Skip to comments.Is Angela Really Frau Ribbentrop? I Doubt It, But We Spy Just to Make Sure
Posted on 07/30/2014 7:52:57 PM PDT by No One Special
This story from the Independent has gone viral, and for understandable reasons: it claims that Germany and Russia are negotiating a scurrilous deal behind Ukraines back.
More controversially, if Ms Merkels deal were to be acceptable to the Russians, the international community would need to recognise Crimeas independence and its annexation by Russia, a move that some members of the United Nations might find difficult to stomach.
Sources close to the secret negotiations claim that the first part of the stabilisation plan requires Russia to withdraw its financial and military support for the various pro-separatist groups operating in eastern Ukraine. As part of any such agreement, the region would be allowed some devolved powers.
At the same time, the Ukrainian President would agree not to apply to join Nato. In return, President Putin would not seek to block or interfere with the Ukraines new trade relations with the European Union under a pact signed a few weeks ago.
Second, the Ukraine would be offered a new long-term agreement with Russias Gazprom, the giant gas supplier, for future gas supplies and pricing. At present, there is no gas deal in place; Ukraines gas supplies are running low and are likely to run out before this winter, which would spell economic and social ruin for the country.
As part of the deal, Russia would compensate Ukraine with a billion-dollar financial package for the loss of the rent it used to pay for stationing its fleets in the Crimea and at the port of Sevastopol on the Black Sea until Crimea voted for independence in March.
However, these attempts by Ms Merkel to act as a broker between President Putin and the Ukraines President, Petro Poroshenko, were put on the back-burner following the shooting down of the MH17 plane in eastern Ukraine.
But insiders who are party to the discussions said yesterday that the German peace plan is still on the table and the only deal around. Negotiations have stalled because of the MH17 disaster but they are expected to restart once the investigation has taken place.
Pretty explosive stuff. So explosive, in fact, I have a difficult time accepting that the story is anywhere near true, at least insofar as the implication that this is Merkels plan is concerned.
If it was true, and Merkel were indeed negotiating a deal along these lines, she would indeed deserve the Frau Ribbentrop epithet that has been hurled at her, especially after her chumminess with Putin in Rio.
There are so many issues here.
First, it is not Germanys place to negotiate a deal that binds Ukraine, even as a broker that intends to present the deal to Ukraine for its approval later. That would rightly be seen as a stab in the back. Germanys imprimatur on such a deal-and the fact that it negotiated the deal would inevitably lead people to conclude that Germany vouches for it-would be perceived by Ukraine as a betrayal and abandonment, and an exertion of tremendous pressure to capitulate by a country that it had counted on to be a supporter.
Second, no Ukrainian government could possibly accept these terms. So Merkel is either delusional to think that they would, or she is setting up the Ukrainians to take the blame for rejecting a chance at peace, thereby allowing her to wash her hands of the situation and let Putin do as he will. Delusional or Machiavellian manipulator. Quite the choice.
Third, the recognition of Russias theft of Crimea, even if compensated by thirty pieces of silver in exchange for lost rent on Sevastapol, would completely undermine a fundamental principle of the modern international order, namely that the border of no state should be changed by force. For a country like Germany, which portrays itself as a
Rechtsstaat on international as well as domestic matters, this would be an amazing and despicable action. The precedent would be very ominous indeed. It is hard to imagine anything more threatening to peace and stability as such an endorsement of revanchism, irredentism, and the dominance of might over right.
Fourth, the US and UK, and perhaps other countries, would in no way countenance such an outcome, in part because of the dangerous precedent it would set.
Fifth, Ukraine is looking to free itself from abject dependence on Russian gas, rather than to cement that dependence into the distant future.
These considerations are so grave that I cannot believe that Germany would be doing what the
So what is the real story here?
The Independent is owned by Alexander Lebedev, an ex-KGB officer and ex-billionaire. He has had a fraught relationship with Putin. He co-owns, along with Gorbachev, the opposition paper
Novaya Gazeta. On the surface he is not an obvious Putin shill, and may be an opponent: maybe he ran the story to torpedo a deal that Putin wants. But he could be under pressure. Or he could be wanting to curry favor in Moscow, and thinks this would help him do so. So maybe the story has its roots in the murky world of Putin and rich Russians.
The story paints Merkel in a very bad light: maybe it has been leaked (and slanted) by one of her foes, domestic or foreign. Or maybe someone thinks that she will have to distance herself from the allegations of treachery by becoming more stern in her stance against Putin.
Or maybe this has been planted by the Russians. It could be their statement of the terms they are willing to offer, and to accept. Perhaps Putin even presented it to Merkel, and maybe more than once. Perhaps Merkel rejected it, or she presented a counterproposal and continues to talk, which could be twisted by the Russians to suggest that she has endorsed the basics of the proposal.
I dont know. But I do know one thing. It is precisely this sort of story, and the possibility that it has its roots in the truth, that makes it imperative that the United States collect intelligence on Germany, German leaders, and German dealings with foreign governments-especially governments like Russias. This is exactly why we spy, and why large and important countries that endeavor to exercise their sovereign right to craft and implement an independent foreign policy, are legitimate targets of spying. Germany pursues its interests, and in that pursuit, it might seriously damage American interests. Thus, it is in our vital national interest to know what Germany is up to.*
Thats the price you pay when you want to be an independent actor on the world stage, so Germans from Angela on down can spare us their outraged protests at American espionage.
* Which suggests yet another explanation for the Independent story. Namely, the source is US (or UK, or Ukrainian, or . . . even German) intelligence, which is leaking it to torpedo a perfidious Merkel deal.
Seeing that Germany’s ponzi scheme, the EU, is now reaching the point of diminishing return, I would not be surprised if they are making post-EU plans. It might explain why Germany has not become as socially liberal as their cousins to the west in the Netherlands, Britain, and France. They intend to buddy up with Russia
Germany has a lot at risk in the Ukraine crisis, but they also have an enormous amount to gain - perhaps even Königsberg.
Merkel can get freedom and an EU association for Lemberg and the rest of Galicia for the asking. And be the heroine of peace.
She'd be crazy not to play.
Konigsberg? Not gonna happen. And maybe if they are super nice to the french they can get back the Alsace.
When Merkel met Putin at the World Cup, I immediately searched Twitter for Donetsk and Lugansk. That was the start of the heavy duty blood bath of civilians. Putin is not about to consider the following:
“Sources close to the secret negotiations claim that the first part of the stabilisation plan requires Russia to withdraw its financial and military support for the various pro-separatist groups operating in eastern Ukraine. As part of any such agreement, the region would be allowed some devolved powers.”
It is interesting to get the unfiltered views from Twitter postings. One thing is sure: a lot of civilians are dying from the military skirmishes and battles in eastern Ukraine. The people remaining there seem entirely uninterested in anything to do with having the Kiev government come to Donbas to save them. Many are refugees in Russia already.
And yet Russkie commanders are complaining that the people there aren't flocking to the aid of the "People's Republic of Donetsk" which they supposedly are all in favor of. Thus they are resorting to forcing people onto the front lines, torture, kidnapping, and murder, to keep things under control.
And all France has to do is nuke Berlin.
German/Russia deals have a bad sound to them.
I find the version that the story from The Independent is a fake planted by Russians most plausible. Putin is going all out and his ex-KGB “opponent” owner of the paper can surely be put under pressure when Putin really wants to.
I can see hundreds of Ukies arriving daily at my city airport, tightly packed into huge cargo planes. And we are talking about only one of many airports in Russia. Mostly women, children and elderly. True, many of them aren’t in love with their people’s republics but I ‘ll be banned on this site if I ‘ll write what they think about Kiev government. I think most of them has come to stay. Muslim illegal community is very concerned as it is rumored that businesses won’t be punished for hiring Ukies and government would actually encourage to hire them promising tax exempts and other benefits to employers. Union leaders are shaking in their boots as well.
That info. fits a theory, er, speculation, I have about this. But, first, a question: Whose cargo planes are these?
EMERCOM (Russian for FEMA) Il-76s.
Most of these people has nothing with them but a few cash and jewelery. Surprisingly, whose who carry something are mostly packing pets (cats, small dogs). Some are wearing pajamas. Weird. What is your theory BTW?
As Afghan rebels were unable to shoot down high-flying Il-76s, their tactics were to try and damage it at take-off or landing. Il-76s were often hit by shoulder-launched Stinger and Strela heat-seeking missiles and large-calibre machine-gun fire, but because the strong airframes were able to take substantial damage and still remain operational, the aircraft had a remarkably low attrition rate during the period of conflict.
This makes the rebel shootdown of a Il-76 "more interesting". Ie., what took it down?
Fascinating story, BTW:
It sounds like those people got out in a hurry.
My theory is twofold, supported somewhat perhaps by what you say about people leaving and not intending to go back to Ukraine:
First, this serves Kiev’s long term purpose (among others?), in that Ukraine’s old (and uncomfortable) political balance will be shifted to a definitive majority pro-West sentiment and voting pattern.
Second, there must be “powers” in Russia that would welcome a non-Muslim influx of (most likely) cheap labor.
~First, this serves Kievs long term purpose (among others?), in that Ukraines old (and uncomfortable) political balance will be shifted to a definitive majority pro-West sentiment and voting pattern.~
It might be the plan but East of Ukraine is too populous. Donetsk alone is almost twice the size of Denver.
You won’t depopulate a place as heavily ever unless you are willing to displace a dozen million people, killing a million in process.
~Second, there must be powers in Russia that would welcome a non-Muslim influx of (most likely) cheap labor.~
Yep, they are a gift for a Russian economy and I would pick an East European over Muslim immigrant any day. On the other hand, if their influx would be really significant it would hurt a blue collar lifestyles much. A hardworking welder can make over $500 a week in Russia and taxi drivers are making over $50,000 a year in Russia. In Ukraine a thousand dollars is a fortune, you must work for a foreign company or be in an organized crime to have as much in a month. On the other hand, most blue collar jobs are already taken by immigrants anyway.
E.g., while the Czech delegation was kept a-waitin' in the hallway, the Brits and Germans were redrawing Czechoslovakia's boundaries, then emerged from the meeting room, doors finally open, to announce to the Czechs how it was a-gonna be.
Then, they did a Dirty Deal(tm) with Stalin to decide how they would divide Poland.
Now the Germans are doing another backroom deal. Their hands are dirty once more. Can't they refrain from this behavior, or are they unable to?
Sure, this deal secures Germany's energy supply, much of which comes from the East. But this is, FRANKly (pun intended) cowardly behavior you might expect from the French.
Kiev doesn’t have to move out many millions of Pro-Russians. That’s my point. If Kiev can keep the country (or at least 95% of it) “intact”, and if only a million pro-Russian voters leave, then as a whole the country is going to (at least for the next few elections) politically swing pro-West, instead of the (recent past prior to 2014 at least in national elections) almost even split. There also seem to be a lot of people who don’t much like any of the current pols, and distrust the “West” too, but they feel even more strongly stabbed in the back by Russia.
That last shows up in the 2014 elections: Even allowing for part of the country not voting, the (essentially) pro West candidates as a group won very decisively, and still would have won if every voter in the areas that did not vote had voted for pro-Russian candidates. Knock a million pro-Russian voters off the rolls because they left, and the margin is cemented for quite a while.
Note that I’m not saying Kiev is “wrong” — it may be the only way to end up with a manageable country.