Saturday, 21 February 2015

Merkel as Ukraine "peacemaker": "When Germans speak about defense, nobody listens, especially not the Russian president"

Anne Applebaum is spot on in her description of Angela Merkel´s Germany:

Since the Second World War, Germany has had no serious foreign policy record and no cadre of diplomats accustomed to solving foreign crises. Germany has no army to speak of either: At a recent NATO exercise, German troops were so badly equipped that they used broomsticks instead of guns.
When Germans speak about defense, nobody listens, especially not the Russian president.

The Ukraine crisis actually began because Ukrainians demonstrated — and risked their lives — in hopes of drawing closer to the European Union. But although the union theoretically has a foreign policy function, in practice it barely exists, not least because Germany first weakened it and now ignores it. But even without the European Union, Germany could have created a Western contact group for Ukraine — including the United States and perhaps Britain, France, Poland or the Netherlands — that would have had real defense capability and real foreign policy clout. --

 Merkel has put her personal stamp on a cease-fire agreement she cannot enforce — and if it fails, there is no Plan B. She has, it is true, hinted at one: Ukraine could give up its eastern provinces, build a “Berlin Wall” around them in the form of a demilitarized zone, tighten its borders and gain time to rebuild its state. But for that plan to work in the longer term, the West would have to treat the rest of Ukraine like it once treated West Germany, reinforcing it economically, politically and militarily, in order to deter Russia.
Right now, there is no sign that Germany or anyone else is prepared to do that. Instead, Ukraine will lose control of the Donbas industrial heartland to Russian proxies whom Russia can then use to further destabilize the Ukrainian state, perhaps to take more territory, perhaps to threaten NATO. The Russian president is limited by his failing economy — but then, thanks to the Greek crisis, Europe may soon be limited by its failing economies, too.

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