Setback for Berlin

BERLIN/CHISINAU (Own report) – In its struggle against Russia for influence, Berlin has just suffered a severe setback with the results of Moldova’s presidential runoff elections last Sunday. Official German representatives were relying on the liberal conservative candidate Maia Sandu to win the elections in the Republic of Moldova, located between Romania and Ukraine, with its population of 3.5 million. Sandu sought to maintain the country’s pro-EU orientation. However, the Socialist Igor Dodon won the elections. He not only has recognized Crimea’s joining the Russian Federation, he also wants to terminate Moldova’s EU association. Dodon’s victory is another sign that Germany and the EU are loosing influence in that country. Most recently, proponents of the country’s neutrality formed the government and began putting a distance between their country and NATO. Now even closer ties between the Republic of Moldova and the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union seem conceivable.

The Foreign Policy Tool Chest

BERLIN/MOSCOW (Own report) – German government advisors are speculating about Russia’s possible foreign policy offensives and discussing countermeasures to be taken. According to a research paper published by the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), Russia “has continuously developed and further diversified” its foreign policy “tool chest” over the past few years. Today it includes “enhanced military capabilities, alongside numerous ‘soft’ tools.” like “the orchestrated disinformation campaign in traditional mass media and online social networks, the instrumentalization of ethnic minorities, use of civil society organizations, economic cooperation, or economic pressure.” The research paper describes fictitious scenarios, such as Russian support for extreme right-wing parties in Western European election campaigns as well as steps to ward off Russian influence. The types of international activities being ascribed to Russia are practices long in use by NATO countries – particularly Germany.

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Ukraine as Strategic Stepping-Stone

The readership here also might recall Putin’s words being backed up by one of his henchmen about having to invade and be as far as Poland 30 minutes before NATO or anyone else can even respond, and that they were capable of doing so.

 

What we saw previously in Ukraine was a series of Russian failures which do not resemble the kind of failures we saw in 1989-91. No, no, we must not think in terms of Russian retreat or collapse. That is not the kind of failure we see in Ukraine. What we see is a failure by Russia to conquer those parts of Ukraine the standing operational plan called for; that is, Odessa and a large chunk of eastern Ukraine (in addition to Crimea). We must keep in mind that Russia’s policy today is not based on deceiving the West that Russia is a friendly country. Today’s Russian policy, which is a war policy, more resembles Stalin’s policy of 1939-40, when the Red Army annexed Eastern Poland, the Baltic States, and invaded Finland. In this policy there is no pretense of friendship with the West. Here the hostility is open, frankly acknowledged, and accompanied by actual troop movements. Or as Putin allegedly boasted to Ukraine’s president, “If I wanted, Russian troops could not only be in Kiev in two days, but in Riga, Vilnius, Tallinn, Warsaw or Bucharest, too.” Continue reading