Friday, August 29, 2014

Germany, Ukraine, and Russia

If you've been watching state-run news in Germany over the past month (Channel One/Two (ARD/ZDF)'d notice in the prime hour period.....brief two and three-minute updates each evening, and later at 9:45PM.....a full ten-minute update over the mess in the Ukraine.

In the last week, I've watched several members of the Bundestag and several CDU/SPD players in the various ministries sit and chat over the mess.

Frankly, as an American viewing the coverage and perception of the Germans....I'd say three things are evident.

First, the average German on the street questions the character of the Russian government, and kinda wonders how things developed into this type of mess.  Coverage kinda lacks timelines or explanations on how this started and how Russia just stomped into the room to cause chaos.  There's almost no background going back to October/November of 2013 and show the original discussion points.

Second, an American watching German media coverage....gets the point that US participation in the Ukraine mess is virtually ZERO.  NATO has been brought up, but you get the impression that other than a few deployments of US fighters into Poland....there's virtually nothing else that the US intends to do.  Chancellor Merkel this week even made a curious statement suggesting that there is no world-power status now the US is not considered of character to implement any change on anyone.  This kinda suggests that Germany is limited on options unless it suddenly developed a military power, which it doesn't currently have.

Third.  One gets the opinion that Germans are waking up and asking if the German Army, Navy and Air Force is capable of taking on a military mission.  The general answer is.....NO.  They were all peppy over the past decade to cut back on numbers.....infrastructure....and weapon development.  The mentality is that it's all peaceful and no real threats to the German homeland.  Now?  Shocking realization.....I think.  It'd take a whole decade to rebuild the German military into a capable force, and they'd need the French to take the same steps and hope that they were willing to honor agreements.  Basically, you don't have ten years....and the rest of Europe followed Germany's lead over the past decade....cutting back on their own structure.

What's left?  Putin has a scripted plan and I think that certain key events can occur....if it is a harsh winter....where natural gas pipelines are interrupted and some natural gas shortage is suggested....pushing natural gas costs across the globe up.  Germans have no back-up plan, and I suspect it'll trigger some political chaos as folks ask politicians to ramp up a plan-B.  Other than soothing the Russians and calming their boss....there's virtually nothing else left in the German bag of tricks.

In some have to wonder what the Germans were thinking a decade ago, and how they got warm fuzzy feelings over the Russians.  Then you have to wonder why the EU prioritized the Ukraine economic and trade treaty talks for the late part of 2013.  Every step scripted?  You just start to wonder about this.

1 comment:

Darya said...

Being Russian I am really impressed by the logic and sense in your commentary. I say "like".
I only wish to add if I may that "Russians" widely used with negative connotation (espacially lately) consist of quite valuable % of sensible, educated people who wish to have home, work, calm life, active life, earn, travel, etc. and absolutely do not wish "fighting" for an uncertain plan of the government, of which (and I can assure you) Russians are not aware of. Another part of society are naive people who are so easily manipulated. Both parts sitting at home and watching news think "May this madness be over as soon as possible./ May everyone be safe./ Hope there won't be war./ How we shall survive if economy crashes down." At home we are manupulated (!) with idea that Ukaraine (our brothers and sisters, most of Russians have relatives in Ukraine, personally my mum is from Ukraine and I was born there) are under risk of high danger and we have to help them. (Outcome is really crazy, in Russia people even quarell within families when having different opinions).
Russians as a nation have many complex problems which are not that clear from a far, and it would be truely great that we wouldn't be judged from a one angle perspective, prejudices and actions of "the boss".