Vladimir Putin’s charm tour of Germany and Austria last weekend is a significant sign of change to come.
To the U.S. and European press Putin is only a step or two away from Hitler reincarnated (thanks chiefly to Bill Browder). It serves the purpose of maintaining the post WWII institutional order.
But, Putin is always nothing but relentlessly patient in his diplomatic efforts, even when European leaders, like Merkel, treat him and Russia poorly. She is, after all, the leading mouthpiece and political ally of The Davos Crowd that believes they run the world.
The conduct of his Foreign Ministry under Sergei Lavrov always strikes the perfect balance between bluntness and diplo-speak.
So, color me surprised when I see the official photos of his meeting with Merkel carefully framed to paint him in a positive light.
Summit? This isn’t a Summit? Just a friendly chat.
Putin in light blues and grays, Merkel in green, the fountain in the background, leaning in looking directly at each other and a simple Sunday morning chat.
If I didn’t know better I’d be expecting them to share photos of their grandkids, well, Putin’s grandkids anyway.
Optics are important and this image captures what both parties wanted to convey. This meeting is the beginning of a shift in the relationship between Germany and Russia for the better.
And the question is why?
The obvious answer is necessity brought about by pressure being placed on both countries by Donald Trump through sanctions and tariffs and their shared interests represented by the Nordstream 2 pipeline.
But, this meeting went far deeper than that, especially since Merkel’s Foriegn Minister Heiko Maas boldly proclaimed that Europe needs an alternative to the SWIFT system of international electronic payments so as to keep global trade alive while the U.S. further weaponizes the U.S. dollar.
The U.S. just seized another $5 billion of Russian ‘oligarch’ money using Credit Suisse as its enforcement arm.
Again, the question is why?
Why would Merkel allow Maas to state this publicly and why was it picked up by that establishment stenographer The Financial Times?
Why is Merkel, their main mouthpiece, making googly eyes with Putin who, like Trump, represents an existential threat to their continued rule and is the leader of the pendulum swing away from globalism?
If Trump’s goal, as presented by much of the European press (as presented here by Gilbert Doctorow), is to regain complete subjugation of Europe to American dominance, then this seems counter-productive.
SWIFT is the main lever on which much of the U.S.’s sanctions power rests. Because it is through SWIFT that transactions can be tracked, payments halted and fines imposed. That none of this is strictly legal is irrelevant in the game of power-politics.
Banks like Credit Suisse can’t function without access to SWIFT.
So they will roll over to the pressure. That’s why the response from EU leadership to Trump’s abandoning the JCPOA has been far more bark than bite. Because the measures implemented to protect European businesses from U.S. retaliation against them hold no weight with the companies staring at billions in losses.
Case in point: France’s Total pulling out of a multi-billion exploration deal with Iran.
Merkel’s response? $18 million in aid to Tehran for their troubles. Hardly seems fair does it?
This undermines the EU’s credibility at a foundational level. It shows them to be the toothless and, in EU President Donald Tusk’s case, witless when faced with opposition to their rule that isn’t supported by The Davos Crowd, which Trump most definitely doesn’t represent.
So, again, the question is why?
All of this seems incredibly contradictory, at times even to a jaded and cynical observer like me. Until you step back for a second and think bigger picture and ask the most important question of all.
What are Trump’s real goals?
It’s Good to Have Goals
And I’ve talked about these in the past. His real goal is the destruction of that post WWII institutional order which in his mind bankrupts the U.S. treasury through massive trade deficits.
And in a word that means…. NATO.
Trump goal is the dissolution of NATO. He wants it dismantled because it is a massive drain on our capital base. Building weapons and maintaining bases in Europe is expensive and that money is needed here. He knows this.
Even the mere hint of this has The Davos Crowd in apoplexy. Hence, the post-Helsinki freak out. Hence, the drive to impeach him over Stormy Freaking Daniels. It’s pathetic.
I said back in June that Trump’s leaving the JCPOA was all part of his strategy to drive a wedge between the U.S. and Germany.
The Davos Crowd needs that deal to keep the dream of transferring the power of the world back to Europe from the U.S. via cheap, Iranian energy and keep the conflict between Israel/Saudi Arabia and Iran front and center to foment global chaos awhile keeping Russia from getting rich again.
It needs that to support the narrative we need NATO to protect us from the inevitable Russian attack after we provoke them into it. This keeps the money flowing through the banks and lobbyists while draining the U.S. dry through the military/industrial complex.
The problem is that that narrative is garbage. And despite relentless Russia bashing since before Trump was elected, the American people overwhelmingly want peace with Russia, not war.
Poland and the Baltics sound like Democrats unhinged hysterical children over the ‘threat of Russian aggression.’
This is why Trump is also pressuring Turkey at the same time. He knows Europe is vulnerable to Turkey’s implosion. Turkey and Germany are major trading partners and the vast bulk of Turkey’s foreign currency exposure is owned by European banks, making them, as I’ve said previously, Ground Zero for the debt bomb.
So the final question then is this.
Has this been Trump’s goal the entire time? Is this what Trump and Putin discussed behind closed doors in Helsinki?
The NATO Wedge
By driving a wedge between Germany and the U.S. over NATO and attacking the foundations of the German economy Trump is ensuring the current rapprochement between Germany and Russia?
Merkel, for her part, has been so terminally weakened by her immigration policy and strong-armed approach to dissent that this whirlwind weekender by Putin was as much for her benefit, politically, as his.
The implication being that if Merkel wants to stay in power with her weakening coalition and poll numbers it’s time for her to reverse course. And if that means cozying up to Russia then so be it.
Merkel will continue to talk a good game about Crimea and Ukraine while Putin will speak directly to the German people about ending the humanitarian crisis in Syria as a proxy for ending the threat of further immigration.
This outflanks Merkel’s position and undermines George Soros’ goals of the cultural destruction of Europe. At this point, politically, how can Merkel even argue against that without betraying her true loyalties?
And that’s what makes the implications of this Summit-That-Wasn’t so interesting.
If this is indeed the case then the future of the world rests on the mid-term elections and whether Trump is not indicted for having sex with a couple of porn stars.
I almost feel dirty writing that.
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