«Dafür gibt es keine Entschuldigung» - Merkel verurteilt Russlands Ukraine-Invasion scharf
Um die frühere deutsche Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel was es nach ihrem Amtsaustritt zuletzt ruhig geworden. Am Dienstag hatte die CDU-Politikerin nun ihren ersten grösseren medialen Auftritt als Ex-Kanzlerin. In einem Interview mit «Spiegel»-Reporter Alexander Osang, der sie mehrfach porträtiert hatte, gab Merkel Auskunft in ihr Leben und ihre politische Karriere - auch zu Russland, das sie während ihrer 16-jährigen Amtszeit vehement verteidigt hatte.
Translation via Google:
Things had recently become quiet around the former German Chancellor Angela Merkel after she left office. On Tuesday, the CDU politician had her first media appearance as ex-Chancellor. In an interview with "Spiegel" reporter Alexander Osang, who had portrayed her several times, Merkel gave information about her life and political career - including about Russia, which she had vehemently defended during her 16-year tenure.
When Osang asked whether she could have done more or done something differently to prevent the war, Merkel said, "I don't blame myself." However, she also stated: "It was not possible to create a security architecture that could have prevented this."
At the same time, Merkel defended aspects of her policy that are now viewed critically. "Could one have done more to prevent such a tragedy - I already consider this situation to be a great tragedy - could it have been prevented? And that's why you ask yourself, and of course I keep asking myself these questions.«
Merkel also responded to a question that the Ukrainian Ambassador to Germany , Andriy Melnyk , had previously sent to Osang. Melynk accused Merkel of pursuing a kind of appeasement policy towards Russia and wanted to hear her opinion on it. "That's not my opinion," Merkel said of the accusation. Diplomacy, if it fails, is not wrong.
The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline was also long considered a project to strengthen relations with Russia. Merkel, who had campaigned for the project during her time in office, only mentioned it in one context: she was very angry that the USA, under President Joe Biden, had imposed sanctions on companies that had been active in Nord Stream 2. You do that with Iran, but not with an ally with whom you fought together in Afghanistan, for example.
An agreement reached with the USA last summer was a "quantum leap". At that time, the USA and Germany had settled the dispute over the pipeline. The USA had declared that it would refrain from further sanctions. The statement also warned Russia against using energy as a political "weapon".
First real public appearance of the former Chancellor
The motto of the event was »So what is my country?«. Merkel raised this question in a widely acclaimed speech on the Day of German Unity in 2021. Merkel briefly addressed this: Perhaps she was only able to give this speech because it was one of her last - because she also showed a bit of vulnerability.
Osang has portrayed the CDU politician several times for SPIEGEL, he is also an author at the Aufbau Verlag and, like Merkel, grew up in the former GDR.
The Brief - Germany's troublesome Social Democrat appeasement | EuroActiv - Apr 19, 2022 |
Over the weekend, fault lines between Germany (or rather its Social Democrat leadership) and Ukraine became evermore visible through a public clash between former Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel and Ukraine's Ambassador to Berlin, Anrij Melnyk.
Melnyk accused current German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier of having "weaved a spider's web of contacts with Russia for decades" during his time as foreign minister.
In a guest article for Der Spiegel, Gabriel rebuffed Melnyk's criticism as "untruthful and evil" and accused the Ukrainian envoy of "conspiracy theories".
SPD leadership now wants to meet with the Ukrainian ambassador.
Meanwhile, Chancellor Olaf Scholz is set to address the press in Berlin this afternoon at 6pm.
In normal times, a scuffle like this would have ended with both sides walking away and calling it even. But in current circumstances, with Scholz's short-lived Zeitenwende already waning in the country's foreign policy, it is politically explosive material.
After a short intermezzo, Germany has become an obstacle, disrupting Europe's sanctions efforts, while the country's internal debate about whether to supply heavy weapons to Ukraine risks the stability of the governing coalition.
Because the truth is that Germany's ruling SPD is staring at the ruins of its long-standing Russia-Ukraine policy, including the party's biggest Russlandversteher and former chancellor-turned-Nord Stream 2-advocate Gerhard Schröder, Gabriel, and Steinmeier's struggles with the Minsk Peace process.
After all, it was the Social Democrats who influenced German foreign and energy policy in one way or another since 2005 through foreign ministry control except between 2009 and 2013.
Scholz, some critics point out, and a large part of the German Social Democrats are trying to already position themselves for the time after the war (whenever that might be).
Since Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February, many German politicians have publicly admitted they got Vladimir Putin wrong.
Steinmeier was the only one to speak his mea culpa, unlike his party colleagues, and admitted mistakes made during his term.
But more than a few pundits have countered that the ultimate outcome of the so-called 'Steinmeier formula' - an attempt to unlock the Minsk peace process for Ukraine and find a solution after the occupation by pro-Russian separatists of large parts of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions - is the war we're seeing now.
The United States, Britain and the rightwing bloc inside Ukraine refused to accept the Minsk 2 agreements and the cease fire agreement turned into a hot war mid-February 2022.
Noteworthy remarks off the cuff by Angela Merkel:
Merkel also responded to a question that the Ukrainian Ambassador to Germany, Andriy Melnyk, had previously sent to Osang. Melynk accused Merkel of pursuing a kind of appeasement policy towards Russia and wanted to hear her opinion on it. "That's not my opinion," Merkel said of the accusation. Diplomacy, if it fails, is not wrong.
Corruption, unstable and run by oligarchs
Merkel also argued that Ukraine was a different country back then - "not Ukraine as we know it today." At that time the country was still divided, "democratically unstable" and "ruled by oligarchs".
"I don't have to blame myself for not trying enough," said Merkel, asking to what extent she could help prevent an escalation with Russia. "Fortunately, I tried enough. It's a great sadness that it didn't work out."
U.S. Congress Nord Stream 1 and 2 sanctions - a long history of economic meddling
It's official: Congress has handcuffed Donald Trump on Russia | Vox - July 28, 2017 |
The president just grudgingly signed a sanctions bill that puts him on a leash.
President Trump grudgingly signed a bill into law that imposes new sanctions on Russia and sharply limits his ability to lift them. Since the bill sailed through Congress with a veto-proof majority, his only options were to sign it or to veto it and then endure the humiliation of seeing Congress -- controlled by his own party -- override him with ease, as lawmakers in both parties pledged to do.
When he signed the bill, he issued a statement calling the law "significantly flawed" and claiming that it contains "unconstitutional provisions" in its restrictions on presidential authority.
The bill is a major blow to Trump's agenda to warm relations with Moscow, and demonstrates that even in a time of partisan rancor and near-total legislative dysfunction, both parties can agree that Trump simply can't be trusted to deal with Russia without their input.
Last week, sanctions legislation targeting Russia soared through the Senate by a margin of 98-2, just days after it coasted through the House of Representatives 419-3.
One sided voting only seen in a dictatorship where no healthy debate is allowed.
Bill on Nord Stream 2 sanctions filed to US Congress | July 19, 2018 |
The summit between the US President Donald Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki brought no clarity on the US position on Nord Stream 2 that competes with US supplies of LNG to Europe and is seen as an energy security threat by some EU members.
Moreover, some analysts suggested that domestic bi-partisan outrage over Trump siding with Putin on election meddling [see US intelligence and PropOrNot allegations] and other critical issues in Helsinki could backfire with more sanctions and tougher stance on Russia in Washington.
Similarly, Trump's contradictory position on Russia led the Congress in summer 2017 to pass the sanctions bill that makes the president unable to lift sanctions without Congress' approval. In compliance with the bill the infamous Kremlin Report of Russia's richest was later published by the Treasury, which in April directly sanctioned Kremlin insiders Oleg Deripaska and Victor Vekselberg and their businesses.
United States President Donald Trump signed a law that will impose sanctions against companies associated with the construction of Russia's Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. Among them is Swiss firm Allseas which announced overnight that it was suspending work on the project.
Washington and its allies in Ukraine worry the construction project would increase the dependence of Europeans on Russian gas and thus strengthen the influence of Moscow. The European Union (EU) slammed US interference in its energy policy. "As a matter of principle, the European Union opposes the imposition of sanctions against European companies engaged in legal activities," an EU spokesman said.
The sanctions aim to ground the Russian project to a halt. The pipeline is 80% complete and was due to come into service at the end of 2019. Crossing the Baltic Sea, it aims to double supplies of natural. gas from Russia to Germany, the main beneficiary of the project. Berlin has also objected to the US decision.
In February the remark by US leading foreign policy expert on Eastern Europe called out "Fuck the EU." That was the moment Ukraine and its extreme rightwing supporters turned away from the European Union and made the choice for NATO belligerence and US Politics. A breaking point as a split with its large Russian speaking minority followed. Ethnic disparity and a flow of legislation to ban Russian media, television and newspapers plus in the end Zelensky told that part of its citizens they were not wanted or needed for a future of Glory to Ukraine! The election campaign promises were forgotten as the role of rightwing policy took hold and Zelensky fought for his political survival. The state of affairs and the economy in ruins.
New Dawn: Russia and the West after the US Presidential Elections | Nov 3, 2016 |
This conference comes at what may prove to be a turning point in US-Russia relations. With the ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, the rise of far-right political parties in Europe and their ideological affiliation with the Kremlin, and alleged Russian interference in the US presidential election, the next US president will need a clear and definitive strategy for addressing Putin's Russia. The Foreign Policy Research Institute (gen. Philip Breedlove) and its partners - The Atlantic Council, The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, and The Charles Koch Institute - will convene the top experts in the field to discuss these challenges and to make recommendations on what the next administration should prioritize in their Russia policy.
Nice comments in a warm bath of applause ...
Madeleine Albright's personal story frankly brings to mind the stirring words of President Kennedy's Inaugural Address at the very beginning when he said, "Let the word go forth from this time and place to friend and foe alike, that the torch is passed to a new generation of Americans-- born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage-- and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed at home and around the world."
Madeleine Albright was born in Czechoslovakia, and twice, as a child, she fled from the horrors of the 20th century. First from Hitler's fascism, and then from Soviet communism. During the years that I was privileged to serve under her when she was Secretary of State, she dedicated herself to fighting for freedom and fighting against the enemies of freedom that she knew all too well: tyrants and those who would abuse human rights, and the principles of democracy. And today she continues this leadership as Chair of the National Democratic Institute.
John F. Kennedy was my hero for détente, the Peace Corps, strength and supporting people in third world countries. None of his vision has survived the decade of the sixties when America assassinated their President, presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy and the Civil Rights true hero Martin Luther King. Albright, Brzezinski, McCain, (Dick) Cheney, Nuland, Biden are all Cold War relics destroying the chance of peace between nations.
Perpetuating the Cold War: Domestic Sources of International Patterns of Behavior - 1992
The 9/11 attacks changed the power structure across the globe ...
The European Invasion | Air Force Mag - June 2006 |
The name "EADS"--for European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co.--is not exactly synonymous with "United States Air Force." Just a few years ago, its prospects for selling to USAF many billions of dollars' worth of tankers seemed nil.
First, Boeing seemed to have a lock on military aircraft derived from commercial types. Second, EADS' Airbus-based tankers were built in France and Germany--two nations seemingly held in low esteem by the Bush Administration. Third, the EADS entry seemed to be technically unsuited; it didn't even have a boom compatible with US Air Force aircraft.
Then a series of extraordinary events created an opening. The Boeing contracting scandal caused an unraveling of a plan for USAF to lease Boeing 767s and convert them to tankers. Congress wanted other options, and EADS responded aggressively. It now is competing strongly for the prize.
EADS is not alone. With big boosts in the Pentagon's spending profile since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and with budgets in Europe flat or declining, the United States has become the target market for some of Europe's biggest defense firms.
The EADS case is instructive. To compete for the tanker contract, the company created a North American subsidiary, under senior executive Ralph D. Crosby Jr., that would allow it to bid on US contracts not otherwise open to foreign-based firms. Crosby formed plans to open new EADS facilities in a number of states and expand others, generating political support in Congress.
Then, last fall, the company announced a partnership with Northrop Grumman. The US firm became the prime contractor on a new tanker proposal designed to compete with Boeing. (See "Aerospace World: EADS, Northrop Team Up ... " November 2005, p. 19.)
"We recognized foreign ownership was an issue," said Crosby. "My activities since the first day have been focused on creating citizenship for us here in the US."
Today after four years of MAGA Trump, Biden has forced NATO's hand and lucrative defense contracts will support US manufacturing for European NATO partners.
European autos tumble as U.S. tariff threat rattles Germans | Reuters - May 24, 2018 |
Under Trump and Pompeo U.S. Congress passed legislation to halt Nord Stream 2 ... a permanent policy by NATO (Gen. Breedlove) and US Foreign policy to interfere in European sovereignty. Same with all evil coming from the Afghan and Iraq War: torture, rendition and detention centers. Eastern European states - Poland, Romania - from the former Soviet bloc were all eager to comply with the Pentagon and CIA. Europe did too little and is caught up in that same evil policy started during the Bill Clinton administration to undercut agreements with Yeltsin. Foreign policy architects by Madeleine Albright and Zbigniew Brzezinski. From training Saudi Arabian jihadists in Northern Pakistan and supplying Stinger missiles to fight the Soviet Union. In the meantime the international jihadists were Al Qaeda and fought across the globe in Chechnya, Bosnia, Pakistan, Indonesia, Philippines, Sudan, Tunisia and Yemen.