Germany, Russia see goals align amid tension in Middle East - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

Wandering the information superhighway, he came upon the last refuge of civilization, PoFo, the only forum on the internet ...

Political issues and parties in Europe's nation states, the E.U. & Russia.

Moderator: PoFo Europe Mods

Forum rules: No one line posts please. This is an international political discussion forum, so please post in English only.
#15058863
Since communications with Washington have all but broken down, Berlin after much hesitation is now following Macron's lead by turning to Moscow for addressing the region's problems.

I think it's a smart move. With the fracking boom, the US has no more interest in the ME. The US's failed interventions in the greater ME have cost trillions of dollars and thousand's of killed US soldiers, not to speak of the millions of dead and displaced in the region. It's just a matter of time before the US leaves altogether. Europe and Russia have to work out what to do. Cooperation between Russia and Europe is starting to show fruits in Ukraine after Trump signaled that he doesn't care about Ukraine. The same will happen in the ME. Once the US is out of the picture, a negotiated settlement will become possible.

Germany, Russia see goals align amid tension in Middle East

As the US and Iran teetered on the brink of war, the leaders of Germany and Russia made a plan to meet in Moscow. But a shifting balance in the Middle East could force Berlin to trust Moscow in the search for solutions.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's working visit to Moscow couldn't come at a more dramatic time. This week alone Iran and the US attacked each other on Iraqi soil, Iran left an international nuclear deal and Turkey sent troops to Libya. Certainly reason enough for Russian President Vladimir Putin to invite Merkel to the Kremlin for a Saturday meeting.

Conflict between Iran and the US will top the meeting's agenda and Merkel and Putin will also discuss Libya, Syria and Ukraine, spokespeople for both leaders said. Germany and Russia have traditionally had deep economic ties and, among NATO and European leaders, Merkel has been a welcome guest in Moscow.

Russia's role in the Ukraine crisis and the annexation of the Crimean peninsula by Russia in 2014 have, however, caused serious divisions between the countries that haven't healed. But analyst Alexander Baunov, a political observer at the Moscow Carnegie Center, said "Ukraine has stopped being so toxic" for relations between Moscow and Berlin. He pointed to recent progress on resolving the Ukraine crisis under the new Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as evidence of a political thaw.

Divided by Ukraine, reunited by Trump

Merkel and Putin may have been pushed apart by the Ukraine crisis but they are being brought closer "by the one-sidedness and unpredictability of US actions," Baunov told DW, pointing to US sanctions leveled at the Russian-German gas pipeline Nord Stream 2 last year, and US President Donald Trump's recent decision to kill Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.

The Russian Foreign Ministry condemned US actions against Soleimani as "reckless," while German Foreign Ministry spokesperson Rainer Breul said Berlin has not been privy to "information that would allow us to see that the US attack was based on international law."

Calming the conflict

Russian analysts have said that following US actions, Merkel and Putin now share the goal of preventing a further escalation of fighting in the Middle East.

"Russia is interested in making sure that what is happening in the Middle East doesn't have wider, bloodier consequences," Middle East expert Andrei Ontikov said, adding that Germany and the rest of Europe can play a positive role in de-escalating the situation in the Middle East. "So, of course, Russia needs to coordinate its policies, including with Europe."

While Putin may look to use his meeting with Merkel to present a united front with Germany and to paint Russia as a mediator in the Middle East, Berlin has also been considering how to make the most of Putin's leverage in the Middle East. Russia's influence in the region has grown since it entered the war in Syria in 2015. Its forces have been fighting alongside Iran to prop up Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who is seen in Moscow as a guarantor of continuing Russian influence in the Middle East. Putin has also coordinated closely with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over Syria.

The German Green Party's foreign policy speaker Omid Nouripour told DW: "Putin pretends he has influence [in Iran]. So I hope that the German Chancellor will push him to convince the Iranians not to take retaliatory measures," which Nouripour says would lead to an escalation in violence in the region.

For its part, the Kremlin has been consistently trying to coax Germany, and Europe, towards closer ties by portraying the US as an unreliable partner, particularly following Trump's decision to leave the Iran nuclear deal last year. Both Germany and Russia have been pushing to save the deal ever since, even after Iran abandoned it on Sunday.

Berlin peace talks

Moscow and Berlin have also urged for an end the conflict in Libya. Fighting around the cities of Tripoli and Sirte has escalated recently, as the eastern-based Libyan National Army under ex-general Khalifa Haftar advance on forces loyal to the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord. Germany has warned the situation could become "a second Syria."

Germany has offered to hold a peace conference for the conflicting sides. The so-called Berlin process may take place in the coming weeks, though no date has been set yet. If the conference actually takes place, Jürgen Hardt, the foreign policy speaker in Merkel's conservative Christian Democratic Union, said it would be a "great diplomatic success." He said he hopes Merkel will put her weight behind the initiative at the meeting in Moscow, adding, "We still have a long way to go before we make progress."

On Wednesday, Putin issued a joint statement with the Turkish President expressing support for the conference in Germany, though the leaders said results could only be achieved "with the involvement and commitment of Libyans and neighboring countries."Putin and Erdogan also called for a ceasefire starting on Sunday. Moscow has never officially made its loyalties in the Libyan conflict clear, though there have been media reports that Russian mercenaries are fighting on the side of General Haftar. Turkey last week sent troops to support the UN-backed government.

For Germany, the Moscow meeting could show how much diplomatic clout Merkel actually has in Libya and the rest of the Middle East.

According to Fyodor Lukianov from the Russian International Affairs Council, Putin is clearly in the driving seat in negotiations on the region.

"Germany is a passive player here, an observer from the sidelines," he told DW. "Russia, on the other hand, is a key player [in the Middle East]."
#15059026
Patrickov wrote:IMHO they will regret it, because Russians are not very friendly to the countries in between, and Germany will soon find its Lebensraum compromised.


The countries between Russia and Germany are culturally much closer to Russia than to the West. Nationalistic pig heads will always be at each other's throat. There is nothing anybody can do about it except for letting them get tired of it.

Poland is now completely without influence because it has isolated itself in Europe while pissing at Russia. To depend entirely on the US while alienating most neighbors is a recipe for disaster. They'll grow out of it in the end.
#15059055
Atlantis wrote:Poland is now completely without influence because it has isolated itself in Europe while pissing at Russia. To depend entirely on the US while alienating most neighbors is a recipe for disaster. They'll grow out of it in the end.


IMHO this comment completely ignores the perils suffered by the Poles at the hands of both Germany and Russia in the past 250 years.
#15059063
Patrickov wrote:IMHO this comment completely ignores the perils suffered by the Poles at the hands of both Germany and Russia in the past 250 years.


And the Swedes, don't forget the Swedes !
They also invaded Poland.

The Nationalistic and populist parties are still doing very well in Poland.
Poland is another nightmare for the EU.
Which pleases me immensely.
#15059070
Looks like Putin is skillfully controlling the narrative and Merkel is buying into it.

After all, he would never use military power in the Middle East or elsewhere to establish facts on the ground. He's just convinced people like Merkel by using disinformation and lies to think Russia's input is important and that's how you gain control over the world.
#15059071
Kaiserschmarrn wrote:After all, he would never use military power in the Middle East or elsewhere to establish facts on the ground. He's just convinced people like Merkel by using disinformation and lies to think Russia's input is important and that's how you gain control over the world.


I rather care more on what they would do or what kind of System they would bring after they gain control.
#15059093
Kaiserschmarrn wrote:Looks like Putin is skillfully controlling the narrative and Merkel is buying into it.

After all, he would never use military power in the Middle East or elsewhere to establish facts on the ground. He's just convinced people like Merkel by using disinformation and lies to think Russia's input is important and that's how you gain control over the world.


Learned a new expression, did you?

Before you use it, please try to understand the meaning, or you make a fool of yourself.

The Soviets/Russians never "controlled the narrative". Well, the Soviets controlled the far-left narrative while the Russians partially controlled the far-right narrative for a while. But that only served to support the mainstream narrative as negative proof, in other words, because the Russians say so, it must be wrong (that's what you are doing).

Truth be told, the Soviets/Russians were always too clumsy to control any narrative. You need "cultural hegemony" to control the narrative, the cultural hegemony of the Anglosphere combined with the deceitfulness of the Albion is a perfect match for that job description.

And you know that wannabe Anglos never quite make it. :p
#15059151
Atlantis wrote:Learned a new expression, did you?

Before you use it, please try to understand the meaning, or you make a fool of yourself.

The Soviets/Russians never "controlled the narrative". Well, the Soviets controlled the far-left narrative while the Russians partially controlled the far-right narrative for a while. But that only served to support the mainstream narrative as negative proof, in other words, because the Russians say so, it must be wrong (that's what you are doing).

Truth be told, the Soviets/Russians were always too clumsy to control any narrative. You need "cultural hegemony" to control the narrative, the cultural hegemony of the Anglosphere combined with the deceitfulness of the Albion is a perfect match for that job description.

I'm always happy to learn new things provided they make sense. From the above, partial control of the narrative is apparently possible, but at the same time you say one needs cultural hegemony to control it which seems contradictory. And of course you also fail to explain how cultural hegemony comes about in the first place.

To tie this into the OP, the trivial point of my previous post is that Putin gets to opine on the Middle East and Merkel listens to him because Russia has expanded its military presence and hence influence there which is how domination in reality develops rather than anything else.

Atlantis wrote:And you know that wannabe Anglos never quite make it. :p

As far as I can tell, it's only the Anglos who ever made it and that seems to cause a lot of resentment by self-styled experts on the narrative. At any rate, I suspect you don't actually believe your own narrative about the narrative but your complaints look more like an expression of your irritation with the cultural dominance of the Anglosphere. Do you feel humiliated every time you have to use English to communicate with us?
#15059178
Atlantis wrote:Learned a new expression, did you?

Before you use it, please try to understand the meaning, or you make a fool of yourself.

The Soviets/Russians never "controlled the narrative". Well, the Soviets controlled the far-left narrative while the Russians partially controlled the far-right narrative for a while. But that only served to support the mainstream narrative as negative proof, in other words, because the Russians say so, it must be wrong (that's what you are doing).

Truth be told, the Soviets/Russians were always too clumsy to control any narrative. You need "cultural hegemony" to control the narrative, the cultural hegemony of the Anglosphere combined with the deceitfulness of the Albion is a perfect match for that job description.

And you know that wannabe Anglos never quite make it. :p


Historical revisionism 101. The Soviets did control the narrative at certain points of time. And Soviet media/propaganda was as strong as Holywood/US Media. (If you haven't noticed, even with the SU not existant there are still left parties around which is SU achievement)

You are basically judging from the perspective of the 21st century. The capitalist world was at the brink of desperation after Vietnam and Czech spring if you read the memoirs. Some politicians in capitalist countries thought it was the end.
#15059183
JohnRawls wrote:Historical revisionism 101. The Soviets did control the narrative at certain points of time. And Soviet media/propaganda was as strong as Holywood/US Media. (If you haven't noticed, even with the SU not existant there are still left parties around which is SU achievement)

You are basically judging from the perspective of the 21st century. The capitalist world was at the brink of desperation after Vietnam and Czech spring if you read the memoirs. Some politicians in capitalist countries thought it was the end.


I don't know when and where you were born, John, but from my experience, Soviet propaganda always sucked, especially during the 50s and 60s. I spent my youth near the iron curtain during the cold war where we got Eastern and Western propaganda via airwaves on a daily basis. Compared to that, today's Russian propaganda is sophisticated, but it still is miles behind Anglophone propaganda. Soviet propaganda was believed by a small segment of the population on the far-left, not exceeding 5 to 20% in the West. The Anglos have controlled the narrative for nearly 80 years now.
#15059184
Atlantis wrote:I don't know when and where you were born, John, but from my experience, Soviet propaganda always sucked, especially during the 50s and 60s. I spent my youth near the iron curtain during the cold war where we got Eastern and Western propaganda via airwaves on a daily basis. Compared to that, today's Russian propaganda is sophisticated, but it still is miles behind Anglophone propaganda. Soviet propaganda was believed by a small segment of the population on the far-left, not exceeding 5 to 20% in the West. The Anglos have controlled the narrative for nearly 80 years now.


This is the "what". IMHO going deeper the "why" would be more important. And for the likes of this Honourable Member, ultimately the question would be a "how" -- how to get the better of it.
#15059220
Atlantis wrote:The countries between Russia and Germany are culturally much closer to Russia than to the West. Nationalistic pig heads will always be at each other's throat. There is nothing anybody can do about it except for letting them get tired of it.

Poland is now completely without influence because it has isolated itself in Europe while pissing at Russia. To depend entirely on the US while alienating most neighbors is a recipe for disaster. They'll grow out of it in the end.


I would say most countries between Russia and Germany are culturally somewhere between, definitely not closer to Russia. The further east we look, the more support Russia has. It makes sense culturally, economically, politically. Slovakia is more pro Russian than Czech Republic, Poland is hostile to Russia for historical reasons, Ukraine had strong support for Russia until Donbass invasion. For historical reasons they do not trust Germany either. Having lived under communism they distrust the EU as well. EU is seen as enemy in some respects but at the same time there is no alternative at this time. Due to various reasons this region has developed good ground for "illiberal democracy" (Trump, Johnson seem to be falling into the same category but more western style). Attempts of the EU to "westernize" these countries have failed, they no longer see west as example worth following. But if you look at other parts of the world, its still a major success, also in hindsight to their history in 20th century. It is very hard to impose political systems and culture on other countries, just as US has learned.

EU has forgotten that influence goes both ways and what took ground in these countries can spread westward too as a response to problems west faces. But we can't blame Trump/Johnson on these countries. Although they were a few years ahead, people in west started seeking leaders with similar qualities kind of independently. Trumpism has big influence on Europe too.

Poland's government is not Europhile, thus having a Europhile in strong position in the EU is completely meaningless as such a person would never represent political interests of Poland in the EU. V4 cooperation is more valuable as interests of these countries are very similar. Furthermore lack of influence can be used to shift blame on the EU, thus projecting the image of current government as being the only defender of Poland, with the opposition portraited as traitors.

Rising influence of Russia and Putin in west was made possible only in recent decades with spread of 1.) Internet 2.) English as a global language. I unlike many others do not believe "Russian" troll farms can have significant influence. Soviet Union could be easily targeted in the past and ridiculed in west due to its totalitarian regime incompatible with western values. Russia lost the ability to attract left to its former communist ideology but also shed the negative image of Soviet Union. Today many on the internet, including in western countries see Putin as a role model for political leaders. Trump and Johnson are "westernized" versions of Putin. For now they are being held in check by western political systems which are more developed than those in the east.

I seriously doubt people will get tired of it. Political situation will continue to deteriorate. Migration issues, climate change, aging population, growing social injustice (cost of living in Berlin..), rise of China, inability of the EU to solve problems people face will all contribute and they are very hard to solve problems. Painful continued existence of the EU is most likely in my opinion until a major event like a new global economic crisis hits.
#15059237
@fokker, Western frustration about retrograde tendencies in Eastern Europe is understandable, but it's a mistake to overestimate the problem. These countries only have a very shallow experience with democracy. 20 years is not enough to lay the foundations for a solid democracy. Their passage to democracy was eased by the EU. That's why it went fairly smoothly, but it takes longer for mentalities to change. Even Spain, which is thoroughly modern and which has been in the EU for about 40 years, still lacks the democratic maturity to handle coalition governments in Madrid or Catalan independence.

The Visegrad 4 or pipe dreams about the Intermarium can be safely ignored. The differences between the V4 outweigh their similarities. While Poland is fiercely Russophobe, others are mildly or strongly Russophile. What they have in common is that they are closely linked to the German economy. That's what will determine their future direction.

After an initial enthusiasm for liberal democracy, the V4 experience today a certain return to authoritarianism and social conservatism, which unites them with Russia. The nationalism that is common to most of them is also what divides them the most. Just like in Italy and Austria, where the far-right might might form an ideological alliance, when push comes to shove (for example about migrants at their common border), the nationalists will fight each other tooth and claw.

Even if the V4 try to alternately play proxy for the US, Russia or China, it'll only serve to marginalize them in the EU. The Polish government likes to play the nationalistic card and bash Berlin or Brussels, but the EU has very high approval ratings in Poland. While the EU needs to ensure minimum standards of democracy and the rule of law, it is well advised to let them on a long leash until they come around in their own sweet time.

The EU's problem is not the V4, nor even Moscow or Beijing. The EU's problem is that Anglo imperialism is ruthless about the means it applies for dividing Europe. The benefits of the EU are substantial. It's that what holds the Union together. The differences in the EU are hyped up by the Anglophone media which aims to weaken Europe.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZE-H0yp1NCI Snow[…]

We do not need literal blasphemy laws in the so[…]

Election 2020

https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/biden-bad-week-ra[…]