands, from peacemaker to warmonger

22 februari 2024 | Thierry Baudet

In a speech to Dutch parliament on 13 february, FVD party leader Thierry Baudet gave his vision on Dutch foreign policy.



The coming time will be interesting.

The Netherlands, always in the forefront of giving itself a pat on the back for complying with so-called "international law", is being accused by various states of being complicit in violating the Genocide Convention.

Because our country has joined the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom in their attack on the Houthis - of course, because that's how docile we are! - those proud Yemeni fighters who, as is well known, are trying to prevent ships from countries that support Israel's bombing of Palestinian children from continuing to pass through the Suez Canal - because of this, because our country supports that bombing, the Netherlands was last week accused by Nicaragua at the International Court of Justice of aiding and abetting genocide.

If it actually comes to such a ruling - and, let's face it, that is not inconceivable - we are going to see what all this talk of "international law" has really been worth all this time.

Yes, we are going to see whether the whole concept of modern "international law," whereby powerful states (or a majority of States, as if there were a global "democracy") may impose their norms on less powerful countries, or on minority countries, is really believed in at all.

Or whether, as I have always argued, it was really just a pretence. Hypocrisy. An instrument of power - an opportunist argument.

If "international law" is in our favour, then we are in favour of "international law." And if "international law" is not in our favour, then we do not recognise it.

To be honest, hasn’t "international law" always been used as a quasi-apolitical pretext to push through political choices and goals? To give them lustre? To make them sound "a-political"? 

It’s a bit like Peter Omtzigt's drivel about "the rule of law" which is nothing but an excuse to cover up political differences with Wilders.

Indeed, will the members of the established parties in power - who are completely on NATO's leash - still talk so fanatically about "international law" when they do not like the outcome - when that same "international law" turns against NATO countries outright?

It could happen any time.

Because the world is changing rapidly and the BRICS countries are done with the American hegemony that the Netherlands continues to obey so slavishly, despite the fact that it is rapidly crumbling.

A well-known saying goes that generals are actually always preparing for the last war,  not the next one. Thus, following the example of the U.S. State Department, the Netherlands remains stubbornly stuck in the Cold War mindset.

You saw it in Ukraine, you saw it in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo - and also now in Israel. All understandable choices if you still live with a Cold War worldview.

Domino Theory. George F. Kennan. Churchill. All boomer-truth.

But we are living now. And we're thinking about the world of the future, 2024, 2025, 2030, 2050. What is the world going to look like? Where are we going to go? What is the actual power relationship of the world today? What is in the interest of the Netherlands now? Not the Netherlands of 25 years ago, of 50 years ago. Now.

To cite an example, if Israel succeeds in its intended ethnic cleansing of Gaza, another 2 million Muslim refugees will come to Europe. Is that bad for Israel? No, not at all. That is in Israel's interest. Is that in Europe's interest? No, of course not. Is that what we want? You can think what you want about that millennia-old conflict in that piece of extremely complex desert delta; but is that country our ally now? 

No. Are the Palestinians our ally? No, neither. The interests diverge. The Israelis want to drive the Palestinians out of the country - read: into Europe - we want to curb Muslim immigration. 


But unfortunately unable to live in the present, stuck in the worldview of the previous generation, the outgoing Rutte administration repeatedly chooses sides in international conflicts that are not in the interest of our own country  or of our own people. Our businesses, our children, our families, our institutions.

The Atlantic alliance is no longer in the interest of the Netherlands.

And America, supposedly our friend, just like Israel, supposedly our friend, supposedly the one we are supposed to cozy up to, that America has explicitly turned against Europe by bombing the Nordstream pipeline in September 2022. 

Our supposed ally attacked us. The Americans committed an act of war against our neighbour Germany. Europe's largest economy is now crumbling as a result of this attack. The Americans have destroyed a pipeline built by Dutch companies. Mark Rutte pretends not to know the truth and instead doubles down on his alliance with our aggressor.

Please understand: of course Nicaragua's and South Africa's accusations of genocide are politically motivated. At no time do I take them seriously. Of course denouncing the Netherlands is symbolic.

But that is exactly the point - international law is always politically motivated, and if we see a huge political shift globally against the West, what is called "international law" will go along with that shift.

Behind Nicaragua and South Africa is the support of the collective South. That support is enormous, and growing. 

In early January, the BRICS organization doubled in size, from 5 to 10 member states, making that group now much larger in population than the G7 and also economically stronger in purchasing power parity.

And where do these new BRICS members come from? Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Ethiopia. These countries, some of which are among the richest in the world, will have no sympathy for the Netherlands' slavish attitude toward the America-Israel amalgamation - nor our country's fanatical support for the Old Testament massacre currently being perpetrated there, by the ancient people, against defenceless Palestinian children. 

What does the Netherlands gain by continuing to align itself with - or even, to put it more accurately, lead the way in - extremist American and Israeli politics?

What does the Netherlands gain from alienating the new emerging economies of the East more and more? 

If it's all to help Mark Rutte get a new job, say with NATO, that can be solved more cheaply. Just say what you want to earn, and we'll pay for it. 

Instead of jeopardizing our national security by giving away our F-16s to be shot down in an unwinnable war. 

Indeed, the continuation of our NATO membership is a danger to our security. 

NATO's outgoing secretary-general has said that expanding the alliance to include Sweden and Finland is a defeat for Russia. This means that NATO still sees itself as an anti-Russian alliance, embroiled in a zero sum game for control of spheres of influence. Exactly what they accuse the adversary of doing, they do themselves.

It means that NATO is not a defensive alliance - in fact, it never has been. All of NATO's military operations have been offensive, from Kosovo in 1999 to Libya in 2011. All have been wars of aggression.

This fact alone shows how far the Netherlands has drifted from our original position of neutrality that has characterized our country for centuries, and brought us to great prosperity.

The International Court of Justice is housed in the "Peace Palace" because the original idea behind it was that the Netherlands stood for peace, that the Netherlands stood for neutrality, that it would become a kind of Switzerland.

The first International Peace Conference was held in The Hague in 1899, attended by 26 countries from all over the world. That conference was held at the initiative of Russia.

Czar Nicholas II was deeply concerned about the future of Europe. He foresaw World War I. And reached out to the international community to try to prevent such a Great War. 

Tsar Nicholas II chose the Netherlands because it was a neutral state, which it would remain until 1945 (we sometimes forget that nowadays). He saw the rise of "power blocs" as an ominous development that undermined the flexibility of the Concert of Europe - that wonderful interplay that broke down at the end of the 19th century. He hoped that The Hague could form a new balancing point between the Triple Alliance of 1882 (Germany, Austria, Italy) on the one hand and the Triple Entente of 1907 (France, Russia, Great Britain) on the other.

The memory of the role of the Netherlands in promoting peace - in being a beacon of neutrality, of arbitration - is preserved by the three commitments in our Constitution to the role of the Netherlands in promoting an international legal order.  But at the same time it is thereby undermined, because "international law" as a term and as a concept has undergone a transformation.

Modern international law, in which a majority of countries - or at least a majority of powerful countries - can impose their will on other countries, is the opposite of classical international law, which is based on sovereignty, fundamental equality and non-interference in the internal affairs of other states.

And this transformation again cannot be understood without a view of American universalism. America was long ago founded on a universalist promise. A country that explicitly from its constitution has no ethnic core, no historical core, but is founded on a universalist principle. A country grounded in revolution. A country embodied and propagated in international affairs by a man named Andrew Carnegie. While the Hague Conferences of 1899 and 1907, held at Huis ten Bosch and then Ridderzaal, established basic rules for sovereign equality between nations and thus sought to secure a peace, Carnegie believed that it was precisely a world government - supranationalism, globalism - that would lead to "universal peace."

Carnegie, like many American oligarchs today, believed in globalisation and international institutions with supranational power. The Carnegie Foundation is part of a galaxy of oligarchic super-rich organizations such as the Rockefeller Foundation, the World Economic Forum, the Bilderberg Group, the Trilateral Commission, all bent on subjecting national democracies to supranational regulation.

Carnegie's dream of world government and "universal peace" - by which, of course, in reality he meant American hegemony - has blinded business and political elites for more than a century, and led to endless conflict.

For peace does not come from the centralisation of power at the international level, it does not come from human rights courts, sanctions regimes, interventions or neoconservative regime change operations. Peace comes from dispersal of power downward, decentralisation, tolerance. The dream of so-called "universal peace" and a world government actually means universal war.

A far better model for international relations is one of flexibility, national sovereignty and balance. International relations, foreign policy, based on sovereignty and on the assumption that there are differences and interests but not fixed blocs. That the whole world need not be transformed according to our ideal image. That we are not a revolutionary power, but on the contrary, the guardians of a fragile balance. 

Why can we not go back to that tradition the Netherlands has cherished, that has characterized the Netherlands for centuries? We are not a nation of revolutionaries. We are not the people who think we can make the world a safer and more peaceful place if we establish the same quasi-Americanism everywhere.

National sovereignty and a policy of balance require a sense of nuance and curiosity, not the dead hand of American militarism that is the inevitable result of a country held hostage by a military-industrial complex.

Our own Grotius, one of the greatest philosophers of classical international law - that of sovereign equality - based his system on this fundamental acceptance of differences. In De iure belli ac pacis (1625), he wrote, "Just as there are different ways of life, some better than others, and everyone may choose what he wants of all these kinds; so a people may choose what form of government they want: nor should the right which the sovereign has over his subjects be measured by this or that form, about which different people have different opinions, but by the extent of the will of those who have granted it to him."

This is pluralism. This is the basis for balance of power. This is the only way to achieve peace. We saw it in Tucker Carlson's interview with Vladimir Putin - with him it is possible to talk. He wants a compromise. We see it all over the world. It is a shocking recognition - our own allies, the countries we thought were our friends, these are the aggressors. We have to wake up from this neoconservative dream, we have to wake up from this transatlantic dream, stand up for the Dutch interest and take a fundamentally different direction in our whole foreign policy. 

That is my credo.


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