Germany's Strategic Shift on European Security & its Relationship with Russia
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Political Observation - Germany's Strategic Shift on European Security & its Relationship with Russia
In a speech described as historic and a quantum leap in German foreign and defence policy, during an extraordinary session of the Bundestag on Sunday 27 February, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced that his country would increase military expenditure in light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which he described as a “turning point in the history of our continent”, and which has demolished “the European security order that had prevailed for almost half a century since the Helsinki Final Act.” He said, “that the world afterwards will no longer be the same as the world before,” adding that “anyone who has watched his televised declaration of war on Ukraine, can no longer have any doubt that Putin wants to build a Russian empire…. He wants to fundamentally redefine the status quo within Europe in line with his own vision. And he has no qualms about using military force to do so.” The German Chancellor said Germany would from now on invest more than 2% of her GDP on defence. He also announced allocating a €100 billion fund to reequip the army, knowing that the German army paid for the price of German unification by reducing its forces and doing away with 3250 tanks in 30 years. Germany also intends to implement a host of plans to halve her dependence on Russian gas; this is what the US has been seeking all along. A German editor admitted that America dominated all German media outlets through transatlantic organisations and described Germany as an American colony.
It is known that America’s call for liberalism is confined to two aspects, namely free trade, which enables capitalists to dominate the economy and the political decision-making of other countries, and the political aspect which lends legitimacy to the systems affiliated to her; it also enables the US to intervene under the guise of protecting “democracy”. But in fact, America tends to evoke the nationalist populist tendencies in order to impede the expansion of major powers such as Russia, since nationalism is not a fitting message that a superpower could convey to other nations and peoples, considering that it aims at spreading nationalistic sovereignty on other nations; this is what people tend to resist and this is why Hitler failed in his invasion of Russia and Europe. Moreover, America’s support for populist tendencies contributes to fragmenting states and evoking problems among them, and thus making it easier to control them, in addition to justifying interference in their affairs under the guise of protecting minorities. In this context, the US has been promoting nationalism in the areas of the former Soviet Union, and even in the Russian Federation itself, as was the case in Chechenia. America is also supporting populist tendencies in Europe, and reviving German militarism and the concepts of grandeur, exactly like what Britain did by evoking Arab nationalism to dismantle the Ottoman State.
What is remarkable in the Ukrainian crisis is America’s provocation of Putin through the scale of military support for Ukraine, and by focusing political and media reports, especially American and British, on Russia’s losses and her failure to enter Ukrainian cities and on accentuating the unprecedented sanctions to lure Putin into seeking to compensate for the deficits, flex his muscles, threaten to use nuclear weapons and spread terror throughout Europe. All this falls within a double-edged American strategy whereby she would besiege the opponent from all sides, and thus changing the German vision of the relationship with Russia, making the security fears take precedence over the economic interests between the two countries and subsequently, reviving German militarism. This explains why some of Russia’s reactions serve the interests of the US. In this context, it would be implausible to negate some of the aspects of the Russo-American concordance in international politics, European security, and strategic stability. However, concordance in certain issues should not be generalised, especially the issue of reviving German militarism which has constituted a Russian nightmare throughout history, and especially that Russia does not seek a hostile relationship with Germany for major economic considerations, and the same could be said about Germany.
Hence, a Russo-American concordance on Ukraine is non-existent; there is rather a genuine struggle. By reading the strategy of Russian national security of 2015 and 2021, in addition to the notable message of Putin when he assumed power, we deduce that Putin has real aspirations to regain Russia’s power and strengthen her influence within her lebensraum; he also has genuine apprehensions over NATO’s expansion eastwards. Early in 2021 Putin requested from the US the signing of a document pertinent to security guarantees but Joe Biden rejected it immediately describing it as too extreme.
Hence, Putin is undertaking a host of measures and making some choices which are known to serve America, but he has no choice; therefore, his choices cannot be deemed as a collusion with America who has been targeting Russia and threatening the future of Putin himself. It would be inconceivable for Putin to conspire against his personal interest, or against Russian national security, or partake in changing the German standpoint with regard to dispatching weapons to areas of conflict and increasing the defence budget or driving German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to forsake his country’s neutrality in the relationship with Russia and the Russian attack on Ukraine. Putin wants none of this but the sharp American strategy has reduced his options to the basis of the lesser of the two evils and led him into a direction that paved the way for America and Germany to make a U-turn and forsake their fundamental post-World War II constants in preparation for establishing a European security system in which Germany would be placed on a collision course with Russia on behalf of America, and thus snatching the European leadership from France, considering that Germany does not jostle with America and does not have an international influence like France.
Russia’s chief historical dilemma lies in the threat posed by the militarism of Germany who laid siege to several Russian cities during the Second World War; but Scholz played down this narrative by saying “We will not, therefore, allow this conflict between Putin and the free world to lead to the reopening of old wounds and to new outbreaks of hostility.” Hence, the size of the budget announced by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, namely €100 billion to rehabilitate the German military power and increase its expenditure to reach 2% of the GDP, in addition to the statements by German politicians and top brass on Germany’s military shortcomings, all this alludes to America’s endeavour to impose a dangerous security strategy that will lead to reviving German nationalistic emotions, threatening Russia, and making US weapons manufacturers and other industries laugh all the way to the bank. Hence, most of the pressure exerted on the US administration in its tackling of the Russian file and in militarising international conflicts has been instigated by the military industries’ lobby. This indicates that America is effectively aiming to assign to Germany a focal role in European security and within NATO, whose budget is set to increase, and subsequently, place Germany on a collision course with Russia so that she may focus on the Chinese challenge.
In this regard, America is harnessing the Russian war to regulate the world order to deal with China in the future, and to send a strongly worded message through the economic carnage she inflicted on Russia, lest the Chinese leadership should think about invading Taiwan or changing the security system in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. The message is also aimed at the regions and countries threatened by China to induce them to seek American protection and steer India towards more integration into the American plan for China.
Hence, America is attempting to corner China in the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean and neutralise her through pressing her to condemn Russia. On the other hand, she is reassuring Germany and Europe with regard to energy issues through the Euro-American energy partnership, which was corroborated by the European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson who in 2019 stated that “cooperation between the EU and the US in the trade of liquid natural gas has been successful and should continue.” Algeria for her part has recently announced that she would be committed to securing the supply of gas for Europe. America has even been encouraging the Europeans to opt for alternative energy and striving to secure Ukraine’s energy needs, should Russia decide to cease supplying her with energy, by linking the Ukrainian and European energy systems, an initiative welcomed by European countries yesterday, and turning Ukraine into a European farm for natural alternative energy and nuclear energy; this is because the German people are averse to producing nuclear energy on their lands, and consequently, weaning Germany off Russian gas, which requires exploiting the nuclear energy of Ukraine.
On the other hand, we note that Britain has been encouraging the standpoints of the Germans and their move towards militarisation to weaken France, in a cheap attempt at fishing in troubled waters, book a front seat in European security, and prove the shortcomings of the French vision which suggests that NATO is brain-dead. France has been silent over the German shift towards militarism due to the pressures of the Ukrainian crisis and its fallouts, and over Macron’s inability to do anything save for pleading with Putin, not to mention his impotence in the face of the Russian threat to Europe and the evaporation of his notion of European strategic independence from America, knowing that isolating Russia internationally would generate a vacuum that Britain wishes to fill.
For his part, Putin has apparently miscalculated and is meeting resistance in Ukraine, which requires of him upping the ante. He wants to warn NATO member states against being excessive in their military support for Ukraine. The West has tested the pulse of Putin with the military aid it has offered Ukraine in order to generate the grounds for further steps and achieve a breakthrough for NATO such as imposing a no-fly zone in west Ukraine, speeding up the admission of Ukraine into the EU, and deploying weapons and troops on Ukrainian territory which are the nearest point to the Russian capital. In this context it would be possible to read the statements, threats, and fears of Putin. This is why the Russian military operations are concentrated in the east and the south along the Ukrainian Black Sea coastline and up to the Ukrainian-Rumanian borders and the Ukrainian-Moldovan borders, which Russia has been dominating since the independence of the Moldovan republic from the province of Transnistria, in order to isolate Ukraine from Europe save for the Ukrainian-Polish borders, while continuing to dismember Ukraine, prepare for the fall of the capital Kiev, and force the surrender of her government and replace it with a government loyal to Russia.
28 Rajab 1443h
1 March 2022