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Merkel as Soft Cop in Neocon Offensive on Eastern Europe and Russia

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Merkel as Soft Cop in Neocon Offensive on Eastern Europe and Russia Madeleine Albright Samantha Power The History of Media-Military-Industrial Complex Concept    
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First, the danger from Iraq is not fictitious but real
 Angela Merkel (2003)

In more then one way Angela Merkel resembles Barak Obama: both have some murky past, both prefer to avoid direct confrontation and both are staunch neoliberals.

When the EU was created it sounded like a good idea to unite Europe in order to strengthen the economies of all European countries in the EU club and provide alternative to US dollar. But now it is clear the financial oligarchy hijacked EU and EU turned into system that  dis-empowers each countries sovereignty & ability to regulate their own economies. This is a similar approach that Obama government is trying to achieve via NAFTA & the TPP.

EU consists of Germany, France and a  dozen of vassal states. Vassal State is a feudal state in vassal dependence upon another state, or suzerain. Various formalities were established testifying to this subordination, such as the confirmation of the head of the vassal state by the suzerain and the taking of oaths of “loyalty and obedience” by the vassal state head; these formalities conferred a personal character to the dependence of the vassal upon the suzerain. The most important signs of vassal dependence were military aid and the payment of tribute. The vassal state was deprived not only of many essential rights in internal affairs (for example, in many cases the right of issuing money) but also of the right to maintain diplomatic relations and to conclude treaties with other states. The vassal state automatically came under the jurisdiction of the rules of political, trade, and customs treaties concluded by the suzerain state unless stipulated otherwise in the treaties themselves. In other words, in spite of a certain independence in its internal life, the vassal state was restricted in its rights in international affairs: in these it was represented by the suzerain state.

As capitalism grew stronger, the vassal system as a form of relationship between states gradually lost its importance. Within Europe the last vassal states were Rumania, Serbia, and Montenegro (until 1878) and Bulgaria (until 1908), which were dependent on Turkey; in the contemporary period in Europe only one vassal state remains preserved as a historical survival—the republic of Andorra, which has a vassal dependence on France and the episcopate of Urgel (Spain). Outside of Europe the last important example of a vassal state was Egypt, which had a vassal dependence on Turkey until 1914.

Neoliberals attempted to adjust the vassal system to the objectives of their colonial policy.  And their key target is Russia.  And they almost achieved full success under drunk Yeltsin.

Neocon Influence on Angela Merkel

Neocon Influence on Angela Merkel - Dialog International

Is Angela Merkel getting bad advice from Washington neocons through their representative in Berlin? Now we read that Jeff Gedmin - the head of the Aspen Institute in Berlin - is meeting on a regular basis with the Chancellor to instruct her on the Bush administration's line:

Angela Merkel relies on the advice of Jeffrey Gedmin, specially dispatched to Berlin to assist her by the Bush clan. This lobbyist first worked at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) [2] under Richard Perle and Mrs. Dick Cheney. He enthusiastically encouraged the creation of a Euro with Dollar parity exchange rate. Within the AEI, he led the New Atlantic Initiative (NAI), which brought together all the America-friendly generals and politicians in Europe. He was then involved in the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) and wrote the chapter on Europe in the neocon programme. He argued that the European Union should remain under NATO authority and that this would only be possible by “discouraging European calls for emancipation.” [3] Finally he became the administrator of the Council of the Community of Democracies (CCD), which argues in favour of a two-speed UN, and became director of the Aspen Institute in Berlin [4]. Subsequently he turned down the offer from his friend John Bolton [5] of the post of deputy US ambassador to the UN so as to be able to devote himself exclusively to Angela Merkel.

Elsewhere we read that Chancellor Merkel receives daily briefings from the neocon stalwart Gedmin:

Gedmin «brieft» die Kanzlerin täglich: Er hat damit die Rolle inne, die bei der Stasi die Führungsoffiziere hatten. Wenn wir uns noch Demokratie nennen wollen, dann muss Merkel gezwungen werden, die Inhalte dieser täglichen «Briefings» dem Land offenzulegen. In anderen Ländern gibt es dafür Gesetze, die «Freedom of Information Act» heissen.

Could this be true? I hope not. Gedmin is known for his columns in the conservative daily Die Welt where he reports on the marvelous successes the Iraq War. And who can forget Gedmin's column during last summer' s Israel/Lebanon War where he wrote about how Hezbollah fighters drank the blood of their victims in Lebanon?  If Angela Merkel is looking for good advice, there are much more honest and intelligent resources than Jeff Gedmin

 


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[Jan 21, 2020] At the start of a new decade, Merkel seems to be on the wrong side of history

Neoliberals are mostly neocons and neocons are mostly neoliberals. They can't understand the importance of Brexit and the first real crack in neoliberal globalization facade.
She really was on the wrong side of history: a tragedy for a politician. EU crumles with the end of her political career which was devoted to straightening EU and neoliberalism, as well as serving as the USA vassal. While she was sucessful in extracting benefits for Germany multinationals she increased Germany dependency (and subservience) on the USA. She also will be remembered for her handing of Greece crisis.
Notable quotes:
"... The UK's departure will continue to hang over Brussels and Berlin -- the countdown for a trade deal will coincide with Germany's presidency of the EU in the second half of this year. ..."
"... Brexit is a "wake-up call" for the EU. Europe must, she says, respond by upping its game, becoming "attractive, innovative, creative, a good place for research and education . . . Competition can then be very productive." This is why the EU must continue to reform, completing the digital single market, progressing with banking union -- a plan to centralise the supervision and crisis management of European banks -- and advancing capital markets union to integrate Europe's fragmented equity and debt markets. ..."
"... its defence budget has increased by 40 per cent since 2015, which is "a huge step from Germany's perspective". ..."
"... Ms Merkel will doubtless be remembered for two bold moves that changed Germany -- ordering the closure of its nuclear power stations after the Fukushima disaster of 2011, and keeping the country's borders open at the height of the 2015 refugee crisis. That decision was her most controversial, and there are some in Germany who still won't forgive her for it. But officials say Germany survived the influx, and has integrated the more than 1m migrants who arrived in 2015-16. ..."
Jan 21, 2020 | www.ft.com

It's a grim winter's day in Berlin, and the political climate matches the weather. Everywhere Angela Merkel looks there are storm clouds, as the values she has upheld all her career come under sustained attack. At the start of a new decade, Europe's premier stateswoman suddenly seems to be on the wrong side of history.Shortly, the UK will leave the EU. A volatile US president is snubbing allies and going it alone in the Middle East. Vladimir Putin is changing the Russian constitution and meddling in Libya and sub-Saharan Africa. Trade tensions continue, threatening the open borders and globalised value chains that are the cornerstones of Germany's prosperity.

Ms Merkel, a former physicist renowned for her imperturbable, rational manner is a politician programmed for compromise. But today she faces an uncompromising world where liberal principles have been shoved aside by the law of the jungle.

Her solution is to double down on Europe, Germany's anchor. "I see the European Union as our life insurance," she says. "Germany is far too small to exert geopolitical influence on its own, and that's why we need to make use of all the benefits of the single market."

Speaking in the chancellery's Small Cabinet Room, an imposing wood-panelled hall overlooking Berlin's Tiergarten park, Ms Merkel does not come across as under pressure. She is calm, if somewhat cagey, weighing every word and seldom displaying emotion.

But the message she conveys in a rare interview is nonetheless urgent. In the twilight of her career -- her fourth and final term ends in 2021 -- Ms Merkel is determined to preserve and defend multilateralism, a concept that in the age of Trump, Brexit and a resurgent Russia has never seemed so embattled. This is the "firm conviction" that guides her: the pursuit of "the best win-win situations . . . when partnerships of benefit to both sides are put into practice worldwide". She admits that this idea is coming "under increasing pressure". The system of supranational institutions like the EU and United Nations were, she says, "essentially a lesson learnt from the second world war, and the preceding decades". Now, with so few witnesses of the war still alive, the importance of that lesson is fading.

Of course President Donald Trump is right that bodies like the World Trade Organization and the UN require reform. "There is no doubt whatsoever about any of that," she says. "But I do not call the world's multilateral structure into question. "Germany has been the great beneficiary of Nato, an enlarged EU and globalisation. Free trade has opened up vast new markets for its world-class cars, machines and chemicals. Sheltered under the US nuclear umbrella, Germany has barely spared a thought for its own security. But the rise of "Me First" nationalism threatens to leave it economically and politically unmoored. In this sense, Europe is existential for German interests, as well as its identity.

Ms Merkel therefore wants to strengthen the EU -- an institution that she, perhaps more than any other living politician, has come to personify. She steered Europe through the eurozone debt crisis, albeit somewhat tardily: she held Europe together as it imposed sanctions on Russia over the annexation of Crimea; she maintained unity in response to the trauma of Brexit.

The UK's departure will continue to hang over Brussels and Berlin -- the countdown for a trade deal will coincide with Germany's presidency of the EU in the second half of this year. Berlin worries a post-Brexit UK that reserves the right to diverge from EU rules on goods, workers' rights, taxes and environmental standards could create a serious economic competitor on its doorstep. But Ms Merkel remains a cautious optimist. Brexit is a "wake-up call" for the EU. Europe must, she says, respond by upping its game, becoming "attractive, innovative, creative, a good place for research and education . . . Competition can then be very productive." This is why the EU must continue to reform, completing the digital single market, progressing with banking union -- a plan to centralise the supervision and crisis management of European banks -- and advancing capital markets union to integrate Europe's fragmented equity and debt markets.

In what sounds like a new European industrial policy, Ms Merkel also says the EU should identify the technological capabilities it lacks and move fast to fill in the gaps. "I believe that chips should be manufactured in the European Union, that Europe should have its own hyperscalers and that it should be possible to produce battery cells," she says. It must also have the confidence to set the new global digital standards. She cites the example of the General Data Protection Regulation, which supporters see as a gold standard for privacy and proof that the EU can become a rulemaker, rather than a rule taker, when it comes to the digital economy. Europe can offer an alternative to the US and Chinese approach to data. "I firmly believe that personal data does not belong to the state or to companies," she says. "It must be ensured that the individual has sovereignty over their own data and can decide with whom and for what purpose they share it."

The continent's scale and diversity also make it hard to reach a consensus on reform. Europe is deeply split: the migration crisis of 2015 opened up a chasm between the liberal west and countries like Viktor Orban's Hungary which has not healed. Even close allies like Germany and France have occasionally locked horns: Berlin's cool response to Emmanuel Macron's reform initiatives back in 2017 triggered anger in Paris, while the French president's unilateral overture to Mr Putin last year provoked irritation in Berlin. And when it comes to reform of the eurozone, divisions still exist between fiscally challenged southern Europeans and the fiscally orthodox new Hanseatic League of northern countries.

Ms Merkel remains to a degree hostage to German public opinion. Germany, she admits, is still "slightly hesitant" on banking union, "because our principle is that everyone first needs to reduce the risks in their own country today before we can mutualise the risks". And capital markets union might require member states to seek closer alignment on things like insolvency law. These divisions pale in comparison to the gulf between Europe and the US under president Donald Trump. Germany has become the administration's favourite punching bag, lambasted for its relatively low defence spending, big current account surplus and imports of Russian gas. German business dreads Mr Trump making good on his threat to impose tariffs on European cars.

It is painful for Ms Merkel, whose career took off after unification. In an interview last year she described how, while coming of age in communist East Germany, she yearned to make a classic American road trip: "See the Rocky Mountains, drive around and listen to Bruce Springsteen -- that was my dream," she told Der Spiegel.

The poor chemistry between Ms Merkel and Mr Trump has been widely reported. But are the latest tensions in the German-US relationship just personal -- or is there more to it? "I think it has structural causes," she says. For years now, Europe and Germany have been slipping down the US's list of priorities.

"There's been a shift," she says. "President Obama already spoke about the Asian century, as seen from the US perspective. This also means that Europe is no longer, so to say, at the centre of world events."She adds: "The United States' focus on Europe is declining -- that will be the case under any president."The answer? "We in Europe, and especially in Germany, need to take on more responsibility."

Germany has vowed to meet the Nato target of spending 2 per cent of GDP on defence by the start of the 2030s. Ms Merkel admits that for those alliance members which have already reached the 2 per cent goal, "naturally this is not enough". But there's no denying Germany has made substantial progress on the issue: its defence budget has increased by 40 per cent since 2015, which is "a huge step from Germany's perspective".

Ms Merkel insists the transatlantic relationship "remains crucial for me, particularly as regards fundamental questions concerning values and interests in the world". Yet Europe should also develop its own military capability. There may be regions outside Nato's primary focus where "Europe must -- if necessary -- be prepared to get involved. I see Africa as one example," she says.

Defence is hardly the sole bone of contention with the US. Trade is a constant irritation. Berlin watched with alarm as the US and China descended into a bitter trade war in 2018: it still fears becoming collateral damage.

"Can the European Union come under pressure between America and China? That can happen, but we can also try to prevent it. "Germany has few illusions about China. German officials and businesspeople are just as incensed as their US counterparts by China's theft of intellectual property, its unfair investment practices, state-sponsored cyber-hacking and human rights abuses in regions like Xinjiang.

Once seen as a strategic partner, China is increasingly viewed in Berlin as a systemic rival. But Berlin has no intention of emulating the US policy of "decoupling" -- cutting its diplomatic, commercial and financial ties with China. Instead, Ms Merkel has staunchly defended Berlin's close relationship with Beijing. She says she would "advise against regarding China as a threat simply because it is economically successful".

"As was the case in Germany, [China's] rise is largely based on hard work, creativity and technical skills," she says. Of course there is a need to "ensure that trade relations are fair". China's economic strength and geopolitical ambitions mean it is a rival to the US and Europe. But the question is: "Do we in Germany and Europe want to dismantle all interconnected global supply chains . . . because of this economic competition?" She adds: "In my opinion, complete isolation from China cannot be the answer."Her plea for dialogue and co-operation has set her on a collision course with some in her own party.

China hawks in her Christian Democratic Union share US mistrust of Huawei, the Chinese telecoms equipment group, fearing it could be used by Beijing to conduct cyber espionage or sabotage. Ms Merkel has pursued a more conciliatory line. Germany should tighten its security requirements towards all telecoms providers and diversify suppliers "so that we never make ourselves dependent on one firm" in 5G. But "I think it is wrong to simply exclude someone per se," she says.

The rise of China has triggered concern over Germany's future competitiveness. And that economic "angst" finds echoes in the febrile politics of Ms Merkel's fourth term. Her "grand coalition" with the Social Democrats is wracked by squabbling. The populist Alternative for Germany is now established in all 16 of the country's regional parliaments. A battle has broken out for the post-Merkel succession, with a crop of CDU heavy-hitters auditioning for the top job.

Many in the political elite worry about waning international influence in the final months of the Merkel era.While she remains one of the country's most popular politicians, Germans are asking what her legacy will be. For many of her predecessors, that question is easy to answer: Konrad Adenauer anchored postwar Germany in the west; Willy Brandt ushered in detente with the Soviet Union; Helmut Kohl was the architect of German reunification. So how will Ms Merkel be remembered?

Vladimir Putin: liberalism has 'outlived its purpose'

She brushes away the question. "I don't think about my role in history -- I do my job." But what about critics who say the Merkel era was mere durchwurschteln -- muddling through? That word, she says, in a rare flash of irritation, "isn't part of my vocabulary". Despite her reputation for gradualism and caution, Ms Merkel will doubtless be remembered for two bold moves that changed Germany -- ordering the closure of its nuclear power stations after the Fukushima disaster of 2011, and keeping the country's borders open at the height of the 2015 refugee crisis. That decision was her most controversial, and there are some in Germany who still won't forgive her for it. But officials say Germany survived the influx, and has integrated the more than 1m migrants who arrived in 2015-16.

She prefers to single out less visible changes. Germany is much more engaged in the world: just look, she says, at the Bundeswehr missions in Africa and Afghanistan. During the Kohl era, even the idea of dispatching a ship to the Adriatic to observe the war in Yugoslavia was controversial. She also mentions efforts to end the war in Ukraine, its role in the Iran nuclear deal, its assumption of ever more "diplomatic, and increasingly also military responsibility". "It may become more in future, but we are certainly on the right path," she says.

The Merkel era has been defined by crisis but thanks to her stewardship most Germans have rarely had it so good. The problem is the world expects even more of a powerful, prosperous Germany and its next chancellor.Letter in response to this article:At last, I understand Brexit's real purpose / From John Beadsmoore, Great Wilbraham, Cambs, UK

[Jan 16, 2020] The US extorted their own "allies" to get them to betray Iran and destroy their own reputations

Jan 16, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

b , Jan 15 2020 19:40 utc | 175

woah

WaPo: Days before Europeans warned Iran of nuclear deal violations, Trump secretly threatened to impose 25% tariff on European autos if they didn't

The U.S. effort to coerce European foreign policy through tariffs, a move one European official equated to "extortion," represents a new level of hardball tactics with the United States' oldest allies, underscoring the extraordinary tumult in the transatlantic relationship.
...
U.S. officials conveyed the threat directly to officials in London, Berlin and Paris rather than through their embassies in Washington, said a senior European official, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive negotiations.

Kadath , Jan 15 2020 20:05 utc | 179

Yes the US extorted their own "allies" to get them to betray Iran and destroy their own reputations. I must say the one thing i begrudgingly like about Trump is his honest upfront thuggist actions. After the backroom betrayals of Obama bush clinton merkel and the rest its almost refreshingly honest. Also i can think of no quicker way of destroying the US empire than by threatening your own allies the MIC must be desperate to start a new never ending war, although perhaps they should be careful of what they wish for

[Jan 08, 2020] As long as Neocons and Christian Zionists run our foreign policy we're screwed.

Jan 08, 2020 | www.unz.com

Z-man , says: Show Comment January 7, 2020 at 1:27 pm GMT

Yes, as long as Neoco hens and Christian Zionists run our foreign policy we're screwed.
BTW, Mike Pompeo or as I affectionately call him; Lard face, Plump'eo, crazed CZ-zealot fat boy, etc., is now a legitimate target of the Iranians. May Allah provide justice to the family of Soleimani. (Grin) And look, I'm wishing 'ill will' on a zealot 'goy' (gentile) instead of a typical Neo-cohen snake, how ironic. (Another grin)
A positve spin:
With the 'incorrect' memo leaked by the Pentagon about an orderly exit from Iraq this can be the silver lining in all this mess. This assassination might actually accelerate the exiting of US forces from Iraq and the surrounding quagmires. Who knows, Trump might be a genius.
Again, NO MORE WARS FOR ZION, BDS NOW, ONE STATE SOLUTION-PALESTINE.
And to really stick it to Neo cohens (My apologies to Prof. Steven Cohen ), Trump-Putin Axis Da!! Destroy the Deep State and the CABAL .

[Dec 17, 2019] EU is bound to fail in three generations

Dec 17, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Factotum said in reply to walrus... , 14 December 2019 at 06:41 PM

EU is bound to fail in three generations. Just like the Soviet Union and Mao's China. Can't fight family or tribalism.
Seamus Padraig said in reply to Factotum... , 15 December 2019 at 07:07 AM
Maybe sooner, as they lack an army with which to crush popular revolts.
Babak Makkinejad said in reply to Factotum... , 15 December 2019 at 03:13 PM
USSR, Yugoslavia, US, EU, and the Indian Union are predicated on the ideas of the Enlightenment Tradition. So far, USSR and FRY have disintegrated. If EU fails, could US and EU be too far behind. In US, we have the political ascendancy of foolish Protestantism, in India that of Hindu masses.

Can any states, predicated on secularism of the Enlightenment Tradition survive the rise of religious politics?

[Dec 01, 2019] Bush Doctrine still in play

US Empire's Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell gets irked that more nations are joining the INSTEX mechanism for commerce with Iran as shown by his Tweet:
Dec 01, 2019 | sputniknews.com

"cc: @TreasurySpox @USTreasury sounds to me like all these people and groups should be added to the US Sanctions list. We should ensure that they don't get to work in the US market. Iran or the US -- they decide. But not both ." [My Emphasis]

The nations saying we're not with you are Finland, Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden--what might be termed the more enlightened Europeans.

And here we have Germany's CDU acting in a manner reflecting the Bush Doctrine as it debated Germany's 5G rollout :

"The moderates, represented by Merkel, believe that Germany should not rule out any company over political issues, but focus more on objective factors such as whether its technological security and standards meet German requirements. However, some hard-liners make it an ideological issue and believe Huawei should be excluded. The reason they provided is ' no Chinese company is an independent company,' adding that Huawei's involvement is principally "an imminent question of national security .

"After decades of following the US, Germany has somewhat lost the ability to independently decide its development and destiny. But in recent years, the US has been pursuing unilateralism. The export-oriented German economy is affected by not only China-US trade conflicts, but also US threat of imposing tariffs on German products. Thus, it is time for Berlin to stop its fear of threats from Washington and make choices that are in line with its own interests." [My Emphasis]

Every Evil Outlaw US Empire chartered corporation in the tech realm is not an "independent company" since they work hand in glove with CIA, NSA, FBI, other government organizations, and are also funded by the government. The same is likely true of every Western tech company. A double standard excuse in service of continuing the Bush Doctrine.

To paraphrase Grenell, Now is most certainly the time to declare your independence and reclaim your sovereignty and cease acting in the service of another nation.

Posted by: karlof1 | Dec 2 2019 2:10 utc | 28

[Nov 02, 2019] Time to Extricate From Ukraine by Doug Bandow

Notable quotes:
"... In excess of 13,000 people, mostly Ukrainians, are known to have died in this war, and some two million have been forced from their homes. The economy of eastern Ukraine has collapsed. Ukraine has suffered through painful economic dislocation and political division. Meanwhile, several hundred Russians are believed to have been killed fighting in the Donbass. Western sanctions have damaged Russia's weak economy. And although the majority of Crimeans probably wanted to join Russia, opposition activists and journalists have been abducted, brutalized, and/or imprisoned. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church has been closed and Tartars have been persecuted. ..."
"... Even though the overall idea of ending the sponsoring of the conflict by Washington is plausible there are a number of shortcomings in the article to put it mildly. I realize though that the author has to make Washington look innocent and Russia look bad to escape the danger of being stigmatized as a pro-Russian traitor. ..."
"... I understand why you want to thread the needle. After the invasions, having to add more failure or at the very least recognition of dysfunction to our foreign policy choices and consequences is a bitter pill. But as you note had the US and the EU seriously had the desire to add the Ukraine into the western European sphere of influence, they could have offered a better deal on oil - they didn't. ..."
"... I think we have got to stop accusing the then existing government of corruption. As your own article states, the history of unstable governance with accompanying "corruption" seems a staple and nonunique. ..."
"... And as is the case in developing countries, what we call corruption is a cultural staple of how business and affairs are conducted. Whatever the issues, the Ukrainian public was not overly beset by the results so as to spontaneously riot. ..."
"... How the civil unrest spun out of control the second time in ten years, can be linked directly to US and EU involvement. ..."
Oct 17, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Capt. Matthew McCoy, commander of Company A, 1st Battalion, 179th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team during international weapons training near Yavoriv, Ukraine, in 2017. (Photo by Sgt. Anthony Jones, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team)/U.S. Army

Recently Ukraine has been thrown into the spotlight as Democrats gear up to impeach President Donald Trump. More important, though, is its role in damaging America's relations with Russia, which has resulted in a mini-Cold War that the U.S. needs to end.

Ukraine is in a bad neighborhood. During the 17th century, the country was divided between Poland and Russia, and eventually ended up as part of the Russian Empire. Kiev then enjoyed only the briefest of liberations after the 1917 Russian Revolution, before being reabsorbed by the Soviet Union. It later suffered from a devastating famine as Moscow confiscated food and collectivized agriculture. Ukraine was ravaged during Germany's World War II invasion, and guerrilla resistance to renewed Soviet control continued for years afterwards.

In 1991, the collapse of the U.S.S.R. gave Ukraine another, more enduring chance for independence. However, the new nation's development was fraught: GDP dropped by 60 percent and corruption burgeoned. Ukraine suffered under a succession of corrupt, self-serving, and ineffective leaders, as the U.S., Europe, and Russia battled for influence.

In 2014, Washington and European governments backed a street putsch against the elected, though highly corrupt, pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych. The Putin government responded by annexing Crimea and backing separatist forces in Eastern Ukraine's Donbass region. Washington and Brussels imposed economic sanctions on Russia and provided military aid to Kiev.

The West versus Russia quickly became a "frozen" conflict. Moscow reincorporated Crimea into Russia, from which it had been detached in 1954 as part of internal Soviet politics. In the Donbass, more than a score of ceasefires came and went. Both Ukraine and Russia failed to fulfill the 2016 Minsk agreements, which sought to end the conflict.

In excess of 13,000 people, mostly Ukrainians, are known to have died in this war, and some two million have been forced from their homes. The economy of eastern Ukraine has collapsed. Ukraine has suffered through painful economic dislocation and political division. Meanwhile, several hundred Russians are believed to have been killed fighting in the Donbass. Western sanctions have damaged Russia's weak economy. And although the majority of Crimeans probably wanted to join Russia, opposition activists and journalists have been abducted, brutalized, and/or imprisoned. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church has been closed and Tartars have been persecuted.

The most important geopolitical impact has been to poison Russia's relations with the West. Moscow's aggressions against Ukraine cannot be justified, but the U.S. and Europe did much to create the underlying suspicion and hostility. Recently declassified documents reveal the degree to which Western officials misled Moscow about their intention to expand NATO. Allied support for adding Georgia and Ukraine, which would have greatly expanded Russian vulnerability, generated a particularly strong reaction in Moscow. The dismemberment of Serbia with no consideration of Russia's interests was another irritant, along with Western support for "color revolutions" elsewhere, including in Tbilisi. The ouster of Yanukovych finally triggered Putin's brutal response.

Washington and Brussels apparently did not view their policies as threatening to Russia. However, had Moscow ousted an elected Mexican president friendly to America, while inviting the new government to join the Warsaw Pact, and worked with a coalition of Central American states to divert Mexican trade from the U.S., officials in Washington would not have been pleased. They certainly wouldn't have been overly concerned about juridical niceties in responding.

This explains (though does not justify) Russia's hostile response. Subsequent allied policies then turned the breach in relations into a gulf. The U.S. and European Union imposed a series of economic sanctions. Moreover, Washington edged closer to military confrontation with its provision of security assistance to Kiev. Moscow responded by challenging America from Syria to Venezuela.

It also began moving towards China. The two nations' differences are many and their relationship is unstable. However, as long as their antagonism towards Washington exceeds their discomfort with each other, they will cooperate to block what they see as America's pursuit of global hegemony.

Why is the U.S. entangled in the Ukrainian imbroglio? During the Cold War, Ukraine was one of the fabled "captive nations," backed by vigorous advocacy from Ukrainian Americans. After the Soviet Union collapsed, they joined other groups lobbying on behalf of ethnic brethren to speed NATO's expansion eastward. Security policy turned into a matter of ethnic solidarity, to be pursued irrespective of cost and risk.

To more traditional hawks who are always seeking an enemy, the issue is less pro-Ukraine than anti-Russia. Mitt Romney, the Republican Party's 2012 presidential nominee, improbably attacked Russia as America's most dangerous adversary. Hence the GOP's counterproductive determination to bring Kiev into NATO. Originally Washington saw the transatlantic alliance as a means to confront the Soviet menace; now it views the pact as a form of charity.

After the Soviet collapse, the U.S. pushed NATO eastward into nations that neither mattered strategically nor could be easily protected, most notably in the Balkans and Baltics. Even worse were Georgia and Ukraine, security black holes that would bring with them ongoing conflicts with Russia, possibly triggering a larger war between NATO and Moscow.

Ukraine never had been a matter of U.S. security. For most of America's history, the territory was controlled by either the Russian Empire or the Soviet Union. Washington's Cold War sympathies represented fraternal concerns, not security essentials. Today, without Kiev's aid, the U.S. and Europe would still have overwhelming conventional forces to be brought into any conflict with Moscow. However, adding Ukraine to NATO would increase the risk of a confrontation with a nuclear armed power. Russia's limitations when it comes to its conventional military would make a resort to nuclear weapons more likely in any conflict.

Nevertheless, George W. Bush's aggressively neoconservative administration won backing for Georgian and Ukrainian membership in NATO and considered intervening militarily in the Russo-Georgian war. However, European nations that feared conflict with Moscow blocked plans for NATO expansion, which went into cold storage. Although alliance officials still officially backed membership for Ukraine, it remains unattainable so long as conflict burns hot with Russia.

In the meantime, Washington has treated Ukraine as a de facto military ally, offering economic and security assistance. The U.S. has provided $1.5 billion for Ukrainian training and weapons, including anti-tank Javelin missiles. Explained Obama administration defense secretary Ashton Carter: "Ukraine would never be where it is without that support from the United States."

Equally important, the perception of U.S. backing made the Kiev government, headed by President Petro Poroshenko, less willing to pursue a diplomatic settlement with Russia. Thus did Ukraine, no less than Russia, almost immediately violate the internationally backed Minsk accord.

Kiev's role as a political football highlights the need for Washington to pursue an enduring political settlement with Russia. European governments are growing restless; France has taken the lead in seeking better relations with Moscow. Germany is unhappy with U.S. attempts to block the planned Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline. In Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelensky has campaigned to end the conflict.

Negotiators for Russia, Ukraine, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe recently met in Minsk to revive the agreement previously reached in the Belarus capital. They set an election schedule in the contested east, to be followed by passage of Ukrainian legislation to grant the region greater autonomy and separatists legal immunity. Despite strong opposition from nationalists, passage is likely since Zelensky's party holds a solid legislative majority.

Many challenges remain, but the West could aid this process by respecting Russian security concerns. The U.S. and its allies should formally foreclose Ukraine's membership in the transatlantic alliance and end lethal military aid. After receiving those assurances, Moscow would be expected to resolve the Donbass conflict, presumably along the lines of Minsk: Ukraine protects local autonomy while Russia exits the fight. Sanctions against Russia would be lifted. Ukrainians would be left to choose their economic orientation, since the country would likely be split between east and west for some time to come. The West would accept Russia's control of Crimea while refusing to formally recognize the conquest -- absent a genuinely independent referendum with independent monitors.

Such a compromise would be controversial. Washington's permanent war lobby would object. Hyper-nationalistic Ukrainians would double down on calling Zelensky a traitor. Eastern Europeans would complain about appeasing Russia. However, such a compromise would certainly be better than endless conflict.

Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and former special assistant to President Ronald Reagan. He is the author of Foreign Follies: America's New Global Empire.


cka2nd 12 hours ago

I credit Mr. Bandow for his largely fair and accurate description of the events in Ukraine of five years ago, and for his ultimate policy proposal for the US to extricate itself from its close involvement in the area. However, I'm a little confused by what exactly the author means by "Moscow's aggressions against Ukraine" and "Putin's brutal response" (aside from the treatment of dissidents and journalists as he specifically mentioned) to the Maidan Revolution.

Was it aggressive and brutal for Russia to support separatists in the Donbass who were facing the prospect of legal discrimination and violence by a criminal, neo-fascist government in Kiev, not to mention de-industrialization, the gutting of the agriculture sector and the forced economic migration of an enormous number of its young workers (assuming that Ukraine's economic deal with the EU followed the script of every other Easter European's country's deal with the EU)? If Yanukovych had fled to the Donbass and proclaimed himself still the freely elected (though certainly corrupt) President of the nation, Russia's support for the region would have even had a shiny brass legal fig leaf, wouldn't it?

As for the supposed "conquest" of Crimea, that's a rather strong word to use considering that all of two members of the Ukrainian military were killed, and 60-80 of them detained, while 15,000 defected to Russia. Compared to the violence in Kiev and Odessa, what happened in Crimea almost qualifies as a bloodless coup. But then Mr. Bandow shies away from using the word "hegemony" to describe the foreign policy of the United States, figuratively putting the word in the mouths of those bad men (which they are) in Moscow and Beijing. It's a pity that Mr. Bandow felt the need to make linguistic concessions to the foreign policy establishment in what was otherwise a useful and balanced piece.

minsredmash 9 hours ago
Even though the overall idea of ending the sponsoring of the conflict by Washington is plausible there are a number of shortcomings in the article to put it mildly. I realize though that the author has to make Washington look innocent and Russia look bad to escape the danger of being stigmatized as a pro-Russian traitor.
EliteCommInc. 8 hours ago
I understand why you want to thread the needle. After the invasions, having to add more failure or at the very least recognition of dysfunction to our foreign policy choices and consequences is a bitter pill. But as you note had the US and the EU seriously had the desire to add the Ukraine into the western European sphere of influence, they could have offered a better deal on oil - they didn't.

I think we have got to stop accusing the then existing government of corruption. As your own article states, the history of unstable governance with accompanying "corruption" seems a staple and nonunique.

And as is the case in developing countries, what we call corruption is a cultural staple of how business and affairs are conducted. Whatever the issues, the Ukrainian public was not overly beset by the results so as to spontaneously riot.

How the civil unrest spun out of control the second time in ten years, can be linked directly to US and EU involvement.

https://washingtonsblog.com...

https://thewashingtonstanda...

It is a deeply held belief that democracy is a system that by definition a generally acceptable path forward. That belief is false as democracy is still comprised of human beings. And democracy in their hands is no "cure all". It can be a turbulent and jerky bureaucratic maze process that pleases no one and works over time.

The US didn't accomplish it without violence until after more than 130 years, when the native populations were finally subdued. And as for a system that embodied equal treatment to similar circumstance -- we are still at it. But a violent revolution every ten years certainly isn't the most effective road to take.
-----------------

Why we insistent on restarting the cold war is unclear to me save that it served to create a kind of strategic global clarity Though what that means would troublesome because Russia's ole would now be as a developing democratic state as opposed to a communist monolith. And that means unfettered from her satellites and empowered by more capital markets her role as adversary would be more adroit. As time after time, Ores Putin has appeared the premier diplomat for peace and stability in situations in which the US was engaged or encouraging violence.(the Ukraine). I certainly don't think that our relations with Russia or China are a to be kumbaya love fests, there is still global competition and there's no reason to pretend it would be without tensions. But seriously, as a democratic/capital market player -- there really was no way to contain Russia.
----------------------

Given what we experienced during 2007 --- corruption comes in a mryiad of guises.

timoth3y 7 hours ago • edited
The Ukraine situation is complex to be certain, but ending military aid and letting Russia clean up seems like a bad idea.

This week we saw Russian forces occupy US bases abandoned when Trump ordered our troops to withdraw from the Turkish border. And now the author is arguing we should do something similar in the Ukraine.

When did Russian appeasement become so important to conservative foreign policy?

kouroi timoth3y 3 hours ago
Mate, Russians were in Syria at the invitation of the Syrian government. US troops are there illegally (no Congress mandate, no international mandate, no invitation). US is an occupying, destabilizing, terrorist protecting force in Syria and Americans should look beyond their self esteem before commenting on this "shameful" retreat. US does not have the right to put its troops wherever it fancies.

This win or loose mentality will be the death of you. Who do you think is threatening the US, when it has the biggest moats protecting its shores? The only thing that is happening is that the hegemonic role, that of controlling everyone's economy for its own elites benefit is being denied.

This is what you are complaining mate, the the rich Americans cannot get richer? Do you think they will share with you, or that, like the good English boys of the past, you will not be able to land a job with East India Co. and despoil the natives for a while?

Doug Wallis 6 hours ago
If the US were smart then they would lead some sort of negotiation where eastern Europe and Ukraine and Russia were allowed only mutually agreed defensive weapons systems. A demilitarization of say 200 miles on each side of the Russia border. The strategy should be to encourage trade between Eastern Europe and Russia where Russia has influence but is not threatening. It may be slow to build that trust but the real question is whether the US and Europe and NATO want peace with Russia or whether they are using fear of Russia to keep eastern Europe united with the US and Europe. This may be the case but the future will have China as a greater threat than Russia (China will even be a threat to Russia). Any shift in Russian relations will take decades of building trust on both sides.
tweets21 6 hours ago
Good article and excellent history of facts. If I recall during the last Bush administration W hosted a Putin and his then spouse, at a visit at his ranch. Putin informed W," the Ukraine belongs to Russia. end of sentence.
Disqus10021 5 hours ago
The author forgot the critical role of Sevastopol in the Crimea. It is Russia's only warm water port and there was no way that it was going to allow this area to become a NATO naval base. Secretary of State Clinton and her sidekick for Ukraine, Victoria Nuland should have known this before they started supporting the overthrow of the pro-Russia government in Kiev.

If you look at a historical atlas, you won't find an independent country called Ukraine before 1991. When my parents were born, near what is now called Lviv, the area was called Galicia and Lemberg was its provincial capital. A gold medal issued in 1916 in honor of Franz Josef's 85th birthday noted that he was the Kaiser of Austria, Hungary, Galicia and Lodomeria.

When the old Soviet Union agreed to allow East and West Germany to reunify, it was with the understanding that NATO would not extend membership to former Soviet block countries and that there would be no NATO bases in these areas either. NATO and the US broke their oral commitment to Russia a few years later.

The US should get out of the business of trying to spread democracy in third world countries and interfering in the affairs of foreign governments. We can't afford to be the policeman of the world. We don't even have the ability to make many of our own central cities safe for Americans. Think Baltimore, St. Louis, New Orleans and Detroit, all four of which appear on Wikipedia's list of the 50 murder capitals of the world (per thousand population).

kouroi Disqus10021 3 hours ago
It is not for the sake of spreading democracy mate, but to control those economies for the benefit of US economic elite.
Sid Finster 4 hours ago
"This explains (though does not justify) Russia's hostile response."

For the love of Pete, will TAC quit with offering limited concessions to the neocon position in an attempt to appear "serious" and "reasonable".

The United States formented an armed coup in Ukraine spearheaded by Nazis.

[Jul 22, 2019] All Hail Europe's Permanent Ruling Class

Notable quotes:
"... That said, Germany's military readiness directly relates to the invasion threat from Russia Europe actually faces. I.e., ZERO. Washington should take note but of course it won't because there is no money in it for the American Merchants of Death. And the Generals inside the Pentagon just have too much fun fear-mongering about illusory existential enemies. ..."
"... As Politico recently reported, "an investigative committee of the German parliament -- the toughest instrument that lawmakers can use to probe government misdeeds -- is digging into how lucrative contracts from her ministry were awarded to outside consultants without proper oversight ..."
"... Yet another U.S. mirror image. Because that is exactly how inside baseball works in the Pentagon acquisition system. von der Leyen as a European Hack is no worse than the Washington / Pentagon Hacks on the other side of the Atlantic. Note, MIC lifer and Raytheon parasite Mark Esper currently sitting in the Big Seat in the Pentagon. You can be sure that DoD reform is way down on his bucket list. ..."
Jul 22, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Meet Ursula von der Leyen, the new president-elect of the European Commission, the executive branch of the European Union.

Like all those soon to occupy positions of power in the EU, von der Leyen did not run in the recent European elections for the position she is about to hold. She did not participate in the debates in front of various national electorates. But she was chosen -- after the elections -- by the political class in Brussels, ostensibly for her faith in and loyalty to the European superstate, and personally to the German chancellor Angela Merkel.

Since 2013, von der Leyen has been the German defense minister. During that time, a parliamentary report exposed German planes that can't fly and guns that don't shoot. Fewer than a fifth of Germany's helicopters are combat ready. Luftwaffe revealed that most of its 128 Typhoon jets were not ready to leave ground. All of Germany's six submarines were out of commission.

Another report by the Rand Corporation , a think tank, revealed that it would take Germany a month to mobilize in the case of a Russian invasion of the Baltic States. Von der Leyen is very unpopular in the German army , but very popular with the Eurocrats. She's a fervent supporter of a European army and a "United States of Europe" -- the ultimate qualification for being president of the European Commission.

But there is more to the von der Leyen story. As Politico recently reported , "an investigative committee of the German parliament -- the toughest instrument that lawmakers can use to probe government misdeeds -- is digging into how lucrative contracts from her ministry were awarded to outside consultants without proper oversight, and whether a network of informal personal connections facilitated those deals."

The scent of corruption is a common element among those who are to hold key positions in the European Union over the next few years. Josep Borrell, minister of foreign affairs for the socialist government of Spain, was fined 30,000 euros for insider trading. He is expected to hold the foreign policy post in the European Commission.

Christine Lagarde, most recently chief of the IMF, was involved in the case of an arbitration panel that awarded a massive payout to a French tycoon while she was the finance minister of France. A special court for ministerial misconduct found her guilty of "negligence" but "waived any punishment or criminal record, citing her 'international reputation' and role in dealing with 'the international financial crisis.'" A marvelously L'état, C'est Moi form of legal reasoning. Lagarde is expected to be the next president of the European Central Bank.

The common threads of corruption, incompetence, and lack of accountability are what unites a political class that has divorced itself from the concerns of the average European. In the last days before her confirmation, von der Leyen pursued a charm offensive that included a commitment to a "Green New Deal," a continuation of an open borders policy , and a further deepening and enlargement of the European superstate. This included the story of her having offered hospitality to a Syrian immigrant who "now speaks German fluently."

Emmanuel Macron: Trade Wars for Me, But Not for Thee Voters in Europe Just Smashed the Mainstream Establishment

Obviously von der Leyen would never have won the May elections running on an agenda like that. But of course, she never had to run a campaign to win the votes of the peoples of Europe. The campaign that she did run was premised on her having built "an extensive international network in politics and business," as another Politico story put it .

Von der Leyen thrived in the networking atmosphere of World Economic Forum meetings, where she "serves on the organization's board of trustees," Politico noted, adding, "She's also forged close ties to powerful figures outside the world of politics, most notably Bertelsmann, Europe's largest media company, which owns RTL, the Continent's largest commercial broadcaster, book publisher Random House and a stable of magazines."

A senior Green quoted for the article said her fluency in French has helped her establish a rapport with the French political class that is unrivaled in Berlin.

It's clear that von der Leyen's domestic record appears to have had little effect on her election -- what matters is that she is universally liked by the who's who. "What matters most in these circles is the personal connection," said an adviser to the leader of one of the EU's smaller member states.

Those who count and those who are to be ruled are not the same group of people. That seems to be the essence of modern European politics: a political class and ideological cult that masquerades as a competent technocratic elite, despite its long and disastrous history. Von der Leyen's terrible record as defense minister meant nothing. Neither did Lagarde's record as head of the IMF, where, for instance, the Greek debt crisis was transformed into a social catastrophe. The deciding factor was their dedication to something that "those who count" are committed to. Elections are merely a necessary, archaic ritual of legitimization.

Napoleon Linarthatos is a writer based in New York.


Parrhesia 10 hours ago

On Monday 22 July 1940, a major meeting was held at the Reich Economic Ministry in Berlin, under the chairmanship of Minister Walther Funk, to discuss a directive issued by Hermann Göring on 22 June, concerning the organization of a Greater European Economic Area under German leadership. The Germans were well advanced with their plans for a post-war settlement. One of the difficulties of planning lay in the fact that the Führer's aims and decisions were not yet known and the military measures against Britain were not yet concluded.

Plus ça change........

Lars 10 hours ago
What? A techno-managerial clique ruling the rest of us Great Unwashed (see "Deplorables")? It couldn't happen here, could it? It's OK if they went to the right schools, isn't it?
genocidal_maniac 10 hours ago
Too much use if the word disastrous. Disastrous is what Wilhelm II did to the German empire. This is not disastrous, but it is concerning like a rudderless ship.
Salt Lick 7 hours ago
Today's Holy Roman Empire.

Voltaire's comment back then still rings true."It was neither Holy, Roman nor an Empire."

Sid Finster 7 hours ago
Don't be asinine. Russia is not going to invade anything and has no claim on any part of western Europe. The only thing the German military is good for is for sucking up additional budgetary funds.
SteveM 6 hours ago
Another report by the Rand Corporation, a think tank, revealed that it would take Germany a month to mobilize in the case of a Russian invasion of the Baltic States.

For the sake of completeness, the Rand Corporation is actually a marketing arm of the Pentagon fully funded by the U.S. government.

That said, Germany's military readiness directly relates to the invasion threat from Russia Europe actually faces. I.e., ZERO. Washington should take note but of course it won't because there is no money in it for the American Merchants of Death. And the Generals inside the Pentagon just have too much fun fear-mongering about illusory existential enemies.

Of course that does not dismiss the charges of cronyism and corruption associated with Ursula von der Leyen. But re:

But there is more to the von der Leyen story. As Politico recently reported, "an investigative committee of the German parliament -- the toughest instrument that lawmakers can use to probe government misdeeds -- is digging into how lucrative contracts from her ministry were awarded to outside consultants without proper oversight , and whether a network of informal personal connections facilitated those deals."

Yet another U.S. mirror image. Because that is exactly how inside baseball works in the Pentagon acquisition system. von der Leyen as a European Hack is no worse than the Washington / Pentagon Hacks on the other side of the Atlantic. Note, MIC lifer and Raytheon parasite Mark Esper currently sitting in the Big Seat in the Pentagon. You can be sure that DoD reform is way down on his bucket list.

The real story is that taxpayers on both NATO poles are played for chumps by the Power Elites.

[Jul 20, 2019] The European Union's New Executive Kowtows to the Left

Jul 20, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Ursula von der Leyen arrives clouded in scandal and ready to implement radical economic policies that will stifle growth.

like Jean-Claude Juncker, she arrives in Brussels with a record of negligence in her country of origin. Whereas Juncker was accused of failing in his duty to inform the Luxembourg Parliament of illegal wiretapping by the intelligence service, von der Leyen was denounced for mismanagement. In October 2018, when she was still Germany's minister of defense, she admitted that her department had made mistakes in awarding contracts to external consultants, amounting to several hundred million euros.

In 2012, Josep Borrell, former president of the European Parliament and former minister in various Spanish socialist governments, was forced to resign from his position as president of the European University Institute (UIE) following allegations of conflicts of interest. At that time, he was receiving €300,000 as a member of the board of directors of the Spanish sustainable energy company Abengoa, while at the same time promoting biofuels through the institute.

Nevertheless, alongside von der Leyen, Borrell is about to be confirmed as the new head of EU diplomacy. Another perfect candidate.

The scandal in Berlin is not the only reason the vote for Von der Leyen was narrow. It was also that socialists and environmentalists weren't given sufficient trade-offs (in their eyes). The European Union is all about distributing the large number of positions and policy priorities between the involved parties, and in this case, the left felt shafted.

The Nationalists Who Could Take Over the European Union Stopped Clocks: The European Union Gets War With Iran Exactly Right

A source from the PiS party (the ruling party in Poland) told journalist Oskar Górzyński of the media company Wirtualna Polska that it was a call from Chancellor Angela Merkel that tipped some Polish MEPs over. What did Mrs. Merkel promise them? More agricultural subsidies? The abandonment of the Article 7 sanction procedure against judicial reforms in Poland? Only Merkel knows that and she won't tell.

Bill Wirtz comments on European politics and policy in English, French, and German. His work has appeared in Newsweek, the Washington Examiner, CityAM, Le Monde, Le Figaro, and Die Welt.

[Jul 20, 2019] Western Interests Aim To Flummox Russia

Notable quotes:
"... One pressure on Putin comes from the Atlanticist Integrationists who have a material stake in their connections to the West and who want Russia to be integrated into the Western world. ..."
"... We agree with President Putin that the sanctions are in fact a benefit to Russia as they have moved Russia in self-sufficient directions and toward developing relationships with China and Asia. ..."
"... It is a self-serving Western myth that Russia needs foreign loans. This myth is enshrined in neoliberal economics, which is a device for Western exploitation and control of other countries. Russia's most dangerous threat is the country's neoliberal economists. ..."
"... Neoliberals argue that Russia needs privatization in order to cover its budget deficit. Russia's government debt is only 17 percent of Russian GDP. According to official measures, US federal debt is 104 percent of GDP, 6.1 times higher than in Russia. If US federal debt is measured in real corrected terms, US federal debt is 185 percent of US GDP. http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2014/07/08/deteriorating-economic-outlook/ ..."
"... Russia's most dangerous threat is the country's neoliberal economists. ..."
"... Most of Russia's economic block has to be literally purged from their sinecures, some, indeed, have to be "re-educated" near Magadan or Tyumen, or Saransk. Too bad, two of these places are actually not too bad. Others deserved to be executed. Too bad this jackass Gaidar (actually no blood relation to Arkady whatsoever) died before he could be tried for crimes against humanity and genocide. Albeit, some say he died because of his consciousness couldn't take the burden. Looking at his swine face I, somehow, doubt it. ..."
"... This is not a US vs Russia issue. The real conflict is ... Globalism vs Russian nationalism and American nationalism. But since Jews control the media, they've spread the impression that it's about US vs Russia. ..."
"... Trump is an ultra-zionist for Sheldon Adelson and prolongs & creates wars for the Goldman banking crimesyndicat. ..."
"... Voltaire once said, "To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize." ..."
"... You write about Russia but have not done your homework. Russia is very dependent on Western technology and its entire high-tech industry depends on the import of Western machinery. Without such machinery many Russian factories, including military ones, would stall. Very important oil industry is particularly vulnerable. ..."
Mar 03, 2017 | www.unz.com
An article by Robert Berke in oilprice.com, which describes itself as "The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News," illustrates how interest groups control outcomes by how they shape policy choices.

Berke's article reveals how the US intends to maintain and extend its hegemony by breaking up the alliance between Russia, Iran, and China, and by oil privatizations that result in countries losing control over their sovereignty to private oil companies that work closely with the US government. As Trump has neutered his presidency by gratuitously accepting Gen. Flynn's resignation as National Security Advisor, this scheme is likely to be Trump's approach to "better relations" with Russia.

Berke reports that Henry Kissinger has sold President Trump on a scheme to use the removal of Russian sanctions to pry President Putin away from the Russian alliance with Iran and China. Should Putin fall for such a scheme, it would be a fatal strategic blunder from which Russia could not recover. Yet, Putin will be pressured to make this blunder.

One pressure on Putin comes from the Atlanticist Integrationists who have a material stake in their connections to the West and who want Russia to be integrated into the Western world. Another pressure comes from the affront that sanctions represent to Russians. Removing this insult has become important to Russians even though the sanctions do Russia no material harm.

We agree with President Putin that the sanctions are in fact a benefit to Russia as they have moved Russia in self-sufficient directions and toward developing relationships with China and Asia. Moreover, the West with its hegemonic impulses uses economic relationships for control purposes. Trade with China and Asia does not pose the same threat to Russian independence.

Berke says that part of the deal being offered to Putin is "increased access to the huge European energy market, restored western financial credit, access to Western technology, and a seat at the global decision-making table, all of which Russia badly needs and wants." Sweetening the honey trap is official recognization of "Crimea as part of Russia."

Russia might want all of this, but it is nonsense that Russia needs any of it.

Crimea is part of Russia, as it has been for 300 years, and no one can do anything about it. What would it mean if Mexico did not recognize that Texas and California were part of the US? Nothing.

Europe has scant alternatives to Russian energy. Russia does not need Western technology. Indeed, its military technology is superior to that in the West. And Russia most certainly does not need Western loans. Indeed, it would be an act of insanity to accept them.

It is a self-serving Western myth that Russia needs foreign loans. This myth is enshrined in neoliberal economics, which is a device for Western exploitation and control of other countries. Russia's most dangerous threat is the country's neoliberal economists.

The Russian central bank has convinced the Russian government that it would be inflationary to finance Russian development projects with the issuance of central bank credit. Foreign loans are essential, claims the central bank.

Someone needs to teach the Russian central bank basic economics before Russia is turned into another Western vassal. Here is the lesson: When central bank credit is used to finance development projects, the supply of rubles increases but so does output from the projects. Thus, goods and services rise with the supply of rubles. When Russia borrows foreign currencies from abroad, the money supply also increases, but so does the foreign debt. Russia does not spend the foreign currencies on the project but puts them into its foreign exchange reserves. The central bank issues the same amount of rubles to pay the project's bills as it would in the absence of the foreign loan. All the foreign loan does is to present Russia with an interest payment to a foreign creditor.

Foreign capital is not important to countries such as Russia and China. Both countries are perfectly capable of financing their own development. Indeed, China is the world's largest creditor nation. Foreign loans are only important to countries that lack the internal resources for development and have to purchase the business know-how, techlology, and resources abroad with foreign currencies that their exports are insufficient to bring in.

This is not the case with Russia, which has large endowments of resources and a trade surplus. China's development was given a boost by US corporations that moved their production for the US market offshore in order to pocket the difference in labor and regulatory costs.

Neoliberals argue that Russia needs privatization in order to cover its budget deficit. Russia's government debt is only 17 percent of Russian GDP. According to official measures, US federal debt is 104 percent of GDP, 6.1 times higher than in Russia. If US federal debt is measured in real corrected terms, US federal debt is 185 percent of US GDP. http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2014/07/08/deteriorating-economic-outlook/

Clearly, if the massive debt of the US government is not a problem, the tiny debt of Russia is not a problem.

Berke's article is part of the effort to scam Russia by convincing the Russian government that its prosperity depends on unfavorable deals with the West. As Russia's neoliberal economists believe this, the scam has a chance of success.

Another delusion affecting the Russian government is the belief that privatization brings in capital. This delusion caused the Russian government to turn over 20 percent of its oil company to foreign ownership. The only thing Russia achieved by this strategic blunder was to deliver 20 percent of its oil profits into foreign hands. For a one-time payment, Russia gave away 20 percent of its oil profits in perpetuity.

To repeat outselves, the greatest threat that Russia faces is not sanctions but the incompetence of its neoliberal economists who have been throughly brainwashed to serve US interests.

Mao Cheng Ji , February 14, 2017 at 6:55 pm GMT \n

When Russia borrows foreign currencies from abroad, the money supply also increases, but so does the foreign debt. Russia does not spend the foreign currencies on the project but puts them into its foreign exchange reserves. The central bank issues the same amount of rubles to pay the project's bills as it would in the absence of the foreign loan. All the foreign loan does is to present Russia with an interest payment to a foreign creditor.

Yes, correct. But this is an IMF rule, and Russia is an IMF member. To control its monetary policy it would have to get out.

Lyttenburgh , February 14, 2017 at 6:57 pm GMT \n

Another pressure comes from the affront that sanctions represent to Russians. Removing this insult has become important to Russians even though the sanctions do Russia no material harm.

Oh dear, neolibs at their "finest"!

This "theory" is simply not true. If anything, Russians don't want the sanctions to be lifted, because this will also force us to scrap our counter-sanctions against the EU. The agro-business in Russia had been expanding by leaps and bounds for the last two years. This persistent myth that "the Russians" (who exactly, I wonder – 2-3% of the pro-Western urbanites in Moscow and St. Pete?) are desperate to have the sanctons lifted is a self-deception of the West, who IS desparate of the fact that the sanctions didn't work.

Russia's most dangerous threat is the country's neoliberal economists.

Yes! Ulyukayev is, probably, feeling lonely in his prison. I say – why not send Chubais, Siluanov and Nabiulina to cheer him up?

WorkingClass , February 14, 2017 at 7:59 pm GMT \n

Berke reports that Henry Kissinger has sold President Trump on a scheme to use the removal of Russian sanctions to pry President Putin away from the Russian alliance with Iran and China.

Kissinger, like Dick Cheney or George Soros, will probably never be completely dead.

SmoothieX12 , Website February 14, 2017 at 8:56 pm GMT \n
@WorkingClass
Berke reports that Henry Kissinger has sold President Trump on a scheme to use the removal of Russian sanctions to pry President Putin away from the Russian alliance with Iran and China.
Kissinger, like Dick Cheney or George Soros, will probably never be completely dead.

LOL! True. You forgot McCain, though.

SmoothieX12 , Website February 14, 2017 at 9:04 pm GMT \n
100 Words @Lyttenburgh
Another pressure comes from the affront that sanctions represent to Russians. Removing this insult has become important to Russians even though the sanctions do Russia no material harm.
Oh dear, neolibs at their "finest"! This "theory" is simply not true. If anything, Russians don't want the sanctions to be lifted, because this will also force us to scrap our counter-sanctions against the EU. The agro-business in Russia had been expanding by leaps and bounds for the last two years. This persistent myth that "the Russians" (who exactly, I wonder - 2-3% of the pro-Western urbanites in Moscow and St. Pete?) are desperate to have the sanctons lifted is a self-deception of the West, who IS desparate of the fact that the sanctions didn't work.
Russia's most dangerous threat is the country's neoliberal economists.
Yes! Ulyukayev is, probably, feeling lonely in his prison. I say - why not send Chubais, Siluanov and Nabiulina to cheer him up? ;)

I say – why not send Chubais, Siluanov and Nabiulina to cheer him up?

Most of Russia's economic block has to be literally purged from their sinecures, some, indeed, have to be "re-educated" near Magadan or Tyumen, or Saransk. Too bad, two of these places are actually not too bad. Others deserved to be executed. Too bad this jackass Gaidar (actually no blood relation to Arkady whatsoever) died before he could be tried for crimes against humanity and genocide. Albeit, some say he died because of his consciousness couldn't take the burden. Looking at his swine face I, somehow, doubt it.

Priss Factor , February 14, 2017 at 10:38 pm GMT \n
100 Words

A silver-lining to this.

If the US continues to antagonize Russia, Russia will have to grow even more independent, nationalist, and sovereign. At any rate, this issue cannot be addressed until we face that the fact that globalism is essentially Jewish Supremacism that fears gentile nationalism as a barrier to its penetration and domination.

This is not a US vs Russia issue. The real conflict is ... Globalism vs Russian nationalism and American nationalism. But since Jews control the media, they've spread the impression that it's about US vs Russia.

Same thing with this crap about 'white privilege'. It is a misleading concept to fool Americans into thinking that the main conflict is between 'privileged whites' and 'people of color'. It is really to hide the fact that Jewish power and privilege really rules the US. It is a means to hoodwink people from noticing that the real divide is between Jews and Gentiles, not between 'privileged whites' and 'non-white victims'. After all, too many whites lack privilege, and too many non-whites do very well in America.

Seamus Padraig , February 14, 2017 at 11:29 pm GMT \n
@SmoothieX12
I say – why not send Chubais, Siluanov and Nabiulina to cheer him up?

Most of Russia's economic block has to be literally purged from their sinecures, some, indeed, have to be "re-educated" near Magadan or Tyumen, or Saransk. Too bad, two of these places are actually not too bad. Others deserved to be executed. Too bad this jackass Gaidar (actually no blood relation to Arkady whatsoever) died before he could be tried for crimes against humanity and genocide. Albeit, some say he died because of his consciousness couldn't take the burden. Looking at his swine face I, somehow, doubt it.

I'm generally a big fan and admirer of Putin, but this is definitely one criticism of him that I have a lot of sympathy for. It is long past time for Putin to purge the neoliberals from the Kremlin and nationalize the Russian Central Bank. I cannot fathom why he hasn't done this already.

Seamus Padraig , February 14, 2017 at 11:34 pm GMT \n

Does PCR really think that Putin is stupid enough to fall for Kissinger's hair-brained scheme? I mean, give Putin a little bit of credit. He has so far completely outmaneuvered Washington on virtually ever subject. I'm sure he's clever enough to see through such a crude divide-and-rule strategy.

anonymous , February 15, 2017 at 4:17 am GMT

The Russians can't be flummoxed, they aren't children. Russia and China border each other so they have a natural mutual interest in having their east-west areas be stable and safe, particularly when the US threatens both of them. This geography isn't going to change. Abandoning clients such as Syria and Iran would irreversibly damage the Russian brand as being unreliable therefore they'd find it impossible to attract any others in the future. They know this so it's unlikely they would be so rash as to snap at any bait dangled in front of them. And, as pointed out, the bait really isn't all that irresistible. It's always best to negotiate from a position of strength and they realize that. American policy deep thinkers are often fantasists who bank upon their chess opponents making hoped-for predictable moves. That doesn't happen in real life.

SmoothieX12 , Website February 15, 2017 at 2:29 pm GMT \n
@Seamus Padraig

I'm generally a big fan and admirer of Putin, but this is definitely one criticism of him that I have a lot of sympathy for. It is long past time for Putin to purge the neoliberals from the Kremlin and nationalize the Russian Central Bank. I cannot fathom why he hasn't done this already.

I cannot fathom why he hasn't done this already.

Partially, because Putin himself is an economic liberal and, to a degree, monetarist, albeit less rigid than his economic block. The good choices he made often were opposite to his views. As he himself admitted that Russia's geopolitical vector changed with NATO's aggression against Yugoslavia–a strengthening of Russia has become an imperative. This comeback was impossible within the largely "Western" monetarist economic model. Russia's comeback happened not thanks but despite Putin's economic views, Putin adjusted his views in the process, his economic block didn't. But many of them still remain his friends, despite the fact that many of them are de facto fifth column and work against Russia, intentionally and other wise. Eventually Putin will be forced to get down from his fence and take the position of industrialists and siloviki. Putin's present for Medvedev's birthday was a good hint on where he is standing economically today and I am beginning to like that but still–I personally am not convinced yet. We'll see. In many respects Putin was lucky and specifically because of the namely Soviet military and industry captains still being around–people who, unlike Putin, knew exactly what constituted Russia's strength. Enough to mention late Evgeny Primakov. Let's not forget that despite Putin's meteoric rise through the top levels of Russia's state bureaucracy, including his tenure as a Director of FSB, Putin's background is not really military-industrial. He is a lawyer, even if uniformed (KGB) part of his career. I know for a fact that initially (early 2000s) he was overwhelmed with the complexity of Russia's military and industry. Enough to mention his creature Serdyukov who almost destroyed Command and Control structure of Russia's Armed Forces and main ideologue behind Russia's military "reform", late Vitaly Shlykov who might have been a great GRU spy (and economist by trade) but who never served a day in combat units. Thankfully, the "reforms" have been stopped and Russian Armed Forces are still dealing with the consequences. This whole clusterfvck was of Putin's own creation–hardly a good record on his resume. Hopefully, he learned.

Vlad , February 17, 2017 at 8:44 am GMT \n
@Seamus Padraig

I'm generally a big fan and admirer of Putin, but this is definitely one criticism of him that I have a lot of sympathy for. It is long past time for Putin to purge the neoliberals from the Kremlin and nationalize the Russian Central Bank. I cannot fathom why he hasn't done this already.

He has not done it already because he just cannot let go of his dream to have it as he did in 2003, when Russia Germany and France together blocked legality of US war in Iraq. Putin still hopes for a good working relationship with major West European powers. Italy France and even Germany.

He still hopes to draw them away from the US. However the obvious gains from Import substitution campaign make it apparent that Russia does benefit from sanctions, that Russia can get anything it wants in technology from the East rather than the West. So the break with Western orientation is in the making. Hopefully.

annamaria , February 17, 2017 at 3:50 pm GMT \n

You forgot to mention the "moderate" jihadis, including the operatives from NATO, Israel, and US. (It seems that the Ukrainian "patriots" that have been bombing the civilians in East Ukraine, also include special "patriots" from the same unholy trinity: https://www.roguemoney.net/stories/2016/12/6/there-are-troops-jack-us-army-donbass ). There has been also a certain asymmetry in means: look at the map for the number and location of the US/NATO military bases. At least we can see that RF has been trying to avoid the hot phase of WWIII. http://russia-insider.com/sites/insider/files/NATO-vs-Russia640.jpg

annamaria , February 17, 2017 at 4:11 pm GMT \n
200 Words @Priss Factor A silver-lining to this.

If the US continues to antagonize Russia, Russia will have to grow even more independent, nationalist, and sovereign.

At any rate, this issue cannot be addressed until we face that the fact that globalism is essentially Jewish Supremacism that fears gentile nationalism as a barrier to its penetration and domination.

This is not a US vs Russia issue. The real conflict is Jewish Globalism vs Russian nationalism and American nationalism. But since Jews control the media, they've spread the impression that it's about US vs Russia.

Same thing with this crap about 'white privilege'. It is a misleading concept to fool Americans into thinking that the main conflict is between 'privileged whites' and 'people of color'. It is really to hide the fact that Jewish power and privilege really rules the US. It is a means to hoodwink people from noticing that the real divide is between Jews and Gentiles, not between 'privileged whites' and 'non-white victims'. After all, too many whites lack privilege, and too many non-whites do very well in America.

On the power and privilege that really rule the US:
"Sanctions – economic sanctions, as most of them are, can only stand and 'succeed', as long as countries, who oppose Washington's dictate remain bound into the western, dollar-based, fraudulent monetary scheme. The system is entirely privatized by a small Zionist-led elite. FED, Wall Street, Bank for International Settlement (BIS), are all private institutions, largely controlled by the Rothschild, Rockefeller, Morgan et al clans. They are also supported by the Breton Woods Organizations, IMF and World Bank, conveniently created under the Charter of the UN.
Few progressive economists understand how this debt-based pyramid scam is manipulating the entire western economic system. When in a just world, it should be just the contrary, the economy that shapes, designs and decides the functioning of the monetary system and policy.
Even Russia, with Atlantists still largely commanding the central bank and much of the financial system, isn't fully detached from the dollar dominion – yet."

http://thesaker.is/venezuela-washingtons-latest-defamation-to-bring-nato-to-south-america/

Anon , February 17, 2017 at 4:55 pm GMT \n
100 Words

"I cannot fathom why he hasn't done this (nationalize the "central bank) already".

I read about a rumor a few years ago that Putin has been warned that nationalizing the now private Russian central bank will bring absolutely dire consequences to both him and Russia. It is simply a step he cannot take.

How dire are the potential consequences? Consider that the refusal of the American government to reauthorize the private central bank in the US brought about the War of 1812. The Americans learned their lesson and quickly reauthorized the private bank after the war had ended.

Numerous attempts were made to assassinate President Andrew Jacksons specifically because of his refusal to reauthorize the private central bank.

JFK anyone?

Agent76 , February 17, 2017 at 6:07 pm GMT \n
100 Words

Here it is in audio form so you can just relax and just listen at your leisure.

*ALL WARS ARE BANKERS' WARS* By Michael Rivero https://youtu.be/WN0Y3HRiuxo

I know many people have a great deal of difficulty comprehending just how many wars are started for no other purpose than to force private central banks onto nations, so let me share a few examples, so that you understand why the US Government is mired in so many wars against so many foreign nations. There is ample precedent for this.

Priss Factor , February 17, 2017 at 7:31 pm GMT \n
1,000 Words

Here is proof that there is no real Leftist power anymore.

Voltaire once said, "To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize."

If the Left really rules America, how come it is fair game to criticize, condemn, mock, and vilify Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Bakunin, Emma Goldman & anarchists, Castro, Che(even though he is revered by many, one's career isn't damaged by attacking him), Tito, Ceucescu, Mao, Ho Chi Minh, Gramsci, Eurgene Debs, Pete Seeger, Abbie Hoffman, Bill Ayers, and etc.

You can say whatever you want about such people. Some will agree, some will disagree, but you will not be fired, blacklisted, or destroyed.

If the Left really rules, why would this be?

Now, what would happen if you name the Jewish Capitalists as the real holders of power?
What would happen if you name the Jewish oligarchic corporatists who control most of media?
What would happen if you said Jews are prominent in the vice industry of gambling?
What would happen if you named the Jewish capitalists in music industry that made so much money by spreading garbage?
What would happen if you said Jewish warhawks were largely responsible for the disasters in Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Ukraine?
And what would happen if you were question the MLK mythology and cult?
What would happen if you were to make fun of homos and trannies?
Now, keep in mind that blacks and homos are favored by Jews as their main allies.
(Some say the US is not a pro-minority nation, but it's still permissible to criticize, impugn, and vilify Chinese, Iranians, Muslims, Mexicans, Hindus, and etc. Trump was hard on China, Iran, Muslims, and Mexicans, and he got some flak over it but not enough to destroy him. Now, imagine what would have happened if he'd said such things about blacks, Africa, homos, Jews, and Israel? American politics isn't necessarily pro-minority. If it is, it should favor Palestinian-Americans just as much as Jewish-Americans. Actually, since there are fewer Palestinian-Americans than Jewish-Americans, the US, being pro-minority, should favor Palestinians over Jews in America. In reality, it is AIPAC that draws all the politicians. America is about Pro-Power, and since Jews have the Power and since Jews are a minority, it creates the false impression that the US is a minority-supremacist nation. But WHICH minority? Jews would like for us think that all minorities are represented equally in the US, but do Eskimos, Hawaiians, Guatemalans, Vietnamese, and etc. have the kind of power & protection that the Jewish minority has? Do we see politicians and powerbrokers flock to such minorities for funds and favors?)

So, what does it about the real power in America? So many 'conservatives' say the Left controls America. But in fact, an American can badmouth all true bonafide leftist leaders and thinkers(everyone from Lenin to Sartre). However, if an American were to badmouth Sheldon Adelson as a sick demented Zionist capitalist oligarch who wants to nuke Iran, he would be blacklisted by the most of the media. (If one must criticize Adelson, it has to be in generic terms of him a top donor to the likes of Romney. One mustn't discuss his zealous and maniacal views rooted in Zionist-supremacism. You can criticize his money but not the mentality that determines the use of that money.) Isn't it rather amusing how the so-called Liberals denounce the GOP for being 'extreme' but overlook the main reason for such extremism? It's because the GOP relies on Zionist lunatics like Adelson who thinks Iran should be nuked to be taught a lesson. Even Liberal Media overlook this fact. Also, it's interesting that the Liberal Media are more outraged by Trump's peace offer to Russia than Trump's hawkish rhetoric toward Iran. I thought Liberals were the Doves.

We know why politics and media work like this. It's not about 'left' vs 'right' or 'liberal' vs 'conservative'. It is really about Jewish Globalist Dominance. Jews, neocon 'right' or globo-'left', hate Russia because its brand of white gentile nationalism is an obstacle to Jewish supremacist domination. Now, Current Russia is nice to Jews, and Jews can make all the money they want. But that isn't enough for Jews. Jews want total control of media, government, narrative, everything. If Jews say Russia must have homo parades and 'gay marriage', Russia better bend over because its saying NO means that it is defiant to the Jewish supremacist agenda of using homomania as proxy to undermine and destroy all gentile nationalism rooted in identity and moral righteousness.
Russia doesn't allow that, and that is what pisses off Jews. For Jews, the New Antisemitism is defined as denying them the supremacist 'right' to control other nations. Classic antisemitism used to mean denying Jews equal rights under the law. The New Antisemitism means Jews are denied the right to gain dominance over others and dictate terms.
So, that is why Jews hate any idea of good relations with Russia. But Jews don't mind Trump's irresponsible anti-Iran rhetoric since it serves Zionist interest. So, if Trump were to say, "We shouldn't go to war with Russia; we should be friends" and "We should get ready to bomb, destroy, and even nuke Iran", the 'liberal' media would be more alarmed by the Peace-with-Russia statement. Which groups controls the media? 'Liberals', really? Do Muslim 'liberals' agree with Jewish 'liberals'?

Anyway, we need to do away with the fiction that Left rules anything. They don't. We have Jewish Supremacist rule hiding behind the label of the 'Left'. But the US is a nation where it's totally permissible to attack real leftist ideas and leaders but suicidal if anyone dares to discuss the power of super-capitalist Jewish oligarchs. Some 'leftism'!

We need to discuss the power of the Glob.

annamaria , February 17, 2017 at 9:42 pm GMT \n
300 Words @Quartermaster Trump has not been neutered. Buchanan has the right on this and Flynn's actions.

Sorry, but Crimea is Ukraine. Russia is in serious economic decline and is rapidly burning through its reserves. Putin is almost down to the welfare fund from which pensions are paid, and only about a third of pensions are being paid now.

If Sanctions are of benefit to Russia, then the sanctions against Imperial Japan were just ducky and no war was fought.

Roberts is the next best thing to insane.

This is rich from a Ukrainian nationalist ruled by Groysman/Kagans.
First, figure out who is your saint, a collaborationist Bandera (Babiy Yar and such) or a triple-sitizenship Kolomojski (auto-da-fe of civilians in Odessa). If you still want to bring Holodomor to a discussion, then you need to be reminded that 80% of Ukrainian Cheka at that time were Jewish. If you still think that Russians are the root of all evil, then try to ask the US for more money for pensions, education, and healthcare – instead of weaponry. Here are the glorious results of the US-approved governance from Kiev: http://gnnliberia.com/2017/02/17/liberia-ahead-ukraine-index-economic-freedom-2017/ "Liberia, Chad, Afghanistan, Sudan and Angola are ahead of Ukraine. All these countries are in the group of repressed economies (49.9-40 scores). Ukraine's economy has contracted deeply and remains very fragile."

Here are your relationships with your neighbors on the other side – Poland and Romania:
"The right-winged conservative orientation of Warsaw makes it remember old Polish-Ukrainian arguments and scores, and claim its rights on the historically Polish lands of Western Ukraine" http://www.veteranstoday.com/2016/01/17/poland-will-begin-dividing-ukraine/
" the "Assembly of Bukovina Romanians" has recently applied to Petro Poroshenko demanding a territorial autonomy to the Chernivtsi region densely populated by Romanians. The "Assembly" motivated its demand with the Ukrainian president's abovementioned statement urging territorial autonomy for the Crimean Tatars." https://eadaily.com/en/news/2016/06/30/what-is-behind-romanias-activity-in-ukraine
And please read some history books about Crimea. Or at least Wikipedia:
"In 1783, Crimea was annexed by the Russian Empire. In 1954, the Crimean Oblast was transferred to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic by Nikita Khrushchev (a Soviet dictator). In 2014, a 96.77 percent of Crimeans voted for integration of the region into the Russian Federation with an 83.1 percent voter turnout." You see, the Crimeans do not like Nuland-Kagan and Pravyj Sector. Do you know why?

Astuteobservor II , February 17, 2017 at 9:56 pm GMT \n
100 Words @Seamus Padraig Does PCR really think that Putin is stupid enough to fall for Kissinger's hair-brained scheme? I mean, give Putin a little bit of credit. He has so far completely outmaneuvered Washington on virtually ever subject. I'm sure he's clever enough to see through such a crude divide-and-rule strategy.

well it depends. if putin is just out for himself, I can see him getting in bed with kissinger and co. if he is about russia, he would not. that is how I see it. it isn't about if putin is smart or stupid. just a choice and where his royalty lies.

Lyttenburgh , February 17, 2017 at 9:58 pm GMT \n
100 Words @Quartermaster Trump has not been neutered. Buchanan has the right on this and Flynn's actions.

Sorry, but Crimea is Ukraine. Russia is in serious economic decline and is rapidly burning through its reserves. Putin is almost down to the welfare fund from which pensions are paid, and only about a third of pensions are being paid now.

If Sanctions are of benefit to Russia, then the sanctions against Imperial Japan were just ducky and no war was fought.

Roberts is the next best thing to insane.

Sorry, but Crimea is Ukraine.

How so? #Krymnash

Russia is in serious economic decline and is rapidly burning through its reserves.

If by "decline" you mean "expects this year a modest growth as opposed to previous years" then you might be right.

I've been reading about Russia's imminent collapse and the annihilation of the economy since forever. Some no-names like you (or some Big Names with agenda) had been predicting it every year. Still didn't happen.

Putin is almost down to the welfare fund from which pensions are paid, and only about a third of pensions are being paid now.

Can I see a source for that?

If Sanctions are of benefit to Russia, then the sanctions against Imperial Japan were just ducky and no war was fought.

False equivalence.

P.S. Hey, Quart – how is Bezviz? Also – are you not cold here? Or are you one of the most racally pure Ukrs, currently residing in Ontario province (Canada), from whence you teach your less lucky raguls in Nizalezhnaya how to be more racially pure? Well, SUGS to be you!

bluedog , February 17, 2017 at 10:03 pm GMT \n
@Quartermaster Trump has not been neutered. Buchanan has the right on this and Flynn's actions.

Sorry, but Crimea is Ukraine. Russia is in serious economic decline and is rapidly burning through its reserves. Putin is almost down to the welfare fund from which pensions are paid, and only about a third of pensions are being paid now.

If Sanctions are of benefit to Russia, then the sanctions against Imperial Japan were just ducky and no war was fought.

Roberts is the next best thing to insane.

Do you have any links to verify this that Russia is down to bedrock,from everything I read and have read Russia's do pretty damn good, or is this just some more of your endless antiRussian propaganda,,

Philip Owen , February 17, 2017 at 10:54 pm GMT \n

The US needed huge amounts of British and French capital to develop. Russia has the same requirement otherwise it will be another Argentina.

annamaria , February 17, 2017 at 11:00 pm GMT \n
500 Words

A scandal of a EU member Poland: http://thesaker.is/zmiana-piskorski-and-the-case-for-polish-liberation/
Two days after he [Piskorski] publicly warned that US-NATO troops now have a mandate to suppress Polish dissent on the grounds of combatting "Russian hybrid war," he was snatched up by armed agents of Poland's Internal Security Agency while taking his children to school on May 18th, 2016. He was promptly imprisoned in Warsaw, where he remains with no formal charges to this day."

With the Poland's entry into EU, "Poland did not "regain" sovereignty, much less justice, but forfeited such to the Atlanticist project Poland has been de-industrialized, and thus deprived of the capacity to pursue independent and effective social and economic policies Now, with the deployment of thousands of US-NATO troops, tanks, and missile systems on its soil and the Polish government's relinquishment of jurisdiction over foreign armed forces on its territory, Poland is de facto under occupation. This occupation is not a mere taxation on Poland's national budget – it is an undeniable liquidation of sovereignty and inevitably turns the country into a direct target and battlefield in the US' provocative war on Russia."

" it's not the Russians who are going to occupy us now – they left here voluntarily 24 years ago. It's not the Russians that have ravaged Polish industry since 1989. It's not the Russians that have stifled Poles with usurious debt. Finally, it's not the Russians that are responsible for the fact that we have become the easternmost aircraft carrier of the United States anchored in Europe. We ourselves, who failed by allowing such traitors into power, are to blame for this."

More from a comment section: "Donald Tusk, who is now President of the European Council, whose grandfather, Josef Tusk, served in Hitler's Wehrmacht, has consistently demanded that the Kiev regime imposed by the US and EU deal with the Donbass people brutally, "as with terrorists". While the Polish special services were training the future participants of the Maidan operations and the ethnic cleansing of the Donbass, the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs made this official statement (02-02-2014): "We support the hard line taken by the Right Sector The radical actions of the Right Sector and other militant groups of demonstrators and the use of force by protesters are justified The Right Sector has taken full responsibility for all the acts of violence during the recent protests. This is an honest position, and we respect it. The politicians have failed at their peacekeeping function. This means that the only acceptable option is the radical actions of the Right Sector. There is no other alternative".

In short, the US has been the most active enabler of the neo-Nazi movement in Europe. Mrs. Clinton seemingly did not get a memo about who is "new Hitler."

Chuck Orloski , February 17, 2017 at 11:17 pm GMT \n
100 Words

Scranton calling Mssrs. Roberts and Hudson:

Do you happen to know anything about western financial giants' influence upon Russia's "Atlanticist Integrationists"?

It's low hanging fruit for me to take a pick, but I am thinking The Goldman Sachs Group is well ensconced among Russian "Atlanticist Integrationists."

You guys are top seeded pros at uncovering Deep State-banker secrets. In contrast, I drive school bus and I struggle to even balance the family Wells Fargo debit card!

However, since our US Congress has anointed a seasoned G.S.G. veteran, Steve Mnuchin, as the administration's Treasury Secretary, he has become my favorite "Person of Interest" who I suspect spouts a Ural Mountain-level say as to how "Atlanticist Integrationists" operate.

Speaking very respectfully, I hope my question does not get "flummoxed" into resource rich Siberia.

Thank you very much!

Bobzilla , February 17, 2017 at 11:46 pm GMT \n
@WorkingClass

Berke reports that Henry Kissinger has sold President Trump on a scheme to use the removal of Russian sanctions to pry President Putin away from the Russian alliance with Iran and China.
Kissinger, like Dick Cheney or George Soros, will probably never be completely dead.

Kissinger, like Dick Cheney or George Soros, will probably never be completely dead

.

Most likely the Spirit of Anti-Christ keeping them alive to do his bidding.

Bill Jones , February 18, 2017 at 12:39 am GMT \n
@Priss Factor Here is proof that there is no real Leftist power anymore.

Voltaire once said, "To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize."

If the Left really rules America, how come it is fair game to criticize, condemn, mock, and vilify Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Bakunin, Emma Goldman & anarchists, Castro, Che(even though he is revered by many, one's career isn't damaged by attacking him), Tito, Ceucescu, Mao, Ho Chi Minh, Gramsci, Eurgene Debs, Pete Seeger, Abbie Hoffman, Bill Ayers, and etc.

You can say whatever you want about such people. Some will agree, some will disagree, but you will not be fired, blacklisted, or destroyed.

If the Left really rules, why would this be?

Now, what would happen if you name the Jewish Capitalists as the real holders of power?
What would happen if you name the Jewish oligarchic corporatists who control most of media?
What would happen if you said Jews are prominent in the vice industry of gambling?
What would happen if you named the Jewish capitalists in music industry that made so much money by spreading garbage?
What would happen if you said Jewish warhawks were largely responsible for the disasters in Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Ukraine?
And what would happen if you were question the MLK mythology and cult?
What would happen if you were to make fun of homos and trannies?
Now, keep in mind that blacks and homos are favored by Jews as their main allies.
(Some say the US is not a pro-minority nation, but it's still permissible to criticize, impugn, and vilify Chinese, Iranians, Muslims, Mexicans, Hindus, and etc. Trump was hard on China, Iran, Muslims, and Mexicans, and he got some flak over it but not enough to destroy him. Now, imagine what would have happened if he'd said such things about blacks, Africa, homos, Jews, and Israel? American politics isn't necessarily pro-minority. If it is, it should favor Palestinian-Americans just as much as Jewish-Americans. Actually, since there are fewer Palestinian-Americans than Jewish-Americans, the US, being pro-minority, should favor Palestinians over Jews in America. In reality, it is AIPAC that draws all the politicians. America is about Pro-Power, and since Jews have the Power and since Jews are a minority, it creates the false impression that the US is a minority-supremacist nation. But WHICH minority? Jews would like for us think that all minorities are represented equally in the US, but do Eskimos, Hawaiians, Guatemalans, Vietnamese, and etc. have the kind of power & protection that the Jewish minority has? Do we see politicians and powerbrokers flock to such minorities for funds and favors?)

So, what does it about the real power in America? So many 'conservatives' say the Left controls America. But in fact, an American can badmouth all true bonafide leftist leaders and thinkers(everyone from Lenin to Sartre). However, if an American were to badmouth Sheldon Adelson as a sick demented Zionist capitalist oligarch who wants to nuke Iran, he would be blacklisted by the most of the media. (If one must criticize Adelson, it has to be in generic terms of him a top donor to the likes of Romney. One mustn't discuss his zealous and maniacal views rooted in Zionist-supremacism. You can criticize his money but not the mentality that determines the use of that money.) Isn't it rather amusing how the so-called Liberals denounce the GOP for being 'extreme' but overlook the main reason for such extremism? It's because the GOP relies on Zionist lunatics like Adelson who thinks Iran should be nuked to be taught a lesson. Even Liberal Media overlook this fact. Also, it's interesting that the Liberal Media are more outraged by Trump's peace offer to Russia than Trump's hawkish rhetoric toward Iran. I thought Liberals were the Doves.

We know why politics and media work like this. It's not about 'left' vs 'right' or 'liberal' vs 'conservative'. It is really about Jewish Globalist Dominance. Jews, neocon 'right' or globo-'left', hate Russia because its brand of white gentile nationalism is an obstacle to Jewish supremacist domination. Now, Current Russia is nice to Jews, and Jews can make all the money they want. But that isn't enough for Jews. Jews want total control of media, government, narrative, everything. If Jews say Russia must have homo parades and 'gay marriage', Russia better bend over because its saying NO means that it is defiant to the Jewish supremacist agenda of using homomania as proxy to undermine and destroy all gentile nationalism rooted in identity and moral righteousness.
Russia doesn't allow that, and that is what pisses off Jews. For Jews, the New Antisemitism is defined as denying them the supremacist 'right' to control other nations. Classic antisemitism used to mean denying Jews equal rights under the law. The New Antisemitism means Jews are denied the right to gain dominance over others and dictate terms.
So, that is why Jews hate any idea of good relations with Russia. But Jews don't mind Trump's irresponsible anti-Iran rhetoric since it serves Zionist interest. So, if Trump were to say, "We shouldn't go to war with Russia; we should be friends" and "We should get ready to bomb, destroy, and even nuke Iran", the 'liberal' media would be more alarmed by the Peace-with-Russia statement. Which groups controls the media? 'Liberals', really? Do Muslim 'liberals' agree with Jewish 'liberals'?

Anyway, we need to do away with the fiction that Left rules anything. They don't. We have Jewish Supremacist rule hiding behind the label of the 'Left'. But the US is a nation where it's totally permissible to attack real leftist ideas and leaders but suicidal if anyone dares to discuss the power of super-capitalist Jewish oligarchs. Some 'leftism'!

We need to discuss the power of the Glob.

Thanks for the digest of hasbarist crap.

Useful to have it all in one place..

annamaria , February 18, 2017 at 1:03 am GMT \n
100 Words

War profiteers (both of a dishonest character) have found each other: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-17/mccain-tells-europe-trump-administration-disarray http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-17/germany-issues-stark-warning-trump-stop-threatening-eu-favoring-russia
" Trump's administration was in "disarray," McCain told the Munich Security Conference, where earlier in the day Germany defense minister Ursula von der Leyen warned Trump to stop threatening the EU, abandoning Western values and seeking close ties with Russia, that the resignation of the new president's security adviser Michael Flynn over his contacts with Russia reflected deep problems in Washington."

What an amazing whoring performance for the war-manufacturers! And here is an interesting morsel of information about the belligerent Frau der Leyen: http://www.dw.com/en/stanford-accuses-von-der-leyen-of-misrepresentation/a-18775432
"Stanford university has said Ursula von der Leyen is misrepresenting her affiliation with the school. The German defense minister's academic career is already under scrutiny after accusations of plagiarism." No kidding. Some "Ursula von der Leyen' values" indeed.

Anonymous IX , February 18, 2017 at 2:42 am GMT \n
200 Words

I doubt we'll see little change from the Trump administration toward Russia.

From SOTT:

Predictable news coming out of Yemen: Saudi-backed "Southern Resistance" forces and Hadi loyalists, alongside al-Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), launched a new offensive against the Houthis in western Yemen on Wednesday.

This is not the first time Saudi-backed (and by extension, Washington-backed) forces have teamed up with al-Qaeda in Yemen .

Yemen is quickly becoming the "spark that lights the powder keg". The conflict has already killed, maimed and displaced countless thousands (thanks to the stellar lack of reporting from trustworthy western news sources, we can only estimate the scale of Saudi/U.S. crimes in Yemen), but now it seems that elements of the Trump administration are keen on escalation, likely in hopes of giving Washington an excuse to carpet bomb Tehran.

Apparently, we feel satisfied fighting with our old allies, al-Qaeda and Saudis.

I had hoped for much better from Trump.

Kiza , February 18, 2017 at 4:23 am GMT \n
200 Words

I think that the authors may be underestimating Putin in his determination to keep Russia and the Russian economy independent. For example, I find this rumoured offer of "increased access to the huge European energy market" very funny, for at least two reasons:
1) US wants to sell hydrocarbons (LPG) to the European market at significantly higher prices than the Russian prices, and
2) the current dependence of EU countries on the Russian energy would have never happened if there were better alternatives.

In other words, any detente offer that the West would make to Russia would last, as usual, not even until the signature ink dries on the new cooperation agreements. Putin does not look to me like someone who suffers much from wishful thinking.

The Russian relationship with China is not a bed of roses, but it is not China which is increasing military activity all around Russia, it is the West. Also, so far China has shown no interest in regime-changing Russia and dividing it into pieces. Would you rather believe in the reform capability of an addict in violence or someone who does not need to reform? Would the West self-reform and sincerely renounce violence just by signing a new agreement with Russia?

The new faux detente will never happen, as long as Putin is alive.

Max Havelaar , February 18, 2017 at 8:22 pm GMT \n
200 Words

Trump is an ultra-zionist for Sheldon Adelson and prolongs & creates wars for the Goldman banking crimesyndicat.

The only one stopping Trump is Putin or Russia's missile defenses.

Indeed, Putin's main inside enemy is Russia's central bank, or the Jewish oligarchs in Russia (Atlanticists). Also Russia needs to foster and encourage small&medium enterprises, that need cheap credit, to create competitive markets, where no prices are fixed and market shares change. These are most efficient resource users.

In the US, Wallstreet controls government = fascism = the IG Farben- Auschwitz concentration camps to maximize profits. This is the direction for the US economy.

Meanwhile in the EU, the former Auschwitz owners IG Farben (Bayer(Monsanto), Hoechst, BASF) the EU chemical giants, who have patented all natures molecules, are in controll again over EU. Deutsche bank et allies is eating Greece, Italy, Spain's working classes, using AUSTERITY as their creed.

So what is new? Nothing, the supercorporate-fascist elites are the same families, who 's morality is unchanged in a 100 years.

Anon , February 20, 2017 at 4:28 am GMT \n
@Priss Factor

Here is proof that there is no real Leftist power anymore.

Voltaire once said, "To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize."

... ... ...

Sergey Krieger , February 20, 2017 at 12:20 pm GMT \n
@Seamus Padraig

I'm generally a big fan and admirer of Putin, but this is definitely one criticism of him that I have a lot of sympathy for. It is long past time for Putin to purge the neoliberals from the Kremlin and nationalize the Russian Central Bank. I cannot fathom why he hasn't done this already.

I would really love to like Putin and I am trying but him protecting all those criminals and not reversing the history greatest heist of 90′s makes it impossible. While I am behind all his moves to restore Russian military and foreign policy, I am still waiting for more on home front. Note, not only the Bank must be nationalized. Everything, all industries, factories and other assets privatized by now must be returned to rightful owner. Public which over 70 years through great sacrifice built all of it.

Sergey Krieger , February 20, 2017 at 12:31 pm GMT \n
300 Words @SmoothieX12
I cannot fathom why he hasn't done this already.
Partially, because Putin himself is an economic liberal and, to a degree, monetarist, albeit less rigid than his economic block. The good choices he made often were opposite to his views. As he himself admitted that Russia's geopolitical vector changed with NATO's aggression against Yugoslavia--a strengthening of Russia has become an imperative. This comeback was impossible within the largely "Western" monetarist economic model. Russia's comeback happened not thanks but despite Putin's economic views, Putin adjusted his views in the process, his economic block didn't. But many of them still remain his friends, despite the fact that many of them are de facto fifth column and work against Russia, intentionally and other wise. Eventually Putin will be forced to get down from his fence and take the position of industrialists and siloviki. Putin's present for Medvedev's birthday was a good hint on where he is standing economically today and I am beginning to like that but still--I personally am not convinced yet. We'll see. In many respects Putin was lucky and specifically because of the namely Soviet military and industry captains still being around--people who, unlike Putin, knew exactly what constituted Russia's strength. Enough to mention late Evgeny Primakov. Let's not forget that despite Putin's meteoric rise through the top levels of Russia's state bureaucracy, including his tenure as a Director of FSB, Putin's background is not really military-industrial. He is a lawyer, even if uniformed (KGB) part of his career. I know for a fact that initially (early 2000s) he was overwhelmed with the complexity of Russia's military and industry. Enough to mention his creature Serdyukov who almost destroyed Command and Control structure of Russia's Armed Forces and main ideologue behind Russia's military "reform", late Vitaly Shlykov who might have been a great GRU spy (and economist by trade) but who never served a day in combat units. Thankfully, the "reforms" have been stopped and Russian Armed Forces are still dealing with the consequences. This whole clusterfvck was of Putin's own creation--hardly a good record on his resume. Hopefully, he learned.

Smoothie, you seem to have natural aversion towards lawyers
Albeit, the first Vladimir, I mean Lenin also was a lawyers by education still he was a rather quick study. Remember that military communism and Lenin after one year after Bolsheviks took power telling that state capitalism would be great step forward for Russia whcih obviously was backward and ruined by wars at the time and he proceeded with New Economic Policy and Lenin despite not being industry captain realized pretty well what constituted state power hence GOELRO plans and electrification of all Russia plans and so forth which was later turned by Stalin and his team into reality.

Now, Lenin was ideologically motivated and so is Putin. But he clearly has been trying to achieve different results by keeping same people around him and doing same things. Hopefully it is changing now, but it is so much wasted time when old Vladimir was always repeating that time is of essence and delay is like death knell. Putin imho is away too relax and even vain in some way, hence those shirtless pictures and those on the bike. And the way he walks a la "Я Московский озорной гуляка". As you said it looks like he is protecting those criminals who must be prosecuted and yes, many executed for what they caused.

I suspect in cases when it comes to economical development he is not picking right people for those jobs and it is his major responsibility to assign right people and delegate power properly, not to be forgotten to reverse what constitutes the history greatest heist and crime so called "privatization". Basically returning to more communal society minus Politburo.

There is a huge elephant in the room too. Russia demographic situation which I doubt can be addressed under current liberal order. all states which are in liberal state of affairs fail to basically procreate hence these waves of immigrants brought into all Western Nations. Russia cannot do it. It would be suicide which is what all Western countries are doing right now.

Boris N , February 20, 2017 at 8:58 pm GMT \n

Russia does not need Western technology. Indeed, its military technology is superior to that in the West.

You write about Russia but have not done your homework. Russia is very dependent on Western technology and its entire high-tech industry depends on the import of Western machinery. Without such machinery many Russian factories, including military ones, would stall. Very important oil industry is particularly vulnerable.

Some home reading (sorry, they are in Russian, but one ought to know the language if one writes about the country).

http://www.fa.ru/fil/orel/science/Documents/ISA%2014644146.pdf

http://rusrand.ru/analytics/stanki-stanki-stanki

[Jun 12, 2019] Trump Threatens Merkel With Pipeline Sanctions, US Troop Cut by Josh Wingrove

This is a typical Trump. He understands that "protection of Germany" is a profitable "protection racket" for the USA, but still lies.
Notable quotes:
"... U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry said during a visit to Ukraine in May that he expected Congress to prepare legislation to sanction companies involved in the pipeline's construction. ..."
Jun 12, 2019 | www.bloomberg.com

Trump Threatens Merkel With Pipeline Sanctions, U.S. Troop Cut - Bloomberg ‎June‎ ‎12‎, ‎2019‎ ‎12‎:‎34‎ ‎PM

'Germany Is Making a Tremendous Mistake by Relying on Pipeline,' says Trump 'Germany Is Making a Tremendous Mistake by Relying on Pipeline,' says Trump Close Share

Donald Trump upped his criticism of Germany on Wednesday as he threatened sanctions over Angela Merkel's continued support for a gas pipeline from Russia and warned that he could shift troops away from the NATO ally over its defense spending.

Echoing previous threats about German support for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, Trump said he's looking at sanctions to block the project he's warned would leave Berlin "captive" to Moscow. The U.S. also hopes to export its own liquefied natural gas to Germany.

"We're protecting Germany from Russia, and Russia is getting billions and billions of dollars in money from Germany" for its gas, Trump told reporters at the White House during a meeting with Polish President Andrzej Duda.

The comments were the latest sign of how U.S.-German ties have eroded in recent years. The U.S. president has repeatedly rebuked Merkel's government over the pipeline project, trade policies and defense spending. Germany, in turn, has criticized Trump's moves to abandon international agreements, including on climate change and Iran.

Though he didn't say which companies or governments could potentially face sanctions, Trump's comments about the pipeline generated a swift response from Moscow, which said the American president was engaging in "nothing other than blackmail and a form of unfair competition," according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

Merkel and Trump met most recently last week during anniversary celebrations of the 1944 D-Day invasion. That gathering came days after the EU's longest-serving leader took Trump to task at a commencement address at Harvard University, urging students to "tear down walls" and not to treat "lies as truth." Without naming the U.S. leader, Merkel left little doubt as to whom she might mean to a crowd who cheered her on.

QuickTake: Why World Worries About Russia's Natural Gas Pipeline

U.S. opposition to the gas pipeline is bipartisan, out of concern that Russia could use its supplies of natural gas to exert pressure on Western European nations dependent on the fuel. U.S. lawmakers also fear that with an added northern pipeline for its gas, Russia could more easily cut off fuel to Ukraine, which is now a key transit country to Europe.

"Germany is making a tremendous mistake" by relying on the pipeline from Russia, Trump said during a joint news conference with Duda.

Regardless of the political controversy, the Nord Stream 2 project has faced delays and may not be ready to transport gas until the second half of 2020, according to a report made public by Denmark's Energy Agency.

Nord Stream 2 organizers argue a new pipeline is needed to guarantee supplies will continue to flow in the coming decades as EU domestic reserves shrink and import needs rise. Opponents of the project say it hurts the bloc's cohesion and weakens its Energy Union strategy aimed at integrating the region's gas and power markets, diversifying energy supplies and improving security.

Uniper SE, Engie SA, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, OMV AG and BASF SE's Wintershall are European partners of Russia's Gazprom PJSC in financing the project to expand Nord Stream by 55 billion cubic meters a year. Russia supplies a third of Europe's gas and has no plans to give up its share to the expanding list of competitors from Norway to the U.S.

Trump, speaking during the news conference Wednesday, said that Poland signed a contract to purchase an additional $8 billion of liquefied natural gas from U.S. companies, on top of $25 billion already under contract.

Trump said he'll meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Group of 20 summit in Japan at the end of the month, though its not clear the pipeline project will be on their agenda.

Who's Dependent on Russian Gas?

About a third of Europe's gas comes from Russia

https://www.bloomberg.com/toaster/v2/charts/17e9f70fa0444d53a0445e199c57eb22.html?brand=politics&webTheme=politics&web=true&hideTitles=true

2016 data. Source: Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators

U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry said during a visit to Ukraine in May that he expected Congress to prepare legislation to sanction companies involved in the pipeline's construction.

Senators Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican, and Jeanne Shaheen, a New Hampshire Democrat, have drafted a bill that would target U.S. sanctions at vessels laying the pipeline and deny U.S. visas to executives from companies linked to the ships. The legislation would also block transactions in U.S.-based property or interests belonging to those individuals and would penalize entities that provide insurance to the project.

In the latest sign of Trump's frustration over German defense spending, the president said he's discussed sending as many as 2,000 more U.S. troops to Poland -- and might take them from Germany since he believes Berlin isn't spending enough on defense as a partner in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. There are more than 30,000 U.S. troops in Germany.

Under an agreement reached during the Obama administration, NATO members committed to spending 2% of GDP on defense by the mid-2020s, a level only seven nations were estimated to have reached in 2018.

"Germany's at 1%, they should be at 2%," Trump said. According to NATO documents, spent about 1.2 percent of GDP on defense in 2018.

The U.S. already has a few thousand troops in Poland as part of its role in NATO. Trump's move, if carried out, would add to that, but it wasn't clear if the forces would be permanently based there or just rotated through.

-- With assistance by Daryna Krasnolutska, Nick Wadhams, Daniel Flatley, Stepan Kravchenko, Ewa Krukowska, and Vanessa Dezem

[Apr 04, 2019] As Merkel is the USA stooge, and Germany needs to be freed from the USA vassalitete, and re-installed as an independent country; Putin should do is set up a "Free" German government in K nigsburg just like the US is doing with Gaido in Venezuela.

Apr 04, 2019 | www.unz.com

Cowboy , says: April 4, 2019 at 3:35 pm GMT

@Rurik Upon consideration, what Putin should do is set up a "Free" German government in Königsburg just like the US is doing with Gaido in Venezuela. Get China to recognize it. Then they should start negotiating lucrative contracts, treaties and alliances between the Free Germans and the rest of OBOR. It would be fascinating to see how ZOG reacted.

Oh, and most important of all, declare a new debt free currency, perhaps gold backed. I could live with the Reichsmark.

[Mar 20, 2019] Merkel is the most servile lackey that the US could wish for

Mar 20, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Cemi , Mar 20, 2019 8:50:23 AM | link

@17 Guy Thornton wrote:
Merkel might say: "There is definitely a place for Brazil in NATO. They can have ours."
Forget it! Merkel is the most servile lackey that the US could wish for. She is doing everything her masters in Washington ask her to do. For example the German public is awaiting a mildly entertaining show of their government on how to work around yesterdays court decision:
International law is the yardstick for international politics. This has been clarified by the Higher Administrative Court in Münster in a spectacular ruling on lethal US drone missions in Yemen. Several relatives of victims who were killed in such attacks had sued. They hold the Federal Republic of Germany jointly responsible for this because the United States allegedly also uses the US airbase in Ramstein in Rhineland-Palatinate for these fatal attacks.

There are important indications that the drone attacks in question violate international law and the fundamental right to life. The Federal Republic of Germany must protect these rights and stand up for them. Therefore the Federal Republic must clarify now in a first step whether the attacks offend against international right.

(Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator from Urteil über US-Airbase in Ramstein: Deutsche Richter fordern Überprüfung tödlicher US-Drohneneinsätze )

NOT! Aside from the fact, that the public press largely ignores this decision, our governments have a long record of doing actually nothing when formally independent judges even from the highest courts ask them to adhere to the law.
Speaking of embarrassing lackeys, when the empire was seeking a new nodal point to more efficiently drone bomb Northern Africa the most obvious/nearby European locations like Italy, France or Greece all said "Nah, better not". But, don't you worry, Missus Merkel was of course happy to offer Stuttgard in Southern Germany as base for AFRICOM!

Always at your service!

[Mar 20, 2019] The US wants Brazil to join NATO

Mar 20, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Guy Thornton , Mar 19, 2019 4:22:12 PM | link

Merkel might say:

"There is definitely a place for Brazil in NATO. They can have ours."

[Mar 15, 2019] If Germany tries to close NATO conmmand center very likely, a color revolution will break out in Germany

Mar 15, 2019 | nationalinterest.org

Allalin 2 days ago ,

Can anyone confirm what will happen when Germany will shut down those US Command Center (NATO) because Germany is able to finance their own. (US Personal has to go) Nato support Act is an US Law and not an authorized NATO Law

Nick Klaus Allalin 2 days ago ,

Very likely, a color revolution will break out in Germany

[Mar 09, 2019] Another crazy demand: Trump Asks Germany, Japan To Pay For Being Occupied

Notable quotes:
"... The multi-polar world is quickly becoming a reality and the US empire is in decline. Doubtful this brouhaha about 'protection money' will change that trend in any meaningful way. ..."
Mar 09, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Rollings | Mar 8, 2019 12:35:35 PM | link

The simplistic explanation is tempting:

The multi-polar world is quickly becoming a reality and the US empire is in decline. Doubtful this brouhaha about 'protection money' will change that trend in any meaningful way.

The only other explanation is this really is 4D chess on Trump's part where he sees these silly shakedown attempts as the most efficient way of getting the US out of NATO.

[Mar 09, 2019] Germany served its sentence; now the US troops should simply leave the country

Mar 09, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

m , Mar 8, 2019 11:38:31 AM | link

Thanks B. This is how empires end, or at least one way. Hubris gets them every time. I for one will be glad to see US troops at the very least reduced in Italy, and for all of Europe for that matter.

Especially now that the INF is dead. And I hear that Italy is now looking at embracing China's B&R Initiative. I say have at it! There's the shiver waiting to run up Washington's spine. You might find this amusing, too: > https://thesaker.is/us-treats-luxembourg-like-a-vassal-state-or-us-imperial-hubris-gone-bonkers/ Little Luxembourg. It does bring a big smile. Keep going, Trump. You're on the right track. More Art of the Deal, anyone?

BM , Mar 8, 2019 11:38:41 AM | link

Oh, what a perfect graphic depiction! Spot on!
james , Mar 8, 2019 11:40:05 AM | link
thanks b... descriptive pic!!! why are american bases all over the planet anyway?
ab initio , Mar 8, 2019 11:42:03 AM | link
This will be good for every one. Trump demands the Germans and Japanese pay for US protection, which they reject and the US military goes home. Isn't that an excellent outcome for all parties?
Elliott A , Mar 8, 2019 11:42:10 AM | link
Thank you for yet another good and humorous post.

The only section that is slightly unclear is, "The only sound reason to keep the 30,000 U.S. troops in Germany is to prevent them from moving to Poland from where they could threaten the country."

Surely the US occupation of Germany has been tacitly or latently threatening and controlling and dominating and bullying and extorting Germany for around 74 years?

So what major difference would it make if they were moved a few hundred kilometers away?

Kick 'em out! Germany has more than served her sentence!

A clarification would be much appreciated.

ab initio , Mar 8, 2019 11:49:49 AM | link
The European people should support Trump in his desire to eliminate NATO. Of course the Deep State in both Europe and the US will fight it tooth and nail. Maybe the #GiletsJaunes who have been erased from western media will finally topple the Party of Davos candidate Macron. And similar populist movements in other European countries can topple other Deep State stooges from western Europe. Merkel is already on her way out as the CDU/CSU combine and the Social Democrats implode in Germany.
Jose Garcia , Mar 8, 2019 11:52:33 AM | link
Extortion because you're broke. We don't have the money to pay for it, so this administration resorts to mob tactics to keep the scam going. "The government and us are cut from the same cloth." Sam Giancana, former Chicago mob boss.
Zachary Smith , Mar 8, 2019 11:54:49 AM | link
If that graphic is any indication of public opinion in Germany, things are even worse than I'd heard.

There has been a small series of events where the German Government gave the US meddlers a shove-off. First was the new gas pipeline Nord 2 - they refused to fold for perfectly good economic reasons. Next was the German rejection of the horrible F-35. Recently I'm seeing headlines about Germany and the Chinese 5G company.

Germany won't ban Huawei from 5G auction

Given all of this, I'm beginning to doubt if the Germans will allow the US to plant new short-range nuclear missiles on their soil. Becoming a WW3 target for no good reason except to please the US of A Imperia wouldn't seem to be a very clever move on their part.

BM , Mar 8, 2019 11:55:54 AM | link
I agree with Elliott A that it is better to have the US troops in Poland than in Germany - and better that the inviters of the US troops then become the target for the defensive nuclear missiles they force Russia to deploy rather than Germany.

Furthermore, if Poland is forced to pay the full cost of their invited US guests, maybe their voters will eventually come to their senses and vote in more rational Polish politicians.

Spectacular own goal, Trump!

dh , Mar 8, 2019 12:00:27 PM | link
The Poles may want them but they won't be paying for it. Nice of Donald to ask though rather than tell .... has he been talking diplomacy classes?
Elliott A , Mar 8, 2019 12:06:26 PM | link
Thank you, BM.

The Poles are generally pseudo-Catholic and mercenary, pro-American in-name-only; as soon as it could hit them in the pocket, they will pipe down very quickly and balk/bridle.

Hence Poland is a worthy (temporary) stopover for the US (including the NSA) when evicted from Germany. The fact that Merkel is out soon is dangerous because she doesn't really G/A/F, and will defer the decision to the next poor blighter.

There could be a treaty in place that says American troops can remain in Germany until the year 2500 but Trump's just shot himself in the foot again by giving Germany a get-out clause.

Kadath , Mar 8, 2019 12:07:23 PM | link
Zero hedge is reporting that Pence went a bit further than that and urged Germany To provoke Russian Navy in the Kerch Strait by sending ships there in a freedom of navigation exercise. Strangely enough Merkel said she was willing to provoke Russia, but thought doing it wouldn't accomplish anything so she didn't want to provoke Russia for no reason. God, how insane are these idiots. And now it looks like in response Pence/Trump will extort Germany for not being mindlessly obedient enough.
BM , Mar 8, 2019 12:07:51 PM | link
Merkel is already on her way out as the CDU/CSU combine and the Social Democrats implode in Germany.
Posted by: ab initio | Mar 8, 2019 11:49:49 AM | 6

The problem is though, that the Deep State have already reserved their places in Merkel's successors, the AfD. All of these right-wing "populist" parties acros Europe seem to be no more than a cynical vehicle for the Deep State to hijack popular discontent and channel it into a new form of slavery to replace the old. Hence Steve Banner's dubious and highly dangerous politicking for the so-called populist movement in Europe.

A real future lies in Jeremy Corbyn and maybe also a few other left-wing parties in Europe (as long as they don't become compradors like Syriza) - but the Deep State is fighting Corbyn tooth and nail. In Germany there is Die Linke who have some good people and some good policies (from my limited knowledge!) - but their popularity is still in the doldrums, unfortunately.

JohninMK , Mar 8, 2019 12:08:50 PM | link
Wow, if he is asking us to pay for the US occupation does that mean that if we say no that he will take them home? Or is it an empty threat?

A very dangerous question to even think about asking let alone encourage it.

karlof1 , Mar 8, 2019 12:14:11 PM | link
And of course, the extortion must be paid in US Dollars. Clearly, the threat is all about keeping Dollar Hegemony alive by reducing the massive trade deficit. I see AfD making capital thanks to this. As for Japan, Russia will not sign a Peace Treaty with it until all foreign military forces are removed--a condition that's been reiterated several times over the last few months to which I've linked. Okinawans are furious at being twice colonized and are at the end of their rope. So far they've been peaceful, but I think it's clear to them by now that the only way to remove the foreign vermin is to literally push them into the sea. Korea's situation's been discussed on that thread.

For the domestic Outlaw US Empire, shutting down the Overseas Empire of Bases and the related destabilization projects globally would save @ $1 Trillion/year--an utter wastage of monies for projects that are decidedly NOT in the National Interest. And as most here understand, the world would be more peaceful if the Outlaw US Empire would cease being an Outlaw and an Empire. And it would become cleaner too as the US Military is the most polluting entity on the planet.

Ghost Ship , Mar 8, 2019 12:17:52 PM | link
>>>> dh | Mar 8, 2019 12:00:27 PM | 10

Isn't Poland offering to pay the United States $2 billion to establish a base called Fort Trump?

BTW, perhaps this is a ruse to remove all U.S. troops from Syria. I'd love to be there when Elliott "debt collector" Abrams turns up demanding the money from Assad. There is an opportunity for one of the greatest reality TV programs ever (I'm a neo-con, get me out of here) which makes me wonder if that's Trump's reason for this scheme.

stevelaudig , Mar 8, 2019 12:19:30 PM | link
All Americans needs to protect Americans in the US is a coast guard and a border patrol. Everything else is either protection for corporations doing business [which should be added to the price of their products/services to reflect true costs] or empire.
Elliott A , Mar 8, 2019 12:19:55 PM | link
Yes, it's another damp squib, another no-win, another over-promise, another posture, like all the others.

This is all Trump knows and integrity never enters the equation.

Any sign of that border wall, that the Mexican government was going to pay for?

Not exactly "The Art of The Deal". more like one long and embarrassing suicide note.

I don't exactly dislike Trump particularly as he has "Mullered" a number of cretinous insiders whom required a reality check but he is hindbound by his capinet; none of his plans went through and he is in it well over his depth particularly since he appears to be suffering from ADHD, dementia and schizophrenia - just what you need in the Commander-in-Chief?

Ger , Mar 8, 2019 12:20:34 PM | link
On the bright side, you can get a bigly discount for being a faithful toady and swearing allegiance to the US of A. Wonder where the US 'leaders' got the idea of swearing allegiance to a foreign power?
Lavrenty , Mar 8, 2019 12:21:04 PM | link
A Fort Trump in Poland? Maybe...

https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/10/08/fort-trump-is-a-farce-poland/

Ghost Ship , Mar 8, 2019 12:24:34 PM | link
>>>> karlof1 | Mar 8, 2019 12:14:11 PM | 15
....the world would be more peaceful if the Outlaw US Empire would cease being an Outlaw and an Empire....

Trump's just demonstrated that by staying out of the very recent Indo-Pakistan incident. Maybe he didn't want Americans dying in the shithole that is the sub-continent. Maybe he didn't see any opportunity to line his own pocket. Whatever his reason, he did the right thing. Would Hillary have done the same? I don't know.....

psychohistorian , Mar 8, 2019 12:25:28 PM | link
Thanks for the posting b LOL!!!!

Empire is getting the rest of its plates spinning so that must mean that the end is getting closer. I don't think that the Philippine's plate is spinning fast enough so Trump needs to give it some special love.

Pretty soon we will need a plate spinning scorecard just to keep track of all the action.

Syria
Iran
Ukraine
Venezuela
Russia
China
Korea
EU w/ NATO
and now Germany and Japan

What plates am I missing?

Think about how much of the peoples resources are going to keeping these plates spinning.

Who are going to come to the table with what arguments when the debt music stops?

Zanon , Mar 8, 2019 12:31:41 PM | link
For Germans here,
Is there any party in Germany being against US forces in Germany? Or if not being against, atleast questioning this issue?
Rollings , Mar 8, 2019 12:35:35 PM | link
The simplistic explanation is tempting:

* Trump has driving desire to be seen as the first businessman president.
* The appeal of Trump making 'allies pay their fair share' any reality check on how counterproductive the effort is to the waning US empire
* Trump's unique candidacy put him in the White House without any real foreign policy staff who would have long ago gotten Trump to abandon the silly idea - at least after he was elected.

The multi-polar world is quickly becoming a reality and the US empire is in decline. Doubtful this brouhaha about 'protection money' will change that trend in any meaningful way.

The only other explanation is this really is 4D chess on Trump's part where he sees these silly shakedown attempts as the most efficient way of getting the US out of NATO.

mk , Mar 8, 2019 12:42:27 PM | link

btw - The picture is probably from the Duesseldorf Carnival.
GM , Mar 8, 2019 12:51:49 PM | link
American troops pack up your shit and get the f*ck out, oh and here's an invoice for $100 billion to cover the cost of cleaning up your toxic waste.
Thanks for your business.
David Wooten , Mar 8, 2019 12:52:15 PM | link
"They are neither needed nor wanted."

The only Germans that want them are restaurants and shops located near the bases and other businesses that cater to them.

Yes, Trump's new policy is very welcome if it gets Germany to kick them out or, better yet, get out of NATO. I wonder if Trump intends it - or is he just plain stupid?

hopehely , Mar 8, 2019 12:52:16 PM | link
From the article:
Victor Cha, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said the administration was sending a deliberate message by demanding "Cost Plus 50" from South Korea first , even though that effort fell short.

Ouch, poor SK. What a timing, straight after 'successful' NK talks.
With allies like that, who needs enemies?
dh , Mar 8, 2019 12:53:42 PM | link
@16 Only $2 billion? Would that be a lump sum up front or payable in installments? Can't see Donald falling for it.
KD , Mar 8, 2019 12:57:36 PM | link
Ghost Ship @ 21
In that incident an aged MIG21 from India downed a F16 from Pakistan.
Also there is a $20bil project going on in India to make F16 locally.
https://in.reuters.com/article/lockheed-india/lockheed-sees-potential-exports-of-200-f-16-jets-from-proposed-indian-plant-idINKCN1PF1CG?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=Social

I guess the atmosphere was just not right to poke the nose in else it would have been ideal scenario.

AriusArmenian , Mar 8, 2019 1:08:21 PM | link
Perhaps this will finally get the EU to kick the US and its NATO out.

But I don't underestimate the ability of EU elites to crawl to the US. It's like second nature. And they get their pockets stuffed full of dollars to be kept in line.

BraveNewWorld , Mar 8, 2019 1:22:44 PM | link
Let me guess the free loading douche bag country that gets the most support from the US will magically be excluded from these demands yet again.

I sure hope they try this protection racquet in Iraq. The government is already under huge pressure to kick the Americans out after Trumps visit there last month.

Lysander , Mar 8, 2019 1:38:09 PM | link
What's America's plan to maintain economic wealth at the end of the debt spiral and dollar collapse????

I have an idea!! Tribute! Hey, it worked for the Aztecs. Soon many countries will see it as a small price to pay to avoid having democracy brought to their countries. Previous versions of this scheme, such as buying US treasury debt knowing full well it will never be repaid wont cut it anymore. So we are moving towards the real thing.

Vato , Mar 8, 2019 1:56:22 PM | link
When I used to play football in my young days (i.e. soccer for the american lads here), I had to pass by a huge US military base in the south of Germany each time in order to reach the training ground. But strangely, I never challenged the necessity of that base in the first place - probably due to my lack of geopolitical, historical consciousness. Only after they build a second, even bigger base directly on the opposite side of the road and after two combat helicopters - for the first time - flew directly above my head, I finally became aware and started to question things. I wonder how many people that drive the same road each day actually do feel the same...
Anyway, thank you b and thanks to all the well-experienced forumites for providing the vital informations and inputs that helped me to better understand what is going on after all.
Alaric , Mar 8, 2019 2:04:56 PM | link
Is trump trying to get the US booted from Europe?

This is quite a slap in the face as the US has been raising tensions with Russia and any conflict with Russia would likely cause the destruction of Europe.

jv , Mar 8, 2019 2:07:06 PM | link
Wondering how this will play out in places such as the Persian Gulf state of Bahrain where the U.S. actually pays the dictator to lease the Navy and Air Force bases? Where the U.K. pays the dictator for a British naval facility, too, which is shared?

Remember when Bahrain and other Arab countries in the Persian Gulf didn't want bases to be called bases? Instead they were each a Regional Operations Support Establishment, aka ROSE. Surely there's a different term now, but we still pay to lease bases.

Nemesiscalling , Mar 8, 2019 2:10:58 PM | link
Give trump credit: he raises the issue. And by doing so he gives people the opportunity to be thrust into the act of questioning.

I continue to believe that this is really the overriding attribute of his presidency. What people like the Germans do with this opportunity is entirely incumbent on them. But it is an opportunity nonetheless, and as b correctly asserts, this is a welcomed change from the political grab ass of the preceding administrations.

Jen , Mar 8, 2019 2:23:58 PM | link
We should wish good luck to the Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania) in hosting US bases: not only will they have to foot the cost of hosting US forces but their entire economies by now must be revolving around being open-air military barracks. All while their own citizens are voting with their feet.
Jen , Mar 8, 2019 2:30:14 PM | link
Psychohistorian @ 22: You're missing large parts of Africa (possibly Djibouti where there's a US base; Rwanda which is a US satrapy under President Paul Kagame; western Africa where there are offshore oil and gas deposits) and Georgia where the US operates a bioweapons laboratory.
Drew , Mar 8, 2019 2:38:57 PM | link
Once again, on the surface this is obvious extortion. But I can't help but think this is really a purposeful 'own goal.' I know this is likely giving Trump too much credit, but in a parallel universe this is exactly what you would do if you had a hidden agenda to enfeeble the US to cause our eventual pull back. There's no political way to slowly scale back our involvement, but there is a way to overreach under everyone's noses and get the same end result. Is this a 666d chess move or just what happens as empire descends into chaos, grasping at straws? Either way I'm fine with the obvious result!
Likklemore , Mar 8, 2019 2:49:53 PM | link
We are seeing the true colors. What we now have are Co-Presidents: Bolton, Trump; and Co-Vice Presidents Pompous and Pence. The 4 morons do not realize they are isolating the U.S.A. and hastening rejection of the USD.
Adhere my diktat and keep purchasing our T-bills.

RT cites Bloomberg Merkel refuses to send Navy ships to Russia's shores, rebuffs US pressure

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has allegedly stood up to pressure from Washington as she declined a proposal by Vice President Mike Pence to send German Navy ships towards Russia's Crimea, Bloomberg reports, citing anonymous sources familiar with the matter. Pence allegedly wanted German ships to sail through the Kerch Strait separating Crimea from mainland Russia. France, [.]
pretzelattack , Mar 8, 2019 3:13:14 PM | link
next, trump asks venezuela to pay in advance for the invasion. in usd.
Emmanuel Goldstein , Mar 8, 2019 3:59:51 PM | link
This is an utterly brilliant Empire-killing move by Trump. Speaking of the UK I wonder how much we will be asked to pony up for the US air bases and troops still in the UK 75 years after D-day. This should hit just after Brexit and we may have a different government in the chair......
chuck newsum , Mar 8, 2019 4:08:51 PM | link
the germans would be owned by the russian,gadaffi saddam hussein serbia and hitler if it was not for uk and usa.
we keep the world safe and stop irania and the hamas terroist pushing israel into the sea.

i say to the germans pay the man or be invaded by evil doers

john , Mar 8, 2019 4:09:12 PM | link
i know it's an old trope...it goes all the way back to 2016...but i smell weaponized flatulence.
james , Mar 8, 2019 4:14:29 PM | link
lol to the last two posts...
Jonathan , Mar 8, 2019 4:26:37 PM | link
pretzelattack @42,

That's not how a leveraged buyout works.

karlof1 , Mar 8, 2019 4:29:06 PM | link
Although I didn't read or watch, it appears most major BigLie Media have published/aired this story, a point I was curious about since Friday's usually a slow news day, thus begging the question: What's the public's reaction? Might there be a groundswell calling for returning the troops home so that both the occupied nation and the occupier save monies? And what of the opposite argument, that even more troops and bases are needed to defend against the Red and Yellow Menace?
Deltaeus , Mar 8, 2019 4:42:01 PM | link
If I was a president who could not step too far out of line due to powerful forces all around me, I would take the ideas of neocons et al and push them even further over the line past reasonable.
No-one in power could argue against me because I'm implementing their ideas, even though I'm taking them too far.
But pushing things too far creates real resistance, and makes the real policies obvious, and brings about the end of the empire.

I might decide to:
1. Move the US embassy to Jerusalem, to make it clear who calls the shots
2. Demand that NATO countries pay more and publicly disrespect their leaders
3. Demand that Germany and Japan pay for their occupation
4. Obviously attack Venezuela (in contrast to previous less-obvious attacks)
5. and other increasingly outrageous demands until the vassals get fed up

Meanwhile I'd do other things that I have to do to keep the powerful forces happy.
I may be a terrible person with no 3-d chess master plan, but perhaps things would be different after my term. And "different" might approximate "better".

karlof1 , Mar 8, 2019 4:49:28 PM | link
OT--FYI--OT--WOW!

"Obama was a smiling murderer, says Ilhan Omar" And of course, she's 100% correct. As Ben Norton noted in this tweet , Omar's words were citied in a Politico article that he linked. You'll note, that by extension she also called Trump a murderer, just not as "polished."

karlof1 , Mar 8, 2019 4:58:29 PM | link
Deltaeus @49--

There's merit in your argument. For example, the so far small contingent of anti-war Progressive Democrats either were elected or emboldened thanks to Trump, Rep. Omar being the most prominent example. The same could be said of pushing the far-right's policy goals, as that's also generated resistance. Too bad the initial call for resistance was based on the Russiagate hoax. Time will tell!

teri , Mar 8, 2019 4:59:53 PM | link
Okay. If you don't get your weekly payola, then shut down the foreign bases. Only thing is, what do we do with all these armed people trained to kill on command, looking for some action in between saying the Pledge of Allegiance and painting Bible verses on bombs?

I sure as shit don't want them all coming back here, loitering around in the US. Got too many cops on steroids as it is.

psychohistorian , Mar 8, 2019 5:05:44 PM | link
@ teri who wrote
"
I sure as shit don't want them all coming back here, loitering around in the US. Got too many cops on steroids as it is.
"
Its called karma


I live here too....the energy needs to be refocused on planet rehab and going to the stars along with my standard make global finance public

Hoarsewhisperer , Mar 8, 2019 5:35:10 PM | link
It will fun to watch this developing:

It sure will.
Especially the Neocons as they scramble around trying to collect all the rust flakes to glue them back onto dilapidated USA's dilapidated Foreign Policy.

ADKC , Mar 8, 2019 5:44:06 PM | link
I'm sorry, but many people posting here are delusional about Trump's motives.

For a start, none of the issues discussed in this post would cause the American people much in the way of dispute. Broadly, most Americans would think that other countries should pay for US "support". Americans disagree quite a bit about "The Wall" and gender issues around public restrooms; but not so much about the issues raised in this post. So there IS NO RESISTANCE, and WILL NOT BE ANY RESISTANCE, within the US, on getting countries to pay.

Other countries might have problems but what other countries think has never been much of an issue for Americans.

The issue of getting other countries to pay is about cost and the out-of-control US debt. And, also, about Trump electioneering.

Should other countries refuse to pay (or request US troops to leave), then they can expect to be sanctioned or economically damaged. Just consider how France (a US ally) had one of their prize jewel (world-beating) nuclear technology intellectual assets, Alstom's Arabelle steam turbine , taken from them by the US. This happened way before Trump so demonstrates how the US operates (the art of the [coercive] deal is the way the US rolls). France, and in particular Macron, who was French Finance/Economic Minster, at the time, had no choice but to accept the takeover. Macron actually appeared quite gleeful about it (Macron was effectively working for US, not French, interests).

Ghost Ship , Mar 8, 2019 5:47:59 PM | link
Can Columbia or Kosovo afford to pay? Or will Washington increase the financial support they give to those countries to cover the bill.

As for NATO, the core system was based on the countries that are members providing a reliable easily-secured base for American expeditionary forces to attack and invade one of the two countries that are at the heart of the Eurasian landmass. In exchange for that the United States bankrolled NATO. If Trump breaks that bargain, what incentive is there for the core members of NATO to allow wars to be fought on their territory particularly now that Putin has said he is focused on improving the lives of ordinary Russians rather than going to war with Europe but will make sure that the decision centres of any countries that attack or are somehow involved in an attack on Russia will be destroyed. None as far as I can see, so it looks like it'll be goodbye NATO.

james , Mar 8, 2019 6:04:23 PM | link
@55ADKC - why would other countries pay to have the usa military on their soil? this explains the whole agenda of fearmongering that has been in overdrive 24/7 since i was a kid... nothing else explains it.. keep the fear up to justify this craziness.. i can't see anyone paying for it.. i sure wouldn't want that if i was german, japanese or south korean for example... now, maybe the leaders of these countries are going to be faced with a stark choice... side with this b.s., or get removed from office... i praise trump for bringing this forth and hope that he strikes a big fat zero from the countries that have usa bases on them...
Seamus Padraig , Mar 8, 2019 6:12:39 PM | link
@23

Die Linke are officially opposed to NATO and want Germany to withdraw from it.

arby , Mar 8, 2019 6:18:07 PM | link
I think Trump believes the hype fed to Americans forever that the US soldiers are the good guys and they really are protecting these countries. He also has a reputation for squeezing contractors etc.
To MAGA he thinks it needs better deals and more people sending money in.

These are his motives and not 4d chess.

dh , Mar 8, 2019 6:45:47 PM | link
@59. I think that's right. He genuinely believes US forces are out there protecting 'our allies' and keeping the world safe for democracy etc. But he also thinks 'our allies' are taking advantage of American generosity. This is a common sentiment among Trump voters.
arby , Mar 8, 2019 6:49:46 PM | link
I think most Americans think they are protecting the world.
iv> i agrees we are the white hatters many folks hate the uk and usa and norway for are freedoms.
we need to be able to affords a big bat to stomp the evil doers if we cannot afford the big bat folks must suffer.
the uk and usa tax payers are sick of paying for new bats to protect the world if the world does not pay for protection new hitlers arrafats,gadaffis and hezbollah terrosits will be along soon to take are democrasy

Posted by: chuck newsum , Mar 8, 2019 6:50:20 PM | link

i agrees we are the white hatters many folks hate the uk and usa and norway for are freedoms.
we need to be able to affords a big bat to stomp the evil doers if we cannot afford the big bat folks must suffer.
the uk and usa tax payers are sick of paying for new bats to protect the world if the world does not pay for protection new hitlers arrafats,gadaffis and hezbollah terrosits will be along soon to take are democrasy

Posted by: chuck newsum | Mar 8, 2019 6:50:20 PM | link

Yeah, Right , Mar 8, 2019 6:54:05 PM | link
What better evidence that the MIC is bankrupting the USA?

This is how empires fall - the cost of empire bleeds them white and eventually hollows them out to such a degree that collapse becomes inevitable.

The USA is in for a massive shock over this: it believes those "allies" have no choice but to pay that extortion money.

But they do have a choice.

All these treaties have a withdrawal clause, and it doesn't seem to occur to the Americans that it's not just Uncle Sam who can invoke it.

My money is on the Phillipines to be the first to invoke their clause. South Korea next, and only then the gutless Europeans.

Australia last, or maybe not at all.

Gonna be ugly when all 800 overseas military bases are in Oz. Not sure Sydney Harbour is able to accommodate all those warships....

ADKC , Mar 8, 2019 6:57:39 PM | link
james @57

Because they are (particularly, in Europe) occupied countries and many things can be done to ensure compliance (economic, gladio operations, sanctions, theft of assets, prosecution for any offence [no matter how small, incidental, or accidental] if a dollar is involved, influx of refugees, war [directly or adjacent to target country], removal of post-colonial areas of influence, instigating financial collapse [Deutche Bank is supposed to be very vulnerable and would effect the entire EU/world], etc).

Why couldn't France protect Alstom? Would France be able to resist if the US targeted the African CFA countries (which are France's neo-colonial milk-cows and essential to the economic well-being of France and detrimental to the African people subject to the CFA franc)?

You "praise Trump" for raising this issue but it's just the same old, same old.

The only place relatively secure is the Chinese/Russia milieu but that's the other side of the real "wall" and restricts the expansion of OBOR. And the price (for Russia and China) is having the entire western nuclear arsenal aimed at you.

Whether or not any payments are actually made will make no difference; US troops will remain in occupied territory. (BTW: Europe will pay, the key is Germany. If Germany refuse to pay the rest will follow. But Germany can't fudge this; it would amount to open resistance and a re-negotiation of the outcome of the 2nd World War and, unless the US want to give up the fruits of their 1945 victory, I don't see that happening. Germany will realise that, if the US insist, they will have to comply; it's the direct consequence of losing the war and being occupied.]


Piotr Berman , Mar 8, 2019 6:57:53 PM | link
Moving American troops to Poland? Surely, the benefits are many. First, since the size of the military is much smaller than in Warsaw block times, there are many military grounds. Particularly in areas where forests are larger, climate harsher, and local men are fond of beating up strangers when they get drunk. Local roads are crappy and American soldiers are prone to hit side road trees. To summarize, martial skills and spirit are bound to improve.

For even better results, they should be moved to Estonia, Latvia and Finnmark, areas bordering Russian Federation. OTOH, fleecing Balts would be like squeezing blood from stone. E.g. Lithuania is an exemplary NATO member, spending 2% of GDP on the military, and yet they cannot afford a tank.

Hoarsewhisperer , Mar 8, 2019 7:01:03 PM | link
Posted by: arby | Mar 8, 2019 6:18:07 PM | 59

He's already said he doesn't believe the hype. He said it 60 Minutes after his inauguration...

"We've spent 6 Trillion dollars in the Middle East....6 Trillion! We could have rebuilt America twice. It's unfair what's happened to the American people, and we're gonna put a stop to it."

Remember now?

arby , Mar 8, 2019 7:05:21 PM | link
He believes the hype that America is protecting the world. He just thinks that the protected should at least pay for it.
Peter AU 1 , Mar 8, 2019 7:05:53 PM | link
The countries Trump wants to hit with fees are those he wanted the US military to pull out of anyway. The cold war relics. Europe, Korea ect. Any bases to do with Israel Iran Venezuela will not be hitting up the host country for extortion money. Bases he wants to use to pressure China will also likely be exempt.
Those that do get hit with the fees, Trump doesn't give a shit if the US stays or leaves, so long as the US is well paid if it stays.
Yeah, Right , Mar 8, 2019 7:06:07 PM | link
@55 If the NATO countries refuse to pay then Trump can't respond by imposing sanctions on the individual countries.

Well, he could, but what is the point?

The USA can't sanction the EU, China and Russia. That is economic suicide.

Trump would be creating a rival trade bloc that is many times bigger than the US economy. The American nightmare for over a century.

English Outsider , Mar 8, 2019 7:06:41 PM | link
BM @ 13

I don't think Corbyn is the Messiah you take him for. He has sound ideas on not bombing foreigners - unusual in a British politician - but apart from that he's a busted flush. Not even close observers care to predict who will come out on top in the mud wrestling at Westminster but if Corbyn makes it watch him accommodate.

.

With great respect, "b", and as happens rarely, I don't believe this article is on target. America is the spine and most of the muscle of European defence. Forget Aachen. It'll be a long time before any purely European defence force is up to scratch.

The Europeans are hoping that America will hold the fort in the meantime. That's not an alliance. It's a marriage of temporary convenience.

Presumably the Americans must be sensing that.

https://www.euractiv.com/section/defence-and-security/news/nine-european-countries-to-formalise-eu-defence-force-plan/

/

BraveNewWorld , Mar 8, 2019 7:08:50 PM | link
Of course the other problem with this is it makes the American forces official mercenaries rather than national forces and all the legal consequences that flow from that.
Augustin L , Mar 8, 2019 7:16:52 PM | link
History first as tragedy and later as a farce. Alexander Solzhenitsyn: "Beria reported only to Stalin and Stalin reported only to Satan." Now Bolton reports only to Trump and Chump reports only to Sreadsheets. So much winning and multi-dimensional chess... It's deplorable. Lol
Yeah, Right , Mar 8, 2019 7:17:30 PM | link
@59 and @60 This is why the shock will be all the more stunning to the Americans.

Its "allies" have no problem with Uncle Sam spending like a drunken sailor. As far as they are concerned, well, who cares.

But if Trump insists THEY pay for American profligacy then they are going to say "no".

American pundits will then pontificate on how much MORE it would cost those allies, and the response will be: don't be stupid, we won't spend money to protect ourselves against a threat that doesn't exist.

Because - and let's be honest here - in a post-NATO world the only military threat to Europe will be the USA, and the US Army will be on the other side of the Atlantic.

karlof1 , Mar 8, 2019 7:17:31 PM | link
I see a number of comments where the question's begged: Just what nation intends to invade Europe such that the continuing Outlaw US Empire's occupation's warranted? Putin and Xi want Europe to join the EAEU/BRI confab--invasion via commerce?!

It appears the Anti-Communist Crusade is having a hard time dying in some quarters, particularly where continually invoking it is required dogma by controlling interests.

arby , Mar 8, 2019 7:18:21 PM | link
I think Trump and his MAGA boils everything down to money. Money goes out and money comes in. His job is to slow the money going out and get more money coming in. I think it is that simple. You get bombed by our smart freedom and democracy bombs then you should be decent enough to pay for it. Also our bases are protecting you from getting bombed by evildoers bombs. You should definitely pay for that. Why are we?
Pft , Mar 8, 2019 7:34:09 PM | link
I'd like to see a study of the amount of money spent into the local economy by the occupation forces in Germany, Japan and South Korea. Not just by the military but by the servicemen, families, civilian contractors for housing, travel, schools, food, entertainment, etc

Obviously paying to be occupied is not happening, but there is some logic to the idea that the occupied receive some economic benefits from being occupied, including but not limited to a reduction in spending on their own military.

Elliott A , Mar 8, 2019 7:39:53 PM | link
This is, frankly, a lot of nonsensical showboating that will not have any actual effect on anything.

-- "Pay us or we will leave"
-- "We are not paying"
-- "Um?"

There's probably more bullshit going on behind the scenes but this just looks RIDICULOUS, as does the Venezuelan adventure.

God Bless America!

karlof1 , Mar 8, 2019 7:44:39 PM | link
Pft @76--

Any spending into the local economy is dwarfed by the amount of ecological damage done--just look at Subic Bay or Okinawa. And yes, studies have been done into both aspects; I've read them, but have no links.

Pft , Mar 8, 2019 7:50:32 PM | link
Horsewhisperer@66

." It's unfair what's happened to the American people, and we're gonna put a stop to it."

Trump just does not believe in others hype, only his own hype. So show me evidence he is stopping the spending which was his main point in what was infaur to Americans. Spending on the military is even higher, 6 trillion is now 8 trillion even if the accountants still cant tell who got paid

If Trump has shown us anything it is that he believes in the hype that whats good for Big Business is good for America. Even his request for more money from NATO countries is a request/demand to buy more from the MIC and not money to offset US military spending.

Sure, the reasons for the increased military spending are bogus, but he adds fuel to supposed conflicts with Iran, Russia, China, North Korea that allows him to justify more spending. Trumps just replaced Obama/Bush hype with his own personal hype. Call it Trump hype.

jonku , Mar 8, 2019 7:50:43 PM | link
Pft, that's what economist Michael Hudson has been saying:

The US military spending overseas during the Vietnam war resulted in a balance of payments crisis, with the surprise solution being the recycling of USD from offshore economies back into the US financial sector.

And it's been going on ever since.

I'll try to get a link ... Super Imperialism also recently linked by the indefatigable karlof1.

The larger America's balance-of-payments deficit becomes, the more dollars end up in the hands of European, Asian and Near Eastern central banks, and the more money they must recycle back to the United States by buying U.S. Treasury bonds.

It's worthwhile to read any and all of Hudson's writings, including his autobiographical essay. He has worked in the belly of the beast; Chase Manhattan bank and Standard Oil (Exxon) just for starters, the Treasury and Finance departments of USA and Canada amongst others.

Here's that Michael Hudson Autobiography . It's both a video soliloquy and transcript.

Yeah, Right , Mar 8, 2019 8:24:52 PM | link
@70 English Outsider care to identify the military threat that US forces "have to hold the fort" over until the Europeans get their shit together?

Who, exactly, is itching to invade Europe once US forces leave?

If US forces leave then the need for European countries to increase their military spending is negligible.

Indeed, it would be based on a single calculation: how big a threat is the USA?

ben , Mar 8, 2019 8:26:56 PM | link
OK fine, more hot air and theater. The BS spewed by this admin. is just friggen endless.

Beats talking about real issues facing 99% of Americans...

juliania , Mar 8, 2019 8:31:01 PM | link
People, people!...Where will the military go? It's so obvious, it is staring us in the face...

Space!

Ah, but not just space --

Mars!

The War Planet!

And best of all -- there's no people there! They can have their war games ad infinitum!!! To boldly go...ok, I know, that dates me...

But oh my, blow it up! Blow it all up!! Keep on making horrible weapons, ship them off to Mars! Raytheon on steroids; what's not to love????? Trump will go down in history - no - up, up, and AWAY!!! [Just think - he'll have to visit the troops at Thanksgiving, take them a turkey - oh and take any Bushes and Boltons and Obamas and Clintons with him as it is rather far, a few Thanksgivings away but who's counting?]

And let there be peace on earth. So, be it!

Augustin L , Mar 8, 2019 8:36:01 PM | link
Trump making brothels great again and declaring a truce to Chinese honey traps on US soil. The front goy is seriously compromised, deplorables will rue the day... https://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/article227186429.html?fbclid=IwAR1FkjigXKFOf8gcPoKRqwqfqSLRuzPNDig5sg7XWtBQClavo73RQRsVWYs
c1ue , Mar 8, 2019 8:51:38 PM | link
People are really thinking too hard.
The Trump strategy is simple a la "The Apprentice":
Get a bunch of ambitious people to commit to deliver to outlandish goals. These goals are set such that achieving or failing them, the blame goes to the failure but the success goes to the leader.
If they fail: "You're Fired"
If they succeed: "I'm Brilliant"
Jiri , Mar 8, 2019 8:54:23 PM | link
With the Soviets out of Germany it is only appropriate that the other three move out too.

I am surprised why this wasn't negotiated then.

Jackrabbit , Mar 8, 2019 9:00:37 PM | link
This proposal broadens USA's demand that Germany terminate its plans to obtain energy imports from Russia via Northstream. Trump has already asserted publicly (weeks ago) that the added cost of LNG imports should be viewed as a defense-related cost. Via this new mechanism, the cost will be not be borne 100% by Germany.

To understand why this new approach is likely to work, please read ADKC's comments.

Pundits may poke fun but the AZ Empire is deadly serious and most AZ elites will be supportive. Especially when they are insulated from the cost (as they are).

james , Mar 8, 2019 9:22:14 PM | link
@6ADKC... i agree with arbys view on this... trump and an undue number of americans probably think they are doing some good protecting others.. it's laughable! now, as to your question about france and alstrom... i don't know the specifics, but i know how easily euro politicians, and politicians in general can be bought... i think it is excellent trump is raising this issue, as i hope the leadership in these poodle countries recognize their goose will be cooked soon enough, as ordinary people won't stand for it.. so, i am simplifying here and i have to race out and will be back later to add more.. i see what you and jackrabbit are getting at, but at some point this mafia-gangster strategy is going to collapse.. maybe i am too naive, or idealistic.. i will give you that!
Bob , Mar 8, 2019 9:45:15 PM | link
Zanon @23 you might follow this german website http://luftpost-kl.de/
Interesting links from there:
https://www.ewg.org/research/update-mapping-expanding-pfas-crisis
https://partner-mco-archive.s3.amazonaws.com/client_files/1524589484.pdf
https://theintercept.com/2018/11/30/pfoa-and-pfos-cause-lower-sperm-counts-and-smaller-penises-study-finds/
https://theintercept.com/2018/02/10/firefighting-foam-afff-pfos-pfoa-epa/
NemesisCalling , Mar 8, 2019 9:50:15 PM | link
@87 jackrabbit

Your assessment is fine and not without merits but the other variable you seem to be missing is the German people and others in Europe, themselves.

Will this cowtowing to the US bullying not in the end fully ensconse their leaders as the globalist shills they truly are and thus lead to their demise? That is what b us alluding to. We are unaware of Trump's motivations, here, but that is inconsequential when we are talking about him waking up the people of Europe to finally give US the boot.

haze , Mar 8, 2019 9:51:19 PM | link
86

Well it was sort of ...

https://www.rt.com/usa/germany-us-pact-komossa-978/

lysias , Mar 8, 2019 10:08:12 PM | link
"There's room at the top, they are telling you still, but first you must learn to smile as you kill," sang John Lennon.

Obama learned that lesson.

Zachary Smith , Mar 8, 2019 10:37:57 PM | link
While cruising around the internet tubes I ran into a casual remark about Syria to the effect that since the US is doing an occupation there, aren't "we" entitled to payment? If there is any truth to a spate of recent headlines, the neocons have already solved that one.

U.S. Forces Steal Tons Of Gold Captured By ISIS In Syria, Iraq

How would ISIS have acquired any tonnage of gold? Perhaps it was part-payment for the oil they sold until the Russians intervened. (the US sure didn't bother those sales!) More likely they stole it from citizens and businesses. There have been LOTS of reports about the US secretly rescuing ISIS fighters. Now here is yet another motive for those airlifts. I predict any such gold will be quickly melted down so as to make it forever untraceable. Would Pompeo or Bolton do such a thing?

Hmm. That's a really hard one.

Zachary Smith , Mar 8, 2019 10:46:32 PM | link
@ lysias #92

Oh my, but your post triggered the memory of yet another post I saw earlier.

Obama was a smiling murderer, says Ilhan Omar

It's bad enough that Omar tackled AIPAC, but to dump on Saint Obama is likely to get her pegged as a "self-hating negro". Wonder what Speaker Nancy will do this time? Threaten to waterboard her?

Steven Keith , Mar 8, 2019 11:12:13 PM | link
Speaking of invasions and occupation...

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MarkU , Mar 8, 2019 11:12:50 PM | link
@70 English Outsider.

Re: "America is the spine and most of the muscle of European defence."

Defence against whom exactly? People pushing the narrative that the Russian Federation is a menace never mention the numbers involved. The European countries have roughly 3 times the population, 5 times the military spending and a massive advantage in GDP, look it up. If you add the US to the equation then more like 5 times the population and 15 times the military spending. The Russians have nukes of course but with the odds stacked up so spectacularly against them I don't blame them for thinking they need them as a deterrent. If you had another adversary in mind don't be shy.

Pft , Mar 8, 2019 11:36:05 PM | link

Jonku@80

Thanks for the links. I have been following Hudson for the last 12 years and agree with much of what he says. I do disagree that dollar holdings are a tax on other countries. These dollars for the most part are paid to companies for goods and services. They exchange some of this with their central bank to invest locally or pay expenses. The central bank then prints their local currency out of thin air to exchange. The USD are then counted as reserves which allows them to create more local currency by 10+ times, depending on their reserve requirements. This money is spent or invested in the local economy.

The USD reserves can also be used to fund their own trade deficits with other countries, or pay of USD denominated loans

A lot has changed since 1971. After the Vietnam War was winding down the US pulled out of Bretton Woods as Hudson anticipated. They then established the Petrodollar which was not anticipated. This put more USD into the hands of OPEC nations as they were told to accept only USD and in return would be allowed higher oil prices, and much was recycled back to the US, but they and the rest of the world had other options.

This option was the Eurodollar which began in the 60's in a limited fashion . A later sub-option was Eurodollars in the many tax havens, which developed first on British territories and then in the Carribean.

These options being exercised limited the amount of dollars coming back to the US and caused higher interest rates in order to attract some more of the dollars back.

The 1985 Plaza accord put in place an agreement to weaken the dollar with the US to buy more imported goods as they encouraged more US companies to move offshore to produce in low wage countries to keep inflation down. In return the deficits would be funded by other countries resending back the USD they received by buying treasuries. This was when the US realized they could spend and run up fiscal/trade deficits without consequences, and so they did. Oh my.

Then after the fall of the Soviet Union and the subsequent looting bu oligarchs the Eurodollar Market, especially in the tax havens , exploded even further as these oligarchs and western investors transferred their stolen loot to these offshore tax havens which were already loaded with dollars from the criminal drug trade (mafia-five eyes) and multinational corporations evading taxes at home

In 1990 the Fed then made it easier for US banks to import and use these Eurodollars by setting a zero reserve requirement (same as Fed Funds) on Eurodollar deposits which they could then loan out at many order of magnitudes. This fueled the great credit and asset bubbles using drug money and stolen Soviet asset money which came in to buy Trumps property and stocks. It also allowed banks to increase credit to cash strapped consumers who felt the pinch of neoliberalism and globalization, since the banks were flush with cheap cash. This led to the Great Collapse in 2008

Added to this Eurodollar supply from 1993 was Chinas own oligarchs growing increasingly rich from US investment/trade and from converting the peoples assets to individual party members who wanted a safe place to hide their loot and evade taxes in China

Quantitative Easing following the crash of 2008 provided another source of a cash influx for the US. Toxic waste from foreign and local banks were bought with USD printed from thin air.

Recent Quantitative Tightening meant trouble though. So Trumps new tax measures made it possible for US corporations to return Eurodollars hidden offshore which is fueling stock buybacks and propping up the market. If not for this a 2008 collapse would be here.

When the next crash happens, I am sure the US will surprise us yet again. Pretty sure the fix will be named Green something or another and a Carbon Dollar/Tax


Friar Ockham , Mar 9, 2019 12:14:47 AM | link
What Pres. Trump is doing is a clever ploy to start bringing the troops home as promised. That is his way of announcing the event.
james , Mar 9, 2019 1:38:28 AM | link
@70 english outsider.. i agree with @13 BM... however, the msm in the uk is so warped, maybe they will succeed in marginalizing corbyn.. i thought this article today from jonathan cook was pretty good.. as for the usa being the backbone of europe military and etc.. europe needs to grow a spine themselves and stop taking it in the rear from the usa.. this suggestion from trump is a good place to start by saying no... maybe the poodles are incapable.. that sounds like what you are saying..

@pft... i think i agree with you, although i don't study the financial dynamics enough.. the bailout from 2008 will be followed by more bailouts.. they will just be bigger... that is the name of the game - bust and bailout.. bailing out the banks, until the world asks for something different..

iv> Trump May Charge Allies Up To 600% More For Hosting US Troops
https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-03-08/trump-may-charge-allies-600-more-hosting-us-troops

Posted by: John Smith , Mar 9, 2019 2:12:24 AM | link

Trump May Charge Allies Up To 600% More For Hosting US Troops
https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-03-08/trump-may-charge-allies-600-more-hosting-us-troops

Posted by: John Smith | Mar 9, 2019 2:12:24 AM | link

[Dec 28, 2018] Angela Merkel- Nation States Must -Give Up Sovereignty- To New World Order -

Dec 28, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Submitted by Tapainfo.com

" Nation states must today be prepared to give up their sovereignty ", according to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who told an audience in Berlin that sovereign nation states must not listen to the will of their citizens when it comes to questions of immigration, borders, or even sovereignty.

No this wasn't something Adolf Hitler said many decades ago, this is what German Chancellor Angela Merkel told attendants at an event by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Berlin. Merkel has announced she won't seek re-election in 2021 and it is clear she is attempting to push the globalist agenda to its disturbing conclusion before she stands down.

" In an orderly fashion of course, " Merkel joked, attempting to lighten the mood. But Merkel has always had a tin ear for comedy and she soon launched into a dark speech condemning those in her own party who think Germany should have listened to the will of its citizens and refused to sign the controversial UN migration pact:

" There were [politicians] who believed that they could decide when these agreements are no longer valid because they are representing The People ".

" [But] the people are individuals who are living in a country, they are not a group who define themselves as the [German] people ," she stressed.

Merkel has previously accused critics of the UN Global Compact for Safe and Orderly Migration of not being patriotic, saying " That is not patriotism, because patriotism is when you include others in German interests and accept win-win situations ".

Her words echo recent comments by the deeply unpopular French President Emmanuel Macron who stated in a Remembrance Day speech that " patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism [because] nationalism is treason ."

The French president's words were deeply unpopular with the French population and his approval rating nosedived even further after the comments.

Macron, whose lack of leadership is proving unable to deal with growing protests in France, told the Bundestag that France and Germany should be at the center of the emerging New World Order.

" The Franco-German couple [has]the obligation not to let the world slip into chaos and to guide it on the road to peace" .

" Europe must be stronger and win more sovereignty ," he went on to demand, just like Merkel, that EU member states surrender national sovereignty to Brussels over " foreign affairs, migration, and development " as well as giving " an increasing part of our budgets and even fiscal resources".

[Nov 01, 2018] Angela Merkel Migrates Into Retirement The American Conservative

Notable quotes:
"... Her announcement on Monday that she will vacate the leadership of Germany's ruling center-right Christian Democrats marks the culmination of what has been a slow denouement of Merkelism. ..."
"... Long the emblematic figure of "Europe," hailed by the neoliberal Economist as the continent's moral voice, long the dominant decider of its collective foreign and economic policies, Merkel will leave office with border fences being erected and disdain for European political institutions at their highest pitch ever. In this sense, she failed as dramatically as her most famous predecessors, Konrad Adenauer, Willy Brandt, Helmut Schmidt, and Helmut Kohl, succeeded in their efforts to make Germany both important and normal in the postwar world. ..."
"... "We can do this!" she famously declared. Europe, she said, must "show flexibility" over refugees. Then, a few days later, she said there was "no limit" to the number of migrants Germany could accept. At first, the burgeoning flood of mostly young male asylum claimants produced an orgy of self-congratulatory good feeling, celebrity posturing of welcome, Merkel greeting migrants at the train station, Merkel taking selfies with migrants, Merkel touted in The Economist as "Merkel the Bold." ..."
"... The euphoria, of course, did not last. Several of the Merkel migrants carried out terror attacks in France that fall. (France's socialist prime minister Manuel Valls remarked pointedly after meeting with Merkel, "It was not us who said, 'Come!'") Reports of sexual assaults and murders by migrants proved impossible to suppress, though Merkel did ask Mark Zuckerberg to squelch European criticism of her migration policies on Facebook. Intelligent as she undoubtedly is (she was a research chemist before entering politics), she seemed to lack any intellectual foundation to comprehend why the integration of hundreds of thousands of people from the Muslim world might prove difficult. ..."
"... Merkel reportedly telephoned Benjamin Netanyahu to ask how Israel had been so successful in integrating so many immigrants during its brief history. There is no record of what Netanyahu thought of the wisdom of the woman posing this question. ..."
"... In any case, within a year, the Merkel initiative was acknowledged as a failure by most everyone except the chancellor herself. ..."
Nov 01, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Her refugee blunder changed the European continent in irreversible ways for decades to come. By Scott McConnellNovember 1, 2018

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Drop of Light/Shutterstock Whatever her accomplishments as pathbreaking female politician and respected leader of Europe's dominant economic power, Angela Merkel will go down in history for her outburst of naivete over the issue of migration into Europe during the summer of 2015.

Her announcement on Monday that she will vacate the leadership of Germany's ruling center-right Christian Democrats marks the culmination of what has been a slow denouement of Merkelism.

She had seen the vote share of her long dominant party shrink in one regional election after another. The rebuke given to her last weekend in Hesse, containing the Frankfurt region with its booming economy, where she had campaigned extensively, was the final straw. Her CDU's vote had declined 10 points since the previous election, their voters moving toward the further right (Alternative fur Deutschland or AfD). Meanwhile, the further left Greens have made dramatic gains at the expense of Merkel's Social Democrat coalition partners.

Long the emblematic figure of "Europe," hailed by the neoliberal Economist as the continent's moral voice, long the dominant decider of its collective foreign and economic policies, Merkel will leave office with border fences being erected and disdain for European political institutions at their highest pitch ever. In this sense, she failed as dramatically as her most famous predecessors, Konrad Adenauer, Willy Brandt, Helmut Schmidt, and Helmut Kohl, succeeded in their efforts to make Germany both important and normal in the postwar world.

One can acknowledge that while Merkel never admitted error for her multiculti summer fling (beyond wishing she had communicated her goals better), she did manage to adjust her policies. By 2016, Germany under her watch was paying a healthy ransom to Turkey to keep would-be migrants in camps and preventing them from sailing to Greece. Merkel's departure will make the battle to succeed her one of the most watched political contests in Europe. She has turned migration into a central and quite divisive issue within the CDU and Germany, and the party may decide that it has no choice but to accommodate, in one way or another, the voters who have left them for the AfD.

Related to the issue of who should reside in Europe (objectively the current answer remains anyone who can get there) is the question of how are such questions decided. In July 2015, five years after asserting in a speech that multiculturalism has "utterly failed" in Germany (without addressing what policies should be pursued in an increasingly ethnically diverse society) and several weeks after reducing a young Arab girl to tears at a televised forum by telling her that those whose asylum claims were rejected would "have to go back" and that "politics is hard," Merkel changed course.

For those interested in psychological studies of leadership and decision making, it would be hard to imagine a richer subject. Merkel's government first announced it would no longer enforce the rule (the Dublin agreement) that required asylum claimants to be processed in the first country they passed through. Then she doubled down. The migrants fleeing the Syrian civil war, along with those who pretended to be Syrian, and then basically just anyone, could come to Germany.

"We can do this!" she famously declared. Europe, she said, must "show flexibility" over refugees. Then, a few days later, she said there was "no limit" to the number of migrants Germany could accept. At first, the burgeoning flood of mostly young male asylum claimants produced an orgy of self-congratulatory good feeling, celebrity posturing of welcome, Merkel greeting migrants at the train station, Merkel taking selfies with migrants, Merkel touted in The Economist as "Merkel the Bold."

The Angela Merkel Era is Coming to an End The Subtle Return of Germany Hegemony

Her words traveled far beyond those fleeing Syria. Within 48 hours of the "no limit" remark, The New York Times reported a sudden stirring of migrants from Nigeria. Naturally Merkel boasted in a quiet way about how her decision had revealed that Germany had put its Nazi past behind it. "The world sees Germany as a land of hope and chances," she said. "That wasn't always the case." In making this decision personally, Merkel was making it for all of Europe. It was one of the ironies of a European arrangement whose institutions were developed in part to transcend nationalism and constrain future German power that 70 years after the end of the war, the privately arrived-at decision of a German chancellor could instantly transform societies all over Europe.

The euphoria, of course, did not last. Several of the Merkel migrants carried out terror attacks in France that fall. (France's socialist prime minister Manuel Valls remarked pointedly after meeting with Merkel, "It was not us who said, 'Come!'") Reports of sexual assaults and murders by migrants proved impossible to suppress, though Merkel did ask Mark Zuckerberg to squelch European criticism of her migration policies on Facebook. Intelligent as she undoubtedly is (she was a research chemist before entering politics), she seemed to lack any intellectual foundation to comprehend why the integration of hundreds of thousands of people from the Muslim world might prove difficult.

Merkel reportedly telephoned Benjamin Netanyahu to ask how Israel had been so successful in integrating so many immigrants during its brief history. There is no record of what Netanyahu thought of the wisdom of the woman posing this question.

In any case, within a year, the Merkel initiative was acknowledged as a failure by most everyone except the chancellor herself. Her public approval rating plunged from 75 percent in April 2015 to 47 percent the following summer. The first electoral rebuke came in September 2016, when the brand new anti-immigration party, the Alternative fur Deutschland, beat Merkel's CDU in Pomerania.

In every election since, Merkel's party has lost further ground. Challenges to her authority from within her own party have become more pointed and powerful. But the mass migration accelerated by her decision continues, albeit at a slightly lower pace.

Angela Merkel altered not only Germany but the entire European continent, in irreversible ways, for decades to come.

Scott McConnell is a founding editor of and the author of Ex-Neocon: Dispatches From the Post-9/11 Ideological Wars .

[Nov 01, 2018] Lame Duck Merkel Has Only Her Legacy On Her Mind

Notable quotes:
"... On the other hand, President Trump is pushing Merkel on policy on Russia and Ukraine that furthers the image that she is simply a stooge of U.S. geopolitical ambitions. Don't ever forget that Germany is, for all intents and purposes, an occupied country. So, what the U.S. military establishment wants, Merkel must provide. ..."
"... But Merkel, further weakened by another disastrous state election, isn't strong enough to fend off her emboldened Italian and British opposition (and I'm not talking about The Gypsum Lady, Theresa May here). ..."
"... Merkel is a lame-duck now. Merkelism is over. Absentee governing from the center standing for nothing but the international concerns has been thoroughly rebuked by the European electorate from Spain to the shores of the Black Sea. ..."
"... Germany will stand for something other than globalism by the time this is all over. There will be a renaissance of culture and tradition there that is similar to the one occurring at a staggering pace in Russia. ..."
Nov 01, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Tom Luongo,

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has stepped down as the leader of the Christian Democratic Union, the party she has led for nearly two decades. Yesterday's election in Hesse, normally a CDU/SPD stronghold was abysmal for them.

She had to do something to quell the revolt brewing against her.

Merkel knew going in what the polls were showing. Unlike American and British polls, it seems the German ones are mostly accurate with pre-election polls coming close to matching the final results.

So, knowing what was coming for her and in the spirit of trying to maintain power for as long as possible Merkel has been moving away from her staunch positions on unlimited immigration and being in lock-step with the U.S. on Russia.

She's having to walk a tightrope on these two issues as the turmoil in U.S. political circles is pulling her in, effectively, opposite directions.

The globalist Davos Crowd she works for wants the destruction of European culture and individual national sovereignty ground into a paste and power consolidated under the rubric of the European Union.

They also want Russia brought to heel.

On the other hand, President Trump is pushing Merkel on policy on Russia and Ukraine that furthers the image that she is simply a stooge of U.S. geopolitical ambitions. Don't ever forget that Germany is, for all intents and purposes, an occupied country. So, what the U.S. military establishment wants, Merkel must provide.

So, if she rejects that role and the chaos U.S. policy engenders, particularly Syria, she's undermining the flow of migrants into Europe.

This is why it was so significant that she and French President Emmanuel Macron joined this weekend's summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul.

It ended with an agreement on Syria's future that lies in direct conflict with the U.S.'s goals of the past seven years.

It was an admission that Assad has prevailed in Syria and the plan to atomize it into yet another failed state has itself failed. Merkel has traded 'Assad must go' for 'no more refugees.'

To President Trump's credit he then piggy-backed on that statement announcing that the U.S. would be pulling out of Syria very soon now. And that tells me that he is still coordinating in some way with Putin and other world leaders on the direction of his foreign policy in spite of his opposition.

But the key point from the Istanbul statement was that Syria's rebuilding be prioritized to reverse the flow of migrants so Syrians can go home. While Gilbert Doctorow is unconvinced by France's position here , I think Merkel has to be focused on assisting Putin in achieving his goal of returning Syria to Syrians.

Because, this is both a political necessity for Merkel as well as her trying to burnish her crumbling political throne to maintain power.

The question is will Germans believe and/or forgive her enough for her to stay in power through her now stated 'retirement' from politics in 2021?

I don't think so and it's obvious Davos Crowd boy-toy Macron is working overtime to salvage what he can for them as Merkel continues to face up to the political realities across Europe, which is that populism is a natural reaction to these insane policies.

Merkel's job of consolidating power under the EU is unfinished. They don't have financial integration. The Grand Army of the EU is still not a popular idea. The euro-zone is a disaster waiting to happen and its internal inconsistencies are adding fuel to an already pretty hot political fire.

On this front, EU integration, she and Macron are on the same page. Because 'domestically' from an EU perspective, Brexit still has to be dealt with and the showdown with the Italians is only just beginning.

But Merkel, further weakened by another disastrous state election, isn't strong enough to fend off her emboldened Italian and British opposition (and I'm not talking about The Gypsum Lady, Theresa May here).

And Macron should stop looking in the mirror long enough to see he's standing on a quicksand made of blasting powder.

This points to the next major election for Europe, that of the European Parliament in May where all of Merkel's opposition are focused on wresting control of that body and removing Jean-Claude Juncker or his hand-picked replacement (Merkel herself?) from power.

The obvious transition for Merkel is from German Chancellor to European Commission President. She steps down as Chancellor in May after the EPP wins a majority then to take Juncker's job. I'm sure that's been the plan all along. This way she can continue the work she started without having to face the political backlash at home.

But, again, how close is Germany to snap elections if there is another migrant attack and Chemnitz-like demonstrations. You can only go to the 'Nazi' well so many times, even in Germany.

There comes a point where people will have simply had enough and their anger isn't born of being intolerant but angry at having been betrayed by political leadership which doesn't speak for them and imported crime, chaos and violence to their homes.

And the puppet German media will not be able to contain the story. The EU's speech rules will not contain people who want to speak. The clamp down on hate speech, pioneered by Merkel herself is a reaction to the growing tide against her.

And guess what? She can't stop it.

The problem is that Commies like Merkel and Soros don't believe in anything. They are vampires and nihilists as I said over the weekend suffused with a toxic view of humanity.

Oh sure, they give lip service to being inclusive and nice about it while they have control over the levers of power, the State apparatus. But, the minute they lose control of those levers, the sun goes down, the fangs come out and the bloodletting begins.

These people are vampires, sucking the life out of a society for their own ends. They are evil in a way that proves John Barth's observation that "man can do no wrong." For they never see themselves as the villain.

No. They see themselves as the savior of a fallen people. Nihilists to their very core they only believe in power. And, since power is their religion, all activities are justified in pursuit of their goals.

Their messianic view of themselves is indistinguishable to the Salafist head-chopping animals people like Hillary empowered to sow chaos and death across the Middle East and North Africa over the past decade.

Add to this Merkel herself who took Hillary's empowerment of these animals and gave them a home across Europe. At least now Merkel has the good sense to see that this has cost her nearly everything.

Even if she has little to no shame.

Hillary seems to think she can run for president again and win with the same schtick she failed with twice before. Frankly, I welcome it like I welcome the sun in the morning, safe in the knowledge that all is right with the world and she will go down in humiliating defeat yet again.

Merkel is a lame-duck now. Merkelism is over. Absentee governing from the center standing for nothing but the international concerns has been thoroughly rebuked by the European electorate from Spain to the shores of the Black Sea.

Germany will stand for something other than globalism by the time this is all over. There will be a renaissance of culture and tradition there that is similar to the one occurring at a staggering pace in Russia.

And Angela Merkel's legacy will be chaos.

* * *

Join my patreon because you hate chaos.

[Oct 19, 2018] Merkel Coalition Gets Overdue Spanking in Bavaria but 5 years Too Late to Save Germany

Oct 19, 2018 | www.strategic-culture.org

In Bavaria's state elections, German voters sent a powerful message to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has been harshly criticized for opening up Germany's borders to the free flow of migration. But strangely enough the pro-immigrant Green Party took a solid second place.

Merkel and her fragile coalition, comprised of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Social Democrats Party (SPD) and Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) suffered staggering losses in Bavaria on Sunday, losses not experienced by the two powerhouse conservative parties for many decades.

The CSU won just 37.3 percent of the vote, down 12.1 percent from 2013, thus failing to secure an absolute majority. It marked the worst showing conservative Christian Bavaria, where the CSU has ruled practically unilaterally since 1957. But the political mood in Germany has changed, and Merkel's so-called sister party will now be forced to seek a coalition to cover its losses.

Meanwhile, the left-leaning Social Democrats (SPD), in an awkward alliance with their conservative allies, secured just 9.5 percent of the Bavarian vote, down almost 10.9 percent from its 2013 showing.

The dismal results were not altogether unexpected. CSU leader Horst Seehofer has regularly clashed with Angela Merkel over the question of her loose refugee policies, which saw 1.5 million migrants pour into Germany unmolested in 2015 alone. In January 2016, when the number of arrivals had peaked, Bavaria grabbed headlines as Peter Dreier, mayor of the district of Landshut, sent a busload of refugees to Berlin, saying his city could not handle any more new arrivals.

Yet, despite such expressions of frustration, and even anger, Germany, perhaps out of some fear of reverting back to atavistic nationalistic tendencies that forever lurks in the background of the German psyche, has not come out in full force against the migrant invasion, which seems to have been forced upon the nation without their approval. As with the young girl in the video below, however, some Germans have come forward to express their strong reservations with the trend.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/uGfP8CyJAhg

In general, however, the German people, in direct contradiction to the stereotype of them being an orderly and logical people, do not seem overly concerned with the prospects of their tidy country being overrun by the chaos of undocumented and illegal migrants. This much seemed to be confirmed by the strong showing of the pro-immigration Green Party, which took second place with 18.3 percent of the votes, a 9 percent increase since the last elections.

Katharina Schulze, the 33-year old co-leader of the Bavarian Greens, told reporters "Bavaria needs a political party that solves the problems of the people and not create new ones over and over again."

However, a political platform that seems fine with open borders seems to contradict Schulze's claim to not creating new problems "over and over again." Today, thanks to Merkel's disastrous refugee non-plan, which the Greens applaud, every fifth person in Germany comes from immigration, a figure that will naturally increase over time, placing immense pressure on the country's already overloaded social welfare programs, not to mention disrupting the country's social cohesiveness.

Thus Schulze may find it an impossible challenge "solving the problems of the people," one of the vaguest campaign pledges I have ever heard, while embracing a staunchly refugee-friendly platform that seems doomed to ultimate disaster.

Indeed, Germany appears to be on a collision course between those who accept the idea of being the world's welcome center for refugees, and those who think Germany must not only close its borders, but perhaps even send back many refugees. After all, it has been proven that many of these new arrivals are in reality ' economic migrants' who arrived in Europe not due to any persecution back home, but rather from the hope of improving their lot in life. While it's certainly no crime to seek out economic opportunities, it becomes a real problem when it comes at the expense of the domestic population.

From an outsider's perspective, I cannot fathom how it is possible that Angela Merkel is still in power. Although there is no term limit on the chancellorship, people must still go to the polls and vote for this woman and the CDU, which the majority continues to do – despite everything.

In a search for answers, I found an explanation by one Arne Trautmann, a German lawyer from Munich.

"I think the answer lies in German psychology. We do not like instability. We had our experience with it (hyperinflation, wars and such) and it did not work very well. Angela Merkel offers such stability. Simply because she has been around for so long."

Still, that answer just drags up more questions that perhaps only the Germans can answer. After all, if the German people "do not like instability," then the specter of their borders being violated on a daily basis such be simply unacceptable to them. Perhaps I am missing something.

In any case, there was a consolation prize of sorts in the Bavarian elections, as the anti-immigrant AfD party took fourth place (behind the Free Voters) with 10.2 percent of the votes, an increase of 10 percent from their 2013 performance.

This will give the AfD parliamentary power in the state assembly for the first time, which should work to put the brakes on illegal migrants entering the country. For the future of Germany, it may be the last hope.

[Oct 19, 2018] I just love the fact that Trump is publicly calling out Merkel on this; she has been nothing but two-faced and hypocritical on the Russia question.

Notable quotes:
"... I just love the fact that Trump is publicly calling out Merkel on this; she has been nothing but two-faced and hypocritical on the Russia question. ..."
"... She was one of the ones who pushed the EU hard, for example, to sanction Russia in the wake of the coup in Ukraine (which she had also supported). And then she pushed the EU hard to kill off the South Stream pipeline, which would have gone through SE Europe into Austria. She used the excuse of 'EU solidarity' against 'Russian aggression' to accomplish that only to then turn around and start building yet another pipeline out of Russia and straight into Germany! The Bulgarians et al. must feel like real idiots now. It seems Berlin wants to control virtually all the pipelines into Europe. ..."
Oct 19, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Seamus Padraig , , October 18, 2018 at 2:14 pm

I just love the fact that Trump is publicly calling out Merkel on this; she has been nothing but two-faced and hypocritical on the Russia question.

She was one of the ones who pushed the EU hard, for example, to sanction Russia in the wake of the coup in Ukraine (which she had also supported). And then she pushed the EU hard to kill off the South Stream pipeline, which would have gone through SE Europe into Austria. She used the excuse of 'EU solidarity' against 'Russian aggression' to accomplish that only to then turn around and start building yet another pipeline out of Russia and straight into Germany! The Bulgarians et al. must feel like real idiots now. It seems Berlin wants to control virtually all the pipelines into Europe.

So, three cheers for Trump embarrassing Merkel on this issue!

[Oct 18, 2018] Germany Clashes With The US Over Energy Geopolitics

Notable quotes:
"... This is Naked Capitalism fundraising week. 1018 donors have already invested in our efforts to combat corruption and predatory conduct, particularly in the financial realm. Please join us and participate via our donation page , which shows how to give via check, credit card, debit card, or PayPal. Read about why we're doing this fundraiser and what we've accomplished in the last year, and our current goal, extending our reach . ..."
"... By Tsvetana Paraskova, a writer for the U.S.-based Divergente LLC consulting firm. Originally published at OilPrice ..."
"... As long as NATO exists, Washington will continue to use it to drive a wedge between the EU and Russia. Merkel foolishly went along with all of Washington's provocations against Russia in Ukraine, even though none of it benefited Germany's national interest. ..."
"... She did indeed go along with all the provocations and she sat back and said nothing while Putin railed against US sanctions. Yet Putin didn't blame Germany or the EU. Instead he said that the Germany/EU is currently trapped by the US and would come to their senses in time. He is leaving the door open. ..."
"... What US LNG exports? The US is a net importer of NG from Canada. US 2018 NG consumption and production was 635.8 and 631.6 Mtoe respectively (BP 2018 Stats). Even the BP 2018 Statistical Review of World Energy has an asterisks by US LNG exports which says, "Includes re-exports" which was 17.4 BCM or 15 Mtoe for 2018. ..."
"... Natural gas negotiations involve long term contracts so there are lots of money to exchange ensuring business for many years to come. Such a contract has recently been signed between Poland's PGNiG and American Venture Global Calcasieu & Venture Global Plaquemines LNG (Lousiana). According to the Poland representative this gas would be 20% cheaper than Russian gas. (if one has to believe it). Those contracts are very secretive in their terms. This contract in particular is still dependent on the termination of liquefaction facilities in Lousiana. ..."
"... IIRC, the US is pushing LNG because fracking has resulted in a lot of NG coincident with oil production. They've got so much NG coming out of fracked oil wells that they don't know what to do with it and at present, a lot of it just gets flared, or leaks into the atmosphere. ..."
"... So they turn to bullying the EU to ignore the price advantage that Russia is able to offer, due to the economics of pipeline transport over liquefaction and ocean transport, and of course the issues of reliability and safety associated with ocean transport, and high-pressure LNG port facilities compared to pipelines. ..."
"... Trump will probably offer the EU 'free' LNG port facilities financed by low-income American tax-payers, and cuts to 'entitlements', all designed to MAGA. ..."
"... It seems we have been maneuvering for a while to raise our production of LNG and oil (unsustainably) in order to become an important substitute supplier to the EU countries. It sort of looks like our plan is to reduce EU opposition to our attacking Russia. Then we will have China basically surrounded. This is made easier with our nuclear policy of "we can use nuclear weapons with acceptable losses." What could go wrong? ..."
"... The United States should lead by example. Telling Germany not to import Russian gas is rich considering the U.S. also imports from Russia. https://www.forbes.com/sites/rrapier/2018/07/12/russia-was-a-top-10-supplier-of-u-s-oil-imports-in-2017/ ..."
"... I just love the fact that Trump is publicly calling out Merkel on this; she has been nothing but two-faced and hypocritical on the Russia question. ..."
"... She was one of the ones who pushed the EU hard, for example, to sanction Russia in the wake of the coup in Ukraine (which she had also supported). And then she pushed the EU hard to kill off the South Stream pipeline, which would have gone through SE Europe into Austria. She used the excuse of 'EU solidarity' against 'Russian aggression' to accomplish that only to then turn around and start building yet another pipeline out of Russia and straight into Germany! The Bulgarians et al. must feel like real idiots now. It seems Berlin wants to control virtually all the pipelines into Europe. ..."
Oct 18, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
This is Naked Capitalism fundraising week. 1018 donors have already invested in our efforts to combat corruption and predatory conduct, particularly in the financial realm. Please join us and participate via our donation page , which shows how to give via check, credit card, debit card, or PayPal. Read about why we're doing this fundraiser and what we've accomplished in the last year, and our current goal, extending our reach .

Yves here. It's not hard to see that this tiff isn't just about Russia. The US wants Germany to buy high-priced US LNG.

By Tsvetana Paraskova, a writer for the U.S.-based Divergente LLC consulting firm. Originally published at OilPrice

The United States and the European Union (EU) are at odds over more than just the Iran nuclear deal – tensions surrounding energy policy have also become a flashpoint for the two global powerhouses.

In energy policy, the U.S. has been opposing the Gazprom-led and highly controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline project , which will follow the existing Nord Stream natural gas pipeline between Russia and Germany via the Baltic Sea. EU institutions and some EU members such as Poland and Lithuania are also against it, but one of the leaders of the EU and the end-point of the planned project -- Germany -- supports Nord Stream 2 and sees the project as a private commercial venture that will help it to meet rising natural gas demand.

While the U.S. has been hinting this year that it could sanction the project and the companies involved in it -- which include not only Gazprom but also major European firms Shell, Engie, OMV, Uniper, and Wintershall -- Germany has just said that Washington shouldn't interfere with Europe's energy choices and policies.

"I don't want European energy policy to be defined in Washington," Germany's Foreign Ministry State Secretary Andreas Michaelis said at a conference on trans-Atlantic ties in Berlin this week.

Germany has to consult with its European partners regarding the project, Michaelis said, and noted, as quoted by Reuters, that he was "certainly not willing to accept that Washington is deciding at the end of the day that we should not rely on Russian gas and that we should not complete this pipeline project."

In July this year, U.S. President Donald Trump said at a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg that "Germany is a captive of Russia because they supply." Related: The Implications Of A Fractured U.S., Saudi Alliance

"Germany is totally controlled by Russia, because they will be getting from 60 to 70 percent of their energy from Russia and a new pipeline," President Trump said.

Germany continues to see Nord Stream 2 as a commercial venture, although it wants clarity on the future role of Ukraine as a transit route, German government spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer said last month.

Nord Stream 2 is designed to bypass Ukraine, and Ukraine fears it will lose transit fees and leverage over Russia as the transit route for its gas to western Europe.

Poland, one of the most outspoken opponents of Nord Stream 2, together with the United States, issued a joint statement last month during the visit of Polish President Andrzej Duda to Washington, in which the parties said , "We will continue to coordinate our efforts to counter energy projects that threaten our mutual security, such as Nord Stream 2."

The United States looks to sell more liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the European market, including to Germany , to help Europe diversify its energy supply, which is becoming increasingly dependent on Russian supplies. Related: High Prices Benefit Iran Despite Lost Oil Exports

The president of the Federation of German Industry (BDI), Dieter Kempf, however, told German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung last month, that he had "a big problem with a third country interfering in our energy policy," referring to the United States. German industry needs Nord Stream 2, and dropping the project to buy U.S. LNG instead wouldn't make any economic sense, he said. U.S. LNG currently is not competitive on the German market and would simply cost too much, according to Kempf.

The lower price of Russian pipeline gas to Europe is a key selling point -- and one that Gazprom uses often. Earlier this month Alexey Miller, Chairman of Gazprom's Management Committee, said at a gas forum in Russia that "Although much talk is going on about new plans for LNG deliveries, there is no doubt that pipeline gas supplies from Russia will always be more competitive than LNG deliveries from any other part of the world. It goes without saying."

The issue with Nord Stream 2 -- which is already being built in German waters -- is that it's not just a commercial project. Many in Europe and everyone in the United States see it as a Russian political tool and a means to further tighten Russia's grip on European gas supplies, of which it already holds more than a third. But Germany wants to discuss the future of this project within the European Union, without interference from the United States.


Alex V , October 18, 2018 at 4:43 am

Thankfully liquefying gas and then reconstituting it uses no additional energy, and transportation into major harbors is perfectly safe.

Capitalism inaction!

Quentin , October 18, 2018 at 6:23 am

Maybe the US thinks it will also have to go out of its way to accommodate Germany and the EU by offering to construct the necessary infrastructure in Europe for the import of LNG at exorbitant US prices. MAGA. How long would that take?

disillusionized , October 18, 2018 at 7:03 am

The question is, is it inevitable that the EU/US relationship goes sour?

Continentalism is on the rise generally, and specifically with brexit, couple this with the geographical gravity of the EU-Russia relationship makes a EU-Russia "alliance" make more sense than the EU-US relationship.

Ever since the death of the USSR and the accession of the eastern states to the EU, the balance of power in the EU-US relationship has moved in ways it seems clear that the US is uncomfortable with.

To all of this we must add the policy differences between the US and the EU – see the GDPR and the privacy shield for example.

I have said it before – the day Putin dies (metaphorically or literally) is a day when the post war order in Europe may die, and we see the repairing of the EU-Russia relationship (by which I mean the current regime in Russia will be replaced with a new generation far less steeped in cold war dogma and way more interested in the EU).

NotReallyHere , October 18, 2018 at 1:23 pm

"The post war order in Europe will doe and we see the repairing of the EU/Russian relationship "

I think you mean the German/Russian relationship and that repair has been under way for more than a decade. The post war order is very very frayed already and looks close to a break point.

This Nord Stream 2 story illustrates more than most Germany's attitudes to the EU and to the world at large. Germany used its heft within the EU to 1 ) get control of Russian gas supplies into Central Europe (Germany insisted that Poland could not invest in the project apparently and refused a landing point for the pipeline in Poland. Instead it offered a flow back valve from Germany into Poland that the Germans would control) 2) thumb its nose at the US while outwardly declaring friendship through the structures provided by EU and NATO membership.

Even Obama suspected the Germans of duplicity (the Merkel phone hacking debacle).

It's is this repairing relationship that will set the tone for Brexit, the Ukraine war, relations between Turkey and EU and eventually the survival of the EU and NATO. The point ? Germany doesn't give a hoot about the EU it served its purpose of keeping Germany anchored to the west and allowing German reunification to solidify while Russia was weak. Its usefulness is in the past now, however from a German point of view.

Seamus Padraig , October 18, 2018 at 2:01 pm

Putin dying isn't going to change Washington. As long as NATO exists, Washington will continue to use it to drive a wedge between the EU and Russia. Merkel foolishly went along with all of Washington's provocations against Russia in Ukraine, even though none of it benefited Germany's national interest.

Come to think of it, maybe Merkel dying off would improve German-Russian relations

NotReallyHere , October 18, 2018 at 4:49 pm

She did indeed go along with all the provocations and she sat back and said nothing while Putin railed against US sanctions. Yet Putin didn't blame Germany or the EU. Instead he said that the Germany/EU is currently trapped by the US and would come to their senses in time. He is leaving the door open.

Germany won't lose if NATO and the EU break up. It would free itself from a range increasingly dis-functional entities that, in its mind, restrict its ability to engage in world affairs.

Susan the other , October 18, 2018 at 3:02 pm

I think you are right. Russia and Germany are coming together and there's nothing we can do about it because "private commercial venture." Poetic justice.

And the economic link will lead to political links and we will have to learn a little modesty. The ploy we are trying to use, selling Germany US LNG could not have been anything more than a stopgap supply line until NG from the ME came online but that has been our achilles heel.

It feels like even if we managed to kick the Saudis out and took over their oil and gas we still could no longer control geopolitics. The cat is out of the bag and neoliberalism has established the rules. And it's pointless because there is enough gas and oil and methane on this planet to kill the human race off but good.

NotReallyHere , October 18, 2018 at 5:00 pm

@Susan

That exactly right. and Gerhard Schroder has been developing those political relationships for more than a decade. The political/economic links already go very deep on both sides.

if the rapprochement is occurring, Brexit, the refugee crisis and Italy's approaching debt crisis are all just potential catalysts for an inevitable breakup. Germany likely views these as potential opportunities to direct European realignment rather than existential crises to be tackled.

JimL , October 18, 2018 at 7:08 am

What US LNG exports? The US is a net importer of NG from Canada. US 2018 NG consumption and production was 635.8 and 631.6 Mtoe respectively (BP 2018 Stats). Even the BP 2018 Statistical Review of World Energy has an asterisks by US LNG exports which says, "Includes re-exports" which was 17.4 BCM or 15 Mtoe for 2018.

Ignacio , October 18, 2018 at 7:49 am

The US produces annually about 33,000,000 million cubic feet and consumes 27.000.000 million according to the EiA . So there is an excess to export indeed.

Synoia , October 18, 2018 at 3:23 pm

Leaving 6,000,000 million to be exported, until the shale gas no longer flows. How farsighted.

Ignacio , October 18, 2018 at 7:42 am

Natural gas negotiations involve long term contracts so there are lots of money to exchange ensuring business for many years to come. Such a contract has recently been signed between Poland's PGNiG and American Venture Global Calcasieu & Venture Global Plaquemines LNG (Lousiana). According to the Poland representative this gas would be 20% cheaper than Russian gas. (if one has to believe it). Those contracts are very secretive in their terms. This contract in particular is still dependent on the termination of liquefaction facilities in Lousiana.

I don't know much about NG markets in Poland but according to Eurostat prices for non-household consumers are very similar in Poland, Germany, Lithuania or Spain.

PlutoniumKun , October 18, 2018 at 10:36 am

Gas contracts are usually linked to oil prices. A lot of LNG is traded as a fungible product like oil, but that contract seems different – most likely its constructed this way because of the huge capital cost of the LNG facilities, which make very little economic sense for a country like Poland which has pipelines criss-crossing it. I suspect the terminals have more capacity that the contract quantity – the surplus would be traded at market prices, which would no doubt be where the profit margin is for the supplier (I would be deeply sceptical that unsubsidised LNG could ever compete with Russia gas, the capital costs involved are just too high).

Watt4Bob , October 18, 2018 at 8:26 am

IIRC, the US is pushing LNG because fracking has resulted in a lot of NG coincident with oil production. They've got so much NG coming out of fracked oil wells that they don't know what to do with it and at present, a lot of it just gets flared, or leaks into the atmosphere.

IMO, the folks responsible for this waste are as usual, ignoring the 'externalities', the costs to the environment of course, but also the cost of infrastructure and transport related to turning this situation to their advantage.

So they turn to bullying the EU to ignore the price advantage that Russia is able to offer, due to the economics of pipeline transport over liquefaction and ocean transport, and of course the issues of reliability and safety associated with ocean transport, and high-pressure LNG port facilities compared to pipelines.

This doesn't even take into account the possibility that the whole fracked gas supply may be a short-lived phenomenon, associated with what we've been describing here as basically a finance game.

Trump will probably offer the EU 'free' LNG port facilities financed by low-income American tax-payers, and cuts to 'entitlements', all designed to MAGA.

PlutoniumKun , October 18, 2018 at 10:39 am

Just to clarify, fracked gas is not usually a by-product of oil fracking – the geological beds are usually distinct (shale gas tends to occur at much deeper levels than tight oil). Gas can however be a byproduct of conventional oil production. 'wet' gas (propane, etc), can be a by-product of either.

Synapsid , October 18, 2018 at 11:14 am

PlutoniumKun,

It's common for oil wells both fracked and conventional to produce natural gas (NG) though not all do. The fracked wells in the Permian Basin are producing a great deal of it.

Natural gas does indeed form at higher temperatures than oil does and that means at greater depth but both oil and NG migrate upward. Exploration for petroleum is hunting for where it gets captured at depth, not for where it's formed. Those source rocks are used as indicators of where to look for petroleum trapped stratigraphically higher up.

Steve , October 18, 2018 at 8:53 am

It seems we have been maneuvering for a while to raise our production of LNG and oil (unsustainably) in order to become an important substitute supplier to the EU countries. It sort of looks like our plan is to reduce EU opposition to our attacking Russia. Then we will have China basically surrounded. This is made easier with our nuclear policy of "we can use nuclear weapons with acceptable losses." What could go wrong?

Watt4Bob , October 18, 2018 at 9:02 am

What could go wrong?

I wonder what the secret industry studies say about the damage possible from an accident at a LNG port terminal involving catastrophic failure and combustion of the entire cargo of a transport while unloading high-pressure LNG.

They call a fuel-air bomb the size of a school bus 'The Mother of all bombs', what about one the size of a large ocean going tanker?

Anarcissie , October 18, 2018 at 10:46 am

Many years ago, someone was trying to build an LNG storage facility on the southwest shore of Staten Island 17 miles SW of Manhattan involving very large insulated tanks. In spite of great secrecy, there came to be much local opposition. At the time it was said that the amount of energy contained in the tanks would be comparable to a nuclear weapon. Various possible disaster scenarios were proposed, for example a tank could be compromised by accident (plane crashes into it) or terrorism, contents catch fire and explode, huge fireball emerges and drifts with the wind, possibly over New Jersey's chemical farms or even towards Manhattan. The local opponents miraculously won. As far as I know, the disused tanks are still there.

Wukchumni , October 18, 2018 at 10:55 am

This was a fuel-air bomb @ Burning Man about a dozen years ago, emanating from an oil derrick of sorts.

I was about 500 feet away when it went up, and afterwards thought maybe we were a bit too close to the action, as we got blasted with heat

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wyc6LTVxhJA

The Rev Kev , October 18, 2018 at 10:56 am

Does this page help Watt4Bob?

https://www.laohamutuk.org/Oil/LNG/app4.htm

Watt4Bob , October 18, 2018 at 2:53 pm

That last one was a doozy as they say!

Nigeria 2005;

A 28-inch LNG underground pipeline exploded in Nigeria and the resulting fire engulfed an estimated 27 square kilometers.

Here's one from Cleveland;

On 20 October 1944, a liquefied natural gas storage tank in Cleveland, Ohio, split and leaked its contents, which spread, caught fire, and exploded. A half hour later, another tank exploded as well. The explosions destroyed 1 square mile (2.6 km2), killed 130, and left 600 homeless.

Synoia , October 18, 2018 at 3:54 pm

The locals in Nigeria drill hole in pipeline to get free fuel.

The Nigeria Government has been really wonderful about sharing the largess and riches of their large petroleum field in the Niger delta. Mostly with owners of expensive property around the world.

The Rev Kev , October 18, 2018 at 9:05 am

I am trying to think of what might be in it for the Germans to go along with this deal but cannot see any. The gas would be far more expensive that the Russian deliveries. A fleet of tankers and the port facilities would have to be built and who is going to pick up the tab for that? Then if the terminal is in Louisiana, what happens to deliveries whenever there is a hurricane?

I cannot see anything in it for the Germans at all. Trump's gratitude? That and 50 cents won't buy you a cup of coffee. In any case Trump would gloat about the stupidity of the Germans taking him up on the deal, not feel gratitude. The US wants Germany to stick with deliveries via the Ukraine as they have their thumb on that sorry country and can threaten Germany with that fact. Nord Stream 2 (and the eventual Nord Stream 3) threaten that hold.

The killer argument is this. In terms of business and remembering what international agreements Trump has broken the past two years, who is more reliable as a business partner for Germany – Putin's Russia or Trump's America?

Ignacio , October 18, 2018 at 10:20 am

Apart from cost issues, If American companies rely on shale gas to keep or increase production will they be able to honor 20 year supply contracts?

PlutoniumKun , October 18, 2018 at 10:37 am

I find it impossible to believe that a gas supplier would keep to an artificially low LNG contract if, say, a very cold winter in the US led to a shortage and extreme price spike. They'd come up with some excuse not to deliver.

The Rev Kev , October 18, 2018 at 10:40 am

Good question that. Poland has just signed a 20 year agreement with the US so I will be curious how that works out for them. Story at - https://www.rt.com/business/441494-poland-us-gas-lng/

jsn , October 18, 2018 at 12:16 pm

Trumps argument appears to be that Germany as a NATO member relies on US DOD for defense, to pay for that they must buy our LNG.

jefemt , October 18, 2018 at 9:25 am

My recollection was that there was a law that prohibited export-sales of domestic US hydrocarbons. That law was under attack, and went away in the last couple years?

LNG with your F35? said the transactional Orangeman

Duck1 , October 18, 2018 at 2:51 pm

The fracked crude is ultralight and unsuitable for the refineries in the quantities available, hence export, which caused congress to change the law. No expert, but understand that it is used a lot as a blender with heavier stocks of crude, quite a bit going to China.

oh , October 18, 2018 at 10:01 am

The petroleum industry has been bribing lobbying the administration for quite a while to get this policy in place, The so called surplus of NG today (if there is), won't last long. Exports will create a shortage and will result in higher prices to all.

vidimi , October 18, 2018 at 10:43 am

also, if Germany were to switch to American LNG, for how long would this be a reliable energy source? Fracking wells are short lived, so what happens once they are depleted? who foots the bill?

John k , October 18, 2018 at 12:48 pm

We do. Shortage here to honor export contracts, as has happened in Australia.

Big Tap , October 18, 2018 at 2:02 pm

The United States should lead by example. Telling Germany not to import Russian gas is rich considering the U.S. also imports from Russia. https://www.forbes.com/sites/rrapier/2018/07/12/russia-was-a-top-10-supplier-of-u-s-oil-imports-in-2017/

Seamus Padraig , October 18, 2018 at 2:14 pm

I just love the fact that Trump is publicly calling out Merkel on this; she has been nothing but two-faced and hypocritical on the Russia question.

She was one of the ones who pushed the EU hard, for example, to sanction Russia in the wake of the coup in Ukraine (which she had also supported). And then she pushed the EU hard to kill off the South Stream pipeline, which would have gone through SE Europe into Austria. She used the excuse of 'EU solidarity' against 'Russian aggression' to accomplish that only to then turn around and start building yet another pipeline out of Russia and straight into Germany! The Bulgarians et al. must feel like real idiots now. It seems Berlin wants to control virtually all the pipelines into Europe.

So, three cheers for Trump embarrassing Merkel on this issue!

Unna , October 18, 2018 at 2:24 pm

Putting money aside for a moment, Trump, as well as the entire American establishment, doesn't want Russia "controlling" Germany's energy supplies. That's because they want America to control Germany's energy supplies via controlling LNG deliveries from America to Germany and by controlling gas supplies to Germany through Ukraine. This by maintaining America's control over Ukraine's totally dependent puppet government. The Germans know this so they want Nord Stream 2 & 3.

Ukraine is an unreliable energy corridor on a good day. It is run by clans of rapacious oligarchs who don't give one whit about Ukraine, the Ukrainian "people", or much of anything else except business. The 2019 presidential election may turn into a contest among President Poroshenko the Chocolate King, Yulia Tymoshenko the Gas Princess, as well as some others including neo Nazis that go downhill from there. What competent German government would want Germany's energy supplies to be dependent on that mess?

It has been said that America's worst geopolitical nightmare is an economic-political-military combination of Russia, Iran, and China in the Eurasian "heartland". Right up there, if not worse, is a close political-economic association between Germany and Russia; now especially so since such a relationship can quickly be hooked into China's New Silk Road, which America will do anything to subvert including tariffs, sanctions, confiscations of assets, promotion of political-ethnic-religious grievances where they may exist along the "Belt-Road", as well as armed insurrections, really maybe anything short of all out war with Russia and China.

Germany's trying to be polite about this saying, sure, how about a little bit of LNG along with Nord Stream 2 & 3? But the time may come, if America pushes enough, that Germany will have to make an existential choice between subservience to America, and pursuit of it's own legitimate self interest.

Synoia , October 18, 2018 at 3:33 pm

The Empire fights Back.

Study a map of the ME, and consider the silk road Terminii.

Synoia , October 18, 2018 at 3:30 pm

It's hard to make NG explode, as it is with all liquid hydrocarbons. It is refrigerated, and must change from liquid to gaseous for, and be mixed with air.

I've also worked on a Gas Tanker in the summer vacations. The gas was refrigerated, and kept liquid. They is a second method, used for NG, that is to allow evaporation from the cargo, and use it as fuel for the engine (singular because there is one propulsion engine on most large ships) on the tanker.

Watt4Bob , October 18, 2018 at 5:31 pm

I dunno, there are other opinions .

[Oct 16, 2018] Defeat in Bavaria delivers knockout punch to Merkel's tenure as Chancellor (Video)

Oct 16, 2018 | theduran.com

The stunning CSU defeat in Bavaria means that the coalition partner in Angela Merkel's government has lost an absolute majority in their worst election results in Bavaria since 1950.

In a preview analysis before the election, Deutsche Welle noted that a CSU collapse could lead to Seehofer's resignation from Merkel's government, and conceivably Söder's exit from the Bavarian state premiership, which would remove two of the chancellor's most outspoken critics from power , and give her room to govern in the calmer, crisis-free manner she is accustomed to.

On the other hand, a heavy loss and big resignations in the CSU might well push a desperate party in a more volatile, abrasive direction at the national level. That would further antagonize the SPD, the center-left junior partners in Merkel's coalition, themselves desperate for a new direction and already impatient with Seehofer's destabilizing antics, and precipitate a break-up of the age-old CDU/CSU alliance, and therefore a break-up of Merkel's grand coalition. In short: Anything could happen after Sunday, up to and including Merkel's fall.

The Financial Times reports that the campaign was dominated by the divisive issue of immigration, in a sign of how the shockwaves from Merkel's disastrous decision to let in more than a million refugees in 2015-16 are continuing to reverberate through German politics and to reshape the party landscape.

The Duran's Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the stunning Bavarian election defeat of the CSU party, and the message voters sent to Angela Merkel, the last of the Obama 'rat pack' neo-liberal, globalist leaders whose tenure as German Chancellor appears to be coming to an end.

[Oct 12, 2018] Like the values and rules that led the NSA to eavesdrop on Chancellor Merkel's phone calls for years, and to use American Embassies as listening posts. Mutti Merkel was very understanding, considering they were only doing it to keep us all safe.

Oct 12, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Mark Chapman October 4, 2018 at 11:02 am

"the GRU's disregard for global values and rules that keep us all safe".

Like the values and rules that led the NSA to eavesdrop on Chancellor Merkel's phone calls for years, and to use American Embassies as listening posts. Mutti Merkel was very understanding, considering they were only doing it to keep us all safe.

http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/cover-story-how-nsa-spied-on-merkel-cell-phone-from-berlin-embassy-a-930205.html

The British and the Dutch – and doubtless all America's many 'allies' – have no real pride left. They just keep bending over further.

[Jun 17, 2018] In the German parliament Merkel and her supporters battle to continue their anti German policy against the CSU even in the CDU (Merkel's party) there are courageous people who that remind Merkel by whom she is paid, and to who she has obligations.

Jun 17, 2018 | www.unz.com

jilles dykstra , June 17, 2018 at 11:16 am GMT

http://www.achgut.com/artikel/wir_truemmerfrauen_nach_dem_merkelsturz

Im Bundestag kämpfen Merkel und ihre Treuesten derweil darum, ihre Anti-Deutschland-Politik unter anderem gegen die CSU durchzusetzen -- sogar in der CDU gibt es erste Mutige, die sich daran erinnern, wer sie bezahlt und wem sie eigentlich verpflichtet sind.

Rough translation:

" In the German parliament Merkel and her supporters battle to continue their anti German policy against the CSU -- even in the CDU (Merkel's party) there are courageous people who that remind Merkel by whom she is paid, and to who she has obligations. "

There are German rumours that Merkel will fall this week.

Historians from time to time write how curious it is that apparently unrelated events in different parts of the world change history.

I wonder if the Trump election with the realisation, long overdue, in Germany, that the migrants are a burden in stead of a contribution to the economy, may combine to Merkel's fall,in her wake maybe the implosion of the EU, and the end of the euro.

It was Merkel who prevented Greece leaving the euro.

[Apr 27, 2018] Atlantist Merkel on Iran deal

Apr 27, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

This so disgusting

Existing Iran deal 'not sufficient' to curb nuclear program - Merkel
https://www.rt.com/news/425345-existing-iran-deal-not-sufficient/

Posted by: test | Apr 27, 2018 2:31:46 PM | 123 karlof1 , Apr 27, 2018 3:00:58 PM | 124

test @123--

If Merkel refers to a total cessation of Iran's nuclear program, then she's technically correct. Except, the deal wasn't made to attain that outcome as Iran was not going to relinquish its rights under the NPT. And just what are "the problems with Iran" Merkel alludes to? Iran's helping to defeat NATO's terrorists within Iraq and Syria? Insisting the Outlaw US Empire obey International Law and abandon its illegal incursion into Syria? Trying to awaken the real International Community to the massive crime being committed daily in Yemen and the longstanding ongoing crime against Palestinian peoples by Zionists? Seems to me those are Merkel's problems, not a problem with Iran.

test , Apr 27, 2018 3:27:37 PM | 125
karlof1

Merkel is a symbol for Germany in this regard, a puppet to american interest, add to that the sucking up o israel and the result
is a vassal neocon-zionist warbent regime.
Will Germany be part of another conflict of war, this time with Iran? Crazy state (no offense to germans, this is the illogical behaviour by all of eu which of course not will follow Germany and thus US in its new warmongering).

[Apr 21, 2018] The couple Merkel/Sauer knows exactly how to evaluate that so-called evidence in Douma false flag

Apr 21, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Hmpf | Apr 20, 2018 5:51:46 AM | 165

@163 WillyW

Angela Merkel is not stupid - things are way worth than that.
She's got a PhD in physical chemistry, and what's rather mind-boggling in that context is the fact that her husband Joachim Sauer is a professor of chemistry and one of the worlds foremost experts in surface chemistry.
In the 2000s this guy was in the top 30 list of the worlds most extinguished chemists - let that sink in for a second.
The couple Merkel/Sauer knows exactly how to evaluate that so-called evidence, yet... - as I said the situation is way worse as generally anticipated.

[Apr 19, 2018] Merkel is a CIA asset. She has skeletons in her closet from her time in East Germany, and her meteoric rise to power was clearly engineered by a third party she herself lacked both the experience and the power base within the party for doing it herself

Judging from German press, Germany really looks like a US colony, not even vassal state.
Notable quotes:
"... She was promoted over Kohl's natural successor, Schaeuble, who was discredited using comparatively trifling allegations of accepting improper donations (aka bribes) on behalf of the party. ..."
"... Merkel has betrayed German interests at every turn, most blatantly in the context of the Greek debt fiasco and the refugee fake crisis. She goes along with imposing sanctions on Russia, which hurts export-oriented Germany like no other Western country. ..."
"... Merkel's selection as chancellor does not explain why German electorate keep electing her party as majority, which then is in the position to name her as chancellor. German people have been lobotomized and neutered after decades of Soros-Neocon brainwashing. ..."
Apr 19, 2018 | www.unz.com

WorkingClass , April 17, 2018 at 2:47 pm GMT

The most interesting aspect of this false response to a false flag attack is the non participation by Germany. Turkey has one foot in both camps. Germany will be next to turn. Time is working against Imperial Washington.

Mike P , April 18, 2018 at 5:50 pm GMT

@WorkingClass

German expat here.

Merkel is a CIA asset. She has skeletons in her closet from her time in East Germany, and her meteoric rise to power was clearly engineered by a third party -- she herself lacked both the experience and the power base within the party for doing it herself. She was promoted over Kohl's natural successor, Schaeuble, who was discredited using comparatively trifling allegations of accepting improper donations (aka bribes) on behalf of the party.

Merkel has betrayed German interests at every turn, most blatantly in the context of the Greek debt fiasco and the refugee fake crisis. She goes along with imposing sanctions on Russia, which hurts export-oriented Germany like no other Western country. At the same time, the "ultra-right" (i.e. common sense) party "Alternative fuer Deutschland" is forever mired in ridiculous infighting, which regularly escalates just ahead of elections -- funny how that is. Must be those meddling Russians.

Long story short, hell will freeze over before Merkel decides herself what is for breakfast, never mind for policy. I wish we could clone Putin and import him.

Avery , April 18, 2018 at 6:30 pm GMT
@Mike P

Merkel's selection as chancellor does not explain why German electorate keep electing her party as majority, which then is in the position to name her as chancellor. German people have been lobotomized and neutered after decades of Soros-Neocon brainwashing.

There is no other explanation for people who are committing slow self-extermination as a distinct ethnos. Same with the French electorate: they had a chance to elect a true French patriot and instead chose another globalist weirdo poodle.

Mike P , April 18, 2018 at 7:49 pm GMT
@Avery

Merkel's party has no majority – actually her party's share of the vote is at historic lows with less than one third (traditionally it was 45-50%). She has moved that formerly conservative party to the left by co-opting green and welfare agendas of the competing parties. The other formerly strong party, the Social Democrats, have been reduced to a status of auxiliaries in an eternal "grand coalition". In spite of infighting, the new "right-wing" AfD came in third in the last elections.

But of course, as you say, the people's failure to get rid of her is due in large measure to relentless media brainwashing, they swallow the refugee nonsense because it is subliminally suggested that it atones for the "holocaust" etc. I don't read a single German newspaper anymore, the manure is just too depressing.

Sean , April 18, 2018 at 8:39 pm GMT
@Mike P

Militarily subsidised by Nato, Germany spends next to nothing on its own defence and is keeping wages down even more than usual by importing immigrants, thereby aiding its deindustrialising of the rest of the EU. Russia is declining in national power compared to Germany by getting into silly pissing contests with America. Adolf Hitler always said it would be necessary to sacrifice millions of Germans to make Germany Great. He would approve of Merkel.

Mike P , April 18, 2018 at 9:47 pm GMT
@Sean

What keeps German wages down, in real terms, is the Euro, not the migrants.

You are correct on the neglect of the armed forces. I have griped about it often, but I have recently changed my tune. If the forces were indeed up to snuff, this would only cause the U.S. to "ask" for their deployment in their many endless idiotic wars. Letting the troops degrade to some sort of war museum on wheels is a sly way of getting out of that – can't deploy in the short term, sorry, no spark plugs, but will be more than happy to go along for the next war so I now see this as one of the few things Merkel got right.

[Apr 11, 2018] German MSM - leftish or rightish, doesn't matter - mindlessly repeat what our US colonial masters are telling them to

Notable quotes:
"... There is not a shred of independent, intelligent journalism left anywhere around here - and interestingly there is an amazing number of people who have completely given up believing the MSM and/or our government. ..."
Apr 11, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Martin MS | Apr 11, 2018 2:17:21 PM | 86

@ BM: My take on the situation in Germany: the MSM - leftish or rightish, doesn't matter - mindlessly repeat what our US colonial masters are telling them to.

There is not a shred of independent, intelligent journalism left anywhere around here - and interestingly there is an amazing number of people who have completely given up believing the MSM and/or our government.

But what can you do when the published opinions are completely manufactured and anyone has to suppose his neighbours all believe this idiocy?

Hmpf | Apr 11, 2018 2:06:44 PM | 113

@73 aaaaa

That's a bit of a stretch. Germans were demoralized long before, as each sane person knew the war will end in defeat from mid'42 on. Back in the days I had the somewhat questionable pleasure of talking to German ex-soldiers (two of my grand-uncles) that were deployed to the Eastern Front. Compared to the kind of warfare that was going on there, the fighting in the west and south was almost akin to being on vacation - I'm serious about that.

On average the Soviets, mainly comprised of todays Russian peoples, lost 16-18000 people a day, this is evidence of the fierceness of fighting and, also, to what amount of a beating the Russians can take without losing sight of their goal.

The Soviet Union did the real fighting against German forces. At all times there'd been about 85% of all German forces deployed to the east, without this there would had been no bombing campaign against Germany simply because the number of fighter aircraft available against allied bombers would had been overwhelming.

Except for a few elite units, hastily re-deployed from the east, the main force was inexperienced draftees with both a lack of proper training and equipment. All other experienced units stayed east in a desperate attempt to hold back the red army as long as any possible.

A very good friend of mine, who died a couple years back at age 84, was one of these unfortunate souls. When he turned 17 in late Dec.'44 he received an official letter that read 'A gift from the Fuhrer' - it was his draft note. That's been the kind of opponent the western allies faced late in the war, a bunch of badly under-equipped troops consisting of exhausted regulars and youths, that were scared shitless (his words, not mine).

Russia's a different kind of animal. They won WWII - European theater almost singlehandedly but had to pay dearly.

[Mar 31, 2018] Merkel and Skripal poisoning -- a despicable position of German neolineral elite

The problems with Germany is that it does not have any independent press... German MSM are probably worse then the USA MSM in being neoliberal stooges, if not to say prostitutes.
Also Merkel is a staunch neoliberal politician hell bent on neoliberal globalization and who still cling to power and tried to use the USA as a leverage to stay in power
Notable quotes:
"... So in a certain sense, I can imagine that the Russians feel really betrayed by this kind of behavior by Merkel. Now, Merkel has a specific background. You know, many people have always asked themselves, what makes this woman tick? Nobody has been able to answer that question in any satisfying way. But I think the Russians really feel betrayed. ..."
"... Merkel is just obviously following like a puppy-dog -- even though puppies are cuter than Mrs. Merkel, I would say. But I think it's a serious matter, and I think people should absolutely not fall for this, because these are the kinds of things which can get out of control and be the trigger for a new world war, and who would want that? ..."
Mar 31, 2018 | larouchepac.com

How To Outflank Mad Theresa May's March to World War III LaRouchePAC

ZEPP-LAROUCHE: I think the case of France is a little bit more complicated, because Macron, who had a slightly different emphasis on the cooperation with the New Silk Road and China, than Merkel, for example; the French Foreign Minister Yves Le Drian just announced that Macron will go to Moscow in May. So I think that that looks a little bit different than Mrs. Merkel, who -- really, I mean, it's a complete shame, and obviously this new "Grand Coalition" government, which is not so grand, given the fact that they are all falling in the polls like a stone; I think this is really a reflection of the fact that there is presently no German elite worth being called the name.

And I think that people in Germany should really not accept that. The history of the German-Russian relationship, given the fact that there were two world wars, the Second World War being an unbelievable memory in every Russian person; and then the fact that Russia agreed to the German unification, without any shots being fired or tanks being deployed, -- you know, in a peaceful way. Russia gave up East Germany and agreed to the unification, and received promises at that time that NATO would never be expanded to the borders of Russia, a promise which was broken. And then you had all these escalations.

So in a certain sense, I can imagine that the Russians feel really betrayed by this kind of behavior by Merkel. Now, Merkel has a specific background. You know, many people have always asked themselves, what makes this woman tick? Nobody has been able to answer that question in any satisfying way. But I think the Russians really feel betrayed.

And I think the German people should go back to the kind of Ostpolitik, at minimum, which was characteristic for German attitude for a very long time, to have a policy of good-neighborliness, of peaceful dialogue, of cooperation. And I think this is really, really important that the population in Germany does not fall in line with this aggressive British policy which Merkel is just obviously following like a puppy-dog -- even though puppies are cuter than Mrs. Merkel, I would say. But I think it's a serious matter, and I think people should absolutely not fall for this, because these are the kinds of things which can get out of control and be the trigger for a new world war, and who would want that?

[Mar 25, 2018] Germans media and voting for Mama Merkel

Notable quotes:
"... The mainstream media here in Germany, which is entirely and 100% under CIA control ..."
"... yes.... 100% right..... the servility of Germany with Merkel is disgusting and unbearable ..."
"... It's what one expects from Merkel and her NWO domesticated admin. EU gov'ts have been crying wolf for so long that few now believe a word coming from their media. ..."
Mar 25, 2018 | russia-insider.com

Serg Derbst2 days ago ,

I have the same worries. The mainstream media here in Germany, which is entirely and 100% under CIA control , has been ramping up anti-Russia propaganda since weeks. I didn't think it would be possible after the Ukraine conflict but it is even worse now. The comments of this filthy lunatic Boris Johnson but also of his boss-bitch Theresa May have been way below any line of decency. It's even below the kind of rhetoric Hitler has used when he talked about other statesmen such as (this fat, ugly war-criminal and mass murderer) Winston Churchill.

But it's not "the West" that is going to war, it is the Anglo-American establishment. "West" is an artificial propaganda term that should not be used anyway, because all it denotes is the countries dominated by Anglo-America. Germany and France, the only countries powerful enough to stop Anglo-American madness, are usually dancing to the tune of Warshington and London, but I am not so sure if they will really go all the way here, especially with Iran. Also and despite all the propaganda, while German and French people may not trust Russia and see Putin as a "dictator", they also see the US regime (especially with the Trumpet in charge) as nothing but a dangerous, trigger-happy war machinery. There is no way you could sell a war against Iran to them, also not the rest of Europe including Britain. I even have doubts about whether the American public would swallow such a war.

Either way, it will be a disaster for the "West" - economically, politically, militarily. In fact, it will be the end of the "West" and of the Anglo-American empire including the Zionist colony. So in the end there might be a great result of yet another horror. What Russia really needs to do now is to give both Syria and Iran the full power of Russian air defence.

CyricRenner Serg Derbsta day ago ,

Having spent some time in Germany, I have to agree with these comments. If you think the Propaganda is bad in the US and the UK, in Germany it is even worse. It is almost as if they are in competition to be the most servile and obedient to their masters. It is if history doesn't even exist. It is 1941 all over again. The difference being Germany has nothing to fight with and if it comes to war they will be absolutely pulverized to nuclear ash.

This is how stupid the media is to hype this Anti-Russian propaganda 24/7, 7 days a week. There is no real "alternative" news that I could find either. If there is a silver lining in all this though, is that many Germans don't take the media seriously at all anymore. When you overcook the pot, this is what can happen. Just like that fool Boris Johnson. He has now compared Putin to Hitler and the 1936 olympics. How stupid can this buffoon be? You think you can just carry on with business as usual once this stupid provocation with the poisoned spy blows over after saying something like that? He hasn't just insulted Putin, he has insulted all of Russia who sacrificed more than any other country to stop Hitler. I can't believe what low IQ clowns the UK is producing as politicians these days. It is really scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Nationalist Globalist Oligarch CyricRennera day ago ,

Does it really matter if the so called Germans take the media seriously?

They keep voting for Mama Merkel, that really tells me quite a bit about the people living in Germany and their political concerns.

Peter Jennings Nationalist Globalist Oligarch19 hours ago ,

Has Germany ever had an election without US interference? I would imagine that securing power for anyone they choose in the EU has been a doddle for the US, even Hitler's daughter. That would be a sick joke typical of US neocons.

Nationalist Globalist Oligarch Peter Jennings16 hours ago ,

Has the USA ever had an election with out interference from its ruling class?

Seems to me the only people really being represented anywhere are the elite, the common citizen is just unimportant fodder to be led and manipulated.

Canosin CyricRennera day ago ,

yes.... 100% right..... the servility of Germany with Merkel is disgusting and unbearable .....

wilmers13 CyricRenner3 hours ago ,

As a former journalist in Germany I agree. All German news and current affairs are sanitized. People who object to too much power in the hands of the US on German soil or who are against the wars will be sidelined or blacklisted, depending on what their job is. "They" prepare for a new war, or they would not need a new billion $ military hospital near Ramstein. It said in one article that the German government could not prevent it and had to contribute, too. Pawns.

On the whole, though, what they prepare is NOT a war by the West, it is by the US for Full Spectrum Dominance. They rope in allies,sure, but I'd like to be optimistic. After the Iraq and ME experiences the populations (also here in Australia) are not enthusiastic. So maybe this time it will be US vs .... and they cannot hide behind a coalition.

The governments of Germany and Australia always kowtow of course. Ramstein and Pine Gap are crucial for the warmongers.

Serg Derbst CyricRenner5 hours ago ,

Thank you for recognizing this, but you're wrong about the German alternative scene. I think it is one of the strongest out there, it is just, well, German. Not so aggressive and more analytical. If you ask me, what the world needs is German Spirit, but this spirit has been oppressed (largely voluntarily, I admit) for the past 70 years or so, but it is still there.

And when I say German, I mean the real meaning of it, so the cultural heritage of the German language. Switzerland, Austria and others are definitely included. Do you speak German?

Play Hide
joe CyricRenner9 hours ago ,

The globalists need low IQ people to carry out the water for them but their days are numbered anyways...

Peter Jennings CyricRenner19 hours ago ,

It's what one expects from Merkel and her NWO domesticated admin. EU gov'ts have been crying wolf for so long that few now believe a word coming from their media. Most sit there and view it all as a form of entertainment. Maybe it's the reason why many people in the west are ambivalent.

[Jan 22, 2018] German Imperialism as a tool of the "Kingdom of Money" by Thomas Fazi

Ukraine after EuroMaydan is a de-facto EU colony.
Notable quotes:
"... By Thomas Fazi 4 December 2017 ..."
"... For Germany, the idea of Europeanism has provided the country's elites with the perfect alibi to conceal their hegemonic project behind the ideological veil of 'European integration' ..."
"... "That may sound absurd given that today's Germany is a successful democracy without a trace of national-socialism – and that no one would actually associate Merkel with Nazism. But further reflection on the word 'Reich', or empire, may not be entirely out of place. The term refers to a dominion, with a central power exerting control over many different peoples. According to this definition, would it be wrong to speak of a German Reich in the economic realm?" ..."
"... More recently, an article in Politico Europe ..."
"... Even though the power exercised by Europe's 'colonial masters' is now openly acknowledged by the mainstream press, it is however commonplace to ascribe Germany's dominant position as an accident of history: according to this narrative, we are in the presence of an 'accidental empire', one that is not the result of a general plan but that emerged almost by chance – even against ..."
"... Germany (and France) have been the main beneficiaries of the sovereign bailouts of periphery countries , which essentially amounted to a covert bailout of German (and French) banks, as most of the funds were channelled back to the creditor countries' banks, which were heavily exposed to the banks (and to a lesser degree the governments) of periphery countries. German policy, Helen Thompson wrote , overwhelmingly 'served the interests of the German banks'. ..."
"... This is a telling example of how Germany's policies (and the EU's policies more in general), while nominally ordoliberal – i.e., based upon minimal government intervention and a strict rules-based regime – are in reality based on extensive state intervention on behalf of German capital, at both the domestic and European level. ..."
"... German authorities have also been more than happy to go along with – or to encourage – the European institutions' 'exercise of unrestrained executive power and the more or less complete abandonment of strict, rules-based frameworks' – Storey is here referring in particular to the ECB's use of its currency-issuing monopoly to force member states to follows its precepts – 'to maintain the profitability of German banks, German hegemony within the Eurozone, or even the survival of the Eurozone itself'. ..."
"... Germany (and France) are also the main beneficiaries of the ongoing process of 'mezzogiornification' of periphery countries – often compounded by troika -forced privatisations –, which in recent years has allowed German and French firms to take over a huge number of businesses (or stakes therewithin) in periphery countries, often at bargain prices. A well-publicised case is that of the 14 Greek regional airports taken over by the German airport operator Fraport. ..."
"... France's corporate offensive in Italy is another good example: in the last five years, French companies have engaged in 177 Italian takeovers, for a total value of $41.8 billion, six times Italy's purchases in France over the same period. This is leading to an increased 'centralisation' of European capital, characterised by a gradual concentration of capital and production in Germany and other core countries – in the logistical and distribution sectors, for example – and more in general to an increasingly imbalanced relationship between the stronger and weaker countries of the union. ..."
"... In short, the European Union should indeed be viewed a transnational capitalist project, but one that is subordinated to a clear state-centred hierarchy of power, with Germany in the dominant position. In this sense, the national elites in periphery countries that have supported Germany's hegemonic project (and continue to do so, first and foremost through their support to European integration) can thus be likened to the comprador bourgeoisie ..."
"... Exportnationalismus' ..."
"... Modell Deutschland ..."
"... Even more worryingly, Germany is not simply aiming at expanding its economic control over the European continent; it is also taking steps for greater European military 'cooperation' – under the German aegis, of course. As a recent article in Foreign Policy ..."
"... In other words, Germany already effectively controls the armies of four countries. And the initiative, Foreign Policy ..."
Jan 21, 2018 | www.defenddemocracy.press
Originally from: Germany's dystopian plans for Europe: from fantasy to reality? By Thomas Fazi 4 December 2017

For Germany, the idea of Europeanism has provided the country's elites with the perfect alibi to conceal their hegemonic project behind the ideological veil of 'European integration'

After Emmanuel Macron's election in France, many (including myself) claimed that this signalled a revival of the Franco-German alliance and a renewed impetus for Europe's process of top-down economic and political integration – a fact that was claimed by most commentators and politicians, beholden as they are to the Europeanist narrative, to be an unambiguously positive development.

Among the allegedly 'overdue' reforms that were said to be on the table was the creation of a pseudo-'fiscal union' backed by a (meagre) 'euro budget', along with the creation of a 'European finance minister', the centre-points of Macron's plans to 're-found the EU' – a proposal that raises a number of very worrying issues from both political and economic standpoints, which I have discussed at length elsewhere .

The integrationists' (unwarranted) optimism, however, was short-lived. The result of the German elections, which saw the surge of two rabidly anti-integrationist parties, the right-wing FDP and extreme right AfD; the recent collapse of coalition talks between Merkel's CDU, the FDP and the Greens, which most likely means an interim government for weeks if not months, possibly leading to new elections (which polls show would bring roughly the same result as the September election); and the growing restlessness in Germany towards the 13-year-long rule of Macron's partner in reform Angela Merkel, means that any plans that Merkel and Macron may have sketched out behind the scenes to further integrate policies at the European level are now, almost certainly, dead in the water. Thus, even the sorry excuse for a fiscal union proposed by Macron is now off the table, according to most commentators.

At this point, the German government's most likely course in terms of European policy – the one that has the best chance of garnering cross-party support, regardless of the outcome of the coalition talks (or of new elections) – is the 'minimalist' approach set in stone by the country's infamous and now-former finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, in a 'non-paper' published shortly before his resignation.

The main pillar of Schäuble's proposal – a long-time obsession of his – consists in giving the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), which would go on to become a 'European Monetary Fund', the power to monitor (and, ideally, enforce) compliance with the Fiscal Compact. This echoes Schäuble's previous calls for the creation of a European budget commissioner with the power to reject national budgets – a supranational fiscal enforcer.

The aim is all too clear: to further erode what little sovereignty and autonomy member states have left, particularly in the area of fiscal policy, and to facilitate the imposition of neoliberal 'structural reforms' – flexibilisation of labour markets, reduction of collective bargaining rights, etc. – on reluctant countries.

To this end, the German authorities even want to make the receipt of EU cohesion funds conditional on the implementation of such reforms , tightening the existing arrangements even further. Moreover, as noted by Simon Wren-Lewis , the political conflict of interest of having an institution lending within the eurozone would end up imposing severe austerity bias on the recovering country.

Until recently, these proposals failed to materialise due, among other reasons, to France's opposition to any further overt reductions of national sovereignty in the area of budgetary policy; Macron, however, staunchly rejects France's traditional souverainiste stance, embracing instead what he calls 'European sovereignty', and thus represents the perfect ally for Germany's plans.

Another proposal that goes in the same direction is the German Council for Economic Experts' plan to curtail banks' sovereign bond holdings. Ostensibly aimed at 'severing the link between banks and government' and 'ensuring long-term debt sustainability', it calls for: (i) removing the exemption from risk-weighting for sovereign exposures, which essentially means that government bonds would no longer be considered a risk-free asset for banks (as they are now under Basel rules), but would be 'weighted' according to the 'sovereign default risk' of the country in question (as determined by credit rating agencies); (ii) putting a cap on the overall risk-weighted sovereign exposure of banks; and (iii) introducing an automatic 'sovereign insolvency mechanism' that would essentially extend to sovereigns the bail-in rule introduced for banks by the banking union, meaning that if a country requires financial assistance from the ESM, for whichever reason, it will have to lengthen its sovereign bond maturities (reducing the market value of those bonds and causing severe losses for all bondholders) and, if necessary, impose a nominal 'haircut' on private creditors.

As noted by the German economist Peter Bofinger , the only member of the German Council of Economic Experts to vote against the sovereign bail-in plan, this would almost certainly ignite a 2012-style self-fulfilling sovereign debt crisis, as periphery countries' bond yields would quickly rise to unsustainable levels, making it increasingly hard for governments to roll over maturing debt at reasonable prices and eventually forcing them to turn to the ESM for help, which would entail even heavier losses for their banks and an even heavier dose of austerity.

It would essentially amount to a return to the pre-2012 status quo, with governments once again subject to the supposed 'discipline' of the markets, particularly in the context of a likely tapering of the ECB's quantitative easing (QE) program. The aim of this proposal is the same as that of Schäuble's 'European Monetary Fund': to force member states to implement permanent austerity.

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Of course, national sovereignty in a number of areas – most notably fiscal policy – has already been severely eroded by the complex system of new laws, rules and agreements introduced in recent years, including but not limited to the six-pack, two-pack, Fiscal Compact, European Semester and Macroeconomic Imbalances Procedure (MIP).

As a result of this new post-Maastricht system of European economic governance, the European Union has effectively become a sovereign power with the authority to impose budgetary rules and structural reforms on member states outside democratic procedures and without democratic control.

The EU's embedded quasi-constitutionalism and inherent (structural) democratic deficit has thus evolved into an even more anti-democratic form of 'authoritarian constitutionalism' that is breaking away with elements of formal democracy as well, leading some observers to suggest that the EU 'may easily become the postdemocratic prototype and even a pre-dictatorial governance structure against national sovereignty and democracies'.

To give an example, with the launch of the European Semester, the EU's key tool for economic policy guidance and surveillance, an area that has historically been a bastion of national sovereignty – old-age pensions – has now fallen under the purview of supranational monitoring as well. Countries are now expected to (and face sanctions if they don't): (i) increase the retirement age and link it with life expectancy; (ii) reduce early retirement schemes, improve the employability of older workers and promote lifelong learning; (iii) support complementary private savings to enhance retirement incomes; and (iv) avoid adopting pension-related measures that undermine the long term sustainability and adequacy of public finances.

This has led to the introduction in various countries of several types of automatic stabilizing mechanisms (ASMs) in pension systems, which change the policy default so that benefits or contributions adjust automatically to adverse demographic and economic conditions without direct intervention by politicians. Similar 'automatic correction mechanisms' in relation to fiscal policy can be found in the Fiscal Compact.

The aim of all these 'automatic mechanisms' is clearly to put the economy on 'autopilot', thus removing any element of democratic discussion and/or decision-making at either the European or national level. These changes have already transformed European states into 'semi-sovereign' entities, at best. In this sense, the proposals currently under discussion would mark the definitive transformation of European states from semi-sovereign to de facto (and increasingly de jure ) non-sovereign entities.

Regardless of the lip service paid by national and European officials to the need for further reductions of national sovereignty to go hand in hand with a greater 'democratisation' of the euro area, the reforms currently on the table can, in fact, be considered the final stage in the thirty-year-long war on democracy and national sovereignty waged by the European elites, aimed at constraining the ability of popular-democratic powers to influence economic policy, thus enabling the imposition of neoliberal policies that would not have otherwise been politically feasible.

In this sense, the European economic and monetary integration process should be viewed, to a large degree, as a class-based and inherently neoliberal project pursued by all national capitals as well as transnational (financial) capital. However, to grasp the processes of restructuring under way in Europe, we need to go beyond the simplistic capital/labour dichotomy that underlies many critical analyses of the EU and eurozone, which view EU/EMU policies as the expression of a unitary and coherent transnational (post-national) European capitalist class.

The process underway can only be understood through the lens of the geopolitical-economic tensions and conflicts between leading capitalist states and regional blocs, and the conflicting interests between the different financial/industrial capital fractions located in those states, which have always characterised the European economy. In particular, it means looking at Germany's historic struggle for economic hegemony over the European continent.

It is no secret that Germany is today the leading economic and political power in Europe, just as it is no secret that nothing gets done in Europe without Germany's seal of approval. In fact, it is commonplace to come across references to Germany's 'new empire'. A controversial Der Spiegel editorial from a few years back event went as far as arguing that it is not out place to talk of the rise of a 'Fourth Reich':

"That may sound absurd given that today's Germany is a successful democracy without a trace of national-socialism – and that no one would actually associate Merkel with Nazism. But further reflection on the word 'Reich', or empire, may not be entirely out of place. The term refers to a dominion, with a central power exerting control over many different peoples. According to this definition, would it be wrong to speak of a German Reich in the economic realm?"

More recently, an article in Politico Europe – co-owned by the German media magnate Axel Springer AG – candidly explained why 'Greece is de facto a German colony'. It noted how, despite Tsipras' pleas for debt relief, the Greek leader 'has little choice but to heed the wishes of his "colonial" masters', i.e., the Germans.

This is because public debt in the eurozone is used as a political tool – a disciplining tool – to get governments to implement socially harmful policies (and to get citizens to accept these policies by portraying them as inevitable), which explains why Germany continues to refuse to seriously consider any form of debt relief for Greece, despite the various commitments and promises to that end made in recent years: debt is the chain that keeps Greece (and other member states) from straying 'off course'.

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Even though the power exercised by Europe's 'colonial masters' is now openly acknowledged by the mainstream press, it is however commonplace to ascribe Germany's dominant position as an accident of history: according to this narrative, we are in the presence of an 'accidental empire', one that is not the result of a general plan but that emerged almost by chance – even against Germany's wishes – as a result of the euro's design faults, which have allowed Germany and its satellites to pursue a neo-mercantilist strategy and thus accumulate huge current account surpluses.

Now, it is certainly true that the euro's design – strongly influenced by Germany – inevitably benefits export-led economies such as Germany over more internal demand-oriented economies, such as those of southern Europe. However, there is ample evidence to support the argument that Germany, far from having accidently stumbled upon European dominance, has been actively and consciously pursuing an expansionary and imperialist strategy in – and through – the European Union for decades.

Even if we limit our analysis to Germany's post-crisis policies (though there is much that could be said about Germany's post-reunification policies and subsequent offshoring of production to Eastern Europe in the 1990s), it would be very naïve to view Germany's inflexibility – on austerity, for example – as a simple case of ideological stubbornness, considering the extent to which the policies in question have benefited Germany (and to a lesser extent France).

Germany (and France) have been the main beneficiaries of the sovereign bailouts of periphery countries , which essentially amounted to a covert bailout of German (and French) banks, as most of the funds were channelled back to the creditor countries' banks, which were heavily exposed to the banks (and to a lesser degree the governments) of periphery countries. German policy, Helen Thompson wrote , overwhelmingly 'served the interests of the German banks'.

This is a telling example of how Germany's policies (and the EU's policies more in general), while nominally ordoliberal – i.e., based upon minimal government intervention and a strict rules-based regime – are in reality based on extensive state intervention on behalf of German capital, at both the domestic and European level.

As Andy Storey notes, not only did the German government, throughout the crisis, show a blatant disregard for ordoliberalism's non-interference of public institutions in the workings of the market, by engaging in a massive Keynesian-style programme in the aftermath of the financial crisis and pushing through bailout programmes that largely absolved German banks from their responsibility for reckless lending to Greece and other countries; German authorities have also been more than happy to go along with – or to encourage – the European institutions' 'exercise of unrestrained executive power and the more or less complete abandonment of strict, rules-based frameworks' – Storey is here referring in particular to the ECB's use of its currency-issuing monopoly to force member states to follows its precepts – 'to maintain the profitability of German banks, German hegemony within the Eurozone, or even the survival of the Eurozone itself'.

Germany (and France) are also the main beneficiaries of the ongoing process of 'mezzogiornification' of periphery countries – often compounded by troika -forced privatisations –, which in recent years has allowed German and French firms to take over a huge number of businesses (or stakes therewithin) in periphery countries, often at bargain prices. A well-publicised case is that of the 14 Greek regional airports taken over by the German airport operator Fraport.

France's corporate offensive in Italy is another good example: in the last five years, French companies have engaged in 177 Italian takeovers, for a total value of $41.8 billion, six times Italy's purchases in France over the same period. This is leading to an increased 'centralisation' of European capital, characterised by a gradual concentration of capital and production in Germany and other core countries – in the logistical and distribution sectors, for example – and more in general to an increasingly imbalanced relationship between the stronger and weaker countries of the union.

These transformations cannot simply be described as processes without a subject: while there are undoubtedly structural reasons involved – countries with better developed economies of scale, such as Germany and France, were bound to benefit more than others from the reduction in tariffs and barriers associated with the introduction of the single currency – we also have to acknowledge that there are loci of economic-politic power that are actively driving and shaping these imperialist processes, which must be viewed through the lens of the unresolved inter-capitalist struggle between core-based and periphery-based capital.

From this perspective, the dichotomy that is often raised in European public discourse between nationalism and Europeanism is deeply flawed. The two, in fact, often go hand in hand. In Germany's case, for example, Europeanism has provided the country's elites with the perfect alibi to conceal their hegemonic project behind the ideological veil of 'European integration'. Ironically, the European Union – allegedly created as an antidote to the vicious nationalisms of the twentieth century – has been the tool through which Germany has been able to achieve the 'new European order' that Nazi ideologues had theorised in the 1930s and early 1940s.

In short, the European Union should indeed be viewed a transnational capitalist project, but one that is subordinated to a clear state-centred hierarchy of power, with Germany in the dominant position. In this sense, the national elites in periphery countries that have supported Germany's hegemonic project (and continue to do so, first and foremost through their support to European integration) can thus be likened to the comprador bourgeoisie of the old colonial system – sections of a country's elite and middle class allied with foreign interests in exchange for a subordinated role within the dominant hierarchy of power.

From this point of view, the likely revival of the Franco-German bloc is a very worrying development, since it heralds a consolidation of the German-led European imperialist bloc – and a further 'Germanification' of the continent. This development cannot be understood independently of the momentous shifts that are taking place in global political economy – namely the organic crisis of neoliberal globalisation, which is leading to increased tensions between the various fractions of international capital, most notably between the US and Germany.

Trump's repeated criticisms of Germany's beggar-thy-neighbour mercantilist policies should be understood in this light. The same goes for Angela Merkel's recent call – much celebrated by the mainstream press – for a stronger Europe to counter Trump's unilateralism. Merkel's aim is not, of course, that of making 'Europe' stronger, but rather of strengthening Germany's dominant position vis-à-vis the other world powers (the US but also China) through the consolidation of Germany's control of the European continental economy, in the context of an intensification of global inter-capitalist competition.

This has now become an imperative for Germany, especially since Trump has dared to openly challenge the self-justifying ideology which sustains Germany's mercantilism – a particular form of economic nationalism that Hans Kundnani has dubbed ' Exportnationalismus' , founded upon the belief that Germany's massive trade surplus is uniquely the result of Germany's manufacturing excellence ( Modell Deutschland ) rather than, in fact, the result of unfair trade practices.

This is why, if Germany wants to maintain its hegemonic position on the continent, it must break with the US and tighten the bolts of the European workhouse. To this end, it needs to seize control of the most coveted institution of them all – the ECB –, which hitherto has never been under direct German control (though the Bundesbank exercises considerable influence over it, as is well known). Indeed, many commentators openly acknowledge that Merkel now has her eyes on the ECB's presidency. This would effectively put Germany directly at the helm of European economic policy.

Even more worryingly, Germany is not simply aiming at expanding its economic control over the European continent; it is also taking steps for greater European military 'cooperation' – under the German aegis, of course. As a recent article in Foreign Policy revealed , 'Germany is quietly building a European army under its command'.

This year Germany and two of its European allies, the Czech Republic and Romania, announced the integration of their armed forces, under the control of the Bundeswehr. In doing so, the will follow in the footsteps of two Dutch brigades, one of which has already joined the Bundeswehr's Rapid Response Forces Division and another that has been integrated into the Bundeswehr's 1st Armored Division.

In other words, Germany already effectively controls the armies of four countries. And the initiative, Foreign Policy notes, 'is likely to grow'. This is not surprising: if Germany ('the EU') wants to become truly autonomous from the US, it needs to acquire military sovereignty, which it currently lacks.

Europe is thus at a crossroads: the choice that left-wing and popular forces, and periphery countries more generally, face is between (a) accepting Europe's transition to a fully post-democratic, hyper-competitive, German-led continental system, in which member states (except for those at the helm of the project) will be deprived of all sovereignty and autonomy, in exchange for a formal democratic façade at the supranational level, and its workers subject to ever-growing levels of exploitation; or (b) regaining national sovereignty and autonomy at the national level, with all the short-term risks that such a strategy entails, as the only way to restore democracy, popular sovereignty and socioeconomic dignity. In short, the choice is between European post-democracy or post-European democracy.

There is no third way. Especially in view of the growing tensions between Germany, the US and China, periphery countries should ask themselves if they want to be simple pawns in this 'New Great Game' or if they want to take their destinies into their own hands.

-- -

Some portions of this article previously appeared in this article published by Green European Journal. Thomas Fazi is the co-author (with William Mitchell) of Reclaiming the State: A Progressive Vision of Sovereignty for a Post-Neoliberal World (Pluto, 2017).

[Sep 30, 2017] Yanis Varoufakis Schauble Leaves but Schauble-ism Lives On by Yanis Varoufakis

Notable quotes:
"... Why did Dr Schäuble aim at maintaining the eurozones fragility? Why was he, in this context, ever so keen to maintain the threat of Grexit? The simple answer is: Because a state of permanent fragility was instrumental to his strategy for using the threat of expulsion from the euro (or even of Germanys withdrawal from it) to discipline the deficit countries – chiefly France. ..."
"... Deep in Dr Schäuble thinking there was the belief that, as a federation is infeasible, the euro is a glorified fixed exchange rate regime. ..."
"... It really seems that the outcomes of both versions of economic conservatism produce similar neoliberal outcomes in aggregate: reduced wages, precarious working conditions, increasing economic inequality, reduced services, tax money being funnelled to businesses, and vanishing/crumbling infrastructure ..."
"... Then again, Obsourne* was all about the rhetoric of balanced budgets – that is, balanced budget for the poor, unbalanced budget stimulus for the rich. So, there can also be a Tory similarity with the German type of economic conservative strand. ..."
"... For the average working punter the situation, in toto, just keeps getting worse. ..."
"... I think ordoliberal is the appropriate term of art for schauble, a lawyer not an economist, and one with a rather dredd like approach to jurisprudence (bribes being acceptable business expenses in Germany until recently). ..."
"... I think ordoliberal is the appropriate term of art for schauble ..."
"... with a rather dredd like approach to jurisprudence ..."
"... I agree that he is on board with ordoliberallism which is basically a nutcase extremist version of neoliberalism that is mainstream in Germany but I didn't want to over-egg the pudding. Let us not forget that the non-ordoliberal IMF has fronted for the Troikas tender ministrations to debtor countries during pretty much all of Schaubles tenure, save its pushback in the latest round of financing for Greece over the refusal of EU state lenders to Greece to write off some of the debt owed. And the IMF still capitulated. ..."
"... So if the IMF stood shoulder to shoulder with Schauble, does the fact that he was an ordoliberal as opposed to neoliberal make any difference in practice? ..."
"... On the other hand, while Neoliberals are True Believers on the benefits of free movement and trade, Ordoliberals are far more pragmatic, and are at heart mercantilists and corporatists (and this includes being quite happy to keep Trade Unions and other social sectors on board rather than seeing them as enemies). This is clearly reflected in the constitutional make-up of the EU. ..."
"... Its also worth pointing out that while in the Anglosphere liberals have a unified approach and dominate the main parties, in many European countries, in particular Germany, there are, and always have been, distinct parties representing the different shades of liberal views, with Christian Democrats being Ordos, while smaller parties such as the Free Democrats representing a purer form of liberalism. As Yanis points out, a strengthened FDP is a disaster for Europe, we can only hope that the Greens somehow manage to wrestle away some of the economic portfolio from them. ..."
"... Philip Mirowski, who seems to have tried as much as anyone to clarify what is and isn't neoliberalism, considers ordoliberalism one of at least three or four variants: ordo, Austrian, Chicago School and, probably, James Buchanans public choice. He identifies Carl Schmitt as a key influence on Hayek, particularly Schmitts notions that the economy was too important to be left to the whims of democracy (only a strong state can preserve and enhance a free-market economy) and the exception, which is to say that the state should stay out of the economy at all times (i.e. no bailouts for you) except when preserving the market requires state intervention. Think Obama and big banks. ..."
"... I agree that Im surprised so many German workers have blithely accepted this constriction on their incomes. ..."
Sep 30, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Posted on September 29, 2017 by Yves Smith

Originally published at his website

Yves here. It was painful to read the encomiums for Wolfgang Schäuble yesterday as he is about to leave his post as German finance minister and become speaker of the Bundestag.

The New York Times and Financial Times, among others, praised for his role as austerity enforcer and depicted him as the truest defender of European unity. In fact, the neoliberal policies that Schauble backed increased the centrifugal forces in the Eurozone, weakened an already anemic recovery, and provided powerful evidence that Europeans are anti-democratic, which in turn helped fuel Brexit and the rise of nationalist parties, particularly in France and Germany.

These accounts also either failed to mention or greatly underplayed the fact that Schäuble took bribes from an arms merchant, which put an end to his aspirations to become Chancellor.

Yanis Varoufakis

Wolfgang Schäuble may heave left the finance ministry but his policy for turning the eurozone into an iron cage of austerity, that is the very antithesis of a democratic federation, lives on.

What is remarkable about Dr Schäubles tenure was how he invested heavily in maintaining the fragility of the monetary union, rather than eradicating it in order to render the eurozone macro-economically sustainable and resilient. Why did Dr Schäuble aim at maintaining the eurozones fragility? Why was he, in this context, ever so keen to maintain the threat of Grexit? The simple answer is: Because a state of permanent fragility was instrumental to his strategy for using the threat of expulsion from the euro (or even of Germanys withdrawal from it) to discipline the deficit countries – chiefly France.

Deep in Dr Schäuble thinking there was the belief that, as a federation is infeasible, the euro is a glorified fixed exchange rate regime. And the only way of maintaining discipline within such a regime was to keep alive the threat of expulsion or exit. But to keep that threat alive, the eurozone could not be allowed to develop the instruments and institutions that would stop it from being fragile. Thus, the eurozones permanent fragility was, from Dr Schäubles perspective an end-in-itself, rather than a failure.

The Free Democratic Partys ascension will see to it that Wolfgang Schäubles departure will not alter the policy of doing whatever it takes to prevent the eurozone s evolution into a sustainable macroeconomy. The FDPs sole promise to its voters was to prevent any of Emmanuel Macrons plans, for some federation-lite, from being agreed to, and for pursuing Grexit. Even worse, whereas Wolfgang Schäuble understood that austerity plus new loans were catastrophic for countries like Greece (but insisted on them as part of his campaign to discipline France and Italy), his FDP successors at the finance ministry will probably be less enlightened believing that the tough medicine is fit for purpose.

And so the never ending crisis of Europes social economy, that feeds the xenophobic political monsters, continues.

PlutoniumKun , September 29, 2017 at 3:23 am

Just a slight – perhaps pedantic – point. Im not sure its correct except in its loosest sense to say that Schauble is a neoliberal. I think it can be deceptive sometimes to label everything we leftists dont like as neoliberal. He comes from quite a distinct line of German thought which explicitly rejects Keynesianism (even though the German economy has in reality many carefully built in counter-cyclical stabilisers) but mixes some Hayek with old fashioned mercantilism. The obsession with trade surpluses is one obvious differential between them and what we would consider neoliberalism. There is a good discussion of the distinctiveness of German conservative economic thought here .

As for the praise Schauble gets, it continually astonishes me, even in the victim countries, that Merkel and Schauble get such a free pass for the enormous damage they have done to Europe in the past 10 years, and that includes from many on the notional left. I think it shows just how hard it is to shift the notion of balanced budgets and living within our needs as a form of virtue . The (in many ways justified) worldwide admiration for the German economic model is such that people find it very hard not to feel somehow that they are always right. Even in Germany of course the potential for long term ruin has been set by the almost complete absence of investment in infrastructure over the last 2 decades.

Frenchguy , September 29, 2017 at 4:48 am

While I agree that German economic thought is archaic and that Merkel/Schauble were quite narrow-minded during the euro crisis, one criticism that I think is unfair is the one where they supposedly imposed austerity. Schauble in particular was always quite clear: if you want to stay in the Eurozone, you have to respect the fiscal rules that were agreed beforehand otherwise no worries, we will help you leave. Ill repeat that, Schauble was aware that Grexit might be the better option and was prepared to help but he left the choice to Greek leaders (side note, its actually the French that ruled out an exit from the Eurozone). The rules might have been dumb but the time to complain was before signing them, not after (newsflash: Germans are stickler for rules). Of course, peripheral countries knew that exiting the eurozone was actually not a panacea and Varoufakis in particular hoped to blackmail Germany into accepting his plans, that went well

So yeah, to say that they saved the Eurozone is far-fetched and they were certainly not visionnary in any sense of the world but they did bend the rules and they did spend a lot of domestic political capital on that (on the other hand, a bailout for the periphery was not that unpopular in France but French leaders pretty much capitulated on the issue). If you want a comparison, Merkel allowed the AfD to take flight in order to help the periphery while Tories in the UK did bail out of the EU in order to woo back UKIP voters. And of course, I am still waiting for the US governement to send any money to the Euro periphery since it is so simple.

There were few good guys during the euro crisis: Trichet was a disaster, Sarkozy signed on the Deauville accord a bit too enthusiastically, the Greeks did fake their deficit numbers (something that people forget too quickly, it was a major breach of trust) and Varoufakis played the blackmail game, Spanish politicians gunned for new records of corruption, Ireland set up one of the biggest corporate tax heavens of all time, Berlusconi was morally the worst of the bunch, even Draghi was perhaps a bit too slow to push spreads back to down (though he probably did the best he could) Among all of that mess, I think you can argue that Merkel was relatively the best of all, not that much of a compliment though.

makedoanmend , September 29, 2017 at 4:55 am

Yes, these are all very good points, excellent points in fact. And one should be able understand and delineate the differences between German conservatism and its UK variety of tory conservatism for instance. Id just interpret/input your points in a slightly different perspective.

It really seems that the outcomes of both versions of economic conservatism produce similar neoliberal outcomes in aggregate: reduced wages, precarious working conditions, increasing economic inequality, reduced services, tax money being funnelled to businesses, and vanishing/crumbling infrastructure.

It really seems to be a matter of degree rather absolutes.

UK infrastructure seems to be in decent shape and with PPP even the Tories can buy into a degree of Keynesian stimulus via public works, whilst it seems the Germans have largely dropped the ball. Then again, Obsourne* was all about the rhetoric of balanced budgets – that is, balanced budget for the poor, unbalanced budget stimulus for the rich. So, there can also be a Tory similarity with the German type of economic conservative strand.

So, I suppose, like everything else, the complexity is revealing in itself; and knowing how the different strands of economic conservatism evolved might help us understand how to counteract the pernicious effects.

For the average working punter the situation, in toto, just keeps getting worse.

[*To all NCers, Osbourne was finance minister under Cameron in the UK. If you should ever meet him, dont ask him what the product of 8 x 7 is. He thinks that kind of question isnt cricket and is basically a subversive type of activity.]

paul , September 29, 2017 at 5:37 am

To be fair, he was the only person to publicly shed tears over Margaret Thatcher's quite natural death. I'm sure he mopped his eyes afterward with an old hang mandela t shirt (de rigeur for his generation) before popping out to walk the dog with his old pal natalie rowe

skippy , September 29, 2017 at 4:56 am

Its not all black: European Parliament members decide to bar Monsanto lobbyists

https://www.ft.com/content/5c1c61e6-a457-11e7-b797-b61809486fe2

paul , September 29, 2017 at 5:20 am

I think ordoliberal is the appropriate term of art for schauble, a lawyer not an economist, and one with a rather dredd like approach to jurisprudence (bribes being acceptable business expenses in Germany until recently).

That gross chancellor kohls bagmans career was eclipsed by agent Angela must have been a terrible stone in his shoe.

I still remember him gelatinising Michael Portillo in one of his many TV license funded flounces around Europe. He pummelled poor Michael with his hausfrau hogwash as mercilessly as he vivisected Greece.

It was noticeable that Michael assumed that Germanys strength was due to Schaubles character rather than seeing a rather rank case of institutional inheritance.

Mark P. , September 29, 2017 at 5:56 am

I think ordoliberal is the appropriate term of art for schauble

It is. And the first responder to the OP, Plutonium Kun, up top, in fact provides a link to an analysis of ordoliberalism, and how it played out during and since the GFC.

with a rather dredd like approach to jurisprudence

I like the way you put that

Yves Smith Post author , September 29, 2017 at 6:06 am

I agree that he is on board with ordoliberallism which is basically a nutcase extremist version of neoliberalism that is mainstream in Germany but I didn't want to over-egg the pudding. Let us not forget that the non-ordoliberal IMF has fronted for the Troikas tender ministrations to debtor countries during pretty much all of Schaubles tenure, save its pushback in the latest round of financing for Greece over the refusal of EU state lenders to Greece to write off some of the debt owed. And the IMF still capitulated.

So if the IMF stood shoulder to shoulder with Schauble, does the fact that he was an ordoliberal as opposed to neoliberal make any difference in practice?

paul , September 29, 2017 at 6:27 am

It is probably splitting hairs from the same mangy dog, but I think ordoliberalism captures the prim sanctimony of monsters like schauble.

PlutoniumKun , September 29, 2017 at 6:57 am

Second try here (I wrote a reply to you which disappeared into cyberspace, it may pop up again).

I agree that the distinction between ordoliberalism, liberalism and neoliberalism is a bit irrelevant when the outcome is the same. And they do agree with each other on most subjects. I just think its worth paying attention to the distinct differences between the mainstream German version of liberalism and Anglo liberalism.

To take the issue of austerity, it always seems to me that the Germans are True Believers. They have a moral belief that excess spending, government deficits, and trade deficits are wrong in every circumstances. Neoliberals pay lip service to this but (correctly) ignore this in practice. Tories and Republicans are always quite happy to bust budgets when it suits them and in reality dont seem to care about trade deficits.

On the other hand, while Neoliberals are True Believers on the benefits of free movement and trade, Ordoliberals are far more pragmatic, and are at heart mercantilists and corporatists (and this includes being quite happy to keep Trade Unions and other social sectors on board rather than seeing them as enemies). This is clearly reflected in the constitutional make-up of the EU.

I think that one of the crucial failures in the Eurozone is that for a whole series of reasons the structural design of the Eurozone was hijacked by liberal True Believers, and much of the fault for this was the intellectual failure of the broader left to understand the importance of controlling monetary policy.

Its also worth pointing out that while in the Anglosphere liberals have a unified approach and dominate the main parties, in many European countries, in particular Germany, there are, and always have been, distinct parties representing the different shades of liberal views, with Christian Democrats being Ordos, while smaller parties such as the Free Democrats representing a purer form of liberalism. As Yanis points out, a strengthened FDP is a disaster for Europe, we can only hope that the Greens somehow manage to wrestle away some of the economic portfolio from them.

Left in Wisconsin , September 29, 2017 at 12:16 pm

Philip Mirowski, who seems to have tried as much as anyone to clarify what is and isn't neoliberalism, considers ordoliberalism one of at least three or four variants: ordo, Austrian, Chicago School and, probably, James Buchanans public choice. He identifies Carl Schmitt as a key influence on Hayek, particularly Schmitts notions that the economy was too important to be left to the whims of democracy (only a strong state can preserve and enhance a free-market economy) and the exception, which is to say that the state should stay out of the economy at all times (i.e. no bailouts for you) except when preserving the market requires state intervention. Think Obama and big banks.

For those who arent familiar with Mirowski, here is a good piece on Defining Neoliberalism (in which, parenthetically, he provides an excellent takedown of Wikipedia as a forum for learning about anything controversial). To some, he takes a bit of getting used to but he is a terrific writer and you are bound to learn some new words. Have dictionary at the ready!
Defining Neoliberalism

PlutoniumKun , September 30, 2017 at 5:15 am

Ive read a little of Mirowski before, a very good writer, thanks for the link.

digi_owl , September 29, 2017 at 12:53 pm

The basic problem with EU is that what left there is present in it, is of the student/champagne left that is more about glitz and humanitarian causes than they are workers rights and similar that used to define the left both before and after WW2.

I keep bumping into students and young professionals that praise the EU because first of all they got to study abroad under some EU scheme, and now can take their credit card and smartphone and set up camp anywhere their hearts desire within the euro zone.

They are effectively blind to the problems this freeflow cause for long fought for rights and protections of the working man and woman. This while parroting the idea that EU is what has not caused a major European war in a generation or two

makedoanmend , September 30, 2017 at 4:32 am

Being a European leftist myself, I seldom bump into my compatriots who are drinking champagne as if its fizzy water, flashing credit cards and so on. Many are working middle class people struggling to get by; many others are working poor; and some are getting along just fine. In other words, there is an entire gamut of socio-economic backgrounds represented in the left in Europe.

Many of my compatriots are educated. When did leftists have to eschew higher and further education? One of the primary acts of socialist leaning peoples in the late nineteenth century was to lobby for and provide additional channels of education to sections of the community who previously didnt have the resources to study, or simply didnt have time during the day and were denied physical facilities when they did have the time.

Yes, there are many people who seem to be doing fairly well and might espouse leftist viewpoints without bothering to understand better why they espouse such views. I would suggest this is the case with many of our compatriots, whatever their political leanings. And its not so easy either to categorise and identify the working class. I know of several manual labourers who would go ballistic if you suggested they were anything less than middle class citizens.

Also, its rather easy to conflate liberals with leftists? I would argue they are not the same political beast.

Some students in my biology course (an admixture of biochem & agrics) just started an anarchist society. The first in the universitys history. I hope these young and well educated people, who come from many different backgrounds and from several European countries, can explore what leftism means and how it impacts on everyone for good or ill. Equally, I hope they are successful in better understanding the human condition as they down pints of wallop in some pub around town.

Terry Flynn , September 29, 2017 at 7:58 am

Thank you. Just an anecdotal observation that supports this based on 15+ years of Spanish holidays. I always had an apartment so I had options to go eat out with friends I made in the complex or cook for myself.

Spanish restauranteurs, if you got them to give their private views, hated German tourists compared to Brits: the latter would far more often go sod it, were eating out thus benefiting the local hospitality industry (and deal with the resulting credit card debt later!) . I and others noted how less often Germans did this. They clearly had a food budget which dictated finding the nearest LIDL/ALDI and cooking dinner for themselves in their apartments. In the shops (in areas that definitely werent dominated by German holidaymakers) youd see a disproportionate number of Germans buying pasta/bread/sauces – obviously intending to cook most nights.

Ive read on NC the increasing pressure on German domestic budgets following the schroeder reforms etc and anecdotally I saw plenty of living strictly within ones means on display on holidays And Spanish restauranteurs saw it too.

PlutoniumKun , September 29, 2017 at 8:07 am

Ask any tourist town hustler and theyll tell you the way to sell to Brits is to say its on discount! while the way to sell to Germans is to say its the best quality!.

Mind you, its also a cultural thing. I had a French acquaintance say that the big complaint in her small village is that the Dutch insist on bringing their horrible tasteless tomatoes with them on holiday. The Brits will always eat out of course, there is no point to being on holiday otherwise and quite right too.

But on a purely anecdotal basis Id agree with you that Germans seem much less inclined to splash out on holiday (Ive noticed that about supermarkets in Spain/France too). German incomes certainly have been squeezed unnecessarily for 2 decades now (its still amazes me that the German workers blandly accept this in most sectors). Germans used to be known as big spenders when they holidayed in Ireland, but they dont have that reputation anymore.

Terry Flynn , September 29, 2017 at 8:28 am

I agree that Im surprised so many German workers have blithely accepted this constriction on their incomes.

Again, there must be cultural factors at play that mean they have accepted that this is all part of how Germany apparently works so well as a country /society.

I am curious how long this mindset will continue as neoliberalism – even with the better German constraints on its effects – inevitably creeps further up the income distribution. Things like the balanced budget law (if fully adopted and adhered to) will cause increasing problems The AfD electoral success may be the canary in the coalmine.

paul , September 29, 2017 at 9:33 am

while I havent been in Germany in the last few years,last time I was in berlin,amid the cranes(the parliament island seemed to be a noble attempt at architectural landfill) and the infrastructure that was clearly behind demand, I was astonished at how many familiblogged characters were there, on the trams,busses, streets.
Went into a local bar, (much to my better 50% advice), we were the only ones that were not chronically disabled,no beer on tap but they all could hardly been nicer to us.
The german miracle is being worn to a thread was my conclusion.

paul , September 29, 2017 at 10:01 am

Wander into a german village town and you will see how unhappily this is playing out. Visiting the charmingly understated max ernst museum outside koln, I remember a well pensioned hausfrau rolling her eyes in our direction at a couple of young lads (dark skinned of course),her face would have turned milk.
They were just young lads talking loudly.
Because we are both tall and blue eyed she did not seem to have a problem with us at all.

Left in Wisconsin , September 29, 2017 at 12:29 pm

I agree that Im surprised so many German workers have blithely accepted this constriction on their incomes.

The German manufacturing economy is very strong but German workers in the exposed sector are no less subject to job relocation blackmail than workers anywhere else. The macro-economic data might prove that German workers are underpaid, but German wages are based off the export economy and the relocation threat is real. German manufacturing workers are already probably the highest paid in the world (depending on choice of measure). Widening the cost differential with Eastern and Southern Europe, not to mention other places with even lower wages, I think is rightly perceived as risky.

Ignacio , September 29, 2017 at 7:07 pm

I think you have a point here and it has to do with mercantilism. Probably, those workers employed in large factories exporting all around the world know that such mercantilism helps them keep their positions and relatively well paid positions compared with their peers in other countries. This must be the way CDU attracts labor to their side.

Nevertheless, if german tourists spent more in Spain, we would have more money to spend in their factories, somebody should educate them, HA,HA, HA!!!

digi_owl , September 29, 2017 at 1:09 pm

Apparently it has been sold as a way to keep Germany as an export powerhouse, thus allowing the nation to run a trade surplus.

Never mind that especially since the intro of the Euro, this has lead Germany to effectively operating a beggar-thy-neighbor policy.

Keep in mind that before the Euro, many neighboring nations would operate with a exchange rate hitched to the D-Mark. So if ever (West) Germany tried to push ahead, the others would devalue, and appear to drag Germany back down.

But since the Euro, Germany have been (not necessarily intentionally) using their domestically suppressed wages to muscle the products and services into neighboring markets.

Notice btw that much of the loans causing troubles in the PIIGS came from German banks (French banks were also involved, but to a lesser extent as France do not have the suppressed local wages). So if they fold, effectively Germany banking folds.

Oregoncharles , September 29, 2017 at 2:49 pm

one obvious differential between them and what we would consider neoliberalism is Germanys enormous economic and political success over the last decade or more. Of course, the recent election indicates that a lot of Germans disagree with that judgement, so evidently the bag is mixed in ways not so obvious from here.

That huge accumulation of power is the reason for the sometimes grudging respect granted to Schaueble and Merkel. Its also a great danger to Germany, because in a continent with long historical memories (compared to Americans), it looks more and more like a Fourth Reich. Even though his domestic policies are so extremely neoliberal, Macrons speech looks like the beginning of a rebellion, from the country qualified to lead it. Well see how that goes.

digi_owl , September 29, 2017 at 7:22 pm

Economic might that has since at least the reunification, if not earlier, have been predicated on a, in practice, beggar-thy-neighbor trade policy.

This by suppressing German wages to make German products and services cheaper than local equivalents.

This has been particularly effective since the Euro came into use, as now the Euro nations cant devalue their currencies to counteract this effect.

pietro gori , September 29, 2017 at 5:39 am

What is remarkable about Dr Schäubles tenure was how he invested heavily in maintaining the fragility of the monetary union, rather than eradicating it in order to render the eurozone macro-economically sustainable and resilient

Well, yes, but the fact is that the eurozone cannot possibly be redered maco-economically sustainable
and resilient. That is just well-entrenched wishful thinking on the part of Mr. Varoufakis

Yves Smith Post author , September 29, 2017 at 5:51 am

Thats not quite right. Varoufakis and Jamie Galbraith published a series of finesses, the biggest of which would have been creating an infrastructure bank that would invest, particularly in deficit countries.

A big flaw of government accounting is that it does everything on a cash-flow basis, when private sector accounting separates balance sheet and income statement items. Germany could have supported this work around, using the accounting justification or other pretexts. It didnt want to. By contrast, theyve been extremely creative in figuring out ways to create much more complicated facilities and financial structures to shore up the banks.

Chauncey Gardiner , September 29, 2017 at 2:35 pm

Thank you for this suggestion. I appreciate the values, intelligence, energy and experience of Yanis Varoufakis, and especially his insightful thoughts here on both the nature of the eurozone, Schaubles desire to preserve its fragility, and his wish to strengthen it.

Jamie Galbraith is no slouch, either. I would like to see their suggestions regarding policy initiatives both within and outside existing EU and other supranational structures that they believe could enable Greece to negate further abuse of its citizens, minimize the effects of Teutonic ordoliberal austerity, reverse privatization of the nations public assets, and strengthen the Greek economy. Hard to do when you dont have a sovereign currency and must seek to build alliances. Might have applications elsewhere in the world.

digi_owl , September 29, 2017 at 1:11 pm

That is sadly the one big flaw of Varoufakis, that he is of the champagne left that think the EU both can be saved and is worth saving.

This means that when push comes to shove he will not go all the way, driving for reforms rather than disbandment.

Ignacio , September 30, 2017 at 6:55 am

Well, despite it flaws, the EU is worth saving if it is to the better. There are quite good initiatives coming from the EU and it provides a political framework above traditional nationalism that by itself is very positive. I like that from Varoufakis, his priorities are well positioned.

Mickey Hickey , September 29, 2017 at 6:17 am

@Frenchguy

You hit the nail on the head with Ireland set up one of the biggest tax heavens of all time.. With the help of corporate lobbyists at the European Commission in Brussels without that it would have been shut down quickly. My take on Germany is that they have still not recovered from the Weimar era hyperinflation and economic collapse. Germany tends to cling tightly to strategies whether they be winners or losers. The currency printing presses were cranked up to insane levels. Money was something to be turned into goods or services within minutes.

Then overnight the gold backed Reichsmark was introduced and became an object of adoration that should under no circumstances be spent except for absolute necessities.

The Reichsmark precipitated economic collapse. The inflation phobia of todays Germany stems from the 1920s. Frau Merkel was not and is not a political leader. She is above all a successful politician who tests the direction of the political winds daily and makes micro adjustments accordingly. As for Germans being sticklers for rules, I have a 9 year old grandson who is a stickler for rules even a good portion of Irishness did not save him. I found that he was amenable to changing the rules so I encouraged that and now he is almost Irish.

With respect to German spending on infrastructure over the past twenty years. German infrastructure is in excellent shape compared to the rest of the developed world. Their public transit system is amongst the best in the world. Only in Canada (where I live normally) will you find better infrastructure than in Germany and that is due to large population increases resulting in newer infrastructure. Infrastructure lobbyists are preaching gloom and doom all over the developed world, a grain of salt is advised.

PlutoniumKun , September 29, 2017 at 7:08 am

Its complete hyperbole to describe Ireland as one of the biggest tax havens of all time. It is dwarfed within Europe by Luxembourg (which is a true tax haven in the literal sense) and the various UK off-shore havens. Vastly more money is moved through Switzerland and London for crooked or tax purposes and the Netherlands is an equal in using questionable rules to encourage investment.

Irelands dodgy tax policies, largely designed by T.K. Whitaker , actually predate membership of the EU (1958 to be precise) and were implicitly accepted upon its membership.

Oregoncharles , September 29, 2017 at 2:56 pm

Sort of like Greeces dodgy balance sheets (if thats the right term), intentionally overlooked when it applied for Eurozone membership?

Of course, if youre right about the others, the EU had compelling reason to overlook a few foibles. I gather Ireland rather paid for it after the GFC, though, and Greece is still paying for it.

PlutoniumKun , September 30, 2017 at 5:28 am

Not really – Ireland was a pioneer in using favourable taxes to bring in jobs to poorer areas. So much so that even China essentially copied the Irish model (so the Tiger economies were actually copying the Celtic tiger, not vice versa to some extent). Essentially, the Irish model was to allow transfer pricing in exchange for screwdriver plants – in addition to special secret deals for promising new companies, like Apple (its often forgotten just how small Apple was when it first moved into Ireland – it was something of a triumph of the Irish development agencies to have identified it). This was all open and obvious when Ireland joined the EU. Essentially, it was considered legitimate at the time for smaller countries to use tactics like this – it was completely in line with academic theory on the time in development economics, especially clustering theories (the idea that if you get enough factories in one area together, they will organically develop into more integrated industries). There was nothing hidden from the EU. If anything, the EU approved as it was seen as important to have star pupils among the smaller members.

Ireland is not a tax haven in the sense that its not a large repository for dodgy money. There are some elements of tax haven laws in the Irish banking system, but its not considered a tax haven in international terms. The main issue is that manufacturing companies based in Ireland are allowed to use loopholes in Irish laws to hide profits. Thats something of a different matter – all countries do this to some extent, Ireland is just a more egregious offender.

And its not really appropriate to compare it to Greece. Greece has been ruined by its poor model and its betrayal by the Eurozone. Ireland has gone from developing country status in the 1950s to one of the most prosperous countries in Europe. The losses from the crash of the Celtic Tiger have been more or less made up. Much as I hate to say it, the Irish economic development model has by any measures been a stunning success. This is why neoliberals love Ireland so much.

digi_owl , September 29, 2017 at 1:17 pm

You are right, and perhaps what is making the workforce willing to accept wage suppression.

This because the cause of the hyperinflation was exchange rates and trade deficits. Germany were forced to pay reparations denominated in foreign currency, but had little to no export industry to earn said currency with (the Ruhr were under French administration for one). Thus they had to print ever more notes to buy the currency to make the payments, and each round would lead to worse inflation.

The crazy thing is that Keynes warned about this, but was ignored.

So based on this, it may well be that German leadership is hell bent on maintaining a trade surplus, even if it means beggaring neighbors and in the long run create a massive buildup of ill will against Germany.

Distrubed Voter , September 29, 2017 at 6:38 am

Thanks for quoting Varoufakis, and thanks for allowing wonderful commentaries again by such knowledgeable readers.

Futility , September 29, 2017 at 10:18 am

Incidentally, Der Spiegel published today an article about a photographer who documented the plight of prostitutes in Greece. There one can see the real world consequences of Schäubles policies. The women (and men) work for 15 Euro or less per customer. A lot of people see this as their last resort to feed their family. The article mentions that Greece increased the VAT from 13% to 24%, making condoms prohibitively expensive for the prostitutes which resulted in a marked increase in HIV infections. How Schäuble can live with himself, I dont know.

WARNING: The article is in German and some of the pictures are not fit for work.

Eustache De Saint Pierre , September 29, 2017 at 11:12 am

There was once an article that was I believe posted here which outlined the fact that the legalised & supposedly efficient German prostitution industry was not all it was cracked up to be – it appeared around the same time that a German woman had her benefits sanctioned due to refusing to work in the industry.

I would just like to say that there is at least one Englishmen who finds cooking a pleasurable experience when on holiday, which when I can manage it due to the lady in my lifes preference would be Italy. Beautiful bread, real mozzarella, white creamy butter, divine proscuitto, & large perfect for Caprese salad tomatoes bought from small grocers – Just some of the treats on offer the make the break very special.

Synoia , September 29, 2017 at 3:54 pm

Even worse, whereas Wolfgang Schäuble understood that austerity plus new loans were catastrophic for countries like Greece (but insisted on them as part of his campaign to discipline France and Italy), his FDP successors at the finance ministry will probably be less enlightened believing that the tough medicine is fit for purpose.

And now perhaps one understands the 30 years war, the Franco-Prussian war, WW I and WW II.

The Im certain Im correct in the face of a other reasonableness.

digi_owl , September 29, 2017 at 7:27 pm

It is effectively a variant of the problem of becoming a monster while one believe one is defeating monsters

Scott , September 29, 2017 at 11:28 pm

Keynes was perceptive, and I can believe his warnings were understood, if not at the time, later. His portrait of Woodrow Wilson out of his depth completely when seated with politicians of France who were adept at bypassing and then destroying the Points the Germans had signed the Armistice because of.

America was not successful at out witting the French. Moral leadership? Wilson just turned into a sidelined ignored & defeated character. It is no wonder Germany went to war again.

The question now is whose warnings are we to hear now?

Michael Hudson would say that capitalism is destroying itself. I have yet to see him on Rachel Maddow who often has David Cay Johnston on, though the questions are about Trump, not the Tax Code. Mr. Johnston could give us a good Tax Code.

Mr. Hudson? Who in Government is listening to him?

Mark P. , September 30, 2017 at 4:08 am

Whos listening to Hudson in the U.S. government?

Well, maybe they arent now. Lots of folks at the DoD and State read him in 1972, right after he left off working for David Rockefeller and wrote SUPER IMPERIALISM: THE ECONOMIC STRATEGY OF AMERICAN EMPIRE as a diagnosis of how the dollar as global reserve currency was going to work once Nixon and Kissinger had taken the U.S. off the gold standard. They used Hudsons book as a how-to manual and did their best to buy up all the copies.

You arent going to see Hudson on the Rachel Maddow show, in short.

[Sep 24, 2017] A German Election Analysis

Sep 24, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

The result is bad for the top-candidates Merkel (CDU) and Schulz (SPD). The CDU lost 9 percentage points compared to the 2013 election, the SPD lost 5.

Voter migration analysis will show that the CDU loss was caused by Merkel's centrist policies and especially her gigantic immigration ("refugees") mistake. It caused the right-wing CDU voters to go over to the new right-wing party AFD.

Her party will punish Merkel for this catastrophic result. I doubt that she has two years or more years left in her position. Her party will shun her and move away from the center and back into its traditional moderate-right corner.

The voters lost by the formerly moderate-left, now also centrist SPD went over to the liberal-leftish FDP. The FDP is back in the game after having been kicked out of parliament is the 2013 elections.

The Greens and the Left Party results are mostly unchanged.

Over the last 20 years both of the traditionally big parties, CDU and SPD, had moved from their moderate-right, respectively moderate-left positions towards centrist neo-liberalism. In consequence The Left split off the SPD and now the AFD from the CDU.

The AFD is by no means a "Nazi" party though a few Nazis may try to hide under its mantle. The voters are mostly traditionalist, staunch conservatives and anti-globalization. They were earlier part of the CDU.

The SPD will not want to enter another government coalition with Merkel, It played Merkel's junior partner over the last eight years and that led to ever increasing voter losses. It nearly killed the party. The mistake of selecting the colorless Schulz as top-candidate will lead to some (necessary) blood loss in the party's leadership. SPD head Gabriel will, like Schulz, have to step back from leadership positions.

Merkel will have difficulties forming a coalition. She will avoid the AFD as her campaign had discriminated that party as "Nazi" (in itself a huge strategic mistake). She will try to build a coalition with the Green and the FDP. It will be enough to rule for a while but is a somewhat unstable configuration.

We will likely have new elections within the next two years.

Anon | Sep 24, 2017 1:53:15 PM | 1

Just like the American election with Clinton, western media doing everything to uncritically support Merkel and demonize, especially AFD, the oppostional parties. Propaganda all over.
dan of steele | Sep 24, 2017 2:10:19 PM | 2
having just been exposed to the AFD party and somewhat taken aback by their huge gains, I used the google to find out a bit about them. one of the first hits is from the Intercept where they talk about a very wealthy woman who just happens to be a Trump supporter as well funneling money and fake news to support this "scary" new party. B wrote about how right wing parties gained support because the traditional left has abandoned them. this is probably the case in Germany as well with the SPD being quite disappointing to many. The FDP seems to have gained a bit due to time passing and people not remembering how badly they got screwed by Westerwelle and his crew some years back.

anyway, for what it is worth, here is the link to the Intercept story

[Sep 16, 2017] Germany Is About to Choose a Leader. Heres the Situation

Sep 16, 2017 | www.nytimes.com

After Mr. Trump's victory last year, Ms. Merkel emerged as the " last powerful defender of Europe and the trans-Atlantic alliance ," wrote Alison Smale and Steven Erlanger, then the Times bureau chiefs for Berlin and London.

Ms. Smale and Glenn Thrush, a White House correspondent for The Times, took a look at Ms. Merkel and Mr. Trump, two powerful leaders "estranged by widely diverging temperaments, worldviews, leadership styles and visions of Europe." Ms. Merkel -- who, in more than 11 years in power, has "proved uncommonly adept at solving the puzzle-box challenges posed by the world's most unpredictable leaders" -- may realize there isn't a method with Mr. Trump, they wrote.

The best she has come up with so far is to cultivate a backdoor channel through the president's daughter Ivanka, who tried unsuccessfully to persuade her father to remain in the Paris accord.

But Ms. Merkel is up for re-election in the fall, and challenging Mr. Trump has become essential in German politics. So Ms. Merkel, the courteous daughter of a Protestant cleric, is doing something she finds awkward: calling out Mr. Trump in public and questioning his commitment to the American leadership that Europeans had taken for granted since World War II.

To understand Ms. Merkel's relationship with Mr. Putin, don't miss this in-depth piece on their rivalry of history, distrust and power (Mar. 12) by Ms. Smale and Andrew Higgins, a Moscow correspondent:

Their relationship, and rivalry, is a microcosm of the sharply divergent visions clashing in Europe and beyond, a divide made more consequential by the uncertainty over President Trump's policy toward Russia and whether he will redefine the traditional alliances of American foreign policy.

The Merkel-Putin relationship is defined by wariness, mutual suspicion, if also mutual respect. Yet along the way, there have been missed opportunities and misjudgments, which are culminating now in a moment of reckoning, as Ms. Merkel tries for another term -- and Mr. Putin's Russia is accused of working to thwart her.

That piece also includes a nugget about talks between the two leaders in 2007: Mr. Putin let his large black Labrador into their meeting room, even though the Kremlin had been told that Ms. Merkel was uneasy around dogs.

[Jan 02, 2017] Angela Merkel To Skip Davos Amid Blowback Against Global Elite Zero Hedge

Jan 02, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com
Last week we were surprised to learn that demand for hotel rooms at the annual World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, where the world's billionaires, CEOs, politicians, celebrities and oligarchs mingle every year (while regaled by their public relations teams known as the "media", for whom getting an invite to the DJ event du jour is more important than rocking the boat by asking unpleasant questions) was so great, not only are hotel rooms running out, but local employees may be put up in shipping containers in car parks to free up much needed accommodations.

This scramble to attend what has traditionally been perceived as the hangout for those who have benefited the most from "peak globalization" was in some ways surprising: coming after a year in which "populism" emerged as a dominant global force, while sending establishment politics, legacy policies and even globalization reeling, the message - in terms of lessons learned from 2016 - sent to the masses from the world's 0.1% was hardly enlightened.

However, while most Davos participants remain tone deaf, one person has gotten the message loud and clear.

According to Reuters , German Chancellor Angela Merkel - who faces a crucial election this year as she runs for her 4th term as German chancellor amid sagging approval ratings - is steering clear of the World Economic Forum in Davos, a meeting expected to be dominated by debate over the looming presidency of Donald Trump "and rising public anger with elites and globalization", which is ironic because just two years prior, the topic was rising wealth inequality which the world's billionaires blasted, lamented and, well, got even richer as nothing at all changed. What is surprising about Merkel's absence in 2017 is that the Chancellor has been a regular at the annual gathering of political leaders, CEOs and celebrities, traveling to the snowy resort in the Swiss Alps seven times since becoming chancellor in 2005. But her spokesman told Reuters she had decided not to attend for a second straight year.

This year's conference runs from Jan. 17-20 under the banner "Responsive and Responsible Leadership". Trump's inauguration coincides with the last day of the conference.

"It's true that a Davos trip was being considered, but we never confirmed it, so this is not a cancellation," the spokesman said.

Reuters adds that this is the first time Merkel has missed Davos two years in a row since taking office over 11 years ago and her absence may come as a disappointment to the organizers because her reputation as a steady, principled leader fits well with the theme of this year's conference.

There was little additional information behind her continued absencea the government spokesman declined to say what scheduling conflict was preventing her from attending, nor would it say whether the decision might be linked to the truck attack on a Berlin Christmas market that killed 12 people in mid-December.

The reason for her absence, however, may be far more prosaic: as Reuters echoes what we said previously, "after the Brexit vote in Britain and the election of Trump were attributed to rising public anger with the political establishment and globalization, leaders may be more reluctant than usual to travel to a conference at a plush ski resort that has become synonymous with the global elite. "

Another potential complication is that this year's Davod event concludes just hours before Trump's inauguration. As a result, one European official suggested to Reuters that "the prospect of having to address questions about Trump days before he enters the White House might also have dissuaded Merkel, whose politics is at odds with the president-elect on a broad range of issues, from immigration and trade, to Russia and climate change."

During the U.S. election campaign, Trump described Merkel's refugee policies as "insane". Like Merkel, French President Francois Hollande, who announced in early December that he would not seek a second term next year, will not be in Davos.

Most other European political leaders are expected to be present, despite the furious changes in Europe's political landscape in the past year: the Forum had hoped to lure Matteo Renzi, but he resigned as Italian prime minister last month. European leaders that are expected include Mark Rutte of the Netherlands and Enda Kenny of Ireland. British Prime Minister Theresa May could also be there.

German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, who was elected to the WEF board of trustees last year, is expected to attend, as are senior ministers from a range of other European countries, as well as top figures from the European Commission.

Members of Donald Trump's team, including Davos regulars like former Goldman Sachs president Gary Cohn and fund manager Anthony Scaramucci, are also expected. Reuters reminds us that WEF Chairman Klaus Schwab was invited to Trump Tower last month, although the purpose of the visit was unclear.

Although the WEF does not comment on which leaders it is expecting until roughly a week before the meeting, the star attraction is expected to be Xi Jinping, the first Chinese president to attend. Meanwhile, it is was highly unlikely that the one person everyone would like to seek answers from at Davos, Russian president Vladimir Putin, will be present.

29.5 hours , Jan 2, 2017 12:42 PM

This is an interesting development. Despite the use of epithets like "cunt" and "bitch" in the oh, so valuable discussion contributions above, the German head of state is quite astute and living in the real world. She has decided that association with the most elite of global meetings is a negative. Don't you consider that significant?
Cognitive Dissonance 29.5 hours , Jan 2, 2017 12:44 PM
Not significant, just politically expedient.
Sandmann 29.5 hours , Jan 2, 2017 12:47 PM
Hardly. There are "leaks" of German Govt cables to NDR revealing how far Juncker obstructed crackdown on corporate tax evasion when PM of Luxembourg. Clear indication Germany wants Juncker gone before BreXit negotiations start and Wilders gains votes in NL in March.

1st Quarter in Europe is dynamite.

Davos is fluff and irrelevant.

Once UK SC delivers opinion in Jan 2017 there is a 1-line Bill to go through both Houses of Parliament. If the Lords blocks the Bill it will lead to a 1910 Constitutional Crisis and either Election, or abolition of House of Lords. UK is especially volatile in 2017 especially if Queen dies.

Merkel sees nothing but danger ahead. Ukraine will probably implode and set of a refugee wave into Germany. Turkey could well crash and burn. UK is going to be a very difficult situation. 33% French farmers reportedly earning <350 Euros/month as exports to Russia collapsed. French election could be volatile. Italy is heading for meltdown.

Merkel is going to burn - she has failed to head off any problem

Soul Glow , Jan 2, 2017 12:47 PM
Davos doesn't care about politicians. Politicians are merely banker's puppets. Look no further than Trump. He gets to be POTUS and what is his first act of business? To put Goldman Sachs in charge of his Treasury and put JP Morgan in charge of White House policy.

If anyone thinks a politician will change anything, you are wrong. The banks make the orders and plans, everything else is theatre.

Kagemusho , Jan 2, 2017 1:01 PM
Recall the statements made by last year's participants at Davos? 36 WTF Quotes From The Davos Bubble Chamber

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-01-26/36-wtf-quotes-davos-bubble-chamber

It's been said that the captain of the Titanic was drunk before the ship struck the iceberg. Given the above, maybe the Davosians are also equally intoxicated as they helm an economic ship that's about to go under. Whether it's by psychotropics or just plain hubris, they certainly don't seem to understand the depth of the danger they are in.

MPJones , Jan 2, 2017 1:03 PM
Spineless - no convictions whatsoever, just a pathetic powermad old woman. Her boat is sinking fast.

[Jan 02, 2017] Angela Merkel, Russia's Next Target by Jochen Bittner

Looks like panic among German neocons. Merkel might lose, being wounded by refugees fiasco.
www.nytimes.com

Since the annexation of Crimea in 2014, Ms. Merkel has been the most consequential voice for punishing Russia. The next year, she welcomed a million refugees into Germany, and pushed the rest of Europe to do the same - thus, in the view of Russian ethno-nationalists, diluting European culture. And she still believes in a united, integrated European Union, a bastion of liberal values and, at least implicitly, a political and economic bulwark against Russia.

... ... ...

Here, we can draw valuable lessons from the Cold War. What Russia does today is very much the digital version of what we Germans, before 1989, termed "Zersetzung." The term is hard to translate, but it's best described as the political equivalent of what happens when you pour acid on organic material: dissolution and disintegration.

The methods of Zersetzung are to cast doubt on the basic norms of the Western liberal order and its institutions; to distort and thereby discredit the purposes of the European Union, NATO and the free-market economy; to erode the credibility of the free press and free elections. The means of Zersetzung include character assassination and, through the spreading of lies and fake news, the creation of a gray zone of doubt in which facts struggle to survive.

... ... ...

Jochen Bittner is a political editor for the weekly newspaper Die Zeit and a contributing opinion writer.

[Dec 04, 2016] Merkel in Jeopardy: Germanys European Hegemony, Refugees and Upcoming Elections

Notable quotes:
"... Like most social democratic parties in Europe, their motto seems to be "fill your pockets while you can". ..."
"... Merkel has fancied herself as UN secretary general. She probably saw visions of murals of her leading down trodden women and children and "qualified" me being welcomed by a new, smiling Germany. In her vision, Merkel would be 8 feet tall wit a golden hue emerging from the far Kenedy lands of Southern Europe and beyond. The UN would have to take her. ..."
"... See what happens when the U.S. seeks regime change? You get regime change-everywhere! ..."
"... I've noticed that Merkel gets an extraordinary easy ride in the English language press ..."
"... In reality she has been a disaster for Germany and Europe. Her constant approach of taking the easy option has left Germany with a rotting infrastructure and has wrecked havoc in the European economy and European institutions. It seems that like so many who grew up behind the Iron Curtain her anti-communism has blinded her to the faults in European and Anglo-American conservatives – unlike her CD predecessors who were always much more pragmatic about power and its uses. ..."
"... Germany in many ways is operating like a company which has stopped investing in order to maximise short to medium term profits (think: Dell), which is in ironic counterpoint to its famously foresighted private companies. ..."
"... The Anglo-American world sowing doubt about the German system when we ourselves are worse on most of the metrics in question. This is especially true since one of the reasons – tax cuts in the name of groaf – is exactly what us Atlanticists have been telling the rest of the world to do. They have also started very seriously exploring public private partnership options as modeled by London and DC. ..."
"... Germany was part of the Friends of Syria. Merkel actively encouraged the war. She invited refugees through their active creation. Refugees were going to go somewhere. Why not visit their friend? Crossing the Atlantic is too difficult. ..."
"... Politicians should be held accountable for the fallout from their decisions. Merkel as chancellor of Germany could have undermined the effort to attack Syria. ..."
"... As per EU commission, 60% of the migrants have an "economic" i.e. better their life chances motivation, and counting. I would accept an humanitarian motivation, but only with the approval of the parliament, currently outstanding. ..."
"... who had already reached Hungary ..."
"... on the 13th September, Germany re-introduced border controls with Austria. Nowadays borders have closed further. ..."
"... she is a politician interested in securing short-sighted advantages to her country and patching things as they come - not a stateswoman with a vision. ..."
"... Regarding economic migrants, the missing passports, the asset-stripping to pay smugglers, etc, this is not new. Exactly the same issues were raised long ago, when the crisis was taking place in Spain and not in Greece, when corpses were washing ashore ..."
"... EU has a puppet president, and a host of other dumb institutions very eager in designing and imposing all kind of stupid legislation on member countries, but unable to speak about this migration crisis. Give me a break! And angela she is past due date already! ..."
"... I think Merkel – or perhaps, the establishment in general – will do fine. Any party seriously challenging the status quo will be declared to be racist and dissolved. Increasingly anyone objecting to the status quo will be accused of 'hate speech' – hate speech, of course, is any statement opposing government policy. ..."
"... Merkel was perfectly willing to let the Greeks starve to bail out the banks – the notion that she is in any way motivated by compassion is absurd. I hear that Merkel wants to make refugee labor available to big companies for just a euro an hour (medical care etc. to be subsidized by taxes on the middle class). ..."
"... The wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, Libya, Syria and Ukraine were started by the West. The Troika's imposition of austerity on Greece resulted in its borders being open to the refugees of the wars. The ruling elite want free movement of people and capital and are working to negate the powers of the democratic sovereign states. This contempt of the lower classes is the direct cause of the rise of people's nationalist movements in the West. ..."
"... Between this and the disintegration of the EU, looks like the Fourth Reich isn't going to last long either. ..."
Mar 03, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

By Mathew D. Rose, a freelance journalist in Berlin

The inexorable political decline of Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel as well as her traditional opponents, the Social Democrats, is gathering pace. Upcoming elections in three German federal states on 13 March have given this process a considerable fillip. Both Ms Merkel's Christian Democratic Party and the Social Democrats are expecting some harrowing results.

It seems that each new crisis that Ms Merkel creates is more formidable than its predecessor. Her mishandling of the refugee question – nationally and internationally – is making her conflict with Greece last year appear like a festival of love and unity.

... ... ...

For the Social Democrats under the leadership of Sigmar Gabriel, who seems more concerned with lining up some well remunerated jobs in advance of his retirement from politics, there is a bleak future. Like most social democratic parties in Europe, their motto seems to be "fill your pockets while you can". Following the debacles of the social democrats in Spain and their compatriots in the Republic of Ireland, who appear to have gone into a death spin, the German social democrats seem to be following in their footsteps. The party will probably struggle to receive 20 percent of the vote at the next national election in a year's time.

Domestically Ms Merkel's party and the Social Democrats have tried to save themselves by changing the German laws regarding refugees. Nations that were until recently considered warzones or systematically violating human rights have been declared "safe countries of origin", making refugees from these countries "economic migrants" to facilitate fast track extradition. Benefits for refugees are being slashed, as well not permitting refugees to bring their families to join them in Germany.

The situation became palpably absurd, as Ms Merkel declared that refugees have to integrate themselves in German society or leave, only then to declare that she expects them to depart as soon as the conflicts in their nations have terminated.

Ms Merkel's real hope is purchasing the acquiescence of Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to stop all refugees at his own border, thus relocating the source of the current political conflict out of Europe and into Turkey. Erdoğan, who is fighting a war against the Kurds, would appreciate the billions of Euros on offer, as well as the EU members of NATO turning a blind eye to his pact with ISIS. Let us have no illusions: Erdoğan is an anti-democratic and authoritarian, with nor respect for human rights. He is on the threshold of becoming a dictator. He knows he has all the political trumps in his hand in negotiations with Ms Merkel and will exact a commensurate price. This is only the most recent juncture in a political disaster that spiralled out of control months ago.

Add to this the newly created mission of NATO using a fleet of warships to stop the flow of refugees from Turkey to Greece, while negotiations continue with Erdoğan. It is cynically claimed that the NATO force is there to arrest those smuggling the refugees. This is absurd. As everyone knows, the smugglers put the refugees in dilapidated boats and send them off on their own. They are not cruise operators. Thus the NATO ships are in effect sending back refugees, many of them women and children, to Turkey. Is this what NATO was created for? Where were the NATO ships, as thousands of refugees were drowning in the Mediterranean?

The whole affair, as with Greece before it, has become a disgrace for Europe. I doubt it would surprise anyone, should negotiations with Turkey fail, and Ms Merkel announced that her government was in talks with ISIS to assist in stemming the refugee threat to European Civilisation.

German leaders are infallible, so there is no way back for Ms Merkel, although there is not much backtracking left to do. The upcoming elections in Germany could well decide her political fate in Germany. The Christian Union would have to scramble to find a new leader for the upcoming national elections in 2017, although that is not really a problem. The party has enough mediocre politicians like Ms Merkel in the wings, just as capable of following the policy dictated by German and international business interests. Germany's domestic political landscape is in flux, as in most of Europe, which makes any predictions concerning the future precarious.

As for Ms Merkel, she will have been a victim of endemic German hubris, not content with being the "Mutti" of Germany and the iron fist of Europe, but wanting to be a saint as well (and pocket the Nobel Peace Prize). Unfortunately – as always – others have paid and will pay the price: the thousands of refugees who will have died trying to reach the shelter of Europe, as well as those that make it, but will become victims of European racism and greed, and especially of the corrupt European political class. The great hope are the millions of decent Europeans, who know what solidarity is and value the Humanitarianism that was born here.

No one in particular , March 2, 2016 at 5:05 am

Well, to be read with more than a pinch of salt . and I have too little time to depict it properly.

1. Merkel has continued her lawless activity, started with the Greek bailout 1.0 (to save French banks, Sarkozy and German banks, in that order) with the refugee crisis. I do not know what her motives for opening the borders were, but not to close them in time was a fatal error;

especially for the German democratic system, because there was neither the will nor the instruments to stop her. What a blow to the cherished "basic law", exposed as an empty shell. A poisoned arrow, slowly permeating the state of Germany, questioning the functionality of the entire German democracy.

2. Possibly a blessing in disguise, the unfolding refugee crisis (a mixture of war refugees and economic migration) has exposed "EU solidarity" or "Merkel leads Europe" for what it always was – the periphery needed (and needs) the German credit card to maintain the appearance of solvency – so they temporarily bowed to the inevitable, but out of selfish interest, not overarching interest in "solidarity"; which was a one-way street, always. So the lack of support for her should have been no surprise for anybody, but Berlin still manages to keep up the illusion. This was fatally complemented by the hubris not to inform anybody before the deed, thus giving all the uninformed union members of the feeling of second or third best . not the best basis to ask for help.

3. Unbeknownst to any non-German speaker, there is a "fifths" power emerging, something akin to a "speech police" – were any – and I mean any – criticism or resistance is labeled immediately as "geistige Brandstiftung" (roughly mental arson), and a stereotype for right wing Nazi idea's. A lot of words are becoming unusable [emergency,unlawful and similar], unless you want to be labeled as "populist", right wing or worse. Consequently, there is no unbiased discussion possible, anywhere, so a calamitous silence becomes ever more prevalent by the day. Note, that Facebook is now policed by the subsidiary of Bertelsmann, a big German publishing house, to remove "incitement" and similar posts.

4. Slowly some parts of the German main stream press are waking up to the fallacies caused by the blanket invitation – the refugees coming are more or less unskilled, and thus quick integration into the German labor market is improbable, to say the least.

5. However, the political establishment, i.e. the parties currently represented in parliament, have lost any connection to what the populace is thinking (quietly, as per 3.) and a mutiny is brewing even in normally patient and middle of the road guys; fueled by the wishful thinking of all will be well. And the muddling through will continue, unless some force outside of control of Berlin will stop it, thus exposing the inability of the "state" to keep a semblance of democracy and to govern within the framework of the "basic law", as the parliament and the press both failed to stop Merkel.

Honestly, I am not sure what to wish for, the continuation or the exposure of harsh reality.

Damian , March 2, 2016 at 9:11 am

"there is no unbiased discussion possible"

Politically Correct is an intellectual Gulag -- everywhere

same in the US of A - the politically correct speech game with Trump is now a badge of courage

Keith , March 2, 2016 at 2:57 pm

Same here (UK)

Though the politically correct stuff seems to have backed off a bit recently.

Perhaps my comments about the PC Thought Police in the online Guardian did some good (wishful thinking).

Also, comments on "PC Top Trumps" as homosexual and female rights clash with those of other religions.

NotTimothyGeithner , March 2, 2016 at 9:34 am

About your first point, Merkel has fancied herself as UN secretary general. She probably saw visions of murals of her leading down trodden women and children and "qualified" me being welcomed by a new, smiling Germany. In her vision, Merkel would be 8 feet tall wit a golden hue emerging from the far Kenedy lands of Southern Europe and beyond. The UN would have to take her.

She is a Christian Democrat. She is mediocre by definition. I doubt she could ever conceive of her plans going wrong.

Gio Bruno , March 2, 2016 at 4:05 pm

See what happens when the U.S. seeks regime change? You get regime change-everywhere!

PlutoniumKun , March 2, 2016 at 5:34 am

This is one of the reasons I love NC so much – nice to see something in-depth and suitably skeptical about a country which despite its huge importance is rarely reported in real detail in the mainstream English language press. There is often much better reporting of China or Japan than Germany for some odd reason.

I've noticed that Merkel gets an extraordinary easy ride in the English language press – even people from the left seem to have a sort of grudging admiration and even affection for her. In reality she has been a disaster for Germany and Europe. Her constant approach of taking the easy option has left Germany with a rotting infrastructure and has wrecked havoc in the European economy and European institutions. It seems that like so many who grew up behind the Iron Curtain her anti-communism has blinded her to the faults in European and Anglo-American conservatives – unlike her CD predecessors who were always much more pragmatic about power and its uses.

jsn , March 2, 2016 at 9:21 am

Agreed, very interesting!

Does anyone know good english sources regarding Hungary and Orban? They seem to be under the same MSM cloud occluding realistic views of what's happening in Russia. But its hard to tell because information is so thin. If its in the Times, WSJ or FT, it appears on its face to be propaganda simply from the personalization of the country into the leader.

washunate , March 2, 2016 at 11:14 am

a rotting infrastructure

Which infrastructure, exactly, is rotting? I agree Germany isn't some kind of luminary leftist paradise. But relative to us Anglo-Americans, things are working rather well there from the perspective of social and built landscape infrastructure.

PlutoniumKun , March 2, 2016 at 1:58 pm

Germany has maintained its relatively healthy public sector balance mainly through massive cuts in infrastructural spending. Its not immediately noticeable as a combination of low population growth and high levels of investment in the post war years has left it with a very good historic legacy. But only Spain has a lower level of public investment as a percentage of GDP as this FT article e xplains:

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/4fea7fa0-351c-11e4-a2c2-00144feabdc0.html#axzz41gGbFFof

Its not just transport infrastructure – the power infrastructure is creaking too, with poor interconnectedness across the country. Housing and building stock is visibly deteriorating due to a lack of investment. Germany in many ways is operating like a company which has stopped investing in order to maximise short to medium term profits (think: Dell), which is in ironic counterpoint to its famously foresighted private companies. Germany can get away with this for a decade or more, but eventually the chickens will come home to roost in the form of huge bills as roads and railways will require major investments to make up for the neglect.

The real problem is even worse than the total investment spend indicates. For reasons I've never fully understood, the German building industry is notoriously bad at controlling spending, so what they do spend is often wasted – the notorious Brandenburg Airport in Berlin being just one example.

http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/5-billion-euros-costs-increase-again-for-berlin-brandenburg-airport-a-928989.html

washunate , March 2, 2016 at 5:15 pm

GDP? I would say it's a good thing Germany spends less on healthcare than we do, not a bad thing. I just don't quite follow where you are going with this. Rotting, creaking, deteriorating, and comparisons to Dell strike me as sensationalizing the situation. With that kind of language, I want to see actual decrepit train stations right now, not a potential problem decades from now. How much capex exactly does Berlin Hauptbahnhof need over the next 5 years?

It is much easier transiting Germany without a car than the US. Amtrak, for example, has two departures a day from NYC to Chicago (Lakeshore and Capitol), and it will take you 19-21 hours to get there. Deutsche Bahn has 9 departures from Berlin to Frankfurt, and that's only counting morning trains with no train changes on the high speed lines. Or in speed terms, your total all in travel is a little over 80 MPH in Germany with trains leaving regularly and a little over 40 MPH in the US where if you miss your train you get to wait another half day.

If Germany is rotting, what are the Americans doing?

PlutoniumKun , March 3, 2016 at 5:34 am

I'm not sure where you get the comment on healthcare from – I was referring entirely to physical infrastructure. And yes of course, German roads and railways are generally very good, but as that FT article points out, this is almost entirely a legacy of 20th Century investment. And German railways have fallen behind France, Spain and other countries in terms of speed and, most notably, capacity. The problem with not investing consistently in physical infrastructure is that you can get away with it for a while, but when your existing stock starts hitting the end of its 30 or 40 year design life, the bills to keep things going can be very high. A railway line can last pretty much forever if you are constantly working on it to improve and maintain it. Neglect it for a couple of decades and it will start to disintegrate and will need replacing in its entirety.

I brought up Dell as a well known example of a company which suffered from milking an existing line of products without investing to compete as technology changes. Dell looked healthy and profitable for a long while until eventually their failures caught up. I thought of them because just a few days ago I drove past the empty shell of what was their biggest manufacturing centre. There are plenty of other examples of course.

washunate , March 3, 2016 at 8:09 am

"Not as fast as le TGV" and "Dell level failure" strike me as radically different uses of language.

FT is behind a paywall, so I don't know the nuance of their argument, but this has a tone I have heard in other contexts. The Anglo-American world sowing doubt about the German system when we ourselves are worse on most of the metrics in question. This is especially true since one of the reasons – tax cuts in the name of groaf – is exactly what us Atlanticists have been telling the rest of the world to do. They have also started very seriously exploring public private partnership options as modeled by London and DC.

Plus, it doesn't jibe with what is available in the English language world about German concerns. The Germans themselves are not that concerned with a lack of megabuildings and the national pride of having the biggest/fastest/whateverest national scale projects. Rather, the infrastructure concerns are primarily about depreciation of local government assets, the small municipal stuff.

Finally, I thought you were talking about recent changes with Merkel and co. Now you're taking this back many years or decades? Germany has done lots of infrastructure construction over the past couple decades. They have a more equal society than we do. They have more efficient healthcare than we do. These things all directly contradict widespread, catastrophic failure. That's the connection. Even if there is room for improvement (which of course, there always is), there is much less systemic failure compared to USUK.

visitor , March 2, 2016 at 5:35 am

I repeat what I have already stated in a comment to a previous article: Merkel and her government did not invite refugees to Germany. In fact, every measure taken so far had only one objective: keep as many of those refugees as far away from Germany as possible. Hence:

1) Dublin: the rule that refugees must remain and ask for asylum in the first country of entry to the EU - which for obvious geographical reasons happens never to be Germany.

2) Africa: (1) collapses under the massive flows of desperate people? Then bribe African countries to prevent migrants from moving to Europe.

3) Turkey: (2) fails? Then bribe Turkey to keep refugees in camps and prevent them from crossing the Mediterranean.

4) Hotspots: (3) is taking too much time? Then make sure that refugees are blocked at the periphery of the EU - in Italy and Greece.

5) Quotas: re-distributed those refugees stuck in (4) and who want to go to Germany or Sweden to somewhere else, away from Germany.

6) Countries of origin: declare countries as safe, making it possible to deport refugees quickly.

7) Subsidiary protection: if (6) does not work, ensure that asylum seekers are not treated as full-fledged refugees, making them easier to deport once war abates.

8) If (7) does not work and refugee status must be granted, then restrict family reunification to prevent more people coming.

And so on, and so forth. Most of those measures failed.

The fact that Merkel was forced to accept droves of refugees entering Germany is due to three reasons:

a) There are German, EU and international laws that Germany must abide with, and that compel the country to accept asylum seekers.

b) The Dublin-Schengen glacis in the Balkans collapsed under the sheer number of people suddenly moving to the EU.

c) Other countries, especially poorer ones, have been so infuriated by an overbearing Germany and its lack of solidarity in the past that they gleefully try to have Germany pick up the tab for the crisis.

Those who criticize Merkel in Germany (and elsewhere) would face exactly the same quandary in her position: either violate international, EU and German laws to stop refugees at the border; or frantically try to hack some legal measure to deflect the flow of people to their country.

NotTimothyGeithner , March 2, 2016 at 10:11 am

Germany was part of the Friends of Syria. Merkel actively encouraged the war. She invited refugees through their active creation. Refugees were going to go somewhere. Why not visit their friend? Crossing the Atlantic is too difficult.

Politicians should be held accountable for the fallout from their decisions. Merkel as chancellor of Germany could have undermined the effort to attack Syria.

susan the other , March 2, 2016 at 1:52 pm

It looks that way to me too. More like a secret agreement between Russia, the US, France, Germany and the UK. Russia and France would "go in" to Syria; the US and the UK would provide all the support needed, and Germany would maintain its pacifist position by accepting the refugees. But when the first giant wave of refugees arrived, the great humanitarian heart of the German people had a big infarction and they started burning down refugee housing, etc. I didn't know NATO had sent warships to turn the refugees back to Turkey, whereupon Turkey will once again launch them away. This whole thing is shameless. The entire western world is an odious farce.

No one in particular , March 2, 2016 at 6:41 am

@ Visitor

http://www.faz.net/aktuell/politik/fluechtlingskrise/fluechtlingskrise-in-deutschland-rechtsstaatlich-machbar-14060376.html
[riddled with legalese, the summary is – a lot of laws are broken]

Merkel did, if involuntarily, invite a lot of migrants, and it was not covered by EU, German or other law – see link, four professors of law, not me.

You can apply for political asylum only if you are on German soil, and I am not aware of any neighboring state where a war is fought or persecution is prevalent – in the middle of the EU. Geneva applies only to adjacent countries, and again – "for obvious geographic reasons" – not applicable. So if Dublin would be applied, NONE of the migrants had a legal right to come to Germany.

As per EU commission, 60% of the migrants have an "economic" i.e. better their life chances motivation, and counting. I would accept an humanitarian motivation, but only with the approval of the parliament, currently outstanding.

Merkel certainly is in a quandary to square the circle of "push and pull" factors, some self-inflicted, some admittedly not so much.

Whilst some in Germany are suffering from a pathological "need to help" (to feel better/superior) – and thrive on "helping", there was no legal precedence to issue the "blanket invitation" on September 4th. Period. And while the will to help war refugees from Syria and Iraq is laudable, it has been abused by scores of people from Northern Africa, the Balkans, etc. Why do think so many people are arriving without passports, if claiming to come from Syria is like winning the jackpot, i.e. the right to stay and much better life chances.

Even if not imaginable for many Westerners, lot of families have sold everything, gone into debt to sent one family member, feathered the nest of the smugglers for this hope. At the very least there has been serious failure of communication – to manage expectations – as we all could observe over the recent month; partly because Merkel does not dare to touch the elephant in the room, the missing legal framework for legal economic immigration, thus the "political asylum" is stretched beyond it's limits.

And her "plan" is defeated simply by the sheer numbers – whilst 1 million all over the EU might have been possible, the 60-80 mio people globally in search of a better life – will be too much for Germany alone.

The only reason for her to be still in power, other than the missing emergency brakes in the German Democratic system, is the fear of the CDU members to loose their own position of power, there is no vision to what could follow Merkel whilst preserving their own position.

visitor , March 2, 2016 at 10:27 am

The legal review you refer to basically amounts to recalling that Dublin allows Germany to push asylum seekers back to Austria, which is legally the place where they must ask for refugee status because that country allowed them to cross its territory after declining to send them back to Hungary (or Slovenia, or ) Taking into account the fact that Germany is allowed to make individual exceptions and not granting them "en masse", this is basically a call to dump the hot potato onto Austria's lap.

Basically, this would be tactic (9): harp on the legal fine points and have Germany's bordering countries deal with the refugees. Austria has already put in place a throttling mechanism to make sure it does not have to deal with lots of cases anyway - and that although much more effective than a zealous and pedantic application of the Dublin stipulations, this mechanism has dubious legality.

With this, we have not left the tactic desperately followed by Merkel et al: deflect the refugees as much as possible from Germany, and let others deal with the mess. Just as I described.

Regarding the 4th September decision (actually 5th September), it was clearly a measure to relieve temporarily the pressure on Hungary by allowing only those refugees who had already reached Hungary to proceed to Austria and further to Germany. The reason: Hungary was seriously on its way to crash Schengen, Schengen was essential (for reasons already discussed) to Germany, and Merkel was desperate to save Schengen from collapsing. It did not work: on the 13th September, Germany re-introduced border controls with Austria. Nowadays borders have closed further.

But a "blanket invitation"? In no way. The fact that it was interpreted in such a way by the press and that it sucked in more refugees arriving in Greece was something Merkel could have predicted and forestalled, but she is a politician interested in securing short-sighted advantages to her country and patching things as they come - not a stateswoman with a vision.

Regarding economic migrants, the missing passports, the asset-stripping to pay smugglers, etc, this is not new. Exactly the same issues were raised long ago, when the crisis was taking place in Spain and not in Greece, when corpses were washing ashore of the Canary Islands not on Lesbos, and when Ceuta and Melilla where being frantically fortified, not Bulgaria or Macedonia. The only thing that has changed is that the flows have progressively move East towards Europe's soft underbelly, and that at each stage they grew by an order of magnitude. Spain dealt with tens of thousands of people per year, Italy with hundreds of thousands, and now we have reached the million mark in the Balkans. All the improvised plans on quotas, hot-spots, UNHCR funding, etc, come 20 years too late.

No one particular , March 2, 2016 at 11:37 am

Nice diversion, let's deal with the fine print.

a) we agree the current practice is illegal. b) it might sound morally superior to "help" the Austrians, but for whom is it the better solution? c) I maintain the "blanket invitation" was the result, even if unintended – the appearance of "all are welcome" incentivised too many to uproot themselves in vain d) true, the collective refusal of Germany and the rest of Europe to deal with the (economic) immigration question for decades has contributed to the current situation – however, Merkel's solo attempt to solve the Budapest issue, and adding insult to injury – without informing the "partners" supposed to share the burden beforehand – was neither effective, nor sensible, nor diplomatic. e) I wonder whether the "save Schengen" argument will survive the scrutiny of hindsight, i.e. IMHO it does not sound credible, but I can only speculate and I will refrain. Schengen is important to the German economy, but the price paid – utter distrust by the majority of Germans into the government, state and press was much too high, I think. There must have been higher stakes at play, I guess. f) Merkel wasted 5-6 month to create a proper immigration law, differentiating the three routes, i.e. asylum, temporary war shelter due to Geneva Convention and "economic immigration" – and to entice the rest of Europe to deal with it, as she has not started the process to update the archaic German laws regarding sexual harassment, rape etc to EU wide standards, the current draft is wanting – before and after Cologne. g) She burdened the Germans with
1. with a lot of unskilled and difficult to integrate Migrants
2. destroyed whatever goodwill there was towards Germany in Europe or the world –
3. settled the country with global unease about a Germany so out of bounds, palpable for everyone outside Berlin – years of reputation building down the drain
4. recently gave the appearance of obstinacy to stick to a plan unsuited for reality, stubbornly ignoring the unwillingness of the other Europeans to sacrifice their countries alongside Germany – there will be no support and no "coalition of the willing" – at least not until Merkel sees reason and closes the borders. I do think her comment yesterday, about "migrants to not have the right to choose where to apply for asylum" was tentatively going in the right direction, but was certainly not strong enough to persuade desperate people not to start their journey or to go home from Greece.
5. more or less exposed the German democratic system as incapable in dealing with this emergency situation in a legal and democratic way
6. allowing H. Maas to accuse the ex constitutional judges of "mental arson" for voicing objections (FAZ) – the article was just about short of telling the judges to shut up, which, as an indication of were free speech is going, was rather frightening

And no realism or vision in sight. Deplorable, for Germany and everybody else.

OIFVet , March 2, 2016 at 9:21 am

Send a couple of million to the US and to Saudi Arabia. And keep expediting the rest to Germany, with all due haste. The Balkans are indeed shutting down the borders, but given the mountainous terrain some migrants will inevitably slip through. Personally I find it a good investment to charter planes to Berlin and fly them directly to Madame Merkel. Because that's what hse deserves for being a spineless puppet, and for also kissing the ring of the wanna-be sultan in Ankara.

dandaniel , March 2, 2016 at 10:34 am

The emperor is naked!
Who should deal with this migration crisis? EU council or angela? I mean, you have a bunch of bureaucrats in bruxelles and EU was supposed to be led by this council? Also, EU has a puppet president, and a host of other dumb institutions very eager in designing and imposing all kind of stupid legislation on member countries, but unable to speak about this migration crisis. Give me a break! And angela she is past due date already!

washunate , March 2, 2016 at 11:20 am

This post seems a little disjointed. Is the argument that Merkel specifically and Germany generally is bad because they're not as open as they ought to be to foreign nationals? Or is the post saying Germany is bad because they are too open to foreign nationals?

And is Germany bad because they trap Greece in an evil, domineering EMU? Or is Germany bad because they're kicking Greece out of a great, happy EMU?

TG , March 2, 2016 at 3:27 pm

I think Merkel – or perhaps, the establishment in general – will do fine. Any party seriously challenging the status quo will be declared to be racist and dissolved. Increasingly anyone objecting to the status quo will be accused of 'hate speech' – hate speech, of course, is any statement opposing government policy.

Merkel was perfectly willing to let the Greeks starve to bail out the banks – the notion that she is in any way motivated by compassion is absurd. I hear that Merkel wants to make refugee labor available to big companies for just a euro an hour (medical care etc. to be subsidized by taxes on the middle class). Even a technically sophisticated economy needs quite a lot of 'unskilled' labor, and replacing a few million Germans making 15 euro/hour with refugees that only need be directly paid a euro an hour, can make the right companies an awful lot of money. Do the math.

And on another note: we constantly hear that more people are always better, that anyone suggesting that opening the borders to the overpopulated third world could possibly in any way be a bad thing, must a priori be racist. So surely bottling up all those refugees in Greece can only be wonderful? Why not do the Greeks a favor and force them to take all the surplus populations from Syria, Iraq, Algeria, Pakistan etc? That simply MUST be wonderful and anyone objecting must be a fascist like Golden Dawn or Donald Trump and such hateful speech should be quashed as quickly as possible. Because people are the ultimate resource and it doesn't matter if Greece runs out of food or fresh water or timber or housing or electric generating capacity etc., because more people will automatically and without delay create even more wealth despite having nothing to work with. Yes?

VietnamVet , March 2, 2016 at 7:15 pm

It is quite astonishing to read these reports but there are no explanations of the causes.

The wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, Libya, Syria and Ukraine were started by the West. The Troika's imposition of austerity on Greece resulted in its borders being open to the refugees of the wars. The ruling elite want free movement of people and capital and are working to negate the powers of the democratic sovereign states. This contempt of the lower classes is the direct cause of the rise of people's nationalist movements in the West.

Knute Rife , March 2, 2016 at 9:49 pm

Between this and the disintegration of the EU, looks like the Fourth Reich isn't going to last long either.

[Sep 26, 2016] Angela Merkel Will Stop Illegal Migration

Notable quotes:
"... After a series of shock defeats to the anti-mass migration AfD party, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has promised to "stop illegal immigration" and send failed asylum seekers back to their home nations. ..."
"... "We want to stop illegal immigration while living up to our humanitarian responsibilities," Mrs. Merkel said after talks in Vienna with counterparts from along the Balkan migrant route. ..."
"... Hundreds of thousands of Middle Eastern migrants began to flood countries along the Balkan route last year, soon after Mrs. Merkel unexpectedly suspended European Union (EU) border rules and "invited" "no upper limit" of migrants to Germany. ..."
Sep 26, 2016 | www.breitbart.com
After a series of shock defeats to the anti-mass migration AfD party, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has promised to "stop illegal immigration" and send failed asylum seekers back to their home nations.

"We want to stop illegal immigration while living up to our humanitarian responsibilities," Mrs. Merkel said after talks in Vienna with counterparts from along the Balkan migrant route.

In February, Germany accused Pakistan, as well as North and West African countries, of refusing to take back failed asylum applicants.

"It is necessary to get agreements with third countries, especially in Africa but also Pakistan and Afghanistan… so that it becomes clear that those with no right to stay in Europe can go back to their home countries," Mrs. Merkel told reporters this weekend, DW reports .

Hundreds of thousands of Middle Eastern migrants began to flood countries along the Balkan route last year, soon after Mrs. Merkel unexpectedly suspended European Union (EU) border rules and "invited" "no upper limit" of migrants to Germany.

The anti-mass migration Alternative for Deutschland (AfD) party has recently surged in the polls, even overtaking the Chancellor's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in the state election in her hometown. The CDU also had their worst election result ever in Berlin just over a week ago.

[Sep 26, 2016] Berlin Election Outcome Signals Merkels Tenuous Grip on Chancellorship

Notable quotes:
"... Notice that this interview fails to mention that the huge influx of refugees into Europe is the direct result of the US creating failed states in the Middle East. ..."
"... Yes. As many have said, critical thinking in DC went out the door with 9/11. Those in DC who shouldn't be in jail, probably should at most be mopping floors at McDonalds. ..."
"... Let's note that pre-9/11 the foreign policy wasn't exactly just/moral/sane. ..."
"... Who cares? Since when did we live in a democracy? How many people wanted the Syrian and Lybian conflicts? ..."
"... Do we all have to die in poverty because our leaders (in the case of these wars, Zionist) pushed war clandestinely? ..."
"... Funny how that logic is never applied to others who are attacked (victims of our foreign policy). They should act like saints and we should bomb more (or, rather, commit genocide). Maybe might makes right, but then say it and stop masquerading as some burdened savior. ..."
"... At this year's celebration a couple of people were badly injured by Ukrainian rightists who reportedly fled back to the Ukraine, escaping justice. And, as I recall, there was a recent report of a French rightist who had received bomb materials from Ukrainians. ..."
"... I recently read accounts of the rise of neo-nazi and right-wing extremist groups in the former DDR after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Apparently they were substantially infiltrated by US and German intelligence services and, as a result, enjoyed a certain level of impunity and de facto ..."
"... On the other hand, the link between US 'intelligence' and Ukrainian neo-nazis is reasonably well established and is unlikely to have sprung into existence moments before their Maidan mobilization. That they would now use their safe harbor in Ukraine as a base for operations across Europe should not be particularly shocking. ..."
"... Okay, I have some serious problems with this. One, Israel is not just Jewish in its composition. Two, not all Jewish people live in Israel. Three, Jewish people lived along side Muslims and Christians for hundreds of years in that region before Britain, the USA and some useful idiot Zionists decided to make a geopolitical springboard in 1948. You may be right that every nation pursues its own agenda, but I'm not concerned about that, I'm concerned about the nation or nations pursuing their agenda(s) that have the most wealth and the biggest bombs. I'm concerned about the ones running the empire, and Israel is a useful servant to that empire. ..."
"... Israel is a nation state. Identifying as Jewish is another matter altogether. Israel is a colony that was formed at the wrong place and the wrong time. They could have pulled it off in the 18th or 19th century (see USA, Canada, Australia, the entire Western Hemisphere), but doing so immediately after a global war that was largely the end result of nation's colonial ambitions was a big no-no. The window of opportunity for such shenanigans had passed and the British, US, and Zionist progenitors of Israel knew better. ..."
"... If AfD opponents simplistically think that the AfD are a rabble of angry closet Neo-Nazis…..boy their moral/intellectual smugness is going to be shattered at the ballot box in the upcoming years. The core of AfD are the German equivalent of ol' time bottom 90% FDR Democrats. ..."
"... FDR was probably the only American president who was not entirely the servant of the capitalist ruling class. His reforms were for the benefit of American workers and he dragged the Democratic party along with him in creating the American social welfare system. He truly favored cooperative competition with the Soviet Union. Believing his vision of liberalism to be superior to Soviet socialism he had none of the knee jerk fear and hatred of them that has always characterized the American ruling class' relationship with Russia – even now 20 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union. He was entirely confident the working class would choose his vision. ..."
"... "Notice that this interview fails to mention that the huge influx of refugees into Europe is the direct result of the US creating failed states in the Middle East." ..."
"... I've always assumed the costs of the Syria intervention - geopolitical insecurity, refugees, etc. were seen as a useful collateral dampener on the rise of a Germany-dominated Europe. Perhaps not sought after, but when those costs were put in the calculus and were seen to affect the European states the most, the cost-shifting became a net enabler. ..."
"... The definitive proof of the Empire of Chaos's real agenda in Syria may be found in a 2012 Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) document declassified in May last year. ..."
"... "THE WEST, GULF COUNTRIES, AND TURKEY [WHO] SUPPORT THE [SYRIAN] OPPOSITION… THERE IS THE POSSIBILITY OF ESTABLISHING A DECLARED OR UNDECLARED SALAFIST PRINCIPALITY IN EASTERN SYRIA (HASAKA AND DER ZOR), AND THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT THE SUPPORTING POWERS TO THE OPPOSITION WANT, IN ORDER TO ISOLATE THE SYRIAN REGIME, WHICH IS CONSIDERED THE STRATEGIC DEPTH OF THE SHIA EXPANSION (IRAQ AND IRAN)". ..."
"... It establishes that over four years ago US intel was already hedging its bets between established al-Qaeda in Syria, aka Jabhat al-Nusra, and the emergence of ISIS/ISIL/Daesh, aka the Islamic State. ..."
"... It's already in the public domain that by a willful decision, leaked by current Donald Trump adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Washington allowed the emergence of the Islamic State – remember that gleaming white Toyota convoy crossing the open desert? – as a most convenient US strategic asset, and not as the enemy in the remixed, never-ending GWOT (Global War on Terra). ..."
Sep 24, 2016 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Pavel September 24, 2016 at 7:13 am

Yves: It's amazing how infrequently this point is made in any political debate or news coverage. (Jeremy Corbyn being one rare example of someone who brings it up.):

Notice that this interview fails to mention that the huge influx of refugees into Europe is the direct result of the US creating failed states in the Middle East.

If there were any justice, the refugees would be swamping the UK, US, and France in huge numbers, as those are the countries that cooked up the Libya failed state and also most active in Syria. Crazy or stupid (your choice) Hollande vowed to increase the French warfare in Syria after the recent terror attacks in Paris and elsewhere. As though MORE BOMBS ever managed to decrease terrorism, right?

Though Merkel made her own bed with her "let them all come to Germany!" invitation, and now she is sleeping in it. Good riddance when and if she goes.

Dirk77 September 24, 2016 at 1:58 pm

Yes. As many have said, critical thinking in DC went out the door with 9/11. Those in DC who shouldn't be in jail, probably should at most be mopping floors at McDonalds.

knowbuddhau September 24, 2016 at 8:31 pm

Hey now. I mop floors. I know people who mop floors. Those perps, sir, are not fit to mop floors. Unless it's in prison. And even then I'm sure they'd suck. Takes integrity to do a humble job well.

Nelson Lowhim September 25, 2016 at 5:01 am

Let's note that pre-9/11 the foreign policy wasn't exactly just/moral/sane.

Hayek's Heelbiter September 24, 2016 at 6:39 pm

This quote is the "yang" to the "yin" of Yves' column posted on September 21, 2016: Negative Effects of Immigration on the Economy

fds September 24, 2016 at 11:46 pm

Who cares? Since when did we live in a democracy? How many people wanted the Syrian and Lybian conflicts? If I recall, war was averted in parliament and congress.

Do we all have to die in poverty because our leaders (in the case of these wars, Zionist) pushed war clandestinely?

Nelson Lowhim September 25, 2016 at 5:00 am

Funny how that logic is never applied to others who are attacked (victims of our foreign policy). They should act like saints and we should bomb more (or, rather, commit genocide). Maybe might makes right, but then say it and stop masquerading as some burdened savior.

as James Baldwin said: "aching, nobly, to wade through the blood of savages."

hemeantwell September 24, 2016 at 8:13 am

Thanks for posting this Grossman interview. One facet of the development of the far right that Grossman hints at, and maybe can only do so because there isn't much data, is its transnational quality. This summer we visited some lefty friends in Lund, Sweden where each year they hold a large May Day rally.

At this year's celebration a couple of people were badly injured by Ukrainian rightists who reportedly fled back to the Ukraine, escaping justice. And, as I recall, there was a recent report of a French rightist who had received bomb materials from Ukrainians.

As I think about, there's an ugly resonance with Yves' noting the refugees are substantially a result of US policies. The development of a rightist terrorist potential in the Ukraine has the same general source.

Skip Intro September 24, 2016 at 3:03 pm

I recently read accounts of the rise of neo-nazi and right-wing extremist groups in the former DDR after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Apparently they were substantially infiltrated by US and German intelligence services and, as a result, enjoyed a certain level of impunity and de facto financial support from these governments. They were also linked to members of the 'stay behind' organizations (see Operation Gladio ), and were 'useful' in violently opposing left-wing groups as well as punk rockers. The modern AfD is strongest in the states of the former DDR, and are the ideological if not logistical heirs of these right-wing groups. But to conflate 15% of the electorate with semi-pro neo-nazis and racists is a bit of a stretch. While they are surely motivated by a strong nativist impulse and anti-immigrant fervor, their voters also represent the kind of disaffected and disenfranchised populations that carried the Brexit vote to victory.

On the other hand, the link between US 'intelligence' and Ukrainian neo-nazis is reasonably well established and is unlikely to have sprung into existence moments before their Maidan mobilization. That they would now use their safe harbor in Ukraine as a base for operations across Europe should not be particularly shocking.

fds September 24, 2016 at 11:47 pm

No, the AfD is not linked to the CIA It is a pro-social welfare, anti-TPP group that also wants fair migrant exchanges, that is not just to Europe. It is pestered and censored in Germany. Just expressing support in ways a security agent deems 'offensive' gets you fined and ostracized.

Norb September 24, 2016 at 10:07 am

The fight over private property rights continues. Liberal Democracy has failed around the world due to the unholy alliance with corporate power. Unchecked corporate power has been unmasked as the destructive force that it truly is.

The left needs to evolve into a political force that can shape the consciousness of the masses away from individual greed toward the undeniable benefit of cooperative action. The right will use fear to drive people into some sort of trembling mass and only by combating this fear can movement be made.

The compromise the left needs to make is to use any means possible, not to seize the means of production form existing owners, but to start building alternative ones. It is all too easy for the right to bring out their tried and true methods to hold power. It is time to starve the beast, and one way is to not participate and build in another direction.

Corporate power is what needs to be broken. From my limited view, the left has always been a reactionary force. It needs to evolve into a proactive one, literally building something in the real world. Another major mistake by the left is to reject and confuse the power of religion. Neoliberalism is a new religion and gains much power by the use of unquestioning faith. The left has failed to counteract this religious faith because they have not even tried to counter it with their own. Just as finance has evolved into a military weapon, it can be argued that religion, in essence, is a military force.

The political landscape is being reshuffled into defining what we are willing to fight and die for. Until the left starts offering coherent answers to these questions, the status quo will continue to pick from the low hanging fruit.

Rosario September 25, 2016 at 1:06 am

Okay, I have some serious problems with this. One, Israel is not just Jewish in its composition. Two, not all Jewish people live in Israel. Three, Jewish people lived along side Muslims and Christians for hundreds of years in that region before Britain, the USA and some useful idiot Zionists decided to make a geopolitical springboard in 1948. You may be right that every nation pursues its own agenda, but I'm not concerned about that, I'm concerned about the nation or nations pursuing their agenda(s) that have the most wealth and the biggest bombs. I'm concerned about the ones running the empire, and Israel is a useful servant to that empire.

Israel is a nation state. Identifying as Jewish is another matter altogether. Israel is a colony that was formed at the wrong place and the wrong time. They could have pulled it off in the 18th or 19th century (see USA, Canada, Australia, the entire Western Hemisphere), but doing so immediately after a global war that was largely the end result of nation's colonial ambitions was a big no-no. The window of opportunity for such shenanigans had passed and the British, US, and Zionist progenitors of Israel knew better.

In addition, it is nonsense that we have normalized the formation of a nation state around a single ethnic or religious identity. Particularly after the Holocaust (the irony of this never ceases to amaze me). Would we have the same sympathies for the the countless indigenous ethnic groups in the Americas who, per capita, had even worse genocides inflicted on them, all documented, all accepted as inevitable or necessary in most histories of the Americas? Israel is a contorted hypocrisy that has to either embrace heterogeneity of disappear. Ideally as an inclusive country that is no longer a colony as it has been for hundreds of years. The fetish that is Israel has been an unfair burden to all people living in the Middle East and Jewish people the world over that are forced to (through the sheer force of political dogma) shackle their identities to a racist, rogue state.

oho September 24, 2016 at 11:44 am

" AfD stands for Alternative for Germany. It's a young party, about 2 years old. It's built basically on racism."

Got more important things to do than rant about the above statement….

Just will quote basic Sun Tzu via Star Trek-know your opponent, know yourself and victory will be yours.

If AfD opponents simplistically think that the AfD are a rabble of angry closet Neo-Nazis…..boy their moral/intellectual smugness is going to be shattered at the ballot box in the upcoming years. The core of AfD are the German equivalent of ol' time bottom 90% FDR Democrats.

Felix_47 September 24, 2016 at 2:18 pm

And on the other side Sarah Wagenknecht, a leader in the left, hit a lot of flak from many in her party when she said there needs to be an "Obergrenze" or limit on the number of refugees. It would hard to call her racist since she is half Persian. It really is a conflict between those who cannot think realistically….those who are supported or secure enough not to have to take responsibility for anyone, and those who will need to make the world function. As a Socialist she apparently is aware that you cannot have a strong social net and combine that with open immigration from places that have astronomical birthrates that are outgrowing their resources without destroying that net. I recall Hillary and the open border people attacked Bernie on that as well. I thought it was unfair and it is this pandering, among other issues, that will keep me from voting for her. There is a lot of commonality between AfD and the Linke. Don`t forget that the notion of German population replacement had some currency during and after WW2 in order to permanently solve the German problem and we may just be actualizing it now.

Ben Groves September 24, 2016 at 5:45 pm

In fairness, US immigration policy has slowly been getting tougher over the last 16 years. Immigration policy in the US goes beyond dialect. I doubt Clinton would be overly "easy".

fds September 24, 2016 at 11:55 pm

It's easier. Apart from the new Obama rule to issue visas to H1b holders, effectively tripling the numbers issued but still under the cap, to a myriad of other programs, it's much easier.

Of the several foreign students I've dated, it gets easier every year. Back in 03, one had to have an accountant degree with CPA certs, and even then, you often were slave labor in Chi-Town until you hooked up with an American company. Now the black market foreign industry is so large, that a mere B.A. is enough. The gov doesn't care. Everyone is approved, save the cap.

bmeisen September 25, 2016 at 12:50 am

spooky quatsch comment from oho – hard to tell what oho means with "90% bottom- line fdr dems". The very diverse FDR / Dem majority coalesced during and in response to economic crisis. The AfD has emerged during a German boom. It is successful in East Germany, which in the wake of economic collapse immediately following reunification has been the beneficiary of massive inner-German transfers. And it is successful in West Germany much of which is effectively at full-employment. Its core supporters are the 10% of any populazion that is racist, nationalist, and ignorant. You might try to argue that there is a uniquely irrational fear in Germany, something associated with its position on the left edge of Eurasia maybe, a heterogenous cultural unit without convincing access to the sea, trapped if you will and vulnerable to human flows. Sounds silly but it's hard to account for German fear.
The AfD is using this irrational fear for political gain. FDR was supported largely by voters with very real fears.

lin1 September 25, 2016 at 1:34 am

FDR was probably the only American president who was not entirely the servant of the capitalist ruling class. His reforms were for the benefit of American workers and he dragged the Democratic party along with him in creating the American social welfare system. He truly favored cooperative competition with the Soviet Union. Believing his vision of liberalism to be superior to Soviet socialism he had none of the knee jerk fear and hatred of them that has always characterized the American ruling class' relationship with Russia – even now 20 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union. He was entirely confident the working class would choose his vision.

His reactionary political enemies, concentrated in finance capital, had no reason to be so confident. Their fear and loathing of the working class was/is legitimately earned.

Plenue September 24, 2016 at 2:07 pm

"Notice that this interview fails to mention that the huge influx of refugees into Europe is the direct result of the US creating failed states in the Middle East."

That's typical of all MSM (not saying TRNN is mainstream) coverage of refugees. There's lots of discussion and hand-wringing about accepting refugees, but exactly zero about why they're refugees in the first place.

Felix_47 September 24, 2016 at 2:32 pm

Yes the US has had a lot to do with destabilizing Asia and Africa but a lot of it has simply been a continuation of British policy after WW2. As Britain shrank its foreign involvement the US expanded. But the real cause is the inability of our politicians and leaders to face up to the reality that population growth is hitting the limits of resource availability in Asia and Africa and to institute realistic ways to control population. Absent the population explosion in these regions in the last decades we would not be seeing the poverty and anger and constant confllict because there would be enough for all. As much bad press as China has gotten for its population policy it is one of the few bright spots in world economic development. Interestingly China does not seem very interested in accepting millions of third world refugees.

Vikas September 24, 2016 at 4:09 pm

I've always assumed the costs of the Syria intervention - geopolitical insecurity, refugees, etc. were seen as a useful collateral dampener on the rise of a Germany-dominated Europe. Perhaps not sought after, but when those costs were put in the calculus and were seen to affect the European states the most, the cost-shifting became a net enabler.

Micky9finger September 24, 2016 at 4:24 pm

In my naïve point of view it hit me last year that it was a brilliant stroke of Angela Merkel to grab as many refugees as she could before any other country.
They are a tremendous natural resource. One that many modern countries are beginning to see a coming shortage of. Many countries, like Germany, France, etc are looking at population shortages in the working age groups. Merkel's grab of this mass of human resource was maybe an accidentally brilliant idea.

oho September 24, 2016 at 6:06 pm

can't tell if the above comment is satire or astroturfing or naivety?

Merkel's migrants have zero higher-level first-world skills. AfD is strong in ex-East Germany because there is popular resentment as ex-East Germans get austerity shoved down their throats while Merkel unfurls the red carpet for migrants.

http://www.dw.com/en/germany-expects-migration-to-add-to-unemployment/a-19478546

in der Frage nach festen Arbeitsplätzen für Flüchtlinge ruhen die Hoffnungen zunehmend auf mittelständischen Unternehmen und Handwerksbetrieben. Denn wie eine Umfrage dieser Zeitung ergab, hat die große Mehrzahl der im deutschen Aktienindex (Dax) notierten Konzerne noch keine Flüchtlinge eingestellt. Einzig die Deutsche Post gab an, bis Anfang Juni 50 Flüchtlinge und damit eine nennenswerte Größe fest angestellt zu haben.

http://www.faz.net/aktuell/wirtschaft/unternehmen/mittelstand-als-hoffnungstraeger-fuer-fluechtlinge-14323607.html

Yves Smith Post author September 24, 2016 at 10:55 pm

Not true. Syrians are very highly educated. Very good public education and high average attainment.

But Merkel was an idiot if she actually did recognize that Syrians were high potential workers yet did nothing re how to integrate them, most important, acquisition of German and jobs matching.

Ben Groves September 24, 2016 at 5:49 pm

The fact capitalism is a ponzi scheme is a key here. When the Aristocracy bowed to the Sephardic bankers, they created this mess. They were the same idiots that bowed to the Christians 1500+ years before.

Maybe it is time for a new aristocracy. If you want to build internally, you have to abolish capitalism and its market based scam. That is why "right wingers" won't last without the Sephardic banks via market expansion. They run the scheme and always have. From their immigration into the Iberian trails during the 15th century, to their financing and eventual leadership into the protestant reformation, to the first capitalists scheme at Amsterdam to bribing William the Orange into taking it into old England.

S M Tenneshaw September 24, 2016 at 11:28 pm

You mean "Sephardic" as in Wells Fargo? Cracka, please.

Jeff September 24, 2016 at 7:55 pm

Let me see if I understand this:

1. Most of the refugees arriving in Europe are Syrian. The US did not act to topple the Syrian dictator and did not create a new Syrian government. The United States is responsible for these refugees.

2. A portion of the refugees are Libyan. At the urging of its European allies (not just the UK), the US helped topple the Libyan government, but has not created a new government. The US is responsible for these refugees.

3. A portion of the refugees are from Iraq or Afghanistan. The US toppled the old governments and installed new ones. The US is responsible for these refugees.

4. A significant portion of the refugees are from African countries including Nigeria and Eritrea. I assume that these aren't included in the statement above as they are not Middle Eastern.

So, in other words – the US is responsible whether or not we intervene and whether or not we then attempt to set up a government? I wonder under what circumstances you would not view the US as responsible?

I would suggest, that given the situation in the Middle East and the fact that the results are similar regardless of US actions something more basic is at work. Most of the nations of the Middle East and Africa were artificial creations of primarily Britain and France; they are nations derived neither from ethnic homogeneity nor the consent or shared history of the governed. Whatever, the United States did or does, they would ultimately have shattered in one way or another and refugees would have headed for Europe.

knowbuddhau September 24, 2016 at 8:57 pm

Nope, you don't. The US and its Gulf state "allies" are indeed trying to oust Assad and, if not set up, at least allow the creation of a Salafist regime.

The US Road Map To Balkanize Syria

By Pepe Escobar

September 22, 2016 "Information Clearing House" – "RT" – Forget about those endless meetings between Sergei Lavrov and John Kerry; forget about Russia's drive to prevent chaos from reigning in Syria; forget about the possibility of a real ceasefire being implemented and respected by US jihad proxies.

Forget about the Pentagon investigating what really happened around its bombing 'mistake' in Deir Ezzor.

The definitive proof of the Empire of Chaos's real agenda in Syria may be found in a 2012 Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) document declassified in May last year.

As you scroll down the document, you will find page 291, section C, which reads (in caps, originally):

"THE WEST, GULF COUNTRIES, AND TURKEY [WHO] SUPPORT THE [SYRIAN] OPPOSITION… THERE IS THE POSSIBILITY OF ESTABLISHING A DECLARED OR UNDECLARED SALAFIST PRINCIPALITY IN EASTERN SYRIA (HASAKA AND DER ZOR), AND THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT THE SUPPORTING POWERS TO THE OPPOSITION WANT, IN ORDER TO ISOLATE THE SYRIAN REGIME, WHICH IS CONSIDERED THE STRATEGIC DEPTH OF THE SHIA EXPANSION (IRAQ AND IRAN)".

The DIA report is a formerly classified SECRET/NOFORN document, which made the rounds of virtually the whole alphabet soup of US intel, from CENTCOM to CIA, FBI, DHS, NGA and the State Department.

It establishes that over four years ago US intel was already hedging its bets between established al-Qaeda in Syria, aka Jabhat al-Nusra, and the emergence of ISIS/ISIL/Daesh, aka the Islamic State.

It's already in the public domain that by a willful decision, leaked by current Donald Trump adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Washington allowed the emergence of the Islamic State – remember that gleaming white Toyota convoy crossing the open desert? – as a most convenient US strategic asset, and not as the enemy in the remixed, never-ending GWOT (Global War on Terra).

It's as clear as it gets; a "Salafist principality" is to be encouraged as a means to Divide and Rule over a fragmented Syria in perpetual chaos. Whether it's established by Jabhat al-Nusra – aka "moderate rebels" in Beltway jargon – or al-Baghdadi's "Califake" is just a pesky detail.

It gets curioser and curioser as Hasaka and Deir Ezzor are named in the DIA report – and directly targeted by the 'mistaken' Pentagon bombing. No wonder Pentagon chief Ash 'Empire of Whining' Carter took no prisoners to directly sabotage what Kerry had agreed on with Lavrov.

No one will ever see these connections established by US corporate media – as in, for instance, the neocon cabal ruling the Washington Post's editorial pages. But the best of the blogosphere does not disappoint.

The rest is just blame-shifting that conveniently let's the US off the hook.

Nelson Lowhim September 25, 2016 at 5:07 am

Thanks. Let's not forget the initial peace talks which the US helped to scuttle.

Yves Smith Post author September 24, 2016 at 10:58 pm

Have you not read any press in the last 5 years, or do you just make a habit of making shit up? The US has been trying to topple Assad for God only knows how long. What, for instance, do you think the desperate fig leaf of trying to claim that we are supporting non-existant "moderate Syrian rebels" is about?

Noonan September 24, 2016 at 9:55 pm

"the danger of this right wing group mostly in the form of parties which is by the way it gets its votes by being anti-immigrant, anti-foreigner, and especially anti-Muslimism. That�'s their big call."

Sounds like a winning platform to me.

[Mar 10, 2016] Dear Ms. Merkel, Be Careful What You Wish For Zero Hedge

Notable quotes:
"... So now Greece has to accommodate ever more refugees because all borders close, something Greece cannot afford since the bailout talks left it incapable of even looking after its own people, while over the next ten days it can expect a surge of 'new' refugees to arrive from Turkey, afraid they'll be stuck there after a deal is done. Greece will become a "holding pen", and the refugees will be the livestock. A warehouse of souls, a concentration camp. ..."
"... Refugees from war -torn countries are per definition not 'illegal'. What is illegal, on the other hand, is to refuse them asylum. So all the talk about 'illegal migrants' emanating from shills like Donald Tusk is at best highly questionable. The freshly introduced term 'irregular migrants' is beyond the moral pale. ..."
"... In that same terminology vein, the idea that Turkey is a 'safe third country', as the EU so desperately wants to claim, is downright crazy. That is not for the EU to decide, if only because it has -again, immoral- skin in the game. ..."
"... All this terminology manipulation, ironically, plays into the hands of the very right wing movements that Angela Merkel fears losing this weekend's elections to. They create a false picture and atmosphere incumbent 'leaders' try to use to hold on to power, but it will end up making them lose that power. ..."
www.zerohedge.com
Submitted by Raul Ilargi Meijer via The Automatic Earth blog,

"Those are my principles, and if you don't like them… well, I have others."

– Groucho Marx

What is perhaps most remarkable about the deal the EU is trying to seal with Turkey to push back ALL refugees who come to Greece is that the driving force behind it turns out to be Angela Merkel. Reports say that she and temp EU chairman Dutch PM Mark Rutte 'pushed back' the entire EU delegation that had been working on the case, including Juncker and Tusk, and came with proposals that go much further than even Brussels had in mind.

Why? Angela has elections this weekend she's afraid to lose.

It's also remarkable that the deal with the devil they came up with is fraught with so many legal uncertainties -it not outright impossibilities- that it's highly unlikely the deal will ever be closed, let alone implemented. One thing they will have achieved is that refugees will arrive in much larger numbers over the next ten days, before a sequel meeting will be held, afraid as they will be to be pushed back after that date.

They may not have to be so scared of that, because anything remotely like what was agreed on will face so many legal challenges it may be DOA. Moreover, in the one-for-one format that is on the table, Europe would be forced to accept as many refugees from Turkey as it pushes back to that country. Have Merkel and Rutte realized this? Or do they think they can refuse that later, or slow it down?

Under the deal, Turkey seems to have little incentive to prevent refugees from sailing to Greece. Because for every one who sails and returns, Turkey can send one to Europe. What if that comes to a million, or two, three? The numbers of refugees in Turkey will remain the same, while the number in Europe will keep growing ad infinitum.

* * *

Sweet Jesus, Angela, we understand you have problems with the refugee situation, and that you have elections coming up this weekend, but what made you think the answer can be found in playing fast and loose with the law? And what, for that matter, do you expect to gain from negotiating a Faustian deal with the devil? Surely you know that makes you lose your soul?

You said yesterday that history won't look kindly on the EU if it fails on refugees, but how do you think history will look on you for trying to sign a deal that violates various international laws, including the Geneva Conventions? You have this aura of being kinder than most of Europe to the refugees, but then you go and sell them out to a guy who aids ISIS, massacres Kurds, shuts down all the media he doesn't like and makes a killing smuggling refugees to Greece?

Or are we getting this backwards, and are you shrewdly aware that the elections come before the next meeting with Turkey, and are you already planning to ditch the entire deal once the elections are done, or have your legal team assured you that there's no way it will pass the court challenges it will inevitably provoke?

It would be smart if that's the case, but it's also quite dark: we are still talking about human beings here, of which hundreds of thousands have already died in the countries the living are fleeing, or during their flight (and we don't mean by plane), and tens of thousands -and counting, fast- are already stuck in Greece, with one country after the other closing their borders after the -potential- deal became public knowledge.

So now Greece has to accommodate ever more refugees because all borders close, something Greece cannot afford since the bailout talks left it incapable of even looking after its own people, while over the next ten days it can expect a surge of 'new' refugees to arrive from Turkey, afraid they'll be stuck there after a deal is done. Greece will become a "holding pen", and the refugees will be the livestock. A warehouse of souls, a concentration camp.

The circumstances under which these human beings have been forced to flee their homes, to travel thousands of miles, and now to try and stay alive in Greece, are already way below morally acceptable. Just look at Idomeni! You should do all you can to improve their conditions, not to risk making them worse. Where and how you do that is another matter, but the principle should stand.

You should be in Greece right now, Angela, asking Tsipras how you can help him with this unfolding mayhem, how much money he needs and what other resources you can offer. Instead, Athens today hosts the Troika and Victoria "F**k the EU" Nuland. That is so completely insane it can't escape the protagonists themselves either.

* * *

Refugees from war -torn countries are per definition not 'illegal'. What is illegal, on the other hand, is to refuse them asylum. So all the talk about 'illegal migrants' emanating from shills like Donald Tusk is at best highly questionable. The freshly introduced term 'irregular migrants' is beyond the moral pale.

As is the emphasis on using the term 'migrant' versus 'refugee' that both European politicians and the international press are increasingly exhibiting, because it is nothing but a cheap attempt to influence public opinion while at the same time throwing desperate people's legal status into doubt.

What their status is must be decided by appropriate legal entities, not by reporters or politicians seeking to use the confusion of the terms for their own personal benefit. And numbers show time and again that most of the people (93% in February GRAPH) arriving in Greece come from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, all war-torn, and must therefore be defined as 'refugees' under international law. It is really that simple. Anything else is hot air. Trying to redefine the terminology on the fly is immoral.

In that same terminology vein, the idea that Turkey is a 'safe third country', as the EU so desperately wants to claim, is downright crazy. That is not for the EU to decide, if only because it has -again, immoral- skin in the game.

All this terminology manipulation, ironically, plays into the hands of the very right wing movements that Angela Merkel fears losing this weekend's elections to. They create a false picture and atmosphere incumbent 'leaders' try to use to hold on to power, but it will end up making them lose that power.

* * *

The funniest, though also potentially most disruptive, consequence of the proposed deal may well be that the visa requirements for the 75 million Turks to travel to Europe are to be abandoned in June, just 3 months away, giving them full Schengen privileges. Funny, because that raises the option of millions of Turkish people fleeing the Erdogan regime travelling to Europe as refugees, and doing it in a way that no-one can call illegal.

There may be as many as 20 million Kurds living in Turkey, and Erdogan has for all intents and purposes declared war on all of them. How about if half of them decide to start a new life in Europe? Can't very well send them back to 'safe third country' Turkey.

Be careful what you wish for, Angela.

[Dec 17, 2015] The Putin-Did-It Conspiracy Theory

Notable quotes:
"... It was German Chancellor Angela Merkel, not Vladimir Putin, who pushed the EU agreement and miscalculated the consequences, as the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel has reported . Putin's only role in that time frame was to offer a more generous $15 billion aid package to Ukraine, not exactly a war-like act. ..."
February 15, 2015 | readersupportednews.org

The actually "incontrovertible" facts about the Ukraine crisis are these: The destabilization of President Viktor Yanukovych's elected government began in November 2013 when Yanukovych balked at a proposed association agreement promoted by the European Union. He sought more time after the sticker shock of learning from Kiev economic experts that the deal would cost Ukraine $160 billion in lost revenue by cutting trade with Russia.

It was German Chancellor Angela Merkel, not Vladimir Putin, who pushed the EU agreement and miscalculated the consequences, as the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel has reported. Putin's only role in that time frame was to offer a more generous $15 billion aid package to Ukraine, not exactly a war-like act.

Yanukovych's decision to postpone action on the EU association prompted angry demonstrations in Kiev's Maidan square, largely from western Ukrainians who were hoping for visa-free travel to the EU and other benefits from closer ties. Putin had no role in those protests – and it's insane to think that he did.

In February 2014, the protests grew more and more violent as neo-Nazi and other militias organized in the western city of Lviv and these 100-man units known as "sotins" were dispatched daily to provide the muscle for the anti-Yanukovych uprising that was taking shape. It is frankly nutty to suggest that Putin was organizing these militias. [See Consortiumnews.com's "When Is a Putsch a Putsch."]

Evidence of Coup Plotting

By contrast, there is substantial evidence that senior U.S. officials were pushing for a "regime change" in Kiev, including an intercepted phone call and various public statements.

In December 2013, Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, a neocon holdover, reminded Ukrainian business leaders that the United States had invested $5 billion in their "European aspirations." In early February, she discussed with U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt who the new leaders of Ukraine should be. "Yats is the guy," she declared, referring to Arseniy Yatsenyuk. [See Consortiumnews.com's "Who's Telling the Big Lie on Ukraine?"]

The Maidan uprising gained momentum on Feb. 20, 2014, when snipers around the square opened fire on police and protesters touching off a violent clash that left scores of people dead, both police and protesters. After the sniper fire and a police retreat - carrying their wounded - the demonstrators surged forward and some police apparently reacted with return fire of their own.

But the growing evidence indicates that the initial sniper fire originated from locations controlled by the Right Sektor, extremists associated with the Maidan's neo-Nazi "self-defense" commandant Andriy Parubiy. Though the current Ukrainian government has dragged its feet on an investigation, independent field reports, including a new one from BBC, indicate that the snipers were associated with the protesters, not the Yanukovych government as was widely reported in the U.S. media a year ago.

The worsening violence led Yanukovych to agree on Feb. 21 to a deal guaranteed by three European countries. He accepted reduced powers and agreed to early elections so he could be voted out of office. Yet, rather than permit that political settlement to go forward, neo-Nazis and other Maidan forces overran government buildings on Feb. 22, forcing Yanukovych and his officials to flee for their lives.

The U.S. State Department quickly deemed this coup regime "legitimate" and Nuland's choice, Yatsenyuk, emerged as Prime Minister, with Parubiy put in charge of national security.

In other words, there is plenty of evidence that the Ukraine crisis was started by the EU through its mishandling of the association agreement, then was heated up by the U.S. government through the work of Nuland, Pyatt and other officials, and then was brought to a boil by neo-Nazis and other extremists who executed the coup.

[Dec 17, 2015] Neocon Influence on Angela Merkel

February 21, 2007 | Dialog International
Is Angela Merkel getting bad advice from Washington neocons through their representative in Berlin? Now we read that Jeff Gedmin - the head of the Aspen Institute in Berlin - is meeting on a regular basis with the Chancellor to instruct her on the Bush administration's line:

Angela Merkel relies on the advice of Jeffrey Gedmin, specially dispatched to Berlin to assist her by the Bush clan. This lobbyist first worked at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) [2] under Richard Perle and Mrs. Dick Cheney. He enthusiastically encouraged the creation of a Euro with Dollar parity exchange rate. Within the AEI, he led the New Atlantic Initiative (NAI), which brought together all the America-friendly generals and politicians in Europe. He was then involved in the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) and wrote the chapter on Europe in the neocon programme. He argued that the European Union should remain under NATO authority and that this would only be possible by "discouraging European calls for emancipation." [3] Finally he became the administrator of the Council of the Community of Democracies (CCD), which argues in favour of a two-speed UN, and became director of the Aspen Institute in Berlin [4]. Subsequently he turned down the offer from his friend John Bolton [5] of the post of deputy US ambassador to the UN so as to be able to devote himself exclusively to Angela Merkel.

Elsewhere we read that Chancellor Merkel receives daily briefings from the neocon stalwart Gedmin:

Gedmin "brieft" die Kanzlerin täglich: Er hat damit die Rolle inne, die bei der Stasi die Führungsoffiziere hatten. Wenn wir uns noch Demokratie nennen wollen, dann muss Merkel gezwungen werden, die Inhalte dieser täglichen "Briefings" dem Land offenzulegen. In anderen Ländern gibt es dafür Gesetze, die "Freedom of Information Act" heissen.

Could this be true? I hope not. Gedmin is known for his columns in the conservative daily Die Welt where he reports on the marvelous successes the Iraq War. And who can forget Gedmin's column during last summer' s Israel/Lebanon War where he wrote about how Hezbollah fighters drank the blood of their victims in Lebanon? If Angela Merkel is looking for good advice, there are much more honest and intelligent resources than Jeff Gedmin.

[Dec 17, 2015] Why Merkel betrays Europe and Germany

Note that the quality of translation from German of this article is low.
Notable quotes:
"... Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung ..."
"... Bild and Die Welt ..."
"... In 2003, Chancellor Gerhard Schröder opposed the Anglo-American intervention in Ira q. Angela Merkel then published a courageous article in the Washington Post ..."
"... As Stanley Payne, the famous American historian said about Spain (or any western democracy) that now politicians are not elected but chosen by apparatus, agencies and visible hands of the markets ..."
"... Merkel is publicly supported by Friede Springer , widow of West German press baron, Axel Springer , whos publishing conglomerate, the Springer Group secretly received around $7 million from the CIA in the early 1950s. ..."
"... She is counseled by Jeffrey Gedmin. Gedmin is a regular columnist in Die Welt , a publication of the Springer Group. After becoming administrator of the Council of the Community of Democracies and director of the Aspen Institute in Berlin in 2001, Gedmin devoted himself exclusively to Merkel . Gedmin was too involved in the infamous Project for a New American Century (PNAC) and wrote the chapter on Europe in the neocon programme. He argued that the European Union should remain under NATO authority and that this would only be possible by discouraging European calls for emancipation . ..."
"... In a few years, Merkel has destroyed European solidarity, annihilated the German nuclear power plants (an old American obsession too), impoverished Germans and their once efficient Rheinisch and solitary economy, backed the mad dog American diplomacy and created along with an irresponsible American administration (irresponsible because America will never win this kind of conflict) a dangerous crisis against Russia than can end on a war or a scandalous European partition. ..."
Mar 06, 2015 | PravdaReport

One must understand the reasons of Angela Merkel's behaviour. She obeys America and her Israeli mentor ('Israel is Germany's raison d'être'???), she threatens and mistreats Europe; she attacks Russia and now she builds a new sanitary cordon (like in 1919) in order to deconstruct Eurasia and reinforce American agenda in our unlucky continent. Now Merkel advocates for the rapid adoption on the most infamous and perilous treaty of commerce in history, the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership). Dr Roberts has recently explained the meaning of 'Fast Track' expression and a courageous Guardian, last 27th may, has exposed the corruption of American Congress on this incredible yet terrible matter.

Why is Merkel so pro-American and anti-European?

Let us explain with the data we know the reasons of such nihilist and erratic behaviour.

Angela Merkel was then publicly supported by two press groups. Firstly, she was able to count on the support of Friede Springer, who had inherited the Axel Springer group (180 newspapers and magazines, including Bild and Die Welt). The group's journalists are required to sign an editorial agreement which lies down that they must work towards developing transatlantic links and defending the state of Israel. The other group is Bertelsmann.

Angela Merkel radically rejects European independence

In 2003, Chancellor Gerhard Schröder opposed the Anglo-American intervention in Iraq. Angela Merkel then published a 'courageous' article in the Washington Post in which she rejected the Chirac-Schröder doctrine of European independence, affirmed her gratitude and friendship for "America" and supported this scandalous and ridiculous war. I quote some lines of this interesting act of submission to her American lords:

Yet Merkel won the elections in 2007. She announced the abolition of graduated income tax, proposing that the rate should be the same for those who only just have what is necessary and those who live in luxury: maybe this is the a result of her Christian education?

The outgoing Chancellor, Gerhard Schröder, severely criticized this proposal in a televised debate. The CDU's lead was decimated, and in the actual election, the CDU polled 35% of the votes and the SPD 34%, the remainder being spread amongst a number of small parties. The Germans didn't want Schröder any longer, but nor did they want Merkel. I repeat that she was imposed more than elected. As Stanley Payne, the famous American historian said about Spain (or any western democracy) that now politicians are 'not elected but chosen' by apparatus, agencies and 'visible hands' of the markets

These last weeks, "Mother" Merkel tries to re-launch the proposed merger of the North American Free Trade Area and the European Free Trade Area, thereby creating a "great transatlantic market" to use the words once pronounced by Sir Leon Brittan, a famous paedophile involved in scandals and bribes since, and mysteriously found dead a couple of months ago.

Let us se now some of their connections:

We have never been so far from 'emancipation' now in Europe, and never been so near to a war with Russia and maybe (in order to satisfy American gruesome appetite) with Central Asia and China. In France, 61% of the people who had witnessed the war asserted in 1945 that we were saved by the Russian Army. Now, thanks to American propaganda backed by European collaborators, we are hardly 10% to know that fact. The rest is misled by propaganda, media, TV and films. Daniel Estulin speaks of a remade, of a re-fabricated past by US television and media agencies.

In a few years, Merkel has destroyed European solidarity, annihilated the German nuclear power plants (an old American obsession too), impoverished Germans and their once efficient Rheinisch and solitary economy, backed the 'mad dog' American diplomacy and created along with an irresponsible American administration (irresponsible because America will never win this kind of conflict) a dangerous crisis against Russia than can end on a war or a scandalous European partition.

See also: Germany Americanizes Europe

[Sep 21, 2015] After Creating Migration Flood Merkel Throws Up Emergency Dikes

"... The German chancellor Merkel tried to gain some points with her neoliberal friends and with big companies and donors by suddenly opening the border for "refugees" of all kinds, even for those who come from safe countries. These migrants would help to further depress German wages which, after years of zero growth, slowly started to increase again. ..."
"... While Merkel was lauded by all kinds of Anglo-american neoliberal outlets, from the Economist over FT and Newsweek to the Washington Post the backlash in Germany was brewing. ..."
"... Despite a major campaign of pro-migrant propaganda in Merkel friendly media the German population in general is furious with her stunt. ..."
"... So the brave new world is coming to you also? The brave new world of depressed wages and benefits for the working classes. ..."
"... Poor Mr. Schäuble must give "earth and water" to the German oligarchs. He must organize a new Treuhand for the whole Europe to sell-off public property, he must completely dissolve labor rights, bring down pensions and wages, destroy the social state. ..."
"... These refugees mean workers and jobs. Or how do you think their houses will be built, or where will the doctors come from to treat them and the teachers to teach them, the shops that will feed them. ..."
"... Would be the planed PR con of ' aren't we nice to the most needy refugees', that being used as a duel use purpose with that appeal to her real constituency in the elite and corporates with refugees as wage slaves depressing wages. ..."
"... And when times are bad enough. the far-right actually gains and keeps power till they run a bloody muck. Nazis and Fascism is what these freaks are risking again. ..."
"... Of course, this is all made possible because the US isn't a country anymore, it is now a corporation. The same is true for the EU. The EU isn't a union of nations anymore, it is now a collection of corporations. ..."
"... Yes, The brave new CORPORATE world is coming to us all. Humanity be damned, profits uber alles. Workers of the globe, lube up, and bend over. ..."
"... This migrants crisis should be seen as a fantastic opportunity to all corporatists and neolibs. Companies need cheap labor. This is an open bar to them! ..."
"... This is really another unmasking of the EU. It is run by Germany. ..."
"... I think German industry is angry at the Russia sanctions and has been pressuring for 'new workers', in the sense of being able to set conditions, choose candidates from a larger pool, and almost certainly, pay less, have more control over workers. ..."
"... The makers of Western policy and the media are one and the same. Mass media now so consolidated, it's a corporate/state entity. ..."
"... The origin of totalitarianism : Part two, Imperialism : Chapter 9, Decline of the nation-state; end of the rights of man, p. 269 ..."
"... Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression ..."
"... I have real sympathy for the Syrian refugees coming from the concentration camps in Turkey. These are mostly younger, middle-class, educated Syrians with small children who either lost their homes or couldn't tolerate the risk of violence to them and their families. ..."
"... it's better lavrov speaks openly on what everyone with half a brain is thinking here.. that isis is a mercenary group paid to be where it is ought to come as no surprise.. that the usa hopes to use them to overthrow assad - they have openly stated this. ..."
"... When refugees still managed to get into Europe in large numbers heading for Germany where they had relatives and knew that there were jobs there was not much German politicians could legally do except stop Schengen that makes it easy to go anywhere once you have crossed the European borders - which is happening now getting refugees stranded in the fields. ..."
"... with the influx of probably millions of cheap labour, the big cats may bring back the industries from china , yes now the western Europe may be able to compete with them. ..."
Sep 21, 2015 | www.moonofalabama.org

The German chancellor Merkel tried to gain some points with her neoliberal friends and with big companies and donors by suddenly opening the border for "refugees" of all kinds, even for those who come from safe countries. These migrants would help to further depress German wages which, after years of zero growth, slowly started to increase again.

But neither she nor her allies ever prepared the German public for a sudden influx of several hundred thousand foreigners. Changes in immigration policy were sneaked in without any public discussion. Suddenly 800,000 foreign people are expected to arrive this years and many more over the next years. People who neither speak German nor readily fit into the national cultural and social-economic environment. Most of these do not come out of immediate dangers but from safe countries.

While Merkel was lauded by all kinds of Anglo-American neoliberal outlets, from the Economist over FT and Newsweek to the Washington Post the backlash in Germany was brewing. In Who Runs The Migrant Media Campaign And What Is Its Purpose? I predicted:

There will be over time a huge backlash against European politicians who, like Merkel, practically invite more migrants. Wages are stagnant or falling in Europe and unemployment is still much too high. The last thing people in Europe want right now is more competition in the labor market. Parties on the extreme right will profit from this while the center right will lose support.

Despite a major campaign of pro-migrant propaganda in Merkel friendly media the German population in general is furious with her stunt. The backlash comes from all sides but especially from her own conservative party. Additionally many European leaders point out that Merkel, who insistent on sticking to the letter of law in the case of Greece, is now openly breaking European laws and agreements.

... ... ...

ben | Sep 13, 2015 12:39:05 PM | 3

So the brave new world is coming to you also? The brave new world of depressed wages and benefits for the working classes. Corporate Germany is drooling at the prospect of that happening. Good luck b.

nmb | Sep 13, 2015 12:57:08 PM | 4

... poor Mr. Schäuble, who recently surpassed Mrs. Merkel in popularity in Germany, is under extreme pressure, mostly by the German capital, to "restructure" the eurozone through the Greek experiment. The German oligarchy is now in a cruel competition mostly with the US companies to hyper-automate production. It sends continuous signals that human labor will be unnecessary for its big companies and presses the German leadership to finish the experiment in Greece.

Poor Mr. Schäuble must give "earth and water" to the German oligarchs. He must organize a new Treuhand for the whole Europe to sell-off public property, he must completely dissolve labor rights, bring down pensions and wages, destroy the social state. He must end quickly with Greece and pass all the "Greek achievements" to the whole eurozone.

http://bit.ly/1fTpHhy

Peter B. | Sep 13, 2015 4:12:54 PM | 11

I live in Germany in a village near the Austria border. Our village is broke: too much debt. The people in Germany are taxed to death with over a 50 percent tax rate. In addition, the Euro took a lot of buying power away from us. And Germans are fleeing many areas to get away from the Ghettos of migrants that have come before.

The propaganda machine in running 24/7 about how great these migrants are for Germany. Unfortunately in this case, the propaganda is not working. For example, my son's school teacher tried to set an example by being nice to a local black migrant by saying a few kind words only to be told – F*ck you lady. In any case, if you have eyes you can see migrants are a burden.

It is a fact that Migrants get everything for free. They are not allowed to work for the first year and are given free health care, dental, accommodations, etc. In addition, the police do not like to bother them, so unless it is really bad, they just get away with it.

So, how do you expect to pay for all of this? Where is the money going to come from? And did I mention that no one in our village supports the idea of have more migrants. In my opinion, this is a case of going too far. The politicians have now lost the population and they are back-tracking.

Susan Sunflower | Sep 13, 2015 4:23:23 PM | 12

In These Times: Zizek: We Can't Address the EU Refugee Crisis Without Confronting Global Capitalism

The refugees won't all make it to Norway. Nor does the Norway they seek exist.

somebody | Sep 13, 2015 5:05:13 PM | 15

b. you are an economic analphabet. These refugees mean workers and jobs. Or how do you think their houses will be built, or where will the doctors come from to treat them and the teachers to teach them, the shops that will feed them. And how do you think German industry will survive with a shrinking aging work force, or old age pensioners homes and hospitals keep functioning.

It happened before. Germany had some 2.6 million "guest workers" in the 1950's and 60's. Most of them aren't counted as immigration nowadays as they have become European - Greek, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian. But recruitment was done in Turkey and North Africa, too.

RE: Peter B. | Sep 13, 2015 4:12:54 PM | 11

You have to be very rich to pay 50 per cent tax. I cannot say I sympathize. German countryside is quite empty, lots of room for refugees. They don't seem to want to go there though but to the cities. Like Germans, really.

Bavaria has experience with refugees since World War II. To quote a Bavarian from one of the - formerly incestuous - valleys: We did not like them but they were good for us.

But yes, it is beginning to feel like the end of Shengen and the end of Europe as we knew it. And yes, stupid German politicians seem to be surprised by the global effect of twitter and facebook.

tom | Sep 13, 2015 5:40:50 PM | 16

I thought the back up plan by Merkel and her despicable likes like mentioned by b and above;

Would be the planed PR con of ' aren't we nice to the most needy refugees', that being used as a duel use purpose with that appeal to her real constituency in the elite and corporates with refugees as wage slaves depressing wages. Then with the final back up plan would be targeting those refugees she invited in - for hate speech against, demonisation and scape-goating those innocent refugees, for economic problems caused by her and the right-wingers in their economic class war.

like b mentioned; that runs the risk of the far-right racists gaining more popularity and power.

But haven't we seen that before. Political centrists planning to scapegoat innocence, but then being out hate-mongered by the far-right.

And when times are bad enough. the far-right actually gains and keeps power till they run a bloody muck. Nazis and Fascism is what these freaks are risking again. Or does Merkel think she will fit in nicely with the possible future for Germany ?

Cynthia | Sep 13, 2015 6:09:50 PM | 17

The migrant crisis would be worrisome if it did not benefit corporate elites in the Western countries. It is exactly the same reason as why the same countries are outsourcing all work to the third-world countries: short term gain for a long term pain. The pain from the migrant crisis is felt by ordinary people and the state in the long term.

This is why racism is rising in Western countries – those who lose jobs or have to compete for a home with a 12-member immigrant family hate immigrants the most. The elites, corporate or otherwise, are quite comfortable with immigration, they never go to the economically challenged and immigrant areas anyway, such crime does not reach them. Also, most Western countries have many a lawyer working on behalf of the illegal immigrants and against the society because it is so lucrative.

The flip side is, of course, that it is often the policies of the Western governments and pillaging by Western companies which causes disasters in the places where illegal immigrants come from. How high the anti-immigration Wall needs to be when you push a country such as Libya or Syria into a 30-year civil war?

Of course, this is all made possible because the US isn't a country anymore, it is now a corporation. The same is true for the EU. The EU isn't a union of nations anymore, it is now a collection of corporations.

ben | Sep 13, 2015 8:10:01 PM | 21

Cynthia @ 17: "Of course, this is all made possible because the US isn't a country anymore, it is now a corporation. The same is true for the EU. The EU isn't a union of nations anymore, it is now a collection of corporations."

Yes, The brave new CORPORATE world is coming to us all. Humanity be damned, profits uber alles. Workers of the globe, lube up, and bend over.

Cynthia | Sep 13, 2015 8:55:27 PM | 23

Ben@21,

This migrants crisis should be seen as a fantastic opportunity to all corporatists and neolibs. Companies need cheap labor. This is an open bar to them! What a great way to force Europe into the New World Order? Putting people in front of the fait accompli has always been the best recipe to success. Who cares about culture and civilization? We are consumers before anything, aren't we?

Noirette | Sep 14, 2015 7:44:48 AM | 33

This is really another unmasking of the EU. It is run by Germany. Merkel on her own bat decides the Dublin accords don't apply. Just like that! Then a week or more later Juncker stands in front of the EU Parliament and makes some proposal about quotas or what not and nobody says anything (except I suppose Farage and those who don't want the migrants.) Schengen is by-passed or overridden or transformed on her say so. (The part that seems to be holding is that non-signatories can't be forced to participate.) I strongly disaproved of both those accords (and the whole mismanagement of the migrant issue from day one) but just having Merkel run amok like that is utterly scandalous, and very disquieting. The whole media-hype (pro and soon contra) with the usual doctored pictures and crowd scenes etc. was totally disgusting. This is not going to end well. Incompetence, extend and pretend, shove the problem away leading to a 'crisis' which is handled with appeals to emotion and so on…bad news.

I don't believe this was some US or Anglo-Zionist or whatever plot to harm Europe. (Unintended / uncared about consequences perhaps.) This is a purely internal EU affair. I think German industry is angry at the Russia sanctions and has been pressuring for 'new workers', in the sense of being able to set conditions, choose candidates from a larger pool, and almost certainly, pay less, have more control over workers. That may happen in part. But that is just one angle. (see tom above and somebody as well.)

gemini33 | Sep 14, 2015 8:04:13 AM | 34

I hate to even go here but there's a lot of public money to be made by contractors in this refugee crisis. With the media blitz, countries, corps and individuals will be pouring money into refugee funds. Look at these two articles w/ US coming onto refugee scene just as Europe shuts the gates:

http://news.yahoo.com/us-plans-welcome-10-000-syrian-refugees-053252486.html
http://news.yahoo.com/us-plans-welcome-10-000-syrian-refugees-053252486.html

Never let a good crisis go to waste.

MoonofA calls Merkel's actions a "stunt" above. I sadly agree. In the headlines here in the US, I noticed the alliteration "Generous Germany" in more than a handful of articles. Google confirms it has been used thousands of times. It conveniently counters the immense damage to Germany and Merkel's image that occurred after they fricasseed Greece on the world stage which while it may have made some northern Europeans happy, the rest of the world felt a very different emotion, despite the propaganda.

virgile | Sep 14, 2015 9:58:02 AM | 36

The migrant crisis is part of the amateurism of the international community in collaboration with a scoop and drama oriented media.

The migrants move out of Turkey was long predictable. If anyone had read the Turkish law on 'refugees', they would know that Turkey does not recognize people coming from a middle eastern country as a "refugee". Therefore these people DO NOT get a UNHCR refugee card. Countries that welcome refugees request that card. Therefore people stuck in Turkey have no other way than to move to a country where they will be recognized as a valid 'refugee'.

So it was obvious that after realizing the war in Syria was endless, masses of wannabe refugees rushed out of Turkey to Europe.

It was obvious right from the start that Syria was no Libya, no Tunisia and no Egypt. Yet the amateur Western politicians rushed in prediction and the media went wild with youtubes, analysis, dramas..

4 years later, both the western politicians and the media turned out to be wrong. Yet, they are so arrogant that they would never admit and continue and obsolete discourse to perpetuate their stupid predictions.

The media have become the drivers of the Western policy. They are not elected, have no legitimacy, no accountability and yet they leade for the good and the bad.

Only one thing, good news don't make a scoop!

gemini33 | Sep 14, 2015 11:19:45 AM | 38

@36 "The media have become the drivers of the Western policy"

The makers of Western policy and the media are one and the same. Mass media now so consolidated, it's a corporate/state entity.

TG | Sep 14, 2015 3:15:35 PM | 45

"It may appear to be the interest of the rulers, and the rich of a state, to force population [ed. note: force = rapidly increase, as via an excessive rate of immigration], and thereby lower the price of labour, and consequently the expense of fleets and armies, and the cost of manufactures for foreign sale; but every attempt of the kind should be carefully watched and strenuously resisted by the friends of the poor, particularly when it comes under the deceitful guise of benevolence…"

T.R. Malthus, "An Essay on the Principle of Population", 1798

Virgile | Sep 14, 2015 7:05:37 PM | 58

ONLY the countries that called themselves "The Friends of Syria" should be obliged to take a quota of refugees!

That is the time to pay the fee for membership! Why the hell Slovakia or Serbia are supposed to take the refugees that the Friends of Syria created

Here are the countries that should be OBLIGED to take Syrian refugees:

Britain, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and the United States

http://www.dw.com/en/friends-of-syria-group-promises-more-rebel-aid-aid-workers-freed/a-17639889

jfl | Sep 14, 2015 10:58:02 PM | 61

Syrian Girl :

#RefugeeCrisis: What The Media Is Hiding, Help #SyrianRefugees Go Home ~08:37 - 08:58

... There are forces that want to estrange people from their homeland, and to dissolve national identities altogether. Obama and other criminals are trying to make Syrians a people without a nation. A people without a nation suffer the worst humiliation. Look at what happened to the Palestinian people. One day, it could happen to you. ...

Hannah Arendt :

The origin of totalitarianism : Part two, Imperialism : Chapter 9, Decline of the nation-state; end of the rights of man, p. 269

With the emergence of the minorities in Eastern and Southern Europe and with the stateless people driven into Central and Western Europe, a completely new element of disintegration was introduced into postwar Europe. Denationalization became a powerful weapon of totalitarian politics, and the constitutional inability of European nation-states to guarantee human rights to those who had lost nationally guaranteed rights, made it possible for the persecuting governments to impose their standard of values even upon their opponents. Those whom the persecutor had singled out as scum of the earth - Jews, Trotskyites, etc. - actually were received as scum of the earth everywhere; those whom persecution had called undesirable became the indésirables of Europe. The official SS newspaper, the Schwarze Korps, stated explicitly in 1938 that if the world was not yet convinced that the Jews were the scum of the earth, it soon would be when unidentifiable beggars, without nationality, without money, and without passports crossed their frontiers.[2] And it is true that this kind of factual propaganda worked better than Goebbels' rhetoric, not only because it established the Jews as scum of the earth, but also because the incredible plight of an ever-growing group of innocent people was like a practical demonstration of the totalitarian movements' cynical claims that no such thing as inalienable human rights existed and that the affirmations of the democracies to the contrary were mere prejudice, hypocrisy, and cowardice in the face of the cruel majesty of a new world. The very phrase "human rights" became for all concerned - victims, persecutors, and onlookers alike - the evidence of hopeless idealism or fumbling feeble-minded hypocrisy.

[2] The early persecution of German Jews by the Nazis must be considered as an attempt to spread antisemitism among

"those peoples who are friendlily disposed to Jews, above all the Western democracies"
rather than as an effort to get rid of the Jews. A circular letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to all German authorities abroad shortly after the November pogroms of 1938, stated:
"The emigration movement of only about 100,000 Jews has already sufficed to awaken the interest of many countries in the Jewish danger ... Germany is very interested in maintaining the dispersal of Jewry ... the influx of Jews in all parts of the world invokes the opposition of the native population and thereby forms the best propaganda for the German Jewish policy ... The poorer and therefore more burdensome the immigrating Jew is to the country absorbing him, the stronger the country will react."
See Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression, Washington, 1946, published by the U. S. Government, VI, 87 ff.

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose ... This time it's Obama's handlers copying the NAZIs, last time it was the NAZIs copying the US' genocide of North American indigenes.

PavewayIV | Sep 15, 2015 12:11:43 AM | 63
I have real sympathy for the Syrian refugees coming from the concentration camps in Turkey. These are mostly younger, middle-class, educated Syrians with small children who either lost their homes or couldn't tolerate the risk of violence to them and their families.

That image stands in stark contrast to some of the odd footage coming out of Hungary about refugees refusing food and water, trashing camps and threatening Hungarian aid workers. These were obviously refugees and presumably muslim, but didn't seem like the Syrians leaving Turkish camps. Who were these people?

Fort Russ just published an article entitled, Afghan-Kosovo Mafia Migrant Smuggling Ring and More Refugee Chaos in Macedonia. A highly recommended read for anyone like me confused about the supposed 'Syrian Refugee' problem. It's much more complex than it appears and explains Europeans reports of the general demeanor of some of the refugee groups. This will not end well for anybody.

Noirette | Sep 15, 2015 6:21:10 AM | 67

It seems that the refugee 'crisis' in the EU is playing right into Putin's hands. (It is not a US plot!). The Putin coalition is gingerly taking shape. On Syria.

Germany is ready to ally with Putin. Russia Insider.

http://russia-insider.com/en/politics/germany-may-be-leaving-us-anti-syria-coalition/ri9704

Hollande has changed his mind. (From a newspaper yest.) Now he is sugggesting that he won't bomb there will only be reconnaissance flights. Or some such. After being seemingly keen to bomb Syria to smithereens.

Cameron announced before Corbyn was elected that he would then (when it happened) be cautious or 'withholding' (I forget the precise words and posted the link before) about bombing Syria (Corbyn is against.) But see here, RT:

https://www.rt.com/uk/315277-cameron-seeks-syria-consensus/

In fact Cameron's communicated position is not clear. It is imprecise.

Lavrov has come right out and said that the US knows ISIS positions but refuses to bomb. Which is extremely pointed of him. For a man who carefully measures his words. Fort Russ.

http://fortruss.blogspot.ch/2015/09/lavrov-us-knows-isis-positions-refuses.html

Kiwicris | Sep 15, 2015 7:29:02 AM | 69

Noirette @ # 67 Yes I was a bit Swift intake of breath when I read that on Fort Russ. No, it's definitely not like him to be so, well, blunt is it? With this, we also have the arguments in the Iraqi Parliament about US & UK planes dropping arms & supplies to ISIS as in landing and unloading,(Totally separate from the parachute drops to the Kurds or Shite Militias or Iraqi Army that seem to end up in ISIS hands most of the time), Israel treating wounded militants and being al Qaeda's Air Force, with all this there should be enough now for a big exposee of it in the MSM. . . . . . . . and waiting . . . . . . . still waiting ( ͝° ͜ʖ͡°)
james | Sep 15, 2015 4:21:57 PM | 82

@74 noirette.. as always, thanks for your input and reasoned thoughts on these topics.. thanks for the data @66 as well..

it's better lavrov speaks openly on what everyone with half a brain is thinking here.. that isis is a mercenary group paid to be where it is ought to come as no surprise.. that the usa hopes to use them to overthrow assad - they have openly stated this.. the only thing the usa hasn't done is said they're contributing to the funding of isis, or turning a blind eye when there cohorts saudi arabia and etc. are... it's just another mercenary group called isis getting approval to help along the western agenda here - much like blackwater, but they could state that openly with iraq - not so here..

if anyone thinks isis are the one's the usa or their western buddies are going after here - if you believe that - make as well make a constant diet of wow posts then...

somebody | Sep 15, 2015 8:59:25 PM | 86

Re: dh | Sep 15, 2015 5:27:50 PM | 83

You got my argument the wrong way round.

Altruistic behaviour in primates relies on reciprocity

It has got nothing to do with German guilt. Nowadays you can't be seen letting children drown in the Mediterranean or getting starved in Hungary without people disliking you.
So European politicians first tried to throw up their hands with tears in their eyes whilst making sure the ships in the Mediterranean are military and not humanitarian.

When refugees still managed to get into Europe in large numbers heading for Germany where they had relatives and knew that there were jobs there was not much German politicians could legally do except stop Schengen that makes it easy to go anywhere once you have crossed the European borders - which is happening now getting refugees stranded in the fields. They cannot legally send the refugees back to Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan. Neither can they send refugees back to Turkey. They might be able to do that after a lengthy legal process, but not now. In this situation European politicians have no choice - they cannot revert to racism as their populations are pretty mixed already, it would tear the whole European fabric apart, and, in the case of export driven Germany, it would destroy their global brand.

The truth is that Turkey has a land bridge to Europe and there is a perfectly safe ferry from Turkey to the Greek islands which is closed for refugees. The other truth is that Germany has been pressuring countries on the periphery to close their borders and keep the refugees who still made it. There is no reason for countries on the periphery to agree to something as disadvantageous to them as the Dublin regulation but that their negotiation position was very week.

It could be that Germany overdid the pressure and forgot about the reciprocity. As I understand the situation now German politicians threaten more or less openly to "stop paying" for Europe which is hilarious as the "paying" is based on an export surplus other European countries pay for with a deficit.

duth | Sep 18, 2015 2:14:53 PM | 89

yes indeed very soon, with the influx of probably millions of cheap labour, the big cats may bring back the industries from china , yes now the western Europe may be able to compete with them. I think this must all be part of their big plan and i think it wont work though due to the people demanding higher standards of living.

[Jul 22, 2015] The Courage of Hopelessness by Slavoj Zizek

This article described well what damage Syriza might have done to the neoliberal paradigm which seems to be entrenched everywhere these days
.
Very interesting comparison in there between EU government and the Chinese Communist Party which I hadn't heard before. "It should shamelessly flirt with Russia and China, playing with the idea of giving an island to Russia as its Mediterranean military base, just to scare the shit out of Nato strategists. To paraphrase Dostoyevsky, now that the EU God has failed, everything is permitted." And while he does mention Golden Dawn and other euro- right wing parties he isn't especially critical of them. Not all that familiar with Zizek's overarching philosophy but one wonders if he shouldn't be careful what he wishes for in terms of allies in the struggle against neoliberalism. Anyway, other than that lots to chew on here.
.
"...However, statements like those from IMF demonstrate that the true problem lies elsewhere: does EU really believe in their own bailout plan? Does it really believe that the brutally imposed measures will set in motion economic growth and thus enable the payment of debts? Or is it that the ultimate motivation for the brutal extortionist pressure on Greece is not purely economic (since it is obviously irrational in economic terms) but politico-ideological – or, as Paul Krugman put it in the New York Times, "substantive surrender isn't enough for Germany, which wants regime change and total humiliation - and there's a substantial faction that just wants to push Greece out, and would more or less welcome a failed state as a caution for the rest." One should always bear in mind what a horror Syriza is for the European establishment – a Conservative Polish member of the European parliament even directly appealed to the Greek army to make a coup d'etat in order to save the country."
.
"...At a deeper level, however, one cannot avoid a suspicion that the true goal is not to give Greece a chance but to change it into an economically colonised semi-state kept in permanent poverty and dependency, as a warning to others. But at an even deeper level, there is again a failure – not of Greece, but of Europe itself, of the emancipatory core of European legacy."
.
"...Sounds familiar? Yes, to anyone who knows how Chinese power functions today, after Deng Xiaoping set in action a unique dual system: the state apparatus and legal system are redoubled by the Party institutions which are literally illegal - or, as He Weifang, a law professor from Beijing, put it succinctly: "As an organisation, the Party sits outside, and above the law. It should have a legal identity, in other words, a person to sue, but it is not even registered as an organization. The Party exists outside the legal system altogether." (Richard McGregor, The Party, London: Allen Lane 2010, p. 22) It is as if, in McGregor's words, the state-founding violence remain present, embodied in an organisation with an unclear legal status:"
.
"...And it is crucial to note how the obverse of this non-transparency of power is false humanitarianism: after the Greek defeat, there is, of course, time for humanitarian concerns. Jean-Claude Juncker immediately stated in an interview that he was so glad about the bailout deal because it would immediately ease the suffering of the Greek people which worried him very much. Classic scenario: after a political crack-down, humanitarian concern and help… even postponing debt payments."
.
"...In the guise of Syriza "contradictions", the EU establishment is merely getting back its own message in its true form. And this is what Syriza should be doing now. With a ruthless pragmatism and cold calculation, it should exploit the tiniest cracks in the opponent's armour. It should use all those who resist the predominant EU politics, from British conservatives to Ukip in the UK. It should shamelessly flirt with Russia and China, playing with the idea of giving an island to Russia as its Mediterranean military base, just to scare the shit out of Nato strategists. To paraphrase Dostoyevsky, now that the EU God has failed, everything is permitted."
.
"...The ultimate problem is a much more basic one. The recurrent story of the contemporary Left is that of a leader or party elected with universal enthusiasm, promising a "new world" (Mandela, Lula) – but, then, sooner or later, usually after a couple of years, they stumble upon the key dilemma: does one dare to touch the capitalist mechanisms, or does one decide to "play the game"? If one disturbs the mechanisms, one is very swiftly "punished" by market perturbations, economic chaos and the rest."

Greece is not being asked to swallow many bitter pills in exchange for a realistic plan of economic revival, they are asked to suffer so that others in the European Union can go on dreaming their dream undisturbed.

The Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben said in an interview that "thought is the courage of hopelessness" - an insight which is especially pertinent for our historical moment when even the most pessimist diagnostics as a rule finishes with an uplifting hint at some version of the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. The true courage is not to imagine an alternative, but to accept the consequences of the fact that there is no clearly discernible alternative: the dream of an alternative is a sign of theoretical cowardice, it functions as a fetish which prevents us thinking to the end the deadlock of our predicament. In short, the true courage is to admit that the light at the end of the tunnel is most likely the headlight of another train approaching us from the opposite direction. There is no better example of the need for such courage than Greece today.

The double U-turn that took the Greek crisis in July 2015 cannot but appear as a step not just from tragedy to comedy but, as Stathis Kouvelakis noted in Jacobin magazine, from tragedy full of comic reversals directly into a theatre of the absurd – is there any other way to characterize the extraordinary reversal of one extreme into its opposite that would bedazzle even the most speculative Hegelian philosopher? Tired of the endless negotiations with the EU executives in which one humiliation followed another, Syriza called for a referendum on Sunday July 5 asking the Greek people if they support or reject the EU proposal of new austerity measures. Although the government itself clearly stated that it supported No, the result was a surprise: the overwhelming majority of more than 61 per cent voted No to European blackmail. Rumors began to circulate that the result – victory for the government – was a bad surprise for Alexis Tsipras himself who secretly hope that the government would lose, so that a defeat will allow him to save face in surrendering to the EU demands ("we have to respect the voters' voice"). However, literally the morning after, Tsipras announced that Greece was ready to resume the negotiations, and days later Greece negotiated a EU proposal which is basically the same as what the voters rejected (in some details even harsher) – in short, he acted as if the government has lost, not won, the referendum. As Kouvelakis wrote:

"How is it possible for a devastating 'no' to memorandum austerity policies to be interpreted as a green light for a new memorandum? … The sense of the absurd is not just a product of this unexpected reversal. It stems above all from the fact that all of this is unfolding before our eyes as if nothing has happened, as if the referendum were something like a collective hallucination that suddenly ends, leaving us to continue freely what we were doing before. But because we have not all become lotus-eaters, let us at least give a brief résumé of what has taken place over the past few days. … From Monday morning, before the victory cries in the country's public squares had even fully died away, the theater of the absurd began. …

The public, still in the joyful haze of Sunday, watches as the representative of the 62 percent subordinated to the 38 percent in the immediate aftermath of a resounding victory for democracy and popular sovereignty. … But the referendum happened. It wasn't a hallucination from which everyone has now recovered. On the contrary, the hallucination is the attempt to downgrade it to a temporary 'letting off of steam,' prior to resuming the downhill course towards a third memorandum."

And things went on in this direction. On the night of July 10, the Greek Parliament gave Alexis Tsipras the authority to negotiate a new bailout by 250 votes to 32, but 17 government MPs didn't back the plan, which means he got more support from the opposition parties than from his own. Days later, the Syriza Political Secretariat dominated by the left wing of the party concluded that EU's latest proposals are "absurd" and "exceed the limits of Greek society's endurance" – Leftist extremism?

But IMF itself (in this case a voice of minimally rational capitalism) made exactly the same point: an IMF study published a day earlier showed that Greece needs far more debt relief than European governments have been willing to contemplate so far - European countries would have to give Greece a 30-year grace period on servicing all its European debt, including new loans, and a dramatic maturity extension…

No wonder that Tsipras himself publicly stated his doubt about the bailout plan: "We don't believe in the measures that were imposed upon us," he said during a TV interview, making it clear that he supports it out of pure despair, to avoid a total economic and financial collapse. The eurocrats use such confessions with breathtaking perfidity: now that the Greek government accepted their the tough conditions, they doubt the sincerity and seriousness of their commitment. How can Tsipras really fight for a program he doesn't believe in? How can the Greek government be really committed to the agreement when it opposes the referendum result?

However, statements like those from IMF demonstrate that the true problem lies elsewhere: does EU really believe in their own bailout plan? Does it really believe that the brutally imposed measures will set in motion economic growth and thus enable the payment of debts? Or is it that the ultimate motivation for the brutal extortionist pressure on Greece is not purely economic (since it is obviously irrational in economic terms) but politico-ideological – or, as Paul Krugman put it in the New York Times, "substantive surrender isn't enough for Germany, which wants regime change and total humiliation - and there's a substantial faction that just wants to push Greece out, and would more or less welcome a failed state as a caution for the rest." One should always bear in mind what a horror Syriza is for the European establishment – a Conservative Polish member of the European parliament even directly appealed to the Greek army to make a coup d'etat in order to save the country.

Why this horror? Greeks are now asked to pay the high price, but not for a realist perspective of growth. The price they are asked to pay is for the continuation of the "extend and pretend" fantasy. They are asked to ascend to their actual suffering in order to sustain another's (eurocrats') dream. Gilles Deleuze said decades ago: Si vous etez pris dans le reve de l'autre, vous etez foutus. ("if you are caught into another's dream, you are fucked"), and this is the situation in which Greece finds itself now. Greeks are not asked to swallow many bitter pills for a realistic plan of economic revival, they are asked to suffer so that others can go on dreaming their dream undisturbed.

The one who now needs awakening is not Greece but Europe. Everyone who is not caught in this dream knows what awaits us if the bailout plan is enacted: another 90 or so billions will be thrown into the Greek basket, raising the Greek debt to 400 or so billion euros (and most of them will quickly return back to Western Europe - the true bailout is the bailout of German and French banks, not of Greece), and we can expect the same crisis to explode in a couple of years.

But is such an outcome really a failure? At an immediate level, if one compares the plan with its actual outcome, obviously yes. At a deeper level, however, one cannot avoid a suspicion that the true goal is not to give Greece a chance but to change it into an economically colonised semi-state kept in permanent poverty and dependency, as a warning to others. But at an even deeper level, there is again a failure – not of Greece, but of Europe itself, of the emancipatory core of European legacy.

The No of the referendum was undoubtedly a great ethico-political act: against a well-coordinated enemy propaganda spreading fears and lies, with no clear prospect of what lies ahead, against all pragmatic and "realist" odds, the Greek people heroically rejected the brutal pressure of the EU. The Greek No was an authentic gesture of freedom and autonomy, but the big question is, of course, what happens the day after, when we have to return from the ecstatic negation to the everyday dirty business – and here, another unity emerged, the unity of the "pragmatic" forces (Syriza and the big opposition parties) against the Syriza Left and Golden Dawn. But does this mean that the long struggle of Syriza was in vain, that the No of the referendum was just a sentimental empty gesture destined to make the capitulation more palpable?

The really catastrophic thing about the Greek crisis is that the moment the choice appeared as the choice between Grexit and the capitulation to Brussels, the battle was already lost. Both terms of this choice move within the predominant eurocratic vision (remember that the German anti-Greek hardliners like Wolfgang Schauble also prefer Grexit!). The Syriza government was not fighting just for a greater debt relief and for more new money within the same overall coordinates, but for the awakening of Europe from its dogmatic slumber.

Therein resides the authentic greatness of Syriza: insofar as the icon of the popular unrest in Greece were the protests on the Syntagma (Constitution) Square, Syriza engaged in a Herculean labor of enacting the shift from syntagm to paradigm, in the long and patient work of translating the energy of rebellion into concrete measures that would change everyday life of the people. We have to be very precise here: the No of the Greek referendum was not a No to "austerity" in the sense of necessary sacrifices and hard work, but a No to the the EU dream of just going on with the business as usual.

The country's former finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, repeatedly made this point clear: no more borrowing but an overall rehaul needed to give the Greek economy a chance to rebound. The first step in this direction should be an increase in the democratic transparency of our power mechanisms. Our democratically elected state apparatuses are thus more and more redoubled by a thick network of "agreements" and non-elected "expert" bodies which yield the real economic (and military) power. Here is Varoufakis's report on an extraordinary moment in his dealings with EU negotiator Jeroen Dijsselbloem:

"There was a moment when the President of the Eurogroup decided to move against us and effectively shut us out, and made it known that Greece was essentially on its way out of the Eurozone. /…/ There is a convention that communiqués must be unanimous, and the President can't just convene a meeting of the Eurozone and exclude a member state. And he said, 'Oh I'm sure I can do that.' So I asked for a legal opinion. It created a bit of a kerfuffle.

For about 5-10 minutes the meeting stopped, clerks, officials were talking to one another, on their phone, and eventually some official, some legal expert addressed me, and said the following words: 'Well, the Eurogroup does not exist in law, there is no treaty which has convened this group.' So what we have is a non-existent group that has the greatest power to determine the lives of Europeans. It's not answerable to anyone, given it doesn't exist in law; no minutes are kept; and it's confidential. So no citizen ever knows what is said within… These are decisions of almost life and death, and no member has to answer to anybody."

Sounds familiar? Yes, to anyone who knows how Chinese power functions today, after Deng Xiaoping set in action a unique dual system: the state apparatus and legal system are redoubled by the Party institutions which are literally illegal - or, as He Weifang, a law professor from Beijing, put it succinctly: "As an organisation, the Party sits outside, and above the law. It should have a legal identity, in other words, a person to sue, but it is not even registered as an organization. The Party exists outside the legal system altogether." (Richard McGregor, The Party, London: Allen Lane 2010, p. 22) It is as if, in McGregor's words, the state-founding violence remain present, embodied in an organisation with an unclear legal status:

"It would seem difficult to hide an organization as large as the Chinese Communist Party, but it cultivates its backstage role with care. The big party departments controlling personnel and the media keep a purposely low public profile. The party committees (known as 'leading small groups') which guide and dictate policy to ministries, which in turn have the job of executing them, work out of sight. The make-up of all these committees, and in many cases even their existence, is rarely referred to in the state-controlled media, let alone any discussion of how they arrive at decisions."

No wonder that exactly the same thing happened to Varoufakis as to a Chinese dissident who, some years ago, formally brought to court and charged the Chinese Communist Party for being guilty of the Tienanmien massacre. After a couple of months, he got a reply from the ministry of justice: they cannot pursue his charge since there is no organization called "Chinese Communist Party" officially registered in China.

And it is crucial to note how the obverse of this non-transparency of power is false humanitarianism: after the Greek defeat, there is, of course, time for humanitarian concerns. Jean-Claude Juncker immediately stated in an interview that he was so glad about the bailout deal because it would immediately ease the suffering of the Greek people which worried him very much. Classic scenario: after a political crack-down, humanitarian concern and help… even postponing debt payments.

What should one do in such a hopeless situation? One should especially resist the temptation of Grexit as a great heroic act of rejecting further humiliations and stepping outside - into what? What new positive order are we stepping into? The Grexit option appears as the "real-impossible", as something that would lead to an immediate social disintegration. Krugman writes: "Tsipras apparently allowed himself to be convinced, some time ago, that euro exit was completely impossible. It appears that Syriza didn't even do any contingency planning for a parallel currency (I hope to find out that this is wrong). This left him in a hopeless bargaining position."

Krugman's point is that Grexit is also an "impossible-real" which can happen with unpredictable consequences and which, as such, can be risked.

"All the wise heads saying that Grexit is impossible, that it would lead to a complete implosion, don't know what they are talking about. When I say that, I don't mean that they're necessarily wrong - I believe they are, but anyone who is confident about anything here is deluding himself. What I mean instead is that nobody has any experience with what we're looking at."

While in principle this is true, there are nonetheless too many indications that a sudden Grexit now would lead to utter economic and social catastrophe. Syriza economic strategists are well aware that such a gesture would cause an immediate further fall of the standard of living for an additional (minimum) 30 per cent, bringing misery to a new unbearable level, with the threat of popular unrest and even military dictatorship. The prospect of such heroic acts is thus a temptation to be resisted.

Then there are calls for Syriza to return to its roots: Syriza should not become just another governing parliamentary party, the true change can only come from grassroots, from the people themselves, from their self-organization, not from the state apparatuses… another case of empty posturing, since it avoids the crucial problem which is how to deal with the international pressure concerning debt, or, more generally, how to exert power and run a state. Grassroots self-organization cannot replace the state, and the question is how to reorganize the state apparatus to make it function differently.

It's nonetheless not enough to say that Syriza put a heroic fight, testing what is possible - the fight goes on, it has just began. Instead of dwelling on the "contradictions" of Syriza policy (after a triumphant No one accepts the very program that was rejected by the people), and of getting caught in mutual recriminations about who is guilty (did the Syriza majority commit an opportunistic "treason", or was the Left irresponsible in its preference for Grexit), one should rather focus on what the enemy is doing: the "contradictions" of Syriza are a mirror image of the "contradictions" of the EU establishment gradually undermining the very foundations of united Europe.

In the guise of Syriza "contradictions", the EU establishment is merely getting back its own message in its true form. And this is what Syriza should be doing now. With a ruthless pragmatism and cold calculation, it should exploit the tiniest cracks in the opponent's armour. It should use all those who resist the predominant EU politics, from British conservatives to Ukip in the UK. It should shamelessly flirt with Russia and China, playing with the idea of giving an island to Russia as its Mediterranean military base, just to scare the shit out of Nato strategists. To paraphrase Dostoyevsky, now that the EU God has failed, everything is permitted.

When one hears the complaints that the EU administration brutally ignores the plight of the Greek people in their blind obsession with humiliating and disciplining the Greeks, that even Southern-European countries like Italy or Spain didn't show any solidarity with Greece, our reaction should be: but is there any surprise in all this? What did the critics expect? That the EU administration will magically understand the Syriza argumentation and act in compliance with it? The EU administration is simply doing what it was always doing. Then there is the reproach that Greece is looking for help in Russia and China – as if Europe itself is not pushing Greece in that direction with its humiliating pressure.

Then there is the claim that phenomena like Syriza demonstrate how the traditional Left/Right dichotomy is outlived. Syriza in Greece is called extreme Left, and Marine le Pen in France extreme Right, but these two parties have effectively a lot in common: they both fight for state sovereignty, against multinational corporations. It is therefore quite logical that in Greece itself, Syriza is in coalition with a small Rightist pro-sovereignty party. On April 22, 2015, Francois Hollande said on TV that Marine le Pen today sounds like George Marchais (a French Communist leader) in 1970s – the same patriotic advocacy of the plight of ordinary French people exploited by international capital – no wonder Marine le Pen supports Syriza . . . a weird claim which doesn't say a lot more than the old Liberal wisdom than Fascism is also a kind of Socialism. The moment we bring into the picture the topic of immigrant workers, this whole parallel falls apart.

The ultimate problem is a much more basic one. The recurrent story of the contemporary Left is that of a leader or party elected with universal enthusiasm, promising a "new world" (Mandela, Lula) – but, then, sooner or later, usually after a couple of years, they stumble upon the key dilemma: does one dare to touch the capitalist mechanisms, or does one decide to "play the game"? If one disturbs the mechanisms, one is very swiftly "punished" by market perturbations, economic chaos and the rest.

The heroism of Syriza was that, after winning the democratic political battle, they risked a step further into disturbing the smooth run of the Capital. The lesson of the Greek crisis is that Capital, though ultimately a symbolic fiction, is our Real. That is to say, today's protests and revolts are sustained by the combination (overlapping) of different levels, and this combination accounts for their strength: they fight for ("normal" parliamentary) democracy against authoritarian regimes; against racism and sexism, especially the hatred directed at immigrants and refugees; for welfare-state against neoliberalism; against corruption in politics and economy (companies polluting environment, etc.); for new forms of democracy that reach beyond multi-party rituals (participation, etc.); and, finally, questioning the global capitalist system as such and trying to keep alive the idea of a non-capitalist society. Both traps are to be avoided here: the false radicalism ("what really matters is the abolition of liberal-parliamentary capitalism, all other fights are secondary"), as well as the false gradualism ("now we fight against military dictatorship and for simple democracy, forget your Socialist dreams, this comes later – maybe…").

When we have to deal with a specific struggle, the key question is: how will our engagement in it or disengagement from it affect other struggles? The general rule is that, when a revolt begins against an oppressive half-democratic regime, as was the case in the Middle East in 2011, it is easy to mobilize large crowds with slogans which one cannot but characterise as crowd pleasers – for democracy, against corruption, etc. But then we gradually approach more difficult choices: when our revolt succeeds in its direct goal, we come to realize that what really bothered us (our un-freedom, humiliation, social corruption, lack of prospect of a decent life) goes on in a new guise. In Egypt, protesters succeeded in getting rid of the oppressive Mubarak regime, but corruption remained, and the prospect of a decent life moved even further away. After the overthrow of an authoritarian regime, the last vestiges of patriarchal care for the poor can fall away, so that the newly gained freedom is de facto reduced to the freedom to choose the preferred form of one's misery – the majority not only remains poor, but, to add insult to injury, it is being told that, since they are now free, poverty is their own responsibility. In such a predicament, we have to admit that there was flaw in our goal itself, that this goal was not specific enough - say, that standard political democracy can also serve as the very form of un-freedom: political freedom can easily provide the legal frame for economic slavery, with the underprivileged "freely" selling themselves into servitude. We are thus brought to demand more than just political democracy – democratization also of social and economic life. In short, we have to admit that what we first took as the failure to fully realize a noble principle (of democratic freedom) is a failure inherent to this principle itself – to learn this move from the distortion of a notion, its incomplete realization, to the distortion immanent to this notion is the big step of political pedagogy.

The ruling ideology mobilises here its entire arsenal to prevent us from reaching this radical conclusion. They start to tell us that democratic freedom brings its own responsibility, that it comes at a price, that we are not yet mature if we expect too much from democracy. In this way, they blame us for our failure: in a free society, so we are told, we are all capitalist investing in our lives, deciding to put more into our education than into having fun if we want to succeed, etc. At a more directly political level, the US foreign policy elaborated a detailed strategy of how to exert damage control by way of re-channeling a popular uprising into acceptable parliamentary-capitalist constraints – as was done successfully in South Africa after the fall of apartheid regime, in Philippines after the fall of Marcos, in Indonesia after the fall of Suharto, etc. At this precise conjuncture, radical emancipatory politics faces its greatest challenge: how to push things further after the first enthusiastic stage is over, how to make the next step without succumbing to the catastrophe of the "totalitarian" temptation – in short, how to move further from Mandela without becoming Mugabe.

The courage of hopelessness is crucial at this point.

'Queen of Europe' 2015 will be the defining year for Angela Merkel's Chancellorship by Bryan MacDonald

"...Mention of the CDU brings us to another Merkel paradox. Unlike most electorally successful leaders, she's not particularly well got in her own party. In a grouping historically controlled by Catholic men from the prosperous south and west of the country, Merkel is very much an outsider. Raised as a Protestant in the GDR, and a woman, she is as far away from the prototypical CDU leader as is possible. Brought into the party, and earnestly promoted, by Helmut Kohl, she later knifed her predecessor. This hasn't been forgotten in the CDU, especially among its Rhineland factions that remain loyal to Kohl. Her difficult relationship with Edmund Stoiber, widely revered in Bavaria, has dented her support in Germany's wealthiest - and most staunchly Catholic - state.
Merkel has always walked a fine line and performed a very careful balancing act as Chancellor."
Jan 17, 2015 | RT Op-Edge

Bryan MacDonald is a journalist, writer, broadcaster and teacher. He began his career in journalism aged 15 in his home town of Carlow, Ireland, with the Nationalist & Leinster Times, while still a schoolboy. Later he studied journalism in Dublin and worked for the Weekender in Navan before joining the Irish Independent. Following a period in London, he joined Ireland On Sunday, later the Irish Mail on Sunday. He was theater critic of the Daily Mail for a period and also worked in news, features and was a regular op-ed writer. Bryan also worked in Los Angeles. He has also frequently appeared on RTE and Newstalk in Ireland as well as RT. Bryan is particularly interested in social equality, European geopolitics, sport and languages. He has lived in Berlin, Russia and the USA.

... ... ...

John F Kennedy he is not. Germans still revere JFK, indeed there's a museum to his memory opposite the Brandenburg Gate. They also fondly remember the USA that Kennedy represented, a strident forward looking nation with principles. The neocon driven mess of today doesn't resonate with modern Germans, who abhor aggression.

Merkel worshipped the 'old' USA, especially Reagan for his tough stance against the Soviets. She also once harbored an enthusiastic admiration of American 'dynamism.' 25 years after she stepped out from behind the Iron Curtain, her disappointment at realizing that US propaganda and the US reality are very different is quite obvious. Merkel often seems to hold the same contempt for West Europeans who she most probably once imagined as equally enterprising. In this context, Merkel's position is rather Russian. Ask any 50-plus Russian who has travelled and they'll openly admit that their view of 'westerners' is markedly different now from that of a quarter century ago.

Merkel has little personal time for Obama, which is not unusual in German-Washington relations. Konrad Adenauer detested Kennedy and Bush loathed Schroder. Conversely, she is also cold with Putin. Their relationship has none of the camaraderie of the Schroder-Putin amicability. For his part, Putin seems to respect her and accords her deference he rarely shows to Obama. Obama, who is rarely buddy-buddy with any world leaders, also maintains an obeisance with his Berlin counterpart.

The reason both Putin and Obama strain for a cordial affiliation with Merkel is transparently obvious - they both need her. Indeed, it's not a stretch to suggest that the Chancellor will ultimately decide the outcome of the current Moscow-Washington estrangement. Rather than talking to each other, Putin and Obama both seem to use Merkel as a go-between. Last year, Putin is reported to have spent over 110 hours on the phone to his Berlin opposite number. Incidentally, Merkel's Russian is impeccable - as a teenager she even won a trip to Moscow due to her proficiency. Putin lived for many years in Dresden and his German is equally impressive.

Ukraine is a massive headache for Merkel. She rules by consensus and is wary of taking strong positions on anything. However, on this issue she must balance a number of conflicting interests. While Germany is deeply suspicious of US military power, the reality is that, via NATO, the country relies on the US for its security. The state of the Bundeswehr is abject and its doubtful Germany could protect itself against Poland, let alone Russia. For this reason, if Washington perceived that Berlin was betraying its Ukraine agenda and becoming cozy with Moscow, there could be serious consequences for the current alliance between the protector and the protected.

On the other hand, if Merkel were to acquiesce to American pressure and fast-track Ukraine into the EU, she would face huge domestic turmoil. The simple fact is that Germans are tired - as they see it - of paying for the EU, especially feckless states in the East and South. Given that Ukraine is so dysfunctional that it makes Greece look like Switzerland, there is absolutely zero appetite among German voters for taking it on. Should Merkel even attempt to go down this road, her own party, the CDU might remove her from power.

Another problem is sanctions and the effect they are having on Russia's economy. Russia has been, along with China, the fastest growing market for German luxury goods - especially cars - in recent years. Indeed, access to Russia's once booming economy has acted as a pressure valve against declining consumption in Europe. Before Christmas, The New York Times reported that German carmakers are forecast to lose $18 billion from 2014-2017 because of Russian sanctions. Given that auto manufacturers are concentrated in Bavaria and Baden-Wittenberg, the CDU's traditional heartlands, this could become a totem pole for anti-Angela feeling in the party.

Mention of the CDU brings us to another Merkel paradox. Unlike most electorally successful leaders, she's not particularly well got in her own party. In a grouping historically controlled by Catholic men from the prosperous south and west of the country, Merkel is very much an outsider. Raised as a Protestant in the GDR, and a woman, she is as far away from the prototypical CDU leader as is possible. Brought into the party, and earnestly promoted, by Helmut Kohl, she later knifed her predecessor. This hasn't been forgotten in the CDU, especially among its Rhineland factions that remain loyal to Kohl. Her difficult relationship with Edmund Stoiber, widely revered in Bavaria, has dented her support in Germany's wealthiest - and most staunchly Catholic - state.

Merkel has always walked a fine line and performed a very careful balancing act as Chancellor. This year, she will be forced to get off the fence as a flurry of long-festering problems spring into the open.

The EU, which Berlin dominates, faces a year of turmoil due to probable changes of government in Spain and Greece. Both nations threaten to veer away from the austerity Merkel has championed. In Greece's case, their continued membership of the euro is in doubt. A Hellenic exit could inspire a major country, perhaps Italy, to also charge the trapdoor, placing the single currency's future in question. Make no mistake; the euro has been massively advantageous for Germany, by providing its exporters with guaranteed prices due to the absence of fluctuating exchange rates. The end of the currency union could also herald the culmination of Germany's financial stranglehold on the continent. Every major EU economy has seen its share of global GDP diminish in the past decade expect one - Germany. A euro collapse would be devastating for Merkel and Berlin.

The Chancellors obsession with 'Black Zero's' (balanced budgets) is another potential weakness. Germany's infrastructure is crumbling with road and bridge closures a fact of life. By refusing to spend, Merkel has left herself wide open to public anger should a major artery be affected.

ISIS is also causing a blowback. Recently it was revealed that 500 jihadists currently fighting the Middle East were German raised. This has again opened a can of worms about integration and immigration policies in Germany. Merkel's fealty to neoliberalism and open borders leaves her in peril of attack from the Conservative wing of the CDU. This is the same section that is watching as the economic health of its southern fiefdoms (Bavaria as CSU) is decimated by Russia sanctions.

Angela Merkel's consensus style of leadership, "rule by opinion polls" as some in Berlin call it, has delivered short-term gains for Germany while allowing long-term problems to smolder. Merkel has attempted to stave off confrontation over Germany's infrastructure, its attitude to immigration and the sorry state of the eurozone's periphery. 2015 will be the year that all these lingering worries come to a head. On top of it all, the Chancellor must also help sort out the Ukraine crisis.

Kicking the can down the road is no longer a viable strategy. This year, Angela Merkel will prove whether she deserves a place in history to equal that of Adenauer or her mentor, Kohl. If she fails the coming tests, the "Queen of Europe" could quickly lose her throne.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent

[Jul 20, 2015] Why Merkel betrays Europe and Germany By Nicolas Bonnal

"...She is counseled by Jeffrey Gedmin. Gedmin is a regular columnist in Die Welt, a publication of the Springer Group. After becoming administrator of the Council of the Community of Democracies and director of the Aspen Institute in Berlin in 2001, Gedmin devoted himself exclusively to Merkel. Gedmin was too involved in the infamous Project for a New American Century (PNAC) and wrote the chapter on Europe in the neocon programme. He argued that the European Union should remain under NATO authority and that this would only be possible by "discouraging European calls for emancipation"."
03.06.2015 | english pravda.ru

One must understand the reasons of Angela Merkel's behaviour. She obeys America and her Israeli mentor ('Israel is Germany's raison d'être'???), she threatens and mistreats Europe; she attacks Russia and now she builds a new sanitary cordon (like in 1919) in order to deconstruct Eurasia and reinforce American agenda in our unlucky continent. Now Merkel advocates for the rapid adoption on the most infamous and perilous treaty of commerce in history, the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership). Dr Roberts has recently explained the meaning of 'Fast Track' expression and a courageous Guardian, last 27th may, has exposed the corruption of American Congress on this incredible yet terrible matter.

Why is Merkel so pro-American and anti-European?

Let us explain with the data we know the reasons of such nihilist and erratic behaviour.

- Angela Merkel is not from East Germany (east-Germans are pro-Russian indeed, see lately the declaration of generals). She was born in Hamburg in 1954 (Federal Republic of Germany). Shortly after her birth, her family made the unusual choice of moving to the East. Her father, a pastor in the Lutheran church, founded a seminary in the German Democratic Republic and became director of a home for handicapped persons. He enjoyed a privileged social status, making frequent trips to the West.

- She became politically involved in the Freie Deutsche Jugend (Free German Youth), the state organisation for young people. She rose within the organisation to the post of Secretary of the Agitprop department, becoming one of the main experts in political communication in the communist system. She enjoys selling her convictions.

- In November 1989 The CIA attempted to take over by recruiting senior individuals. One month later, Merkel changed sides and joined the Demokratischer Aufbruch (Democratic Revival), a movement inspired by the West German Christian Democrat party. As we know from history, these political parties in Europe are neither Christian nor democratic. They just serve American and business agendas. In order to avoid a mass exodus from the East to the West, Merkel argued strongly in favour of getting the GDR to join the market economy and the Deutschmark zone. Ultraliberal but never popular in Germany, her thesis finally imposed itself in Germany, like that of Sarkozy, her fellow neocon in France who definitely ousted any rest of Gaullism in this country.

Also read: Will Germany attack Russia again?

- Her second husband, Joachim Sauer, was recruited by the US Company Biosym Technology, spending a year at San Diego at the laboratory of this Pentagon contractor. He then joined Accelrys, another San Diego company carrying out contracts for the Pentagon. Of course Acclerys is quoted at the NASDAQ...

- Helmut Kohl and his closest associates had apparently accepted money from obscure sources for the CDU. Angela Merkel then published a heroic-comical article in the Foreign Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in which she distanced herself from her mentor. One can check that she repeatedly betrays her protectors... and electors (whose median age is of sixty).

Angela Merkel was then publicly supported by two press groups. Firstly, she was able to count on the support of Friede Springer, who had inherited the Axel Springer group (180 newspapers and magazines, including Bild and Die Welt). The group's journalists are required to sign an editorial agreement which lies down that they must work towards developing transatlantic links and defending the state of Israel. The other group is Bertelsmann.

Angela Merkel radically rejects European independence

In 2003, Chancellor Gerhard Schröder opposed the Anglo-American intervention in Iraq. Angela Merkel then published a 'courageous' article in the Washington Post in which she rejected the Chirac-Schröder doctrine of European independence, affirmed her gratitude and friendship for "America" and supported this scandalous and ridiculous war. I quote some lines of this interesting act of submission to her American lords:

- Because of decisive events, Europe and the United States now must redefine the nucleus of their domestic, foreign and security policy principles.

- Aid to Turkey, our partner in the alliance, is blocked for days in the NATO Council by France, Belgium and Germany, a situation that undermines the very basis of NATO's legitimacy.

- The Eastern European candidate countries for membership in the European Union are attacked by the French government simply because they have declared their commitment to the transatlantic partnership between Europe and the United States.

She then threatens France, then a free country run by Chirac and Villepin, and advocates for what Gore Vidal quoted 'the perpetual war'... involving a 'perpetual peace':

- Anyone who rejects military action as a last resort weakens the pressure that needs to be maintained on dictators and consequently makes a war not less but more likely.

Also read: Can Germany turn its back on USA? No, it can't

- Germany needs its friendship with France, but the benefits of that friendship can be realized only in close association with our old and new European partners, and within the transatlantic alliance with the United States.

Yet Merkel hardly won the elections in 2007. She announced the abolition of graduated income tax, proposing that the rate should be the same for those who only just have what is necessary and those who live in luxury: a rest of her Christian education maybe?

The outgoing Chancellor, Gerhard Schröder, severely criticised this proposal in a televised debate. The CDU's lead was decimated, and in the actual election, the CDU polled 35% of the votes and the SPD 34%, the remainder being spread amongst a number of small parties. The Germans didn't want Schröder any longer, but nor did they want Merkel. I repeat that she was imposed more than elected. Stanley Payne, the famous American historian has repeated about Spain (or any western democracy) that now politicians are 'not elected but chosen' by apparatus, agencies and 'visible hands' of the markets - Goldman Sachs.

These last weeks, Mother Merkel tries to re-launch the proposed merger of the North American Free Trade Area and the European Free Trade Area, thereby creating a "great transatlantic market" to use the words once pronounced by Sir Leon Brittan, a famous paedophile involved in scandals and bribes since, and mysteriously found dead a couple of months ago.

Let us se now some of their connections:

Merkel is publicly supported by Friede Springer, widow of West German press baron, Axel Springer, who's publishing conglomerate, the Springer Group secretly received around $7 million from the CIA in the early 1950's.

She is counseled by Jeffrey Gedmin. Gedmin is a regular columnist in Die Welt, a publication of the Springer Group. After becoming administrator of the Council of the Community of Democracies and director of the Aspen Institute in Berlin in 2001, Gedmin devoted himself exclusively to Merkel. Gedmin was too involved in the infamous Project for a New American Century (PNAC) and wrote the chapter on Europe in the neocon programme. He argued that the European Union should remain under NATO authority and that this would only be possible by "discouraging European calls for emancipation".

Also read: Germany Americanizes Europe

We have never been so far from 'emancipation' now in Europe, and never been so near to a war with Russia and maybe (in order to satisfy American gruesome appetite) with Central Asia and China. In France, 61% of the people who had witnessed the war asserted in 1945 that we were saved by the Russian Army. Now, thanks to American propaganda backed by European collaborators, we are hardly 10% to know that fact. The rest is misled by propaganda, media, TV and films. Daniel Estulin speaks of a remade, of a re-fabricated past by US television and media agencies.

In a few years, Merkel has destroyed European solidarity, annihilated the German nuclear park (an old American obsession too), impoverished Germans and their once efficient Rheinisch and solidary economy, favoured with the leftists and cowards the African invasion of Europe, backed the 'mad dog' American diplomacy and created along with an irresponsible American administration (irresponsible because America will never win this kind of conflict) a dangerous crisis against Russia than can end on a war or a scandalous European partition.

Roman, Russia

Sanctions are not about Ukraine. Ukraine isn't even about Ukraine. No matter what happens there, sanctions will not be lifted. Sanctions are part of an economic war the west is waging to protect the worthless dollar. But don't tell anyone, supposed to be a secret.

Roman, Russia

Moscow seeks to follow a sovereign foreign policy and is not willing to impose itself on Western countries, referring to the upcoming G7 summit, which will be held in Germany on Sunday without the participation of the Russian leader. "Will the Russian President sit on Sunday in the Kremlin and grieve about the fact that the G7 leaders met in the Elmau castle without him? Unlikely. The days when the Russian President wanted to just stand next to his Western colleagues are over."

Bob Levin

We know about Obama and how things can't be proved. No real documentation, No real hard history, Where did she come from? Maybe there are questions that no one asks. Another Plant?

Arkamum Mombasa

I am convinced the CIA has something on Merkel. Her actions are most definitely not in Germany/Europe interests. She really is a US stooge. Until Germany grows a backbone we are all in trouble. Europe needs a strong Germany together with Russia. Right now all Europe has is a politically weak Germany, and isolated Russia. Germany is missing an opportunity to escape Washington control and reassert herself in her own right in Europe, and look after her own political, and economic interests. If there is a war Germany will be responsible for helping promote US interests to the detriment of Europe interests. Hope that makes sense.

stanBearCanada

Canadian Economy is in a current downturn, but it is due to the Oil price fall, manipulated by the West vs. Russia. This also hurts Canada. Canada/Russia trade is of such small proportions, that it would not have any impact on either Nation if it were nothing...2 Billion is close to nothing, International Business-wise speaking. The European Countries Economic woes are affecting Canadian Business in Western Europe, you are right. But Lynch didn't understand what you said, judging from his comment. He needs to learn how to read.

Thefarmer55

"Nicolas Bonnal is again up to his " raison d'etre" - bullying someone - in this case, Angela Merkel- without any intention of supporting his claims with any proof. or a logical line of inquiry. For example, he claims"('Israel is Germany's raison d'être'???" This claim is "the night of mind", but that is something ordinary for Mr Bonnal, he is in an endless night of mind, from where neither the powerfull Russian tank T14 could take him out of it.

The truth is that Angela Merkel has always been for a strong and politically independent Europe. She has been unshakeable when was to stand up against those who dreamed of a weak and disunite Europe. It didn't matter for her who those "dreamers" might be- the United States, Russia or China. Of course, she couldn't stay iddle by and look how Russia breaks international treaties and modifies Europa's borders, not by the force of its arguments but by the force of its army.

She couldn't stay iddle by and look how Russia becomes more and more "stalinist" and a real threat not only to its neighbours but to the peace of Europe itself. His stance on Russia has nothing to do with the United States, but with the aggressive Russian politics. As usual, Mr, Bonnal is off the track. but hardly is that a surprise, is it? Mr. Bonnal will tell us one billion of stupidities, the only condition that really matters for him is to be paid for. And he is, of course, so his truth is the truth of "the 30 argents", nothing more nothing less. Unfortunately for him, the people are not that stupid as they were 2000 years ago, am I right Mr. Bonnal?

stanBearCanada

How come Merkel barely raised her voice, when she wanted German Gold shipped back to Germany from the US. US were holding it for "safekeeping". Germany were told it is not "available" to be moved back to Germany. Translation...Their Gold is gone. Merkel is a puppet to USA, she knows it.

I am not sure she likes it, however. She is not alone, either. US Economy has numbers that are conflicting, as CNN reported that it contracted in the last quarter. The Military/complex does well, fueling conflicts anywhere it can get Weapons contracts in place. Just recently, they sent Iraq over 2000 Humvees, which when the Iraqi Army {US-Trained} ran from ISIS at Ramadi, let ISIS capture all the Humvees.

To say that the USA, which is an oligarchy of Wall St., and Military Corporate contractors, has disincentives to aviod conflict is simply ridiculous. US contractors now being paid to train and arm Ukrainian client Gov't of Poroshenko, also currently profiting off crisis in Yemen, with sales to Saudi Arabia .

vonsild

It's funny, you think every time a country decides to align with the U.S. It must be a puppet? What stupidity!

The "Merkel Miracle" Third Term for Germany's Machiavellian "Mum"

"...In May, journalists Ralf Georg Reuth and Günther Lachmann came out with an explosive biography of Merkel entitled (in English), The First Life of Angela M, which provides evidence that she was Secretary of Agitation and Propaganda for an important arm of East Germany's Communist regime before Germany's reunification."
Angela Merkel has triumphed again, winning her third term as chancellor in Germany's national election on Sunday, September 22. She is widely being celebrated as the most influential and most popular political figure in Europe. Not only is she the de facto head of the 27-member European Union, but also a top power at the G8, G20, IMF, World Bank, and the United Nations. Forbes has listed her as #1 on itslist of the Most Powerful Women in the World for seven of the past 10 years. On its 2013 list of the Most Powerful People in the World, Forbes rates her as #2, behind only President Barack Obama - and ahead of Vladimir Putin, who came in at #3. Cameron Abadi at The New Republic writes:

Germany has more power today than at any time since World War II. Merkel is prima inter pares in the European Union, capable of determining the shape of the bailout packages given to the continent's ailing economies and, thus, capable of determining the shape of their national economies for years on end. Even the ostensibly independent European Central Bank seems to take its directions from the chancellory in Berlin, afraid to get too far ahead of Merkel's plans.

According to an IFOP poll, in neighboring France, French voters are also enamored of Merkel, with 56 percent saying they would vote for her if they were German. By contrast, according to the same poll, French President Francois Hollande's approval rating is at an all-time low of 23 percent, only one point above the lowest ever score for a French president: Francois Mitterand's 22 percent approval rating in 1991.

Angela Merkel's double-speaking and flip-flopping on EU bailouts, EU control from Brussels, support for U.S.-backed foreign wars, Germany's disastrous energy policies - and much more - should have insured her defeat, but the German chancellor's powerful allies in the media, banking, and politics have shielded her with a Teflon coat.

The New Republic's Abadi remarks:

Over the course of the euro crisis, Merkel has spoken out against any intervention by the European Central Bank, a permanent bailout mechanism, centralized economic governance for the EU, and a banking union. In each instance, she eventually reversed course, without any evident hand-wringing - and without personally suffering any evident penalty.

The "Merkelvellian" Chameleon

But why did Merkel not personally suffer any political penalty? Abadi and other commentators credit her seemingly miraculous staying power and popularity to her "low-key style" and her "Machiavellian genius" for working quietly behind the scenes and manipulating others to do her dirty work. This trait of quiet cunning and backroom dealing - referred to as "Merkelvellianism" by some political commentators and pundits - undoubtedly explains some of Merkel's political longevity. However, John Fund at National Review gets a little closer to the heart of the matter in his election post mortem. Fund states:

She benefited from the tacit agreement of all the major establishment players in German politics (the media, the major political parties, and big businesses and the banks) that the euro crisis shouldn't be a major campaign issue. That saved her from having to directly confront the eurozone crisis during the campaign.

The statement is obviously true; the major establishment players - not only in Germany, but globally - did indeed shield Merkel from a multitude of thorny euro issues that would have cost her dearly had voters known (or been reminded of) her true positions, true loyalties, and suspicious connections. The political/business/financial/media elites assisted in presenting her as both a rock of stability and a comforting mother - as all things to all people. They amplified and popularized the image crafted by her political handlers and public relations wizards, dubbing her both "The Iron Chancellor" and "Mutti" (the German equivalent of "Mum"), sending the message to German voters that they should keep her steady hands on the helm of state as Germany and the EU navigate the tempestuous economic seas ahead. (Never mind that the twice-married, once-divorced chemist and former propagandist for East Germany's Communist Party has never had children and, therefore, has no real Mutti experience to draw on). Giant billboards displayed only a pair of hands, instantly recognizable as hers, the opposing thumbs and fingers forming her famous "Merkel rhombus" or "Merkel diamond." No text was needed; everyone knew whose hands they are and knew the programmed slogan, "A safe pair of hands," that argued for keeping Merkel for another term. To this was added her ubiquitous image - on television, billboards, and posters - with the alternating slogans, "Strong Economy," "Steady Jobs," "Solid Finances," "Stability and Prosperity." Her victory is another example par excellence of the triumph of image over substance, of marketing smothering issues.

The globalist political/business/financial/media elites definitely see Merkel as essential to advancing "The Project," which the EU's ongoing political-economic merger is fondly referred to as by its architects and promoters. Merkel is viewed by these forces as vital to many parts of their global one-world program, which includes:

"Boring" Election Hides Burning Issues

According to the MSM thought cartel, Germany's election this year was a complete yawner. As the Financial Times put it, "It has simply become too boring." One can see the same theme at the CFR journal Foreign Affairs (here) and the New York Times (here).

But Germany's just-concluded national election should have been anything but boring; there were/are many crucial issues that could have - and would have - ignited heated national debate, had German and globalist political/business/financial/media power brokers not colluded to keep important issues out of public discussion and public consciousness during the election campaign cycle. Here are some of the issues that could have upended Merkel's "miracle" had they been allowed to receive the kind of attention they deserve:

These and many other issues might have rescued the German elections from unnecessary boredom, but they also would have upset the Merkel bandwagon favored by the globalist political/business/financial/media elites. Do not be surprised if the Merkel ballots in Germany soon lead to U.S.-NATO bullets (and missiles, drones, and warplanes) flying in Syria. And don't be surprised if Merkel makes another big reversal - on Turkey. Merkel has played to the overwhelming German sentiment against granting Turkey membership in the EU; Germans know they would soon be flooded with millions more Turkish migrants. However, Turkish accession to the EU has been a long-term goal of the Bilderberg Group, the secretive cabal that threw its powerful support behind Merkel in 2005, guaranteeing her first major electoral victory. We can be sure that many more Merkelvellian surprises are in the works.

Germans Turn Their Backs on Merkel - French Neo-Con to the Rescue!

The Guardian has run an opinion piece by former Le Monde editor Natalie Nougayrède hailing Merkel's Brisbane speech as potentially "a major shift in European geopolitics".

Nougayrède's spell as Le Monde editor was short-lived. After just a year Le Monde's senior staff revolted against her. Feeling "undermined" she left, searching for "new horizons".

Her new horizon, however, seems to be sharing deep thoughts with Anne Appelbaum. Nougayrède is a neo-con whose articles, full of wishful thinking, are just as short-lived as her tenure as Le Monde editor.

On Nov 12, for example, she wrote: "Forget the BRICS: America and China will reshape the world order". One week later, Putin first used the word "alliance" in relation to China during his ARD interview. And on Nov 22, China officially recognized the Crimean referendum. Forget the BRICS? Forget it, Natalie.

This time Nougayrède's Russia-bashing article was refuted by developments in Germany that took place days before, not after, her article was published.

As RI readers found out last week, Merkel's Brisbane speech may actually bring in a major shift in… wait for it… German politics. A shift from a long phase of Merkel's undisputed leadership to one where she gets increasingly challenged.

Last week, Der Spiegel's cover read "Cold Warriors" in large, icy letters, against the backdrop of Putin and Merkel staring at each other. The captions added: "History of a Showdown: How Merkel and Putin brought Europe to the Edge of the Abyss".

On the same day, Spiegel Online added a damning editorial in English entitled "Summit of Failure: How the EU lost Russia over Ukraine"

Signed, in an unprecedented move, by Spiegel Staff as a whole - hence indicating an overall editorial stance – the leading article refused to blame Putin for the Ukraine crisis. It instead blamed Merkel.

There you go. Just as Merkel's political opponents "smell blood" – a coincidence? - Germany's leading weekly equates Merkel's faults to Putin's.

And just a week earlier, ARD had given 30 minutes of airtime to Putin, who was finally able put forward his views in full before a major Western audience. ARD's editorial decision was also unprecedented.

Meanwhile, as we reported, a senior German politician endorsed the Russian annexation of Crimea.

It was all happening in Germany as The Guardian published: "Why Angela Merkel is saying farewell to Ostpolitik".

Had they been into journalism, instead of Russia-bashing, they would have asked: "Why is Germany saying farewell to Angela Merkel?", given the current situation in Berlin!

Besides, Merkel's Brisbane speech just cannot bring in any major shift in European geopolitics for a technical reason: how more subservient to the US, and deaf to her own citizens and businesses, can a German Chancellor be?

A video shot at the end of August in Dresden gives a taste of how strongly many Germans resent Merkel's handling of the Ukraine crisis.

The crowds are shouting "Kriegstreiber" (="Warmonger") at her. Some of the placards read: "Peace with Russia", "All Media lies". Others are portraits of former Chancellor Schröeder.

The resentment that Merkel's stubborn Atlanticism arouses among ordinary Germans is thus an old story, surely one The Guardian has yet to catch up with, but an old story nonetheless.


The news is that even senior politicians and business leaders are now getting tired of Merkel's Atlanticism, and this may eventually lead to Merkel's downfall.

The way Nougayrède described Germany's unwillingness, back in 2003, to join the "Coalition of the Willing" sends her article straight into the Neocon Hall of Fame: "Gerhard Schröders cosying up to Putin over the Iraq war". Refusing to destroy a country and kill multitudes is now "cosy".

In her eagerness to bad mouth Schroeder, Nougayrède also makes factual mistakes. Schröder did not go to "head one of Gazprom's companies in Europe", he joined the board of directors of South Stream, an international joint venture in which Italy's ENI, France's EDF, Germany's Wintershall, as well as Gazprom, have a stake.

Nougayrède then describes ordinary Germans as being wary of "outright lies of state propaganda, as demonstrated by Russia over Ukraine and the downing of the MH17 plane".

In fact, Germans have been busy with their own country's "state propaganda", at least since the outbreak of the Ukraine crisis.

Ordinary Germans also inundated ARD, Germany's first channel, with complaints, until in June, ARD advisory board met to evaluate them. The resulting report upheld viewer's complaints and criticized ARD's own reporting of the Ukraine crisis for being „inadequate, one-sided, biased".

As for MH17, why doesn't Nougayrède tell us about its black boxes, sent to London three months ago and not yet released, instead of making dishonest, unfounded innuendos?

And what about the non-disclosure agreement signed by Ukraine, Australia, Belgium and the Netherlands that allows Ukraine to veto the results of the inquiry?

Is that too an example of "outright state propaganda lies"?

Next Nougayrède laments that "Russland Versteher Crowd" is "very powerful".

It is certainly strong among businesses and ordinary citizens. It is getting stronger among those very SPD politicians, Merkel's rivals, who are not ready to say farewell to Germany's Ostpolitik. They would rather say farewell to Merkel as Chancellor.

Nougayrède also describes Russia as being „economically fragile and swarming with militaristic nationalism".

I for one know of another, neighbouring country, which is economically bankrupt and swarming with an aggressive nationalism of the worst kind. But it is clear that while the Odessa massacre, or the shelling of homes, schools and hospitals in Donetsk took place – the latter are still taking place - Nougayrède was looking the other way. It must be all "outright lies of state propaganda"!

As for Russian economy, Nougayrède seems to ignore that Russia's GDP is at 3,500 Billion USD, the world's sixth largest as measured in PPP - roughly as big as Germany's.

Besides, if the Russian economy really were so "fragile", then why are so many businesses - Nougayrède herself mentions "Italy's industrial lobbies" - are opposing sanctions?

Could it be that sanctions, as Putin suggested, are hurting both sides - mostly Russia of course, but also, gradually, Germany and the EU?

In her deluded, wishful-thinking mood, Nougayrède doesn't even address the issue.

But German businesses, as well as former Chancellor Schroeder, have long warned against a "sanctions spiral", precisely because they know how fragile the EU own economic recovery is.

And now, at long last, the gloves might be off for Merkel.

So much for a speech that "may go down as a major shift in European geopolitics".

Angela Merkel, a Neocon as President of the European Union, by Thierry Meyssan

ngela Merkel was born in Hamburg in 1954 (Federal Republic of Germany). Shortly after her birth, her family made the unusual choice of moving to the East. Her father, a pastor in the Lutheran church, then founded a seminary in the German Democratic Republic and became director of a home for handicapped persons. He refrained from making any public criticism of the regime and enjoyed a privileged social status, having two cars and making frequent trips to the West.

Angela Merkel was a brilliant student, graduating as a doctor of physics. She married a physician, Ulrich Merkel, whom she soon divorced. She then moved in with Professor Joachim Sauer, divorced like herself but already the father of two children. Angela Merkel obtained a research post in quantum physics at the Academy of Sciences.

At the same time, she became politically involved in the Freie Deutsche Jugend (Free German Youth), the state organisation for young people. She rose within the organisation to the post of Secretary of the Agitprop department, becoming one of the main experts in political communication in the communist dictatorship. For professional and political reasons, she often travelled within the Soviet bloc, above all to Moscow, particularly since she spoke Russian fluently.

Although for many years hoped and prepared for, the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 nevertheless took all governments by surprise. The CIA attempted to take over by recruiting senior individuals under the old system who were willing to serve the USA like they had previously served the USSR.

One month later, Merkel changed sides from one day to the next and joined the Demokratischer Aufbruch (Democratic Revival), a new movement inspired by the West German Christian Democrat party. She immediately took over the same functions that she had held before, except that the position was now, in West German terminology, "Press spokesperson".

However, it soon became known that the president of Demokratischer Aufbruch, Wolfgang Schnur, had been a collaborator of the Stasi, the political police under the communist dictatorship. Merkel herself informed the press of this painful news, obliging Schnur to resign and enabling herself to be appointed in his stead as president of the movement.

Following the last parliamentary elections in the GDR, she joined the government of Lothar de Maizière, becoming the latter's spokesperson, although Demokratischer Aufbruch only picked up 0.9% of the votes. During this period of transition, she was actively involved in the "2+4" negotiations that ended Berlin's quadripartite status and the allied occupation, as well as in the negotiations aimed at reunifying Germany. In order, as she said, to avoid a mass exodus from the East to the West, she argued strongly in favour of getting the GDR to join the market economy and the Deutschmark zone.

Her partner, Joachim Sauer, was recruited by the US company Biosym Technology, spending a year at San Diego (California) at the laboratory of this Pentagon contractor. He then joined Accelrys, another San Diego company carrying out contracts for the Pentagon. For her part, Angela Merkel was perfecting her English, which she soon spoke fluently.

Once the GDR had been reunified with the Federal Republic and the Demokratischer Aufbruch had become part of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Angela Merkel was elected member of the Bundestag, the German federal parliament, and joined Helmut Kohl's government. Although strict in matters of morals, he selected this young childless divorcee from the East living with a partner as Minister for Family, Youth and Women.

Within 14 months, the communist Agitprop leader of the DDR youth movement had become a Christian Democrat minister of Youth in the Federal Republic. Incidentally, she achieved very little in her first period as minister.

Continuing her career within the CDU, Angela Merkel launched an unsuccessful bid to get herself elected president of the Brandenburg regional party. However, Lothar de Maizière, who had become deputy president of the national party, was convicted of having distant relationships with the East German political police and was obliged to resign, to be replaced by Merkel.

In 1994, Klaus Töpfer, the Minister of the Environment, the Protection of Nature and Nuclear Security, was appointed director of the UN environment programme, following a series of clashes with the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce, which accused him of underestimating economic reality. Helmut Kohl then ended the crisis by appointing his protégée Merkel as Töpfer's replacement. Immediately after assuming office, Merkel sacked all the senior officials of her ministry who had remained loyal to her predecessor. It was during this period that she formed a friendship with her French counterpart at the time, Dominique Voynet.

In 1998, Chancellor Kohl informed the USA of his opposition to an international intervention in Kosovo, while the Social Democrats under Gerhard Schröder and the Greens under Joschka Fischer compared Slobodan Milosevic to Adolf Hitler and were calling for a humanitarian war.

The pro-US press then thundered against the Chancellor, accusing him of the economic difficulties that the country was suffering from as a result of reunification. In the September 1998 elections, the Christian Democrats were swept out of power by a wave of red and green, Schröder becoming Chancellor and appointing Fischer his Foreign Minister.

However, Helmut Kohl and his closest associates had apparently accepted money from obscure sources for the CDU, but refused to reveal the names of the donors, arguing that they had given their word. Angela Merkel then published a courageous article in the Foreign Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung [1] in which she distanced herself from her mentor. In this way, she forced him to withdraw from the party, with Wolfgang Schäuble, CDU party president, resigning shortly afterwards. Thus, in the name of public morality she grabbed the presidency of the party and, in the same surge of morality, adopted the Christian Democrat line and married her partner.

From then on, Angela Merkel was publicly supported by two press groups. Firstly, she was able to count on the support of Friede Springer, who had inherited the Axel Springer group (180 newspapers and magazines, including Bild and Die Welt). The group's journalists are required to sign an editorial agreement laying down that they must work towards developing transatlantic links and defending the state of Israel.

Angela Merkel can also rely on her friend Liz Mohn, director of the Bertelsmann group, the number 1 in the European media world (RTL group, Prisma group, Random House group, etc.). Ms. Mohn is also vice-president of the Bertelsmann Foundation, an intellectual pillar of Europe-American relationships.

Angela Merkel relies on the advice of Jeffrey Gedmin, specially dispatched to Berlin to assist her by the Bush clan. This lobbyist first worked at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) [2] under Richard Perle and Mrs. Dick Cheney. He enthusiastically encouraged the creation of a Euro with Dollar parity exchange rate. Within the AEI, he led the New Atlantic Initiative (NAI), which brought together all the America-friendly generals and politicians in Europe. He was then involved in the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) and wrote the chapter on Europe in the neocon programme. He argued that the European Union should remain under NATO authority and that this would only be possible by "discouraging European calls for emancipation." [3] Finally he became the administrator of the Council of the Community of Democracies (CCD), which argues in favour of a two-speed UN, and became director of the Aspen Institute in Berlin [4]. Subsequently he turned down the offer from his friend John Bolton [5] of the post of deputy US ambassador to the UN so as to be able to devote himself exclusively to Angela Merkel.

In 2003, the State Department entrusted Jeffrey Gedmin and Craig Kennedy with a huge programme of "public diplomacy", in other words propaganda, including the clandestine funding of journalist and opinion formers in Western Europe [6]..

In 2003, Chancellor Gerhard Schröder opposed the Anglo-American intervention in Iraq. Angela Merkel then published a courageous article in the Washington Post [7] in which she rejected the Chirac-Schröder doctrine of European independence, affirmed her gratitude and friendship for "America" and supported the war.

In May 2004, she established a new situation by pushing through the election as President of the Federal Republic of the banker Horst Köhler, main author of the Maastricht Treaty and creator of the Euro, later president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and director of the IMF. She then began a "patriotic" campaign against radical Islamism.

Throughout the 2005 electoral campaign she criticised the increase in unemployment figures and the Social Democrats inability to deal with it, gaining for the CDU a lead of 21 percentage points in public opinion polls. It was then that her mysterious adviser, Jeffrey Gedmin, published an open letter to her in Die Welt. After criticising the German economic model, he wrote: "Before advancing the country, you need to defeat intellectually those nostalgic individuals who are dragging their feet. If Sarkozy succeeds Chirac, France might experience an upswing. It would be regrettable if Germany continued to decline." In reply to this invitation, Merkel finally revealed her solutions. She promoted one of her advisers, the former Constitutional Court judge Paul Kirchhof, and entrusted him with the Initiative Neue Soziale Marktwirtschaft (Initiative for the New Social Market Economy). She announced the abolition of graduated income tax, proposing that the rate should be the same for those who only just have what is necessary and those who live in luxury. The outgoing Chancellor, Gerhard Schröder, severely criticised this proposal in a televised debate. The CDU's lead was decimated, and in the actual election, the CDU polled 35% of the votes and the SPD 34%, the remainder being spread amongst a number of small parties. The Germans didn't want Schröder any longer, but nor did they want Merkel. Following long and laborious negotiations, a Grand Coalition was agreed, with Merkel, although Chancellor, obliged to surrender half of the minister posts to her opponents.

She pushed through the participation of a German contingent in the multinational force under US command in Afghanistan. Then, when Israel intervened in Lebanon, she successfully achieved the involvement of the German navy in the FINUL, arguing that "if Germany's raison d'être is to guarantee Israel's right to exist, we cannot say, now that this existence is threatened, that we will do nothing."

As of 1 January 2007, Angela Merkel is the president of the European Union. She has never made any secret of her intention to force France and the Netherlands to accept the equivalent of the Constitutional Treaty project that they both rejected in referendums, nor of her intention to relaunch the proposed merger of the North American Free Trade Area and the European Free Trade Area, thereby creating a "great transatlantic market" to use the words once pronounced by Sir Leon Brittan.

Thierry Meyssan

Merkel, neocon stooge - Vanguard News Network Forum

Götterdämmerung for Germany's "reformers" and pollsters

German Voters thwart another "Orange Revolution"

If Germany was Georgia or Ukraine, a revolution would be underway by now. Rarely have the real results of an election been so at variance with the opinion pollsters' forecasts. In countries like Georgia and Ukraine when candidates favoured by the West as "reformers" did less well than predicted, it was the opinion poll not the ballot box which won.

But Germany is not a post-Soviet basket-case whose population can be ignored or bullied into accepting the result favoured by the proponents of reform-without-end. Backed more or less openly by Washington and London, and publicly endorsed by the EU's competition commissioner, Neelie Kroes, with the English-language media openly rooting for her, the CDU's Angela Merkel looked a shoe-in to the Chancellery – except to German voters. Her remedy for Germany's 11% unemployment was a 2% hike in VAT and the loosening of job protection. Germans were not buying a cure that in the short term promised to increase unemployment and depress the small and medium-sector trading in a depressed domestic market as it is.

German voters have delivered a hung parliament. Instead of the confidently predicted right-wing landslide, the two main parties face off with roughly equal poor showings: 35% for the CDU/CSU (225 seat) and 34% for the SPD (222). Three other parties share the remaining seats: the FDP with 9.8% (61 seats), the Left Party with 8.7% (54 seats) and the SPD's outgoing allies, the Greens with 8.1% (51 seats). Simple arithmetic makes clear that the only two-party coalition possible is a grand one uniting CDU and SPD. That figures speak for themselves. Angela Merkel's party failed miserably to come near its goal. The other four parties did better than expected, or feared.[1]

Not that the pollsters or much of the media could contemplate the upset.


Angela Dewey, or will the pollsters ever learn?

In a headline reminiscent of "Dewey Wins" in 1948, Die Welt's website proclaimed "Merkel's done it!" two minutes before the close of the polls on Sunday night.[2] But within thirty minutes a visibly upset Angela Merkel was trying to make the best of the disastrous slump in her party's support reported by the exit polls.

This was the opinion pollsters third successive debacle in an established democracy. In November, 2004, the opinion polls and exit polls put John Kerry ahead of George W. Bush in the US presidential elections. In May, 2005, eve of election opinion polls in Britain had Tony Blair's New Labour coasting to victory on 41% of the vote, a clear 10% ahead of the Tories, yet the voters gave Blair only 36%, a bare two per cent ahead. Now in Germany, the pollsters predicted that Angela Merkel would win 40%+, some even awarding her coalition with the FDP over 50% of the votes and seats in the new Bundestag. As things turned out, the CDU/CSU polled barely 35% - a disastrous 3% fall from its losing total in 2002 and its worst result since the first federal election in 1949 and on a par with the trouncing of Chancellor Kohl in 1998.

Even the exit polls exaggerated CDU/CSU support, with the projections starting at around 38% and then being rapidly whittled down by real results from individual polling stations to the final result of 35.2%

The Germans seem unwilling or afraid to tell pollsters how they intend to vote.[3] In Britain the New Labour domination of the media has encouraged furtive responses to pollsters by a significant number of voters who do not admit to preferring candidates decried by the media barons and their outlets. Pollsters claim to have allowed up to 3% as silent Tories, for instance, but that percentage may have to increase after May, 2005, as the gulf between what may be publicly confessed to a pollster and how people actually vote grows. Similarly, in Germany with much of the media rooting for "change" and "reform", many voters seem to have misled pollsters rather than admit to voting in a politically incorrect way.


Believing their own propaganda

The media roared for reform on all channels, but huge numbers of Germans voted either for Schroeder's already tough proposals, for the FDP's reforms without tax rises or, most ominously for the CDU, they stayed at home in their millions rather than endorse Dr. Merkel's strategy of reversing the Federal Republic's fifty-five years of a social market economy plus close cooperation with France. So-called independent think tanks with links to international businesses and hedge funds had propagated the myth that only by further sacrifices – which incidentally would enrich the sponsors – could Germany hope to revitalise its GDP growth figures. In the Berlin media village as well as in media villages in the trans-Atlantic world linked by satellite, the success of Merkel's CDU was taken as a given, only the size of her majority and the balance between the coalition partners CDU-CSU-FDP was subject to debate.

Sunday night's television showed fleeting glimpses not only of the shell-shocked CDU supporters in Konrad-Adenauer-Haus but also of the green-gilled journalists and pundits who had come in Dr. Merkel's trademark orange ties. The exit polls showed the black-yellow CDU/FDP alliance falling well short of 50% of the vote or seats in the Bundestag and left the media as well as the CDU activists looking distinctly jaundiced.

From 20% behind when Germany's political crisis unfolded after he had inflicted an apparently suicidal vote of no confidence in his own government, Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's Social Democrats had clawed their way back to within 1% or 3 seats of Dr. Merkel's CDU.

As the "comeback kid", Gerhard Schroeder declared only an hour and a half after the closure of the polls on Sunday night, he was "proud… of the democracy so rooted in this country [that]... the power of the media and manipulation of the media will not have any impact on the democratic self-awareness of the people."[4] Germans had been told that they wanted reforms which would hurt, but it turned out that the wheels had just come off the main political engine of the globalisation of the German economy. Worse still, many of the passengers on Dr. Merkel's juggernaut began to cry that they had never wanted to drive so far so fast. Even as the results flooded in, leading CDU barons began to blame their candidate for Chancellor for alienating millions of previously loyal CDU voters.

The SPD campaigned on trust in Germany's economic strengths rather than risky half-understood foreign models and Schroeder emphasised his willingness to defend the country's allies but not to engage in military adventures abroad. He presented his Germany as a mediator rather than as a militarist power. Like his Green allies – and the resurgent Left _ Schroeder emphasised social cohesion as a political virtue rather than an obstacle to private profit.

What the results of the German general election show is that a mature democracy does not swing wildly at the behest of media barons with their own speculative agenda. The statistically messy result of the German elections is, however, a very healthy sign of an electorate which weighed up the choices on offer and made decisions on the basis of rational and national self-interest.

Recovering from their shock, the globalist pundits poured into the television and radio studios on Monday to declare that the CDU's second worst result in its history was a vote for Dr. Merkel's reform agenda. After all, hadn't her allies in the FDP done well to get 10% of the vote? Taken together the CDU/CSU-FDP coalition had a commanding 45%, and so on.

Looked at closely, even the FDP's stronger-than-expected showing has feet of clay. The FDP has been repeatedly presented as the most "pro-business" and pro-reform globalising party in Germany. Yet, the FDP rejected the VAT increase proposed by Dr. Merkel. That means that even if the FDP's neo-conservative economic credentials are pretty good, the evidence is that 4% of regular CDU voters crossed over to the FDP because they found Angela Merkel too aggressively reform-minded, especially with her plan to cut employers' costs by increasing the VAT burden by 2% which would hit self-employed people and family firms, the bedrock of CDU electoral support. In Bavaria, 10% of those who voted CSU in 2002 either stayed at home or voted for another party rather than Merkel's local Christian Social allies.

Guido Westerwelle, the FDP's leader, saw his personal vote in his Bonn constituency fall by 5% even as his party's share rose. This reinforces the sense that a significant number of classic Rhineland CDU-types couldn't bring themselves to vote for Dr. Merkel, nor certainly for her Social Democrat or other left-of-centre opponents, so they chose the FDP for their proportional vote even if the sitting CDU candidate was the type of older Adenauer or Kohl Christian Democrat whom they were happy to give their first vote to in the first-past-the-post part of the election. The FDP's gains in the PR part of the poll are important and give Westerwelle a potential role as kingmaker for the two most viable coalition options: CDU/CSU-FDP-Greens or SPD-Greens-FDP. But it would be a mistake to read into the FDP's surge an endorsement of Merkel-style cut-throat Anglo-American employment laws.

"It's PR, stupid!"

Much of the Anglo-American media spent Sunday night jubilating. Angela Merkel was the "reformer" and she had to win, and since her party polled 35% or so and was the largest party, like Tony Blair's New Labour in May, 2005, in Britain, Germany's "Iron Lady" was a sure-fire winner. As the BBC's Nick Gowing kept reminding viewers, the CDU had won more votes than the SPD, not many but more, so that must be that. Brought up on the first-past-the-post system many English-speaking journalists seemed unable to grasp the proportional representation system used in Germany. Coming first is no good if you and your friends don't get 50% + one vote. In 1976 Helmut Kohl got 48% of the vote but he sat on the opposition benches until 1982, because being by far the largest party isn't the path to power if no-one will ally with you.

In fact, as a glance at Dr. Merkel's drawn tearful face showed, she was the night's big loser. Instead of dictating the structure of a new government, the CDU will have to go begging for support.


It was Merkel wot lost it

Angela Merkel's face was a study in tragedy on Sunday night. She had come within an ace of supreme power. Everyone who was anyone in Europe and America was banking on her victory. Three months earlier she had been courted by Tony Blair who happily snubbed Gerhard Schroeder by visiting the leader of the opposition before making what his spin doctors indicated was a farewell courtesy call on his erstwhile soul mate from the SPD. It was typical of the premature political obituaries being prepared for Schroeder.

The anticipated tidal wave of support was carefully fitted into a general historical trend. The girl from Communist East Germany would lead the latest surge in what globalist pundits call Europe's second wave of post-Communist revolutions. Germany would follow and cement the pattern set in Georgia and Ukraine.

Merkel's spin-meisters even chose the colour orange rather than the CDU's traditional black or blue for their campaign logo. To media people orange = Ukraine and Ukraine = reform. But to many Germans orange = Ukraine = poverty and corruption. Don't the spin-doctors read the newspapers? Everyone knows that Orange Ukraine is a cess-pit of infighting and bribe-taking, but not the spin doctors. Image is reality for the New World Order's propagandists.

Sadly, in Germany the neo-conservative spin machine ran slap bang into Kraut commonsense. Whatever Germany's problems, being told by ex-communist hacks on the London Guardian or the New York Times ageing 1968ers that Germany should go the way of Ukraine was not the way to turn out voters in the CDU heartland. Fully 10% fewer people voted for the CDU/CSU in Bavaria than in 2002. Merkel's Anglo-American manifesto was a turn off. No-one in the backroom seemed to remember that the Germans might dislike 11% unemployment but don't see sinking into the dire circumstances of post-Communist Europe as a solution for ordinary people. Mega-bucks may be at play for hedge funds and sharp-suited investors in the ex-Soviet bloc, but the little man in Germany knows that a tidal wave of migrants has fled poverty there to find hope in his country.

Even if in the moment of despair, some CDU leaders tried to be chivalrous towards Angela Merkel, few who could deny that she and her inner circle set the tone of the campaign and had insisted on the policy proposals that more experienced West German CDU politicians feared would alienate rather than galvanise voters.

One rival for Merkel's post as chairman of the CDU and potential candidate for chancellor in a coalition, Roland Koch, the prime minister of Hesse, admitted the bad news on Sunday night: "We are significantly below what we hoped for and expected" but he generously said, "The defeat is not Angela Merkel's fault." Maybe he was also building bridges to her supporters for the succession.[5] Koch could be a CDU alternative. Others were in a less consoling mood. Rhineland-Palatinate premier Kurt Beck said you would have been "laughed at and scorned" if you had suggested this result three weeks ago; it was a "huge debacle" for Dr. Merkel.[6]

Since the Green's leader, Joschka Fischer, has ruled out a coalition led by Angela Merkel, while silently leaving open the possibility of Green participation in a government led by a less stridently neo-conservative CDU politician, the omens for Dr. Merkel reaching the vote on the Chancellorship set for 18th October look increasingly poor. Similarly, Schroeder ruled out a grand coalition led by Merkel, but left unspoken the possibility of another CDU leader succeeding him if a suitable deal could be done.


"First Germany, then the whole world!"

The neo-cons had anticipated that Angela Merkel's victory would be a stepping stone to installing their man, Nicholas Sarkozy, in France.[7] With Germany and France ruled by reliable "junior partners" as the German Marshall Fund so eloquently puts it, then Iran would face the full force of the Western alliance which Saddam Hussein's Iraq has avoided. German boots would do the difficult task of policing occupied Iranian cities and the French foreign legion could bear the heat of battle in new Fallujahs. The armchair generals who cakewalked GIs into Iraq and left nearly 2,000 of them dead without finding any WMD, were confident that next time Berlin and then Paris would fall in line.

EU Commission President Jose Barroso, and Neelie Kroes have expressed their alarm at developments in Germany. The plebs did not vote the way their masters expected. Many carefully laid schemes to transfer public assets into private hands across the EU now look shaky. Germans have obviously shied away from putting their pension eggs in the stock market basket. Yet so much of the Blair-Barroso agenda for the EU is predicated on privatising and farming out state services.

The German electorate has put a spoke in the wheel of many well-laid plans in Washington, London and Brussels. Whether it comes to social polarisation under the banner of economic reform or foreign policy adventures in the Middle East or vis-à-vis Russia and other not-yet colour-coded post-Communist states, the messy verdict of the German voters makes it unlikely that Germany will fall in line behind the Bourbons of the New World Order who are bent on repeating the mistakes of 2003 on a grander scale in coming years.

Whereas the British electorate blithely accepted Tony Balir's continuing in office on only 36% of a vote marred by postal vote frauds and incompetence, the Germans seem about to teach the Mother of Democracy a few lessons in civic responsibility. Sixty years after the defeat of Nazi Germany what better tribute could there be to the statesmanship of Anglo-American leaders after 1945 than seeing Germans vote without fear or favour for candidates of their own choosing rather than ranting militarists or time-serving puppets?

[1] See Daniel Deckers, "Vier Sieger, ein Verlierer" in FAZ (19th September, 2005) http://www.faz.net/ s/RubAC861D48C098406D9675C0E8CE355498/Doc~EFAE8EB09E7174CBE8E53F1B582D6959D~ATpl~Ecommon~Scontent.html

[2] See "Merkel hat's geschafft!" reporting CDU/CSU on 38% and FDP on 10%.

[3] See "Debakel der Demoskopen" http://www.welt.de/data/2005/09/20/778122.html.

[4] As broadcast by ntv and carried on CNN (6.25pm UK time, 18th September, 2005).

[5] See http://www.tagesschau.de/aktuell/mel...762754,00.html.

[6] See http://www.welt.de/z/photos/index.ph...5a499fd842ad94 cac6fe6583c

[7] See John Vinocur's comment "Before Sarkozy can move in France, Merkel has to succeed" in the IHT (12th September, 2005)

[Jan 26, 2015] The 4th Media " Merkel as Soft Cop in False Flag Offensive on Russia by Finian CUNNINGHAM

January 26, 2015 | 4thmedia.org

Finian CUNNINGHAM | Monday, January 26, 2015, 21:13 Beijing

At the World Economic Forum last week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel let the cat out of the bag with her sly offer, or rather bribe, to Russia. The German leader told delegates in Davos that European Union sanctions on Russia would be lifted in exchange for a "peace deal" in Ukraine. She promised a "free trade pact from Lisbon to Vladivostok".

That's a bit rich coming from the bankrupt EU, but nevertheless let's accept the assumption that Frau Merkel is offering something very juicy. Why would she do that, and right at this time when civilians are being massacred in eastern Ukraine?

In other words, Merkel is saying if Moscow capitulates to Western objectives of ceding Ukraine to its full political, economic and military control, then Russia will be "paid off" with respite from Western sanctions and can look forward to a tantalising free trade "happy ending" with the EU. How generous of Frau Merkel!

The Russian-speaking population of Ukraine's eastern Donbas regions will then be abandoned to their fate of accepting the legitimacy of the Western-installed Kiev regime.

The New York Times spelled out the reasoning further in an article at the weekend headlined: 'War Is Exploding Anew in Ukraine; Rebels Vow More'. The Times reported with dripping innuendo blaming Russia for the violence and quoting its usual NATO and Kiev regime "sources". But take note of this little giveaway nugget in the NYT: "The renewed fighting has… put to rest the notion that Russia's president, Vladimir V. Putin, would be so staggered by the twin blows of Western sanctions and a collapse in oil prices that he would forsake the separatists in order to foster better relations with the West".

So, the Western calculus revealed by Merkel and the New York Times is that Putin has not been "staggered by the twin blows of sanctions and a collapse in oil prices to forsake the separatists in order to foster better relations with the West".

In this context, Angela Merkel is shamelessly dangling a "free trade bribe" in Russia's face. Behave yourself, she is saying: just be a good boy, roll over to our geopolitical objectives and we will call off the economic war in the form of sanctions and the crash in oil prices, the latter courtesy of the Western puppets in Saudi Arabia pumping oil into an over-supplied world market.

Merkel, who is known for her ardent "transatlantic" partnership with America, is thus showing herself to be dutifully doing Washington's bidding over the Ukraine crisis and the bigger objective of subordinating Russia to Western hegemony, or as the New York Times euphemistically calls it "better relations with the West".

The other pincer move in this Western offensive on Russia is that the Western-backed Kiev regime has gone into full false flag terror mode in a bid to criminalise Russia for its diplomatic and moral support of the besieged ethnic Russian population in eastern Ukraine.

Western mainstream media are shamelessly aiding and abetting the propaganda campaign. On the latest massacre in the port city of Mariupol at the weekend, in which at least 30 civilians were killed in multiple-rocket attacks, the Western media amplified claims by the Kiev regime that the perpetrators were Russian-backed separatists.

No evidence offered, just the usual assertion and innuendo. France 24 explicitly attributed the carnage to the rebels with an audacious false report that leader of the Donetsk People's Republic Alexander Zakharchenko admitted responsibility of the separatist militia.

Zakharchenko admitted no such thing. In fact, he and other rebel leaders blamed the Kiev military for launching multiple rockets in a deliberate attempt to impute the separatists and, by extension, Russia.

Western media mendaciously reported the atrocity in the context of the DPR militia calling off the ceasefire the day before and after they took control of Donetsk international airport earlier this week. The reason why the separatists called off the truce is because the Kiev regime has repeatedly violated it with ongoing indiscriminate shelling of towns and civilian districts.

US secretary of state John Kerry weighed in with his take on the propaganda, saying: "We join our European counterparts to condemn Russian-backed separatists" and added "we call on Russia to immediately end its support for separatists".

Western puppet-leaders in Kiev, prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and president Petro Poroshenko called the Mariupol massacre "a crime against humanity" and accused Russia of "violating the fundamental principles of international law and humanity".

As noted, the separatist militia denied any involvement, pointing out that they do not have the long-range weapons to carry out such a strike from their positions. Mariupol is held by Kiev's military forces.

Monitors from the Organisation of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said that craters from the deadly blasts indicated that the Grad and Uragan rockets were fired from 15-19 kilometres to the northeast of the city, implying they were from rebel-controlled territory.

However, the latest atrocity fits squarely into a recent pattern of similar attacks on civilians by Kiev forces that bear the hallmarks of false flags aimed at framing the rebels and Russia.

Three days before the attack on Mariupol, 13 people were killed in rebel-held Donetsk City when a volley of Grad rockets slammed into a trolleybus and other vehicles. Previously, on January 13, 12 people were blown to pieces when their bus in Volnovakha was hit by Grad rockets.

Again, the Kiev regime was quick to blame "Russian terrorists". But the craters in the latter attack clearly showed that the fire came from positions held by the Kiev military, according to OSCE monitors and spokesmen for the DPR militia.

Over the past eight months, since the Western-sponsored regime in Kiev launched its military offensive on the breakaway eastern Donbas regions, indiscriminate shelling of civilians is a routine feature of the so-called "anti-terror operation".

Donetsk has been shelled constantly, with much of the fire coming from the airport, which is why the separatist militia put so much effort into capturing the location – to put an end to the barrage.

Just this weekend, five civilians were killed in the rebel-held town of Gorlovka when apartment blocks were hit with artillery fire from Kiev forces. The latter, comprised of neo-Nazi "volunteer battalions", have also used cluster bombs, white phosphorus incendiaries, unguided ballistic missiles and warplanes to strike civilian centres.

Of the 5,000 total dead incurred over the past eight months, most of the civilian casualties have been caused by the Western-supported Kiev regime.

And all the while in the face of this state-sponsored terrorism, there is silence in the Western media and among Western leaders like John Kerry and Angela Merkel.

The Kiev regime is also implicated in the massacre in Odessa on May 2 where more than 40 people were burned or executed inside a Customs Building that was deliberately torched by Right Sector paramilitaries.

Prior to that, the mysterious sniper shootings that killed more than 80 protesters and police in Maidan Square and precipitated the coup on February 22 was blamed, in a full-court Western media campaign, on the Russian-backed government of Viktor Yanukoych when the evidence actually points to the CIA-backed Right Sector in a classic false flag psy-ops job.

Moreover, credible Russian aviation records show that the Kiev regime's airforce shot down the Malaysian civilian airliner on July 17 over Donetsk region, with the loss of all 298 onboard, although Western governments, media and the Kiev regime again cranked up the usual blame-game against Russia – with economic sanctions to boot.

The pattern of criminality, terrorism and pathological lying by the Kiev regime makes it almost a certainty that the latest massacre in Mariupol is another false flag. The regime and its Western sponsors have the motive to do so and the vile capability.

But with Western governments and media working in concert in a full-on propaganda war against Russia, reality is being turned on its head and Moscow is being framed up on every atrocity, which then justifies Western economic sanctions and further NATO militarisation on Russia's borders. Russia is being placed under intense aggressive pressure – and all based on total propaganda.

Now enters "soft cop" Frau Merkel into the fray of this US-led gang beat-up on Russia, with the metaphorical packet of cigarettes and a comely smile. Pulling up a chair, she softy whispers to the Russian subject… "just give up Ukraine, abandon those pesky Moskals in Donbas, let our capitalists rape the population, allow our NATO takeover and placement of nuclear strike forces on your border… and you can enjoy a quiet life with an EU free trade bonanza… because ve 'ave vays of making you talk, ya".

[Jan 25, 2015] The lady who is hawking 'TINA' around Europe is Madame Merkel

"...Ahem. The lady who is hawking 'TINA' around Europe is Madame Merkel. She's been doing it for years. She is a faint and unsavoury copy of Mrs Thatcher, who btw has been out of office for over thirty years now, and is also dead."

colliemum says:

January 25, 2015 at 9:52 pm

Ahem. The lady who is hawking 'TINA' around Europe is Madame Merkel. She's been doing it for years. She is a faint and unsavoury copy of Mrs Thatcher, who btw has been out of office for over thirty years now, and is also dead.

I'm always amazed how after such a long time, and after having been in government themselves for 13 years, Labour and their acolytes still blame Mrs Thatcher for everything, when they have had enough time and power to do something about all they are blaming her for.

One cannot help but think that they are in fact quite pleased with what she did, since it means they haven't got dirty hands – and that they can keep that outdated slogan to keep their sheep inside the fold.

Article Der Spiegel Tones Down Anti-Putin Hysteria

"...German Chancellor Angela Merkel responded with "a sentence dripping with disapproval and cool sarcasm aimed directly at the Ukrainian president. 'I feel like I'm at a wedding where the groom has suddenly issued new, last minute stipulations,'" according to Der Spiegel's chronology of the crisis."

"...However, in October, Der Spiegel quietly reversed itself regarding Moscow supposedly supplying the Buk missiles, reporting that the German foreign intelligence agency, the BND, had concluded that Russia did not supply the battery suspected of bringing down the plane, saying the plane was shot down by a Ukrainian military missile captured by the rebels from a Ukrainian military base (although I was later told by a European official that the BND's conclusion was less definitive than Der Spiegel reported). "

OpEdNews

Last summer, the German news magazine Der Spiegel was swept up in the Western hysteria over Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Ukraine crisis, even running a bellicose cover demanding "Stop Putin Now" and blaming him for the 298 deaths in the July 17 crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in eastern Ukraine.

"Vladimir Putin has shown his true face. Once seen as a statesman, the Russian president has exposed himself as a pariah of the international community. The MH17 dead are also his; he is partially responsible for the shooting down of the flight," a Der Spiegel editorial declared on July 28. "Nobody in the West continues to harbor serious doubts that the plane was shot down with a Buk surface-to-air missile system -- one that was almost certainly provided to the pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine by Russia."

Actually, by then, a number of people in the West, including U.S. intelligence analysts, were doubting the blame-Putin narrative because they could find no evidence that the Russians had supplied the ethnic Russian rebels with a sophisticated anti-aircraft missile system that could bring down a commercial plane flying at 33,000 feet.

At the time, I was being told by a source briefed by U.S. intelligence analysts that the emerging scenario pointed more toward an extremist group associated with the Ukrainian government although not under the control of Kiev's senior leadership. But the major media in the U.S. and Europe refused to rethink the early "conventional wisdom."

However, in October, Der Spiegel quietly reversed itself regarding Moscow supposedly supplying the Buk missiles, reporting that the German foreign intelligence agency, the BND, had concluded that Russia did not supply the battery suspected of bringing down the plane, saying the plane was shot down by a Ukrainian military missile captured by the rebels from a Ukrainian military base (although I was later told by a European official that the BND's conclusion was less definitive than Der Spiegel reported).

Creating a Crisis

In another reversal of sorts, this leading German-language news magazine has acknowledged that the European Union and German leaders were guilty of miscalculations that contributed to the Ukraine crisis, particularly by under-appreciating the enormous financial costs to Ukraine if it broke its historic ties to Russia in favor of a new association with the EU.

In November 2013, Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovych learned from experts at the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine that the total cost to the country's economy from severing its business connections to Russia would be around $160 billion, 50 times the $3 billion figure that the EU had estimated, Der Spiegel reported. The figure stunned Yanukovych, who pleaded for financial help that the EU couldn't provide, the magazine said.

Western loans would have to come from the International Monetary Fund, which was demanding painful "reforms" of Ukraine's economy, structural changes that would make the hard lives of average Ukrainians even harder, including raising the price of natural gas by 40 percent and devaluing Ukraine's currency, the hryvnia, by 25 percent.

With Putin offering a more generous aid package of $15 billion, Yanukovych backed out of the EU agreement but told the EU's Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, Nov. 28, 2013, that he was willing to continue negotiating.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel responded with "a sentence dripping with disapproval and cool sarcasm aimed directly at the Ukrainian president. 'I feel like I'm at a wedding where the groom has suddenly issued new, last minute stipulations,'" according to Der Spiegel's chronology of the crisis.

That was when the U.S. neocons stepped up their strategy of using the popular disappointment in western Ukraine over the failed EU agreement to topple Yanukovych, the constitutionally elected president.

Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, a prominent neocon holdover who advised Vice President Dick Cheney, passed out cookies to anti-Yanukovych demonstrators at the Maidan Square in Kiev and reminded Ukrainian business leaders that the United States had invested $5 billion in their "European aspirations."

Meanwhile, neocon Sen. John McCain joined Ukrainian rightists onstage at the Maidan urging on the protests, and the U.S.-funded, neocon-led National Endowment for Democracy deployed scores of its Ukrainian political/media operatives in support of the disruptions. Even earlier, NED President Carl Gershman, a leading neocon, had identified Ukraine as "the biggest prize" and an important step toward toppling Putin in Russia. [See Consortiumnews.com's "Neocons' Ukraine-Syria-Iran Gambit."]

By early February, Nuland was telling U.S. Ambassador to the Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt "f*ck the EU" and discussing how to "glue this thing" as she handpicked who the new leaders of Ukraine would be; "Yats is the guy," she said about Arseniy Yatsenyuk.

As violent disorders at the Maidan spun out of control, the State Department and U.S. news media blamed Yanukovych, setting the stage for his removal. On Feb. 22, a putsch, spearheaded by neo-Nazi militias from the Maidan protests, forced Yanukovych and his officials to flee for their lives.

Next Page 1 | 2 | 3

http://www.consortiumnews.com

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq, can be ordered at secrecyandprivilege.com. It's also available at
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U.S.-German secret treaty means Berlin is Washington's vassal until 2099 -- Secret History

Sott.net

DIE DEUTSCHE KARTE. Das verdeckte Spiel der geheimen Dienste. Ares-Verlag, Graz 2007. - 230 S.), is an exceptional occurrence. Raising very sensitive issues, the author appeals to the core of German identity that had been deliberately suppressed for decades by the United States and its allies.

The book is focused on contradictions between the United States and Germany, sometimes very strong but not supposed to be discussed in public. It was published in Austria, and its distribution in Germany may encounter certain difficulties today. Still, the very fact of its appearance indicates that the German intelligence community is increasingly dissatisfied with the role of a vassal of the United States (the definition applied to Europe by Zbigniew Brzezinski), imposed on Western Germany after World War II.

Gerd-Helmut Komossa reveals the uncomfortable truth about the post-war conditions, dictated by the US and its allies. The state treaty, dated May 21, 1949 and classified by BND as top secret, suggests restrictions of state sovereignty of the Federal Republic of Germany, introduced for a period until 2099.

These restrictions include the provision that the winning coalition exercise complete control over Germany's mass media and communications; that every Federal Chancellor is to sign the so-called Chancellor Act; that the gold reserve of Germany is kept under arrest.

Angela Merkel and the rising German-American lebensraum - By Nicolas Bonnal

English pravda.ru

One says that the Germans built the rail tracks and axles in order to facilitate an invasion of Russia. Jules Verne

As soon as we entered Germany, the six Germans in my compartment began to talk about war and Russia. Fyodor Dostoyevsky

I was reading Dostoyevsky's so actual diaries and he is emphasizing two facts: the first is that a bloating Germany deeply despised France after its victory in 1870; and the second is that the same arrogant imperial Germany wanted and needed her war against Russia. As we know, this war was too predicted by Jules Verne in Claudius Bombarnac and would occur in two phases, 1914 and 1941. Dostoyevsky remarks objectively that the Germans are a fiery and warrior race, that they naturally need war and domination.

Now the war is commerce and it almost allows German businessmen and bureaucrats to dominate Europe and half of the world, given that they show some respect to their American masters and give some guarantees about how to deal with recalcitrant Arabs and of course enduring Russia. The Germans, having already interiorized a deep respect to their Saxon masters and models, enthusiastically demonstrate submission.

Of course, the more you show your deference to your masters, the more you gloat over your inferiors. This was too a peculiar Prussian trait.

Chancellor Schroeder had behaved well in Europe, trying to get closer with Russia and France, and bravely opposing the war against Iraq that is giving all the brilliant prospects one could expect. Nevertheless he left his fellow citizens with a lowering social status; this decline of the German way of life leaded to an explosion of working poor that made possible a Chinese-like industrial and commercial boom. 17 million people work for less than ten euros per hour.

This is when arrogance stroke back in Germany. And we promptly discovered a new and mysterious chancellor whose politics had currently three trends: submitting the country to the American imperial agenda; threatening Russia and humiliating Europe. I shall commence with Europe whose final martyrdom has clearly begun with employee Angela Merkel and is not near to end.

As we know the rising debt had nothing to do with people's demands and social protection; rather with the creation of the Euro and the banksters' madness. Spain, Portugal, Greece or France now is submitted to gruesome measures and non-ending humiliations. The only purpose of these measures is to maintain a currency currently ruining our economies since fifteen years now; and paving the way to a global European-American state based on federal zones. This is the agenda actually promoted by our socialist government in France: disintegrating what is left of our regions to turn them into Lander.

What we know too is that Germany's exports match those of France, England and Italy together. Congratulations, friends, but what is the purpose here? Where is this industrial and commercial will to power leading us to? This reign of quantity is becoming embarrassing and automatically ends on imperialistic behaviour or wars. See the beginning of last century for instance.

We know not how low Europe can fall under the Merkel rule; for German inspectors and tax collectors keep threatening the weakest nations and are always requiring social cuts. Yet a local minister had the audacity to denounce the rising fascist vote in France. Has Germany the historical and moral records to give us that type of advice? We know who is commanding his country but what is commanding this schmuck's bright mind?

But the worse is to come. One could expect that given her moral debt (26 millions Russians killed by German barbarism during the precedent war) and her commercial and geographical interests, Germany would keep good relations with Russia. After all, American and English planes bombed and exterminated German population from 1942 and American generals starved this people until 1948, when they realized that the whole Europe was becoming communist.

But this is not the case. Here the bleak and mysterious Angela Merkel is obeying again a hostile agenda and the steps of a new lebensraum. Of course this lebensraum doesn't serve the interests of the Germans (but did the precedent serve them?); it basically serves the interest of the never-ending boundaries of the American Empire; it basically serves the interest of the NATO who put to power with néocon agents the rascals we know in Ukraine. Of course we know too that the German generals and Junkers twice created a Ukrainian puppet-state in 1918 and in 1941. You can't lose bad habits like that.

Nobody is exaggerating or forging one second. World-famous mentor Brzezinski wrote - in his programmatic Chessboard:

Germany feels it has a special responsibility for the newly emancipated Central Europe, in a manner vaguely reminiscent of earlier notions of a German-led Mitteleuropa.

A candid Brzezinski adds too that there is a periodic French flirtation with Moscow in order to offset the American-German coalition.

As we know, the American-German coalition is now following an old Drang nach Osten agenda, and a marked for redemption Germany is submitting herself to the chaotic American leadership and risks to blow the whole future of our Eurasian continent.

We will end like Mesopotamia.

Irresponsible Merkel, whose electorate median age is beyond sixty, recently said Vladimir Putin was "living in another world". Almost a compliment! Well, Vladimir Putin - who is compared to Hitler by odious Hillary Clinton and other culture distorters - is above all living in Europe. We too live in Europe and we would appreciate not to be considered as second class citizens of the new lebensraum run by the American elites and their German executants. The actual behaviour of Brzezinski's American-German coalition and the NATO Drang nach Osten is leading us to a new European disaster.

We know not how low Europe can fall under the Merkel rule.

[Jan 17, 2015] 'Queen of Europe' 2015 will be the defining year for Angela Merkel's Chancellorship by Bryan MacDonald

January 17, 2015 | RT Op-Edge

Bryan MacDonald is a Russia-based Irish journalist and media commentator who focuses on Russia and its hinterlands and international geo-politics.

For decades, the rest of the world wondered who to call when they needed to speak to Europe. Since Angela Merkel became the continent's dominant politician and Germany asserted itself as its superpower, that question no longer applies.

In 2015, Merkel faces the pivotal year of her reign as "Queen of Europe."

When Ronald Reagan courted Europe's leaders 30 years ago, urging them to stand firm against the USSR, things were more complicated. Britain, France and West Germany were equally significant - and divided on the 'Soviet question' - so a balancing act was required. Margaret Thatcher was rabidly anti-Communist and needed little coaxing to Washington's worldview. On the other hand, Helmut Kohl managed a Bonn government still in touch with 'Ostpolitik' and Francois Mitterrand's socialist administration was largely ambiguous in its intentions.

Today, for Barack Obama, it's much simpler. The US President need only recognize one top-dog - Angela Merkel's Germany. While paying lip-service to London and occasionally massaging French egos, it's apparent that the White House has effectively delegated responsibility for Europe to Berlin.

For its part, Russia also clearly comprehends the reality. Whereas Mikhail Gorbachev once placed huge importance on relations with Thatcher, Vladimir Putin essentially ignores David Cameron. The Kremlin does treat the French with more warmth than the Americans manage. This goes back to the Iraq War when Putin stood firm with Jacques Chirac - and Gerhard Schroder - in firm opposition to the conflict. There's also the fact that Paris remains relatively hostile to US interests and avoids much of the 'Stockholm syndrome' its neighbors exhibit when dealing with Washington.

As George W Bush and Tony Blair saber rattled, for a brief moment, a new European order seemed feasible, Paris, Moscow and Berlin in concert against Anglo-Saxon imperialism. However, Merkel deposed Schroder as German chancellor and the opportunity slipped. Make no mistake, Merkel is - or at least was - an 'Atlanticist' who deeply distrusts Russia. Unlike Schroder, who followed Willy Brandt and Helmut Schmidt and aped their belief that Russia-German friendship was vital; the current Chancellor has another perspective entirely. Raised in East Germany, she personally experienced the oppression of USSR sponsored Communism and is unable to separate 'new' Russia from its Soviet predecessor.

That said, as Germany's power and influence has mushroomed, her pro-American views have also waned. Phone tapping, the use of drones and increasing radicalism in Washington politics have turned her off 'Uncle Sam.' Declining support for the US is a countrywide phenomenon in Germany as numerous polls indicate. Nevertheless, the country remains, in practice, a military colony of America and political reluctance to invest in the Bundeswehr (army) suggests this won't change in short order.

German opinion also serves as a symbol of Obama's disappointing Presidency. As a candidate, he was arguably more popular in Berlin than New York, with 200,000 people lining the Tiergarten when he - in retrospect confusingly - decided to speak there in 2008. Now it's fair to say that his star has diminished in Germany to the extent that he'd be lucky to attract 10,000 in a Tiergarten redux.

John F Kennedy he is not. Germans still revere JFK, indeed there's a museum to his memory opposite the Brandenburg Gate. They also fondly remember the USA that Kennedy represented, a strident forward looking nation with principles. The neocon driven mess of today doesn't resonate with modern Germans, who abhor aggression.

Merkel worshipped the 'old' USA, especially Reagan for his tough stance against the Soviets. She also once harbored an enthusiastic admiration of American 'dynamism.' 25 years after she stepped out from behind the Iron Curtain, her disappointment at realizing that US propaganda and the US reality are very different is quite obvious. Merkel often seems to hold the same contempt for West Europeans who she most probably once imagined as equally enterprising. In this context, Merkel's position is rather Russian. Ask any 50-plus Russian who has travelled and they'll openly admit that their view of 'westerners' is markedly different now from that of a quarter century ago.

Merkel has little personal time for Obama, which is not unusual in German-Washington relations. Konrad Adenauer detested Kennedy and Bush loathed Schroder. Conversely, she is also cold with Putin. Their relationship has none of the camaraderie of the Schroder-Putin amicability. For his part, Putin seems to respect her and accords her deference he rarely shows to Obama. Obama, who is rarely buddy-buddy with any world leaders, also maintains an obeisance with his Berlin counterpart.

The reason both Putin and Obama strain for a cordial affiliation with Merkel is transparently obvious - they both need her. Indeed, it's not a stretch to suggest that the Chancellor will ultimately decide the outcome of the current Moscow-Washington estrangement. Rather than talking to each other, Putin and Obama both seem to use Merkel as a go-between. Last year, Putin is reported to have spent over 110 hours on the phone to his Berlin opposite number. Incidentally, Merkel's Russian is impeccable - as a teenager she even won a trip to Moscow due to her proficiency. Putin lived for many years in Dresden and his German is equally impressive.

Ukraine is a massive headache for Merkel. She rules by consensus and is wary of taking strong positions on anything. However, on this issue she must balance a number of conflicting interests. While Germany is deeply suspicious of US military power, the reality is that, via NATO, the country relies on the US for its security. The state of the Bundeswehr is abject and its doubtful Germany could protect itself against Poland, let alone Russia. For this reason, if Washington perceived that Berlin was betraying its Ukraine agenda and becoming cozy with Moscow, there could be serious consequences for the current alliance between the protector and the protected.

On the other hand, if Merkel were to acquiesce to American pressure and fast-track Ukraine into the EU, she would face huge domestic turmoil. The simple fact is that Germans are tired - as they see it - of paying for the EU, especially feckless states in the East and South. Given that Ukraine is so dysfunctional that it makes Greece look like Switzerland, there is absolutely zero appetite among German voters for taking it on. Should Merkel even attempt to go down this road, her own party, the CDU might remove her from power.

Another problem is sanctions and the effect they are having on Russia's economy. Russia has been, along with China, the fastest growing market for German luxury goods - especially cars - in recent years. Indeed, access to Russia's once booming economy has acted as a pressure valve against declining consumption in Europe. Before Christmas, The New York Times reported that German carmakers are forecast to lose $18 billion from 2014-2017 because of Russian sanctions. Given that auto manufacturers are concentrated in Bavaria and Baden-Wittenberg, the CDU's traditional heartlands, this could become a totem pole for anti-Angela feeling in the party.

Mention of the CDU brings us to another Merkel paradox. Unlike most electorally successful leaders, she's not particularly well got in her own party. In a grouping historically controlled by Catholic men from the prosperous south and west of the country, Merkel is very much an outsider. Raised as a Protestant in the GDR, and a woman, she is as far away from the prototypical CDU leader as is possible. Brought into the party, and earnestly promoted, by Helmut Kohl, she later knifed her predecessor. This hasn't been forgotten in the CDU, especially among its Rhineland factions that remain loyal to Kohl. Her difficult relationship with Edmund Stoiber, widely revered in Bavaria, has dented her support in Germany's wealthiest - and most staunchly Catholic - state.

Merkel has always walked a fine line and performed a very careful balancing act as Chancellor. This year, she will be forced to get off the fence as a flurry of long-festering problems spring into the open.

The EU, which Berlin dominates, faces a year of turmoil due to probable changes of government in Spain and Greece. Both nations threaten to veer away from the austerity Merkel has championed. In Greece's case, their continued membership of the euro is in doubt. A Hellenic exit could inspire a major country, perhaps Italy, to also charge the trapdoor, placing the single currency's future in question. Make no mistake; the euro has been massively advantageous for Germany, by providing its exporters with guaranteed prices due to the absence of fluctuating exchange rates. The end of the currency union could also herald the culmination of Germany's financial stranglehold on the continent. Every major EU economy has seen its share of global GDP diminish in the past decade expect one - Germany. A euro collapse would be devastating for Merkel and Berlin.


The Chancellors obsession with 'Black Zero's' (balanced budgets) is another potential weakness. Germany's infrastructure is crumbling with road and bridge closures a fact of life. By refusing to spend, Merkel has left herself wide open to public anger should a major artery be affected.

ISIS is also causing a blowback. Recently it was revealed that 500 jihadists currently fighting the Middle East were German raised. This has again opened a can of worms about integration and immigration policies in Germany. Merkel's fealty to neoliberalism and open borders leaves her in peril of attack from the Conservative wing of the CDU. This is the same section that is watching as the economic health of its southern fiefdoms (Bavaria as CSU) is decimated by Russia sanctions.

Angela Merkel's consensus style of leadership, "rule by opinion polls" as some in Berlin call it, has delivered short-term gains for Germany while allowing long-term problems to smolder. Merkel has attempted to stave off confrontation over Germany's infrastructure, its attitude to immigration and the sorry state of the eurozone's periphery. 2015 will be the year that all these lingering worries come to a head. On top of it all, the Chancellor must also help sort out the Ukraine crisis.

Kicking the can down the road is no longer a viable strategy. This year, Angela Merkel will prove whether she deserves a place in history to equal that of Adenauer or her mentor, Kohl. If she fails the coming tests, the "Queen of Europe" could quickly lose her throne.

W.H. state dinner focuses on Angela Merkel friendship - Abby Phillip and Amie Parnes - POLITICO.com By ABBY PHILLIP & AMIE PARNES

6/7/11 13 Comments

'We want to pay tribute to an extraordinary leader,' President Obama said of Angela Merkel. | AP Photo

If there was one takeaway from Tuesday night's state dinner honoring Germany, it came in the form of a song: "You've got a friend."

James Taylor, the songwriter of the famed tune, told reporters that the White House specifically requested that he perform the song at the dinner, in honor of the first official state visit of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

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Throughout the day, Obama emphasized the personal friendship he shares with Merkel, as well as the strength of the alliance between their two countries.

In an East Room ceremony, Obama noted that state dinners customarily focus on the shared values of two nations. But by awarding Merkel with the Medal of Freedom, the country's highest civilian honor, he chose to place the spotlight on her personal achievements.

"We want to pay tribute to an extraordinary leader who embodies these values and who has inspired millions around the world, including me," Obama said. "And that's my friend, Angela Merkel."

Obama noted that Merkel's life embodied the greatest lessons that came when the Berlin Wall finally fell in 1989, uniting communist East Germany and West Germany after 28 years.

"The night the wall came down, she crossed over like so many others and finally experienced what she called 'the incredible gift of freedom,'" Obama said.

In his toast, Obama cited Merkel's own words when two years ago she became the first German chancellor to address a joint session of Congress since Konrad Adenauer in 1957: "'To freedom which must be struggled for, then defended anew every day of our lives.'"

"Her words spoke not only to the dreams of that young girl in the East but to the dreams of all those who still yearn for their rights and dignity today," Obama said.

Though it is one of the most-sought-after invitations, Tuesday's state dinner-the fourth in Obama's presidency-lacked the celebrity firepower of previous events.

Washington's power brokers dominated the guest list: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.), a former German ambassador, and Democratic National Committee Chairman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) all attended. House Majority Leader John Boehner, however, did not accept the White House's invitation to attend for the fourth time during Obama's presidency.

In the 80 degree heat, Obama and first lady Michelle Obama greeted Merkel and her husband, Professor Joachim Sauer, on the North Portico of the White House.

"So nice to see you," the president said to Merkel, according to the press pool report. "You look lovely tonight."

Is Hitler's Daughter Part of the Elite


Offline Ambriel
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Is Hitler's Daughter Part of the Elite

" on: March 27, 2011, 12:41:03 pm "

I am going to research this more. but here are some thing to consider.

Blurb from David Meyer's August 2007 Last Trumpet Newsletter:

While the United States continues to struggle under the destructive powers of sin and iniquity, a new world empire is rising in Europe. Strange events have been surrounding the rise of the new European Reich, but few people seem to take note of what is happening all around them. One event that received very little press coverage was the June 16th, 2007 death of Baron Guy de Rothschild at age 98. (17) The Rothschild dynasty still controls the economies of the world secretly and by spiritual means. High-level witches do not regard the members of the Rothschild family as human but as gods. The Rothschild tribunal is represented by the triangle elevated above the truncated pyramid with the singular eye and a great light emanating from behind it. This is the crest of the Illuminati, and it appears on the back of the U.S. one dollar bill.

The very next day after the death of Rothschild, it was announced that the last act of Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain would hand the European Union radical new powers. The exact words of the London Daily Express headline pertaining to this are as follows: "Secret New Plans for EU Super State." (18) We are now seeing a strange and clandestine plan unfolding before our very eyes. A powerful United States of Europe, or European Union, is growing stronger every day, and thirteen of its nations are already united economically under the Euro currency. While the stock market in the United States rapidly inflates like a balloon ready to burst, the U.S. dollar continues to slide and fall rapidly against all other major currencies. What is happening? Remember, we must always look for spiritual reasons!

We know that about 70 years ago a man named Adolf Hitler had a dream and ambition to bring the world to order and to unite all of Europe with the secret help of the Vatican. It was Hitler who coined the words New World Order. Hitler also laid out his objectives in a book called Mein Kampf. It is all a long story and well imprinted on the pages of history as World War II erupted. All of this was orchestrated by globalist conspirators. Wars are planned well in advance and always with a primary objective in mind.

Most people believe that Adolf Hitler committed suicide in a bunker, and some believe he escaped to Argentina by U-boat. One thing is certain; he is dead now. Hitler's dreams and ambitions, however, are not dead, and this is where the amazing part of this story begins. German Chancellor Angela Merkel made known her determination to unite all of Europe under one constitution on January 7th, 2007. This powerful woman seemed to rise from almost nowhere to become Chancellor of Germany, President of the European Union, and head of the G-8 economic block of nations. (19) Who is this amazing woman?

Angela Merkel was born in the D.D.R., the Communist portion of Germany in 1954. Her biography says she was born on July 17, 1954, and that she is the daughter of a Lutheran minister from an East German-controlled church. Recently, however, Soviet KJB archive files reveal an entirely different story.

Stasi GDR files indicate that she was born on April 20th, 1954, and details of her birth were included in the records of the German Dr. Karl Klauberg, who was one of the Nazi "death doctors" convicted by Soviet courts and imprisoned.

When he later was recognized as a brilliant scientist, he was released after seven years and was recognized as the father of artificial insemination. The Soviets were even more intrigued when they discovered Dr. Klauberg had preserved frozen samples of the sperm of Adolf Hitler. The forces of darkness in high places decided to try to produce a child from Hitler's sperm, obviously for occult and illuministic purposes. Dr. Klauberg then brought the youngest sister of Eva Braun (Hitler's wife), whose name was Gretl, to Eastern Germany, and the result of the experiment produced not a biological son of Hitler, but rather a daughter. Amazingly, Adolf Hitler was born on April 20th, 1889, and Angela Merkel was born on April 20th, 1954. (April 20th is 11 days before the witches' high sabat of Beltaine.) Angela became a custodian of the Catholic Church through its connections with the East German Lutheran Church. Once a German Pope would take the Roman throne, Angela Merkel was to also take her biological father's position as German Chancellor. On April 20th, 2005, the Nazi Joseph Ratzinger became Pope Benedict XVI, (16th), precisely on the 116th birthday of Adolf Hitler. Then on November 22nd, 2005, Hitler's biological daughter, Angela Merkel was elected Chancellor of Germany. The day of that election, November 22nd, was the anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin's Origin of the Species, which is an antichrist publication denying the Creator of the universe.

If the Soviet record is true, and the evidence is strong, it opens up some amazing possibilities. The undeniable fact is that Angela Merkel came from obscurity to triumviral power as German Chancellor, President of the European Union, and head of the powerful G-8 economic cartel. When I began to do further research on this, I discovered that Hitler's father, who took the name Hitler, was the illegitimate son of a Rothschild mistress whose last name was Schicklgruber. The etymology of the name Hitler reveals that the name means a shepherd who lives in a hut. The name Adolf from Old High German means noble wolf. Thus, his combined name indicates that he was the Shepherd Wolf, or false shepherd. Strangely enough, Pope Ratzinger, or Benedict XVI, also has the title of Shepherd of the Church, and since he took office, the Roman Catholic Church has had a German shepherd. Incidentally, that breed of dog resembles a wolf. We also know that Adolf Hitler nicknamed himself Herr Wolf. His East Prussian headquarters was called Wolfsschanze; his headquarters in France was called Wolfsschlucht, and his headquarters in the Ukraine was called Werwolf. Will the powerful European Union become the New World Order and Fourth Reich? Only God knows.

One more interesting point is that Chancellor Angela Merkel has an unusual obsession with the works of the occult composer Richard Wagner, who was a Satanist. She made her obsession known in an interview with the newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in July 2005. Wagner wrote the infamous composition called Parsifal, which is purely occult and demonic. Parsifal was a favorite of Adolf Hitler as well, and Hitler stated that the music of Wagner occupied his mind. Angela Merkel, like Adolf Hitler, is deeply fascinated with Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries. The valkyries were minor female deities that would ride through every battle to gather the most valiant of the slain and carry them off to a place called Valhalla where they would wait to join the army of Odin in the last batt