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The Crisis In Ukraine Is Not About Ukraine: It’s About Germany – OpEd

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The Ukrainian crisis has nothing to do with Ukraine. It’s about Germany and, in particular, a pipeline that connects Germany to Russia called Nord Stream 2. Washington sees the pipeline as a threat to its primacy in Europe and has tried to sabotage the project at every turn. Even so, Nord Stream has pushed ahead and is now fully-operational and ready-to-go. Once German regulators provide the final certification, the gas deliveries will begin. German homeowners and businesses will have a reliable source of clean and inexpensive energy while Russia will see a significant boost to their gas revenues. It’s a win-win situation for both parties.

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The US Foreign Policy establishment is not happy about these developments. They don’t want Germany to become more dependent on Russian gas because commerce builds trust and trust leads to the expansion of trade. As relations grow warmer, more trade barriers are lifted, regulations are eased, travel and tourism increase, and a new security architecture evolves. In a world where Germany and Russia are friends and trading partners, there is no need for US military bases, no need for expensive US-made weapons and missile systems, and no need for NATO. There’s also no need to transact energy deals in US Dollars or to stockpile US Treasuries to balance accounts. Transactions between business partners can be conducted in their own currencies which is bound to precipitate a sharp decline in the value of the dollar and a dramatic shift in economic power.

This is why the Biden administration opposes Nord Stream. It’s not just a pipeline, it’s a window into the future; a future in which Europe and Asia are drawn closer together into a massive free trade zone that increases their mutual power and prosperity while leaving the US on the outside looking in. Warmer relations between Germany and Russia signal an end to the “unipolar” world order the US has overseen for the last 75 years. A German-Russo alliance threatens to hasten the decline of the Superpower that is presently inching closer to the abyss. This is why Washington is determined to do everything it can to sabotage Nord Stream and keep Germany within its orbit. It’s a matter of survival.

That’s where Ukraine comes into the picture. Ukraine is Washington’s ‘weapon of choice’ for torpedoing Nord Stream and putting a wedge between Germany and Russia. The strategy is taken from page one of the US Foreign Policy Handbook under the rubric: Divide and Rule. Washington needs to create the perception that Russia poses a security threat to Europe. That’s the goal. They need to show that Putin is a bloodthirsty aggressor with a hair-trigger temper who cannot be trusted. To that end, the media has been given the assignment of reiterating over and over again, “Russia is planning to invade Ukraine.” What’s left unsaid is that Russia has not invaded any country since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and that the US has invaded or toppled regimes in more than 50 countries in the same period of time, and that the US maintains over 800 military bases in countries around the world. None of this is reported by the media, instead the focus is on “evil Putin” who has amassed an estimated 100,000 troops along the Ukrainian border threatening to plunge all of Europe into another bloody war.

All of the hysterical war propaganda is created with the intention of manufacturing a crisis that can be used to isolate, demonize and, ultimately, splinter Russia into smaller units. The real target, however, is not Russia, but Germany. Check out this excerpt from an article by Michael Hudson at The Unz Review:

The only way left for US diplomats to block European purchases is to goad Russia into a military response and then claim that avenging this response outweighs any purely national economic interest. As hawkish Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Victoria Nuland, explained in a State Department press briefing on January 27: ‘If Russia invades Ukraine one way or another Nord Stream 2 will not move forward.’ (America’s Real Adversaries Are Its European and Other Allies, The Unz Review)

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There it is in black and white. The Biden team wants to “goad Russia into a military response” in order to sabotage NordStream. That implies there will be some kind of provocation designed to induce Putin to send his troops across the border to defend the ethnic Russians in the eastern part of the country. If Putin takes the bait, the response would be swift and harsh. The media will excoriate the action as a threat to all of Europe while leaders around the world will denounce Putin as the “new Hitler”. This is Washington’s strategy in a nutshell, and the whole production is being orchestrated with one goal in mind; to make it politically impossible for the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to wave NordStream through the final approval process.

Given what we know about Washington’s opposition to Nord Stream, readers may wonder why earlier in the year the Biden administration lobbied Congress NOT to impose more sanctions on the project. The answer to that question is simple: Domestic politics. Germany is currently decommissioning its nuclear power plants and needs natural gas to make up for the energy shortfall. Also, the threat of economic sanctions is a “turn-off” for Germans who see them as a sign of foreign meddling. “Why is the United States interfering in our energy decisions,” asks the average German. “Washington should mind its own business and stay out of ours.” This is precisely the response one would expect from any reasonable person.

Then, there’s this from Al Jazeera:

Germans in the majority support the project, it is only parts of the elite and media who are against the pipeline…

‘The more the US talks about sanctioning or criticizes the project, the more it becomes popular in German society,’ said Stefan Meister, a Russia and eastern Europe expert at the German Council on Foreign Relations. (“Nord Stream 2: Why Russia’s pipeline to Europe divides the West, AlJazeera)

So, public opinion is solidly behind Nord Stream which helps to explain why Washington settled on a new approach. Sanctions are not going to work, so Uncle Sam has flipped to Plan B: Create a big enough external threat that Germany will be forced to block the opening of the pipeline. Frankly, the strategy smacks of desperation, but you have to be impressed by Washington’s perseverance. They might be down by 5 runs in the bottom of the 9th, but they haven’t thrown in the towel just yet. They’re going to give it one last shot and see if they can make some headway.

On Monday, President Biden held his first joint-press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the White House. The ballyhoo surrounding the event was simply unprecedented. Everything was orchestrated to manufacture a “crisis atmosphere” that Biden used to pressure the chancellor in the direction of US policy. Earlier in the week, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki repeatedly said that a “Russian invasion was imminent.” Her comments were followed by State Department flak Nick Price opining that the Intel agencies had provided him with details of an alleged Russian-backed “false flag” operation they expected to take place in the near future in east Ukraine. Price’s warning was followed on Sunday morning by national security advisor Jake Sullivan claiming that a Russian invasion could happen at any time maybe “even tomorrow.” This was just days after Bloomberg News agency had published its sensational and utterly-false headline that “Russia Invades Ukraine”.

Can you see the pattern here? Can you see how these baseless claims were all used to apply pressure to the unsuspecting German chancellor who seemed oblivious to the campaign that was aimed at him?

As one might expect, the final blow was delivered by the American president himself. During the press conference Biden stated emphatically that,

If Russia invades … there will no longer [be] a Nord Stream 2.. We will bring an end to it.

So, now Washington sets policy for Germany???

What insufferable arrogance!

The German chancellor was taken aback by Biden’s comments which clearly were not part of the original script. Even so, Scholz never agreed to cancel Nord Stream and refused to even mention the pipeline by name. If Biden thought he could sandbag the leader of the world’s third biggest economy by cornering him in a public forum, he guessed wrong. Germany remains committed to launching Nord Stream regardless of potential flare-ups in far-flung Ukraine. But that could change at any time. After all, who knows what incitements Washington might be planning in the near future? Who knows how many lives they are prepared to sacrifice in order to put a wedge between Germany and Russia? Who knows what risks Biden is willing to take to slow America’s decline and prevent a new “polycentric” world order from emerging? Anything could happen in the weeks ahead. Anything.

For now, Germany is in the catbird seat. It’s up to Scholz to decide how the matter will be settled. Will he implement the policy that best serves the interests of the German people or will he cave in to Biden’s relentless arm twisting? Will he chart a new course that strengthens new alliances in the bustling Eurasian corridor or will he throw his support behind Washington’s crazed geopolitical ambitions? Will he accept Germany’s pivotal role in a new world order— in which many emerging centers of power share equally in global governance and where the leadership remains unflinchingly committed to multilateralism, peaceful development and security for all– or will he try to prop up the tattered post-War system that has clearly outlived its shelf-life?

One thing is certain; whatever Germany decides is bound to affect us all.

Mike Whitney

Mike Whitney writes on politics and finances and lives in Washington state. He can be reached at [email protected]

25 thoughts on “The Crisis In Ukraine Is Not About Ukraine: It’s About Germany – OpEd

    • February 22, 2022 at 9:45 pm
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      Yes, its a pitch-perfect rendition of russian apologia.

      This is the best part:
      “What’s left unsaid is that Russia has not invaded any country since the dissolution of the Soviet Union”

      Um, Georgia?

      Reply
  • February 16, 2022 at 6:32 am
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    Very factually inaccurate

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    • February 28, 2022 at 4:36 pm
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      This long diatribe about “not Ukraine, Germany” is blatant misinformation from the Dark Left, sort of a QAnons, to further promote its own agenda. It is only bad propaganda.

      Reply
  • February 16, 2022 at 1:21 pm
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    That article is all a big batch of BS, it’s true that US don’t want the Noordstream 2 open in Germany, but it’s for a very different reason that this author (RT maybe?) expose here. The ammasing of troops in Ukraine, got nothing to do with Biden or the US, the political persecution and killing of rivals from Putin is clear as water, the ambition of Putin for conquering old allies countries and make them part of his influence sphere, it is more than a reality and that Putin is a dictator with a very clear strategy, nobody can deny it nowadays.
    You can’t do serieus business with a dictator that can use a country energy reliability, for his own gains and purposes, and you can trust a business partner that is out to use any advantage possible, to blackmail you in the future.
    And that is the reality here.
    Once Noordstrean 2 opens, Putin can close Noordstream 1, no more gas will flow thru Ukraine, revenue for Ukraine will stop, and Ukraine will be left out in the cold with no gas itself for own consumption of his citizens, meaning that energy will become a big problem in Ukraine and will have to beg for gas to Russia, and everybody knows what that means.
    Were Putin not a dictator with lebensraum ambitions, this gas selling to Europe will represent not problem at all, unfortunately he is a big menace to any country that can depend on him for business of any kind.
    You can’t erase 70 years of Soviet Union modus operandi with an article. Putin is a proud alumni of the KGB school of tactics, and his handling of world politics, it is a faithful reflect of his years as a KGB Coronel.
    USA is not an innocent part in this dispute, but for so far i know, Nato hasn’t attack any country in Europe since his formation. Russia is provoking, annexing and attacking territories since Putin decided to show his teeth few years ago.
    If we are in this problem with Ukraine right now, is because nobody did stop Putin when annexing Crimea in 2014, bullies think that lucky once, lucky forever. Shall Nato and US not try to Stop Putin ambitions now, who knows which country is going to be in his target sight for his annexation and world politics ambitions.
    That’s the reality of Putin, Ukraine, Germany and Noordstream 2.

    Reply
    • February 21, 2022 at 10:51 am
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      ‘The pot calls the kettle black’ but with no logical arguments, this rebuttle borders on hysteria.

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    • March 24, 2022 at 12:40 am
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      NATO attacked and dismembered Serbia in the 90s. Maybe not NATO but it’s constituent members attacked Iraq twice, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan etc. Ever heard of the Monroe Doctrine? If there were Chinese troops in Canada the US would invade tomorrow. Hypocrisy of the rankest kind.

      Reply
  • February 16, 2022 at 4:23 pm
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    Didn’t Russia invade Crimea in 2014?

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    • February 17, 2022 at 8:55 pm
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      crimea was NOT an invasion.

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    • February 22, 2022 at 2:45 pm
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      No that was a NATO coup.

      Reply
  • February 17, 2022 at 2:03 am
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    What a load of bulldangy.

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  • February 17, 2022 at 8:57 pm
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    People in crimea asked for it

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  • February 18, 2022 at 10:45 am
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    Eurasia Review’s editorial choice of allowing a wide range of opinions is commendable.
    However, accepting articles that reflect a political view is one thing, while accepting articles that are factually incorrect is quite another.

    The author is outright wrong in asserting that “Russia has not invaded any country since the dissolution of the Soviet Union”.

    In 1992, Russian troops intervened in internal Moldovan disputes and established a formal occupation of the Transnistria region, locking out the central government. Despite calls by the Moldovan government, Russia refuses to withdraw its troops.

    Russia invaded Georgia in 2008, Russian troops remain on internationally recognized Georgian territories to prop up proxy regimes, and Russian troops keep moving the ceasefire line ever further into Georgian territory from South Ossetia.

    In 2014, mysterious troops without insignia fanned out of the Russian naval base of Sevastopol and took over the Crimea. Putin later admitted that they were Russian troops.

    Also in 2014, Russian special forces personnel in disguise took over administrative centres and armouries in Ukraine’s Donbas region. Mysterious local armed formations were created, out of proportion with the local population, and these engaged Ukrainian security forces. When the Donbas “militias” were losing against the Ukrainian army, the regular Russian army directly intervened both via long-range artillery across the border and also in battle formations on Ukriainian territory. Arms deliveries from Russia to the Donbas “militia” were extensively documented, including the “lending” of a Buk missile launcher that shot down from Ukrainian territory the Malaysian Airlines’ MH-17 service. Subsequent criminal investigation and court case confirmed Russian complicity.

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  • February 19, 2022 at 10:58 pm
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    Pravda here? Troll in wolf’s clothing.

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  • February 21, 2022 at 11:00 am
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    There is another side to the US narrative. It’s the one that started the project in the first place – in 1997. Gas has been flowing from Russia to Germany, without interruption, in the two lines of Nordstream One since 2011. Nordsteam Two would expand gas imports to meet all of Germany’s needs – present and future.

    Both projects are Pan-European in scope and participation. With the US being left out.

    That, as in anything in this world, is their ‘Big Beef’. They need that hegemony!

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    • March 6, 2022 at 8:39 pm
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      Well…Germany sided with Russia before and got screwed by the deal.
      Maybe they should learn by the mistakes of Hitler and his Regime how Russia is not to be trusted.
      Germany is not weak and should take a stand against Putin on killing innocent people to appease his hungry ego.
      Why is it the US is the only one expected to make a stand?
      There are many countries out there who know Putin will not stop until he owns Europe.
      I am sure China and Korea stand behind Putin.
      It seems there is no end to power hungry countries who have to be the Super power.
      There is none any more
      God will prevail in the end.
      You can count on it.
      His power is beyond any one’s. Good luck fighting God’s army.
      Peace would be his goal for he is a God of love. Not cruelty and killing for no need.

      Reply
  • February 21, 2022 at 4:46 pm
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    This is an excellent analysis. Nord Stream 2 is the elephant in the room that the MSM does not want to see for what it is because the arguments for it are overwhelming.

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  • February 22, 2022 at 3:58 am
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    Agreed. Consider that Germany is a left leaning government, yet does not want to be a pawn, and their gas deal with Russia helps Ukraine not be a pawn, of Biden’s handlers, (who helped install this current government in Ukraine) who are using this conflict to divert attention from their big tech/international hedge fund/CCP alliance that is being done on the other hand. Russia can be negotiated with to our mutual benefit, and even for Central and Eastern Europe, and even many issues with Syria, Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan. Meanwhile, our real enemy is this big tech/hedge fund/CCP alliance that has caused a pandemic, manipulated our election, and implementing more social control measures.

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  • February 22, 2022 at 2:45 pm
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    Those who wish to create a case that Russia is a military aggressor are kidding themselves. One might be able to blame them for transgressions in Crimea and Donbass and also possibly something in Transnistria. But this all falls into insignificance compared to whatever the US an its allies have undertaken in the last 20 years, not the least thereof being the occupation of 1/3 of Syria and the ongoing theft of petrol there. Add Yemen, Libya, etc., etc.

    The story here has inherent logic and should be discussed on its merits. Maybe add, that the US has since found out that their money printing strategy now yields inflation and thus they are keen to get some real money in. There are also effects on the trade deficit. Important also the considerations that the USA has opposed the NS2 right from the beginning, quite a few years ago.

    Reply
  • February 25, 2022 at 12:14 am
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    Unipolar World Order for 75 Years?
    I have been teaching diplomacy at several universities for over three decades, as a result of which I can easily detect a humongous factual error in the article. It is not accurate to state that: “Warmer relations between Germany and Russia signal an end to the “unipolar” world order the U.S. has overseen for the last 75 years.” The decades up to and including the fall of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989 was bipolar where the two superpowers, the U.S. and the USSR, with their hangers-on had divided the world among themselves. Even the Cuban missile Crisis of 1962 in which Kruscheve and Kennedy stared eyeball to eyeball with Kruscheve blinking does not change this fact. If one of the two had not blinked then, it would have been the end of the world the way we know it. Both leaders were aware of the possibility and that is why one of them blinked and spared us from total destruction.
    Mao’s Three World Theory was to interject the Third World [Asia, Africa, and Latin America] in the fray – a rising third force with China as its leader. Unipolarity comes after the implosion of the Soviet Union, where the U.S. was the only superpower acting as the World’s policeman. Unipolarity has waned following the rise of China as a new superpower. The world seems to be moving to multipolarity where the U.S. and China can no longer claim hegemony since there is still Russia with its intact nuclear arsenal and is still able to play a part in the balance of terror that existed till 1989 and new powers such as India slowly emerging to have a share in the till!
    The U.N. Security Council will have, in the long run, to add more countries with tremendous economic powers such as Japan, Germany and India, and potentially, Brazil in the long run.
    A five-way veto power will no longer be tenable. A new world order will have to be worked out, no matter if the five fight to keep their monopoly intact by using their veto. At some stage, they have no choice but to accept reality and confer veto power on the four and add even more from Africa and other cenrres. The sooner this is done, the better for the sake of global equity and world peace.

    Reply
    • March 6, 2022 at 10:59 pm
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      Under the current situation it is difficult to separate short-term constraints and objectives from long term.

      Germany has been diverging slowly from the US for at least ten years. And so is starting to do the rest of continental Europe (that is ex-UK).
      This has nothing to do with ideology. And it has been allowed by the deterioration of Public Finances in the US.

      The dollar still is the reserve currency of the world not because of its good fiscal situation, but, instead, because of naval domination of the naval routes of the world.

      Energy travels thru those lanes. If the US looses control of that trade, then the dollar will have a reduced role. And the American economy will have to deleverage.

      So I agree that for the long term preventing Nord Stream II could be tempting. However, this will possibly only delay things.

      More, there is a moral standing that should never be forgotten: Putin’s way in Ucrania is a shame. And the underlying implication of the article is that President Biden and his team are deviously exploiting this crisis. In my view, to say the least, this doesn’t have any fundamentals.

      The cancellation of Notdstream II is not worth the risk of a nuclear war.

      Reply
  • March 20, 2022 at 5:29 pm
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    Hello learned Prof, i think it is good diplomatic manners to at least spell someone’s name correctly? It is NOT Kruscheve….the man’s name was Nikita Khrushchev….you arguments are noted even though with bold???

    Reply
  • April 2, 2022 at 3:49 pm
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    Absolutely spot on . I have a Phd in German American Diplomatic relations and could not agree more.
    This war was totally preventable ; ‘ No NATO membership and no persecution of the Russian Minority in Ukraine’. Why does USA never encourage peace talks .
    This will backfire. Just as declaring dollar war on Russia will accelerate the de dollarisation of the global trading system ,Germany will break free of Western constraints when it sees The Gulf, Russia , China and Brazil building a non dollar trading system.
    Lets see how comes out of this Stronger ; Russia and China or USA and EU. My money is on Russia and China and consider Washington’s has so overplayed its hand it will backfire terribly.

    Reply

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