Members here know that I've been writing - and in some cases, warning - about the long-term prospects for a Russo-German realignment of global power politics, and this now seems to have caught the attention of the writers at Zero Hedge, in an article sent to me by Mr. G.B., a regular reader here:
There are two paragraphs that concern us here:
"The consequence of this move toward isolation is that a bunch of ‘continental empires’ are starting to challenge the monopoly of “legal” international violence that the US has exercised for the last 25 years. The most obvious challengers can be seen in the shape of Sunni Muslims across the Middle East, or in East Asia where a more confident and assertive China is stating its case for preeminence. Such struggles have the potential to become major regional problems, but what worries me more is the emerging continental alliance between Russia and Germany. Preventing such a partnership has for centuries been an idée fixe for French diplomacy, and for good reason. A combination of German industrial might and Russian raw materials and military strength would instantly create a colossus. The Poles, who have been perennial victims of engagements between Germany and Russia, are already visibly panicking, as they should be.
"Historically, Paris has tended to ally with the Russians, not because it liked them but to prevent Germany from doing the same. The problem is that France has nothing to offer Russia (save some nice holiday homes and mooring berths for tycoons on its Mediterranean coast) and is, in any case, more focused on perfecting its own political and economic suicide." (Bold-italics added, bold in the original)
While France may have nothing to offer Russia other than nice holiday homes and mooring berths, one would do well to remember that France is a thermonuclear power, and that the whole raison d'etre for its deterrent from the days of its initial conception by De Gaulle as a force de frappe was to act as a counterpoise between the American and Soviet blocs in the Cold War world. Given Germany's heavy role and involvement in constructing the missiles and warheads for the French thermonuclear deterrent, one is reminded that in fact one is dealing with two thermonuclear powers here: the de facto one, France, and the implied one, Germany. France, in other words, still remains as the premiere power in Europe that will prevent Europe from becoming completely dominated by Germany, and given yesterday's news about Franco-American space cooperation, we might (emphasis heavily on that word), be watching the emergence of a new type of balance-of-power diplomacy by that nation.
On the Russo-German side of this equation, Zero Hedge points to the increasing and justifiable anxiety of Poland, caught once again between the colossus to the East, and the colossus to the West. While the Poland of today is nowhere near as weak as the Poland of 1939, one can readily understand the concerns of Polish foreign minister Radek Sikorski, and the recent requests not only by Poland but by the Baltic states, for the basing of American troops in those countries.
But this leaves America in an unusual position, one reminiscent of the post-Versailles cordon sannitaire - the belt of nations from the Baltic states, through Poland, to Romania - designed to be a buffer of sorts between western Europe and the Soviet Union. The USA can - and probably will - play to European sentiments against continued US military presence in Western Europe, by gradually phasing out its bases there, and shifting them eastward to that corridor of nations, and in particular, Poland. But that will also interpose the USA in the dangerous territory between Germany and Russia, and all the economic ties and increasing long-term realignment taking place between the two countries.
French and German diplomacy will thus walk a tightrope for the foreseeable future, as this realignment takes place, and ultimately, this will leave France to fulfill the role once fulfilled by Germany during the Cold War, as the buffer state between two blocs. And as we saw yesterday, space may be the context in which these geopolitical interests play out. My guess? Watch for similar space-cooperation agreements between Russia and Germany.
See you on the flip side...