GERMANY: “NO, SORRY, BUSY THAT DAY, TRY AGAIN LATER… HAVE ...
It's almost comical to watch the current state of global geopolitics during the "Brandonenko" era, because it's now almost to the point that almost any old excuse will do to not talk to American leadership. L.G.L.R. spotted this story, and were the subject matter not so serious, I'd be inclined to laugh:
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has reportedly turned down an invitation for talks sent by US President Joe Biden at short notice. According to Der Spiegel, Scholz cited a busy schedule as the reason why he could not discuss the situation around Ukraine with his counterpart in Washington.
The German leader had arranged an official visit to Spain by the time the invitation from the White House reached him, the outlet said on Friday. Furthermore, Scholz is allegedly eager to spend more time in Germany as the country grapples with the Omicron Covid-19 variant. The two sides are now reportedly working to arrange a bilateral meeting before mid-February.
"Ahhh... what's that? Summit talks on the Ukraine? Uhm... nein, I'm afraid the Bundeskanzler is busy that day with a field trip to Spain and a picnic at the Prado and we're up to our Kartoffelsuppe with covid. Maybe check back with us in a month or so...."
If you think this less-than-artful-dodge by the new German Chancellor does not appear to be a one-off, think again, for the former head of the German navy, Vice-Admiral Kay-Achim Schoenbach recently was forced to resign over comments he made about Russia and the Ukraine:
According to the article, the admiral pulled no punches:
The head of Germany’s navy has resigned following controversial remarks on the crisis in Ukraine, a defence minstry spokesman said on Saturday.
Kay-Achim Schoenbach said the idea that Russia wanted to invade Ukraine was “nonsense”, adding that Putin deserved respect, in comments at a think-tank meeting in New Delhi on Friday.
The vice-admiral would leave his post “with immediate effect” the spokesman told AFP.
In a video filmed at the New Delhi meeting, Schoenbach said that what Putin wanted was “to be respected”.
“It’s easy to give him the respect he wants, and probably deserves as well,” he said.
He also said that the Crimean peninsula, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014, was gone and would not come back to Ukraine.
On Saturday, Schoenbach made it clear that his comments did not represent the government’s view and had been ill-advised.
“There is no need to quibble: it was clearly a mistake,” he tweeted.
In a statement later Saturday, he said he had submitted his resignation “to avoid any more damage being done to the Germany navy and above all, to the German Federal Republic”.
Earlier Saturday, the Ukrainian foreign minister had summoned Germany’s ambassador to Kyiv to protest “the categorical unacceptability” of Schoenbach’s comments.
I don't know about you, but I get the strong impression that Admiral Schoenbach was used to make a statement in a fall-on-your-sword type of gesture; he can interpret those pictures of Russian build-ups in camps just as easily as anyone else: camps are not the same thing as forward deployments for invasions. Loose cannon have their uses, especially when they appear to be backing up a larger though unofficial narrative. "Sorry, we're busy, heading to Spain; sorry about what our admiral said but his fingers were crossed he wasn't speaking officially for us..."
And then there's this:
I don't know about you, but it seems clear that there are deep fissures within NATO, and that the premier European power simply is not going to buy the "impending Russian invasion of the Ukraine" narrative, at least, not without some major concessions and enticements, which it has yet to spell out. Even then, they may not be enough to stabilize what was once a taken-for-granted feature of the alliance; after all, Germany has much more to gain over the long term from a stable relationship with Russia than anything America has to offer. What America has to offer is simply more of the same, more wars, more broken agreements, &c. What Russia has to offer are markets, energy, and possibilities for cooperation and trade on a multitude of fronts.
Herr Scholz will probably eventually return that call, and maybe even clear his schedule. Perhaps Berlin and Swampington will even work up to a "joint declaration" and some very stern finger-wagging. But the real messages from Germany have already been sent, and it's those messages in my opinion, and not any future finger-wagging, that are the ones to pay attention to.
See you on the flip side...
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