President Barack Obama arrives in Germany Sunday to meet with the leaders of Germany, France, Italy, the UK, Japan, and Canada for the “G-7 summit” at a resort in Bavaria.
This particular genre of summit was formerly known as the “G-8.” But that was before the U.S. succeeded in blaming Russia for the violent aftermath of the U.S./EU sponsored coup d’état in Kiev on Feb. 22, 2014, and managed to get Russia disinvited last year.
Stakes Higher Than Usual
We shall have to wait until the two-day gathering in Bavaria is over to gauge the results. But the stakes are high and – for once – it is conceivable that the U.S. will suffer a significant setback in its continuing, if increasingly quixotic, effort to exploit recent violence in Ukraine to isolate Russia.
What the summit outcome is likely to show – figuratively speaking – is whether “G-7” should be more realistically labeled “G-1-plus-six.” Number 1 being, what Obama continues to call the “only indispensable country in the world”; the “six” being those countries Russian President Vladimir Putin has labeled Washington’s “junior partners.”
The main question is whether Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande, who have witnessed, up-front-and-personal, the behavior of Washington’s neocon policy makers and their Ukrainian tools, will summon the courage to act like adults.
Will the leaders of Germany and France continue to bend to the U.S. diktat? Or are they more likely, this time, to stand up on their own four feet and resist pressure from the U.S. and its UK lackey for continued punitive economic sanctions against Russia? Never mind the economic harm they do to Germany and France and other European countries.
Ukraine’s Poroshenko No Stranger
Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande have had the chance personally to take the measure of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and his client relationship with the U.S. At a very different kind of summit on Feb. 11-12 in Belorussia, with only puppet Poroshenko reflecting U.S. objectives, they worked out with him and Putin the so-called “Minsk II” package agreement that included a ceasefire that has pretty much held – until just recently.
Merkel and Hollande are no political novices. And, if they know their history, they know what a Pétain or a Quisling looks like. In any case, they cannot have failed to recognize what Poroshenko looks like, and how he continues to do the bidding of the neocons running U.S. policy on Ukraine, who remain hell-bent on demonizing Putin and ostracizing Russia – all with little heed to the economic and the longer-term security interests of “junior partners” like Germany and France.
The German and French leaders – and of course Putin – are acutely aware of which side would see advantage in the current, pre-summit uptick in violations of the ceasefire in southeastern Ukraine. It is a safe bet they see the increased fighting as a transparently convenient cudgel in Washington’s toolkit for use in its transparent effort to isolate Russia by blaming it for the violations and convincing U.S. “junior partners” of the need for continued economic sanctions.
The Roots of the Trouble in Ukraine
Europeans have a giant economic stake in what happens at the “G1-plus-six” summit in Bavaria. Trouble is, European press coverage of Ukraine is almost as poor as the thin gruel served up in U.S. media.
Odd as it strikes me, having analyzed Soviet propaganda for decades, the fawning corporate media in the U.S. have recently proven to be at least as adept at spreading half-truth and lies. Would you believe President Putin’s account of what went down in Kiev since early 2014 is far more factually based? Well, you ought to believe that, because it is.
Here are excerpts from an interview Putin gave on June 6 to the Italian newspaper Il Corriere della Sera:
“What sparked the [Ukraine] crisis? Former President Viktor Yanukovych said that he needed to think about signing Ukraine’s Association Agreement with the EU, possibly make some changes and hold consultations with Russia, Ukraine’s major trade and economic partner. In this connection and under this pretext riots broke out in Kiev. They were actively supported by both our European and American partners.
“Then a coup d’état followed – a totally anti-constitutional act. … The question is: what was the coup d’état for? Why did they need to escalate the situation to a civil war? … The result that we have – a coup d’état, a civil war, hundreds of lives lost, a devastated economy and social sphere, a four-year $17.5 billion loan promised to Ukraine by the IMF and complete disintegration of economic ties with Russia…
“I would like to tell you and your readers one thing. Last year, on February 21, President Yanukovych and the Ukrainian opposition signed an agreement on how to proceed, how to organize political life in the country, and on the need to hold early elections.
“They should have worked to implement this agreement, especially since three European foreign ministers signed this agreement as guarantors of its implementation. If they were used merely for the sake of appearances … they should have said [after the coup the next day], “You know, we did not agree to a coup d’état, so we will not support you; you should go and hold elections instead.”
Let Merkel and Hollande be reminded that German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, in addition to Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski mediated the Feb. 21, 2014 agreement and signed it as official witnesses. An envoy from Russian President Putin, Vladimir Lukin, was also involved but did not sign as witness.
There may be no such thing as a guilty conscience in high-stakes diplomacy. Still, what happened just one day before the coup in Kiev is a matter of record. Would it be too much to expect of Steinmeier and Fabius to remind their bosses of this shameless piece of failed diplomacy, before Merkel and Holland cave in once again to Washington’s diktat before the beer begins flowing in Bavaria?