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Germany after the EU and the Russian scenario ("Stratfor", USA)
Material posted: Publication date: 06-09-2010

In the heart of the current debates on Europe, the financial crisis in Greece and its potential impact on the future of the European Union. In these days of discussions on military Affairs in Europe, seem insignificant and even obsolete. Of course, we agree that at the moment the future of the European Union is more important than any other topic, but I would like to point out that there are scenarios for the future of the European Union, in which case the military will be far from archaic.

Russia and the Polish "patriots"

For example, the Polish government announced recently that the United States has deployed in the country a battery of missiles "patriot". Rocket arrived this week. When the US, under heavy Russian pressure, has canceled its ground-based missile defense system, the Obama administration seemed surprised by the sharp discontent of Poland about this decision. Washington responded by promising missiles "patriot", placement of which the poles sought from the beginning. Although these missiles do not improve America's ability to defend itself against ballistic missiles from, say, Iran, Poland they offer some protection against ballistic missiles, short-range and significant protection against a conventional attack from the air. Russia is the only country capable of inflicting on Poland such attacks, and its potential interest to such action at this time is purely abstract. Removing a system that was not a threat to Russian interests, the US missile defense at best can only catch a certain number of missiles, which means an insignificant impact on the Russian nuclear potential, the United States ironically has installed a different system which may have an impact on Russia. In the circumstances it's slightly.

Although the presence of American soldiers in 40 kilometers from the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, many say, several hundred technicians and security guards just do not represent any real threat. However, Russians are already accustomed to the fact that the most improbable threats turning into very real – tend to treat seriously the hypothetical limits of its power. They also seriously relate to all kinds of gestures, knowing that gestures often germinate in strategic intentions. The Russians obviously oppose the deployment of missile batteries "Patriot" will allow Poland along with NATO – and, perhaps, yourself – obtain air superiority in the area. However, in Russian politics, there are many contradictory tendencies. Today the Russians are interested in improving economic relations with the West, as they would be very useful technology and investment that you can use to get rid of dependence on commodity exports. Moreover, while the Europeans are busy with their economic crisis, and the United States bogged down in the middle East and need Russian support on Iran, Moscow has found that almost faced with some resistance to their efforts to strengthen their influence in the countries of the former USSR.

Moscow is quite satisfied with the European crisis and don't want to do something that may cause increased European solidarity. In the end, a strong economic block is becoming increasingly influential and integrated state, in the long term to challenging Russia, without whom Moscow could do. The deployment of missile batteries "patriot" is the current cause for irritation and a hypothetical military problem, but the Russian is not inclined to turn this into a crisis in its relations with Europe – although this does not mean that Moscow will not make any contrarily on the borders, when they find the opportunity. For its part, the Obama administration today not holding Poland in the center of your attention.

It is fixated on domestic issues, South Asia and the middle East. The patriot missiles were sent on the basis of promises made a few months ago to calm Central European nerves of politicians who decided that the Obama administration has abandoned its commitments in the region. In the departments of the state Department and the defense Department, who were instructed to send to Poland, the delivery process was of secondary importance – the numerous delays in the deployment of the system only stressed the lack of Washington's strategic intentions. Thus, it is tempting to reject the delivery of missiles as unimportant, as a simple combination of the heritage of the ideology of "cold war" and the small missteps of the Obama administration. Indeed, even the sophisticated observer of international relations can hardly notice the event. But we believe that this delivery system is more important than it seems, because everything else that happens in the region.


An existential crisis in the EU

The European Union is experiencing an existential crisis. This crisis is not Greece, and with more global issues that need to each other members of the European Union and how the European Union can control its members. In the years of prosperity, the European Union felt good. And when there was a financial crisis, called for richer States to help poorer States.

Again, it's not just Greece – the credit crisis of 2008 in Central Europe about that too. Rich countries, especially Germany, dissatisfied with the prospect of spending taxpayers ' money on aid to countries struggling with the bursting of credit bubbles. They do not want to do this, and if they have to do, they want to control how these other countries spend their money so that this does not happen again. Needless to say, Greece – and the countries that may be in the same situation - don't want to have their finances controlled by foreigners.

If among member countries of the EU there are no mutual obligations, and the German and the Greek public does not want to provide financial assistance and submit accordingly, there is a fundamental question about what will be Europe – in addition to a simple free trade zone - after this crisis. It's not just a question of the survival of the Euro, although it is not a trifle. The Euro and the European Union will probably survive this crisis – although their mutual failure is not so unthinkable as a few months ago, thought the Europeans – but this is not the only crisis that will face Europe. Something will always go wrong, and Europe does not have institutions that can deal with these problems. The events of recent weeks indicate that European countries are not inclined to create such institutions, and that public opinion limits the ability of European governments to establish or participate in such organizations. Remember that building a superstate requires one of two things: either the war to determine who is in charge or political unanimity for the conclusion of the agreement. Europe clearly demonstrates the limits of the second strategy. Whatever happens in the short term, it is difficult to imagine further integration of European institutions. And it's easy to imagine how the European Union will roll from of his ambitious vision to the Union for benefits that are built around economic benefits, which the partners are constantly negotiating. Thus, it will transform from a Union to a Covenant, whose only interest is self-serving benefit.


Returning to the German question

We return to the question that defined Europe since 1871, namely, the status of Germany in Europe. As we have seen during the current crisis, Germany is clearly the economic centre of gravity in Europe, and this crisis has shown that economic and political issues are one and the same. If Germany did not agree to do nothing happens, but if Germany wants something to happen. Germany has Europe's enormous power, even if it is limited mostly to economic matters. But this role of a blocking mechanism and at the same time the mediator of Europe, playing Germany, eventually turns the country into a Central problem of the continent. If Germany takes the key decisions in Europe, that Germany determines the policy pursued by Europe in General.

If Europe falls apart, then Germany becomes the only European country able to create an alternative coalition, which will be simultaneously influential and cohesive. This means that if the European Union weakens, the word Germany will be crucial in determining the future destiny of Europe. Now the Germans are working hard to reformulate the fundamental principles of the European Union and the Euro zone to your taste. But as this requires many partners have sacrificed their sovereignty, which they jealously guarded throughout the European project, and agreed to monitoring by Germany – should consider what alternatives exist in Germany in the European Union.

To do this, we first need to understand the limitations faced by Germany. The problem Germany has not changed since unification: she is extremely powerful, but not omnipotent. Her power makes her the center of attention of other powers, and together, these other powers can weaken Germany and to cause damage. Thus, in the present Germany is indispensable for decision-making in the European Union, and in the future it will be a single centre of influence in Europe – but Germany simply cannot act alone. Germany need a coalition that raises another long-term question: If the EU will weaken or even fail, what alternative coalition would seek Germany? Worker response in this case France, as the two countries are immediate neighbours, and their economy is somewhat similar. Historically, however, this similarity in the structure and location were not a source of cooperation and love, rivalry and frictions.

In the framework of the European Union with all its variety Germany and France could put aside their friction, finding a common interest in the management of Europe to their mutual benefit. Of course, this joint management has helped to lead us to the current crisis. Moreover, the main thing you need Germany from France – this is her market, while ideal partner could offer something more. At least France itself is not the basis of economic strategy of Germany. Historic alternative for Germany has always been Russia.


Russian option

Between the German and Russian economies there is huge potential synergy. Germany imports from Russia of large volumes of oil and gas and other natural resources. As already mentioned, Russia needs sources of technology and capital, to cease to be mere exporter of primary commodities. In Germany, falling population, and it needed a source of labor – preferably one that does not want to move to Germany. The Russian economy inherited from the Soviet Union, the continuing de-industrialization, and although it has many negative effects, there is one positive, which is often ignored: in Russia today, more labor than it can effectively to digest in their own economy. Germany does not want new immigrants but needs access to labor. Russia wants factories in the country to give work to redundant workers, and she wants access to technology.

The logic of Russian-German economic relations is more obvious than the logic of relations between Germany and Greece or Germany and Spain. As for France, it can participate or not (and, incidentally, the French are joining a number of ongoing German-Russian projects). Therefore, if we focus our attention on the economy and assume that the European Union cannot survive as an integrated system (a logical but not yet proven outcome), and if we also assume that Germany is both the driving force of Europe and cannot act outside of the coalition, it is possible to argue that the coalition between Germany and Russia is the logical result of the decline of the EU. This will alarm many in the country.

The first of them will be Poland, stuck between Russia and Germany. The second is the United States, as Washington considers Russian-German economic bloc more significant competitor than they have ever been in the European Union. There are two reasons. First, this relationship will be more harmonious – to develop a common policy between the two countries with parallel interests is much easier and faster than to do it among all 27 countries. Secondly, more importantly, where the European Union could not develop a direction of its military cooperation because of internal divisions, the emergence of the political and military dimension of the Russian-German economic relations it is much easier to imagine. It will be based on the fact that the Germans and Russians resent and fear American power and assertiveness, and the Americans for many years looking for the location of the allies, situated between the two powers.

Germany and Russia will be able to see themselves in the role of opposing American pressure. And this brings us back to the issue of missiles "patriot". Regardless of the bureaucratic swamp, from which originated the transfer, or political indifference, from which grew the plan, the deployment of missiles neatly fits into the slowly maturing military relations between Poland and the United States. A few months ago, the poles and Americans conducted joint military exercises in the Baltic States, which are incredibly sensitive region for the Russians.

Polish air force used today by some of the most modern, built in the U.S. combat aircraft F-16. Together with the rockets "petriot" it can throw a serious challenge to the Russian. Polish General in command of the land area in Afghanistan, and the Russian did not miss this sight. With the help of a number of processes appear close U.S.-Polish relations. Current economic problems can lead to a fundamental weakening of the European Union. Germany is an economically powerful country, but it needs to be economic partners in the coalition, contributing to German well-being, not just enjoying them. It logically can flow out of the Russian-German partnership.

If this happens, the Americans and the poles will naturally build their own relationship. Relations between Russia and Germany will start as economic and will gradually move to the military. The relationship between the US and Poland start as the military and, with the weakening of the European Union, are moving in the direction of the economy. Russian-German unit tries to include in his coalition, and others, and just go Polish-American unit. Both will vie in Central Europe and for France. During this process, NATO's policy will change from monotonous to fascinating brand. Thus, the Greek crisis and missiles "patriot" can overlap, or, from our point of view, of course, will intersect with time. Although neither of the two do not have long lasting importance by themselves, together they point to new laws in Europe. What today seems impossible in Europe in a few years may no longer be so incredible. Greece symbolizes the weakening of the European Union, and the patriot missiles represent the remilitarization of at least part of Europe – and a seemingly unrelated trends may very well intersect.


Translation Agency new York times

Original publication: Germany After the EU and the Russian Scenario


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