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MOLOTOV-RIBBENTROP 2.0: GERMANY AND RUSSIA WORKING ON GAS-FOR-LAND ...

August 2, 2014 By Joseph P. Farrell

There is an article over at iZero Hedge that left me rather breathless when Ii read it, and apparently it did many of you as well, because many of you sent it to me as well. It appears there are rumors afoot that Germany and Russia are trying to negotiate an end to the Ukrainian mess bi-laterally, and the deal includes recognition of the Crimea now being part of Russia, in return for assurances on energy, and stabilization of the Ukraine's borders:

Russia And Germany Allegedly Working On Secret "Gas For Land" Deal

The original UK Independent article ehich the Zero Hedge article references is here:

Land for gas: Merkel and Putin discussed secret deal could end Ukraine crisis

As the Zero Hedge article suggests, the UK and USA are not likely to accept a deal in which the Crimea remains in Russian hands. After all, as I suggested some months back, one of the related geopolitical objectives of the Anglo-American elite (or Anglosphere as our friends at The Daily Bell call it) was the elimination of the threat of Russia's Black Sea Fleet and thereby an effective end to Russian "meddling" in Syria.

But Frau Bundeskanslerin has other ideas, and they're fraught with geopolitical implications. Consider Zero Hedge's take on things:

"But while Germany can't wait to put the Ukraine conflict behind it and restore normal Russian relations (see Adidas' record plunge earlier today, blamed on the Ukraine conflict) others are far more eager to stir the pot some more: "A spokesman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said they had no knowledge of such negotiations taking place. However, the spokesman said he thought it highly unlikely that either the US or UK would agree to recognising Russian control over Crimea. There was no one available at the German embassy’s press office yesterday."

"Which, of course, goes back to the fundamental question behind the Eurozone experiment: just who calls the shots. And despite what the UK (and certainly France) believe, that one person was and continues to be Merkel.  And at the end of the day, pragmatic Germany knows that for all the posturing and rhetoric, the biggest loser from a western embargo of Russia (which is now actively shifting its attention to China and now India) would be Germany itself.

'[S]trong trade ties between the two countries have also served to strengthen Ms Merkel’s hand and the Russian speaker has emerged as the leading advocate of closer relations between the EU and Russia. “This is Merkel’s deal. She has been dealing direct with President Putin on this. She needs to solve the dispute because it’s in no one’s interest to have tension in the Ukraine or to have Russia out in the cold. No one wants another Cold War,” said one insider close to the negotiations.

'Some of Germany’s biggest companies have big operations in Russia, which is now one of Europe’s biggest car markets, while many of its small to medium companies are also expanding into the country. Although Russia now provides EU countries with a third of their gas supplies through pipelines crossing the Ukraine, Germany has its own bilateral gas pipeline direct to Russia making it less vulnerable than other European countries.

'However, Russia is still the EU’s third-biggest trading partner with cross-border trade of $460bn (£272bn) last year, and the latest sanctions being introduced by the EU towards Russian individuals and banks will hurt European countries more than any other – particularly Germany, but also the City of London.

"Curiously, if there is one entity that could scuttle the deal it is, no surprise there, the US."

The article and Zero Hedge spell it out fairly well, and indeed, Germany, like it or not, is in the driver's seat in the EU, as the following statistics will show:

Ranking of countries by nominal GDP

Consider that Germany, with a population of a little over 80,000,000, ranks fourth behind the USA, China, and Japan with much larger populations, and one gets the idea. Russia, conversely, ranks around Italy, and has almost twice the population of Germany.

So, if Berlin and Moscow are entertaining a secret round of negotiations, and some of the terms include pledges that the Ukraine will not join NATO, and that the Anglosphere is unlikely to go for any deal that allows the Crimea to remain in Russia, then what are Berlin and Moscow up to? (...if, indeed, they're up to anything at all...and in my opinion, given the trade and energy at stake for Russia and Germany, it would be foolish to assume they're not). Why would they undertake such negotiations when both countries know full well that there is likely to be an American "veto" of any such scheme, and knowing full well that the pledge not to join NATO would be an empty promise anyway, since the USA(and most likely the UK), would simply conclude various independent arrangements with the Ukraine anyway, likely to include special military promises and basing?

I suspect - and here is my high octane speculation of the day - that this is a bit of theater on their part, designed by Berlin and Moscow, ultimately, to reveal the USA for its unipolarism and increasingly questionable actions; it's designed to create yet another series of incidents where the USA has to reveal its hand, and show that it is not genuinely interested in stabilization of the region, but rather, in putting the screws to Russia. And again, it is Germany, not Russia, that is really sending the mixed signals: they've expelled a senior CIA officer, and are quietly implementing steps to increase their internal security, but at the same time, Merkel has caved into Washington pressure to impose sanctions on Russia. But it's the long run that counts in this game... and Germany is watching the moves by the BRICSA nations .... and Washington... very carefully. The stakes are high, for if Washington vetos the Merkel-Putin scheme, it could rebound against the Chancellor, making her government look diplomatically weak. But the move, and the implications, are there, and the fact that Germany would undertake such negotiations at all suggests that there is a considerable segment in its foreign service that are discretely and quietly fed up with Washington.

See you on the flip side...