Washington and Brussels, a marriage on the rocks
NSS staff commentary
We would like to start by thanking our readers for their kind comments. Some are telling us we are different from the rest. Perhaps part of this is because few other news site take so much of the world into account. And that goes for supposed “geopolitical experts.” The problem is, if an “expert” focuses on a Western region, his or her viewpoint almost invariably bears the imprimatur of stock Western opinion, which is frankly cut and dried, very boring, and has a harsh anti-Eastern aftertaste. On the other hand, those “experts” in Eastern, Middle Eastern or African strategic analysis are also mostly writing for a Western audience that subliminally expects them to stroke their sentiment that the West is Best. Most, having been “educated” (indoctrinated is more like it) in Western universities receiving grants from their government, simply cannot help themselves. They either blindly accept the orientation that was impressed upon them or they are too inhibited by their masters to freely express original thoughts or show compassion for the many regions, countries and cultures they are supposed to despise as good Westerners.
The editorial staff of NSS has, instead of specialists, people who make it a sacred practice to read the foreign press in more than one area or language, effortlessly crossing East-West, left-right and other lines. Nor do we receive funding from the left, the right, the libertarians or any other political orientation. Nor from the Methodists or the Catholics or… well, you get the point.
But even all of this misses the point, and that is, that our staff harbor love and understanding toward the countries and peoples we write about.
We are not talking about coddling minorities, like the special treatment of refugees in Germany at the expense of the hapless German people. Pandering is not love, it is fear and disdain for those one sees as lesser creatures -- Untermenschen. It is racism coupled with guilt.
No, we are talking about the natural compassion for the peoples of the world who are often the victims of US foreign and military policy.
A John Kerry could never write for us. When he said “Assad has no role in Syria,” his words cut to the hearts of good Syrians, who love their leader for better or worse. After all, it doesn’t matter whether a leader is a mean Stalin or a sweet Ghandi. What matters is the sensibilities of the people we write about and for. While we must not lie and deceive the people, telling them sweet things about malicious leaders, we must nonetheless be aware of their sensibilities. For this reason, we try, for example, not to hurt the sensibilities of millions of Americans who love their president. We describe what he does but do not condemn him for his foibles. We write carefully in the hopes that his supporters will take him aside and counsel him, setting him straight like brothers, for the good of their country and the rest of the world.
Following is NSS’s translation of an article from German Foreign Policy about a common-sense trend in Germany, followed by our commentary: Newsletter of 06.09.2017, german-foreign-policy.com - The Anti-Trump
BERLIN / DOHA (Own report) - With mediation attempts in the current Middle East conflict, Berlin is struggling to build a German counterpoint to Washington on the Persian Gulf. The blockade of the emirate Qatar, enforced by Saudi Arabia, which seeks to impose a uniformly aggressive Arab front against Iran, runs counter to German Interests: corporations from the Federal Republic are doing good business with Qatar; In addition, the Federal Government has been working for some time to achieve a stalemate – unstable, though it may be, depending on the situation – between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which is intended to prevent the development of a regional preeminence of the Persian Gulf, and at the same time, to provide Berlin – as an intermediate – with greater influence in the Middle East. With this endeavor, the Federal [German] Government stands in contrast to the US administration, whose position is weakened by the erratic foreign policy of President Donald Trump as well as by contradictions in the establishment.
Federal Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel marks the contrast with the statement that the Federal government rejects the "trumpization" of the Middle East.
END OF TRANSLATION
Ever since his inauguration, President Trump has been plagued by political opponents nipping at his heels, preventing him from implementing a coherent foreign policy, if indeed he has one in the back of his mind. It is therefore unclear whether he has the ability to forge on his own a foreign policy that accounts for all the interests of foreign countries, particularly in the Middle East. However ultimately, a president must become president, truly and surely. Whatever the case may be, he has so far created the impression that he will consistently support the Saudi-led Sunni Wahhabists, whose religious intolerance pervades the thinking of all three of the major terror groups, i.e., the Taliban, Al-Qaeda and ISIS. His resolute decision to sell to the persecutors of the Shiite Houthis arms valued at $400 billion can perhaps be considered a reasoned decision if one’s aim, for example, is to commit genocide against the Shiites in the Middle East (and indeed a look at our policy over the past decades suggests that such a bloody scenario may have been pursued all along). The same can be said of the US military policy of occasionally bombing the Shiite (Iranian and other) troops in Syria -- which fight ISIS -- under the flimsiest of pretexts and the constant propaganda war against Iran, which this administration never misses a chance to condemn as the number one “state sponsor of terror,” without so much as a flyspeck of proof given to back up that allegation. Which would be helpful in view of the mountains of evidence strongly suggesting that the biggest sponsors of the aforementioned terror groups are in fact the administration’s Saudi pals.
His supporters stand by him, perhaps believing the rhetoric or perhaps just imitating Hillary’s behavior when she “stood by her man” in the face of the Lewinski scandal. But here is the sticking point:
As the article above suggests, rather than support just one of the main branches of Islam, as the US has done consistently for decades, a much more sensible path to peace and stability in the Middle East would certainly be to try and reconcile these two branches. To aver otherwise would be to defy logic. While Americans have reasonable reservations about the Merkel, particularly her Pollyanna views on the millions of “guests” in Germany who consume increasing amounts of that country’s GDP and contribute little so far, not to mention the higher crime rates among these “refugees,” even her wobbly administration has some strong points.
1--Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, who is, as indicated above, striving – in stark contrast to Donald Trump – to reconcile the 2 main branches of Islam and their respective territories in an effort to cultivate stable trading and political partners who at the very least are not trying to kill each other.
2—A business community whose vast majority is opposed to the sanctions against Russia, which is costing them billions of euros in trade. By contrast, the US traditionally has purchased little more than rocket engines from the Russians. Not so the Europeans, who rely on them for gas and oil. This is no doubt one reason that Europe immediately availed itself of the chance to get in on the ground floor with the new Chinese investment bank AIIB and the One Belt One Road (OBOR) project, perhaps the most ambitious infrastructure project in world history – one that will span several continents and will raise many people out of poverty. Likewise, as soon as the sanctions against Iran were lifted, European investors flocked to the country, where they are now heavily invested. As long as US foreign policy makers ignore the vital fact of Europe’s orientation toward the East, not least in terms of bread-and-butter economics, the US will be swimming upstream like a salmon while Europe pulls out ahead with policies that take into account and respect the uniqueness of the peoples they deal with. The bottom line for the Europeans will be that of their balance sheets. The administration may or may not persuade the US public to groan through another senseless and extravagant war (with Trump acting as a powerful tail wagging We the People), but the Europeans have already staked out a course that includes Iran, in some cases as their main trading partner.
3—A general populace that, like that of other European nations, opposes the NATO buildup on the Russian border, a provocation that has been compared to Operation Barbarossa, which brought untold misery and suffering to the Russians but also, ironically, hastened the downfall of the Germans — whose leaders also had convinced them their country was exceptional.
And one more thing that unites Europeans more now than anything else: Donald Trump, who has chosen force over dialogue. All US presidents bully other countries to some extent, but keen European observers are noting that Trump has reached historic levels of pushiness and they are feeling rebellious.
So our leaders can continue to cultivate war, in tandem with the Saudi dictators, even as Europe and Eurasia seek peace, harmony and inclusiveness for their trading partners.
But the country that brought the world perpetual wars for over a half-century may find war a hard sell at this point. Even for a specialist in the art of the deal.
A foreign leader recently remarked that foreign trade cannot bring culture to a country that has none.