Thomas Röper* in Anti-Spiegel:
I am asked how Russo-German relations developed in 2018. Unfortunately I have to say that not much has developed there. The reason for this is to be found in geopolitics.
Geopolitics at first glance is a topic that is complicated. But only at first glance. In fact, in principle, it is the same as relationships between people, for example, at work. There, too, we know people who use intrigue for their benefit. Geopolitics is nothing else. Someone tries to gain one advantage over another, using third parties that he can either manipulate or even pressure to join in.
So to understand geopolitics you do not have to be smarter than other people, you just have to understand the interests of states and their relationships and dependencies. Germany and Russia are states that have an incredible amount of common interests. And their interests complement each other, they are not in conflict with each other. They would actually be natural partners. So you have to ask yourself why the relationship between Russia and Germany is so bad.
They are also the largest states in Europe. Russia is the largest country in the world and, as a European country, the country with the largest population in Europe. And Germany is number two in Europe according to these criteria. Germany is technically broader in many fields than Russia and as a leader in the world, has one of the strongest and most innovative industries in Europe and the world, Russia is perhaps the richest country in the world when it comes to natural resources.
What impact these countries could exert in the world if they work together is hard to imagine. Above all, this would be a real cooperation, because no country could make the rules for the other, they would complement and need each other, and neither one could dominate the other, even if they wanted to.
Knowing this, one understands why today’s world power, the present-day empire that rules or dominates the world, does everything it can to play Germany and Russia against each other. This empire is the United States and its influence on Germany is so great that you almost have to call Germany a colony or vassal of the United States.
The US has about 40,000 soldiers stationed in Germany, this can be described as a crew. The most important US air force base abroad is in Rammstein in Germany. The Bundestag, in 2011, made the decision that the German government should do everything to have the US withdraw its nuclear weapons from Germany. That’s interesting: Germany did not ask the US to do this, after all it’s about German territory, because one would have to believe that Germany can decide for itself which weapons should stay or which weapons to have removed. But the decision was that the government should work with the US to get the weapons withdrawn, so to speak.
But did you hear that the German Chancellor called for this from the USA? Neither did I. And that is the problem: Germany may decide on the amount of income tax in Germany, but not on the US activities in Germany.
When it became known that the US not only listens to all the phones in Germany and reads all emails, but even listens to the telephone of the German Chancellor, this had no consequences. There are many other examples that prove that Germany is not a sovereign state, but that Germany follows the orders from Washington on all important (geopolitical) issues.
You have to know that, if you want to say something about the relationship between Germany and Russia. I was asked how relations between Germany and Russia developed in 2018. If you consider what I’ve written here, the answer is simple: they have not developed at all, because the US wants a confrontation with Russia, and Germany is an obedient assistant to the US.
In 2018, we had some geopolitical events that show what I mean. First there was the Skripal case. Although no one knows what happened to the Skripals, Russia has been accused by the West of using chemical weapons. Even days after the incident, when not even the OPWC was able to trace it out, many western states – including Germany – expelled Russian diplomats. The fact that the OPWC has never accused anyone and can not say what happened doesn’t matter to the scriptwriters for the German politicians and media. If Anglo-Americans want it, Germany will follow. That is blind vassal loyalty.
How absurd that is can be seen in the case of the Saudi journalist Khashoggi, who was assassinated in the Saudi consulate in Turkey. There are few unanswered questions. The only question is whether or not the Saudi Crown Prince ordered the murder. The contrast: About Skripal you don’t know anything, but about Khashoggi you know (almost) everything. But were there sanctions against Saudi Arabia? Did Germany expel Saudi diplomats? Of course not.
Washington has declared Russia an opponent, and Germany is doing what Washington wants. Saudi Arabia is an ally of the US and Germany is not responding to Saudi Arabia’s crimes. It’s that easy.
The vassal loyalty of Germany to the USA was particularly clear when, in September and October 2018, there was a danger that a further incident with chlorine gas could occur in Syria. Russia and Syria said the Islamists in Idlib are planning a provocation with chemical weapons in case Syria should liberate Idlib. The US then accused Syria of wanting to use chemical weapons there and threatened massive retaliation. It did not happen, Russia, Turkey and Iran have agreed on a compromise on Idlib and there was no attack.
But even the US accusation that Syria could use chemical weapons, led Chancellor Merkel to say in advance that a US attack on Syria would be justified and they wanted even German soldiers to participate.
As a result, the German parliament has had its experts, the so-called scientific Service of the Bundestag, prepare a report. The result was that Germany’s participation in such a military operation would, firstly, be contrary to international law and, secondly, that this participation would be illegal even under the German constitution.
However, the German Chancellor has stayed the course: supporting the US would be necessary if it should come to an incident with chemical weapons in Idlib. The German Chancellor, who has taken an oath to the German constitution, has no problem breaking the German constitution and laws if the US wants it.That does not sound good.
But there are other interesting details.One would have to believe that Putin does not feel like talking to Merkel about this German policy. The opposite is the case. Merkel and Putin meet very often. And if you listen attentively to Putin, you realize that he always speaks positively about Merkel. That’s hard to understand.
I suspect that despite her limited political capabilities and despite her anti-Russian rhetoric in public, Merkel speaks differently in private with Putin. Proof of this is that the Minsk Agreement, which was a Merkel initiative in which she opposed the US. The US did not want such an agreement, but had to accept it when it was signed. The agreement has many weaknesses, but at that time it made a “frozen” war in Ukraine. The conflict still exists, people are still dying, but the agreement has prevented further escalation, which was very likely at the beginning of 2015.
Even with the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which Europe desperately needs to meet its growing demand for natural gas, Merkel has so far opposed the US. Although the US is already openly threatened with sanctions for Nord Stream II, Merkel is trying to realize the project. But that was also the maximum extent hat Merkel was willing to resist Washington.
Merkel is now a person of the past and no longer of the future, because after many lost elections Merkel has handed over the chairmanship of her party before she could be removed by the party. Merkel is still Chancellor up to a maximum of 2021, and maybe her party will set her aside sooner, if they think this is better for the 2021 election.
The party has chosen Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer as its new chairman, so she would probably be the new Chancellor in Merkel’s resignation.
AKK is very closely connected with France and the USA, she has even received high French medals. But she has no foreign policy experience, she was previously only involved in domestic politics. It is therefore to be expected that she will become a difficult partner for Russia in her pro-American stance and without the knowledge of the crises of recent years, for example in Ukraine and in relation to Russia.
Merkel, anti-Russian as her stance was and is, has at least witnessed these crises and knows what happened. AKK was still a regional politician (Saarland Prime Minister), at the time when the crises began in Ukraine or Syria.
A prediction about the relations of Germany and Russia is therefore difficult to make. Or easy, because if nothing changes in Germany, if Germany does not finally shake off the dominance of the United States, then nothing will change and with a new and inexperienced chancellor AKK it will be even harder than with Merkel.
However, if Germany reflects on its own interests, then genuine cooperation for Russia, Germany and Europe could bring people a better and peaceful life. Yes, I deliberately say “peaceful,” because even if there is no war here today, just ask people in Donetsk or Lugansk.
Unfortunately, I currently do not see a German politician who stands for such a policy, all major politicians in Germany, regardless of which party they are, represent in questions of geopolitics the same line: no criticism of the US, a little criticism of Trump, but just not the US. But massive criticism of Russia, even if Russia did nothing at all.
But one should not give up hope, Schröder also followed the US into the Yugoslav war, then suddenly turned around and opposed the Iraq war. And despite the anti-Russian propaganda, the surveys in Germany show that more and more people no longer believe in the anti-Russian. Russian propaganda.
*Thomas Röper is the author of Putin: “Do You Realize What You’ve Done:”