March 29, 2020

Europe: “The long march” or “From Berlin to Kremlin”

The (useless) lessons of history

By Phd. Dorian Vlădeanu.

            For the last more than 500 years, the Russian Empire has been in a continuous war for … the defense of the homeland! … Let us remember some important moments:

  1. 1558: The Livonian war – it was a war fought for the capture of the territories of the Baltic States and Belarus, following the wars for the conquest of the Kazan, Astrakhan, Bashkina, the Golden Horde, the Cossacks and the Kabardine. As it lost the war, Russia dropped its claims on Belarus; but not for long…
  2. 1654: The war with Poland and the “union” with Ukraine are the imperial prizes of that tragic and sad year, both for Poland and for Ukraine. The role of Khmenytsky, the Cossack hatman, who ruled for the whole of Ukraine is not yet clarified; however, the document on “uniting” Ukraine with Russia has never been found.
  3. 1695-1696: The campaign of Peter the Great at the Sea of Azov against the Ottoman Empire. Russia needed to get direct access to sea and after 10 wars with the Turks they obtained large “chunks” from the former great empire of Suleiman the Magnificent.
  4. 1700: The Great War with Sweden – Russia needed a direct access to the North Sea and the Baltic Sea also, so that after the war large stretches of “Russian ancestral land” were attached (as the new conquests were called by the documents of the time, although they were not inhabited by any Russian)! It is then that the Baltic countries, Finland and Ingria become a Russian territory.
  5. 1772-1775: At the suggestion and initiative of Prussia (the hard core of the future of Germany) there are three divisions of Poland. Russia is “invited” to the sharing table.
  6. 1783: The first annexation of Crimea (another “Russian” land) on the grounds that otherwise the attacks of the Crimean khans could not be prevented nor could the Orthodox Christians (most Armenians) be defended. Both objectives were achieved and even one more objective was achieved: the Armenians were immediately displaced from the Crimea … so that no one may attack them!
  7. 1783: The kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti (in eastern Georgia) came under the Russian protectorate. And it it is under Russian protectorate…even today.
  8. 1853-1856: The Crimean War, a war in which, this time, Russia is fighting against an Anglo-Franco-Turkish coalition, which simultaneously attacked Sevastopol. At the same time, Russia was also in the midst of a “procurement” campaign through the Balkans.
  9. The 19th century: Without going into details, towards the end of this century the annexation of the following territories took place:
  10. Central Asia,
  11. The Kakand Khanate,
  12. The Bukhara Emirate,
  13. The Khiva Khanate,
  14. Turkmenistan.

These territories became protectorates (guberniyas) of the Russian empire, as part of the “active defense” doctrine – an older version of the preventive war doctrine, which we witness today.

            Also in this period there are the Caucasian wars that end in endless bloodbaths and suffering.

  • 1920-1921: The Russian-Polish war, a war that neither the historians nor the history of Russia remembers. We wonder why?
  • 1939 – two “brotherly” wars take place: The first is the war with Poland, when the Red Army, in order to “defend peace”, invades, in agreement with Hitler’s Germany, the east of Poland – this is another chapter very briefly dealt with by Russian historians. Also in the same year, Finland, a country counting several million inhabitants and 100 tanks, “attacks” Russia – a country counting 180 million inhabitants and over 2,300 tanks gathered on Russia’s border with the quiet northern country. As a result, the League of Nations declares both the Stalin’s USSR and Hitler’s Germany, as aggressor states, excludes them from the organization. Again one cannot find too many details about these events in the history books written by the Russian historians. Moreover, Stalin jokingly about the invasion of Poland that “it is a stroll of the Red Army”.
  • 1940: The “peaceful” annexation of the “brotherly” Baltic countries, so that the multi-secular “dream” of Estonians, Lithuanians and Latvians has suddenly becomes a cruel reality.
  • 1941: The Great War for the Defense of the Fatherland remains one of Russia’s strangest military actions from many viewpoints; there is also the strange and unanswered question: why Germany first attacked a state that managed to get out of the shameful state after the first war, a state that has proved to be capable, at least to a certain extent, of a blitz-Krieg war (the example of the attack on Poland is testifying), but which can be blocked when it faces a small, tenacious opponent who really defends only its homeland (the case of Finland)?
  • 1958: Russia’s aggression against Hungary and then, in 1968, Russia’s invasion of Czechoslovakia. Yugoslavia would probably have followed, but it was already too risky after so many adventures stretching from Budapest to Havana.
  • 1979: The invasion of Afghanistan has helped the great Red Army to “come to a full stop”, for at least a few decades and it was one of the decisive factors in the collapse of the USSR, with the entire so-called Communist system.

            One can say, at least after this “review” of the main wars and territorial kidnappings practiced by Russia (be it Tsar’s Russia, the Bolshevik Russia or Putin’s Russia) that no country in the history of the world has been able during 500 years to in the history of the world to occupy 1/6 of the planet’s land fighting only defense wars of its… homeland!

            Around 1900, the Russian General Aleksey Kuropatkin, in his memorandum to the Tsar, emphasized that: “… for the last 200 years, Russia has been at war during 128 years and has had peace during 72 years; of the 128 years, 123 years were spent in wars for the conquest of territories and 5 years for defense wars”. But let us go ahead and continue:

  • 2008: The annexation of Abkhazia and Ossetia for reasons of…, yes, you guessed it: for reasons of domestic stability and security! …
  • 2014: The re-annexation of Crimea and the war in eastern Ukraine.

2. Excerpts from the history of the collaboration between Russia and Germany 

            Let us draw an intermediate conclusion by citing Vladimir Putin: “From its imperial beginnings, Russia has been a Euro-Asian country but it is and will remain a European country through its geography, culture and will to integrate.”

             We will discuss further about Russia’s “will to integrate”, but there are no doubts about Russia’s ambivalent status of Euro-Asian imperial construction. Actually this has become a fact of life since the time of Ivan the Terrible (16th century) who, as it is known, considered himself, among other things, the heir of Byzantine Christianity and therefore the leader of orthodoxy (a kind of secular but equally inquisitive “pope” for Eastern Christianity). Therefore the idea that Russia was called to establish the only truly Christian empire on earth was beginning to emerge.

            From the time of the same Ivan (also called the “Terrible”) the seeds of the inexplicable “Russian-German” multi-secular collaboration begin to sprout … In the year 1547, upon the Tsar’s request, 120 specialists arrive from Germany (doctors, teachers, artists, craftsmen). After a few years (1553) the English captain Richard Chancellor arrives in Russia, and by the agreement signed in 1555, the British were able to establish under their jurisdiction, the harbor of Arkhangelsk; they subsequently sent doctors and mining specialists to contribute to the economic development of Russia. But the east-west disputes had already begun to emerge despite the favorable auspices under whom the collaborative relations began, because, unlike the western economy and culture, the Russian economy and culture was based upon the existence of a huge gap between elites and masses.

            For centuries, in its policy the West has been applying, let’s say, the “doctrine of mass integration into the nation”, while in Russia no one could not even think of it. The remark made by Ivan the Terrible to Queen Elizabeth of England in 1570 is well known and suggestive: “…but it seems that the people reigns there alongside you and not only the people but also the peasant traders.”

            The monarch who really opened the way for the “Europeanization” of Russia was Peter I (the Great), who reigned between 1682-1725 and called himself “emperor”. G.W. Leibnitz, a German philosopher and mathematician, the founder of the Berlin Academy, advises him to invite the most enlightened western minds to set up schools, libraries, universities, museums, botanical gardens, etc. But the antagonisms keep infiltrating in an ever more subtle manner, so that Mikhail Lomonosov (1711-1765) who returned from studies in Germany, warned: “We must fight against Western Europe with only one kind of war: the defense war”. Several decades later, (about 1838) the teachings of Tsar Nicholas I transmitted to his son, the future Tsar Alexander II, before a journey of several months through Western Europe, warned: “Many things will seduce you, but by looking closer, you will be able to convince yourself that not everything deserves to be imitated. We must preserve our national character, our brand and woe onto us if we move away from it”.

            But Peter the Great did not only deal with the Europeanization of the bearded Russian nobility which most often suffered from hangover, but also with the establishment, perhaps, of the most feared secret service (Okhrana), which developed a system of repression envied even by the less noble of his followers, Lenin and Stalin, who “glorified” him by calling him “the first Bolshevik” of the country! … One of the regulations personally drafted by Peter I (1720) decreed once and for all that “police is the soul of the citizen and of the order”. And so it is today, and not only in Russia!

            Russia’s colonization with the Germans was meticulously dealt with by Catherine II of Russia, who in the meantime extended the Russian empire to the Dniester, brought in German colonists, assigned them land properties, built them houses, gave them loans without interest, exempted them from taxes and the like for 30 years. “I am more Russian than you all,” said the empress with a great deal of German blood through her veins, to the high officials of her court.

            After the great emperor, Tsar Alexander I followed, was on the side of the British and against Bonaparte who, within a few years’ time annexes Finland (1809), Bessarabia (1812) and also calls himself theTsar of Poland. After Napoleon’s abdication, Russia becomes Europe’s main political actor, imposing its conditions of peace at the Congress of Vienna (1815), where it laid the foundations of the Holy Alliance, taking the lead in the fight against atheism and democratic revolutions.

            After only 100 years, Russia raised the standard to lead the opposite camp! … Until then, even the time of Nicholas I (1825-1855) was strongly marked by Russia’s involvement in the bloody overthrow of the revolutionary movements from 1848-1849. At the same time, the ideological confrontation between Slavophiles and the Westerners was consolidated, a confrontation on the side of the Slavophiles, leaded by Piotr Ceaadaev who, in 1836, published a letter that showed that, unlike the individualism that lies at the origin of the Western decline, Russia kept what “the West had lost”: the integrity of the Christian faith “that came from the old Byzantium and had been transmitted and preserved by the Orthodox Church.

            Then Alexander II comes to the throne (1855-1881), which abolishes Serbia and loses the war in Crimea (1856). In 1863, the Russian-German relations were calibrated again on the backs of poor Poland, when, based upon a powerful “unit of action”, Russia and Prussia (again we wonder: where does the common termination in two countries with totally different historical origins comes from?), overwhelmed with a cruelty rarely encountered the Polish anti-tsarist uprisings. On the side of Poland, France, England and Austria took a diplomatic stand (which was allied with the two eternal “fathers” of Poland, and which did not hesitate to “wrap itself” until they became saturated with the territories belonging to this unfortunate country).

On this occasion, Bismarck proposes that Russia and Prussia should be “united against the common dangers, as if it were a single country” [8, chapter 21]. After the Crimean War (1856) Russia loses the right to have a fleet in the Black Sea, an impediment which it resolves a few years later (1870-1871) when, again supported by Germany, they obtain the repeal of the clauses of the Treaty of Paris of 1856, which forbade this but also assimilated the neutrality status of this inland sea.

            It is France’s turn to lose, in a shameful war, Alsace and Lorraine in favor of Prussia, a situation in which Russia does not outline any gesture of minimal protest, but on the contrary, supports Bismarck to achieve the unification of the German states (and not only German) under the command of the descendants of the old Teutons.

            It would be the first operation to support the unification and constitution of Germany (we need not recall the fact that Alexander II’s uncle was the very German Kaiser, Wilhelm I, and who firmly promised he would not forget Russia’s gesture of support).

            However, the promise was kept, in the purest “European spirit” until the Berlin Congress (1877-1878), since, after the Russian-Romanian-Turkish war, the “diplomatic honeymoon” between the two everlasting colossuses, friends of rivalry was over … Although victorious, Russia gives way to Germany, Austria and England, and a year later, Germany, again in the purest “European style”, concludes a secret treaty with Austria against…you guessed it, against his great and eternal ally, Russia!

            Bismarck, Germany’s greatest chancellor of all time had already warned of the risks of a war against Russia: “The most favorable outcome of such a war cannot under any circumstances lead to the disintegration of Russia’s main forces.” It would seem that Bismarck was one of the last German politicians to heed his own advice … Bismarck said it, but in vain!

            Another unpleasant topic for Russian and German historians is that of backstage of Lenin’s arrival in Russia, with a well-sealed German train (which unfortunately it did not remain so) who quickly concludes the so-called Brest-Litovsk peace treaty about which Lenin gives an explanation “in the purest comrade style”, saying that the Bolshevik power must necessarily follow a tactic of maneuvering, withdrawal and expectation, until it is fully mature. Generally speaking, the agreements with the robbers are sometimes admissible and necessary (other details about the robbers Lenin referred to, but we do not think it was necessary). However, no one could have more succinctly grasped the essence of political correctness, which has long been practiced but has only recently been theorized.

            Although they were deadly enemies in the terrible world war (1914-1918), immediately after the hostilities ended, as both Germany and Bolshevik Russia have seeing themselves isolated, they have put themselves at the forefront of the revisionist states (obviously Hungary could not have had better teachers). History rarely records closer collaboration between states with opposing ideologies. Hitler was right in his madness when he said that “The Slavs united with the doctrine of the proletariat are the most dangerous weapon in the world.” In turn, the founder of the German inter-war geopolitical school, Karl Haushofer, points out that the two great powers “were called upon to investigate together the injustices of the Treaty of Versailles and to successfully confront the coalition of the oceanic states.” But, it was not meant to be … A promoter of the theory of “moving borders”, he develops a whole series of procedures and techniques of expansion on the neighbors by “… friendly penetrations” understood then, as now, as deceptive propaganda actions that will lead to the ideological demobilization of the targeted nations”. Does that sound familiar?!…

            Let’s go back in time a little, to the “attachments” of Bolshevik Russia, during the Second World War, in order to reveal a “beneficial” statistic:

  1. After the agreement with Germany, Stalin’s Russia “liberated” all of eastern Poland (about 200,000 km2).
  2. In the same “style”, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania voluntarily “returned” to the body of “mother Russia”.
  3. Finland has surrendered over 40,000 km2 (after a grueling battle in which over 15 divisions of the, “Liberating” Red Army were annihilated, i.e. more than 200,000 soldiers).
  4. Bessarabia and Bukovina followed – over 50,000 km2.

            All in all, after this liberating “raid”, Bolshevik Russia has attached a country about the size of France, with a population of millions of souls (of which one third died in Siberia) … How many of the inhabitants of the new Europe do know these details?

            Despite the drama of the period and the human tragedies that we may imagine, one can get a bitter taste in one’s mouth when the propaganda campaigns of the time states that a country like Finland, with a population of 3 million inhabitants and an army equipped with several dozen tanks attacks Bolshevik Russia, a country with 180 million inhabitants and an army equipped with over 2,500 tanks…while the Polish campaign was labeled a “military stroll” for the liberating Soviet Army … In fact, after 1943 Germany’s aggression against Europe ended and those of the only USSR began.

            Russian journalist and analyst Alexander Podrabinek wonders rhetorically how and when did the USSR enter World War II?

  • Was it in October 1939, in the war with Poland?
  • Was it in November 1939, when Moldova (Bessarabia and northern Bukovina) was annexed?
  • Was it in August 1940, when Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia were annexed?

            In our opinion the greatest communist among the unfrocked and the greatest unfrocked of the Communists (V.I. Stalin), allowed the greatest Nazi among the painters and the greatest painter among the Nazis to systematically run out on the stretches of Europe (though not without huge risks), so that he can then conquer half of Europe, for half a century, with the invaluable help of his democratic allies … We would also like to emphasize another strange aspect of a history that some learn and nobody keeps in mind: both Stalin and Putin had to solve, during 8 decades, the same problem: the restoration of the Russian empire.

            And we believe that both have succeeded then and now with the decisive and invaluable help of the same West, which is today more united in division and more divided in union as ever.

3. The Russian-German secret diplomacy for a united Europe

            The building of the Soviet military power is due, as everybody knows, to 1920s Germany, a defeated and humiliated but especially isolated Germany (like Bolshevik Russia).

            At the same time, after Russia, Germany was the Western country most  infested with the Communist virus, a virus that appeared out of nowhere but was present everywhere (just as the Spanish influenza virus and about the same number of victims).

            During the first five-year plan, 50% of the USSR imports came from Germany, and the first German officers visited the new Soviet state in the spring of 1922; in April, the same year, the construction of Junker planes (near Moscow) began … Things happened in a similar manner as during the times of the empress … 

            Krupp also had factories near Rostov (on the river Don) and in 1925 a Flight Pilot School (near Lipetsk) was set up for the instruction of the first pilots of the future Luftwaffe planes … After only one year (1926), the Reichwehr (German army) was allowed to use the Kazan Tank School; in parallel, Russian armament factories (in Kharkov and Leningrad) also developed…

            The coming to power of Hitler and Molotov at the Foreign Ministry (on the other side) ended a period of fruitful collaborations whose fruits would soon be destroyed on the battlefields, between those who had been “friends” until not long ago … And the collaborations were restored only in a generation (1958).

            After 1945, the relationships between Russia and Germany relations entered a somewhat darker and somewhat “frozen” area. However, the thaw came soon, with all its consequences…

            Initially, the former USSR tried to block the establishment of the Federal Republic of Germany, but they ultimately gave in. Moreover, they allowed an article in the German Constitution to stipulate the possibility of reunification (which, for example, other “friendly” states, Poland, Finland, Romania were not allowed to).

            Obviously, beyond the Marshall plan, beyond the German diplomacy, beyond the political, military and economic backdrops, the recovery of Germany in less than two decades (after 1945) is the result, first and foremost, of the efforts of a hard-working nation, of a people who did not leave their country massively when times were harsh, when it was almost impossible to live and that was based upon patriotism, fondness and determination to be what they were and more than that once again.

            This is why, after only two decades, the German Federal Republic has become a world economic power, the world’s largest net exporter, the standard country for science, culture, technology and functional democracy at supraunitary return!

            Germany has once again become an economic giant but a political dwarf, and the alleviation of this disproportion was one of the fundamental concerns of the people of this country, through the agreements between Adenauer, the Chancellor of Federal Germany and De Gaulle, the President of France, as they were both the representatives of a generation of great politicians but especially great statesmen.

            At the same time, the accounts between Czechoslovakia, Poland, on the one hand and the German Federal Republic led by Willy Brandt were settled, and Romania recognized the new German state despite the “indications” received from Moscow.

            During Helmut Schmidt’s time, Germany consolidated its political status and, without the slightest trace of servility, recognizes, whenever it has the opportunity and context, that the Germans owe America the inspiration that comes from the Declaration of Independence, but also from the Constitution (the two documents are not cited randomly). In addition, H. Schmidt agreed with the statement of Germany’s Christian Democratic President, Richard von Weizsacker (1985) who accepted (for the first time) that “the lost war was a release.”

            H. Schimdt is a supporter of the political approach to litigation and rejects the instrument of sanctions and boycotts, measures that never give good results (on the contrary).

            Caught by surprise, M. Thacher acknowledged: “We have twice defeated the Germans and now they are again in front of us!”… Slowly, cautiously and noiselessly, Germany was approaching the theme of reunification of the country, though even the best friends did not get too easily convinced. Whenever he had the opportunity, F. Mitterand used to say: “I love Germany so much that I would like to see two Germanys sooner and not one!” But somehow, it was concluded that a lasting peace in Europe could not take place without a united Germany! … (although the lessons of history have taught us something else, twice in half a century). However, the geopolitical terrain was not sufficiently prepared, so in the relations with the great powers:

  • Germany teamed up with France in making reservations regarding the interventions in Iraq;
  • Germany did not accept the international isolation of China and Russia;
  • Germany had an exceptional continuity in foreign policy on the axis defined by a suite of state people who in turn held the position of chancellor: Helmut Schimdt, Helmut Kohl, Gerhardt Schroder and Angela Merkel.
  • Germany has been able to permanently maintain relationships with the U.S. and China, as economic superpowers, and relationships with the U.S. and Russia, as military superpowers.

            It is widely recognized that the unification of Germany under the mandate of H. Kohl could not have been achieved without the prestige previously gained in the field of international political relations.

            In approaching the unification with former President Gorbachev, H. Kohl started from the economic viewpoint: a united Germany can more firmly support a weakened Russia.

            In (August) 1990, Germany becomes a NATO member and in October, the same year, the reunification takes place (according to art.2.3 of the German Constitution of … 1949 – so unification can be achieved)…

            G. Schroder has collaboration with Russia and Putin, involving many known aspects but also many hidden aspects, given that Germany’s interests in working with Russia are vital and key. At the same time, China is a strong partner for Germany.

            Clinton’s U.S. agreed that Germany is playing a major role in “supporting the Eastern colossus not to collapse economically” (can one hear a number of Romanian quasi-politicians state their warlike ideas just to please the strategic partner?)… In fact, it was G. Schroder who insisted that Russia be part of the G8 (together with India and China). In fact, he wished Russia would become a member of the EU as a major partner and not as an irreconcilable opponent!

            “It is totally wrong for Russia to be evaluated from the perspective of one conflict or another and acknowledged only as a source of problems” – the German Chancellor asserted. Maybe he did too bluntly…

            Angela Merkel continued on the same line with the “three superpowers”. “The basis of my political thinking and action is the Christian understanding of man and the fundamental values that result from it – freedom, solidarity and justice.” We beg Mrs. Merkel for forgiveness, but if the influx of Islamist migrants with the explosive potential they carry with them is still an emanation of the Christian understanding of man, then many readers should read and document further). But, as the chancellor adds, “risk is a chance” (probably this is less a chance when a bomb explodes on the streets of our towns)…

            Whether we like it or not, the quality of the Russian diplomatic schools, but especially the German ones, is by far the highest (in the good sense of the word), and the conflicts between them have not provided happy consequences for the entire population of the planet.

            The Stalin-Hitler agreements cannot be considered the fruit of random historical accidents but the fruit of “traditional historical accidents” … After only one year, the USSR is dissatisfied that not all its claims have been met and insists on new protocols regarding the “delimiting the spheres of influence”. Hitler would have exclaimed: “Russia has already received the lion’s share of the advantages it aspires to.”

            Beyond violating all international treaties, the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact had to be kept “in the strictest secrecy”; for the same reason, the protocol on the division of “spheres of interest” between the two has not been subject to ratification procedures. In fact, this “treaty” could not be discussed in Nürnberg either, and when the Americans published a volume of documents on Russian-German relationships and agreements between 1939 and 1941, including the “devil’s pact”, the Soviets vehemently denied them.

            And so it remained until 1984 when even Gobaciov denied their existence. If the lie worked like the Spanish flu virus, surely the world would be much cleaner … Especially the horrible world of politicians!

            The Brest-Litovsk treaty was valid for less than a year, and the non-aggression treaty between Germany and Stalin’s Russia lasted for almost two years’ time.

            In contrast, the Ribbentrop-Molotov treaty has withstood more than half a century.

            On September 12, 1990, all the four victorious powers in World War II sign the treaty stating they renounces the rights they had in 1945 over Germany, and on October 3, 1990 we have the unified Germany again!

            Hans Dietrich Genscher, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the F.R.G. and François Mitterand, on November 30, 1989, have a meeting during which the President of France declares: “If, on the contrary, the German unity is done after that of Europe, we will help you.” As he was reluctant about the rapid emergence of united Germany on the map of Europe, on December 6, in Kiev, Mitterand tries to “hijack” Gorbachev by suggesting that France would support the East German government but the Russian president replied with an elegant “en-passant” ! …

            On the other side, H. Kohl addressed very respectfully to Gorbachev: “I kindly ask you to disagree with Malta on any decision that could limit the scope of our policy in the German issue.”

            Let us make a bridge over time and go to Italy in 1922 (April 16), in the city of Rapallo, where the USSR and Germany have just signed a treaty by which the Russians renounce the financial claims imposed by the Treaty of Brest-Litvosk. Only, behind this treaty that respects the spirit of the League of Nations (the UN of that period) as well as the provisions of the Treaty of Paris, respectively Triannon, there is a secret protocol that allows Germany to violate their respective commitments to train their soldiers in the territory of the former enemy (USSR), and even to manufacture weapons for itself in the newly built factories in the vastness of Russia.

            Going back to the 1990s (September), also in Italy, but this time in Genoa, the Russians and the Germans, in secret, agree on issues that, in fact, had nothing to do directly with either of them, namely:

  • The peaceful division of Czechoslovakia without opposition from Germany and especially from the USSR;
  • The Czech Republic will enter into the sphere of influence of Germany and Slovakia into the sphere of influence of Russia;
  • the USSR does not oppose the dismemberment of Yugoslavia nor the entry into the sphere of influence of Germany of Croatia and Slovenia;
  • Hungary will not be hindered in its efforts to reacquire its “lost” territories after the First World War (after the Treaty of Trianon)! …

            Maybe now one can explain a lot of what could not be understood and explained at one point in time, maybe now we can see the diplomatic depths of some policies as well as the policies that resulted in many diplomatic arrangements and meetings that were not allowed to escape the attention of many government decision-makers, but also of the European Union (if we are to live finally, in a united Europe, a Europe of the nations that respect and support each other, in the “light of day” and not in the darkness of arrangements that from the beginning have undermined the confidence but also and the deep desire for much-desired European unity and peace).

            Well, after so many successes over the last three decades, it seems that Germany wants to go crazy again! In 2016, the German Defense Minister Sigmar Gabriel recommended the establishment of a European Union army in which Germany should play a leading role. In Berlin and Brussels the phrase “Germany has the increasing responsibility for actively contributing to the formation of the new world order and it is ready to take matters in their own hands in the face of security and humanitarian challenges” is heard more and more frequently (the history of the last century has shown us that indeed Germany is always ready, especially from a humanitarian standpoint) … Let us note that until A. Merkel no one had the courage to send the soldiers of the German army outside the NATO application fields.

            A European Security Compart is a recent Franco-German document on the security of Europe, which specifies and emphasizes a number of interesting aspects, of which we recall:

  • The world and European peace and security need an agreement with Iran;
  • France and Germany will promote the EU Global Strategy in the field of security policies;
  • France and Germany will promote the U.E. as a global and independent actor capable of taking advantage of its unique matrix of expertise, as well as of its civil and military instruments (obviously, independent of NATO and USA – author’s note);
  • France and Germany demand that the Member States of the E.U. to increase the defense budgets in the formation of their own and independent common defense forces.

            As a long-awaited conclusion, the bicephalous agreement underlines that France and Germany see BREXIT as a “historical opportunity” … Is that so!

            It was and it is obvious that Germany and France were permanently disturbed by the presence of Great Britain, the US ally in NATO, and the strengthening of the flanks with Poland and Romania explicitly indicates that the US suspects treason in the most classical and known European style.

            And what is good for Germany is also good for Russia … it cannot stop us from thinking that even if the NATO treaty were to fall, no comma in the Russian-German agreements would change so easily! But let us not anticipate too much!

4. Why is Germany strong or the “Locomotive and the stocker”

            The Former British Prime Minister (Margaret Thatcher) ‘s remarks about Germany’s strong comeback after being virtually destroyed during the First and Second World Wars have gone somewhat unnoticed. At least that would be the conclusion that most of the governments and leaders of the U.S., G8, and so on are reacting to the new trajectories they the older and newer Russian-German treaties (secret or not)have generated and still generate.

            From the geopolitical perspective but also from the historical perspective, Germany’s high-power status derives from the through the veins of a people who has been “polished” for centuries, either by the terror of wars due to political causes, by the terror of religious wars, or by both. Germany is located (as well as other states, such as Romania, for example) on one of the most unfavorable geostrategic alignments in the world, but from other viewpoints, on the most favorable geostrategic positions.

            For example, Berlin is practically the best positioned city in the world:

  • At the intersection of two large rivers, both navigable (Spree and Havel);
  • It is located at 100 km away from Oder.

            Let us remember that, for example, the river and maritime transport is:

  • 40 times cheaper in plains and fields and
  • 70 times cheaper in the less populated mountain areas.

            Moving on to other coordinates, let us note that Prussia had in 1717 (!) a compulsory education system (150 years before England, which we believe the “Iron Lady” of Great Britain had knowledge of) … Then, in contrast from any other state in yesterday’s, today’s and probably tomorrow’s Europe, local governments have enjoyed and are enjoying immense prestige and this is because they have always been and are models of professionalism, integrity and administrative efficiency.

            Although it was the 12th nation in eighteenth-century Europe as a population, Germany had Europe’s fourth army (in size) and it was in this field the state with the first regular and permanent army (1740).

            It should also be noted that the German excellence has always started from the very construction of social hierarchies: scientists, teachers, military, financiers, industrialists, ministers, princes – all had equal social status.

            Either of them had the right to consult and advise all levels of political decision making in the German area, even to the Chancellor and the Emperor.

            Germany was the first country in the world to become a predominantly urban country and in 1900 it had more industrial cities than the whole of Europe at one place. Also, the attraction of the private capital in the economy was achieved through the total support of the German state.

            All actions to strengthen the German status (education, infrastructure, culture, army, industry) permanently required huge sums of money. Most of the money came from the population, so that their economies were connected with the governmental reserves within centralized, state-owned German banks, whose officials, with a professional, moral and impeccable background, managed the financing of the German state project.

Later on, under government pressure, local banks began to merge, becoming strong regional banks, thus creating a strong and well-structured conglomerate between the financial, industrial, intellectual, military and local German governments.

            Compared to its neighbors of the 18th century, Germany was, as Peter Zeihan noted, “the kid in the neighborhood, but a kid with a gun in one hand and a PhD in engineering in the other.”

            It should also be noted that all these advances have been made against the backdrop of a hostile economic and social climate at European level. It should not be forgotten that by the middle of the 19th century, in all German territories, the British products that had benefited greatly from the advantages of the industrial revolution, have “decimated” the German guilds and manufactures. All Western Europe went into economic depression, thus triggering a series of revolutions in 1848 that spanned the entire continent (perhaps less Czarist Russia where the state of crisis was a “modus vivendi”).

            After the end of the revolutions, Prussia was practically destroyed without its manufacturing base, and then the rulers decided that it was time to capitalize on their great and certain advantages that were built decades before: the education, the professionalism and the civic spirit.

Thus, in this respect, one must emphasize a remarkable detail: at that time, even the smallest urban settlements had very well-skilled labor and craftsmen, which made the industrialization started in force after the revolution to be made from periphery towards the center (in the rest of Europe, the process took place much slower in the opposite direction, i.e. from the center to the periphery). The result was that after a relatively short time, each German city was able to ensure an industrial development compatible with local resources and needs (there were only 40 such cities that systematically “crushed” the British monopoly).

            Thus, the pace of Germany’s industrialization was faster than anywhere else in the 19th-century Europe. The coupling of private funds such as those of the state, local and central governments of maximum competence attached to the German state and nation (leading professionals in all fields of activity) made the industrialization of Germany complete after only 40 years (compared to 150 years, the time it took in England). Let us also add the fact that no industry in the world had as strong a military component as that of the German state, a component financed permanently and consistently by all governments.

            In 1806, the Great Defense Staff (also a German “invention”) was established and was a permanent military body, at the top of the army, with clear attributions in the direction of the elaboration and revision of the campaign plans, the mobilization plans, as well as the continuous study of all aspects of the war. The Chief of the Defense Staff had to be a graduate of higher studies at one of the most prestigious German state universities! …(nowadays it is the same).

            The fusion of the academic, financial, industrial and military competences as well as the provision of a permanent functioning of this seemingly heterogeneous assembly had many major and beneficial consequences for the German nation and state, such as:

  • the recognition of the German academic superiority has gone so far that, for a long time, the commissions for awarding the Nobel prizes were made up exclusively of German scientists;
  • the design and implementation of logistic models for the higher capitalization of the German railway infrastructure;
  • the development of heavy weapons, in relation to which military experts made up their strategies;
  • Germany was the first country that, after establishing and developing countless universities, institutes and research centers, immediately connected them to the industrial, financial, economic and military building and complex (so, for example, the pharmaceutical and car construction industry cars are today among the top corporations that run and control markets and the world).

            Thus, over a generation, Germany became industrialized under a “blitz”-like regime, so that the ordinary Germans quickly transformed from poor people in northern Europe to winners over England, France, Austria, Denmark, Poland, Russia, and so on. After only three generations of ultra-fast training and specialization, the planet heard a new word: the “blitz-krieg”, a German cocktail of technology, assumed discipline, civic spirit, strength and logistics, quite the opposite of the other cocktail – the Molotov cocktail, but both equally destructive.

And let us not forget that George Washington’s army-ready assembly was transformed into an elite military body, within a few months, by the famous German baron, Friederich von Stauben, one of the greatest military commanders and instructors in the world at that time.

            This is how the German “locomotive” was built, which now needed a stocker to feed its huge boilers. A stocker who, if he wasn’t drunk, he was a troublemaker and if he wasn’t a troublemaker, he was drunk, but most often, he was both…

            The energy project made in Moscow has generated and generates deep political and economic tensions and fractures at the level of the U.E. The project was financed by the Western energy industry, but in September 2017, lawyers from the legal service of the Council of the Union shattered into pieces the request of the European Commission to hamper the project for the construction of the Russian-German gas pipeline, Nord Stream 2 (NS2).

Germany has come into conflict with the Visegrád Group and the European Council has mentioned in its analysis that Nord Stream 2 will overturn Europe’s energy market in favor of Russia (with a capacity of about 55-60 billion cubic meters/year, NS2 will allow the doubling of the capacity connecting Russia with the European energy markets through northern Germany).

            The pipeline construction received funding from five powerful companies: OMV (where it seems that the Russians would hold a large shareholding), ENGIE (France), Uniper and Wintershall (Germany) as well as from Shell (Anglo-Dutch consortium), which a financing worth over $ 10 billion. But … the gas demand in Europe is declining and Nord Stream 1 is used at only 50% of its capacity. Why would Nord Stream 2 still be needed? There are two major reasons:

  • the first reason is that there is a risk of depletion of Europe’s natural gas resources (according to experts, most of them are probably Russians …);
  • the second reason would be the GAZPROM giant’s desire to strengthen its position on the European market (personally I would not put my hand in the fire because, in a way, OMV and Wintershall would not be subsidiaries in Europe of the Russian giant).

            The lawyers of the Council of Europe claim that Nord Stream 2 will increase the capacity of the U.E. not to be affected by the commercial, political and military disputes between Russia and Ukraine, but omitting to consider that its entry into service will quickly close other routes of methane gas transport (are they really the lawyers of the Council of Europe or …?). Under the careful German coordination, Bulgaria and Russia gave up the construction of South Stream. There are of course other aspects, but it is not the role of these lines to strictly debate the EU energy issues, but to emphasize the energy “empathy” between Germany and Russia, in an area that will become increasingly sensitive.

However, after Schroder, A. Merkel is the biggest supporter of the NS2 project (note that in the German parliament, the SPD supported the project and Mrs. Merkel’s CDU kept it quiet)! It was proven once again that the national interests come before the interests of the U.E. and the interests the interests of Germany and Russia come before the national interests…

            We conclude this paragraph by pointing out that one may be upset over the duplicity, cynicism and arrogance of the leaders of the two states, but in no way cannot one admire the selflessness, patriotism, the power to resist the dramas of history, the inventive spirit and the eternal desire to learn and to create of the two peoples. It is not the people who invented the Gulag and Auschwitz, the crime as state policy and the territorial kidnapping, the macabre games with the destinies of tens of millions of people, for centuries in a row…

5. Conclusions

            When one throws himself or herself into the turmoil of history that is impregnated with cynicism, indescribable suffering, lack of any morals, crimes, wars, it is difficult if not impossible to draw a conclusion that is optimistic, bright, beneficial, which justifies one’s status as a man or woman who respects and is respected, or the status of nation one wants to provide respect and be respected.

            Everywhere one can come across the same outdated, mimetic, primitive replies: “there are only interests in politics”… And this justifies everything, anytime, anyway. If one kills another human being, he or she is sentenced to life! If one kills 30 million human beings, one is a Führer or an army general; if one kills 20, 100, 5000 … one is a hero!

            Beyond any more or less European and more or less united political building, beyond the fact that every key leader in the international arena tries to play a highly important and visible role in the world hierarchy – some have as primary objective the interest of their own nations – the historical leaders, others always consider that their own persons comes always first (the mediocre leaders). There are nations, peoples, truths, hopes and maybe, a future…

            About 10 years ago, as we looked more closely to the map of the political leaders from Atlantic to Pacific, passing over the Urals, we found out with astonishment something that had escaped us years in a row: how is it possible that from Kamchatka to the Atlantic Ocean humanity may be (well) led by two former communists? … Merkel and Putin – two heads of state, rulers of two peoples who have always spoken different languages but have understood and still understand each other without translators, in both languages! One can rarely see such a coincidence between two of the most terrible enemies and the most devoted friends.

            The former champion of the Russian language Olympics (which is laudable fact), the former secretary of propaganda at the Academy of Sciences of the former German Democratic Republic, Mrs. Merkel has shown her inclinations towards politics since a young age. As she entered under H. Kohl’s wing, as she proved to be modest, intelligent and with an above-average political sense, a balanced behavior, the iron lady of German politics in recent decades has been the main “partner” in the “tango” of the European and world politics for the unhinged tsar of Russia, Putin (many speak of his membership of the KGB in his youth, forgetting that a former head of the CIA became president across the Atlantic).

            Without intentionally making any connections, history reminds us that such friendships have existed, such as the friendship between V.I. Lenin and the German Kaiser, a “beneficial” friendship for the whole of humanity … for many decades in a row!

            But Bismarck has left us with a piece of advice that should not be forgotten by any politician who wants to be a statesman: “With the Russians one either plays correctly or one does not play at all.”

            We are almost convinced that even the most trained German and Russian historians do not know how many times Poland, the Scandinavian countries, France, the Baltic States, Romania, Ukraine, Europe, Asia, Africa, have been divided between the two great powers for the last 500 years….
And as “friends”, it should be remembered that most of the losses (80%) Germany experienced during the Second World War occurred on the Eastern Front.

            In a more “military”-like expression, it can be said that the territory from Gibraltar to the Ural Mountains can be called the territory on which marched and “trained” the armies of the two geopolitical friend during the last hundred years. The long march … from Berlin to the Kremlin! And viceversa…

            Europe as a whole (in general), the Central and Eastern Europe in particular, has seen their destinies torn to pieces too many times over the desires and understandings between the “economic giant and the political dwarf”- Germany and the economic dwarf and the political giant – Russia.

            Could the United Europe break the status and the role of “currency exchange” of Central, Eastern and (more rarely) Western Europe that already has a “history” and “tradition” in the history of Europe during the last 500 years? … Could the German double-dealing be more convenient than Moscow pan-Slavism?

            History shows us that the betrayal of this part of Europe, which is said to have belonged to the “communist camp” by our Christian brothers, was more frequent, more devastating and more dramatic than the betrayal and attacks of the plague and Islam (altogether), during the Middle Ages, also for a period of 500 years.

            It still seems, however, that any assault by Russia over the former allied states of Eastern Europe is treated with a “forced tolerance” by Germany (the Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, did remind Germany many times that only Russia supported the unification of Germany even against the opposition of England and France, sister countries within the United Europe).

            Let us recap: after 1990, the disintegration of the USSR, the unification of Germany and the entry into force of the Maastricht Treaty determined the geopolitical repositioning of Germany and Russia, so that:

  • Germany believes that alongside the role of Europe’s economic leader it can and must also become a political leader;
  • the defense against Russia is no longer an activity of major interest, therefore,
  • the US role for Germany is considered to have been greatly diminished (as Mrs. Merkel stated not so long ago: “However, I am deeply convinced that there is no better partner for Europe than America and for America there is no better partner than Europe ”). Dear Mrs. Merkel, we are convinced that you are also convinced of that! Especially of the first part…

            On the other side, Moscow has pursued (and achieved) the implementation of policies of strategic depth by creating neutral or pro-Russian buffer zones in the west, formed by the Baltic states (under the influence of Germany, therefore an “ally”), Belarus, Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova and in the south, the North Caucasus.

            It seems as though H. Kohl was saying (if we remember and we actually should not forget) that “between the Russians and the Germans there was never an organic enmity” … What did this Bismarck of the 20th century mean?

            We do not want to be right, but the bigger Russia or Germany became, the smaller Europe became!

            However, history shows us that:

  • Russia had to lose in any conflict with Germany only at the beginning.
  • Germany had to lose, from beginning to end, in any conflict with Russia;
  • the more the United Kingdom was victorious, the bigger it became, the less it maintained its position of great power (many political scientists see it today as a great power to retire);
  • without the help of the US military, Europe would not have been able to win any war with Germany;
  • Germany never forgave Europe when “Uncle Sam” was not around.

            Is the NATO presence a necessity for a future United Europe? History says there is no other solution! But have we become as wise as to take its lessons into account?

            As things go about, it might not. In our opinion, there is no united Europe, neither without NATO nor without Russia. Also there is no more peaceful future than insofar as there will be no irreconcilable problems between NATO and Russia.

            Only in this way will the chances of survival of the planet increase in the context of future global conflicts. Whatever these conflicts are…

About the author: Phd. Dorian Vlădeanu Ist degree senior researcher within the Romanian Academy. Associate university professor. Degree in economics and automation and computers, Doctor of Economics, author of over 100 works in macroeconomics. He developed the first strategy on public services at a national level. Author, co-author and coordinator of the first generation of legislation made by the Romanian Government for public services (2002-2004).

Comments are closed.