Beware of Savior Merkel

This article was writen on February 12th, immediately after Angela Merkel helped negotiate the Minsk ceasefire agreement for Ukraine, but fell through the cracks at RI and was ‘lost’ for a few weeks. Even if less timely now it is still an excellent read, which is why we are presenting it to you here and now.

A few days ago, The International New York Times published an interesting op-ed by German journalist Jochen Bittner, who is a political editor at the staunch pro-American newspaper Die Zeit and a contributing opinion writer for The International New York Times.

If you read Bittner’s article, you will understand why other journalists are wondering which drugs the guys at Die Zeit are taking.  

Bittner is worried that “our enlightened societies” suffer from an “autoimmune disease.” This is evident from the reluctance to support a war against Russia, the widespread opposition to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the election of an “anti-globalization” government in Greece.

Thus, the German journalist comes to the conclusion that the West urgently needs “a dose of the Kennedy spirit.” And according to Bittner, there is only one Western leader left who has what it takes to save us:

“But who can deliver this spirit? Barack Obama won’t: He lacks sensitivity toward both Russia and the critical mood in Europe, calling Russia a “regional power” and declaring arms deliveries to Ukraine to be counterproductive. David Cameron can’t: He’s too angry at both the European Union and Russia to be credible as idealist. François Hollande is busy holding France together. The only candidate left, I believe, is Germany’s chancellor. Angela Merkel: leader of the free world?”

If Angela Merkel wants to become the leader of the free world, she will of course “need to be even clearer against all the fringes that long to become the new center.” That means, among other things, getting rid of all these Putin apologists and taking a clear stand against “Russian aggression.”

Now it is important to consider who is telling us that German chancellor Merkel is qualified to become “the next leader of the free world.”  

Jochen Bittner is one of Washington’s strongest advocates in Germany. His work has come under increasing scrutiny in recent months after the German political cabaret program “Die Anstalt” picked up the much-noticed dissertation by media researcher Uwe Krüger (shorter version in English).

In his dissertation, Krüger examined the close ties of Germany’s leading journalists to pro-transatlantic political and business elites and the effects on their journalistic output. “Die Anstalt” presented Krüger’s findings to a wider audience and also highlighted Bittner’s propagandistic work in this regard.

Both Jochen Bittner and his boss Josef Joffe, the publisher-editor of Die Zeit, lost no time in trying to ban the very popular episode of “Die Anstalt.” They repeatedly lost in court but at least they learned more about the Streisand effect.

Bittner’s op-ed in The International New York Times has to be seen in this context.

Angela Merkel’s power in Germany stands and falls with the support of Washington’s fifth column, which wields massive influence over politics and media in the country.

At the same time, Merkel has to take the interests of German business and industry into account. Germany’s leading business newspaper warned the Chancellor last year not to follow Washington’s lead in the Ukraine crisis because it harms German interests. In recent weeks, representatives of German business have been sounding the alarm once again due to the rapidly declining exports to Russia.

With Germany’s close economic ties to Russia at risk, German business and industry were relieved to see that Merkel decided to push for negotiations. But it is important to note that the deciding reason for her diplomatic push was the devastating defeat of Kiev’s forces near Debaltseve and not German interests or her desire for peace.

Merkel’s loyalty ultimately rests with Washington and as The Saker has pointed out, the new Minsk agreement is not worth the paper it is written on.

Therefore, it is good idea to take one step back and look at the whole picture before we start embracing Angela Merkel as “the next leader of the free world.”

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