“The US should keep out of the Ukraine conflict”–EU Parliament President Martin Schulz

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 2/11/2015

Germans are fed up with the US ‘”over-protectiveness” and are not willing to fight for Poroshenko

Translated from Russian by J.Hawk

Ukrainian special services ought to immediately put out an
arrest warrant on the European Parliament deputy Martin Schulz. This “Colorado
beetle” and “quilted jacket” [both are derogatory terms used to describe the Ukrainian
proponents of good relations with Russia] dared, on the state ARD TV channel,
to call what’s happening in Ukraine a civil war, while the current Kiev
government really hates that term. You are liable to get arrested for that,
like the journalist Kotsaba.

Schultz made that statement on Gunther Jauch’s talk show,
which is the equivalent of Savik Schuster’s show in Ukraine.

The next show aired on February 8. The topic: “Fateful Days
for Europe—Whom is Putin Listening to?” Needless to say, the topic was Ukraine.

The discussion as to whom Putin listens to included the
European Parliament President Martin Schulz, the ARD Moscow correspondent
Gabriele Krone-Schmaltz, the former US ambassador to Germany John Kornblum, and
the former NATO [actually, Bundeswehr] general Harald Kujat.

The discussion was heated and shows that being under the “over-protectiveness”
of the US Big Brother has long gotten under the Germans’ skin, and any
reference to that fact caused applause among the studio audience.

It would be difficult to call Schultz a Russophile and a
Ukrainophobe. Nevertheless even he could not force himself to lie in front of
the cameras and call the conflict on the Donbass one between the Forces of
Light against Colorado beetle terrorists.

The Donbass conflict is a civil war. It must be resolved by
diplomatic means, and not through the use of the Ukrainian army. “If Minsk-1
had failed, maybe Minsk-2 will fail too, but even then we need to continue the
negotiations even if it means Minsk-70,” is how Schultz sees the problem’s
resolution.

One left with an impression of tension in the German-US
relations. Judging by how Angela Merkel spent the entire 2014 agreeing with
Obama, the anti-US sentiment in Germany had grown, to the point that Kornblum
was reduced to complaining to his German audience that “these days I’m seeing a
tendency to blame everything on the US.”

His statement that “it’s Russia that’s waging war”, Krone-Schmaltz
met with a rather sharp reply. “I want to emphasize, I am underscoring that if
Russia were included during the preparations for the association agreement with
Ukraine (and this is normal diplomatic work), none of this would be happening.
I also believe that if the Eastern regions of Ukraine, where there is fighting
right now, were given some autonomy, none of this would be happening. One can’t
judge everything by today’s events and blame Moscow as soon as something goes
wrong. One needs to engage in a little self-criticism.” Judging by the studio
applause, she hit the nail on the head.

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“Mr. Kornblum, what do you think about what McCain said to
Merkel, namely that she ‘doesn’t care that people in eastern Ukraine are being
killed like cattle’? Such rhetoric in Germany, to put it mildly, is considered
unfriendly,” said Jauch to Kornblum. “Well, McCain is known for his sharp
tongue. There are heated discussions, people are getting hot-headed. If you
knew how many times I was told that America is responsible for that war. But we
are not dealing with a ‘civil war’ but with a Russian aggression,” continued
Kornblum.

General Kujat could not remain indifferent to that
statement. “There is no military solution. Let me clarify: the West does not
have a military solution. If we do something idiotic and intervene, we will not
win but lose, and there will be a huge catastrophe. The situation looks
different for Russia. Russia could adopt a military solution and we need to
keep that in mind. But if Russia had really wanted it, that war, that conflict
in Eastern Ukraine, would have been over in 48 hours. We keep hearing from
various sources that regular Russian forces are participating in the fighting.
Ukraine’s president also repeated that claim. However, I have no trustworthy
information that would confirm that. Even the Ukrainian GenStaff Chief recently
said: we are not fighting against regular Russian forces. If there were regular
Russian forces there, the conflict would be over in 48 hours. What we are
hearing is propaganda.”

To Schulz’s words that “Putin obviously has influence over
the separatists,” Krone-Schmaltz reacted as follows: “it would be an
oversimplification that Moscow controls the separatists, and Kiev controls its
forces. It’s obvious there are forces that nobody controls. Kiev likewise does
not control several of its military formations. For example, there was an
ceasefire agreement after the Boeing MH17 catastrophe, in order to collect the
victims. And who violated that ceasefire? Not the separatists but the Ukrainian
army, whoever might be representing it! It’s been like this until today. I
remind you that the Right Sector still insists it has a right to carry weapons.
Therefore the EU ought to exert pressure also on Kiev so that the situation
does not spin out of control.”

Schulz also pointed out that there are too many Americans
involved. “This conflict is occurring on the border with the EU, therefore the
US ought to pull back. I think it would be best if the Europeans were to solve
this problem themselves,” he said to thunderous applause.

Kornblum did not agree and accused the Europeans of
weakness. “Wonderful,  keep talking. The
EU will continue the negotiations, but it’s Washington that has the power! And
Putin knows that!”

However the Germans clearly don’t want to solve the problem by
force. Schultz noted that the question of supplying Ukraine with weapons was
discussed at the Munich conference, with the intent of raising the cost for
Putin. “But this is open cynicism and the current German government will never
agree to that,” said Schultz. Krone-Schmaltzz added that “I don’t understand
why Putin is being accused of losing contact with reality, he is described as
being autistic, instead of trying to understand what Russia’s interests are?”

Naturally, the participants also discussed the anti-Russian
sanctions and here too there was a clash of two points of view that are
widespread in Germany. “All the sanctions that were introduced had the purpose of
hurting Russia’s economy and forcing it to negotiate,” said Schulz.
Krone-Schmaltz questioned their effectiveness. “Force to negotiate? All the
avenues for holding negotiations were closed! Not because Putin wanted to close
them but because the West closed them. Where is the Russia-NATO council? Did
they meet there to drink coffee? What about the St. Petersburg dialogue? They
forbade us to meet. Russia was deprived of its right to vote in the council of
Europe.”

In her view, the sanctions were a totally stupid decision. “The
EU sanctions were strengthened after the Minsk meeting. EU was acting on ‘autopilot.’
Why? I ask you, when have the sanctions changed anything in the world? Some say
in South Africa. I could argue with that. What do we want? We want to conduct
smart policy in regard to Russia. But let’s assume sanctions will change
something, will bring about peace. But then you need to have a sanctions exit
strategy. Do we have one?”

The discussion showed that the Western expert opinion is
leaning toward the view that the EU is getting itself involved in someone else’s
war. Even retired NATO generals are saying that. Any Ukrainian government game
only strengthens the US position and escalates the Donbass conflict. So the
Germans are rightly asking themselves the question: do we need to fight against
Putin only because he is not singing Obama’s tune?

J.Hawk’s Comment: At this point it seems exceedingly
unlikely that the US could arm Ukraine without risking a very open breach with
Germany. It’s as if Merkel was willing to let Obama do it his way, up to a
point, then decided to pull the plug and take over. Because it’s not just the
US that’s not represented in the “Normandy Format”. Poland was likewise
politely asked to keep out, whereas one can still remember times when
Steinmeier would travel to Moscow with Sikorski in tow. Well, not any more. The
pro-US hawks have been sidelined if not silenced.

The big question is whether Obama & Co. (and by that I
mean Joe Biden, especially) had gotten the message, or will they instead attempt
to sabotage the talks in Minsk and promote further escalation of the conflict. Aside
from the need to preserve the appearance of unity (including for domestic
political reasons—the GOP could always use more evidence that Obama is inept,
if not downright dangerous, in the realm of foreign policy) with the EU, there
is the simple matter of the US aid not having the desired effect. In fact,
going back to the days of “Vietnamization”, whenever the US starts arming and training
one side in a civil war, it’s a sure sign that side is about to lose. Not that
it ever forced the US to reconsider the policy…

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