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Art 072: 2014-04-12 Duitse verkiesing van 22 September 2013: Ek was nié verkeerd nie!

2014/04/12

http://www.sienervanrensburg.co.za
FH Pretorius,
Garsfontein,
Pretoria.

Die Duitse verkiesing is al ‘n paar maande agter die rug en die tyd is dalk nou reg om nabetragting oor my vorige artikel te begin doen. Die belangrikste wat ek in daardie artikel gesê het, soos dit vandag s’n raak, is soos volg:
(a) Angela Merkel sal die verkiesing wen.
(b) Die neo-Nazi groep sal minstens ernstig daarna streef om (sekere) sleutelposisies in haar kabinet te verkry, en hulle sal waarskynlik daarin slaag ook.
(c) Daar sal volgens alle aanduidinge op ‘n manier plek vir Baron zu Guttenberg in die Duitse kabinet gemaak word. Hy word beskou as ‘n politieke Wunderkind, en hy sal duidelik ook ‘n sleutelrol speel in die Vatikaan se beplanning om totale beheer oor Europa te verkry.
(d) Zu Guttenberg blyk ‘n baie goeie kandidaat te wees om die verwagtinge oor die Antichris te vervul. Dit is nie net sy persoonlike kwalifikasies en status wat ‘n rol hierin speel nie, maar ook die tydgleuf en gebeure waarin ons leef. Die tyd is reg vir hom om te kom.
(e) As my afleidinge korrek is kan ons ‘n tydskaal aflei wanneer die oorlog in Siener se visioene sal begin.

Ek wil graag op hierdie punt eers na ‘n saak verwys waarvoor daar nie later in die artikel plek sal wees nie. Hierdie Baron zu Guttenberg was ‘n baie gewilde en suksesvolle politikus in Duitsland voordat hy deur ‘n plagiaat skandaal gedwing is om op 1 Maart 2011 as Minister van Verdediging te bedank. Hy het hierna na die VSA uitgewyk, waar hy so gou as September dieselfde jaar (uit die bloute) genooi is om ‘n lid van die Center for Strategic and International Studies te word, en wel as ‘n sogenaamde Distinguished Statesman. (Sien ook by: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl-Theodor_zu_Guttenberg)

Dit is baie belangrik om hier in gedagte te hou dat hy op daardie stadium op geen manier meer gekwalifiseer het om ‘n staatsman van enige aard genoem te kan word nie, wat nog van een van ‘uitstaande gehalte’! Hy was bloot ‘n politieke has been wat in skande en skade uit sy eie land padgegee het om in ‘n ander land te gaan wegkruip…of natuurlik dalk ook om uit die oog te kom om nuwe reëlings vir sy politieke toekoms in plek te begin kry.

Een van die belangriker vrae wat hierdeur ontstaan, en miskien selfs die heel belangrikste een, is presies wie en wat die CSIS is, want ek kon baie min inligting oor hul beheerliggaam en hul presiese doelwitte opspoor. Dit sal nogal interessant wees om te weet wie hierdie organisasie regtig befonds. Miskien kan iemand my help met meer en beter inligting hieroor?

Wat ek wel maklik kon uitsorteer is dat Henry Kissinger ‘n lid van hierdie organisasie se Raad van Trustees is. Dit alleen is genoeg om rooi vlaggies te laat opgaan, want Kissinger is slegte nuus vir wie ookal met hom te doen kry! Ek sal hieronder ‘n bietjie uitbrei hierop, maar hy is natuurlik van Duitse afkoms, en ‘n mens kan nie help om te wonder óf en hoé hy (dalk ook) by die Vatikaan inskakel nie. Ek het lank terug in ‘n artikel verwys na die briefwisseling tussen hom en adv. Pik Botha waarin dit na vore kom dat albei van hulle eintlik verskuilde ‘eugenics’ is. Hierdie mense se wekroep is die uitdelging van die sogenaamde ‘modder rasse’ (Derde Wêreld), en hierdie doelstelling koppel baie direk aan die Naziisme. Die Naziisme, wat ‘n meer gespesialiseerde vorm van die Fascisme is, het noue historiese bande met die Roomse kerkleiding. Hulle is natuurlik saam verantwoordelik vir die moorde op tienduisende Kathare (Gnostisisme) in die vroeë Middeleeue. (Die Fascisme, rofweg gesien, is voorstaanders van enige soort diktatorskap, terwyl die Naziisme spesifiek na ‘n diktatorskap op grond van ras en rassesuiwerheid strewe.)

Baron zu Guttenberg het Duitsland skitterend op ekonomiese gebied gelei as Minister van Ekonomiese Sake in Angela Merkel se kabinet. Hy was dan ook verantwoordelik daarvoor dat Duitsland die enigste ekonomie in die Weste was wat nie net die finansiële krisisse van die afgelope tyd kon oorleef nie, maar selfs sterker aan die ander kant daarvan uitgekom het.

Sy werklike suksesse as politieke leier het egter gekom as gevolg van die hervorminge wat hy aan die Duitse militêre stelsel aangebring het. Ek sal ‘n lang storie kort maak deur bloot te sê dat hy:
(a) Die Duitse weermag omskep het in ‘n uiters suksesvolle en gevaarlike professionele aanvalsmag. Hierdie mag bestaan dan ook op hierdie stadium feitlik uitsluitlik uit hoog opgeleide en absoluut toegewyde ‘spes-mag’ elemente. Dit beteken onder andere dat elke soldaat professioneel in verskillende dissiplines opgelei word, sodat hy op ‘n wyer front aangewend kan word. Hy word dus letterlik opgelei om iets soos ‘n ‘drie-in-een’ soort soldaat te wees!
(b) Hy het toegesien dat die Duitse Wapenbedryf gemoderniseer en uitgebrei word. Daar is nog steeds geen land ter wêreld wat kan kers vashou by die kwaliteit van Duitse wapentuig nie, en hulle is een van die grootste wapen uitvoerders in die wêreld.
(c) Hy het die vorige opperbevelvoerder met ‘n lelike slenter uit sy pos laat ‘uitwerk’ om hom met ‘n nuwe man van sy keuse te vervang. Die netto effek hiervan is dat die top leiergroep van die Duitse militêre waarskynlik reeds tot ‘n groot mate vervang is met die ‘regte’ mense wat zu Guttenberg erken as hul werklike en enigste leier.
(d) Hy het die nodige reëlings getref, en selfs deure oop geforseer hiervoor, om die Duitse soldate praktiese blootstelling aan ‘n oorlog situasie (in die Midde-Ooste) te gee. Hy het ook Duitse militêre basisse in die Midde-Ooste laat oprig, en het Iran in die proses heeltemal omring met militêre basisse. Hierdie is ‘n situasie wat beslis fyn dopgehou moet word, want dit is nie om dowe neute gedoen nie. Duitsland het ‘n ooreenkoms met Rusland gesluit waarvolgens hulle onder andere die alleenreg het die toevoer van Russiese olie na Europa te beheer. Dit lyk dus of Duitsland dalk ook in die beheer van die olievelde in die Midde-Ooste kan belangstel. Dit sal Duitsland natuurlik absoluut in beheer van Europa en die VK plaas.
(e) Maar miskien is sy grootste sukses te vinde in die feit dat hy letterlik die Duitse soldaat se selfrespek vir hom terug gegee het. Hy het baie moeite gedoen om die politieke en maatskaplike klimaat in Duitsland teenoor die militêre te verander van angs en minagting na algemene aanvaarding, (self-) respek en trots. En as ‘n politieke leier die toegewyde Duitse soldaat eers dáár het, het hy ‘n gewaarborgde wenresep beet!

Die feit van die saak is dat die Duitse weermag letterlik uit sy hand eet, en hy is dus die enigste mens in die hele wêreld wat nie net ‘n geslaagde staatsgreep in Duitsland sal kan uitvoer nie, maar selfs ‘n gewilde een daarby! En ja, omdat dit Duitsland is sal hy op hierdie manier natuurlik ook die hele Europa onder sy beheer kan kry.

Iets wat sommer baie interessant is hier is ‘n mededeling wat adv. Piet Pretorius aan my gemaak het net nadat my vorige artikel verskyn het (Art 073: 2013-09-18…) Ek het hom ‘n ruk daarna gebel oor iets, maar hy sê toe tydens die gesprek dat hy my verwysing na ‘n ‘beskaafde staatsgreep’ deur die Nazi’s baie interessant gevind het. En toe sê hy vir my dat hy reeds in 1996 in sy boek Volkshoop gesê het dat hy ‘n neo-Nazi staatsgreep in Duitsland verwag kort voor die volgende wêreldoorlog uitbreek! Ek het nie hiervan geweet nie en ek het dadelik moeite gedoen om die boek in die hande te kry om dit self te lees. Die opmerking van hom verskyn op p114 van daardie boek.

Ek dink egter ons moet darem ook verstaan dat hierdie opmerking geskryf is in die lig van wat in 1996, bekend was, en dat dit grotendeels berus op wat op daardie stadium oor Siener se visioene gesê is. Wat dit betref moet ek sê dat ek geensins hierdie skrywer se integriteit in twyfel trek nie, inteendeel, maar ek plaas wel ‘n groot en vet vraagteken oor die kwaliteit van die inligting oor Siener wat op daardie stadium tot sy beskikking was.

Die situasie wat daar beskryf is het in elk geval intussen heeltemal verander, al is dit dan ook net dat ek agtergekom het dat die Boervolk nie regtig (weer) met ‘n staatsgreep aan bewind gaan kom nie. Daar kan dalk mense wees wat oor so ‘n poging droom, en ten spyte van die Boeremag saak dit selfs oorweeg ook, maar dit is iets wat op geen manier kán werk nie.

Die konserwatiewe deel van die Boervolk gaan ook nie meteens die gesag oor die hele land terugkry nie, maar sal aanvanklik tevrede moet wees met die Noord-Vrystaat en Noordwes Provinsie as relatief ‘onafhanklike’ Volkstate. Hierdie beheer oor die twee Volkstate sal die resultaat wees van ‘n vrye en algemene demokratiese verkiesing en nie as gevolg van ‘n blanke staatsgreep nie. Die visioenêre verhaal dui aan dat dit sonder die deelname van enige swart politieke groepe aan die proses sal wees. Dit gaan, om die waarheid te sê, minstens ‘n (swart) revolusie, gevolg deur ‘n bloederige burgeroorlog binne ‘n internasionale oorlog, kos voordat die Christus gelowige Boervolk weer beheer oor die hele Suid-Afrika verkry. Die verwysing na ‘Suid-Afrika’ sluit natuurlik ‘n groter gebied in as die huidige, naamlik vanaf Kaapstad tot by die grens met die Soedan heel bo in Afrika, noord en wes van kus tot kus.

Maar hoekom die baie klem wat ek op zu Guttenberg plaas? Ek het tot op hierdie punt nog maar net sy spesifieke status vlak in die oë van die Duitse volk uitgewys, maar kom ons kyk ook kortliks na die verskuilde, maar nogtans dramatiese wyse waarop zu Guttenberg se politieke loopbaan ‘n tweede asem gekry het. Of kan ons aan die hand van bykomende inligting dalk eerder hier aanvaar dat sy WERKLIKE loopbaan nou uiteindelik op koers begin kom het? En iets wat sommer baie interessant is hier, is dat sy optrede op hierdie stadium meer die van ‘n invloedryke diplomaat is as wat dit met uitvoerende politieke gesag te doen het. Die indruk wat ek kry is dat hy op hierdie stadium bloot besig is om die algemene publiek gewoond te maak daaraan dat hy terug is….maar op ‘n hoër vlak as bloot ‘n kabinetsminister.

Maar so was ek nie regtig verkeerd met my aannames in die vorige artikel nie….ek was maar net nie reg genoeg nie. Maar wie het kon dink dat hierdie saak op hierdie interessante manier sou ontwikkel? Die fout wat ek gemaak het was dat zu Guttenberg nie regtig ‘n pos in die Duitse kabinet nodig het om Europa via die Duitse regering te kan beheer nie. Hy kan dit mos vir dieselfde geld van die kantlyn af doen ook, soos dit nou begin gebeur, totdat die tyd ryp is vir ‘n aankondiging oor ‘n amptelike aanstelling. Dit sal uit die aard van die saak op ‘n direkte wyse van die Europa Regering as sulks kom.

Wat natuurlik baie belangrik is hier, is dat sy beeld sekerlik eers ‘n bietjie gepoets sal moet word voordat ons so ‘n aankondiging kan verwag. Hy was per slot van sake gedwing om uit die politiek te bedank as gevolg van ‘n baie on-korrekte politieke daad: plagiaat is dieselfde as diefstal, en hy het homself skuldig verklaar daaraan toe hy vrywilliglik op 1 Maart 2011 bedank het. Merkel sou nie anders kon doen as om hom af te dank as minister as hy nie self geloop het nie.

Ek dink dit is egter baie belangrik om te verstaan dat die nodige erkenning vir sy nuwe, verhoogde status reeds plaasgevind het!

Dit is geruime tyd reeds bekend dat Duitsland Amerika vervang het as die nuwe (Westerse) Supermoondheid, en dit spreek vanself dat Frau Merkel daarmee saam ook ‘n baie spesiale en senior posisie in die wêreldpolitiek sal beklee. Haar spesifieke statusvlak sal dus ook bepaal wie as amptelike besoekers tot haar kantoor toegelaat sal word, en wie nie. Dit is nie enigeen wat daar sal inkom nie, en dit is dan ook bykans ondenkbaar dat leiers van kleiner lande maklik toegang tot haar kantoor sal verkry. En ek dink ons kan hiermee saam ook aanvaar dat daar veral nie plek vir gediskrediteerde politici in daardie kantoor sal wees nie.

Dit beteken dus in die praktyk dat besoeke aan haar kantoor beperk sal word tot slegs amptelike besoeke van ‘n paar werklike top, top staatsmanne. Maar dit lei onmiddellik tot ‘n baie interessante situasie én vraag, want Baron zu Guttenberg het juis op 4 November 2013 so ‘n amptelike besoek aan haar kantoor gebring asof hy ‘n top, top internasionale staatsman kán wees. En toe die media vra wat die rede en die agenda vir die besoek was, met in agneming van wie haar besoeker werklik is, is hulle kortaf afgejak met die antwoord: Die samesprekinge en die agenda is streng geheim! [Ek plaas die volledige berig as Byvoegsel 1 hieronder, want ek weet nie of die algemene publiek toegang tot dit sal kan kry nie. ‘n Mens moet by hulle aansluit daarvoor.]

Maar dit beteken, prakties gesien, dat niemand minder as die Kanselier van die magtige Duitsland amptelik erkenning gegee het aan die CSIS se aandrang dat zu Guttenberg ‘n Distinguished Statesman is! Die groot vraag is natuurlik nou wie hy dan verteenwoordig, want hy is sedert 2011 nie meer ‘n amptelike politieke leier van enige aard in enige staat nie. Die antwoord hierop het op 7 Januarie 2014 gekom, en wel in die vorm van ‘n artikel wat onder sy naam in ‘n tydskrif gepubliseer is. [Ek gee die artikel volledig hieronder as Byvoegsel 2.]

Hierdie artikel word algemeen in internasionale politieke kringe aanvaar as ‘uitvoerend gesaghebbend’, asof hy oor die nodige gesag beskik om nie net namens die Duitse regering te praat nie, maar in werklikheid namens die Europa Regering! Die feit van die saak is dat niemand enige beswaar hierteen aangeteken het nie, veral nie die Duitse regering nie, en ook nie die Europa Regering nie.

Wie en wat is zu Guttenberg dan regtig as hy toegelaat word om sulke dinge te kan regkry? Die antwoord is eintlik eenvoudig, en al wat kortkom is ‘n amptelike soort aankondiging dat hy intussen stilweg aangestel is uitvoerende hoof van die Europa Regering. Sover ek weet is Van Rompuy nog die ER se amptelike staatshoof, maar ek wonder of hy nie maar net ‘n frontman vir die rêrige president was nie.

Die feit van die saak, wat dan ookal agter die skerms aan die gang mag wees, is egter dat die CSIS die status van Distinguished Statesman sonder enige geldige rede in 2011 aan zu Guttenberg toegeken het, dat Frau Merkel dit as die leier van Europa se leierland erken het, en dat die res van Europa se regerings gedweë by die anti-Rusland betoog in sy artikel ingeval het.

Maar dit is nie waar hierdie storie eindig nie. Zu Guttenberg is nou skynbaar besig om sy spiere ernstig te begin losmaak en dit in die openbaar te begin bult. Hy het op grond van die Russiese ingryping in die Ukraine ‘n paar moontlike maatreëls in ‘n artikel gepubliseer hoe om Rusland hok te slaan. Hy lys ‘n hele paar sulke moontlikhede, wat onder andere diplomatieke en ekonomiese sanksies insluit, maar dan vra hy ook dat NAVO ‘n plan moet maak om militêr daar te gaan ingryp. Ek plaas ook hierdie artikel onderaan as Byvoegsel 3.

Dit het egter nog nie so vêr gegaan nie, en ek twyfel of hy/hulle op hierdie stadium regtig militêr sal optree. Máár, en ek dink dit is baie belangrik, die diplomatieke waarskuwing is nou, in die openbaar nogal!, aan Rusland gerig en daardie land kan dit op hierdie stadium nog nie werklik ignoreer nie. Iemand het in elk geval ‘n ruk gelede gesê, net nadat die jongste verdrag tussen Duitsland en Rusland bekend gemaak is, dat elke verdrag tussen hierdie twee lande nog altyd baie gou opgevolg is met ‘n oorlog tussen hulle.

Kom ons kyk maar wat gebeur verder.

Groete,
Frik Pretorius.
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Byvoegsel 1:
https://www.thetrumpet.com/article/11095.7.0.0/guttenbergs-secret-meeting-with-angela-merkel
Guttenberg’s ‘Secret’ Meeting With Angela Merkel
November 8, 2013 • From theTrumpet.com
Germany’s rumor mill is churning. Is Guttenberg about to return to politics?
The arrival of a black BMW at the chancellery building in Berlin doesn’t normally raise eyebrows. After all, this is where Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor and the most powerful politician in Europe, works. One doesn’t arrive for a meeting with Merkel on a moped. (Though I wouldn’t put it past Vladimir Putin.)
But on Monday the arrival of a black BMW at Berlin’s chancellery building did raise eyebrows—and not just ours. The Bild in Germany was the first to report on Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg’s visit with Angela Merkel. Since then, a number of media outlets have noted Guttenberg’s surprise meeting and speculated on what might be afoot. Is Merkel about to invite him into her government? Is Guttenberg being recruited to help out with the disintegrating U.S.-Germany relationship? Was it merely a matter of two old friends getting together for coffee?
Although we don’t know the answers to these questions, there are four noteworthy reasons this meeting could prove significant.
First, it shows that Guttenberg is no longer in the doghouse. Although he was once Germany’s most popular politician, Guttenberg, for the past 2½ years—thanks to a plagiarism scandal that forced him from office and banished him from the country—has been a political leper. German politicians have been avoiding him, at least publicly, lest their reputation be tarnished. In a way, Monday’s meeting marks the return of Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg into Germany’s political fold. He did it in style too, meeting with the German chancellor herself—and at the chancellery!
Second, the meeting was unofficial and off-the-books. Even Merkel’s closest aides were kept in the dark. This is unusual for a world leader whose time is incredibly valuable and is always carefully managed by a team of minders. Bild and others reported the meeting as “secret.” But that’s hard to believe. If you really want a meeting to be secret, you meet at home or in a cabin in the forest. You don’t meet at the chancellery, rolling up in a shiny black BMW, window down, smile beaming. Merkel and Guttenberg might want the content of the meeting to be a secret—but they did not intend for the meeting itself to be secret.
Third, the meeting reportedly lasted roughly an hour. An hour with someone of Merkel’s stature is an eternity. That amount of time is usually only allotted to a fellow world leader or a statesman of high regard. For Merkel to personally carve out an entire hour from her schedule for Guttenberg reveals his importance, and the importance of whatever it is they discussed.
Fourth, the agenda of the meeting was not formally disclosed. Usually, when formal meetings take place an agenda is produced. There’s often a press conference. This wasn’t the case on Monday. Instead, a Merkel spokesman informed us that the chancellor simply wanted Guttenberg’s opinion on the NSA scandal and Edward Snowden. Other than that, we have no details about what these two talked about. There is nothing wrong with this, but it does raise questions.
The Trumpet isn’t the only one wondering what’s going on here. On Wednesday, Germany’s N-TV noted that the “ALMOST CONSPIRATORIAL CIRCUMSTANCES PROVIDE FOR POLITICAL SPECULATION IN THE BERLIN OPERATION” (emphasis added throughout). In its report on the meeting, Die Welt noted casually at the end of its article that Merkel is still in negotiations with the CSU, CDU and SPD, and has yet to finalize her cabinet. The hint was clear: Is Merkel considering giving Guttenberg a post within her new government? Others believe Merkel might be thinking about recruiting Guttenberg, an experienced statesman with many friends in Washington, to manage Germany’s tempestuous relationship with America.
As I explained last week, Guttenberg is a fascinating individual and someone to watch closely. His prominence is rising, and he’s emerging as a thoughtful and serious voice on German politics and international relations both in America and Germany. If you haven’t seen it already, watch this short interview with Fareed Zakaria on CNN during which Guttenberg was questioned on the impact of the NSA spying on U.S.-German relations. His point about Barack Obama damaging Merkel’s image in Germany is excellent:
Now, we are at the level that European leaders don’t only lose faith in a partner, BUT ALSO THEIR FACE. So the face-losing aspect of it is [important]. Take the example of Angela Merkel. She was defending the NSA program this summer, this summer. She was publicly defending it, despite there being an election campaign. It was not very popular as you can imagine. But she was, as a committed Tran-Atlantasist, she defended the NSA program. But then to learn two or three months later that she personally was tapped, and then to learn that actually the American president knew about it already in the summer. That’s one of the moments which I would consider as being face-losing relevance.
A few days prior, Guttenberg made a similar point in an article for Project-Syndicate. In the article he explained that the damage can only be repaired if America’s president apologizes to Merkel and Germany: “In the case of the NSA scandal, an unequivocal apology by Obama is the only viable solution to leave the past behind and move forward.”
There are a lot of details we don’t know about this meeting. It’s possible this was merely a meeting between two old friends. (Guttenberg was in Merkel’s cabinet as defense minister before he retired.) But it’s hard not to wonder if something else, something more significant, is going on. Angela Merkel RIGHT AT THIS MOMENT is trying to manage the largest crisis in U.S.-German relations in modern times. Meanwhile, she’s fervently trying to forge an alliance with her political partners and install a new cabinet to lead Germany.
I’m not sure about you, but it’s hard for me to believe that Merkel, amid all this, merely invited Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg to the chancellery for a coffee to catch up on old times. ▪
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Byvoegsel 2:
http://time.com/231/putin-is-basking-in-an-astonishing-leadership-vacuum/#ixzz2plTZcjnG
Ahead of Sochi, Putin has thrown his weight around — but Russia is still crumbling under the strain of his tyranny
Zu Guttenberg is a former German Minister of Defense and Minister of Economics, now at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Kasparov is the leader of the Russian pro-democracy group United Civil Front and chairman of the U.S.-based Human Rights Foundation.
Since Vladimir Putin’s official return to power in 2012, the Russian President seems to have set his mind on teaching the rest of the world a few simple lessons. First, that he shall not be underestimated on the international stage; second, that Moscow will keep reasserting control over what it considers to be its legitimate sphere of influence for Russia; and finally, that he shall do whatever he pleases at home. To convey his message, Putin has supported a murderous dictator, lectured the U.S. about multilateralism, blackmailed his neighbors into accepting Moscow’s ironfisted embrace, inflamed anti-American and anti-gay sentiments, and brutally cracked down on dissidents.
From Syria and the Snowden saga to blatant human-rights violations and, most recently, pressuring Ukraine’s leadership into a sudden change of heart on its association with the E.U., Putin has managed to bedevil the West all year long. His latest clemency decision for some prominent critics of the regime, only two months before the Olympics in Sochi, lacks credibility; it is an arbitrary reflection of being at an autocrat’s mercy, not an act of mercy under the rule of law.
When it comes to the honorable title of Bully of the Year, the Russian President surely triumphed in 2013. But all too often bullies fail with their homework. Russia’s economy is crumbling. Moscow revised downward its economic outlook in December, the fourth time it did so last year. Growth, investment and industrial output are all below previously set targets, while inflation has risen to above 6%. This is not a short-term disturbance only, but the sign of the chronic shortfalls of a centralized and corrupt state. Russia seems to have completely misread the scale and pace of the energy revolution, and its overdependence on natural resources has now become an imminent threat to its economy.
Crony capitalism and the heavy hand of the state has led to steady brain drain among the educated Russians needed for any real economy to thrive. Sclerosis persists in the public sphere as well, with everything from the health care system to the vaunted Russian army falling to pieces under the weight of graft and neglect. The cash reserves, now dwindling after being built by years of record energy prices, go to internal security and propaganda, hardly the budget priorities of a confident leadership.
And what is really happening to Russia’s standing in the world? It might be impossible to ignore Putin, but his behavior has hardly earned him any new friends — quite the contrary. A somewhat overlooked aspect of the contest over Ukraine is the role Berlin has played in it. Germany is the country that has often emphasized the importance of building bridges to Russia, and has come up with policies like “change through rapprochement.” But by now, Putin’s zero-sum game mentality and hard power push have provoked even the otherwise not-so-confrontational German Chancellor to take action. Germany has embraced the cause of Ukraine’s association with the E.U., it has offered to provide medical treatment for the imprisoned politician Yulia Tymoshenko, and its Foreign Minister traveled to Kiev to meet with demonstrators. While scoring a probably Pyrrhic victory, Putin has alienated an important partner. Ironically, he also achieved what no pleas from the U.S. President or fellow European leaders could do: Germany finally assumed leadership on a difficult foreign policy issue.
Moreover, Putin also made the E.U. look much better than it otherwise does these days. On first sight, the E.U. Association Agreement is a remarkably boring document, whose benefits only become evident in the long term. Yet its adoption has become synonymous with signing up for democracy, the rule of law and economic progress. We have gotten all too used to popular protest against the E.U.’s undemocratic power grabs, to politicians likening Brussels to the Moscow of the Soviet era and to discussions about different countries’ potential exits from the grand European project. Ukrainians have now reminded us of the transformative influence that the always too slow and never too effective E.U. can still have on young democracies.
Whether they are real successes or not for Putin, recent events should serve as a wake-up call for leaders on both sides of the Atlantic. The U.S. should return to long-term and extensive foreign policy planning. The primary reason for Putin’s self-aggrandizing behavior is the astonishing leadership vacuum in the world. Washington’s recent preference to let other nations, including Russia, lead on international affairs has eroded the U.S.’s authority. However, the U.S. seems to slowly realize now that to influence Putin it must speak his language, that of power. Still, it has to use the right tools. The Magnitsky Act, designed to punish Russian officials for human-rights abuses, is one of the available tools, but so far Washington seems to lack the will to use it.
As for Europe, it finally seems to recognize that it needs to be capable of taking care of its own neighborhood. The frozen conflicts in the post-Soviet space have been ignored for far too long. Why did it take a war in Georgia to realize that Tbilisi required more assistance from Europe? Why did it come as a surprise that Armenia, a country on the brink of an open confrontation with Azerbaijan, could be ruthlessly pressured into anything by Russia as long as Moscow is the one providing for its security? Will it now be spurred by another country retreating from the Eastern Partnership program, or will the E.U. face the problem of how vulnerable the Transnistria conflict makes Moldova?
Russia’s behavior toward Ukraine might hand Europe an opportunity to become more united and effective in its foreign policy. This would not be the first time Putin’s aggressive policies backfired. One of the most remarkable achievements of the E.U. recently is how it has learned to stand up against Gazprom’s monopolistic practices. A few years ago, the E.U.-Russia energy relations were all about the former’s defenselessness. Today, the news is about raids in Gazprom’s European offices, the European Commission’s plans to try the energy giant in an antitrust case and most recently, Brussels’ calls for the renegotiation of Gazprom’s bilateral agreements. As a result, it is now Gazprom that has started working toward a settlement with the E.U.
In 2006, observers and leaders inside and out of Russia expressed doubts as to the true nature of Putin and what he was creating. Now those doubts seem to be gone: for many, Russia has moved from the domination of one party to the despotism of one man. And yet on Jan. 1, 2014, Russia became the chair of the G-8, the group of the world’s major industrial democracies, despite being neither a functioning democracy nor an industrial economy. The remaining seven governments must ask themselves why they embrace an unacceptable status quo.
The past few weeks of headlines out of Russia should also serve notice to those who claim that Putin’s repression has at least come with the benefits of predictability and stability. The sudden and unexplained release of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the institution of martial law around the Sochi Olympics region, the twin terrorist bombings in Volgograd — these are not the signs of a stable and reliable environment. Disconnected from the people, every authoritarian government inevitably faces challenges beyond its ability to respond and to produce a positive agenda. This unmooring often leads to the creation of scapegoats and enemies and to increasingly erratic behavior.
Another recent move by Putin illustrates quite well his priorities and outlook for the future. On Dec. 9, he suddenly announced the dissolution of the state news agency RIA Novosti and the formation of a new, apparently strictly propaganda outlet. This is an additional step down the spiral of despotism: when reality does not conform to the needs of the people, produce more propaganda to convince the people that reality is not real. However, in this era of Internet and globalization, the truth cannot be hidden for long.
The recent events in Kiev should caution us against assessments that put policy over principles and attempts to stand in the path of history for the sake of a more comfortable present. The massive pro-E.U. crowds in Ukraine serve as a perfect example to the Kremlin and its beleaguered subjects that there is no genetic condition called immunity to democracy. How will the E.U. and the U.S. react to the — probably inevitable — rise of the Russian people? Let us hope they are not too meek to stand up for the universal values on which they were founded.
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Byvoegsel 3:
http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/karl-theodor-zu-guttenberg-and-bogdan-klich-set-out-the-key-principles-that-should-guide-the-west-s-response-to-russia-s-invasion-of-ukraine
Disrupting Putin’s Game Plan
MUNICH – No sooner did the Sochi Winter Games end than Russia bade farewell to the Olympic spirit by invading and occupying a foreign country. With its aggression against Ukraine, the Kremlin has breached the United Nations Charter, the Helsinki Final Act, and other international agreements, including the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances and the Black Sea basing agreement, which spelled out Russia’s relations with Ukraine.
Crimea has been turned into a military zone, and its inhabitants might soon find themselves trapped in the firing line if the crisis continues to escalate. Russians now face international diplomatic and economic isolation, thus exacerbating their country’s economic woes. And Russian President Vladimir Putin’s reckless gamble risks dragging the world into a wider conflict.
In light of Putin’s dangerous behavior, the West must rethink its stance toward him. Here is a leader who read a hidden, menacing agenda into a technical European Union document about export subsidies and anti-fraud provisions. More broadly, here is a paranoiac who sees an implausible coalition of liberal Russians, Ukrainian fascists, the CIA, and Islamist terrorists trying to thwart his preferences, if not topple him, at every turn.
Indeed, what we are seeing is not an unfortunate over-reaction to recent events, but a result of meticulous preparation. Armies do not mobilize 150,000 troops within days, or have vehicles and thousands of uniforms without insignias ready, or hold military exercises in peaceful regions of the world without warning.
It would be a mistake for NATO to respond to Russia’s provocations with similar saber rattling. After all, the United States and the EU still have a range of tools to modify Putin’s calculus, or that of those bankrolling his regime. Most important, the US and Europe must cooperate much more closely than they have so far. The impression of disunity on sanctions plays into Putin’s hands.
Some EU members, like Germany, must live up to the expectations they have recently raised. If German leaders are serious about instituting a “culture of responsibility,” they are obliged to act accordingly, even if doing so entails economic costs. The West should also listen carefully to Ukraine’s neighbor, Poland, which probably has the deepest insight into the complexities of the crisis.
Most important, it is essential to adhere to certain key principles:
Use diplomacy. Europe, the US, and Japan have already suspended their cooperation with Russia in the G-8. Similarly, the OECD should put Russia’s accession process on hold. Following punitive measures by the US, the EU has now decided on some “soft” sanctions. But modest steps like suspending talks on visa liberalization will not impress the Kremlin much. Stronger signals, such as cancellation or suspension of agreements concerning the South Stream gas pipeline and a trade embargo on arms and dual-use items, merit serious consideration.
Impose targeted sanctions against those responsible for Russia’s Crimean incursion. An obvious tool here is to broaden the US Magnitsky Act, which prohibits the 18 people identified as being directly responsible for the detention, abuse, and death of the Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky from entering the US or using its financial system.
The Magnitsky Act should be amended to include the names of political and military leaders responsible for the invasion of Ukraine. Moreover, the modified bill should be adopted by the US and the EU simultaneously – thus delivering a credible threat to freeze the foreign assets of Russia’s government, state-owned companies, individual officials, and relevant oligarchs.
Engage Russians. The West needs to communicate to ordinary Russians the spuriousness of Putin’s zero-sum, us-versus-them narrative. Closer relations between Ukraine and the EU pose no threat to Russia; on the contrary, a Ukraine closely integrated with its Western neighbors could boost Russia’s economy as well. That may be irrelevant to a leader who is guided by visions of restored imperial glory, but not to the people under his rule. Knocking holes in the Kremlin’s wall of propaganda will not be easy, but it should not be impossible in our hyper-connected world.
Support Ukraine with financial aid – as the EU has now done –and by securing its upcoming elections. Military assistance should include, at a minimum, Western intelligence sharing and cooperation through the NATO-Ukraine Commission. Should the situation deteriorate further, the West should also provide medical aid and surveillance assets. If the 2008 Russo-Georgian war is any guide, NATO’s Cyber Defense Center should help Ukraine prepare for a large-scale digital offensive.
Defend NATO allies. NATO should discuss concrete steps to protect its members. Ukraine borders four NATO members (Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania), while a fifth (Turkey), along with Romania, borders the Black Sea. Moreover, Estonia and Latvia are alarmed at Russia’s geopolitical ambitions, especially given the pretext of protecting ethnic kin. Both have populations that are about 25% Russian – a legacy of their Soviet past. Finally, Poland and Lithuania border Kaliningrad, Russia’s exclave in the middle of Europe (and the scene of its most recent combat-readiness exercise).
This is a time for diplomacy, and NATO must try to avoid direct confrontation, but not at all costs. It must reckon that Russia’s actions might deliberately run counter to a peaceful settlement. The alliance cannot afford to launch a lengthy and heated debate about the deployment of its forces and capabilities only at the moment diplomatic efforts fail.
When Ukrainians stood up against their corrupt elite, they became the first people to put their lives on the line for the goal of EU membership. The result was unwarranted retaliation from Russia.
So this is not Ukraine’s war. Ukraine is the immediate victim, but it is by no means Putin’s ultimate target. This is a blatant attack on the principles of state sovereignty, inviolability of negotiated borders, and adherence to multilateral agreements that underpin today’s rule-based international system. Countering Russia’s aggression is thus the responsibility of all who would uphold that system.

Read more at http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/karl-theodor-zu-guttenberg-and-bogdan-klich-set-out-the-key-principles-that-should-guide-the-west-s-response-to-russia-s-invasion-of-ukraine#gJWlO8x0DEFZTwFg.99
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