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FTR #918 The Trumpenkampfverbande, Part 1: German Ostpolitik, Part 1

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This broadcast was recorded in one, 60-minute segment.

NB: This description contains material not included in the original program.

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Introduction: Donald Trump’s pronouncements about Russia’s policy vis a vis Ukraine and Crimea, his relatively benign statements about Putin, Putin’s relatively benign statements about Trump, Trump’s comments that are critical of NATO and the relationship between former Trump campaign aide Paul Manafort and Victor Yanukovich (the pro-Russian former president of Ukraine) have led many to view Trump as a “Putin/Kremlin/Russian” “dupe/agent.”

In the next two broadcasts, we analyze Trump’s views and associations in this regard in the context of traditional German “Ostpolitik,” as manifested by the postwar Federal Republic of Germany and the Underground Reich in particular.

It is our considered opinion that Trump, far from being a “Putin/Kremlin/Russian” “dupe/pawn/agent” is an associate and operative of the Underground Reich and his attitudes toward Russia, Putin, Crimea and NATO reflect German “Ostpolitik.”

For centuries, German and Prussian leaders and strategists have sought practical alliances and non-aggression pacts with Russia as a vehicle for securing their Eastern frontier, enhancing their commercial trade infrastructure and furthering their European and global hegemonic goals.

In the Cold War and “New Cold War” eras, this Ostpolitik serves as a “good cop/bad cop” dynamic, giving Germany leverage with the U.S. and Russia/U.S.S.R. by creating ” . . . the heated atmosphere of an auction room where two eager opponents outbid each other. . . .”

First, the program presents a thumbnail synopsis of this traditional German “Ostpolitik.”

  • 1762–Frederick the Great: Frederick’s secret pact with Czar Peter III disrupted the great European coalition which had almost crushed Prussia in the Seven Years War. This pact saved Prussia from total defeat and led to the first partition of Poland.
  • 1887–Chancellor von Bismarck: The “Iron Chancellor” made a secret pact (“re-insurance treaty”) with Russia which secured Germany’s Eastern frontier. He made Germany the strongest military power on the continent, and German “Weltpolitik” set out to intimidate France and to undermine the Anglo-Saxon world.
  • 1922–General Hans von Seeckt: General von Seeckt created a new army after Germany’s defeat in World War I. His secret deals with Moscow culminated in the Rapallo Treaty, which rocked the Western world on Easter Sunday, 1922.
  • 1926–Gustav Streseman: Sresemann, a “good European,” signed a neutrality pact with the Soviets which, in effect, was a return to Bismarck’s policy of securing the Eastern frontier. While Stresemann feigned friendship for the West, the Wehrmacht Chief, General von Seeckt, contemplated “war against the West in alliance with the East.”
  • 1939–Von Ribbentrop & Stalin: Hitler’s Foreign Minister, after months of secret negotiations with the Soviets, signed on August 23, 1939, a so-called “Non-aggression” Pact in Moscow. A week later Hitler launched his war against Poland, the opening move of World War II.

Next, we highlight “An Open Letter to Stalin” published in the Buerger Zeitung, a leading German-language paper in the United States. Noteworthy for our purposes here is the fact that the paper is the de-facto outlet for the Steuben Society, the top pan-German organization in the United States. As will be seen below, the Steuben Society was part of the Nazi Fifth Column in the U.S. before World War II and part of the Underground Reich infrastructure in this country after the war. In the latter capacity, it advocated for the release and rehabilitation of Nazis, including war criminals.

Also of significance is the fact that the author, Bruno Fricke, was an associate of Otto Strasser. Strasser, along with his brother Gregor, was part of Ernst Rohm’s SA. Rohm was liquidated in the Night of the Long Knives, along with Gregor Strasser. Otto escaped to Czechoslavakia.

We should also underscore that the Buerger Zeitung was very anti-Communist and strongly supportive of Joseph McCarthy’s witch hunts. Donald Trump’s lawyer for years was Roy Cohn, McCarthy’s top aide.

Waffen SS-clad World War II reenactors, in original photo used by Trump

Waffen SS-clad World War II reenactors, in original photo used by Trump

Three years after that letter was published in the Buerger Zeitung, the Soviet Union responded with its Soviet Note of 3/10/1952. One of the most important aspect of the analysis of this event is the German plan to achieve a united Europe under German domination, which has, of course, been achieved. ” . . . In the pro-Adenauer press, including the The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Christ und Welt, The Deutsche Zeitung of Stuttgart, editorials have been written assuring the Russians that Dr. Adenauer’s policy aims to create the security necessary for both the Germans and the Russians, and that this can only be brought about after Germany had become a third power factor which could employ its influence in such a way as to deter the United States “from starting a preventive war.” [The aggressive U.S./NATO stance toward Ukraine and Russia are impressing many around the world in a fashion that would be familiar to those in the early 1950’s–D.E.] Thus, while, in the short run, the Bonn Government aims to create a United Europe, it hopes ultimately to reach a solid understanding with the Soviets at the expense of the United States. . . .”

This “Europa Germanica”–the EU in the event–was, in turn, to become a Third Force. In exchange for moving away from the push for a Third World War and pulling Europe out of NATO, this Third Force would gain concessions from the Soviets. Also of note is the fact that a major feature of this United Europe would be an all-European army, also under German domination.

” . . . The German Chancellor’s plan is that the U.S.A. is now so deeply committed to her European defense pledge that she will readily sacrifice dozens of billions of dollars in the strengthening and the rearming of a German-dominated Europe. After is this accomplished, Dr. Adenauer’s grandiose concept envisions negotiations with Russia with the prospect of getting substantial territorial concessions from the Kremlin in Eastern Europe for which Germany in return will break away, with the whole of Western Europe, from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. . . .” Trump’s pronouncements about NATO are to be seen in this context.

As we shall see later, a major push is underway to establish a “Euro-corps”–precisely the sort of German-dominated European army that was envisioned in the early 1950s.

” . . . . The reaction of the German strategists to the Soviet Note of March 10, 1952, however, exposes their true designs. German geo-political journals speak of it as “the highest trump card in the hands of the Chancellor” which will enable him to mow down the resistance of France against Germany’s concept of a united Europe. The pro-Adenauer press interpreted the Russian Note as a tremendous asset in speeding up the timetable for the creation of a European army under German domination. . . .”

What we are seeing with Trump’s positive words about Russia and negative stance toward NATO is precisely the ideological and geopolitical posture advocated by Adenauer, the pan-Germanists and the Underground Reich in the early 1950s.

Developing analysis of the Steuben society, we note its role as part of the Nazi fifth column in this country prior to World War II:

“. . . Aristocrat in its class, the Steuben Society hated the Bund because of its difference in tactics, shunned wild Nazi talk and avoided in recent years the public heiling of Hitler, while the Bund continued as before. . . . It goes back to his [Steuben Society President Theodore H. Hoffman] trip to Germany and his reception by Hitler. Hoffman told the story in a by-lined article in the December 20, 1934 issue of the Deutscher Beobachter published in New York: ‘Whoever thinks that National-Socialism rules by oppression, is mistaken. . . . My personal impressions of Hitler were that he is an idealist, an unusual organizer and a man of tremendous energy. It is my conviction that he is honest and sincere in his endeavors not only to unite the German people, but also in his determination to break the chains of slavery. . . . He is the one man who filled the life of the German nation. . . . with new hope of the future. . . .’”

After the war, the Steuben Society served as part of the ODESSA/Underground Reich milieu.

” . . . Effective schemes had been developed by the Nazis and militarists to obstruct law and justice. After they had reached success, after thousands of Nazi criminals had fled to Spain and Egypt, after other thousands had been freed from Allied prisons, there appeared accounts in some Rightist newspapers, congratulating a group of Nazi ringleaders on accomplishing an almost impossible task. The Deutsche Soldaten Zeitung aune 1958) published a full-page account of a farreaching secret organization which had been founded in 1948 in violation of Allied rules.

The purpose of the organization was to free the war criminals in defiance of law and justice. The author of this remarkable report, Major General Hans Korte, describes how a kind of General Staff, or “steering committee,” was set up in Munich to direct all the anti-warguilt propaganda in occupied Germany and throughout the entire world. . . . The common characteristic of all these groups was their dual activity; first, they solicited financial aid for Nazi prisoners, and second, they stirred propaganda against the “warguilt lie,” climaxing it with a demand for speedy release of all war criminals. Working in cooperation with the Christian Aid center in Munich were such notorious Nazi organizations as the SS HIAG, the Society of Late Homecomers, the Stahlhelm, the Federation of German Soldiers, and the various expellee groups. Among the organizations abroad we find the Kameraden Hilfe in Spain, headed by the SS Colonel Otto Skorzeny, a similar group working in Latin America under the leadership of the Luftwaffe ace Colonel Hans Ulrich Rudel,· and various German “relief” and propaganda organizations in the United States under the political guidance of the Steuben Society. . . .”

One of Trump’s top national security advisers is Joseph E. Schmitz, the former inspector general for the Pentagon. In addition to covering up for apparent malefactors while serving in that capacity for George W. Bush, Schmitz was deeply connected to the milieu of the von Steuben family and “fascinated with all things German.”

Schmitz may well have been the source for some of Trump’s attitudes and statements resonating with German and Underground Reich Ostpolitik.

“. . . . Some of the more unusual complaints regarding Schmitz deal with what senior officials called an “obsession” with Von Steuben, the Revolutionary War hero who worked with George Washington to instill discipline in the military. Von Steuben reportedly fled Germany after learning that he was going to be tried for homosexual activities.Shortly after taking office, Schmitz made Von Steuben’s legacy a focus. He spent three months personally redesigning the inspector general’s seal to include the Von Steuben family motto, “Always under the protection of the Almighty.” . . .

. . . . In July 2004, he escorted Henning Von Steuben, a German journalist and head of the Von Steuben Family Assn., to a U.S. Marine Corps event. He also feted Von Steuben at an $800 meal allegedly paid for by public funds, according to Grassley, and hired Von Steuben’s son to work as an unpaid intern in the inspector general’s office, a former Defense official said.

He also called off a $200,000 trip to attend a ceremony at a Von Steuben statue earlier this year in Germany after Grassley questioned it.

Finally, Schmitz’s son, Phillip J. Schmitz, has a business relationship with a group tied to Von Steuben. Schmitz, who runs a technology firm, provides web-hosting services for the World Security Network, a nonprofit news service focused on peace and conflict issues. Von Steuben serves on the network’s advisory board.

Hubertus Hoffmann, a German businessman who founded the network, said Von Steuben played no role in assigning the contract to Phillip Schmitz, who is paid a “modest sum” for his work. Schmitz said he first made contact with Hoffmann through his father but that he had never met Von Steuben.

The relationships troubled many at the Pentagon.

‘He was consumed with all things German and all things Von Steuben,’ said the former Defense official, who did not want to be identified because of the ongoing inquiries. ‘He was obsessed.’ . . . .”

The program concludes with a brief look at contemporary German policy that manifests the Ostpolitik pursued by Adenauer:

  • German corporations and think tanks are not only lobbying against continued sanctions against Russia due to lost profits and contracts with that country, but are discussing the possibility of drawing closer to the Eurasian Economic Union. Popular sentiment in Germany, though supportive of the U.S., NATO and German right-wing policies against Russia over Ukraine, see Russia as a better long-term partner for Germany than the U.S. This is a manifestation of the “bidding war” Adenauer referred to in 1952, in item #3.
  • In another manifestation of the dualistic, good-cop/bad-cop “bidding war” Adenauer referred to, Germany is propelling the EU’s creation of a European army. That army will be dominated by Germany. This, too, will be analyzed at greater length in the next broadcast.

Program Highlights Include:

  • John P. Schmitz’s work on behalf of German corporations.
  • John P. Schmitz’s close association with Matthias Wissman, who worked for a law firm that worked for Swiss and German interests being sued by Holocaust victims.
  • Joseph Schmitz’s work covering up apparent malefactors in the Pentagon.

1. The program begins with a thumbnail synopsis of traditional German “Ostpolitik” from the back cover of Germany Plots with the Kremlin:

Germany Plots with the Kremlin by T.H. Tetens; Henry Schuman [HC]; 1953; Back Cover Text.

  • 1762–Frederick the Great: Frederick’s secret pact with Czar Peter III disrupted the great European coalition which had almost crushed Prussia in the Seven Years War. This pact saved Prussia from total defeat and led to the first partition of Poland.
  • 1887–Chancellor von Bismarck: The “Iron Chancellor” made a secret pact (“re-insurance treaty”) with Russia which secured Germany’s Eastern frontier. He made Germany the strongest military power on the continent, and German “Weltpolitik” set out to intimidate France and to undermine the Anglo-Saxon world.
  • 1922–General Hans von Seeckt: General von Seeckt created a new army after Germany’s defeat in World War I. His secret deals with Moscow culminated in the Rapallo Treaty, which rocked the Western world on Easter Sunday, 1922.
  • 1926–Gustav Streseman: Sresemann, a “good European,” signed a neutrality pact with the Soviets which, in effect, was a return to Bismarck’s policy of securing the Eastern frontier. While Stresemann feigned friendship for the West, the Wehrmacht Chief, General von Seeckt, contemplated “war against the West in alliance with the East.”
  • 1939–Von Ribbentrop & Stalin: Hitler’s Foreign Minister, after months of secret negotiations with the Soviets, signed on August 23, 1939, a so-called “Non-aggression” Pact in Moscow. A week later Hitler launched his war against Poland, the opening move of World War II.

2a. Next, we highlight “An Open Letter to Stalin” published in the Buerger Zeitung, a leading German-language paper in the United States. Noteworthy for our purposes here is the fact that the paper is the de-facto outlet for the Steuben Society, the top pan-German organization in the United States. As will be seen below, the Steuben Society was part of the Nazi Fifth Column in the U.S. before World War II and part of the Underground Reich infrastructure in this country after the war. In the latter capacity, it advocated for the release and rehabilitation of Nazis, including war criminals.

Also of significance is the fact that the author, Bruno Fricke, was an associate of Otto Strasser. Strasser, along with his brother Gregor, was part of Ernst Rohm’s SA. Rohm was liquidated in the Night of the Long Knives, along with Gregor Strasser. Otto escaped to Czechoslavakia.

We should also underscore that the Buerger Zeitung was very anti-Communist and strongly supportive of Joseph McCarthy’s witch hunts. Donald Trump’s lawyer for years was Roy Cohn, McCarthy’s top aide.

Three years after that letter was published in the Buerger Zeitung, the Soviet Union responded with its Soviet Note of 3/10/1952. Of note in the passage that follows is the German plan to achieve a united Europe under German domination, which has, of course, been achieved.

This “Europa Germanica”–the EU in the event–was, in turn, to become a Third Force. In exchange for moving away from the push for a Third World War and pulling Europe out of NATO, this Third Force would gain concessions from the Soviets. Also of note is the fact that a major feature of this United Europe would be an all-European army, also under German domination.

As we shall see later, a major push is underway to establish a “Euro-corps”–precisely the sort of German-dominated European army that was envisioned in the early 1950s.

What we are seeing with Trump’s positive words about Russia and negative stance toward NATO is precisely the ideological and geopolitical posture advocated by Adenauer, the pan-Germanists and the Underground Reich in the early 1950s.

Germany Plots with the Kremlin by T.H. Tetens; Henry Schuman [HC]; 1953; pp. 61-64.

. . . . Since 1947, many German-language papers in North and South America have endeavored to pressure the United States with the veiled threat that if Germany were not fully restored to her former position of power, the German people would ally themselves with Russia. In 1949, the German-language paper Buerger Zeitung of Chicago published on its front page under a six-column headline “An Open Letter to Stalin.” It was a most brazen example of how ruthless German “Realpolitik” can be. The author, Herr Bruno Fricke, is a former Nazi and Black Front Leader, and a political collaborator of Dr. Otto Strasser.

The Buerger Zeitung is an old and respected German language weekly that carries on its masthead the notice that it is the “Official Organ of the German-American Citizens’ League of Illinois.” The paper boasts that it is the mouthpiece for the sentiments of 500,000 German-Americans in Chicago. It speaks for the German-American Citizens League and for the German Day Association, which includes 91 German-American Societies in Chicago.

The Steuben Society, the leading pan-German organization in the US for years, uses the Buerger Zeitung for its announcements. Thus, in a respected German-American publication, which has its place on the extreme right politically, and has whole-heartedly given support to Senator McCarthy’s anti-Communist campaign, the “Open Letter to Stalin” was splashed over the whole front page. And what did the letter say? It proposed nothing less than that Germany and Russia should form an alliance and smash the coalition of Western Powers. Addressing Stalin, the author writes:

“Your intelligence service will tell you who I am. . . . Essential and important and interesting for you is only that I am speaking here as a representative of a great part of my Volksgenossen and that it would be good for you to know what millions of battle-trained men think today. This sector of the German people, namely the national sector which not only comprises former Nazis but everyone who feels for the Fatherland, is quantitatively quite noteworthy and qualitatively of decisive importance. Its components are the frontline-soldiers of both of world wars and the overwhelming majority of our youth. Thus, its importance from the purely military point of view becomes clear, and this is one of the reasons why the opinions of these circles must be worthy of your consideration.

“In view of the imminent third world war, as well as in view of principle considerations, you are naturally very much interested in us Germans. We may be down materially, morally and ethically, nevertheless, and despite the dismemberment of our Fatherland, we remain with eighty million–the strongest people on the European continent. Whatever one will tell you, we consider ourselves absolutely as a unity and nobody will drive these ideas from our heads–not for generations to come.”

Stressing the importance of Germany’s industrial capacity and the intellectual potentialities of the Germans, the writer explains that, after Truman’s announcement about a Russian atomic explosion, “Europe’s decisive role in a pending showdown” has become greater than ever before. Having obviously in mind a German-dominated Europe, the writer continues:

“You, Generalissimo Stalin, are probably much more conscious of the fact than the civilian governments in Washington, London and Paris, that the Western Union as well as the Atlantic Pact are nothing but an organization of military zeros around an Anglo-Saxon one.”

Continuing, the writer comes to the key point of his letter by suggesting that if Stalin would restore German sovereignty, he could “win back the German peoples” fist:

“We Germans do not want to have anything to do with the West, with the Yankees, with their capitalistic exploitation and their political arrogance. We Prussians have always been closely associated with the Russians; we Germans return gladly to the traditions of Bismarck, Freiher von Stein and Maria Theresa, and we as a politically trained people have never forgotten Lenin’s intelligent words about the desire of cooperation between Germany and Russia. We are actually predestined for an alliance with Moscow, all the more so since mutual cooperation with the integrated bloc of the Soviet states has attracted millions of Germans, educated under strict discipline. Who could resist us if both our Reichs were united? What Napoleon did not succeed in doing, Truman will not succeed in either: the subjugation of the earth! Socialist Germany and Communist Russia together are invincible and thus our alliance secures the peace of the world.”

This and subsequent articles which propagated a German-Russo alliance published in an outspoken anti-Communist paper in the U.S. neatly illustrates the essence of German “Realpolitik.”

The authors, Bruno Fricke and Dr. Otto Strasser, are known as daring political plotters. In addition to their regular writings for the Chicago Buerger Zeitung, their articles have been published frequently in the German-language press in North and South America.

Some people say that the views of Dr. Strasser, Herr Fricke and others of the same stripes represent only the thinking of a minority. The fact is, however, that there were no articulate voices of protest among the 500,000 German-Americans in Chicago against this “Open Letter to Stalin.” The Buerger Zeitung is read in the editorial rooms of dozens of other German-language papers in the USA, but there is no evidence that any other German-language newspaper, or any of the numerous German-American societies in Chicago, for whom the Buerger Zeitung serves as an official mouthpiece, protested against this dangerous and open plotting. A sensational front-page feature like this “Open Letter to Stalin” could not have been overlooked by anybody, not even State Senator Charles Weber, the political bigwig among the German-Americans in Illinois, who utilizes the Buerger Zeitung as his political instrument.

The fact that the Buerger Zeitung could carry on a blackmail campaign in favor of Germany for years and even promote a Russo-German alliance against the West, without encountering any criticism from patriotic stalwarts, is proof of the extraordinary strong position of leading German-American circles in American political life. It is easy to imagine what would have happened if this “Open Letter to Stalin” would have appeared in The Daily Worker, or in a Hungarian, Polish or a French language paper in the USA. The “Open Letter to Stalin” would have been exposed under screaming headlines. Congressional investigation would have been going on for months under klieg lights, and our FBI would have gone into immediate action. But nothing like this happens when German-American groups are engaged in promoting this kind of “Realpolitik.” . . . .

3. Three years after that letter was published in the Buerger Zeitung, the Soviet Union responded with its Soviet Note of 3/10/1952. Of note in the passage that follows is the German plan to achieve a united Europe under German domination, which has, of course, been achieved.

This “Europa Germanica”–the EU in the event–was, in turn, to become a Third Force. In exchange for moving away from the push for a Third World War and pulling Europe out of NATO, this Third Force would gain concessions from the Soviets. Also of note is the fact that a major feature of this United Europe would be an all-European army, also under German domination.

As we shall see later, a major push is underway to establish a “Euro-corps”–precisely the sort of German-dominated European army that was envisioned in the early 1950s.

What we are seeing with Trump’s positive words about Russia and negative stance toward NATO is precisely the ideological and geopolitical posture advocated by Adenauer, the pan-Germanists and the Underground Reich in the early 1950s.

Germany Plots with the Kremlin by T.H. Tetens; Henry Schuman [HC]; 1953; pp. 5-8.

. . . . The world caught a glimpse of how the Bonn diplomacy works on the occasion of the Soviet Note of March 1952, addressed to the Three Western Powers and suggesting a new solution for the German problem. The Russians–who, for almost seven years, pretended to defend the principles of the Potsdam agreement–made a 180 degree turnabout by offering German unification on the basis of free elections, a new German Wehrmacht, fully rearmed, the decontrolling of Germany’s industrial war potential, and the return of former Nazis and Wehrmacht officers to public life. It is no exaggeration to say that the Soviet Note had an electrifying effect on the German people regardless of class or political persuasion. The Soviet Note was the German dream come true. It opened up new perspectives for Germany’s ambitions to establish a Fourth Reich, free from the controls of the Allies.

At first, Dr. Adenauer bushed the Soviet Note aside as inconsequential, but when he encountered growing opposition even among his most faithful party followers, Dr. Adenauer was forced to lift slightly the veil that hides the strategy of German diplomacy. Unquestionably, the Chancellor did not think the time was ripe for candor, but the opposition had forced his hand. It was his task to “explain” the basic principles of the Bonn Government’s foreign policy without making embarrassing disclosures.

It should be pointed out that the “explanation” of Bonn’s foreign policy came not only from the lips of Adenauer, but from inspired stories and leaks which appeared in the pro-Adenauer press.

In leading German newspapers, it was stated that Dr. Adenauer’s policy “runs on two tracks.” There is first the European concept–a short-term policy which aims at the creation of a united Europe, or to use the expression of one German editorial “to fulfill the goal for which Germans were dreaming for decades.”

In confidential talks with some members of the Federal Parliament, Dr. Adenauer declared that negotiations with the Russians would have to wait until Germany had regained a strong and dominant position in European affairs. He assured his listeners that Russia’s conciliatory attitude was most helpful to Germany’s aspirations and that other Russian offers were to be expected in which even greater concessions would be made to Germany, especially on the territorial question of the Oder-Neisse Line. The Chancellor hinted in his talks that the Soviet Note had created the heated atmosphere of an auction room where two eager opponents outbid each other. Therefore he assured his listeners that the rejection of the First Soviet Note would not prevent an agreement with the Russians at a more favorable moment. The essence of Dr. Adenauer’s views was outlined on April 3, 1952, in one of Germany’s leading newspapers, the Frankfurther Allgemeine Zeitung, which is often employed as the mouthpiece of the Bonn foreign Office. In a front page editorial this newspaper stated:

“The Chancellor follows a tremendously bold plan: First rearmament, followed later on by talks with the Russians in order to persuade them to remove their armies behind the Bug River. For this goal the Chancellor has been working tenaciously for some time. And because he sticks to his timetable, he is presently opposed to the Russian Note.”

Dr. Adenauer’s “tremendous bold plan” was prepared by the Ribbentrop diplomats as a time-bomb which one day will blast asunder everything U.S. foreign policy has built up since 1945. The German Chancellor’s plan is that the U.S.A. is now so deeply committed to her European defense pledge that she will readily sacrifice dozens of billions of dollars in the strengthening and the rearming of a German-dominated Europe. After is this accomplished, Dr. Adenauer’s grandiose concept envisions negotiations with Russia with the prospect of getting substantial territorial concessions from the Kremlin in Eastern Europe for which  Germany in return will break away, with the whole of Western Europe, from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

In the pro-Adenauer press, including the The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Christ und Welt, The Deutsche Zeitung of Stuttgart, editorials have been written assuring the Russians that Dr. Adenauer’s policy aims to create the security necessary for both the Germans and the Russians, and that this can only be brought about after Germany had become a third power factor which could employ its influence in such a way as to deter the United States “from starting a preventive war.” Thus, while, in the short run, the Bonn Government aims to create a United Europe, it hopes ultimately to reach a solid understanding with the Soviets at the expense of the United States.

It is true, of course, that in the person of Dr. Adenauer, the West has been led to believe that the Bonn Government is deeply devoted to the furtherance of the common welfare of the West. But these estimates of Dr. Adenauer and his diplomacy are based on superficial evidence and ignore the fact that Dr. Adenauer was in the past a fanatical believer in the pan-German gospel that the Fatherland should rule Europe and the world. It is, therefore, no accident that the Ribbentrop diplomats and the Haushofer geo-politicians should be his chief advisors. They are prepared to create the Third Power Bloc under German domination through the financial help of the United States, and then turn around and make their final bargain with Moscow.

Trained in the school of Realpolitik, Dr. Adenauer is not one who acts like a bull in a china shop. Even before he became Chancellor, he admonished his German compatriots: “We must move very cautiously. We ought not to give the impression either in Germany or in the United States that we shall collaborate in any way with the Russians.”

The reaction of the German strategists to the Soviet Note of March 10, 1952, however, exposes their true designs. German geo-political journals speak of it as “the highest trump card in the hands of the Chancellor” which will enable him to mow down the resistance of France against Germany’s concept of a united Europe. The pro-Adenauer press interpreted the Russian Note as a tremendous asset in speeding up the timetable for the creation of a European army under German domination. . . .

4. In FTR#476, we viewed the politics of Joseph Schmitz, former Inspector General of the Pentagon and now head of the parent company of the Blackwater security firm. Son of domestic fascist John G. Schmitz, Joseph was described after his resignation in disgrace from the Pentagon, as we have seen. Is it possible that he was an admirer of the Steuben Society, a branch of the Third Reich Fifth Column in the United States? Carlson describes the Steuben Society–is this what Joseph E. Schmitz thinks today?

Under Cover–My Four Years in the Nazi Underworld in America by John Roy Carlson; E.P. Dutton & Co. [HC]; Copyright 1943 by E.P.Dutton & Co.; pp. 118-119.

 . . . Aristocrat in its class, the Steuben Society hated the Bund because of its difference in tactics, shunned wild Nazi talk and avoided in recent years the public heiling of Hitler, while the Bund continued as before. . . . It goes back to his [Steuben Society President Theodore H. Hoffman] trip to Germany and his reception by Hitler. Hoffman told the story in a by-lined article in the December 20, 1934 issue of the Deutscher Beobachter published in New York: ‘Whoever thinks that National-Socialism rules by oppression, is mistaken. . . . My personal impressions of Hitler were that he is an idealist, an unusual organizer and a man of tremendous energy. It is my conviction that he is honest and sincere in his endeavors not only to unite the German people, but also in his determination to break the chains of slavery. . . . He is the one man who filled the life of the German nation. . . . with new hope of the future. . . .’

5. After the war, the Steuben Society worked on behalf of Nazi war criminals, that done in tandem with German organizations and individuals. In effect, it served as a branch of the ODESSA.

The New Germany and the Old Nazis by T.H. Tetens; Copyright 1961 by T.H. Tetens; Random House [HC]; pp. 201-204.

Effective schemes had been developed by the Nazis and militarists to obstruct law and justice. After they had reached success, after thousands of Nazi criminals had fled to Spain and Egypt, after other thousands had been freed from Allied prisons, there appeared accounts in some Rightist newspapers, congratulating a group of Nazi ringleaders on accomplishing an almost impossible task. The Deutsche Soldaten Zeitung aune 1958) published a full-page account of a farreaching secret organization which had been founded in 1948 in violation of Allied rules.

The purpose of the organization was to free the war criminals in defiance of law and justice. The author of this remarkable report, Major General Hans Korte, describes how a kind of General Staff, or “steering committee,” was set up in Munich to direct all the anti-warguilt propaganda in occupied Germany and throughout the entire world. A group of Nazi jurists who had served in Nuremberg as counsels for major war criminals formed the nucleus of the directing body. Prominent among them were Dr. Rudolf Aschenauer of Munich and Ernst Achenbach (of the Naumann circle) of Essen, the latter having excellent financial connections on Rhine and Ruhr.

In order to conceal certain activities from the occupying powers, a number of fronts or subagencies were created to serve as special task forces. To furnish the press with propaganda on the war-guilt question, an “independent” monthly newsletter, Die Andere Seite (The Other Side), was issued, in which material about the “so-called war criminals” was cleverly introduced among other news items. This distorted and slanted news was reprinted not only in the provincial press but in such leading papers as the Frankfurter Allgemeine) the Stuttgarter Nachrichten) and Die Welt. In addition, a circular letter was mailed periodically to organizations and influential personalities in Germany and abroad in order to gain their support for the release of all war criminals. . . .

. . . The organization had a mysterious bank account (“Konto Gustav”), to which more than sixty unnamed industrial and financial tycoons regularly contributed large sums. According to the report in the Deutsche Soldaten Zeitung this group was closely affiliated with a propaganda center in Switzerland, the Centro Europa, which carried on a world-wide campaign to bring quick freedom to Hitler’s professional mass murderers. Two other organizations were working toward the same goal, but they extended their activities into the exclusive circles of high society and among aristocrats in Germany and abroad. One was the Stille Hilfe (Silent Help), headed by Princess Helene von Isenburg, and the other was called Helfende Haende (Helping Hands), and was directed by Princess Stephany zu Schaumberg-Lippe.

The common characteristic of all these groups was their dual activity; first, they solicited financial aid for Nazi prisoners, and second, they stirred propaganda against the “warguilt lie,” climaxing it with a demand for speedy release of all war criminals. Working in cooperation with the Christian Aid center in Munich were such notorious Nazi organizations as the SS HIAG, the Society of Late Homecomers, the Stahlhelm, the Federation of German Soldiers, and the various expellee groups. Among the organizations abroad we find the Kameraden Hilfe in Spain, headed by the SS Colonel Otto Skorzeny, a similar group working in Latin America under the leadership of the Luftwaffe ace Colonel Hans Ulrich Rudel,· and various German “relief” and propaganda organizations in the United States under the political guidance of the Steuben Society. . . .

6a. We learned something more about Donald Trump’s intended foreign policy goals: he appears to be considering a US pull out of NATO. We ruminate about one of his foreign policy advisors, Joseph E. Schmitz,  former inspector general of the Department of Defense.

 “Donald Trump’s New Foreign Policy Advisers Are as Rotten as His Steaks”  by Shane Harris; The Daily Beast; 3/21/2016.

. . . . These are the minds advising Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on foreign policy and national security.Trump, who has been pressed for months to name his council of advisers, revealed five in a meeting with the Washington Post editorial board on Tuesday: Keith Kellogg, Carter Page, George Papadopoulos, Walid Phares, and Joseph E. Schmitz. . . .

. . . . Trump revealed little about what specific advice they’d given so far, or how any of them may have shaped Trump’s surprising new position that the U.S. should rethink whether it needs to remain in the seven-decades-old NATO alliance with Europe.

Sounding more like a CFO than a commander-in-chief, Trump said of the alliance, “We certainly can’t afford to do this anymore,” adding, “NATO is costing us a fortune and yes, we’re protecting Europe with NATO, but we’re spending a lot of money.”

U.S. officials, including former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, have said that European allies have to shoulder a bigger burden of NATO’s cost. But calling for the possible U.S. withdrawal from the treaty is a radical departure for a presidential candidate—even a candidate who has been endorsed by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

It also wasn’t clear how Trump’s arguably anti-interventionist position on the alliance squared with his choice of advisers.

Another Trump adviser, Schmitz, has served in government, as the Defense Department inspector general. Schmitz was brought in during the first term of President George W. Bush with a mandate to reform the watchdog office, but he eventually found himself the subject of scrutiny.

“Schmitz slowed or blocked investigations of senior Bush administration officials, spent taxpayer money on pet projects and accepted gifts that may have violated ethics guidelines,” according to an investigation by the Los Angeles Times in 2005. Current and former colleagues described him as “an intelligent but easily distracted leader who seemed to obsess over details,” including the hiring of a speechwriter and designs for a bathroom.

Schmitz also raised eyebrows for what the paper’s sources described as his “unusual” fascination with Baron Friedrich Von Steuben, a Revolutionary War hero who’s regarded as the military’s first inspector general. Schmitz reportedly replaced the Defense Department IG’s seal in its office across the country with a new one bearing the Von Steuben family motto, Sub Tutela Altissimi Semper, “under the protection of the Almighty always.”. . . .

6b. It’s also worth noting that Joseph’s brother, John P. Schmitz, is a lawyer who specializes in US/German regulatory issues who’s clients include Bayer AG, Bertelsmann, Bosch GmbH, Deutsche Welle.

Major German corporations might well benefit if the Schmitz’s once again return to influential positions in a US administration.  Especially of Joseph ends up overseeing more investigations, since, as this 2005 LA Times article notes, Joseph didn’t just exhibit an obsession Baron Von Steuben while serving as the Defense Department’s Inspector General. He also had an obsession with preventing politically sensitive investigations:

“The Scrutinizer Finds Himself Under Scrutiny” by T. Christian Miller; The Los Angeles Times; 9/25/2005.

. . . . Schmitz slowed or blocked investigations of senior Bush administration officials, spent taxpayer money on pet projects and accepted gifts that may have violated ethics guidelines, according to interviews with current and former senior officials in the inspector general’s office, congressional investigators and a review of internal e-mail and other documents.Schmitz also drew scrutiny for his unusual fascination with Baron Friedrich Von Steuben, a Revolutionary War hero who is considered the military’s first true inspector general. Schmitz even replaced the official inspector general’s seal in offices nationwide with a new one bearing the Von Steuben family motto, according to the documents and interviews. . . .

. . . . His father was the ultraconservative Orange County congressman John G. Schmitz, who once ran for president but whose political career ended after he admitted having an affair with a German immigrant suspected of child abuse. Schmitz’s sister is Mary Kay Letourneau, the Washington state teacher who served more than seven years in prison after a 1997 conviction for rape after having sex with a sixth-grade pupil with whom she had two children. After Letourneau’s release from prison, she and the former pupil, now an adult, married each other.

Schmitz, who resigned on Sept. 10 to take a job with the parent company of defense contractor Blackwater USA, is now the target of a congressional inquiry and a review by the President’s Council on Integrity and Efficiency, the oversight body responsible for investigating inspectors general, according to the documents and interviews. . . .

 . . . . Schmitz’s allies said he was being persecuted. One senior Pentagon official defended Schmitz by saying that he was concerned about protecting the reputation of senior officials in Washington, where political enemies can cause trouble with an anonymous hotline tip. . . .

. . . . He paid close attention, however, to the investigations of senior Bush administration appointees. At one point, investigators even stopped telling Schmitz who was under investigation, substituting letter codes for the names of individuals during weekly briefings for fear that Schmitz would leak the information to Pentagon superiors, according to a senior Pentagon official. “He became very involved in political investigations that he had no business getting involved in,” said another senior official in the inspector general’s office. . . .

. . . . Instead, the official said that Schmitz created a new policy that made it more difficult to get information by subpoena by requiring additional bureaucratic steps. During his tenure, Schmitz also made it harder to initiate an investigation of a political appointee, requiring high-ranking approval before investigators could proceed. . . .

. . . . Some of the more unusual complaints regarding Schmitz deal with what senior officials called an “obsession” with Von Steuben, the Revolutionary War hero who worked with George Washington to instill discipline in the military. Von Steuben reportedly fled Germany after learning that he was going to be tried for homosexual activities.Shortly after taking office, Schmitz made Von Steuben’s legacy a focus. He spent three months personally redesigning the inspector general’s seal to include the Von Steuben family motto, “Always under the protection of the Almighty.”

He dictated the number of stars, laurel leaves and colors of the seal. He also asked for a new eagle, saying that the one featured on the old seal “looked like a chicken,” current and former officials said.

In July 2004, he escorted Henning Von Steuben, a German journalist and head of the Von Steuben Family Assn., to a U.S. Marine Corps event. He also feted Von Steuben at an $800 meal allegedly paid for by public funds, according to Grassley, and hired Von Steuben’s son to work as an unpaid intern in the inspector general’s office, a former Defense official said.

He also called off a $200,000 trip to attend a ceremony at a Von Steuben statue earlier this year in Germany after Grassley questioned it.

Finally, Schmitz’s son, Phillip J. Schmitz, has a business relationship with a group tied to Von Steuben. Schmitz, who runs a technology firm, provides web-hosting services for the World Security Network, a nonprofit news service focused on peace and conflict issues. Von Steuben serves on the network’s advisory board.

Hubertus Hoffmann, a German businessman who founded the network, said Von Steuben played no role in assigning the contract to Phillip Schmitz, who is paid a “modest sum” for his work. Schmitz said he first made contact with Hoffmann through his father but that he had never met Von Steuben.

The relationships troubled many at the Pentagon.

“He was consumed with all things German and all things Von Steuben,” said the former Defense official, who did not want to be identified because of the ongoing inquiries. “He was obsessed.” . . . .

6c. Trump, himself, is no stranger to the milieu of the Steuben Society:

“Donald Trump;”  wikipedia.

. . . . Trump has said that he is proud of his German heritage; he served as grand marshal of the 1999 German-American Steuben Parade in New York City.[12][nb 1]. . . . .

7. It’s also worth noting that Joseph’s brother, John P. Schmitz, is a lawyer who specializes in US/German regulatory issues who’s clients include Bayer AG, Bertelsmann, Bosch GmbH, Deutsche Welle. As we discussed in FTR #476, Schmitz has worked with Matthias Wissman. Wissman was the first German partner at Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering, a law firm that took cases on behalf of Swiss and German firms being sued by Holocaust deniers. This subject will be taken up at greater length in the next program.

“John P. Schmitz; Schmitz Global Partners LLP.

John Schmitz represents US and European companies in complex international transactions and regulatory matters, with a focus on antitrust, media and telecommunications, energy and environmental issues. He has special emphasis on US and German political regulatory concerns, and has experience with numerous high-profile business and regulatory matters involving both American and German public policy and legal activities. John’s clients have included the US Chamber of Commerce, General Electric, Bayer AG, Bertelsmann, Bosch GmbH, Deutsche Welle, Gillette, Pfizer, Microsoft, Verizon, Eli Lilly Co., Ford Motor Co., and Arkema., among others.

In September 2009, together with former Ambassador C. Boyden Gray, John established Gray & Schmitz LLP in September 2009 (renamed Schmitz Global Partners LLP in 2011). In 1993, John joined Mayer Brown as a partner to open its first German office in Berlin. From 1993 to 2009, John helped lead and develop a prominent and thriving German practice at Mayer Brown. Before joining Mayer Brown in 1993, John held a wide range of significant public policy positions. Between 1985 and 1993, he served as Deputy Counsel to George H. W. Bush in both the White House and the Office of the Vice President. . . .

. . . . John has also held a number of high-profile fellowships. In Germany, under a Robert Bosch Foundation Fellowship, he served at the Office of Bundestag Member Matthias Wissmann (Bonn), and the Office of General Counsel, Robert Bosch, GmbH (Stuttgart). . . .

8. Next, the program briefly presents material that will be examined more thoroughly in the next program in this series. German corporations and think tanks are not only lobbying against continued sanctions against Russia due to lost profits and contracts with that country, but are discussing the possibility of drawing closer to the Eurasian Economic Union.

Popular sentiment in Germany, though supportive of the U.S., NATO and German right-wing policies against Russia over Ukraine, see Russia as a better long-term partner for Germany than the U.S.

This is a manifestation of the “bidding war” Adenauer referred to in 1952, in item #3.

“Dispute over Sanctions on Russia (II);” german-foreign-policy.com; 5/03/2016.

German business circles and proxy foreign policy organizations are campaigning to have the sanctions against Russia lifted. More than two-thirds of the people in Germany are in favor of lifting sanctions, reports Koerber Foundation (Hamburg) based on a current opinion poll. More than four-fifths want close cooperation with Russia, and 95 percent consider a rapprochement in the next few years to either be “important” or “very important.” The Koerber Foundation, an influential organization in the field of foreign policy, has, for years, been engaged in developing cooperation between Germany and Russia. The hope of an early lifting of sanctions was also the subject of the 4th East Forum Berlin, an economic forum with top-rank participants, held in mid-April, at which a state secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs spoke in favor of new contacts between the EU and the Moscow-initiated Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). The objective is the creation of a common “economic space from Lisbon to Vladivostok.” The initiatives taken in Germany are being met with approval in several EU countries, including Italy and Austria.

Growing Discontent

Demands to abandon the sanctions policy against Moscow have been growing louder in various EU member countries, such as Italy, for which Russia is one of its most important business partners. Already in mid-March, the foreign ministers of Italy and Hungary had opposed an automatic prolongation of the sanctions without a debate. Following talks in Moscow in early April, the President of Austria, Heinz Fischer, announced he was also working toward halting the punitive measures.[1] Last week, France’s National Assembly passed a plea to end the sanctions.[2] Anger is also apparent in Greece. Moreover, resistance is growing within German business circles, who, if the sanctions are soon lifted, hope for a new start of their business with Eastern Europe. Exports to Russia have plummeted from an annual volume of 39 billion Euros to less that 22 billion, since 2012 alone. If sanctions are lifted, German companies are counting on being able to redeem at least part of these losses.

From Lisbon to Vladivostok

Similar views were recently expressed at the “East Forum Berlin,” convened by the German Committee on Eastern European Economic Relations (OA) together with the Metro Group and Italy’s UniCredit, for the fourth time in the German capital. More than 400 participants – including the recently fired Ukrainian Minister of Finances, Natalie Jaresko, and Russia’s First Deputy Minister of Economic Development, Alexey Likhachev – discussed the development of an “economic space extending from Lisbon to Vladivostok.” In a survey of 180 participants of this top-rank forum, more than 80 percent clearly favored negotiations between the EU and the Moscow-led Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) on the establishment of a common “economic space.”[3] They found sympathetic listeners. In his “East Forum,” opening speech, State Secretary in Germany’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Stephan Steinlein, confirmed that the German government supports “contacts between the EU and the Eurasian Economic Union.” “Technical standards, trade rules, cross-border infrastructure and simplified exchange procedures” should be discussed.[4] Sanctions against Russia was another important issue discussed at the East Forum. Thirty five percent of those surveyed predicted an end to the sanctions in the course of this year, while 27 percent predicted 2017. Only slightly more than a third thought the sanctions would last longer than 2017.

A New Start Required

Last week, Hamburg’s Koerber Foundation, one of Germany’s foreign policy organizations, which has promoted closer cooperation between Germany and Russia for years, took a stand. “Dialogue and understanding” between the two countries have, “for decades, been an important element of our work,” declared the foundation. Currently, “with its focus on ‘Russia in Europe,’ the Koerber Foundation devotes itself to the rejuvenation of an open, critical, and constructive dialogue between Russia and its European neighbors.”[5] Within this framework, the organization convokes a “German-Russian International Dialogue” twice annually, in which experts and politicians of the two countries can discuss “questions of European security and EU-Russia relations in a confidential atmosphere” in Moscow or Berlin.”[6] The Koerber Foundation reached the conclusion after its most recent meeting, which took place December 5, 2015 in Moscow, that “the EU-Russian relations require a new start.” In this sense, “future dialogue should focus on interests and explore against this backdrop the possibilities for cooperation.” “Economic issues” are “an area of common interests that provide specific opportunities for cooperation.”

Desired Rapprochement

To underline its quest, the Koerber Foundation has just recently published the results of a representative survey conducted on its behalf in both Germany and Russia by TNS Infratest in late February and early March. The survey shows that two years after escalation of the Ukrainian conflict, a significant estrangement between the populations of the two countries can be noticed. 48% of the Germans perceive Russia as a “threat,” only 50% believe – emphatically – that Russia belongs to “Europe.” More than half of the German population considers the EU’s policy toward Russia as “appropriate.” However, when asked which country Germany should work more closely with, 81% of those 1000 Germans, participating in the survey, opted for Russia – in second place behind France (89%) and far ahead of the USA (59%). In Russia, 62% of the respondents chose Germany as their favorite cooperation partner (ahead of China and France with 61% each). 69% of the Germans favor lifting the sanctions on Russia. And lastly, 95% believe that it is “important” or “very important” that Germany and Russia develop closer relations over the next few years.[7]

The Benefit of Cooperation

A first step toward rapprochement was actually accomplished on April 20, with the NATO-Russia Council’s first meeting in two years – promoted particularly by the German government. After the meeting, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg spoke of “profound and persistent disagreements.” But he also confirmed that the dialog would be continued.[8] Berlin therefore succeeded in reviving the dialog between Moscow and the western war alliance. At the same time, the German chancellor has announced a de facto permanent deployment of German soldiers – as part of a NATO battalion – in Lithuania. This would be a breach of the NATO-Russia Founding Act and would further escalate the conflict between the West and Russia.[9] Russian protests against this deployment would, more than likely, be easier to placate within a NATO-Russia Council than in the absence of an established framework for dialog – a tactical advantage for a highly profitable economic cooperation.

For more information on the subject of sanctions against Russian see: Dispute over Sanctions on Russia (I).

[1] Russland-Sanktionen: Fischer “loyal” zu EU-Linie. diepresse.com 06.04.2016.
[2] L’Assemblée nationale demande la levée des sanctions contre la Russie. www.latribune.fr 28.04.2016.
[3] 4. east forum Berlin mit Rekordbeteiligung. www.ost-ausschuss.de 19.04.2016.
[4] Keynote von Staatssekretär Stephan Steinlein bei der Eröffnung des 4. east forum Berlin am 18.04.2016.
[5] Annäherung oder Abschottung? Ergebnisse einer repräsentativen Umfrage von TNS Infratest. Hamburg 2016.
[6] Russland und die EU: Zusammenarbeit in Zeiten der Krise. Körber-Stiftung Internationale Politik, März 2016.
[7] Annäherung oder Abschottung? Ergebnisse einer repräsentativen Umfrage von TNS Infratest. Hamburg 2016.
[8] “Tiefgreifende und andauernde Differenzen”. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 21.04.2016.
[9] See Dispute over Sanctions on Russia (I).

9. In another manifestation of the dualistic, good-cop/bad-cop “bidding war” Adenauer referred to, Germany is propelling the EU’s creation of a European army. That army will be dominated by Germany. This, too, will be analyzed at greater length in the next broadcast.

The European War Union;” german-foreign-policy.com; 6/28/2016.

Together with his French counterpart, the German foreign minister has announced the EU’s transformation to become a “political union” and its resolute militarization for global military operations. In a joint position paper, Frank-Walter Steinmeier (SPD) and Jean-Marc Ayrault (PS) are calling for the EU’s comprehensive military buildup, based on a division of labor, to enable future global military operations. Following the Brexit, the EU should, step-by-step, become an “independent” and “global” actor. All forces must be mobilized and all “of the EU’s political instruments” must be consolidated into an “integrated” EU foreign and military policy. Steinmeier and Ayrault are therefore pushing for a “European Security Compact,” which calls for maintaining “employable high-readiness forces” and establishing “standing maritime forces.” The European Council should meet once a year as “European Security Council.” Before this paper was made public, Germany’s foreign minister and chancellor had made comments also promoting a German global policy and massive rearmament, possibly also with EU-support.

The EU’s Global Mission

In a joint position paper propagated by the German foreign ministry yesterday, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (SPD) along with his French counterpart, Jean-Marc Ayrault (PS) announced steps toward a political union. They noted that Britain’s withdrawal from the EU has created “a new situation” with consequences “for the entire EU.”[1] Berlin and Paris “firmly believe” that the EU provides “a historically unique and indispensable framework” not only for “the pursuit of freedom, prosperity, and security in Europe,” but also “for contributing to peace and stability in the world.” Therefore, further steps will be made “towards a political union in Europe” and “other European states” are invited “to join us in this endeavor.” The EU should become “more coherent and more assertive on the world stage.” It is not only an actor “in its direct neighborhood” but also on “a global scale.” In their paper, Steinmeier and Ayrault wrote, “on a more contested and competitive international scene, France and Germany will promote the EU as an independent [!] and global [!] actor.”

European Security Compact

To implement the EU policies of global power, Steinmeier and his French counterpart drew up elements for a “European Security Compact.” “External crises” have become “more numerous” and have moved geographically “closer to Europe both east and south of its borders.” There is no mention that the EU and its major powers have significantly contributed to the fomenting war and civil war – euphemized by Steinmeier and Ayrault as “crises”: In Ukraine, by seeking, through the Association Agreement, to fully integrate the country into its sphere of hegemony;[2] in Libya, through its aggression, ousting the Gaddafi government;[3] or in Syria, through its political and low-intensity military support of an increasingly jihadist-controlled insurgency.[4] Nevertheless, the German foreign minister and his French counterpart announce that they not only support “the emerging government of national accord in Libya,” but that they are also “convinced that Africa needs a continuous commitment, being a continent of great challenges and opportunities.”

Maximum of Insecurity

According to Steinmeier and Ayrault, the “European Security Compact” will be comprehensive and include “all aspects of security and defense dealt with at the European level.” The foreign ministers write that the EU must “ensure the security of our citizens.” However, the concrete demands indicate that the “European Security Compact” will, of course, not bring greater security, but rather the contrary, a maximum of insecurity – an increase in EU-provoked wars and the inevitable effects, they will have on the centers of European prosperity.[5]

Everything for Policies of Global Power

As a first step, the paper written by France and Germany’s foreign ministers proposes that “a common analysis of our strategic environment” be made. These reviews will be regularly prepared “by an independent situation assessment capability, based on the EU intelligence and situation centre” and submitted and discussed at the “Foreign Affairs Council and at the European Council.” On the basis of this common “understanding,” the EU should “establish agreed strategic priorities for its foreign and security policy.” It is political experience that reaching an “understanding” in the process of foreign and military policy standardization, the standpoint of the strongest member-state – Germany – will be taken particularly into consideration. The results should then be “more effectively” than ever, implemented “as real policy,” according to the paper. The objective is an “integrated EU foreign and security policy bringing together all [!] EU policy instruments.”

Arms, Arms, Arms

Steinmeier and Ayrault write in detail that to “plan and conduct civil and military operations more effectively,” the EU should institute a “permanent civil-military chain of command.” In addition, it must “be able to rely on employable high-readiness forces.” In order to “live up to the growing security challenges,” Europeans need “to step up their defense efforts.” For this, the European member states should “reaffirm and abide by the commitments made collectively on defense budgets and the portion of spending dedicated to the procurement of equipment and to research and technology (R and T).” A few days ago, Chancellor Angela Merkel had already taken the first step in this direction, when she declared that Germany’s defense budget should now begin to converge with that of the United States, in terms of their respective GDP percentages – Germany spends 1.2 percent of its GDP on military, while the US spends 3.4 percent.[6] Next, Steinmeier and Ayrault explain that a “European semester” should support the coordination of the individual member countries’ future military planning. “Synergism” is the objective. Throughout the EU, an arms buildup must be as coordinated and efficient as possible. The EU should provide common financing for its operations. “Member states” could establish permanent structured cooperation in the field of defense “or push ahead to launch operations.” Particularly important is “establishing standing maritime forces” or acquiring “EU-owned capabilities in other key areas.”

More Domestic Repression

The Social Democrat Steinmeier and the Socialist Ayrault write that to ensure “internal security,” the “operational capacity” must be enhanced at the EU level. This includes making the best use of “retention of flight passenger data (PNR)” – the “data exchange within the EU” must be “improved” – but also “making the best use of Europol and its counterterrorism centre.” “In the medium term,” there should otherwise be the “creation of a European platform for intelligence cooperation.” Last weekend, SPD Chair, Sigmar Gabriel and the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz (SPD) called for the extension of domestic repression as well as the creation of a “European FBI.”[7]

Seize the Opportunity

Just a few days ago, Foreign Minister Steinmeier declared in the US journal “Foreign Affairs” that Germany has become “a major power” and will “try its best” on the world stage “to hold as much ground as possible.”[8] With Britain, which had always adamantly opposed an integrated EU military policy, leaving the EU, Berlin sees an opportunity for reviving its efforts at restructuring the EU’s military and mobilizing as many member countries as possible for the EU’s future wars.

[1] This and the following quotes are taken from “A strong Europe in a World of Uncertainties” – Joint contribution by the French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault and Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. www.auswaertiges-amt.de.
[2] See Expansive Ambitions and Die Verantwortung Berlins.
[3] See Vom Westen befreit (II).
[4] See Forced to Flee (I).
[5] Zu den Rückwirkungen der von europäischen Staaten geführten Kriege s. etwa Der Krieg kehrt heimDer Krieg kehrt heim (II) and Der Krieg kehrt heim (III).
[6] See Auf Weltmachtniveau.
[7] See Flexible Union with a European FBI.
[8] See Auf Weltmachtniveau.

 

10. More about the establishment of the “Third Power Bloc” Adenauer referred to in line item #3:

“Flexible Union with a European FBI”; german-foreign-policy.com; 6/27/2016.

Berlin is applying intense pressure in the aftermath of the Brexit, to reorganize the EU. Under the slogan, “flexible Union,” initial steps are being taken to establish a “core Europe.” This would mean an EU, led by a small, tight-knit core of countries, with the rest of the EU member countries being subordinated to second-class status. At the same time, the President of the European Parliament and Germany’s Minister of the Economy (both SPD) are calling for the communitarization of the EU’s foreign policy, reinforcement of its external borders, the enhancement of domestic repression and the creation of a “European FBI.” The German chancellor has invited France’s president and Italy’s prime minister to Berlin on Monday to stipulate in advance, measures to be taken at the EU-summit on Tuesday. German media commentators are speaking in terms of the EU’s “new directorate” under Berlin’s leadership. At the same time, Berlin is intensifying pressure on London. The chair of the Bundestag’s EU Commission predicts a new Scottish referendum on secession and calls for Scotland’s rapid integration into the EU. German politicians in the European Parliament are exerting pressure for rapidly implementing the Brexit and reorganizing the EU. Chancellor Merkel has reiterated her veiled threat that “reconciliation and peace” in Europe are “anything but self-evident,” should European countries choose to no longer be integrated in the EU.

Core Europe

Already earlier this year, Berlin had initiated preparations for transforming the EU into a “flexible Union” and creating a “core Europe.” On February 9, the foreign ministers of the six founding EU countries [1] held an exclusive meeting in Rome to discuss the EU’s various current crises. This unusual meeting format was also considered to be a counterpoint to the Visegrád-Group [2], which had been particularly critical of Berlin’s refugee policy. The discussion in Rome was focused not only on the refugee policy, but also included a possible Brexit.[3] In their Joint Communiqué, the six foreign ministers underlined the “different paths of integration,” provided for by the Lisbon Treaty – a hint at the option of a “flexible Union.”[4] The foreign ministers of the six founding countries again met on Mai 20, at the Val Duchesse Castle south of Brussels, this time explicitly to discuss the EU’s development in case of a Brexit. They met again last Saturday to discuss a paper jointly presented by the German and French foreign ministers, literally demanding a “flexible Union.”[5] The common declaration, agreed upon by the six ministers on Saturday, does not mention that polarizing term, while paraphrasing their aspired core Europe. There is a need to “recognize” that among the member countries there are “different levels of ambition towards European integration.”[6]

The Strong Man behind Juncker

Using this format of the founding countries, Berlin is pushing for a “flexible Union” that is particularly rejected by those member countries, to be relegated to second-class status. At the same time, Berlin is exerting pressure at other levels. Already on May 23, an initial official meeting within the framework of the EU Commission, was held, to make arrangements for a possible Brexit.[7] The invitation had been extended by the German jurist, Martin Selmayr, Chef de Cabinet of Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission. From 2001 to 2004, Selmayr managed the Bertelsman AG office in Brussels. He subsequently became spokesperson and then Chef de Cabinet for EU Commissioner Viviane Reding (Luxembourg). Observers, referring to his influence, noted that some considered Reding to be the “dummy of the ventriloquist, Selmayr.”[8] According to German media, Selmayr, the strong man behind Juncker,[9] had extended the invitation for the May 23 strategy meeting, not only to representatives of Slovakia and Malta – the two countries to assume EU presidency in July and January, respectively, but also to Uwe Corsepius, Merkel’s European policy advisor. Corsepius is considered one of Berlin’s most important European policy strategists.[10]

The New Directorate

Beyond such long-term agreements, Chancellor Angela Merkel has invited France’s President, François Hollande, Italy’s Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi and EU Council President Donald Tusk to Berlin, Monday to discuss the EU’s future, after Great Britain’s withdrawal. The objective is to agree upon important stipulations prior to the EU’s Tuesday summit – which is similar to the 2010 – 2011 meetings she had held with the French president at the time, Nicolas Sarkozy (“Merkozy”), to set the guidelines for the EU’s handling of the Euro crisis. Observes point to the fact that Merkel’s inviting Renzi along with Hollande has ostentatiously demoted France’s status. Simultaneously, German media are speaking in terms of the EU’s “new directorate.” Of course, there is no doubt that “Germany remains the most important EU nation, both politically as well as economically.”[11] In practice, the “directorate” serves the function – as in the previous cases of Merkel’s Sarkozy meetings – primarily of transmission of German specifications to the EU’s other member countries.

The Central Role

Berlin’s predominance within the EU is being, more or less, officially confirmed by the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker. Also in the future, Germany will “continue to play a central role, if not an even more significant role, in the European Union,” Juncker declared.[12]

Supranational Repression

Parallel to preparations for the transformation of the European Union, leading German Social Democrats are calling for supplementary steps for the political-economic streamlining the EU or its core.[13] For example, in their position paper entitled “Re-Found Europe,” Germany’s Minister of the Economy, Sigmar Gabriel, and the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, are calling for an expansion of the EU’s single market, under the topic an “economic Schengen.” In the process, across the board “central” job market reforms must be implemented. The masses in the French population are currently up in arms fighting the imposition of these job market reforms.[14] In addition, Gabriel and Schulz are calling on the EU to “more than ever” “act as a unified governing force,” which would signify that the “communitarization” of the EU’s foreign policy. The implementation of this communitarization, would mean Germany’s global interests being pursued via institutions in Brussels due, to a large extent, to Berlin’s predominance within the EU. Finally, the German social democrats are calling for the systematic creation and expansion of supra-national structures of repression. For example, institutions warding off refugees from the EU must be systematically reinforced (“effectively securing European external borders”) and cooperation between domestic repressive authorities intensified. The creation, for example, of a “European FBI” should be an objective.

Project Deterrence

To deter other EU countries from holding referendums, Berlin is massively intensifying pressure on London. To avoid needless dissention, the British government seeks to conscientiously prepare and carry out the negotiations. President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, declared in the form of an ultimatum, that he “expects” the British government to present its withdrawal application at the EU summit on Tuesday. Chair of the EPP parliamentary caucus, Manfred Weber (CSU) called on Britain to withdraw “within the planned two-year delay, and even better, within a year.”[15] Brussels has already created a “Brexit Task Force” and an “Article 50 Task Force” – the latter named after the respective article of the Lisbon Treaty regulating a member state’s withdrawal from the EU. Above all, leading German politicians are fanning Scottish secessionist plans. “The EU will continue to consist of 28 member countries,” declared Gunther Krichbaum (CDU), Chair of the EU Affairs Committee in the German Bundestag, “because I expect a renewed independence referendum in Scotland, which will be successful this time.” Krichbaum says, “we should promptly reply to this pro-EU country’s membership application.”[16] The German media is also energetically firing on Scottish separatism. Since 1945, the Federal Republic of Germany has possibly never engaged in such unabashed encouragement of the disintegration of a West European country.

War in Europe

In Berlin, this is all being flanked by statements that cannot be otherwise interpreted as oblique war threats. “Although it is difficult for us to imagine,” one should “never forget” that “the idea of a united Europe, had been an idea of peace,” claims the German Chancellor.[17] The allegation corresponds less to historical reality,[18] than to the EU’s self-promotion. Yet, Merkel declares that in Europe, “reconciliation and peace” are both currently and in the future “anything other than self-evident.” The chancellor has expressed this point of view in various EU crisis situations. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[19]) According to this view, the potential of European countries settling their disputes militarily remains essentially unaltered and can be unleashed, should they no longer choose integration in a German-dominated EU.

For more on this theme: The First Exit.

[1] Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Frankreich, Italien, Belgien, Niederlande, Luxemburg.
[2] Der Visegrád-Gruppe gehören Polen, Tschechien, die Slowakei und Ungarn an.
[3] EU-Gründerstaaten: “Europäische Dreifachkrise” und “Herausfordernde Zeiten”. de.euronews.com 10.02.2016.
[4] Joint Communiqué. Charting the way ahead. An EU Founding Members’ initiative on strengthening Cohesion in the European Union. www.esteri.it 09.02.2016.
[5] Berlin und Paris schlagen “flexible EU” vor. www.handelsblatt.com 24.06.2016.
[6] Gemeinsame Erklärung der Außenminister Belgiens, Deutschlands, Frankreichs, Italiens, Luxemburgs und der Niederlande am 25. Juni 2016.
[7] EU rüstet sich für Brexit-Ernstfall. www.spiegel.de 27.05.2016.
[8] Hendrick Kafsack, Werner Mussler: Die EU spricht deutsch. www.faz.net 26.06.2014. See Particularly Close to Germany.
[9] Hendrick Kafsack: Der starke Mann hinter Juncker. www.faz.net 10.09.2014.
[10] See Under the German Whip (I).
[11] Nikolas Busse: Das neue Direktorium. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 25.06.2016.
[12] Juncker sieht starke Rolle für Deutschland. www.handelsblatt.com 25.06.2016.
[13] Sigmar Gabriel, Martin Schulz: Europa neu gründen. www.spd.de.
[14] See The Price of Deregulation.
[15] EU-Parlamentspräsident Schulz fordert Austrittsantrag der Briten bis Dienstag. www.sueddeutsche.de 25.06.2016.
[16] Jacques Schuster, Daniel Friedrich Sturm: Und zurück bleiben die verwirrten Staaten von Europa. www.welt.de 26.06.2016.
[17] Pressestatement von Bundeskanzlerin Merkel zum Ausgang des Referendums über den Verbleib Großbritanniens in der Europäischen Union am 24. Juni 2016 in Berlin.
[18] Die “Einigung” des europäischen Kontinents unter deutscher Dominanz gehörte bereits zu den deutschen Kriegszielen im Ersten Weltkrieg; damals sprach beispielsweise Reichskanzler Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg von der Gründung eines “mitteleuropäischen Wirtschaftsverbands”. Auch im NS-Staat wurden entsprechende “Einigungs”-Strategien vertreten. Mehr dazu: Europas Einiger.
[19] See A Question of Peace or War in EuropeManagement with a Crowbar and Vom Krieg in Europa.

Discussion

8 comments for “FTR #918 The Trumpenkampfverbande, Part 1: German Ostpolitik, Part 1”

  1. Quite interestingly, Hubertus Hoffmann wrote a book about Pentagon strategist, Fritz Kraemer, which received strong endorsements from the likes of Nixon, Haig, Kissinger, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld among other right wing luminaries. It’s entitled, Fritz Kramer: The True Keeper of the Holy Flame. Norman Mailer’s comment is interesting though: “A fantastic book. Hubertus Hoffmann knows how to describe the genius of a man who has influenced the thinking of the Pentagon for several decades more than anyone before him. Only history will tell what the consequences of his ominous presence have been.

    Posted by Brad | August 19, 2016, 11:23 am
  2. Coming on the heels of the Trump campaign’s latest public embrace of the “Alt Right”, news that one of Trump’s advisors has been accused of enthusiastically firing Jews and Holocaust denialism while he was the DoD’s Inspector General almost qualifies as ‘dog bites man’ news at this point. Still, it’s news. Very ominous ‘dog bites man’ news:

    McClatchy

    Trump adviser accused of making anti-Semitic remarks

    By Marisa Taylor and William Douglas

    McClatchy Washington Bureau
    August 18, 2016 2:18 PM

    WASHINGTON

    Allegations of anti-Semitism have surfaced against one of Donald Trump’s foreign policy advisers, raising further questions about the guidance the Republican presidential nominee is receiving.

    Joseph Schmitz, named as one of five advisers by the Trump campaign in March, is accused of bragging when he was Defense Department inspector general a decade ago that he pushed out Jewish employees.

    The revelations feed two themes that his opponent Hillary Clinton has used to erode Trump’s credibility: That he is a foreign policy neophyte, and that his campaign, at times, has offended Jews and other minorities.

    Schmitz, who is a lawyer in private practice in Washington, says the allegations against him are lies. All three people who have cited the remarks, including one who testified under oath about them, have pending employment grievances with the federal government.

    Daniel Meyer, a senior official within the intelligence community, described Schmitz’s remarks in his complaint file.

    “His summary of his tenure’s achievement reported as ‘…I fired the Jews,’ ” wrote Meyer, a former official in the Pentagon inspector general’s office whose grievance was obtained by McClatchy.

    Meyer, who declined to comment about the matter, cited in his complaint another former top Pentagon official, John Crane, as the source and witness to the remarks. Crane worked with Schmitz, who served as inspector general between April 2002 and September 2005.

    In his complaint, Meyer said Crane also said Schmitz played down the extent of the Holocaust.

    “In his final days, he allegedly lectured Mr. Crane on the details of concentration camps and how the ovens were too small to kill 6 million Jews,” wrote Meyer, whose complaint is before the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB).

    Schmitz said that Crane was the source of other false accusations against him.

    “The allegations are completely false and defamatory,” Schmitz said in an interview Tuesday.

    “I do not recall ever even hearing of any ‘allegations of anti-Semitism against [me],’ which would be preposterously false and defamatory because, among other reason(s), I am quite proud of the Jewish heritage of my wife of 38 years,” he wrote in an email.

    Later in a phone interview, he said his wife was not a practicing Jew but “ethnically Jewish” because her maternal grandmother was a Jew.

    Meyer, who previously oversaw the Defense Department’s decisions on whistleblowing cases, said he could not comment because his case is still pending. Meyer is now the Obama administration’s top official overseeing how intelligence agencies handle whistleblower complaints.

    Crane would not comment directly about his conversation with Schmitz but said, “if, when, I am required to testify under oath in a MSPB hearing, I would then comment on the statement attributed to me by Mr. Meyer.”

    “Statements made under oath at the request of a judge in a formal proceeding would also remove my vulnerability to any potential civil litigation by any party involved in the filings by Mr. Meyer,” he added.

    Crane’s lawyer, Andrew Bakaj, also refuted Schmitz’s charges about Crane. He said Crane “has had no association or involvement with any of the numerous news accounts challenging the actions or decisions made by Mr. Schmitz when he was Inspector General.”

    The anti-Semitic allegations have also become part of another case.

    David Tenenbaum, an Army engineer at the Tank Automotive Command (TACOM) in Warren, Michigan, is now citing the allegations in a letter this week to Acting Pentagon Inspector General Glenn Fine as new evidence that current and former Pentagon officials helped perpetrate an anti-Semitic culture within the military that left him vulnerable.

    “The anti-Semitic environment began under a prior Inspector General, Mr. Joseph Schmitz,” the letter from Tenenbaum’s lawyer Mayer Morganroth of Birmingham, Mich., states.

    Trump’s campaign did not return multiple calls and emails over a week about Schmitz.

    The allegations against Schmitz are in Meyer’s employment grievance that was filed in June with the MSPB, which decides such cases filed by federal employees. In the complaint, Meyer alleges former and current Defense Department Inspector General officials discriminated against him as a gay man and retaliated against him for investigating and reporting misconduct by high-level Pentagon officials.

    Crane, a former assistant Defense Department inspector general, resigned in 2013 when he learned he was going to be fired after an administrative inquiry. He filed a whistleblower disclosure saying retaliation had forced his resignation. The disclosure is still before the Office of Special Counsel, which investigates such complaints.

    The letter from Tenenbaum’s lawyer Mayer Morganroth also alleges Schmitz made remarks about firing Jews and playing down the extent of the Holocaust, citing a “sworn statement” from an unnamed source with knowledge of the Tenenbaum case.

    A federal official with knowledge of the matter told McClatchy that Crane testified, under oath, about anti-Semitic remarks Schmitz made to him. Crane was interviewed in at least two investigations involving Pentagon inspector general officials.

    Schmitz was accused of shielding Bush administration officials from investigations, including an inquiry into a Boeing contract. He was cleared of the allegations.

    Schmitz left the government to become general counsel of the parent company of the defense contractor then known as Blackwater.

    A fellow Republican, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, was one of Schmitz’s biggest critics.

    Grassley, for example, complained to the Pentagon about Schmitz’s plans to send Pentagon officials to an event in Germany honoring Baron Friedrich Von Steuben, a Prussian-born Army officer who served under George Washington during the Revolutionary War.

    Schmitz, who speaks German, was described as fascinated with Von Steuben, who was known as the nation’s first U.S. inspector general.

    Schmitz’s father, the late Republican Congressman John Schmitz who represented California, was a fervent anti-Communist and drew criticism in 1981 for remarks about Jews, including his press release that called the audience at abortion hearings “a sea of hard, Jewish and (arguably) female faces.”

    Bart Buechner, Joseph Schmitz’s former military assistant at the inspector general’s office, said he had frequent contact with Schmitz and never witnessed any anti-Semitism.

    “He would not say anything negative or pejorative about any ethnic group,” Buechner said.

    Former Interior Department Inspector General Earl Devaney, who served during the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations, said he was surprised to hear Trump picked Schmitz as his adviser.

    “I was shocked,” Devaney said. “In fact, a bunch of us former inspectors general called each other when we saw the news, and we couldn’t stop laughing because it was so ridiculous that someone so odd and out of the mainstream would be selected, particularly for that position.”

    Tenenbaum, who is alleging officials in the Pentagon inspector general’s office contributed to anti-Semitism against him, was targeted as an Israeli spy by the Army, which launched a criminal investigation of him.

    Bridget Serchak, a Pentagon inspector general’s office spokeswoman, declined to comment on the case. Her office concluded in 2008 that Tenenbaum had been singled out for “unusual and unwelcome scrutiny because of his faith” as an Orthodox Jew.

    His treatment from 1992 to 1997, the inspector general’s report concluded, amounted to discrimination.

    Tenenbaum got his security clearance back and it was even increased to top secret. He was never charged with any wrongdoing. In his letter this week to Pentagon authorities, he asked the inspector general to review his case because he said the office never intervened on his behalf.

    “… In light of the information recently obtained, (we) believe your office has and continues to engage in discriminatory behavior,” his lawyer wrote.

    Though Schmitz left the government in 2005, he has inserted himself in public affairs often through writing editorials and giving speeches.

    Schmitz spoke to law students in March 2015 at Southern Methodist University in Dallas in a forum about communism and its impact on society.

    Renwei Chung, a student who took notes of Schmitz’s speech, said it appeared to him that Schmitz was calling Obama a communist. He described how Schmitz held up the book: “The Communist: Frank Marshall Davis – The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mentor” and said to the forum, “The Chinese worship Mao. They have pictures of Mao everywhere. Do you know who the second most popular person in China is? Obama. … Why is that?”

    Jeffrey Kahn, a professor who also spoke at the forum, said the encounter with Schmitz left him “chilled.”

    Kahn wrote in an opinion piece published in July in the Dallas Morning News that “I had witnessed a ghost from McCarthy’s staff,” a reference to former Sen. Joseph McCarthy, who was obsessed with exposing communists in the 1950s.

    “What foreign policy advice will Schmitz whisper into Trump’s ear?” Kahn wrote. “I shudder to think what he might do in such a position of power.”

    ““In his final days, he allegedly lectured Mr. Crane on the details of concentration camps and how the ovens were too small to kill 6 million Jews,” wrote Meyer, whose complaint is before the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB).”

    Holocaust denialism. Yeah, that sounds about right for the Trump campaign. Like father, like son. Unfortunately for everyone.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 19, 2016, 2:17 pm
  3. In reference to a Goebbels quote cited in a News & Supplemental story on Germany and North Korea from 4/25/13 and Frances Parker Yockey’s aim for a European Imperium, the following story is quite interesting.

    It appears the EU Chief Juncker is calling for eradication of borders within the EU. Pretty sloppy reporting across the board on Juncker’s position, but that’s typical of today’s press.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3752939/Borders-worst-invention-EU-chief-Jean-Claude-Juncker-widens-rift-European-leaders-calls-borders-opened.html

    Posted by Sampson | August 23, 2016, 9:13 am
  4. One of the more interesting tensions in US politics that emerges whenever there’s been some sort of tension between the US and Russia in recent years is the fact that the a large chunk of the GOP base and conservative pundits really do seem to have a crush on Vladimir Putin and his brand of authoritarian leadership but there’s also never a shortage of American enthusiasm for Russia-bashing. And yes, while the Russia-bashing almost always wins out at least for a period of time, that doesn’t mean the love is lost.

    That tension between loving Putin and loving to hate Putin got a lot weirder when Donald Trump become the GOP’s nominee for a number of obvious reasons. But here’s an article that points out one of the less-discussed, and really quite ironic, intra-GOP tensions that have recent arisen: Thanks to Donald Trump and the perceptions of his close ties to Russia, a number of Ukrainian-American who have spent years working for the GOP aren’t so sure they want to support the party anymore. That’s right, after the GOP spent decades developing Eastern European “ethnic outreach” organizations that were originally staffed with Eastern European Nazi collaborators (who just happened to have very useful propaganda skills for targeting Eastern European communities in in key swing-states), those very same demographics are now getting turned off from the party over its nomination of Donald Trump, the candidate who has done more to mainstream neo-Nazi memes than any other major US candidate in modern memory. It’s kind of ironic:

    The New York Times

    Ukrainian-Americans, Long Fond of the G.O.P., Greet Donald Trump With Despair

    By SHERYL GAY STOLBERG

    AUG. 22, 2016

    PARMA, Ohio — As a proud Ukrainian-American, Taras Szmagala has worked for decades to elect Republicans, the party he associates with freedom. He ran an ethnic outreach program for Richard M. Nixon’s 1972 campaign and advised President George Bush as the Soviet Union crumbled, when Ukraine became an independent nation.

    Mr. Szmagala, 83, will mark Wednesday’s 25th anniversary of statehood at a parade and festival on Saturday in this Cleveland suburb, where the blue and yellow flag of Ukraine flies along the main thoroughfare in “Ukrainian Village.”

    But there is a pall over the festivities. His name is Donald J. Trump.

    Ukrainian-Americans have felt at home in the Republican Party since Franklin D. Roosevelt and Stalin divided control of Europe at Yalta. But across the United States — and especially in swing state Ohio, where Mr. Trump became the party’s nominee — they are watching the 2016 presidential race with a mix of confusion and fear.

    “The party’s dead as far as I’m concerned,” Mr. Szmagala declared.

    As if Mr. Trump’s admiring statements about President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and his questionable explanation of events in Ukraine were not tough enough to stomach, then came news that Paul Manafort, until last week Mr. Trump’s campaign manager, was tangled up in a corruption inquiry and designated to receive millions in secret cash payments from the party of a pro-Russian leader he had helped to elect.

    All summer, Ukrainians — many of them already wary of Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee — have been obsessing over American politics. The Ukrainian Weekly, a New Jersey-based newspaper that has been carefully tracking the threat of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, is awash in political commentary, including a rebuke of Mr. Trump by the country’s ambassador to the United States.

    “A vote for Trump is a vote against Ukraine!” wrote one longtime Republican from Morristown, N.J., in a letter to the editor.

    Nearly one million Americans are of Ukrainian descent, clustered around cities like New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit and Cleveland, where the Ukrainian Museum-Archives, a rich repository of folk art, periodicals and immigration documents, chronicles the history of a people who have felt oppressed by Russia for 350 years. Currently on display: “Politics and Ukrainian-Americans,” an exhibit including a photograph of a young Mr. Szmagala with Nixon.

    There are, of course, loyal Democrats here; the museum’s resident scholar, Andrew Fedynsky, once chief of staff to a Democratic congresswoman, is one. But many Ukrainian-Americans are deeply skeptical of President Obama and Mrs. Clinton, whom they regard as not aggressive enough in protecting Ukraine against an incursion from Russia.

    So the absence of a friendly Republican is generating a particular despair.

    “It’s very confusing,” said Eugene Luciw, a Philadelphia lawyer who is active in Ukrainian affairs there. “It’s been difficult to wrap your hands around Mr. Trump.”

    Mr. Manafort’s abrupt departure does not change that; many Ukrainians want to know why he was hired in the first place. Still, said Andriy Futey, the executive vice president of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America — who is in Kiev, Ukraine’s capital, for the anniversary celebration and to meet with government leaders — there was “a sigh of relief” there when Mr. Manafort quit.

    Here in Parma, Cleveland’s center of Ukrainian cultural and religious life, the angst — coupled with what many call a “bittersweet” celebration of a nation whose independence feels threatened — is clear.

    At St. Vladimir Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral, where a granite monument to “victims of the man-made famine,” which the Ukrainian government recognizes as a genocide, stands in a garden, a small group of parishioners gathered last week as a black-robed pastor served the Moleben, a prayer for the health and well-being of the sick.

    Gene Boyko, 75, whose grandfather was banished to Siberia by Stalin, was among them; he and his parents escaped during World War II and arrived in New York when he was 10.

    “When we got here, even as a 10-year-old, I wanted to kiss the ground,” he said. He has long voted Republican, but is waiting for the debates to make up his mind about Mr. Trump.

    At State Meats, a local butcher shop and smokehouse, George Salo, the owner, was preparing to make several thousand pounds of kielbasa — “the world’s best!” he boasted — for the coming parade. Mr. Salo, 31, took over the shop when he was 17, after his father died, and learned business by reading books — including some by Mr. Trump, whom he admires as an entrepreneur.

    But as for the election, “I’m telling everybody I’m voting for Gary Johnson,” he said, referring to the Libertarian nominee.

    At the takeout restaurant next door, Oksana Zavhorodnyuk, 44, was serving schnitzel and jumbo pirogi from behind a counter. She wrinkled her nose when asked about the presidential race.

    “I don’t like Trump,” she volunteered, in English that is still halting, though she has been here for 25 years. “He likes Russia; he likes Putin. He’s not in his mind, you know? It’s like, not president for America.”

    The Trump campaign says it is not concerned. “Mr. Trump has tremendous support in Ohio, and he will continue to share his message of change,” his spokeswoman, Hope Hicks, wrote in an email.

    Ukrainians arrived in America in four distinct waves, beginning in the late 1800s, and many eventually settled in suburbs like Parma. In Ohio, they are part of a broad bloc of voters who trace their ancestry to Eastern and Central European nations including Poland, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, the Czech Republic and Slovenia, the homeland of Mr. Trump’s wife, Melania.

    In this swing state, politicians of both parties aggressively court what they call the “ethnic vote.” Last week, Senator Rob Portman, an endangered Ohio Republican (and co-chairman of the Senate Ukraine Caucus), met privately with ethnic leaders here. One big issue: At the Republican National Convention in July in Cleveland, the Trump campaign stripped the party platform of language calling for the United States to provide lethal weapons to Ukraine.

    Democrats, seizing on a potential vulnerability for Mr. Trump, are increasing their own ethnic outreach this year, an effort that has been caught up in Russian political intrigue.

    The personal emails of the woman running the outreach effort, Alexandra Chalupa, were among those hacked at the Democratic National Committee, a breach American intelligence officials attribute to Russian spies. Ms. Chalupa, who is of Ukrainian descent, had been researching Mr. Manafort while consulting for the committee when the hack occurred. She has been traveling the country, talking to Democrats about what she has found.

    “I’d talk about the Russia connection and what we were seeing,” she said in an interview. “People were terrified.”

    Still, Mrs. Clinton may have an uphill battle. The Podesta Group, a Washington firm co-founded by John D. Podesta, her campaign chairman, has surfaced in the the same corruption investigation that has entangled Mr. Manafort.

    For Mr. Szmagala, a retired Cleveland transit official who has devoted his life to Ukrainian affairs and Republican politics, the campaign is especially painful. He has fond memories of a flight aboard Air Force Two with George Bush, then the vice president. And after Ukraine declared its independence, Mr. Bush, then the president, sent him there as part of the official delegation for a somber ceremony at Babi Yar, a site of mass killings by the Nazis.

    Mr. Szmagala has been a delegate to Republican conventions in the past; this year, though national Republicans gathered in his backyard, he stayed away. He has never voted for a Democrat for president, and is mindful of Ohio’s status as a swing state. He is not eager to vote for Mrs. Clinton.

    “But if it’s close,” he said, “I’ll do it. It’ll hurt, but I’ll do it.”

    “But if it’s close…I’ll do it. It’ll hurt, but I’ll do it.”

    Ouch. That the kind of sentiment from someone the GOP has spent a long time courting that has got to hurt. But don’t forget that it’s not just Ukrainian-American GOP voters who might be having second thoughts about their party’s nominee. There are all sorts of other Eastern European communities, especially in states like Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan, that probably aren’t super enthusiastic about a candidate who questioned whether or not the US should defend the Baltic NATO members if they were invaded.

    It’s a reminder that the failures of the Trump campaign’s “ethnic outreach” tactics might not be exclusively limited to virtually every non-white voting demographic. Surprisingly and surprisingly ironically.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 7, 2016, 2:49 pm
  5. Here’s a pair of articles about Francois Fillon, the recent winner of France’s center-right party presidential primary, that raises a number of fascinating questions about the nature of global rebalancing and shifting of alliances, in particular shifts related to Russia, that’s likely to take under a Trump administration:

    First, here’s an article from July about Fillon’s attitudes to military spending. To summarize, Fillon is for increased military spending, increased investments in Frances nuclear forces, citing Russia’s investments as a reason to do so, and he advocates France pushing Germany to create a European Army. At the same time, Fillon suggests that NATO’s enlargement to include Russia’s neighbors was a major mistake and that France should be working more closely with Russia on areas like terrorism and Syria. So back in July, Fillon was issuing some rather confusing signals about his vision for France’s future relationship with Russia…but he definitely wants more military spending:

    Defense News

    Defense Spending Emerges as French Election Topic

    By: Pierre Tran, July 13, 2016

    PARIS – François Fillon, a former prime minister, said July 13 he would commit France to spending two percent of its gross domestic product on defense and also retain the airborne and submarine-launched nuclear weapons if he won the presidential election next year.

    Fillon, one of the candidates in the primaries of the conservative party Les Républicains, said the two percent figure “is important.”

    “That is a target I would pursue,” he told the European-American Press Club. “And equally, I would maintain the two components for nuclear deterrence.”

    French defense spending has slipped to around 1.5 percent, below the two percent target set by NATO, as the national economy struggles to grow.

    Fillon said he would pursue work on the next generation of nuclear missile submarines to replace the present four-strong fleet “in the medium term.”

    International tension would not allow France “to lower its guard on the nuclear deterrent front,” he said, adding that Russia is re-arming, building nuclear subs, and installing anti-ballistic missile defense capabilities around Moscow.

    It was a major mistake for NATO to extend its reach so close to Russia, and it was important for Paris and Moscow to pursue a dialog as Russia remains a European country, he said.

    Fillon, prime minister from May 2007 to May 2012, is one of the candidates for the primaries to be held in November, which will decide which candidate to stand in the presidential election in May.

    There is a consensus among Les Republicains candidates for the primaries and the Socialist party on maintaining the two nuclear forces, which offer credibility and flexibility of response, said Jean-Pierre Maulny, deputy director of the think tank Institut de Relations Internationales et Stratégiques.

    There was more debate of canceling one of the nuclear weapons in the previous presidential campaign. The arguments this time around are more about whether France should be “for or against” an atomic response, Maulny said.

    France should persuade Germany to set up a European army, according to Fillon. Berlin could not rely wholly on NATO, as the alliance was unable to meet the threat from the Islamic State, he argued.

    Fillon said he told French President François Hollande that rather than launch French airstrikes against Syria, the leader should sit down with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin and German leader Angela Merkel and agree on a “medium-term strategy” on how to deal with Syria’s Bashar Al-Assad.

    Hollande ordered French airstrikes in retaliation for the Nov. 13, 2015, terror attacks in Paris, for which the Islamic State claimed responsibility. The Syria crisis has since deepened.

    There may be some 60 countries in the anti-Syria coalition but as long as Russia and Iran were excluded, there was little chance of success, Fillon argued. The latter is considered essential as Teheran is the regional power.

    Putin is “very difficult” to deal with but once he reaches an agreement, he keeps it, according to Fillon. “I have never seen him break his word.”

    Fillon was prime minister under then-president Nicolas Sarkozy, when Putin was his Russian counterpart.

    “France should persuade Germany to set up a European army, according to Fillon. Berlin could not rely wholly on NATO, as the alliance was unable to meet the threat from the Islamic State, he argued.”

    Yeah, somehow it doesn’t seem like selling Germany on a European Army is going to be a tough sell.

    But when you consider that the perceived military threat from Russia has been one of the key selling points for something like a European Army, combined with Donald Trump’s past comments about NATO that don’t exactly inspired confidence, there’s still a question of what external threat Fillon will be using to justify that new army since Fillon is advocating a significant European shift towards Russia, along with a growing number of European leaders and voters:

    The New York Times

    French Election Hints at a European Shift Toward Russia

    By MAX FISHER
    NOV. 30, 2016

    The victory of François Fillon in France’s center-right presidential primary is the latest sign that a tectonic shift is coming to the European order: toward accommodating, rather than countering, a resurgent Russia.

    Since the end of World War II, European leaders have maintained their ever-growing alliance as a bulwark against Russian power. Through decades of ups and downs in Russian-European relations, in periods of estrangement or reconciliation, their balance of power has kept the continent stable.

    But a growing movement within Europe that includes Mr. Fillon, along with others of a more populist bent, is pushing a new policy: instead of standing up to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, stand with him.

    Mr. Fillon has called for lifting sanctions on Russia and for partnering with Moscow in an effort to curtail immigration and terrorism. He is friendly with Mr. Putin. If pollsters are right and Mr. Fillon wins the French presidency in the spring, he could join several rising European politicians and newly elected leaders who are like-minded.

    Their movement, scholars stress, is driven by forces far more formidable than any elected leader: the populist upsurge that is remaking the Continent and, simultaneously, the impersonal but overwhelming pressures of international power balancing.

    These changes, along with the impending British withdrawal from the European Union and the election of Donald J. Trump as president of the United States, foretell a “dramatic shift” in the half-century of Western unity against Russia, said James Goldgeier, a political scientist and the dean of American University’s School of International Service in Washington.

    “All the trend lines right now point away from a tough approach to Russian aggression and point toward more accommodation of the Russian notion that they have a privileged sphere of influence,” he said.

    It is unclear how far into Europe that sphere of Russian influence might extend, or the consequences for nations that would come under it after escaping Soviet domination only a generation ago. But those are questions of degree; Mr. Fillon’s primary victory suggests that the shift has already begun.

    A Pro-Putin Populism

    Though Mr. Fillon would reverse his country’s hard line on Russia, he would not be the first French leader to reach out to Moscow — Charles de Gaulle, the president from 1959 to 1969, also did this — and could not, on his own, upend European unity.

    More important, he would not be alone. Mr. Trump has promised cooperation with Russia and threatened to diminish the United States’ role in NATO. Several East European countries have elected leaders who advocate reconciling with Moscow.

    In Western Europe, politics seems poised to move in Mr. Fillon’s direction. Mainstream parties, forced to acknowledge that they cannot contain the far right, are instead working to co-opt it.

    Mr. Fillon illustrates this trend well. Unlike the French far right, he wishes to maintain his country’s membership in the European Union. But, indulging Europe’s populist wave, he has promised to curtail immigration sharply, promote conservative social values, impose “strict administrative control” over Islam and bring security against terrorism.

    Benjamin Haddad, a French analyst at the Hudson Institute, a conservative think tank based in Washington, said that such policies point, in ways that might not be obvious to Americans, toward another agenda item of the European far right: partnering with Mr. Putin.

    “All over Europe, Putinism has emerged as an ideological alternative to globalism, the E.U., etc.,” Mr. Haddad said, with Mr. Putin seen as “a bulwark for conservative values — a strongman against gay marriage, immigration, Islam.”

    Mr. Haddad added, “It’s largely a domestic phenomenon, rather than the reflection of a strategic debate over the relationship with Moscow.”

    Mr. Fillon’s warmth toward Mr. Putin is apparently heartfelt, and it predated this election. What changed is French voters, who increasingly desire hard-line policies and signs of strength that they perceive Mr. Putin as representing.

    Nicolas Sarkozy, Mr. Haddad pointed out, won the French presidency in 2007 by running as a pragmatic pro-American conservative, but this year he ran as a pro-Russian populist. While Mr. Sarkozy lost the center-right primary this month, Mr. Fillon carried that same message to success.

    The Eastern and Southern Fronts

    In some ways, Mr. Fillon is particular to France, where nationalist politicians since de Gaulle have long asserted French independence from the United States and Britain by reaching out to Russia. But similar trends are playing out in several European countries, along their own particular national lines.

    In Germany, for instance, center-left leaders are pushing to abandon their country’s role in leading European efforts to counter Russia. Instead, they advocate reverting to the Cold War-era policy of Ostpolitik, in which West Germany sought a neutral balancing role between East and West.

    Often, West European politicians do not see themselves as explicitly calling for aligning with Moscow, but rather for abandoning the costly mission to counter Russia’s aggression against faraway eastern states at a moment when they have more immediate concerns.

    West European leaders see themselves as fighting an increasingly untenable two-front war: a southern front against immigration and terrorism and an eastern front against Russia.

    The eastern front is largely a project of policy establishments that see it as essential to maintaining Europe’s postwar order. Voters are more skeptical; a 2015 Pew poll found that slight majorities in France, Germany and Italy said their countries should not uphold their treaty obligation to defend an eastern NATO ally should it be attacked by Russia.

    Voters, particularly those on the right, have long seen southern issues — terrorism and immigration — as more important. Their threats to install far-right governments that would dismantle the European project entirely are increasingly credible.

    European political establishments, unable to resist such sentiments forever, may feel they have to give up on the east to focus on the south.

    The Careening Balance of Power

    The international context is starker.

    Russia is growing in power and aggression just as the Western order’s two strongest powers — the United States and Britain — are threatening to step away.

    In the cold-eyed view of international relations scholars, who tend to measure history in epochs rather than election cycles, what Mr. Fillon says or believes is almost irrelevant. Europe’s balance of power is rapidly shifting east, pulling nations like France with it.

    Balance-of-power theory states that, when a country like Russia rises, the other states in that region have three choices. They can counter by escalating against the rising power. They can flip sides to join the rising power. Or they can accommodate the rising power, allowing it a greater stake in the region.

    In the past few years, Europe had confidently chosen the first option, meeting Russia’s aggression with sanctions and eastward military deployments meant to show Russia that the status quo order would remain.

    But that approach looks increasingly untenable with Mr. Trump’s election and with Brexit. Even if Mr. Trump does not follow through on his threats to abandon American commitments to defend NATO allies, those allies have little choice but to prepare for the possibility.

    To the degree that is already changing, European states seem to be eyeing the third option: to accommodate Russia’s rise, indulging enough of Moscow’s demands to restore stability.

    Within Europe, the old order has been led by Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, who sees herself as defending the European project but is increasingly challenged by wavering allies and skeptical populations, including many Germans.

    “Merkel can’t do it by herself. Germany doesn’t have that ability,” Mr. Goldgeier said. If she wishes to remain in office, she may have to give on something, and Europe’s hard-line on Russia could be it.

    As soon as one country breaks from the united front against Russia, Mr. Goldgeier said, “each European country will look to cut its own deal with the Russians.”

    That could mean granting Russia concessions in Syria, lifting the European Union sanctions that were meant to force an end to the continuing war in eastern Ukraine, or tolerating greater Russian influence in Eastern Europe.

    It is impossible to predict where these trend lines lead, not because they are in doubt but because they foretell such extreme changes in the European order that their consequences vary too widely to pin down.

    Mr. Goldgeier, though, said his immediate concern was for the former Soviet republics that are not members of the European Union or NATO and would most likely be first to come under expanding Russian influence.

    “For the people of Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, these trend lines are quite tragic,” he said.

    “In the cold-eyed view of international relations scholars, who tend to measure history in epochs rather than election cycles, what Mr. Fillon says or believes is almost irrelevant. Europe’s balance of power is rapidly shifting east, pulling nations like France with it.”

    The end of an epoch. So that’s happening. Probably. And it’s the kind of development that could make a significant weakening of NATO much more likely. After all, NATO was basically created to counter the Soviet military threat and Russia’s ongoing military power is still one of the main justifications we hear for the alliance to this day. So if a Trump administration destroys Europe’s faith in the US’s commitment to NATO and at the same time the EU builds itself a shiny new army and there’s a significant popular shift towards Russia, what are the odds of NATO surviving? Especially when you read something like:


    The eastern front is largely a project of policy establishments that see it as essential to maintaining Europe’s postwar order. Voters are more skeptical; a 2015 Pew poll found that slight majorities in France, Germany and Italy said their countries should not uphold their treaty obligation to defend an eastern NATO ally should it be attacked by Russia.

    As we can see, Donald Trump casual dismissal of NATO’s commitments has plenty of support. In core European countries. So we have this bizarre scenario where the idea of NATO appears to be weakening on all sides while, at the same time, both prospects of an EU army grows and the likelihood of an European shift towards Russia simultaneously grow too.

    Strange times. Ends of epochs are like that.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 1, 2016, 9:39 pm
  6. It looks like the European Union is about to face a very strange test: will Donald Trump’s public trash talking of the NATO and the EU, including a reference to the EU as a “vehicle for Germany”, and his predictions that the EU might break up soon end up actually weaken the EU and make another “-exit” more likely? Or could he act as a negative unifier and the catalyst for even deeper integration and the start of an EU army? Or will there be no real impact at all on the EU during this fragile time for the union? We’re going to find out:

    The Financial Times

    Donald Trump takes swipe at EU as ‘vehicle for Germany’

    President-elect stokes European fears for the future of transatlantic alliance

    by: Henry Mance in London, Shawn Donnan in Washington and James Shotter in Frankfurt
    01/15/2017

    Donald Trump has taken his strongest swipe yet at the EU, labelling it “a vehicle for Germany” and predicting that other countries will follow Britain in leaving the bloc.

    The president-elect also warned that his trust for Angela Merkel “may not last long at all”, ranking the German chancellor alongside Vladimir Putin as a potentially problematic ally.

    The comments, made days before his inauguration in an interview with the British Conservative MP Michael Gove and the German newspaper Bild, are likely to exacerbate fears in European capitals for the future of the transatlantic alliance.

    Mr Trump’s stance contrasts sharply with that of Barack Obama, who said on a farewell tour of Europe in November that he “could not ask for a steadier or a more reliable partner” than Ms Merkel.

    Anthony Gardner, Washington’s ambassador to the EU, said last week that it would be “the height of folly” for the US to become a “Brexit cheerleader”. He also revealed that Mr Trump’s team had called EU leaders to ask “what country is to leave next”.

    But Mr Trump appears ready to do exactly that, predicting that other countries would leave the EU largely as a result of its immigration policy.

    “I believe others will leave. I do think keeping it together is not going to be as easy as a lot of people think. And I think this, if refugees keep pouring into different parts of Europe…it’s going to be very hard to keep it together because people are angry about it.”

    Mr Trump told Mr Gove: “You look at the European Union and it’s Germany. Basically a vehicle for Germany. That’s why I thought the UK was so smart in getting out.”

    The president-elect said he was “a big fan of the UK” and would “work very hard” to secure a bilateral trade agreement in what would be another rebuke to the EU, with which the US has been engaging in trade negotiations for the past four years.

    “We’re going to work very hard to get it done quickly and done properly. Good for both sides,” Mr Trump said.

    Under EU rules the UK cannot negotiate a trade agreement with another country until it leaves the union. US officials have also said in the past that the terms of any trade deal with the UK would depend on the details of its exit from the EU and whether or not Britain remains part of the single market.

    Having made criticism of globalisation a central plank of his election campaign, Mr Trump also warned Germany’s carmakers to expect to be hit with a border tax if they sought to produce cars in Mexico for export to the US market.

    “I would say to BMW, if they built a factory in Mexico and want to sell cars in the US without paying a 35 per cent tax, then they can forget it. If they want to build cars for [export to] the rest of the world, I wish them all the best. They can build cars for the US. But they will pay a 35 per cent tax for every car they export to the US. What I am saying is that they should build their factory in the US.”

    The interview means that Mr Trump has now met two of Theresa May’s domestic political rivals — Mr Gove and Nigel Farage of the UK Independence party — before meeting the prime minister herself.

    Mrs May is planning to visit Mr Trump in the coming weeks. In a sign of its desire to ingratiate itself with the incoming US administration, the UK declined to attend a conference in Paris on Sunday in support of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    Mr Trump was openly supportive of Brexit on the campaign trail, and criticised Ms Merkel’s handling of the refugee crisis. Ms Merkel, in turn, extended only guarded congratulations after the Republican’s electoral victory, offering “close co-operation” based on certain shared values.

    Many European politicians held out hope that Mr Trump’s attitude would change, as he moved out of campaign mode and received intelligence briefings on the threat of Russia.

    In his interview published on Sunday, Mr Trump gave mixed messages on Nato, saying the alliance was “very important to me” but adding that it “was obsolete” and that only “five countries…are paying what they’re supposed to”.

    He suggested that he would support lifting sanctions on Russia if Mr Putin agreed to reduce stockpiles of nuclear weapons. With reference to Mr Putin and Ms Merkel, he said: “I start off trusting both — but let’s see how long that lasts. It may not last long at all.”

    Charles Grant, director of the Centre for European Reform think-tank, said: “These comments reinforce the view that transatlantic relations are heading for their rockiest period since world war two.

    “Mr Trump told Mr Gove: “You look at the European Union and it’s Germany. Basically a vehicle for Germany. That’s why I thought the UK was so smart in getting out.””

    Those are some surprisingly frank comments. And considering how Germany’s exports have performed throughout the entire eurozone crisis, it’s hard to disagree with that sentiment (German exports for 2016 are set for another record high). So if Trump keeps hammering away on that particular point about German domination – a point that’s very hard to argue with given the empirical evidence of what’s transpired in the EU since the beginning of the eurozone crisis – that could be an indication that he’s serious about making his administration an EU “-exit” champion which could certainly add the EU turbulence for the next four years.

    But also keep in mind that publicly calling the EU a vehicle for Germany could have the opposite effect in one particular EU member that’s experiencing no shortage of “-exit” angst of its own: Germany. That argument may not be something the German government wants others to be making in general, but when there’s a surging far-right populist political movement like the AfD threatening the political establishment and gains based on the argument that the EU and eurozone are a drain on Germany, maybe in that case having Trump publicly declare the EU a vehicle for Germany isn’t so bad for Germany’s government.

    And then there’s the fact that having Trump trash-talk NATO and the EU is a dream come true for those pushing to form an EU army, a project that’s solds as a means of simultaneously bolstering Europe’s security while deepening integrating and warding of the forces of “-exit”.

    So, all in all, with with three critical elections with significant far-right “populist” movements slated to make major gains coming up in the EU in 2017 (France in April-May, Denmark in June, and Germany in October), it’s going to be interesting to watch the nature of Trump’s public comments regarding Europe and how they could change over the course of the year. For instance, do Trump’s comments about Germany as a vehicle for the EU surge right before France’s elections earlier in the year or Germany’s elections in the fall? That will be something to watch.

    It’s also worth noting that Trump’s trash talk against NATO took place days after François Fillon – France’s pro-austerity center-right presidential candidate in the upcoming elections who is the current favorite to win and a big champion of an EU Army, deeper European integration, and closer ties to Russia as part of a general European rebalancing towards the east – declared that pacifism is no longer an option for Germany, citing the election of Donald Trump as one of the main reasons:

    The Telegraph

    ‘Pacifism’ no longer an option for Germany after Berlin attack, says French presidential favourite François Fillon

    By Henry Samuel, Paris
    10 January 2017 • 5:43pm

    Pacifism is no longer an option for Germany after the Berlin Christmas market attack, according to French conservative presidential candidate François Fillon, who will meet with Angela Merkel to outline his plans for Europe in the coming days

    Mr Fillon, whom some have dubbed a Gallic Thatcherite, is the current favourite to become France’s next president in elections in April and May after his surprise victory in primaries for his Right-wing party, The Republicans.

    In his first major media appearance since becoming the centre-Right nominee, the Gaullist pledged to focus on defence, security and a more integrated euro zone.

    The election of Donald Trump and the tragedy in Berlin have been a game-changer,” he told journalists in a New Year’s address at his new campaign headquarters at the Porte de Versailles, western Paris.

    “For the United States, our continent will likely not be a priority anymore and for Germany, a certain idea of pacifism is gone.

    “France must seize this opportunity to re-mobilise the European Union around strategic priorities: our collective security, defence, innovation and the re-tightening of the euro zone,” he said.

    Mr Fillon, who offered no details about what constituted a tighter eurozone, said he would “spell out my orientations for Europe” to Ms Merkel, who aides said he would meet on January 23 in Berlin.

    Mr Fillon and the German chancellor see eye to eye on the economy, with the former French prime minister intent on cutting half a million state sector jobs within five years and burying the 35-hour working week.

    But the pair differ on issues from Turkey to migration and Europe. Unlike Ms Merkel, he has called for a strategic partnership with Russia to fight Isil in Syria, and to keep communication open with Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.

    This has drawn praise from Russian President Vladimir Putin and Mr Assad, who told French media this week: “His rhetoric on terrorism, making combating terrorists a priority and not interfering in other countries’ business, was welcome.”

    Mr Fillon’s aides were quick to respond by saying that he “has nothing to do with Bashar al-Assad, who is a dictator, and has blood on his hands”.

    But Bruno Rétailleau, his campaign coordinator, added: “When you want peace, sometimes you have to bring to the table people with dirty hands.”

    Speaking to journalists after his speech, Mr Fillon insisted that “Ms Merkel is much more pragmatic on Putin that one might think but she is very prudent”.

    The conservative candidate has come under heavy fire from the Left and far-Right Front National over his plans to slim down France’s bloated state sector and enact social security reforms detractors claim amount to the partial privatisation of the national health service.

    A poll this month suggested that 81 per cent of the French want him to modify his primary pledges for the presidential campaign.

    But on Tuesday, Mr Fillon said this was out of the question.

    “Democracy isn’t one programme for the primaries, another for the presidential vote and why not another for the legislative elections.

    The election of Donald Trump and the tragedy in Berlin have been a game-changer,” he told journalists in a New Year’s address at his new campaign headquarters at the Porte de Versailles, western Paris.

    The current front-runner for President of France wants Germany to abandon its pacifism. Yes, the world is a rapidly changing place. And Trump, simply be being reliably unreliable, is helping to catalyze that change. What particular change he catalyzes remains to be seen.

    But note the enduring and deep unpopularity of of Fillon’s pro-austerity agenda: 81 percent of French voters want him to drop that austerity, which he refuses to do:

    The conservative candidate has come under heavy fire from the Left and far-Right Front National over his plans to slim down France’s bloated state sector and enact social security reforms detractors claim amount to the partial privatisation of the national health service.

    A poll this month suggested that 81 per cent of the French want him to modify his primary pledges for the presidential campaign.

    But on Tuesday, Mr Fillon said this was out of the question.

    “Democracy isn’t one programme for the primaries, another for the presidential vote and why not another for the legislative elections.

    And with Marine Le Pen’s success at that polls driven, in part, by the National Front’s anti-austerity positions, that raises one of the most fascinating weird divides for someone like Donald Trump to straddle as is rhetorically messes with the EU: will Trump take a pro or anti-austerity stance? Because some of the far-right movements, like the AfD in Germany, charge that the eurozone is too generous to weaker members and want to kick countries like France out of the eurozone because they haven’t embraced austerity enough.

    So, for someone like Trump who presumably would like to appeal to both the National Front and the AfD and use his international notoriety to influence both elections if possible, he can appeal to the anti-austerity far-right parties like the National Front or the pro-austerity far-right parties like the AfD on the austerity debate, but he can’t appeal to both. At least not at the same time. But Trump is also perfectly capable of changing his views seamlessly and flip-flopping so he can take both sides overall. And that’s part of why it’s going to be so interesting to see which side of the European austerity debate he ends up on over the course of 2017. Will it be anti-austerity rhetoric for the first half of 2017 and the French elections and then pro-extreme-austerity rhetoric for the latter half? The opposite? That’s something to watch. He’ll probably just focus on bashing the refugees which should appeal to both the pro and anti-austerity far-right (humanity isn’t in a good place right now).

    It’s also worth noting that the biggest influence Trump could end up having on Europe would be through example: if the Trump and the GOP-controlled congress really do implement a big infrastructure stimulus plan, the kind the GOP wouldn’t have allowed in a million years under a Democratic presidency, and if that results in a significant uptick in US economic growth, that alone could end up tipping the scales in Europe’s austerity debates. Of course, since that big infrastructure plan is probably a giant Trumpian scam, we probably won’t see that example play out. Maybe that EU army that Trump is making inevitable will end up providing that stimulus. Oh goodie.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | January 16, 2017, 7:57 pm
  7. The EU is reportedly taking the first step in a joint French/German-backed plan to create an EU military training headquarters. And while EU leaders explicitly say this is not a step towards replacing NATO with an EU Army, it’s worth keeping in mind that this is the Age of Trump, so it’s definitely a step towards replacing NATO with an EU Army. Otherwise there wouldn’t also be talk of turning France’s nukes into the EU’s new nuclear deterrent:

    The New York Times

    Fearing U.S. Withdrawal, Europe Considers Its Own Nuclear Deterrent

    By MAX FISHER
    MARCH 6, 2017

    BERLIN — An idea, once unthinkable, is gaining attention in European policy circles: a European Union nuclear weapons program.

    Under such a plan, France’s arsenal would be repurposed to protect the rest of Europe and would be put under a common European command, funding plan, defense doctrine, or some combination of the three. It would be enacted only if the Continent could no longer count on American protection.

    Though no new countries would join the nuclear club under this scheme, it would amount to an unprecedented escalation in Europe’s collective military power and a drastic break with American leadership.

    Analysts say that the talk, even if it never translates into action, demonstrates the growing sense in Europe that drastic steps may be necessary to protect the postwar order in the era of a Trump presidency, a resurgent Russia and the possibility of an alignment between the two.

    Even proponents, who remain a minority, acknowledge enormous hurdles. But discussion of a so-called “Eurodeterrent” has entered the mainstream — particularly in Germany, a country that would be central to any plan but where antinuclear sentiment is widespread.

    Jana Puglierin of the German Council on Foreign Relations said that a handful of senior European officials had “for sure triggered a public debate about this, taking place in newspapers and journals, radio interviews and TV documentaries.”

    She added: “That in itself is remarkable. I am indeed very astonished that we discuss this at all.”

    A Nuclear ‘Plan B’

    Jaroslaw Kaczynski, Poland’s former prime minister and now the head of its ruling party, provided the highest-level call for a European Union nuclear program in a February interview with a German newspaper.

    But the most important support has come from Roderich Kiesewetter, a lawmaker and foreign policy spokesman with Germany’s ruling party, who gave the nuclear option increased credibility by raising it shortly after President Trump’s election.

    In an interview in the German Bundestag, Mr. Kiesewetter, a former colonel who served in Afghanistan, calibrated his language carefully, providing just enough detail to demonstrate the option’s seriousness without offering too much and risking an outcry from German voters or encouraging the American withdrawal he is hoping to avoid.

    “My idea is to build on the existing weapons in Great Britain and France,” he said, but acknowledged that Britain’s decision to leave the European Union could preclude its participation.

    The United States bases dozens of nuclear warheads in Germany, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands as both a quick-reaction force and a symbol of its guarantee to protect the Continent. Mr. Kiesewetter said his plan would provide a replacement or parallel program.

    This would require, he said, four ingredients: a French pledge to commit its weapons to a common European defense, German financing to demonstrate the program’s collective nature, a joint command and a plan to place French warheads in other European countries.

    The number of warheads in Europe would not increase under this plan, and could even decrease if the United States withdraws.

    “It’s not a question of numbers,” Mr. Kiesewetter said. “The reassurance and deterrence comes from the existence of the weapons and their deployability.”

    He envisioned a program designed to deter nuclear as well as conventional threats — a clear nod to Russia’s military superiority.

    This would require a doctrine, he said, allowing Europe to introduce nuclear weapons to a non-nuclear conflict. He compared it to the Israeli program, which is believed to allow for a nuclear strike against an overwhelming conventional attack.

    “These are political weapons. Their use must be unpredictable,” he said. Smaller nuclear powers often maintain vague doctrines to deter more powerful adversaries.

    The goal, he said, would be to maintain Europe’s defense, seen as crucial for its internal unity, as well as its international diplomatic standing.

    German lawmakers across the political spectrum worry that Mr. Trump could strike a grand bargain with Russia that excludes Europe, a potential first step toward Washington and Moscow dictating Europe’s future. Mr. Kiesewetter believes a European nuclear program would allow Europe to preserve its autonomy.

    ‘A Political Minefield’

    Mostly, Mr. Kiesewetter said he hoped to spur Mr. Trump to end doubts over American security commitments to Europe, rendering unnecessary the nuclear “Plan B.”

    For now, Mr. Kiesewetter’s intention is merely to “trigger a debate” over addressing “this silent, gigantic problem.”

    It has worked. A small but growing contingent of German analysts and commentators have endorsed versions of a European nuclear program.

    Mr. Kiesewetter said he had heard interest from officials in the Polish and Hungarian governments, at NATO headquarters in Brussels and within relevant German ministries, though he would not say which.

    But any European nuclear program would face enormous hurdles.

    “The public is totally opposed,” Ms. Puglierin said, referring to German antinuclear sentiment, which has at times culminated in nationwide protests against the weapons.

    In practical terms, the plan would change the flag on Europe’s nuclear deterrent from that of the United States to that of France. But this would risk making an American exit from Europe more permanent.

    Oliver Thränert, a German analyst with the Switzerland-based Center for Security Studies, warned in a white paper that any plan “would not only be expensive, but also a political minefield full of undesirable potential political consequences.”

    The biggest challenge may be who controls the French arsenal and where it is based.

    The United States currently shares warheads with allies like Germany, whose militaries are equipped to deliver the weapons, granting the program credibility as a Pan-European defense.

    But France has shown no willingness to share its weapons, much less put them under a joint European command. If Paris maintains final say over their use, this might cause an adversary to doubt whether France would really initiate a nuclear conflict to protect, say, Estonia.

    France and ‘a Special Responsibility’

    These sorts of problems are why Bruno Tertrais of the Foundation for Strategic Research in Paris said, “In other times I would have told you don’t bother, there’s no story here.”

    Similar proposals have been floated before, including by the French government, and always rejected as politically risky and strategically unnecessary. But, he said, that calculus appears to have a potential to change with Mr. Trump.

    “There’s already a bit more interest in Berlin and in Paris,” Mr. Tertrais said, though he emphasized that this talk would become action only if there were “a serious loss of trust in the U.S. umbrella.”

    But a joint European command or funding scheme would most likely be impossible, he warned. The French government would insist on maintaining “the final decision to use nuclear weapons.”

    That is also United States policy in Europe, which is why Mr. Tertrais believes a more workable plan would be for France to reproduce American-style practices of basing its warheads abroad, while keeping them under French control.

    While most French warheads are lodged on submarines, a few dozen are fitted to air-launched cruise missiles that could be housed in, for example, German airfields. These are smaller, shorter-range tactical weapons — exactly the American capability that Europe most fears losing.

    French policy already allows for, though does not require, using nuclear weapons in defense of an ally.

    With Britain’s exit from the European Union, “the French might feel they have a special responsibility” as Europe’s sole nuclear power.

    Vipin Narang, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor who studies regional nuclear powers, was initially skeptical but came to see such a plan as both technically and politically feasible.

    For France, he said, “it extends their frontier,” making it likelier that a nuclear conflict would be fought far from French soil. For Germany and other European states, it would “increase the credibility of the forward deployment against Russian aggression.”

    An Insurance Policy

    Some observers believe that official shows of support are intended only to pressure Mr. Trump into maintaining the status quo, which Mr. Kiesewetter emphasized is his preferred outcome.

    But Mr. Narang said that, regardless of intentions, there is a blurry line between mere signaling and actually pursuing a fallback nuclear option.

    Nuclear scholars call this “insurance hedging,” in which a protectee comes to doubt its protector and responds by taking steps toward, but not actually completing, its own nuclear program. This is meant to goad the protector into staying, and to prepare in case it doesn’t.

    Japan, for instance, has quietly developed latent capabilities that are sometimes figuratively described as a “screwdriver’s turn” away from a bomb.

    ‘I Never Thought We Would See This Again’

    Mr. Kiesewetter hopes the United States will come around. He puts particular faith in Jim Mattis, the defense secretary, whom he met in Afghanistan and Brussels while both were military officers.

    But Mr. Mattis has echoed Mr. Trump’s warnings that the United States could lessen its support for Europe, saying in a recent speech in Brussels, “I owe it to you to give you clarity on the political reality in the United States.”

    If Europeans grew more serious about a nuclear program, Mr. Tertrais said, “you would not necessarily see it.” Negotiations would most likely remain secret for fear of giving Mr. Trump an excuse to withdraw — or of triggering a reaction from Russia.

    Mr. Narang said he was reeling from the seriousness of the discussion, the first since a failed and now-forgotten effort in the 1950s for French-German-Italian nuclear cooperation.

    “I never thought we would see this again. I never thought there would actually be this concern,” he said. But, he added, “You can see where the debate is surfacing from. There is a logic to it.”

    “Under such a plan, France’s arsenal would be repurposed to protect the rest of Europe and would be put under a common European command, funding plan, defense doctrine, or some combination of the three. It would be enacted only if the Continent could no longer count on American protection.”

    Is France willing to extend its nuclear umbrella to the rest of the EU if Trump ends up scaring the Europeans into “going it alone”? That’s going to be a pretty big “going it alone” question for the EU in general but especially for France and Germany which have been the two biggest proponents of creating an EU Army in the first place. And it sounds like there could be quite a bit of resistance in France to either giving up control of its nukes or agreeing to some other arrangement that makes France the nuclear-umbrella for the rest of the EU. But if not France, who? Well, Germany, of course:

    The Washington Post

    In the era of Donald Trump, Germans debate a military buildup

    By Anthony Faiola
    March 5, 2017 at 7:18 PM

    SESTOKAI, Lithuania — A vermilion-colored locomotive slowed to a halt, its freight cars obscured in the blinding snow. A German captain ordered his troops to unload the train’s cargo. “Jawohl!” — “Yes, sir!” — a soldier said, before directing out the first of 20 tanks bearing the Iron Cross of the Bundeswehr, Germany’s army.

    Evocative of old war films, the scene is nevertheless a sign of new times. Seven and a half decades after the Nazis invaded this Baltic nation, the Germans are back in Lithuania — this time as one of the allies.

    As the Trump administration ratchets up the pressure on allied nations to shoulder more of their own defense, no country is more in the crosshairs than Germany. If it meets the goals Washington is pushing for, Germany — the region’s economic powerhouse — would be on the fast track to again become Western Europe’s biggest military power.

    Any renaissance of German might has long been resisted first and foremost by the Germans — a nation that largely rejected militarism in the aftermath of the Nazi horror. Yet a rethinking of German power is quickly emerging as one of the most significant twists of President Trump’s transatlantic policy.

    Since the November election in the United States, the Germans — caught between Trump’s America and Vladimir Putin’s Russia — are feeling less and less secure. Coupled with Trump’s push to have allies step up, the Germans are debating a military buildup in a manner rarely witnessed since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

    Perhaps nowhere is the prospect of a new future playing out more than here in Lithuania — where nearly 500 German troops, including a Bavarian combat battalion, arrived in recent weeks for an open-ended deployment near the Russian frontier. The NATO deployment marks what analysts describe as Germany’s most ambitious military operation near the Russian border since the end of the Cold War. It arrived with a formidable show of German force — including 20 Marder armored infantry fighting vehicles, six Leopard battle tanks and 12 Fuchs and Boxer armored personnel carriers.

    “Maybe, with respect to the United States, you need to be careful what you wish for,” said Lt. Col. Torsten Stephan, military spokesman for the German troops in Lithuania. “Mr. Trump says that NATO may be obsolete, and that we need to be more independent. Well, maybe we will.”

    The German-led deployment — also involving a smaller number of troops from Belgium, the Netherlands and Norway — is designed to send a muscular message from Europe to Putin: Back off.

    Yet on a continent facing the prospect of a new Cold War, the deployment is also offering a window into the risks of renewed German strength — as well as the Russian strategy for repelling it by dwelling on Germany’s dark past. In the 21st-century world of hybrid warfare, the first proverbial salvos have been fired.

    Recently, coordinated emails were sent to Lithuanian police, media and top politicians, falsely claiming that the new German troops had gang-raped a local 15-year-old girl. The Lithuanian government quickly disproved the allegations — but not before a few local outlets and social-media users had spread the false accounts. Officials are investigating whether the Russians were behind it.

    “But if you ask me personally, I think that yes, that’s the biggest probability,” said Lithuanian Defense Minister Raimundas Karoblis.

    Pro-Russian websites, meanwhile, are preying on old stereotypes, harking back to Adolf Hitler and portraying the NATO deployment in Lithuania as a “second invasion” by Germany.

    As Germany grows bolder, outdated imagery is roaring back to life through Russian propaganda. Last week, the Russian Defense Ministry announced the building of a reproduction of the old German Reichstag at a military theme park near Moscow, offering young Russians a chance to reenact the 1945 storming of the structure during the fall of Berlin.

    Yet in Lithuania, a former Soviet republic now living in the shadow of Russia’s maw, the Nazi legacy is seen as ancient history. To many here, modern Germany is a bastion of democratic principles and one of the globe’s strongest advocates of human rights, free determination and measured diplomacy. And facing a Russian threat in times of uncertain NATO allegiances, the Lithuanians are clamoring for a more powerful Germany by its side.

    “I think U.S. leadership should be maintained, but also, we need leadership in Europe,” Karoblis said. Noting that Britain is in the process of breaking away from the European Union, he called Germany the most likely new guarantor of regional stability.

    “Why not Germany? Why not?” he said.

    More dangerous missions

    For many Germans, however, there are many reasons — including overspending and fears of sparking a new arms race. According to a poll commissioned by Stern magazine and published this year, 55 percent of Germans are against increasing defense spending in the coming years, while 42 percent are in favor.

    The German military has staged several military exercises in Poland and other parts of Eastern Europe, and its pilots form part of the air police deterring Russian planes buzzing the E.U.’s eastern borders. It has also begun to take on more dangerous missions — deploying troops to the Balkans, Afghanistan and, last year, to Mali. The military also has taken on a logistical support role in the allied fight against the Islamic State.

    But the Germans are slated to do much more. In 2014, German officials agreed with other NATO nations to spend at least 2 percent of its gross domestic product on defense within 10 years — up from about 1.2 percent in 2016. Until recently, however, many German officials privately acknowledged that such a goal — which would see Germany leapfrog Britain and France in military spending — was politically untenable.

    Since Trump’s victory, however, German politicians, pundits and the media have agonized over the issue, with more and louder voices calling for a stronger military. Last month, the Defense Ministry announced plans to increase Germany’s standing military to nearly 200,000 troops by 2024, up from a historical low of 166,500 in June. After 26 years of cuts, defense spending is going up by 8 percent this year.

    Chancellor Angela Merkel has called for cool heads, but also for increased military spending. Her defense minister, Ursula von der Leyen, has been more forceful, saying recently that Germany cannot “duck away” from its military responsibility. Although considered a distant possibility, some outlier voices are mentioning the once-inconceivable: the advent of a German nuclear bomb.

    “If Trump sticks to his line, America will leave Europe’s defense to the Europeans to an extent that it hasn’t known since 1945,” Berthold Kohler, publisher of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, wrote in a recent opinion piece. That could mean “higher defense spending, the revival of the draft, the drawing of red lines and the utterly unthinkable for German brains — the question of one’s own nuclear defense capability.”

    ““If Trump sticks to his line, America will leave Europe’s defense to the Europeans to an extent that it hasn’t known since 1945,” Berthold Kohler, publisher of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, wrote in a recent opinion piece. That could mean “higher defense spending, the revival of the draft, the drawing of red lines and the utterly unthinkable for German brains — the question of one’s own nuclear defense capability.””

    As we can see, as the EU’s only remaining nuclear power after the UK leaves, France might be seen as the default provider of a nuclear ‘Plan B’ for Europe, but that doesn’t mean Germany isn’t thinking about taking this opportunity to go down the nuclear route. And that could give Berlin the perfect excuse to do it if France doesn’t agree to become the new EU nuclear deterrent, especially if Germany gets to develop that bomb under the declared intent of protecting the rest of Europe.

    Yep, Berlin could be on the verge of getting a nuclear moral high ground freebie to build the bomb. It’s another gift for the future from the Age of Trump.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 6, 2017, 4:45 pm
  8. some interesting family background on Martin Selmayr here

    His paternal grandfather, Josef, served as a Lieutenant Colonel on Hitler’s General Staff in the Balkans and and was later served four years for war crimes. He became one of the founders of the West German military secret service.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/05/02/revealed-jean-claude-junckers-monster-plotting-punish-britain/

    Posted by chris | May 3, 2017, 12:32 am

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