The pusillanimity of the US in the face of Putin’s aggression is bad enough (spare me any more expressions of “deep concern”), but it pales in comparison with the utter cowardice of the Europeans, especially the Germans and shockingly, the British.
There is only one explanation: they have been cowed by their energy dependency on Russia, and corrupted by dirty Russian money-much of which is merely money Europeans spent on Russian energy, recycled/laundered through European financial institutions.
There are myriad reports that Britain will not support any trade or financial sanctions against Russia. The fig leaf is that such measures will damage the world economy:
However, a document photographed in Downing Street suggested that Britain is concerned about the economic impact of any sanctions against Russia. The paper states that the “UK should not support, for now, trade sanctions … or close London’s financial centre to Russians”.
Seriously? This gives new meaning to the old phrase “perfidious Albion.”
But what should we expect, really? Britain showed its true colors in its abject refusal to investigate seriously the Litvinenko murder and release any evidence that would make plain the connection between the murderers and the Russian state. Heaven forfend that real estate in Belgravia take a hit.
Then there’s Germany. Despite the fact that Merkel herself has all but admitted that Putin is insane, Germany is adamant against taking any measures that will actually inflict pain on Russia. Indeed, Foreign Minister Steinmeier met with Lavrov in Geneva, and bleated out a statement about the necessity of relying on diplomacy:
Ahead of an extraordinary meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels, Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said international diplomacy must prevail to solve the crisis.
“Crisis diplomacy is not a weakness but it will be more important than ever to not fall into the abyss of military escalation,” Steinmeier told reporters.
Steinmeier also suggested a fact-finding mission by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Europe’s main human rights and democracy watchdog, as an initial response.
“We are considering whether it wouldn’t make good sense to create transparency about what is happening on the ground in eastern Ukraine and Crimea instead of being dependent on rumors,” he said.
Yes. There is so much ambiguity about what is happening on the ground. We are so starved of facts about what Russia is doing. Fact finding! That’s what we need!
There are none so blind as those who will not see.
Remember that Steinmeier is a SPD leader, and Schroeder’s political protege. And further remember that Schroeder is Putin’s apologist and waterboy, and has been awarded for his lifetime of service with a sinecure as chairman of the board of Gazprom’s Nordstream pipeline.
If there was ever a more vivid illustration of why I’m damned glad NSA was giving extra special attention to German politicians, I’d be hard pressed to think of what it might be.
Indeed, this seems like a perfect time for a dump of some juicy kompromat on Herr Steinmeier and his ilk in the SPD.
In light of this, thinking of all the condescension and moral superiority directed at the US by German politicians and the German populace in the past 12-13 years is beyond nauseating.
Germany dresses up its cowardice in the garb of moral superiority. In fact, its cravenness is driven by its dependence on Russian energy and the deep ties of German businesses to Russia. Germany gets about 1/3 of its gas and about 28 percent of its coal from Russia (h/t @libertylynx). The European oil market is also highly dependent on Russian supplies.
And of course, Germany has increased its dependency as a result of an insane energy policy, retiring its nuclear generators in a hysterical reaction to Fukushima (lest there be any tsunamis in Bavaria) and forcing a massive reliance on inefficient renewables.
Churchill said that the Germans are either at your throat or at your feet. It’s quite obvious that the current generation of Germans has an intimate acquaintance with Putin’s taste in footwear.
The Balts and Poles are rightly freaking out. Just today the Russians conducted live fire exercises in the Baltic. Yes. Totally pacific. Just routine, surely. But the Germans consider these long suffering victims of Russian (and truth be told-German) oppression as annoyances who are interfering with their desire for Ostpolitik and Ostwirtschaftlich. Germany stymied the effort by Latvia and Lithuania to invoke Article 4 of the Nato Washington Treaty. But Poland is having another go.
Ironic, isn’t it, that countries that border the Baltic are the true Atlanticists now? The original Euro-Atlanticists, the UK and Germany, have been suborned by energy dependency and dirty Russian money. Germany accepted American protection when it faced an existential threat from Russia, but now repays the favor by running interference for Putin when it perceives that only Untermenschen in eastern Europe are going to be ground under the Russian boot.
The poet Auden called the 1930s a “low, dishonest decade.” The 2010s are proving to be one of history’s rhymes. The same fecklessness and cravenness in the face of aggression, and this cowardice is yet again dressed up in the language of high principle.