By Eric Margolis
Amid surging tensions over Ukraine, the head of Germany’s navy had the courage to voice Europe’s fears over this totally unnecessary, contrived crisis.
In a speech to an Indian think tank, Vice-admiral Kay-Achim Schonbach proposed the Western powers ‘respect’ Russian leader Vladimir Putin and accept that Crimea would remain in Moscow’s hands.
The German admiral’s remarks produced a major uproar in Washington and tut tuts in Europe where hatred of Russia has become a state fetish. Most aggrieved were the British and Americans who deeply fear an alliance or at least entente between Germany and Russia that might undermine US domination of the continent.
Germany, Europe’s leading military force and mainstay of NATO, has hollowed out its military power. Thanks to unqualified female defense ministers, Germany’s armed forces have degenerated into parade troops. Armor and aircraft, once hallmarks of German military power, have become feeble toys, lacking in munitions, spare parts and capable crews.
Polls show Germans have very little interest in confronting Russia. Memories of World War II are still raw. Today’s Germans live in a nation that was 50% destroyed by US and British bombing. Millions of Germans come from families driven out of eastern Europe.
There is not a lot of sympathy for Ukraine’s current government that was installed by a US-financed and stage-managed coup in 2013-2014. Germany’s US-dominated media and government support Washington’s hard line on Ukraine but many ordinary Germans and French don’t agree.
America’s media and politicians strongly support the military confrontation with Russia, a low-cost way of being loudly patriotic without actually doing anything serious.
Only Poland, the Baltic states and American neocons really hunger for war – provided it is waged by the US. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, a rising star among the pro-war neocons, is pushing the confrontation with Russia – yet another bureaucrat with no military experience.
Military men quickly understand the logistic and climactic problems of fighting in the Black Sea region, but not Washington’s desk warriors and their European satraps. The US has been unwise to provoke a confrontation with Russia in its backyard. Though Russia has lost much of its Soviet-era military power, it would be a mistake to underestimate its combat capabilities and overestimate those of NATO.
Remember, Napoleon (who was seriously defeated in Russia) prayed ‘oh Lord, if I must go to war, please make it against a coalition.’