Herr Scholtz goes to Moscow
by Michael Brenner on 15 Feb 2022 3 Comments

Late last week, Mitch McConnell indiscreetly revealed to the press what he had been told privately by Germany’s new Chancellor Olaf Scholtz about Berlin’s prospective reaction to the fictive Russian ‘invasion’ of Ukraine – in particular the NORDSTROM II natural gas pipeline. Scholtz had been asked about that repeatedly in the press conference held immediately after his meeting with Biden. He evasively left the answer obscure. So, we now know that he had been lying.


He is caught between enormous pressure from Washington that prioritizes the projects cancellation as part of its strategy to isolate Russia and reduce it to a non-actor in European affairs, on the one hand, and the popular aversion to a confrontation with Russia from which Germany would suffer far greater economic damage than Russia on the other. (Indeed, it was Angela Merkel who persuaded a lukewarm Putin to go ahead with it in 2015). Predictably, he is making Germans’ future hostage to the honesty of the Biden government in regard to who initiates “provocation” and who defines “invasion”.


The American strategy is now crystal clear. Arrange a provocative incident around the Donbass that sparks a Russian reaction that could be used to confirm the specious claims of a Russian plan for invasion. That means doing exactly what we are accusing Moscow of planning – clever ‘projection’ tactic. Then, force the West Europeans to go along with economic sanctions (including NORDSTROM II’s annulment) that would make them more dependent on the US – confirming their vassal status as conferred 75 years ago.


Craven European leaders will continue to accept their subordination in an inferior position since:

1] They never have overcome the traumas of Europe’s 30-year civil wars, 1914-1945;

2] Psychologically, they are incapable of acting otherwise;

3] Since 2001, they have set a standard of loyalty that leads Washington to expect – correctly – that the Europeans will follow the US off any cliff however deleterious the military, diplomatic, political and financial consequences;

4] When it comes to strategic thinking, the minds of Europe’s political elites are as arid – and monotone – as those in Washington.  


Mr. Scholtz heads to the Kremlin this week. Here is what we may expect.


Putin to Scholtz in Moscow


“Congratulations on your success in Washington. You know, mein freund, that there will be no invasion – the American’s are just indulging their penchant for make-believe. Still, there is always the chance that some reckless act dreamed up by the cookie lady could lead to a serious conflict. So, let’s put our heads together and think through what we’d do.


I see that you implicitly have committed Germany to closing NORDSTROM II - that huge natural gas project that your predecessor persuaded us to join in building to offset the loss of your nuclear power source. To get a better sense of the repercussions, I propose that we do a rehearsal, as a sort of dry-run. For 90 days, I’ll stop all gas deliveries to Germany via current routes; that includes the one through Ukraine. You scramble for LNG on the international spot market while your American friends put the arm on Qatar to divert their current deliveries to Japan, China and the rest of Asia to you. At 6-8 times the current spot market price.


By the way, I noted that you also declared economic war on China whom you pronounced a strategic rival. Perhaps you could satisfy my curiosity about one thing. China, I believe, is the largest market for Germany’s heavy engineering products and machine tools which represent a very significant share of your export revenues and general economy. In fact, you coped better with the 2009 financial crash and with the COVID disruption because of stable demand from a still robust Chinese economy.


You said that you’d substitute Asian democracies as markets. Did you have in mind the Philippines? Malaysia? Cambodia? New Zealand? Or, are you looking farther afield – in places like Belize and Namibia? My experts tell me that – due to the supply chain backups – both are suffering a severe shortage of hammers, screw-drivers and pliers.


Do you prefer Vodka or schnapps?


Oh, forgot to mention. I’ll let you know about the availability of palladium and cobalt for export after I meet with the Minister for Resources tomorrow.


[The article is a partial spoof on Europe’s inability to resist American geopolitical diktat even in its own national interest]

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