Where have we heard this before?
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeir recently gave a speech to a group of assembled German businessmen that recalls similar meetings and statements of eighty years ago: the Freundenkreiz of Heinrich Himmler, a "circle of friends", major industrialists, armaments producers, and of course chemical cartelists, that included Fritz Thyssen and I.G. Farben's Herman Schmitz. Ponder this one carefully:
Now I do not for a moment believe that these elitists' views are those of most Germans, but at least it's refreshing to note that Germany's power elites are as nuts as those of Great Britain, France, the USA, and so on. But in all seriousness, there is much to note in this article. Consider the implications of these statements:
"Like the soon to become Führer, Steinmeier made a direct appeal to German big business to support Germany’s rise to be a world power. He explicitly called on big business to support him and the government in pushing through a militarist foreign policy turn against the will of the people.
"Steinmeier’s programme strongly recalls the German lust for power, once believed to be a thing of the past. “Germany should ‘lead Europe to lead the world’, ‘Europeanise Russia’ and ‘multilateralise the US’”, Steinmeier demanded, citing an essay that has been featured on an official web site of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for months. He added, “No small task!”
"The implications of these words are unmistakable. Germany’s return to an aggressive foreign policy runs along similar channels as followed in the first half of the 20th century. The German elites once again see it as their “task” to dominate Europe in order to become a world power. Today, as before, this programme of German imperialism means conflict with Russia and the United States.
"To “Europeanize Russia” means nothing other than to subordinate Russia to a Europe controlled by Germany. To “multilateralise the US” means to contest the role of the United States as the world hegemon. In other words, German foreign policy in the future will develop increasingly in opposition to the two powers against which it has already waged two world wars.
"After the crimes of the Nazi regime, the German elites are, at least for now, still trying to present their programme of a third “grab for world power” as if it were being imposed on them from the outside. Every day, “the expectation of German involvement” is encountered from our “partners abroad”, Steinmeier protested at the Adlon. He had therefore “asked a large group of international experts to formulate their expectations of German foreign policy”.(Emphasis added)
And later on:
Steinmeier’s speech was remarkable not only for its call for German leadership in the world. It also expressed an openly imperialist programme. At its core was the conclusion that in a world that is increasingly dominated by national conflicts, Germany’s global interests can no longer be pursued by purely economic means, but must rely on foreign policy and military force.
At the beginning of his remarks, Steinmeier said that it was no accident that “at the end of this turbulent year of 2014”, he was opening this business congress with a “decidedly foreign policy speech”. In his “entire political biography”, he could “not remember a time in which international crises in such great number, in so many places in the world, of such different nature, are assailing us simultaneously as is the case today.”
The German foreign minister drew a picture of a global situation that is strongly reminiscent of the world before the Second World War. A world in which “the struggle for influence and domination” prevails, “crisis is the new normal”, clear “cracks and divides” come forward and “we stare at the differences between states, peoples and cultures”. Even “in dealing with our closest partners, especially the United States”, the “public debate is dominated by differences, not common ground.”
Economically, a “return to stronger national borders” could be seen following the financial and economic crisis of 2008. This development is a challenge for both economic and foreign policy, especially for Germany, he said. The “recession of globalization” threatened the “export-driven economy”, while the “peak of contradictions” undermined the “tools of the diplomats”.((Emphasis added)
Now, lest one think that the Bundeswehr is going to transform into another Wehrmacht and go marching across Europe and sending U-boats into all the oceans of the world to sink American shipping, you can relax. Herr Steinmeir isn't saying that, in spite of the best efforts to make it appear that he said that.
The key is given in his reference to "the export-driven" German economy. This reference is pointing out the fact that little has changed since the unification of Germany in the proclamation of the Kaiserreich at Versailles in 1871. Now, like then, Germany is a bundle of strategic imperatives that it simply cannot escape: they were not of the Kaiser's, or for that matter, Hitler's making. A huge industrial, engineering and manufacturing capacity sits perched atop a relatively small population base, an even narrower and more restricted geographic area without strategic depth, a lack of national natural resources crucial to modern manufacture, and hence, a dependency on energy and resource imports and manufactured, high-end precision exports. Consider only the fact that Germany's is the fourth (or, depending on who you look at, fifth) largest economy in the world, atop a population base of only 80,000,000 in a country the size of the state of Texas, and you get the idea.
So we come to Herr Steinmeir's statements about multilateralizing the USA and Europeanizing Russia. What Steinmeir is proposing is something I've been predicting for a number of years: the careful German diplomatic tight-rope walking has but one purpose, and that is to secure Germany's position within Europe and the EU, and once secure, to free itself - and Europe - from the constricting confines of NATO, and US policy dominance, and to constitute a power bloc able, in turn, to counterbalance Russia. This is a long term strategy, so one can expect more "contradictory" signals coming out of Germany, like pledging to cooperate with Russia on space missions, while simultaneously slapping more sanctions on that nation.
But you can forget about a German invasion of the USA, or Russia for that matter. Steinmeir's mention of the use of military force in German foreign policy is meant to indicate that we're more likely to see German interventions in areas where its economic and export-import interests are imperiled. Chancellor Kohl's early and unilateral recognition of Croatia comes to mind. IN other words, expect Germany over the next several years to increasingly look like the USA, sending troops to hot spots that affect its economy. But Unternehmung Barbarossa II is not in the cards. The real goal here, as I've been arguing all along, is a slow gradual prying away of the American fingers around Europe's throat.
Germany, in other words, wants to go - for those who know the reference, here it comes - the "third way."
See you on the flip side...