GERMANY’S DER SPIEGEL REASSESSED RUSSIAN/WESTERN RELATIONS IN ...November 23, 2015
Something was in the "aether" this week, as so many of the articles I am blogging about this week were sent by so many people, that it's impossible to thank people individually. And that's the case with today's blog, for it seems that in the wake of the attacks in Paris, so many people are combing the internet trying to find any scrap of data by which to make sense of it all, and to divine the future. And, expanding the context of today's blog a bit, I suggested on last Saturday's and Sunday's blogs, that something like a massive reassessment of their relationship with the United States may be underway in several European powers. France most definitely is reassessing that relationship, we've seen "signs and portents" that some such reassessment might be underway in London. We've yet to hear from Madrid or Rome, but I suspect there too, that the realities of backing American policy are beginning to come home in hordes of refugees.
Which leaves, once again, Germany to be considered. I've been suggesting for some time that Germany's long term interests lie much more closely with Russia and the East, than they do with the NATO alliance or remaining as a compliant lap-poodle of Washington, a role which Kanzlerin Merkel seems all too willing to play in the past few weeks. But there are signs of a deep assessment taking place in Germany, of its whole foreign policy orientation in the wake of German reunification, and the dirty deals then made in Washington, Bonn, and Moscow and, as the following article makes clear, the clearly stated American policy that it had no intention of living up to guarantees it was making to the Russian government, then under Mr. Gorbachev.
What is crucially important here was that this history was exposed, detail for detail and document by document, in Germany's "mainstream" magazine, Der Spiegel, iin 2009, which many see as a compliant component of the Western and American propaganda apparatus. If so, then Der Spiegel is breaking - in a major way - with the "approved narrative" of the period immediately prior to and after the German reunification, and in the process, questioning in a major way the narrative upon which American policy has been constructed in the post-Soviet, post-Reunification, post-9/11 world:
While this article appeared in 2009, it's worth re-considering in the light of the attacks in Paris, for as I indicated, the "approved narrative" of the post-Soviet, post-Reunification, post-9/11 world has Russia (once again) as the "fall guy" and "America" as the "good guy," when the truth is almost exactly the opposite. Consider these paragraphs:
Spiegel makes clear that their investigation of the actual paper record shows that the then merely West German side, which was negotiating reunification of Germany with the then merely Eastern half of Germany, is exactly in accord with what Russia’s allegations have been saying all along, and exactly the opposite of what West Germany’s Foreign Minister then, Hans Dietrich Genscher, has been asserting to have been the case. Here is how we learn this from Spiegel:
Jack Matlock, the US ambassador in Moscow at the time, has said in the past that Moscow was given a «clear commitment». Hans-Dietrich Genscher, the German foreign minister in 1990, says this was precisely not the case.
After speaking with many of those involved and examining previously classified British and German documents in detail, SPIEGEL has concluded that there was no doubt that the West did everything it could to give the Soviets the impression that NATO membership was out of the question for countries like Poland, Hungary or Czechoslovakia.
On Feb. 10, 1990, between 4 and 6:30 p.m., Genscher spoke with Shevardnadze. According to to the German record of the conversation, which was only recently declassified, Genscher said: «We are aware that NATO membership for a unified Germany raises complicated questions. For us, however, one thing is certain: NATO will not expand to the east». And because the convers[at]ion revolved mainly around East Germany, Genscher added explicitly: «As far as the non-expansion of NATO is concerned, this also applies in general».
Never does Spiegel state outright that Genscher was lying; but, an intelligent person recognizes that if «the non-expansion of NATO… applies in general», then the promise made was excluding any eastward expansion of NATO at all. Not only «NATO will not expand to the east», but NATO will not expand. How much clearer can it be than that?
Let me then summarize that here: George Herbert Walker Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev were the principals (Bush for the U.S. aristocracy; Gorbachev for the populations of the Soviet Union). Genscher and James Baker and Eduard Shevardnadze, etc. were merely agents; and Bush had his agents lie to Gorbachev’s agents, to say that NATO would not expand at all eastward. But he then, only later, instructed them not to follow through on what they had said, not to behave truthfully — but instead to set things up so as to allow the U.S. military alliance to extend right up to Russia’s borders. Here is how he instructed them to perform in this shameful (and potentially catastrophic) manner in private:
West German transcripts from the two leaders’ February 24–25 summit at Camp David show [that] Bush made his feelings about compromising with Moscow clear to Kohl: ‘To hell with that!’ he said. ‘We prevailed, they didn’t.’… In April, Bush spelled out this thinking in a confidential telegram to French President François Mitterrand… Bush was making it clear to Mitterrand that the dominant security organization in a post–Cold War Europe had to remain NATO.
George Herbert Walker’s having instructed his agents to lie and to avoid any signed treaty on this crucial historical matter, was the West’s Original Sin.
And now, the result of this policy has come home to roost - literally - in the form of a refugee crisis that, for Europe, is a danger to their natural sovereignties and to their culture. In the wake of the Paris attacks, one can be almost certain that while their politicians must continue to mouth vague and platitudinous support for Washington and the NATO alliance, that behind the scenes, that support is being questioned in a most fundamental way, especially now that the the results of Washington's pollicies are there for all to see, in its half-hearted war on terror waged more moderate Muslim regimes, in the war-torn Ukraine. This history of demonizing Russia and expanding NATO to the very borders of Russia, has now come home to roost, and in a major way.
And it all could backfire on the USA, for Mr. Putin is a chess player, and has been patiently biding his time, waiting, perhaps, for this moment, when, as a component of his attempts to put together a real coalition against Suni jihadism, he and France make common cause, and revisit all those spurious guarantees given, and ordered, by Bush the First. Indeed, if Frau Merkel and M. Hollande have their way and successfully create a European military, perhaps even in response to the existential threat of jihadism, what need, really, is there for NATO, or, for that matter, American bases in Europe?
This is one to watch, and, funny thing too, the calcification of the American oligarchy that even caught Britain's Economist magazine's attention, and led it to complain of it, is itself in the crosshairs: Hillary, and Jeb, Clinton, and Bush, Clinton, and Bush... haven't we had enough of them, and of their standard modus operandi, the "big lie"? Big lies create massive "geopolitical instabilities," like World War Two, like the current mess in the middle east.
Are the Russians our friends? Well, the last time I looked, no. But they're not our enemies either, and they're more our friends, in a very real, existential and cultural way, than Islam will ever be, and maybe, just maybe, like Mr. Kissinger advised, we should start listening to them with something other than suspicion, for the track record is clear; it is American leaders, that have consistently lied, and relied upon, a dubious narrative for their policies.
See you on the flip side.