THAT TROUBLESOME HANDELSBLATT ARTICLE IN GERMANY…August 22, 2014
Recently I talked about an article in the German newspaper Handelsblatt, which occupies, if one were to draw an analogy, a position within the German media rather similar to the London Times in Great Britain, a centrist-right newspaper. You'll recall, that the Handelsblatt broke - rather dramatically at that - with the subservient Merkel-Obama scripting that apparently has become the norm for the German media in the wake of Washington's all-but-brainless call for sanctions on Russia, and its even more brainless attempt to punish European corporations and banks - BNP Paribas comes to mind - for continuing to deal with Russia. Indeed, as I've pointed out, Berlin, Rome, Paris, and now even the center of Perfide Albion, London itself, plan to bring up the issue of Washington's unipolar hamfistedness(see Splendid Isolation: The Revolt Against Unpolarism has Now Spread to France).
Well, it so happens that the folks at Zero Hedge have kindly posted the entire Handelsblatt article, and it's a no-punches-pulled, no-holds-barred condemnation of the West's policy, and Chancellorin Merkel's apparent lap-poodle status in submission to it:
Most telling is the Handelsblatt article clearly knows who is behind what, and that it is the West that is the instigator of aggression, not Russia, rather an interesting take on things for a paper like the Handelsblatt:
"Who deceived who first?
Did it all start with the Russian invasion of the Crimean or did the West first promote the destabilization of the Ukraine? Does Russia want to expand into the West or NATO into the East? Or did maybe two world-powers meet at the same door in the middle of the night, driven by very similar intentions towards a defenseless third that now pays for the resulting quagmire with the first phases of a civil war?"
And it leaves no doubt who is driving the demonization of Russia:
"Angela Merkel can hardly claim these mitigating circumstances for herself. Geography forces every German Chancellor to be a bit more serious. As neighbors of Russia, as part of the European community bound in destiny, as recipient of energy and supplier of this and that, we Germans have a clearly more vital interest in stability and communication. We cannot afford to look at Russia through the eyes of the American Tea Party.
"Every mistake starts with a mistake in thinking. And we are making this mistake if we believe that only the other party profits from our economic relationship and thus will suffer when this relationship stops. If economic ties were maintained for mutual profit, then severing them will lead to mutual loss. Punishment and self-punishment are the same thing in this case.
"Even the idea that economic pressure and political isolation would bring Russia to its knees was not really thought all the way through. Even if we could succeed: what good would Russia be on its knees? How can you want to live together in the European house with a humiliated people whose elected leadership is treated like a pariah and whose citizens you might have to support in the coming winter."
Drawing on the example of the former mayor of West Berlin, and later Chancellor of West Germany, Willi Brandt, the article makes what I think is a very significant statement:
"Following this lead – even if calculatingly and somewhat reluctantly as in the case of Merkel – does not protect the German people, but may well endanger it. This fact remains a fact even if it was not the American but the Russians who were responsible for the original damage in the Crimean and in eastern Ukraine."
In other words, the Handelsblatt wants a German foreign policy that is best for Germany, not Washington, and if that means seeking a reconciliation with Russia, so be it. This, I suspect, is thus a message, occurring as it does amid rumors of private talks between President Putin and Chancellorin Merkel, in which, it is alleged, Germany would recognize Russia's absorption of the Crimea back into the Russian Federation, in return for stabilized relations and energy guarantees. And there's a reminder about what American military strength has really accomplished:
"The American tendency to verbal and then also military escalation, the isolation, demonization, and attacking of enemies has not proven effective. The last successful major military action the US conducted was the Normandy landing. Everything else – Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan – was a clear failure. Moving NATO units towards the Polish border and thinking about arming Ukraine is a continuation of a lack of diplomacy by the military means."
And finally, the Handelsblatt is implying the same question that has been on many of your minds, as well as mine: why the counter-intuitive foreign policy coming out of Washington?:
"Brandt and Bahr have never reached for the tool of economic sanctions. They knew why: there are no recorded cases in which countries under sanctions apologized for their behavior and were obedient ever after. On the contrary: collective movements start in support of the sanctioned, as is the case today in Russia. The country was hardly ever more unified behind their president than now. This could almost lead you to think that the rabble-rousers of the West are on the payroll of the Russian secret service."
One thing seems clear, however, and that is the subservient media relationship to the Merkel government is either being broken, or perhaps, just perhaps, this is a more subtle way of that government stating what its true convictions and intentions may ultimately be.
See you on the flip side.