The Geostrategic Big Picture: Germany's Eastward Pivot Becomes Visible
What helps Russo-German diplomacy at the moment is of course, the unpopularity of the anti-Russian sanctions in Germany which are increasingly and justifiably viewed by German industrialists as being directed against them. It also doesn't hurt that Merkel is trying to be seen as tougher on Islamist radicals among the refugees while also being a peacemaker between the Americans and the Russians whose language she learned in old East Germany. Putin speaks fluent German from his days posted with the KGB in 1980s Dresden and has good friends in former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and former Stasi ranking officer Matthias Warnig, whose chef son is known to cook for Putin when the Russian President visits Berlin.
As Stratfor CEO George Friedman admitted in a candid talk delivered several years ago in Chicago, keeping the Russians and Germans apart politically and especially economically has been a prime directive in American foreign policy inherited from the old British offshore balancing strategy since the two world wars. However, with Willy Brandt's Ostpolitik being fueled by Soviet natural gas flowing through the Druzhba (Friendship) pipeline and Ukraine being removed as an American-backed failing state obstacle to said flows, the U.S.-occupied Germans have spent decades quietly slipping away from Washington's grasp.
That the German political class remains overwhelmingly Atlanticist and its media at times, (in the guise of Bild's #JihadJulian Roepcke) cartoonishly Russophobic, has not stopped Germany's businessmen from forging ties even as the sanctions badly damaged their trade -- and that by design. The German deep state meanwhile, while dominated by the CIA and too weak to stop rampant NSA/GCHQ spying on Germany's industries, has not been averse to sharing intelligence with the Russians or the Assad government backed by Moscow. Especially when the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) and its domestic counterpart the Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz (BfV) are looking for ISIS sleeper cells amongst the one million plus refugees the 'compassionate', childless crone Merkel decided to admit into Germany.
Furthermore, the transition from America's first black President in Barack Obama who was greeted as rock star while a candidate in Berlin to Donald Trump, who has been relentlessly villified in the German press as a racist reactionary, has given Merkel and other politicians more room to differ from Washington. That the Trump hating legacy media in the U.S. and UK have labeled Merkel 'Chancellor of the Free World' gives her some if not too much leeway to talk with the Russians -- if nothing else she can continue to be portrayed as 'standing up to Putin' so long as no large black dogs are featured in the talks. Behind closed doors, it's a rather different story as Merkel and then French President Francois Hollande emerging from the Moscow talks at the height of the Debaltsevo battle Kiev lost revealed.
For the globalists, Merkel must stay so long as she keeps the refugees flowing into Germany though too much sanctions busting it's been made clear won't be tolerated. Meanwhile behind the scenes, German industrialists are furious with what they regard as ludicrous and punitive fines applied to Volkswagen for emissions test tampering compared to slaps on the wrist for General Motors when it committed a similar offense. American industrial policy masquerading as sanctions on Russian gas exports to Europe has also been openly condemned as an attempt by the U.S. Congress to extract liquefied natural gas (LNG) export revenues from Europeans at Germany's expense. Such a state of affairs cannot last no matter if Trump stays or goes in 2020, but the post-Syria war threat of Washington throwing gasoline on embers of fighting in the Donbass gives Franco-German diplomacy with Russia greater urgency. On the other side of the coin, the Russians and Germans are being quite clever in promoting a peace initiative for the Donbass at the UN while the previously #TrumpRussia-obsessed American media is distracted with massive hurricanes striking Texas and Florida.
German FM Gabriel's Exclusive Interview with RT Deutsch
On September 9, 2017 the German Foreign Minister welcomed Putin's peace plan for the Donbass in a German language interview with the Russian government funded channel RT Deutsch:
A Former Soviet Country Peacekeeping Mission to Help Russia Stop the War in Donbass
Rogue Money contributor London Paul would have certainly discussed last Monday this and his statements in the last few years regarding secret Russo-German talks held behind Washington's back, but LP's segment with V was cancelled. Nonetheless what Gabriel is saying in the open vindicates London Paul's sources regarding talks being held in secret over many months for precisely this sort of solution to the Donbass war -- one that would freeze further U.S./NATO attempts to escalate while giving Russia a justification under international law, as a member of the UN Security Council, to defend the peacekeepers if necessary. In other words, the cost for Kiev of violating the ceasefire would be high, unlike at the present time in which the U.S. and the EU by and large blame the Donbass locals for all violations of Minsk 2. That Kiev will never agree to Russian soldiers being part of the peacekeeping contingent does not prevent Russian generals who already participate in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) mission from observing the deployment and ensuring it is in line with Moscow's interests in defending the pro-Russian residents of the Donbass.
Since the locals all speak Russian, the most likely source of peacekeepers for a UNSC mandated mission would be Belarus first and Kazakhstan second. The Belorussians especially have sought to cultivate the image of honest brokers between Kiev and Moscow even as Minsk remains economically dependent on Russia. The so-called 'Stans of the former Soviet Central Asian CSTO countries could also contribute a few dozen men each to the peacekeeping force, which Moscow wants deployed to the front lines in order to stop Ukrainian shelling of Donbass cities.
The Ukrainians want any peacekeeping force to be based along the breakaway republics borders with Russia, in order to assist the OSCE in monitoring the flow of arms and volunteer fighters from the Russian Federation to Donetsk and Lugansk. The Kiev government for its part wants any peacekeepers to be from EU if not NATO countries (think: pro-NATO countries not formally part of the alliance structure like Sweden and Finland). But since hardly anyone cares what President Petro Poroshenko thinks at this point, as he's a walking political corpse with single digit approval ratings, the talks go on mostly without him.
No One Cares What Poroshenko Thinks Anymore, Least of All in Moscow
Poroshenko himself is caught in a nearly impossible position -- what is known in chess as the zugzwang. If he accepts the UN peacekeepers then the ultra-nationalists in the Verkhovna Rada will accuse him of zrada (betrayal), surrendering Ukrainian territory to the 'Russian occupiers' under UN auspices. On the other hand, if Poroshenko forcefully rejects a UNSC mission or orders the ultra-nationalists and army to attack as the radicals in parliament demand, he could be branded a war criminal far beyond Russia, where several of his deputies and generals are already wanted men. Either way, Poroshenko's days are severely numbered and the rumors persist of the chocolate oligarch keeping his private jet fully fueled at all times to flee Kiev's Borispol airport for one of his mansions in Europe, particularly his palatial residence in Spain.
To make matters worse, the pressure on Poroshenko is not only coming from his right flank among the nationalists and Banderites, but also from the pro-EU liberal left, who justly accuse him of Yanukovych style corruption (even if the coup-ousted former Ukrainian President's stolen billions have not turned up in European banks). The claims in Russian media that Poroshenko is also an alcoholic aren't easily rebutted by Poroshenko's rambling, red faced speaking style in public -- nor that of his wife.
However, as the Guerrilla Economist likes to say, desperate people do desperate, stupid things: and launching one last Donbass offensive before he goes into exile might be Poroshenko's plan, or more accurately the idea of his deep state handlers in Washington and Langley. That is the possibility Putin is seeking to forestall, via a peacekeepers plan even the discombobulated State Department dominated by neocons undermining former ExxonMobil oilman turned peacemaker Rex Tillerson cannot officially reject. It remains to be seen though, if the deep state will seek to undermine a peace plan via their media mouthpieces denouncing as 'freezing into place Putin's occupation of eastern Ukraine'. Nonetheless just as the neocons have failed to force the overthrow of Assad's government in Syria, the signs of their waning power from Washington to Berlin are evident to those with eyes to see. Ukraine and Syria may turn out to be their last hurrahs before a new monetary paradigm sweeps them and the dying petrodollar that funded their warmongering away.