As Washington presses to defend its interests in eastern Europe, claiming to act in defense of Ukrainian sovereignty, deeper divisions have become clear among the rival capitalist rulers in NATO. The head of Germany’s navy, Kay-Achim Schonbach, was forced to resign Jan. 22 after saying Russian President Vladimir Putin’s mobilization of military forces around Ukraine was just to gain “respect” as an “equal” and that the Crimean Peninsula, occupied by Russian forces since 2014, is “gone and will never come back” to Ukraine.
Germany’s rulers control the dominant capitalist power in Europe, profiting off the unequal relations in the European Union. But its military forces are exceptionally weak, incapable of defending itself against any serious threat. The small German fleet of five submarines, like the one above, are often unseaworthy.
Berlin is forced to vacillate between looking to Washington or Moscow when their interests are threatened. Today, they complain in public about Moscow’s threats over Ukraine, but refuse to become involved.
The new Social Democrat-led coalition government, which bans weapons deliveries to “conflict zones,” hasn’t joined Washington and London in sending arms to Kyiv. And so far it has refused to agree to back off opening the newly completed natural gas pipeline between Russia and Germany, a pipeline deal that threatens to cut Ukraine’s supplies off.
Berlin says it hopes to “de-escalate the situation.” But the day before resigning, Schonbach during a visit to India said respecting Putin would be “low cost, even no cost” to the German rulers.