Germany and Russia: The Ties that Bind

Nothing seems to move the German Government from its sustained commitment to the Northstream II project, supplying Russian natural gas to Western Europe. Ever since the early eighties and with East-West tension at the highest point in over a decade over the Soviet deployment of the counterforce SS-20 missile system and NATO retaliation in the form of Ground Launched Cruise and Pershing II missiles, the Germans have stuck doggedly to the provision of energy from the Russians. Northstream was never just former Chancellor Schroeder’s way of earning a little pocket money to help out with retirement.

Similarly, in Western Europe, despite all the rather pathetic, touching dreams of the British, the idea of separating the Germans from the French always failed at the first serious attempt. France, very much a nation state as of old, gives Germany cover, a facade of normality for something that is completely different. Perhaps now, with the ugly EU divorce a matter of fact, the British can face reality.

What has to be understood, and the Russians have understood it completely, is that Germany is not really a great Power in the old sense, committed to the defence of “Europe” (the EU) as part of NATO against Russia. Symbolically, perhaps; just to keep the Americans happy and the British on board. But not really, not in practice. Not where extra money has to be thrown at the problem. God forbid!

Postwar Germany is now a renewed, united Germany with the EU as its closed internal market and the Euro as its helpfully undervalued currency. Germany is in fact by choice the geschlossene Handelsstaat that Fichte dreamed of. It is a gigantic money making machine. Trade and commerce are all that really count. In contrast to Germans, clever Oxbridge graduates want to work for the BBC or even, at a pinch, the Foreign Office. In France their equivalent from the grandes écoles run government and, on the side, big enterprises. Like many Americans, Germans, on a par with the Dutch, instead go off and focus on making money. So, while paying lip service to President Trump’s demand that Germany pay the appropriate level for defence, it has no intention whatsoever of following through, particularly now that the nice Mr Biden is going to be in charge. After all, is Russia really likely to attack such a good customer? The Naval’ny scandal is now already in the back mirror and Naval’ny has not even left Germany. Business continues.

Hence the statement reported with approval today in the Russian press from the German Foreign Ministry to the effect that Berlin will not alter its support for Northstream II:

28.12.2020 12:04

Рубрика: В мире

Глава МИД ФРГ: Берлин не изменит свою позицию по “Северному потоку-2”

Текст: Юрий Когалов

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25.12.2020 08:00:04

2. Сотрудничество с Германией открывает новые перспективы для российских компаний

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Немецкая экономическая политика увеличивает спрос на природный газ