In this article I will try to take advance of Alain Minc analysis in «La grande illusion» (1989) to try to understand Ukraine events. The Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014 (during the Obama presidency) and the current threat of new advances now with Biden’s.
As Minc tells it, Germany is a traditional ally of Russia. An affinity that rised in the last decades of the 20th century, accompanied by an also growing anti-Americanism. Two sides of the same German expansion strategy to the East. A silent strategy since, unlike France, Germany usually hides its game. Looking for results, not prestige and glitter as usually does France.
If we look at Europe’s dependence on Russian gas from that point of view, it is reasonable to think that it is intentional. Part of a deal between the two, in which Germany does not mind appearing as the weak. Russia profits and gains power because Germany has made Europe dependent on its gas. But, in reality, that also makes Russia practically dependent on Germany, since provides their prosperity and influence.
In other words, the favors and pressures between Russia and Germany are bilateral. Russia squeezes as much with its military power as Germany with the economy and control of Europe. They both move separately, but dance together.
If we analyze the objectives, internally Putin seems to seek nationalist prestige with his conquests. And abroad seeks influence with his force demonstrations. He is a classic autocrat.
In turn, Germany has been advancing control of Europe for decades. To the East, with the approval of Russia as a counterpart to its favors. And to the West, we only have to see the progress in the fragmentation of Spain (remember the nationalist Puigdemont walking freely through Germany after his illegal coup attempt against compliance with Euro-orders). The target seems to be a large European Union, the size of today’s great nations, led in practice by Germany. A zone of political and economic expansion, to this day still shared with France, by necessity.
We only have to look at Europe’s foreign relations, very often carried out directly by the presidents of France and Germany, not the EU. Or the contrast between silence in the face of anti-democratic nationalism in Spain and scandalous complaints in the face of any minor democratic sin in Poland or Hungary, countries that resist German control. The objective of Franco-German control of the EU is less and less disguised.
Analyzing the Ukrainian news from this point of view, German position seems to be mixed.
On the one hand, it is interested in Eastern European countries fearing Russia and knowing that Germany holds the key that regulates its threat. That serves to subdue them, so that they accept her direction. And, furthermore, by handing over part of Ukraine to Russia, it feeds its bilateral alliance and reduces the size of Ukraine, which would make it more manageable once incorporated into the EU.
On the other hand, it cannot give too much power to Russia, against whose military power Germany still needs the US. France’s military contribution is not enough and Germany still does not have a powerful European army led by them.
So Germany needs both the permission and the guarantee of support from the US to act. That is why it occurs at times of US foreign weakness. With Obama or Biden but not during Trump’s presidency, who would demand clear support against the Russian invasion or disassociate himself completely. And not only in Ukraine, also in Cuba-Venezuela, Iran-Palestine… Germany needs the US to guarantee that it will stop Russia when it suits them while not demanding a sincere German commitment in return.
Complicated and dirty, as politics often is. And dangerous, because that’s how wars are mounted. When the interests of the different countries facilitate the growth of military autocracies (China, Russia, Iran, Cuba, Turkey…).
We just have to remember how Germany fed communism against Russia in its day (Lenin…). And Nazism to confront communism afterwards.
And pacifists also tend to have interests. Although they are more personal than national, of personal political promotion. The desire for peace makes the appeasing leader sell himself well, we only have to remember the initially prestigious Balwin or Chamberlain, worthy predecessors of Obama and Biden.
No good vibrations! These are not good times for freedoms and democracies. We’d better react.
Note: Alain Minc is an economist, political advisor and French businessman. Born Paris in 1949, in a Jewish family of Polish origin.
P.S.1 (24 February 2022) Trump had things clear 3 years ago. But nobody wanted to hear.
P.S.2 (7 April 2022) Another interesting video. Denouncing what the UE is doing, intendedly.
(Garicano is a Member of the European Parliament)
P.S.3 (19 jul 2022) A great article by Patrick Wintour in The Guardian on Germany’s collaboration with Russia since the 1960s. And as Germany has not heeded the constant warnings that it was feeding an aggressive dictatorship.
‘We were all wrong’: how Germany got hooked on Russian energy
I liked it so much that I made a thread about it on Twitter.