-by Eric Zuesse
Germany’s new Foreign Minister, Annalena Baerbock came into office on December 8th without her knowing that America’s stationing missiles in Ukraine on Russia’s border, and only a 7-minute flying distance away from Moscow, would be even more unacceptable to Moscow than, in 1962, would have been, to Washington, the Soviet Union's stationing missiles in Cuba, 15 minutes of flying time away from Washington, during the Cuban Missile Crisis. She's evidently so much of a neoconservative (supporter of U.S. imperialism) that Baerbock had been ignoring this crucial and simple fact of international relations throughout her entire prior 17-year career in politics, before becoming appointed as Germany’s Foreign Minister.
She had ignored it so much so that Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, during his introductory phone-conversation with her on December 14th, found in the course of the conversation with her, that he had to explain it to her. This is rather shocking.
She didn’t even know why Germany’s leader, during 2005-2021, Angela Merkel, had-- along with France's leader Francois Hollande-- established in the Minsk agreements for settling the Ukrainian war the “Normandy Format” for negotiations between Ukraine (on Russia’s border) and its 2014 breakaway Donbass region, in order to establish, at Minsk, a truce-agreement between those two sides (Ukraine and its breakaway region) and agree to negotiate between themselves a permanent peace-settlement, by which Donbass would again be a part of Ukraine and voting in Ukrainian Presidential elections, but would be granted, by Ukraine, some degree of internal autonomy (and guaranteed peace). It would peacefully settle the Ukrainian war. Baerbock hasn’t yet committed herself on whether to honor or even respect the armistice treaty that Merkel, Hollande, and Putin, had jointly achieved between Ukraine and Donbass, at Minsk. However, she has committed herself clearly on all other issues as supporting the same views that the U.S. Government has endorsed. The U.S. Government did not participate, in any way, in the Minsk agreements, and so she could come out rejecting them-- or else endorsing only the Minsk provisions that the Ukrainian side had favored, and rejecting the provisions that the Donbass side had favored. In other words: she could come out seeking to replace the Minsk agreements, or even as outright endorsing a resumption of Ukraine’s 2014-2015 effort to conquer Donbass militarily and treating all residents there as being “terrorists” until those residents become conquered.
Baerbock’s ignorance serves well the U.S. Government’s long-term goal of conquering Russia (because it allows her to be the neocon that she has always been), but it disserves the people of Germany by subordinating the interests of the German people to the interests of America’s billionaires who own oil-and-gas (and other) companies that are in competition against ones in Russia, and it could even lead to another World War in which Europe (including especially Germany) would be the main battleground. This is clearly NOT in the interests of the German people.
Baerbock, in service to America’s billionaire investors in fracked gas that becomes liquefied into canisters and then would be shipped into Germany and other EU countries to replace the much cheaper pipelined gas from Russia, has always criticized Germany’s policy of buying the far less expensive German gas; but in these times of soaring gas prices in Europe, her policy is even more costly to Germans than it had previously been. She is apparently determined to do everything to prevent the recently completed Nord Stream 2 gas-pipeline from Russia into Germany from being allowed to begin operation — and she does this in order to serve American investors, who aim to increase their sales to Europe.
She also was apparently ignorant about the Minsk accords and their Normandy format and the reasons why Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande had created them in order to establish a constructive truce in the hot war that was then raging between the invader Ukraine and its former region Donbass (which people Ukraine’s Government routinely referred to as “terrorists” in Ukraine’s “Anti-Terrorist Operation” or “ATO”). And that is what is not only psychopathic (like her insistence on buying U.S. gas instead of Russian gas), but shocking.
On December 17th, NATO’s chief, its Secretary General (who always expresses the U.S. President’s viewpoint) Jens Stoltenberg, contemptuously called Russia the “aggressor” and rejected Russia’s “red lines” (national-security demands), and he especially emphasized that Russia would have no say, whatsoever, regarding whether or not NATO will accept Ukraine's bid for membership in the anti-Russian military alliance. Since Baerbock has consistently endorsed the views that have been expressed by NATO’s Secretaries General, one may reasonably expect that she will ignore what Lavrov had said to her on December 14th. If she, on this matter, will not ignore the information she received from Russia, that would indicate a fundamental change in her expressed positions, and the likelihood for a Third World War will then be considerably reduced.
Also on December 17th, Zero Hedge bannered “German Cold Blast To Extend Into January Amid Energy Crisis”, and reported that, “the German Meteorological Service … released new data Friday forecasting month-ahead temperatures will remain below seasonal levels through the third week of January.” This will, of course, force up the demand for gas in Germany, while the U.S-&-allied sanctions against Russia, and any new sanctions that may be added during the Ukrainian war, will reduce the supplies of gas from Russia, especially because the just-completed Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia to Germany is being blocked from starting operating. Natural gas provided about 22 percent of Europe’s energy mix in 2019 and Russia’s role as a major supplier has been enhanced by the depletion of North Sea gas fields controlled by the U.K. and the Netherlands. Currently, the lowest-cost producer and supplier of gas to Europe, “Russia, supplies about 50% of Europe's natural gas. Most of the rest comes from Norway and Algeria.” Apparently, Annalena Baerbock, and her boss the new German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz-- both now having displayed their neoconservative loyalties-- don’t care as much about that as they care about helping the U.S. Government to conquer Russia.