Read between the President’s words and this “stable genius” is at it again with one of his Machiavellian plans.
Trump raised eyebrows this morning when he told NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg during breakfast that “Germany is captive of Russia because it is getting so much of its energy from Russia. They pay billions of dollars to Russia and we have to defend them against Russia.” Prima facie, he makes a simplistic point about the incongruence of the US supposedly “defending” Germany from Russia while Berlin pays billions to Moscow for energy, but there’s a lot more to his statement than initially meets the eye because the end game behind it is to deepen American control over Germany while supporting Poland’s regional leadership aspirations.
It’s common knowledge that the US is opposed to the Nord Stream II pipeline under construction between Russia and Germany not just for the overall strategic reason that it could make the EU’s leader more predisposed to Moscow-influenced multipolarity, but also because Washington wants to deprive the bloc of low-priced and reliable energy access so that it’s instead compelled to purchase much costlier LNG from its transatlantic “ally”. It also helps that America’s top partner in the continent, Poland, is also opposed to this pipeline, albeit for more ideological reasons stemming from its suspicions of any Russian-involved project than anything else.
Poland and Germany are presently squaring off against one another over a variety of issues including migration and Warsaw’s domestic judicial policies, which altogether represent proxy competitions for the larger struggle between these two states over the future path of the EU. Warsaw is leading the Three Seas Initiative of Central & Eastern European states that’s fighting for the decentralized reform of the bloc into a collection of sovereignty-respecting and identity-proud nation-states while Berlin wants to disguise its power-centralizing intentions under the cover of a superficially devolved “federation of regions” composed of identity-less and “politically correct” amorphous blobs that are easier to control via divide-and-rule tactics.
Three Seas Rising
Whereas Germany is publicly in favor of retaining the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal that the US unilaterally withdrew from in May, Poland is taking a non-partisan stance by largely refusing to take a side and instead offering up its possible services to mediate between the US and the EU. Moreover, Poland is actively courting the establishment of permanent US and NATO bases on its territory to the point of even offering to pay up to $2 billion to bring them to the country, which has speculatively set itself up to replace Germany as the Pentagon’s new centerpiece in Europe.
That would actually make the most sense from an American military perspective too because Poland represents everything that NATO traditionally stands for. The country is vehemently opposed to anything Russia-related and is a 110% committed US ally, one that’s also taking steps to phase out its import of Russian energy supplies. On top of that, while Germany’s continental leadership model is under strain and showing signs of failure, Poland’s regional one in the strategic Three Seas space is showing much more promise and also importantly covers the part of Europe that China’s focusing on through its Balkan Silk Road and corresponding 16+1 framework.
The strategic winds are obviously blowing in Warsaw’s favor and Berlin isn’t oblivious to this obvious trend, nor is Washington for that matter either, and that’s why the US is putting so much pressure on Germany nowadays because it’s “going in for the kill” and expects a full capitulation from the country in the coming future. NATO’s original anti-Russian purpose has no relevance for German geopolitics in the New Cold War apart from being indirectly leveraged to keep Russian out of the Ukrainian marketplace to Germany’s economic advantage, which is why Berlin takes such a blasé approach to the bloc.
The Chinks In The Teutonic Knight’s Armor
Trump relishes in highlighting the hypocrisy of what he dismissively regards as the socialist clique in charge of the EU and that’s why he couldn’t help but take a swipe at Germany earlier today during breakfast, but he’s also smart enough of a deal-making businessman to understand that Berlin will get the message that he’s about to turn the screws on Merkel through a multitude of interconnected ways. Firstly, Germany’s export-driven economy is highly vulnerable to tariffs, which is why the so-called “trade war” stands to hurt it much more than the US, to say nothing of the threatened “secondary sanctions” if it continues doing business with Iran.
The second point is that German industry is dependent on its reliable access to Russian resources, the real cost of which Trump is threatening to spike through his strategic partnership with Poland against Nord Stream II. While the transaction of purchasing Russian gas might in and of itself always be cheaper than buying US LNG, the “secondary” costs that Washington will peg onto that first-mentioned purchase through possible sanctions or at the very least the “blacklisting” of Germany businesses involved with that trade could ultimately make it more expensive. In addition, Trump is pressing Germany to fulfill its obligation to commit 2% of its GDP to defense in solidarity with NATO.
Altogether, the “method behind the madness” is that Trump is waging Hybrid War against Germany through economic means, which is also the case when it comes to the possibility of relocating some US and NATO bases from that country to neighboring Poland. While it might not seem like it, the millions of dollars that American servicemen pump into those local economies is a godsend for many of them, and depriving their communities of those funds could be an incremental yet creative hit to the German economy to compound the many other larger ones that the US is preparing to inflict.
Replacing Germany With Poland
It’s conceivable that the “nuclear option” of moving military assets from Germany to Poland might just be a tradeable poker chip that could be exchanged if Berlin enters into tariff and energy concessions towards the US (and relatedly, if Russia coordinates Iran’s “phased withdrawal” from Syria with the US), but that would then lead to its strategic capitulation in the face of renewed American assertiveness under the Trump Doctrine. At the same time, however, German leadership of the EU might finally end if its export-oriented economic model of neo-imperial control can’t sustain itself under the heavy costs that Trump is threatening to impose upon it.
The Polish Three Seas model of nation-state sovereignty would prospectively replace German influence in Central & Eastern Europe, while Italy would continue leading similar reform efforts in Western Europe that could collectively culminate in the entire EU’s systemic transformation in the New Cold War on par with the dramatic consequences that the “Spring of Nations” had for the Communist Bloc in the Old Cold War. Sensing the immense pressure that it’s under, Germany decided to turn towards China, but not wholeheartedly enough to the point where it might make any real difference because it continues to fear Beijing’s future “domination” of its captive EU market.
The word “dilemma” has been bandied around so many times by pundits that it’s come close to losing its true meaning, but it needs to be objectively recognized that Germany’s present strategic situation is the very definition of this concept. Lacking the will and leadership to make a decisive choice between the unipolar and multipolar blocs, partially influenced by the unprecedented political uncertainty at home, Merkel is like a deer in headlights, utterly paralyzed by the shock of “The Kraken” taking her by surprise and upsetting the continental leadership plans that she’s spent her entire career pursuing.
Trump’s Russian gas rhetoric therefore needs to be seen as part of the holistic Machiavellian strategy that it is in forcing Germany’s full capitulation to America and its eventual replacement in importance with Poland, which is driven by the President’s ideological affinity with the Warsaw-led EuroRealist model of nation sovereignty that he openly favors over Berlin’s EuroLiberal globalist one of elite control. Germany’s grand strategic position has never been more precarious since its reunification, and for the first time in a generation Europeans can realistically imagine a future without its dominance, albeit one that’s brought about by the US’ “readjustment” of its “Lead From Behind” approach to hegemonically “managing” continent.
DISCLAIMER: The author writes for this publication in a private capacity which is unrepresentative of anyone or any organization except for his own personal views. Nothing written by the author should ever be conflated with the editorial views or official positions of any other media outlet or institution.