Streetwise Professor

August 24, 2014

With Friends Like Merkel, Ukraine Doesn’t Need Enemies

Filed under: Uncategorized — The Professor @ 9:30 pm

Merkel visited Ukraine yesterday, on the 75th anniversary of the Nazi-Soviet pact. She did not quite play the role of Frau Ribbentrop, but she, and the German government, are greatly assisting Putin.

Yes, she said that Germany cannot accept Russian control over Crimea. But this is cheap posturing, because, in fact, it does. Germany refuses to accept the seizure de jure, but it does accept it, through its deeds, de facto.

Beyond those words, Merkel and the German government say things that Putin finds very congenial. She called for an unconditional cease-fire in eastern Ukraine. So has Putin. He wants this to give his battered forces in Ukraine relief so that he can regroup, reinforce, and adjust his tactics. Merkel wants to oblige him, even though her ostensible subjective reasons are different: but objectively, she is pro-Putin. Then, her Vice Chancellor (of the SPD) Sigmar Gabriel said that the only solution to the conflict in Ukraine was federalization. That’s the Russian line. (Merkel quickly said he had misspoke, and meant “decentralization”, but it is clear that he committed a Kinseyesque gaffe: he had spoken the truth.)

So the top two officials in the German government have endorsed the measures called for by the Russian government, and opposed by the Ukrainian government.

Merkel also said no more sanctions for now.

Further, Reuters reports that Germany/Merkel are now focusing on pressuring Ukraine to cease its military offensive in the Donbas, lest Putin suffer a loss of face that would compel him to invade.

After months of ratcheting up pressure on Vladimir Putin, concern is mounting in Berlin and other European capitals that an emboldened Ukraine’s military successes in the east are reducing the chances of a face-saving way out of the crisis for the Russian leader.

As a result, the focus of German-led diplomatic efforts has shifted, according to senior officials, towards urging restraint from Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and averting a humiliating defeat for pro-Russian rebels, a development that Berlin fears could elicit a strong response from Putin.

If followed, this advice will create another frozen conflict that Putin will use to eat away at Ukraine, to continue to bleed it and prevent it from reforming, and growing, and most importantly (from Putin’s perspective) keep it from moving closer to Europe. A persistent conflict in the region will also result in mounting civilian casualties and misery, things that Merkel claims to want to stop.

Frau Merkel gives the impression of someone who is willing to consign Ukraine to purgatory, to avoid dealing with Putin today. This is foolish, because it’s not as if Putin is going to go away satisfied. He will continue to pressure Ukraine, perhaps attempting to expand his covert and ambiguous military operations to other parts of the country. He will turn his attention to the Baltics. Merkel is just delaying the inevitable, and there is little certainty that the west will be in better shape to confront Putin later than now.

Merkel went to Ukraine proclaiming friendship. With friends like her, Ukraine-and the rest of Eastern Europe-don’t have to go looking for enemies.



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  1. Vielen Dank, Frau Ribbentrop, for being Putin’s puppet!
    Keep the good work by saving terrorist’s bloody face!

    Comment by Europeo — August 24, 2014 @ 10:02 pm

  2. Yeah, Ukraine seems to have so many friends these days, there is simply nowhere to go to look for enemies.

    Comment by Ivan — August 25, 2014 @ 3:34 am

  3. I’ve read that Russia is trying to push the following agreement:

    1) Russia and Germany will recognize the new international borders of the Ukraine and provide financial assistance;
    2) Ukraine will recognize the annexation of Crimea, accept “federalization” and pledge not to allow the stationing of third-party military forces on its territory.

    In other words, they’re trying to pay the victim to keep her mouth shut.

    As a side note, I haven’t seen the expression “Kinseyesque gaffe” used before. Which Kinsey does it refer to?

    Comment by aaa — August 25, 2014 @ 10:34 am

  4. As disgusting and despicable as our would be STASI collaborator Merkel is, it is good that the rest of the East and those who bother to pay attention in the West can see how utterly unreliable the Krauts are. This way there are no illusions about what the “Good” germans will do. The rest of SE europe already hates them, and with this sort of thing they are getting close to making that opinion unanimous.

    If they keep this up they are going to be in for a real beating – and remember, the third time is the charm!

    Comment by Sotos — August 25, 2014 @ 10:35 am

  5. all true , except Putin’s turn at Baltics, thats just fairytale.

    Comment by erik — August 25, 2014 @ 10:57 am

  6. Give East German back to Putin if you really want him to be satisfied.

    Comment by Ramblarou — August 25, 2014 @ 1:01 pm

  7. Merky and Putrid – A prescriptive and descriptive combination for Eastern Europe.

    Comment by Podargus — August 25, 2014 @ 3:50 pm

  8. @aaa-a spelling gaffe on my part 😛 Michael Kinsley (not Kinsey), an American journalist. Here’s the Wikipedia description (including citations).

    I have read about that alleged agreement too. Yes. Very much bribing the rape victim.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — August 25, 2014 @ 4:59 pm

  9. Over several centuries Tsars and the church of Muscovy and late strived for isolation from the West as means of not seeing their domain over the land and minds of its subjects to be diminished. Muscovy, in the 18th century changed its name to Russia, name borrowed from Kievan Rus’, yet even under the new name the closed societal order stubbornly persisted well into the 21st century. By the same effort, the Renaissance, the Reformation, the Age of Reason and the Age of Enlightenment was “off limits” to Russia and was never allowed to influence of human development within Russia. AS late as 1950 Ilya Ehrenburg was referring to Europe a “that toothless prostitute while deriding the Congress of Vienna of 1848. Not surprisingly, the morale, thinking process and culturally there are irreconcilable differences which make the relations difficult if possible at all for normal relations based on, what is referred to as, Western values. We should not be surprised when Russians invade and take away someone else’s territory. In Russia it is heroism. What we need to do is be aware of the differences and keep it present when signing any agreement, be it political, economical or business. Ukraine trusted Russia, US and England in Budapest in 1994 and relinquished worlds 3rd larges stockpile of nuclear armaments. in the eyes of Ukrainians it was an act of trust while in the eyes of Russians then and now, Ukrainians were dumb.

    Comment by Mykyta Ihor — August 25, 2014 @ 7:17 pm

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