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How Intelligent are Stratfor's "Intelligence Professionals"?

Stratfor describes itself as "the world's leading online publisher of geopolitical intelligence. Our global team of intelligence professionals provides our Members with insights into political, economic, and military developments to reduce risks, to identify opportunities, and to stay aware of happenings around the globe."

These intelligence professionals have learned from their super-secret "sources" that "Russia has offered Germany a security agreement." Oooh, that sounds like a great conspiracy.

Since Germany and Russia are the two big powers on the block and want to keep any other power (like the United States) from their region, it would make sense for Berlin and Moscow to want to forge an agreement to divide up the neighborhood - such as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, which had secret protocol dividing the independent countries of Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania into either the Nazi or Soviet spheres of influence.

Stratfor has this totally insightful and historically correct analysis:

Today's Germany closely resembles pre-World War II Germany; it is economically and politically strong, unified and unoccupied, which means it can actually decide whether to align with Russia or the West instead of having the choice made for it, as it was in 1949.

Yep, Hitler came to power because Germany was politically so united and economically so wealthy, that Germans did not pay attention to politics, but watched soap operas on plasma TVs and chatted on iPhones throughout the Weimar Republic.

Are the employees at Stratfor, which used to have a solid reputation, now smoking the same stuff as the guys at The Trumpet?

The Trumpet wrote the about "Berlin's Secret Pact With Moscow":

Basing his projection on the sure word of Bible prophecy, 47 years ago, Herbert W. Armstrong said that Russia would one day frighten Germany and the rest of Europe to "lose confidence" in America's ability to protect them from the Russian bear (co-worker letter, Oct. 23, 1961). This, he said, would result in two things: hastening the development of European unification and the establishment of a non-aggression pact between Germany and Russia.

Mr. Armstrong's flagship publication, the Plain Truth, offered this analysis in May 1962: "When a Russo-German deal is made, you can be sure that the doom of the United States and Great Britain is on the horizon. A German-Soviet agreement-a second Rapallo-would be the greatest disaster which could befall the West."

Yep, and the rapture is scheduled for 9/9/09 according to bible prophecy.

Perhaps Stratfor and The Trumpet try to make money by fear mongering.

Am I too harsh? No, I don't think so. If German publications would write similar nonsense about the US, it would be considered evil Anti-Americanism by hundreds of US blogs. My response is much more laid back: I don't accuse these guys of Anti-German attitudes (well, perhaps I should). Rather I just assume that fear mongering is their business model. They have to do it in order to compete in the wonderful free market economy. It's not "Anti-Germanism." It's business, not personal. And I totally respect that. Capitalism is harsh. It's not as easy as in these socialist European countries, where the welfare state provides the citizens with everything, including a four months long vacation paid for by Gazprom.

The Trumpet has also just published this: Russia, Germany and Europe's Future. And in February 2007, the Atlantic Review reported about The Trumpet's warning of "the rekindling of a romance between Germany and the U.S." in Do Not Get Fooled by Transatlantic Love

The above mentioned Stratfor article is available for subscribers only, but you can access it, if you come to their site via google: Just google the headline "Germany: Merkel's Choice and the Future of Europe." Or visit finchannel, which has republished the article.

Endnote: I am curious what kind of "contextually relevant" ads will show up now. A kit to prepare for the rapture or the next Russian-German attack of the United States?

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quo vadis on :

In the old days you could only get this kind of analysis from some guy handing out pamphlets on a street corner. Isn't the Internet wonderful?

David on :

Molotov-Ribbentrop redux?

Kevin Sampson on :

'If German publications would write similar nonsense about the US, it would be considered evil Anti-Americanism by hundreds of US blogs.' What do you mean 'if', or have you forgotten the ZDF-9/11 furor?

Pat Patterson on :

Joerg-There are literally dozens of blogs in Germany and in the US that believe and print much the same predictions. Compared to Rev. Armstrong how lucid do any of the predictions of Sec. Kruschev to bury the West sound today. Or Nasser claiming that Egypt alone could sweep the Zionists overnight from Palestine. Besides quoting as definitive speeches of millenium apocolyptic sects in America is just as accurate as quoting Scientologists in Germany.

Fuchur on :

Don't spread fairy-tales, please. If you're talking about that one documentary that was featured on a certain anti-German blog a while ago, then let's not forget that it [b]debunked[/b] the most popular 9/11 conspiracy theories.

Kevin Sampson on :

"then let's not forget that it debunked the most popular 9/11 conspiracy theories." Really? Which ones are 'the most popular 9/11 conspiracy theories'? You are obviously not including the belief that the US government was responsible in that group, because the 'documentary' clearly did nothing to debunk it, as demonstrated by the results of the poll conducted after the program. 25% of the respondents thought George Bush was personally responsible and another 25% blamed the US government in general. And it's pretty clear that ZDF itself shares that opinion, else why claim 'ZDF research bears out accusations against authorities' on their website? As for spreading fairy tales, I will if you will.

Fuchur on :

[i]Which ones are 'the most popular 9/11 conspiracy theories'?[/i] I don't know, there must be a gazillion of them. Anyway, the documentary debunked [b]all[/b] of the theories it looked into. [i]the belief that the US government was responsible [/i] The decisive question is: Responsible for WHAT? The documentary debunks the claims that the US government knew of the terrorist attack or even planned it. It does, however, say that mistakes were made, and especially raises questions about the fire safety of that one building (what's its name...) behind the towers. Here, the documentary claims that "the government" is responsible for obstructing a complete investigation. The poll you cite was, if I remember correctly, an unrepresentative and unscientific poll on the ZDF website, and therefore meaningless. We don't even know whether the people voting there had even watched the documentary.

Zyme on :

I have to admit that I had read about Stratfor for the first time when I came across that article - so I cannot judge their credibility at all. Apart from that, I would consider regular meetings of government officials between Berlin and Moscow quite useful for regulating American influence in Europe - while public treaties might even trigger the opposite with buffer states seeking salvation in Washington. Either way, something has to be done to reduce the noise from those in between - their panic only hurts the otherwise profitable atmosphere. Although Merkel has proven to be quite power-conscious in many cases, I consider her stance on Georgia to be too harsh towards Russia. Future chancellors with a less delicate past might be more forthcoming.

Kevin Sampson on :

Like Schroeder.

Zyme on :

Schroeder provided the foundation of a new Ostpolitik. Now would be the time to build upon this foundation.

Anonymous on :

And in there latest email from August 27th, Stratfor writes: "Summer has arrived, bringing with it rumors of attacks against the U.S. homeland. Currently, we are hearing unconfirmed word of plans in place for jihadists to be dispatched from Pakistan to conduct coordinated suicide attacks against soft targets in as many as 10 U.S. cities." Isn't a bit late for summer to arrive now? Hm, "we are hearing unconfirmed word of plans" is really a very authoritative statement. FEAR, that's what keeps US capitalism and the political system going. Fear is what keeps the military-industrial complex (MIC) so profitable. The MIC is the US equivalent to the European welfare system: European taxpayers finance the poor, while US taxpayer finance the defense industry.

Fuchur on :

Obviously the Stratfor guys are smoking some really good stuff... [i]Endnote: I am curious what kind of "contextually relevant" ads will show up now.[/i] LOL - Even your ads are calling for closer European-Russian, um, relationships...

Joerg - Atlantic Review on :

Thanks for the info. I will take them down. I had hoped that Google Ads would improve over time as google learns how to index and properly contextualize. If anybody knows how to tweak Google ads, please let me know.

Fuchur on :

Oh - I hope you didn't take them down on my account! I mean, the ads aren't offensive or anything... and internet advertising has a tendency to be silly anyway. I just thought it was funny...

John in Michigan, USA on :

I can see how the Stratfor statement could be quite offensive. Although Germany today is unified, prosperous, and strong (as was true in 1939), there are so many relevant differences that the comparison is absurd. Reading the Stratfor article (nice work Joerg getting us a free copy of the article), I don't detect any anti-German rhetoric; the tone seems coldly analytical rather than harshly partisan. I think they offended out of thoughtlessness, not malice. The main point of the article, that Germany has to make a choice, and for the first time in a while is in a position to make a truly independent choice, is correct. And here we come to one of the weaknesses of the Realist school of thought. The Realist school suggests that nations have interests, and that in the long run personalities, ideals and ethics don't matter very much. Believers in the realist school are forced to conclude that an independent Germany of today or tomorrow will be inevitably led to behave the way Germany has historically. Happily, few things are inevitable; realism is only part of the equation; personalities, ideals, and even pure chance are equally important. How ironic that there have been many attempts on this blog to explain and even minimize (dare I say, justify?) Russian actions, by analyzing them in terms of spheres of influence (a perfect example of the Realist approach)...and yet a fairly straightforward, although sloppy, realist analysis from Stratfor is seen as fear-mongering. "Rather I just assume that fear mongering is their business model." And now a brief defense of capitalism. In a capitalist world, the writer and editor's compensation would be tied directly to the number and quality of reader complaints via an independant, for-profit, reputation-based rating service. Sloppy statements, like what Joerg quoted from Stratfor, would literally cost the writer and the editor money. It is the socialist fantasy of lifetime employment, and the unfortunate tendency of consensus-loving technocrats to cover for each other's mistakes, that keep people like that employed :-P Joerg, since you appear to have a login for Stratfor, have you tried making a complaint? --- Unfortunately, both socialistic and capitalistic systems use a sort of fear-mongering. The socialists use it to enforce unity and consensus (examples: anonymous experts protect your privacy yet understand you well enough to protect you from dangers you couldn't possibly understand; you need permission to hold a protest; only officially recognized religions are protected). The capitalists use it to brainwash you to buy stuff (examples: "keeping up with the Jones", pervasive and intrusive advertising). It is a problem under both systems; but at least in capitalism, no-one arrests you if you don't buy what they're selling.

Joerg - Atlantic Review on :

Thanks, John [i]"Believers in the realist school are forced to conclude that an independent Germany of today or tomorrow will be inevitably led to behave the way Germany has historically." [/i] I thought that parts of the realist school have evolved and now accept organizations like the EU and Germany's ties ("constraints" within it. [i]"Sloppy statements, like what Joerg quoted from Stratfor, would literally cost the writer and the editor money."[/i] Let's hope so, but I got the impression that fear mongering works pretty well and often trumps over sloppy statements. [i]"Joerg, since you appear to have a login for Stratfor, have you tried making a complaint?"[/i] Like many bloggers, my ego is sooo enormous that I don't consider it necessary to write to Stratfor, but believe they will notice this blogpost. ;-) Many organizations seem to take blogposts quite seriously, at least more seriously than a complaint via email

John in Michigan, USA on :

"I thought that parts of the realist school have evolved and now accept organizations like the EU and Germany's ties ("constraints") within it." I am sure some realists -- shall we call them neo-realists http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neorealism_(international_relations) ? -- believe this. However, the pure (or perhaps I should say, classical) realist school now can now pose a perfect dilemma to the neo-realists: Germany has seen fit to ignore its clear obligation under Article V of the NATO treaty to provide for mutual self-defense. The reason given, on this very web site no less, was "[url=http://atlanticreview.org/archives/1106-Republican-Presidents-Are-Better-For-Germany.html#c14869]the people do not believe it is in our interest[/url]". This was Zyme writing, but he seemed to be expressing the consensus. Who can say if, one day, the German people will no longer accept the ties or constraints of the EU, if those ties are no longer in its interest? A related problem: If the German position is that EU ties have replaced NATO ties, why hasn't Germany begun the process of formally leaving NATO? The classical realist has a perfect answer: staying in NATO permits [url=http://www.atlantic-community.org/index/Open_Think_Tank_Article/A_Security_Policy_of_Free_Riding]a security policy of free riding[/url], which is in German's interest. Free riding enhances German's power relative to other states. Whereas from a neo-realist point of view, free riding is a threat to the theory; free riding will cause other states to ignore their international obligations and constraints, thus disproving a core neorealist assumption (that international ties can and will constrain states in a meaningful, reliable, long-term manner). Free riding permits the traditional realist to dismiss the neo-realist claims of structural constraints as mere propaganda. Some politicians, like Fischer, understand this problem and have spoken out. But my sense is, Germany withdrawing from NATO is no more realistic than German troops being permitted to actual engage in real combat in Afghanistan (refer to my response to Zyme [url=http://atlanticreview.org/archives/1106-Republican-Presidents-Are-Better-For-Germany.html#serendipity_CommentForm]here[/url], it is still my position that Germany's combat troops are under unrealistic caveats. Although I didn't use the phrase free riding in that post, that is what I was trying to say without being even more offensive that I already was). As I have said, I am not a realist (traditional or neo-), I don't think it explains all behavior, nor do I think that realism alone produces good foreign policy. Still, I am interested, it is possible, limiting yourself to a realist or neo-realist point of view, to resolve this dilemma?

Zyme on :

I would not argue that personal characters of leaders do not influence the conduct of foreign politics. Here the difference of Schroeder to Merkel is perfect proof. On the other hand there is a very simply "realist" reason for not leaving Nato - and it is not free riding. Free riding would be to see a strong danger but being confident that our allies will save us and keep the danger at bay. Instead, we don't see a major danger at all. So our allies are not needed to save us :) The real reason for not leaving Nato - as absurd it may sound at first - is that there is no reason for leaving it right now. Why waste a lot of goodwill in the Western world when it is not opportune? If anybody in Berlin was thinking about a closer relationship with Moscow, wouldn't it be adviseable to wait with leaving Nato until a deal with the Russians is completed? The likeliness of embracing Russia becomes ever more likely the more our bilateral trade increases - and it does so at astonishing rates every year since the millenium. It would mean a tremendous increase of our influence over Eastern Europe - and what would we lose? Some goodwill in Washington, which is good for what today?

John in Michigan, USA on :

Zyme, "Instead, we don't see a major danger at all." I think you misunderstand the realist concept of relative power. According to my reading of both classical realism and neo-realism, it doesn't matter if the people think there is no threat. A threat could emerge in the future. A typical country, pursing realism or neo-realism, might decide to commit X percent of current GDP to counter a current threat. A typical country, pursuing realism but faced with no current threat, might decide to commit Y% of GDP, in order to guard against future threats, where Y < X. Under a free rider situation, Germany only has to commit Z% of today's GDP to guard against future threats, where Z < Y. Therefore, the mere fact that the security guarantee exists, enhances Germany's power relative to other states. A core assumption of realism is, threats always exist on some level, and nations (or "agents", as the theorists prefer to call them) spend resources to guard against those threats. The main difference between realism and neo-realism is, under neo-realism, nations have an additional option of allocating resources (in the form of promises, if not actual funds or equipment) to international "structures", in addition to or instead of traditional security methods. You ask, why should Germany abandon NATO before the Russian deal is concluded. I though the structural constraint on Germany was supposed to be the EU? Is Germany pursuing a bilateral agreement with Russia outside of the EU framework? That would be big news! Perhaps the Trumpet wasn't so wrong :-) Perhaps you meant to ask, why should Germany abandon NATO until after the EUFOR or whatever is fully in place? The realist would respond that not just Germany but all of the EU is subject to the free rider problem. Under realism, Russia can't (or shouldn't) attempt to balance Germany or the EU, until the free rider problem is resolved. This is bad news for the US and NATO, but not really a problem for the German classical realist. However, for the neo-realist, Germany's failure to either withdraw from NATO or fully honor its commitments presents an impossible dilemma. I am a pragmatist, not a realist. I am dwelling on all this because others here claim to be realists, but do not seem to be fully applying the principles of realism or appreciating the implications. I would be happy to be shown the errors in my reasoning.

Don S on :

"Germans did not pay attention to politics, but watched soap operas on plasma TVs and chatted on iPhones throughout the Weimar Republic." No shit, Joerg? I didn't know that! I knew Germany was technically advanced, but IPhones before Steve Jobs was even born! ;) Was Germany united, prosperous, and strong in 1939? I read an excellent book "The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers" some years ago. The author deals with the situation pre-WWII, and as I recall the essence was that Germany was relatively more powerful than any other country on earth except the US, and was closer to the US than it had been in 1929. But the USSR was fairly close to Germany at that time. The US suffered the worst of any country from the Great Depression and still suffered from veyr high unemployment in 1939, perhaps as high as 20%. Even give that the US had a much larger economy than Germany did. But this meant that the US had an enormous unused industrial potential, which Germany did not. Unemployed people and underutilised or shuttered factories could be put to work making munitions without major economic dislocation, unlike Grmany which was operating at nearly full employment - there wasn't much slack there. Germany was spending about 30% of GDP on their armed forces in 1939 - the US 1.5% of GDP in 1938 before the buildup began in 1939. American productivity was something like double that in Germany in 1939, so there was a LOT of unused war potential in Depression America. Add the USSR and the UK to the Allied side, and Italy and Japan to the Axis, not much help for Germany there. Japan and Italy were 'Great Powers' only by courtesy, each possessing less than 5% of the war potential of the US alone. Germany was better prepred for war in 1939, but given time the US would overwhelm them. Given the geographic position there was no posibility of an early knockout of the US, and really little chance of putting the UK out of the war early.

Anonymous on :

Joerg, in Stratfor's defense is the fact that there is a lot of sentiment for such a German-Russian agreement in Germany today. Look at Herr Bonnenberg over on AC and Zymne here. My sense is that this school isn't nearly in the majority, but my best guess is that it might be 20 or 30% of the German populace - not to be sneered at, and should the situation shift significantly they form the core of a potential majority. Don't forget that the US-German relationship is as cool as it has been for many years, and unlikely to warm significantly in the near future. The biggest problem I see with the proposed pact is the imbalance. A pact between a pacifist Germany and a militarized Russia holds extreme perils for the pacifist partner.

Alexander on :

Oh, come on. Germany, my country, has neigbours. 9 direct neighbours and lots of more in the close vicinity. The USA don't have neighbours. There's just Canada and So-close-to-the-USA-so-far-away-from-God-Mexico in the hood. The generation of my grandparents had to learn it the hard way: you can't shove around your neighbours for nothing. You have to make a living with your neighbours. Particularly if it's yewr neighbours you depend on for resources. If you want to make a living you need the assistance of your neighbours and there will be a direct feedback, when you slap them in their face. But only because you DON'T slap them in their face, it doesn't mean RAPALLO RAPALLO (Prhps it means GASPROM GASPROM, but i most devinitively won't vote for SPD-GAZPROM-RWE anymore -- just as a sidenote :-)). Using the words Molotow-Ribbentrop or Rapallo from tne US side just means, they read a book. It does not mean, they understood how it works or how it is. That's how it is : There is no real "sentiment for such a German-Russian agreement in Germany today." I've never encountered it anywhere (here in Germany -- might be that there are some people left in Chile). Questioned if people wanted to live under a Bush regiment with the possibility of multiple Guantanmos or a Putin law (on plain citisen level of course, not as an ex-chancellor) everybody in Germany would choose Guantanmobush. Nobody really trusts the russian Gouvernment. But: BUT: nobody hates the Russians! Neighbours! There're neighours you like, some you don't like but you have to live with all of them. Hating your neighbours in the appartment next to the one to the next appartment will just cause years of war for nothing. US-Americans will only understand Europe so far as to sabotage it's communications. They will never ever be able to understand haw to behave when there's more to the world than just you, the one. cheers, Alexander

joe on :

Joerg, You always react the same when an article appears which challenges your perception of germany. When such articles appear you all of a sudden question the validity of the publisher. Equally you pick a very small portion of these articles to discredit thinking you have discredited the entire article. Really it is all very predictable. But to answer your question no this is not anti-german and your reaction is a bit over the top but at least you are consistent. An intelligence product is composed of what is known, both from a historical perspective as well as current knowledge, what is suspected, probable outcomes and speculation. Good analysts think “outside the box” to arrive at an estimate. Stratfor as a private intelligence organization is using open sources and informants it has developed, to arrive at the conclusions it produced in this estimate. In this article, it is laying out a possible course of action Russia might take. It gives reasons why such a proposal might be attractive both for Russia and germany. It lays out both a logical and rational argument for it conclusions. In the last 8-10 years more often than not germany has taken a position much closer to the one held by Russia than the US as an example weapon sales to China, Iraq - War, and Georgia - NATO. Whatever rational you might use or Berlin has used only strengthens the underlying assessments of facts supporting Stator’s conclusions. That germany could continue to move closer to Russia and away from the US is not surprising. There are many in germany who look very fondly at Russia. That Russia would make a seductive offer to germany in some form other than it already has is also not very surprising. That berlin might listen would not be surprising either. It would be obvious what Russia would gain, it is a bit less obvious what germany would gain and at what costs. In this case, it would appear this is almost a cost free offer for Russia. What this article points out to me is germany has a growing creditability gap and a perception problem. Much of this stems from the fact that germany has not defined it strategic national interests and from those the principles it will use to both develop and implement its foreign policy. germany has very much not wanted to address either of these instead relying on the EU to do this for them. This however has turned out to less than satisfactory because as much as germany and some other member nations try in the area of defense and foreign policy the EU is dysfunctional. Independently germany can prevent something from happening but has little power to cause something to happen. So at the end of the day this cannot be dismissed out of hand. What one has to consider is the probability of such an event happening? What is the likelihood - very low to very high. .

Joerg - Atlantic Review on :

[i]Equally you pick a very small portion of these articles to discredit thinking you have discredited the entire article. Really it is all very predictable.[/i] This is standard practice in the blogosphere. Besides, it is justified, because: If someone makes a stupid statement on history, then he loses credibility for the rest of his article. That's standard practice. In fact, I stopped reading.

Detlef on :

Not to mention that it´s not the only stupid statement: [i]Germany and Russia are also currently each other’s largest trading partners, and Russia provides more than 60 percent of Germany’s natural gas.[/i] Russia is no. 12 for German exports and no. 10 for German imports (2007 numbers from [url=http://www.destatis.de/jetspeed/portal/cms/Sites/destatis/Internet/DE/Content/Statistiken/Aussenhandel/Handelspartner/Tabellen/Content100/RangfolgeHandelspartner,property=file.pdf/]destatis[/url] - in German). France is our largest trading partner for exports and imports. In fact we exported more to and imported more from Belgium or the Netherlands than from Russia. Just to put it into perspective. Likewise Russia doesn´t "provide more than 60 percent of Germany’s natural gas". It was around 40% in 2007 according to [url=http://www.eon-ruhrgas.com/cps/rde/xchg/SID-3F57EEF5-2F0B90B8/er-corporate/hs.xsl/809.htm/]E.ON Ruhrgas AG[/url] (in German). It´s really unlikely that it jumped to "more than 60%" in just a year. It could reach 60% sometime in the future with declining production in Norway, Germany and the Netherlands. Assuming that Germany doesn´t look for suppliers elsewhere.

Detlef on :

[i]Many within the German government released statements in favor of either Russia or Georgia, but it is Merkel who calls the shots in the country — and she was waiting for her meeting with Medvedev before speaking.[/i] Do they have any idea how the German political system is working? I mean "it is Merkel who calls the shots in the country". That´s ridiculous, they simply don´t know what they´re talking about.

Detlef on :

If your precious Stratfor "intelligence product" can´t even get the facts right (Germany´s major trade partners, Germany´s major natural gas suppliers), why in the world should I take their analysis seriously? It took me a few minutes on the Internet to prove that their "facts" were simply wrong. If those easily researched "facts" were wrong, why should I believe any analysis Stratfor publishes? [i]An intelligence product is composed of what is known, both from a historical perspective as well as current knowledge, what is suspected, probable outcomes and speculation. Good analysts think “outside the box” to arrive at an estimate. Stratfor as a private intelligence organization is using open sources and informants it has developed, to arrive at the conclusions it produced in this estimate.[/i]> Uh huh. This intelligence product is simply falsifying "what is known". Maybe I shouldn´t be surprised. After all, that happened with Iraq too? Mushroom clouds, 1% chance... [i]In this article, it is laying out a possible course of action Russia might take. It gives reasons why such a proposal might be attractive both for Russia and germany. It lays out both a logical and rational argument for it conclusions.[/i]> No it doesn´t. It doesn´t give any rational reason why such a choice might be attractive for Germany. It simply says that Germany is weak militarily. Which is true regarding our deployable military abroad. It isn´t true regarding our (German) military strength fighting a war in Central Europe. [i]That berlin might listen would not be surprising either. It would be obvious what Russia would gain, it is a bit less obvious what germany would gain and at what costs. In this case, it would appear this is almost a cost free offer for Russia.[/i] Duh! It should be pretty obvious that Germany would lose in that game. We´d lose our top 10 export and import countries to gain what? And tell me again why we should agree to an "almost a cost free offer for Russia". You know that this implies that we, Germany, have to shoulder the costs? Personally, I can only imagine one scenario where German politicians might be looking east. The total breakdown of the EU.

Detlef on :

That Stratfor article makes no sense at all. In fact it´s totally illogical. [i]Berlin will have to decide whether it wants to continue acting like an occupied state and relying on the NATO -Washington security guarantee, or act on its own and make its own security pacts with MOSCOW .[/i] Notice the language? Either act "like an occupied state" or "act on its own and make its own security pacts with MOSCOW". They don´t even entertain the idea that being a NATO and EU member might be in Germany´s best interest. [i]In the past, Germany and Russia traditionally have cooperated when they were not at war with each other — something that makes geopolitical sense but terrifies the rest of Europe.[/i] Funny! If we look at the last 100 years, it was normally France who was trying to ally with Russia against Germany. Alliances in the past happened because - at that time - they made sense to the countries involved. Be it France, Germany, Russia or Hapsburg Austria. That doesn´t mean that such an alliance would makes sense now. [i]The world changed Aug. 8 as Russia proved its strength when it launched a military campaign in Georgia and the West did not come to Tbilisi ’s aid.[/i] Nonsense! First of all, it doesn´t require that much military strength to defeat Georgia. I mean Russia vs Georgia? In what way does it prove Russia´s strength? And second, why would the West be required to aid Tbilisi? Not a NATO member and as far as we know they started it. [i]But with Russia regaining strength, Germany stands on the front lines of whatever MOSCOW has planned. Germany is vulnerable to Russia on many fronts. It has a very deep memory of what it feels like to have the Russians easily march across the northern European plain to German territory, which led to the Soviet occupation of half the country for four decades.[/i] Nonsense again. Actually anyone capable of reading a map would decide that Germany isn´t "on the front lines". In fact there are a few countries between Russia and Germany today. :) Likewise Germany is one of the few Western European countries that still have something like a "draft". Meaning that Germany could far more easily enlarge its army than most other Western European countries. Stratfor seems to equate "military weakness" with "difficulty to deploy armed forces overseas". That is not what would be needed here. And as for "have the Russians easily march across the northern European plain to German territory" maybe Stratfor should ask the Russians how easy it was? Don´t they know anything about WW2 and Russian casualties? [i]Or Germany could act like its own state and create its own security guarantee with Russia — something that would rip NATO apart.[/i] Totally insane! It wouldn´t only "rip NATO apart", it would also rip the EU apart. And unlike Stratfor, Germans do know that most of our trade is within the EU. [i]First, like Russia, Germany is wary of Washington’s strengthening presence in Europe. The United States already has the United Kingdom as its closest ally, France has returned to the NATO fold, and Washington is gaining the allegiance of many Central European states — all of which undercuts Germany’s dominance on the continent.[/i] Uh huh. And when did we display that alleged "dominance"? In 2003 with the Iraq war? Sorry, a majority in almost every European country was against that war. Given the last 8 years a lot of Europeans are now wary of Washington´s intentions. :) Especially if those intentions seem to suggest a weakening of the EU. As in "divide and rule". [i]This is not to say that Germany is ready to ditch NATO just yet, especially since Berlin has no military heft. However, Berlin must at least be considering how to balance the U.S. presence in Europe.[/i] Why? According to the earlier paragraphs in the article we are afraid of the Russians easily marching "across the northern European plain to German territory". In that case, why wouldn´t we cheer a US military presence in Central European states? Especially given the fact that it´s much easier to dominate them economically than militarily? [i]The point is that Germany is not the solid rock of NATO and the European Union that the West assumes it is. Russia’s recent actions mean that history is catching up with the Germans and that a choice will eventually come. Everything depends on Berlin’s choice between maintaining its dependence on the United States or flipping the entire balance structure in Europe by striking a deal with Russia. Berlin has been itching to reassert itself as a real and unbound power on the continent once again.[/i] This looks a lot like "divide and rule". As in try to divide the EU to ensure the prominent rule of the USA. Looks like Stratfor is really afraid that the EU might develop a coherent foreign policy independent of the USA.

Marie Claude on :

Stratfor has yet emulators, or ????????? http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601100&sid=a5gkwEW46Umk&refer=germany

joe on :

Marie Is what bloomberg report a fair assessment or not?

Marie Claude on :

Joe, some say yes, anyway for the conservative part

Eliezer on :

You know that I have never heard about Stratfor, and I have learnt the information only in your article. That's why it is very difficult to speak about its work and their suppositions. My advice is to follow more authentic sources.

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