Germany Issues Stinging Rebuke of US Sanctions Against Russia

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Written by Johannes Stern; Originally appeared at Wsws.org

Germany’s Foreign Ministry published a sharply-worded press release Thursday from Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel (Social Democrats, SPD) and Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern (Social Democrats, SPÖ) denouncing the United States’ foreign and economic policies.

Germany Issues Stinging Rebuke of US Sanctions Against Russia

Gabriel, Kern © EXPA / Michael Gruber via kleinezeitung.at

Republicans and Democrats agreed almost unanimously, by 97 votes to 2, to impose new sanctions on Russia in the Senate on Wednesday. The Senate justified the measure as a punishment for Moscow’s alleged meddling in the US presidential election, the annexation of Crimea and its support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The bipartisan bill was “the package of sanctions the Kremlin deserves for its actions,” said Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen.

Gabriel and Kern brusquely rejected the US Senate’s measure. The bill was really about “the sale of American liquefied gas and the sidelining of Russian gas supplies in the European market,” according to the two social democratic politicians. That emerges from the text “particularly explicitly.” The goal was “to secure jobs in the American oil and gas industries.”

The US and Europe had since 2014 “side by side and in close joint consultation answered Russia’s annexation of Crimea, which is illegal under international law, and its actions in eastern Ukraine. … But the threat to impose extraterritorial sanctions which violate international law on European companies participating in the expansion of European energy supplies” could not be tolerated. Europe’s energy provision was “a European affair, and not one for the United States of America!”

Gabriel and Kern went on to warn,

“Instruments of political sanctions should not be connected with economic interests.”

Threatening European companies “in US markets with punishments” if they participate in or finance projects like the Nord Stream II oil pipeline with Russia would introduce “an entirely new and extremely negative quality to European-American relations.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel explicitly backed her Foreign Minister on Friday. There was “very strong agreement in terms of content with Gabriel’s statement,” stated government spokesman Stefan Seibert.

“It is, to put it mildly, an unconventional action by the US Senate.”

It was troubling that European businesses were being targeted by sanctions to punish Russian behaviour.

“That cannot be allowed,” added Seibert.

The bipartisan action by the US Senate and the sharp response from the German government make clear that the conflicts between the US and Germany are not simply intensifying as a result of President Donald Trump, but have deep objective roots. Twenty five years after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the conflicts between the major imperialist powers, which resulted in two world wars during the 20th century, are erupting into the open once again.

Following the G7 summit three weeks ago, Merkel, in a speech delivered in a Munich beer tent, called into question the alliance with the United States, which formed the basis of Germany’s foreign policy in the post-war era.

“The times in which we could completely depend upon others are long past,” she stated and advanced on this basis the demand, “We Europeans really have to take our fate into our own hands” and “fight for our own future.”

The German government has since worked systematically to expand its global political and economic relations. After Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Berlin at the beginning of the month, and Merkel visited Argentina and Mexico last week, the government organised a major conference on Africa in Berlin earlier this week.

As Berlin moves to fulfil Gabriel’s pledge to “use the spaces vacated by America,” the tensions with Washington are rising. Already last week, Gabriel criticised the US-backed action taken by Saudi Arabia against Qatar, which is aimed above all at Iran. In a statement, Gabriel defended the emirate and warned against a “Trumpification” of relations in the region. The “latest gigantic arms deals between US President Trump and the Gulf monarchies” intensified “the danger of a new arms race.” This was “a completely wrong policy, and certainly not Germany’s policy.”

Gabriel’s statements against the United States have nothing to do with pacifism. He is not concerned with “peace,” but the enforcement of German imperialist interests, which are increasingly at odds with those of the United States. While the United States under Trump is ever more openly heading in the direction of war with Iran, the German government is striving for a further opening up of the country’s economy to secure new markets for German corporations in the Middle East and new investment opportunities for German capital.

The same applies to Russia. Although the German government supported the right-wing coup against Viktor Yanukovitch alongside the US in Ukraine in 2014, and stationed troops on the Russian border, it opposed open conflict with Russia over Ukraine. In his new book “Remeasurements,” Gabriel boasts that “with the Minsk Accord, France and Germany, on behalf of Europe, while not resolving an escalating conflict, curbed it significantly for the first time,” and had done so “without the United States.”

Washington, at that time, had been “close to…supplying weapons to Ukraine,” the Foreign Minister stated.

“With the cynical idea that although Russia could not be defeated militarily, it would be pressurised into peace talks more rapidly if it paid a high ‘price in blood’. The war in Ukraine would have become a war over Ukraine.” But Europe was “grown up enough…to foresee this and to let Germany and France negotiate.”

Following Brexit, the election of Trump and the victory of pro-European President Emmanuel Macron, Berlin seemingly feels it is “grown up enough” to increasingly distance itself from the US and to press ahead with the construction of a European army under German leadership.

“Europe’s security is Europe’s own responsibility,” noted Gabriel in his book. “We must become capable of acting strategically in foreign and security policy, because we don’t do so enough. That includes us defining our European interests and articulating them independently of the US. This obstinacy requires to some extent an emancipation from the direction adopted in Washington.”

He goes on,

“Whoever has their own goals also should develop their capabilities to achieve them. The EU needs to see itself as a greater security policy power. Our defence budgets must be adjusted accordingly. The armaments of the European armies need to be modernised, made operationally deployable and reoriented to military tasks.”

Gabriel’s declared goal is the building of a veritable European combat power capable of enforcing its global imperialist interests independently of NATO and the US, and, if necessary, against them. The issue is not “just to buy new weapons. It is about integrating the arms industry more in Europe and pooling forces. It is about creating a joint European security identity, which opens the way to a European army through ever more closely integrated structures.”

This policy, which is supported by all of Germany’s parties, from the CDU/CSU to the SPD, Greens and Left Party, has an irresistible logic. As in the first half of the 20th century, the deepening rivalries between the imperialist powers over raw materials, markets and geostrategic influence are leading once again to a war between the great powers, unless the working class intervenes on the basis of its own socialist strategy.

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  • Colin Oskapy

    The German weakling pansies can do nothing. They are nothings. They are inherant Zionist lackeys, totally owned by Anglo-Americanism.

    • Gonçalo Pena

      It is not Germany alone. If Germans moves towards Russia (as in Napoleon times) so it will France, with lots of diplomatic effort in Eastern Europe. I believe in Europe + Russia (with certain diplomatic measures and reassurances) more than in NATO, now that soviet union is over. Ideology is no more separating us from the Russians. Just culture, language and some political issues.

      • Colin Oskapy

        I’d have preferred the Reich model to the ” Germany ” of Napoleonic times.

      • Miguel Redondo

        The differences in culture , language and politics , between a Finnish and a Spanish are much more bigger than any possible difference between germans and russians.
        Finnish and Spanish share the table in the EU.
        A possible friendship and cooperation between Germany and Russia is the biggest nightmare of the neocons in the US-Syate-Department.
        (That is the reason because Trump tries to use Poland as a wedge between them)

    • Justin Ryan

      i disagree! It’s clear Russia has won this war in Syria! Therefore, no longer will their be an attempt to steal the Russian energy market to europe (which was why the coup in ukraine took place in the first place to potentially stem russian supply that transits through ukraine”.
      Now that Qatar has seen the light (the country in which the new pipes would have come from if the US coalition won the war in Syria) Germany, Europe, Turkey and Qatar have all switched sides! It now seems Russia will not only keep their Energy market to Europe (by building nordstream 2 and turkstream) but they also increase their footprint of influence in the mediteranean, the middle east. Bases are also being built in Egypt! Saudi Arabia will have less market share and Russia will have more (both Europe and China with pipelines).
      Qatar, who shares its gas wells with Iran will benefit from Iran’s pipes to india. Qatar also boguth 20% share in Rosneft (russian energy company) to enjoy profits from Russian energy market to Europe!

      Russia now seen as ISIS killers, Syrian liberators! The nation who stemmed the flow of refugees into Europe!
      A new super power resurrects and no longer will the US meddle in middle east affairs without a big Red Bear standing in their way!
      USA petro dollar and thus Reserve currency is now at threat as well as the IMF and thus no longer will the USA be able to print its own wealth and fund its war machine!
      20 Trillion in debt and the USA is looking at bread lines within 5 to 10 years from now!

      Empires fall from greed!
      USA empire, a short lived empire due to greed and lust of money and power!

      The End!

  • Gonçalo Pena

    It looks by this article that any country trying to invest capital on foreign countries is imperialist. US is, without doubt, but because of military threatening, enforcement and global base using. An European Army would be used just in clear cut situations since depends on different states, languages and cultures.

  • XRGRSF

    Germany will do whatever the United States tells them to do.

  • MeThinks

    Ukraine, Help us Biden…you will lose too

    Lolololololol

  • Ma_Laoshi

    The idea of a European army is abhorrent as long as the EU is a thoroughly undemocratic construct, which will apparently be indefinitely. It’d be something like Merkel’s personal good squad–not good. Just to be sure, are these superpower dreams coming from the same Europe which can’t even secure its own borders, and which cheerfully continues to sacrifice itself for the American-Israeli axis in the migrant crisis and sanctions war? I’d rather break this EU monster down than heap more unearned power onto it.

    The pipeline sanctions are so funny really. The Europeans begged Uncle Sam “help us, the Russians are coming!” Trump personally knew that this was all nonsense, but Europe insisted and Trump had no choice but to play along. “Alright”, said his administration, “but then also do something for us, and buy American weapons and LNG”. When the Europeans turned out to be too cheap for that, Trump mostly told them to their face that they were a bunch of useless parasites; not how Obama would have played it, but was he wrong?

    A bit late now for Merkel and the other dwarves to fess up that the Russian scare was all lies. Before these insects continue with their big mouths, they better take a close look at the Marawi incident to see what happened to Duterte when he stepped out of line.

  • Jonathan Murray

    Love it when the far right ‘analysis’ falls apart in the face of actual history.. you guys are such idiots. So the Jews control the world do they? Every event is part of their evil master plan? I’ve an idea – read some books instead of the comics that tell you all about the evil Jews and their plans.

    • Wahid Algiers

      Are you a fucken friend of “Israel”? Or better: USrael?

      • Jonathan Murray

        So because I don’t think there is a secret Jewish kabel running the world I am a friend of Israel? You are an idiot. Read some books.

        • Wahid Algiers

          There is a jewish plot running the world. I am not talking about 9/11. I am talking about the jewish influence on us-american policy since decades, I am talking about the 6-millions-invention (Holocau$t) to gain money, I am talking about the jewish requirements on nearly every state to support them, I am talking about the contempt of UN-resolutions. And I am talking about secret and semi-secret efforts to control financial markets worlswide. So, who is the idiot?

          • Jonathan Murray

            Jewish plot, Catholic plot, Masonic plot, Muslim plot, British plot. I’ll tell you the plot Wahid – its a plot by greedy people to make as much money as they can, exploit as many people and destroy the planet as much as possible. Its called capitalism and its evil. Thats the plot.
            Wake up to the plot and you can fight it. But believe the story about the Jews or whoever and you’ll spend your life chasing the truth about a story that clever people spread so you can’t see the reality that is in front of you.

  • SnowCatzor

    God these European a-hole ‘leaders’ (globalist traitors) make me sick, always parroting the same tired and fraudulent lies about ‘muh election rigging’ and ‘evil Assad’, no matter how many times Russia is vindicated on both these issues. As for Crimea, the issue is solved but they just refuse to admit it. Crimeans prefer Russia and no amount of sanctions and rhetorical whinning is going to change that.

    Unfortunately Germany (like the rest of the EU & the US) are not very pragmatic, they are childish idealists who’ll just keep making the same mistakes over and over again. Because any deviation would be to admit that their whole world-view has been false.

  • Nilo BP

    You know, I get it that we’re all in this together against aggression and instability, and that the left has a long antiwar tradition (hypocritical, but let’s not get into that).

    But just for the record: the “it’s all the capitalists’ fault, workers of the world unite” angle gets on the nerves.

  • Antikapitalista

    For a start, could the Germans just cut the U.S. eavesdropping line to the phones of their several high-ranking officials, including the Federal Chancelloress…?

    Oops… no, that would already go too far…! :-P