THE RUSSIA SANCTIONS: GERMANY SAYS “THIS MUST NOT HAPPEN”June 24, 2017
Most regular readers to this website are aware that I do not share the anti-Russia hysteria that seems to be sweeping the West, and entrenching itself in political parties on both ends of the spectrum. The case in point: the US Senate's recent vote - 98 to 2 - to impose stiffer sanctions and to hand-tie the Trump administration from taking action. The Republithug majority, whom I like to call the "Fake opposition party", voted with the Demorats to impose tougher sanctions, with Senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and Bernie Sanders (D-VT) opposed to the bill. It's a measure of the insanity of politics in the Swamp that a more-or-less Libertarian-Conservative senator should be aligned with a more-or-less socialist senator, but there you are. All the rest have swallowed the blue pill and continue to believe their own propaganda and sleepwalking in continued anti-Russian stupor.
Indeed, in last Thursday's News and Views from the Nefarium I had some angry words against a bill being introduced in the US Senate by Joseph Kennedy wanting to create yet another new intelligence agency to deal with continued Russian "interference" with American institutions, thus committing the usual power-grab to create another deep state apparatus as a sneaky way to establish control over elections in this country, to pack it with their own people, and to "blame Russia" when things don't go their own way. In short, by my lights, this is a deadly development, one not only ensuring the dominance of that party in American domestic affairs (and what a stellar success they've had!) but also to lock American foreign policy into a more or less permanent anti-Russian position, which is the height of diplomatic insanity, and a violation of Farrell's Three Diplomatic Axioms: (1) Creating permanent enemies is a bad idea; (2) creating permanent enemies of powerful countries is a worse idea; and (3) creating a permanent enemy of Russia is not only the worst idea, but colossally stupid to boot.
And yes, I just called the author of that bill, and its supporters, stupid.
Oh, but while we're at it, why not make an enemy of Germany too? This article was spotted by Mr. G.B. and many others:
I'm reminded of the old Tom Lehrer song, "The MLF Lullaby": "We taught them a lesson in 1918, and they've hardly bothered us since then."
Satire and laughter aside, Merkel's government, as are many governments in Europe, are taking stock of the political insanity gripping Washington, but the real target is, as the Zero Hedge analysis argues, is not only Russia, but rather, the European nations dependent on secure energies supplies: France, and Germany, particularly. And ask yourself, if you needed energy, and were a major country in central Europe, where would you rather get it from? The (out)house of Saud? Turkey? Iraq? Iran?
We know the answer already:
One day after the Senate almost unanimously passed a bill to impose new sanctions on Russia, an unexpected outcry against the US decision emerged from two of America's closest allies, Germany and Austria, who yesterday slammed the new sanctions and accused the U.S. of having ulterior motives in seeking to enforce the energy blockade, which they said is trying to help American natural gas suppliers at the expense of their Russian rivals. And they warned the threat of fining European companies participating in the Nord Stream 2 project "introduces a completely new, very negative dimension into European-American relations."
Today's the unexpected fallout from the latest round of US sanctions has escalated, and according to Reuters, Germany has threatened to retaliate against the United States if the new US sanctions on Russia end up penalizing German firms, which they almost will as it foresees punitive measures against entities that provide material support to Russia in building energy export pipelines. Such as Germany, Austria and host of other European nations. Berlin is concerned that if passed in the House, the sanctions will pave way for fines against German and European firms involved in Nord Stream 2, a project to build a pipeline carrying Russian gas across the Baltic.
And it's not jet the Germans who are sweating: among the European companies involved in the project are German oil and gas giant Wintershall, German energy trading firm Uniper, Royal Dutch Shell, Austria’s OMV and France’s Engie. In other words, if the Senate proposed sanctions pass, the US will have to fine virtually every energy giant in Europe.
Quoted by Reuters, Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert described the Senate bill, which must be approved by the House of Representatives and signed by Trump before it becomes law, as "a peculiar move". He said it was "strange" that sanctions intended to punish Russia for alleged interference in the U.S. elections could also trigger penalties against European companies. "That must not happen," said Seibert.
Confirming the seriousness of Germany's resolve, in an interview with Reuters, German Economy Minister Brigitte Zypries said "Berlin would have to think about counter-measures" if Trump backed the plan. "If he does, we'll have to consider what we are going to do against it."
Trump has not helped matters either, with his rhetoric. But the reality is, It is not Trump, and thus whether or not he vetos or signs the measure is, in the long run, immaterial. The reality is, it is years of growing polarity in domestic American politics, and an increasingly violent, and polarizing, and destabilizing uni-polar foreign policy, "Brzezinski's Folly" as we've been calling it here. It is a phenomenon that has been growing and developing since 9/11. America is out of control; everyone can see it and feel it, and the federal government grows and grows, with no signs of stopping, living in a world of financial and geopolitical make-believe. If one looks behind the rhetoric coming out of Berlin (and Paris and Vienna), what they're really saying is that the "anti-Russian" sanctions are really anti-German, anti-French, and anti-European sanctions. Berlin is coming as close as I've ever seen it come to agreeing with my hypothesis that there is an economic war taking place between the US and Germany, and the goal of that covert warfare, as far as the US is concerned, is to prevent that merger of German industry and Russian resources that became the nightmare of Angl0-American geopolitics since the turn of the last century. The sanctions bill, so far is Berlin is concerned, is as much about keeping Europe permanently under the American thumb, nothing else, with Russia providing the convenient excuse.
In short, Berlin's rhetoric is not simply the airing of national interest in a passing diplomatic crisis. Rather, Berlin's response must be viewed as the acknowledgement of a paradigm change that will become a more or less permanent feature in the years and decades to come. In point of fact: Zero Hedge understands this, and voices what has probably already become the quietly agreed-upon conclusion of the French and German intelligence analysts are they contemplate the USA:
Back to Zypries who continued to lash out at the US saying "I regret that the joint approach of Europe and the United States on Russia and sanctions has been undermined and abandoned in this way."
What she may not understand is that in the US - at least for the vast majority of the media - the only thing that matters now is the anti-Russia narrative, and Congress will do anything to perpetuate that. If that means hurting the income statement of a handful of "ally" corporations, so be it: there are newspapers to sell, after all.
Unlike our friends at Zero Hedge, I do not for a moment think the German economics minister is oblivious to the fact that the only thing that matters to the US is "the anti-Russia narrative" and that "Congress will do anything to perpetuate that" to the point, as I indicated in last Thursday's News and Views, of wanting to create an entirely new agency of intelligence locking American foreign policy into permanent (and suicidal) anti-Russia mode. It's the thoroughly bi-partisan nature of the agreement on that "anti-Russia narrative" among Demorats and Republithugs that is the heart of the problem. To allow a narrative of such enormity, with so little real backing or evidence, to hold sway over a foreign policy to the point of driving friendly and powerful nations away, is only going to convince analysts in Paris and Berlin that the USA is no longer a reliable ally, and perhaps not even an ally at all, for American foreign policy has committed itself to a course of action designed to prevent the inevitable.
See you on the flip side...