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The Geopolitics of the Eurozone

This is a discussion on The Geopolitics of the Eurozone within the Military Strategy and Tactics forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; Originally Posted by STRATFOR By George Friedman Discussions about Europe currently are focused on the Greek financial crisis and its ...


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Old May 27th, 2010   #1
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The Geopolitics of the Eurozone

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Originally Posted by STRATFOR

By George Friedman

Discussions about Europe currently are focused on the Greek financial crisis and its potential effect on the future of the European Union. Discussions these days involving military matters and Europe appear insignificant and even anachronistic. Certainly, we would agree that the future of the European Union towers over all other considerations at the moment, but we would argue that scenarios for the future of the European Union exist in which military matters are far from archaic.

Russia and the Polish Patriots

For example, the Polish government recently announced that the United States would deploy a battery of Patriot missiles to Poland. The missiles arrived this week. When the United States canceled its land-based ballistic missile defense system under intense Russian pressure, the Obama administration appeared surprised at Poland’s intense displeasure with the decision. Washington responded by promising the Patriots instead, the technology the Poles had wanted all along. While the Patriot does not enhance America’s ability to protect itself against long-range ballistic missiles from, for example, Iran, it does give Poland some defense against shorter-ranged ballistic missiles and substantial defense against conventional air attack.

Russia is the only country capable of such attacks on Poland with even the most distant potential interest in doing so, and at this point, this is truly an abstract threat. In removing a system that was really not a threat to Russian interests — U.S. ballistic missile defense at most can handle only a score of missiles, meaning it would have a negligible impact on the Russian nuclear deterrent — the United States ironically has installed a system that could affect Russia. Under the current circumstances, this is not really significant. While much is being made of having a few U.S. boots on the ground east of Germany within 40 kilometers (about 25 miles) of the Russian Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad, a few hundred technicians and guards are simply not an offensive threat.

Still, the Russians — with a long history of seeing improbable threats turning into very real ones — tend to take hypothetical limits on their power seriously. They also tend to take gestures seriously, knowing that gestures often germinate into strategic intent. The Russians obviously oppose this deployment, as the Patriots would allow Poland in league with NATO — and perhaps even by itself — to achieve local air superiority. There are many crosscurrents in Russian policy, however.

For the moment, the Russians are interested in encouraging better economic relations with the West, as they could use technology and investment that would make them more than a commodity exporter. Moreover, with the Europeans preoccupied with their economic crisis and the United States still bogged down in the Middle East and needing Russian support on Iran, Moscow has found little outside resistance to its efforts to increase its influence in the former Soviet Union. Moscow is not unhappy about the European crisis and wouldn’t want to do anything that might engender greater European solidarity. After all, a solid economic bloc turning into an increasingly powerful and integrated state would pose challenges to Russia in the long run that Moscow is happy to do without. The Patriot deployment is a current irritation and a hypothetical military problem, but the Russians are not inclined to create a crisis with Europe over it — though this doesn’t mean Moscow won’t make countermoves on the margins when it senses opportunities.

For its part, the Obama administration is not focused on Poland at present. It is obsessed with internal matters, South Asia and the Middle East. The Patriots were shipped based on a promise made months ago to calm Central European nerves over the Obama administration’s perceived lack of commitment to the region. In the U.S. State and Defense department sections charged with shipping Patriots to Poland, the delivery process was almost an afterthought; repeated delays in deploying the system highlighted Washington’s lack of strategic intent.

It is therefore tempting to dismiss the Patriots as of little importance, as merely the combination of a hangover from a Cold War mentality and a minor Obama administration misstep. Indeed, even a sophisticated observer of the international system might barely note it. But we would argue that it is more important than it appears precisely because of everything else going on.

Existential Crisis in the EU

The European Union is experiencing an existential crisis. This crisis is not about Greece, but rather, what it is that members of the European Union owe each other and what controls the European Union has over its members. The European Union did well during a generation of prosperity. As financial crisis struck, better-off members were called on to help worse-off members. Again, this is not just about Greece — the 2008 credit crisis in Central Europe was about the same thing. The wealthier countries, Germany in particular, are not happy at the prospect of spending taxpayer money to assist countries dealing with popped credit bubbles.

They really don’t want to do that, and if they do, they really want to have controls over the ways these other countries spend their money so this circumstance doesn’t arise again. Needless to say, Greece — and countries that might wind up like Greece — do not want foreign control over their finances.

If there are no mutual obligations among EU member nations, and the German and Greek publics don’t want to bail out or submit, respectively, then the profound question is raised of what Europe is going to be — beyond a mere free trade zone — after this crisis. This is not simply a question of the euro surviving, although that is no trivial matter.

The euro and the European Union will probably survive this crisis — although their mutual failure is not nearly as unthinkable as the Europeans would have thought even a few months ago — but this is not the only crisis Europe will experience. Something always will be going wrong, and Europe does not have institutions that could handle these problems. Events in the past few weeks indicate that European countries are not inclined to create such institutions, and that public opinion will limit European governments’ ability to create or participate in these institutions. Remember, building a super state requires one of two things: a war to determine who is in charge or political unanimity to forge a treaty. Europe is — vividly — demonstrating the limitations on the second strategy.

Whatever happens in the short run, it is difficult to envision any further integration of European institutions. And it is very easy to see how the European Union will devolve from its ambitious vision into an alliance of convenience built around economic benefits negotiated and renegotiated among the partners. It would thus devolve from a union to a treaty, with no interest beyond self-interest.

The German Question Revisited

We return to the question that has defined Europe since 1871, namely, the status of Germany in Europe. As we have seen during the current crisis, Germany is clearly the economic center of gravity in Europe, and this crisis has shown that the economic and the political issues are very much one and the same. Unless Germany agrees, nothing can be done, and if Germany so wishes, something will be done. Germany has tremendous power in Europe, even if it is confined largely to economic matters. But just as Germany is the blocker and enabler of Europe, over time that makes Germany the central problem of Europe.

If Germany is the key decision maker in Europe, then Germany defines whatever policies Europe as a whole undertakes. If Europe fragments, then Germany is the only country in Europe with the ability to create alternative coalitions that are both powerful and cohesive. That means that if the European Union weakens, Germany will have the greatest say in what Europe will become. Right now, the Germans are working assiduously to reformulate the European Union and the eurozone in a manner more to their liking. But as this requires many partners to offer sovereignty to German control — sovereignty they have jealously guarded throughout the European project — it is worth exploring alternatives to Germany in the European Union.

For that we first must understand Germany’s limits. The German problem is the same problem it has had since unification: It is enormously powerful, but it is far from omnipotent. Its very power makes it the focus of other powers, and together, these other powers can cripple Germany. Thus, Germany is indispensable for any decision within the European Union at present, and it will be the single center of power in Europe in the future — but Germany can’t just go it alone. Germany needs a coalition, meaning the long-term question is this: If the EU were to weaken or even fail, what alternative coalition would Germany seek?

The casual answer is France, as the two economies are somewhat similar and the countries are next-door neighbors. But historically, this similarity in structure and location has been a source not of collaboration and fondness but of competition and friction. Within the European Union, with its broad diversity, Germany and France have been able to put aside their frictions, finding a common interest in managing Europe to their mutual advantage. That co-management, of course, helped bring us to this current crisis. Moreover, the biggest thing that France has that Germany wants is its market; an ideal partner for Germany would offer more. By itself at least, France is not a foundation for long-term German economic strategy. The historic alternative for Germany has been Russia.

The Russian Option

A great deal of potential synergy exists between the German and Russian economies. Germany imports large amounts of energy and other resources from Russia. As mentioned, Russia needs sources of technology and capital to move it beyond its current position of mere resource exporter. Germany has a shrinking population and needs a source of labor — preferably a source that doesn’t actually want to move to Germany. Russia’s Soviet-era economy continues to de-industrialize, and while that has a plethora of negative impacts, there is one often-overlooked positive: Russia now has more labor than it can effectively metabolize in its economy given its capital structure. Germany doesn’t want more immigrants but needs access to labor. Russia wants factories in Russia to employ its surplus work force, and it wants technology. The logic of the German-Russian economic relationship is more obvious than the German-Greek or German-Spanish relationship. As for France, it can participate or not (and incidentally, the French are joining in on a number of ongoing German-Russian projects).

Therefore, if we simply focus on economics, and we assume that the European Union cannot survive as an integrated system (a logical but not yet proven outcome), and we further assume that Germany is both the leading power of Europe and incapable of operating outside of a coalition, then we would argue that a German coalition with Russia is the most logical outcome of an EU decline.

This would leave many countries extremely uneasy. The first is Poland, caught as it is between Russia and Germany. The second is the United States, since Washington would see a Russo-German economic bloc as a more significant challenger than the European Union ever was for two reasons. First, it would be a more coherent relationship — forging common policies among two states with broadly parallel interests is far simpler and faster than doing so among 27. Second, and more important, where the European Union could not develop a military dimension due to internal dissensions, the emergence of a politico-military dimension to a Russo-German economic bloc is far less difficult to imagine. It would be built around the fact that both Germans and Russians resent and fear American power and assertiveness, and that the Americans have for years been courting allies who lie between the two powers. Germany and Russia would both view themselves defending against American pressure.

And this brings us back to the Patriot missiles. Regardless of the bureaucratic backwater this transfer might have emerged out of, or the political disinterest that generated the plan, the Patriot stationing fits neatly into a slowly maturing military relationship between Poland and the United States. A few months ago, the Poles and Americans conducted military exercises in the Baltic states, an incredibly sensitive region for the Russians. The Polish air force now flies some of the most modern U.S.-built F-16s in the world; this, plus Patriots, could seriously challenge the Russians. A Polish general commands a sector in Afghanistan, something not lost upon the Russians. By a host of processes, a close U.S.-Polish relationship is emerging.

The current economic problems may lead to a fundamental weakening of the European Union. Germany is economically powerful but needs economic coalition partners that contribute to German well-being rather than merely draw on it. A Russian-German relationship could logically emerge from this. If it did, the Americans and Poles would logically have their own relationship. The former would begin as economic and edge toward military. The latter begins as military, and with the weakening of the European Union, edges toward economics. The Russian-German bloc would attempt to bring others into its coalition, as would the Polish-U.S. bloc. Both would compete in Central Europe — and for France. During this process, the politics of NATO would shift from humdrum to absolutely riveting.

And thus, the Greek crisis and the Patriots might intersect, or in our view, will certainly in due course intersect. Though neither is of lasting importance in and of themselves, the two together point to a new logic in Europe. What appears impossible now in Europe might not be unthinkable in a few years. With Greece symbolizing the weakening of the European Union and the Patriots representing the remilitarization of at least part of Europe, ostensibly unconnected tendencies might well intersect.
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Given the divergence of European economic interest how likely do you guys think a Moscow-Berlin alignment is? There are already several economic and political indicators that suggest Germany is far less enthusiastic about confronting Russia in the CIS as the Americans or Polish are. Obviously German dependence upon Russian energy is a factor here. How would Paris and London react to a closer relationship between Moscow and Berlin? Historically the French have viewed such developments as threatening.

I guess the most intriguing question raised by this article is if the Eurozone were to cease functioning as a political if not economic entity, how would a more nationalistic Europe look, where would the fault lines lay and what part would Moscow and Washington play?
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Old May 27th, 2010   #2
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Stratfor

Given the divergence of European economic interest how likely do you guys think a Moscow-Berlin alignment is? There are already several economic and political indicators that suggest Germany is far less enthusiastic about confronting Russia in the CIS as the Americans or Polish are. Obviously German dependence upon Russian energy is a factor here. How would Paris and London react to a closer relationship between Moscow and Berlin? Historically the French have viewed such developments as threatening.

I guess the most intriguing question raised by this article is if the Eurozone were to cease functioning as a political if not economic entity, how would a more nationalistic Europe look, where would the fault lines lay and what part would Moscow and Washington play?
Ozzy this is one hell of a discussion document , but you are correct in several areas Germany and France have both been the main driving force behind the EU, Poland being a new country into the EU still have a great deal of distrust of germany, but does still hold a great deal of sawy as the third largest country, with a growing industrual base, and will be very uneasy with a germen/russian tie up, the UK while part of the EU it remains outside and has warned time and time again on the german.French influances and sees its self as the balancing power within the EU. France and German ties have grown very much stronger over the years and i cant see any german russian tie up, in the mean time will be intresting to see what happens as a result of issue with grecce, and also spain, while the UK has the higher defict the markets are more worried about the EURO and the countries in the euro
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Old May 28th, 2010   #3
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Stratfor

Given the divergence of European economic interest how likely do you guys think a Moscow-Berlin alignment is? There are already several economic and political indicators that suggest Germany is far less enthusiastic about confronting Russia in the CIS as the Americans or Polish are. Obviously German dependence upon Russian energy is a factor here. How would Paris and London react to a closer relationship between Moscow and Berlin? Historically the French have viewed such developments as threatening.

I guess the most intriguing question raised by this article is if the Eurozone were to cease functioning as a political if not economic entity, how would a more nationalistic Europe look, where would the fault lines lay and what part would Moscow and Washington play?
As a German, I'll have to say that the article is quite rubbish. It quite correctly describes the current situation and then turns into fiction, presenting a truely made up scenario, deliberately ignoring political and sociocultural developments of the last 65 years for dramatic effect.
As a German, I'll have to say that this is never gonna happen, at least not in the foreseeable future.
I presented another STRATFOR-article in the EU vs. Russia thread that is much more insightful- The German Question
It states:
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Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Germany spent 1945-1992 being the potential prime battleground of the Cold War. It spent 1992-2008 not being the potential prime battleground. Germany prefers the latter, and it does not intend to be drawn into a new Cold War under any circumstances.
And that's the reason why we are trying to build a solid relationship to Russia. BUT, and that's a big one, and the most important one, we Germans feel much more at home in the western world.
See, my girlfriend is of norwegian origin, I drive a french car, from my house I can reach Belgium and the Netherlands in a couple of minutes, I don't need a passport or to change money to go there, my two best buddies are half-greek and half-italian and I use to spend my holidays in England. That's my life as a European today. We are westerners and there simply isn't anything today that connects us with Russia besides a dreadful late history and natural gas.
We're working very hard to become independent from natural gas and oil, and if we succeed within a few decades there's not even that. Our reliance on Russian commodities is something we don't feel comfortable with. And there is nothing at all that Russia has to offer that would make us trade our trusted western partners for them. Well, apart from Greece perhaps Give us a few rubles...
There are very few people in Germany today that feel sympathetic towards Russia- when former chancellor Schröder went to work as a lobbyist for Russian companies that was a real blow for his reputation.
I'll have to keep this short, but the bottom line is, if I would now go out in the streets and ask anyone this question- Moskau-Berlin alignment- 95% of the people would say no, never gonna happen.
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Old May 28th, 2010   #4
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Sorry for double posting, but I figured I totally ignored what Ozzy wrote himself and as I have become a senior member lately I think I can do what I want anyway

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How would Paris and London react to a closer relationship between Moscow and Berlin?
I'll answer like a politician and say, this is indeed not the question. I guess your assumption that anybody cares what London has to say stems from the fact that you're a Commonwealth citizen
Paris obviouisly would not be pleased with such a development. However, Germany and France are very closely connected and as our economies are very much intertwined (Airbus and Eurocopter being obvious examples) a closer german-russian relationsship would probably involve France.
Actually it is a much more realistic scenario that if the eurozone failed Germany and France together would lead a "core EU" probably also involving the Benelux-zone and Austria and this core EU would then look for strategic partnerships. But as of today this is a hypothetical scenario. We'll sell Greece and we're fine

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I guess the most intriguing question raised by this article is if the Eurozone were to cease functioning as a political if not economic entity, how would a more nationalistic Europe look, where would the fault lines lay and what part would Moscow and Washington play?
See above. A "Core EU" consisting of Germany, France, the Benelux-states, Austria and possibly IItaly would probably arise and enable much more integration than we have today. That's a scenario that many politicians have thought loud about and much has been written about the benefits. I guess that in this case not too much would change for the rest of the world.
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Old May 28th, 2010   #5
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As a German, I'll have to say that the article is quite rubbish. It quite correctly describes the current situation and then turns into fiction, presenting a truely made up scenario, deliberately ignoring political and sociocultural developments of the last 65 years for dramatic effect.
As a German, I'll have to say that this is never gonna happen, at least not in the foreseeable future.
To be fair I don’t think Friedman is arguing a full politico-military alignment is likely, just closer economic ties which in general have squat to do with socioeconomic trends.

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And that's the reason why we are trying to build a solid relationship to Russia. BUT, and that's a big one, and the most important one, we Germans feel much more at home in the western world.
See, my girlfriend is of norwegian origin, I drive a french car, from my house I can reach Belgium and the Netherlands in a couple of minutes, I don't need a passport or to change money to go there, my two best buddies are half-greek and half-italian and I use to spend my holidays in England. That's my life as a European today. We are westerners and there simply isn't anything today that connects us with Russia besides a dreadful late history and natural gas.

We're working very hard to become independent from natural gas and oil, and if we succeed within a few decades there's not even that. Our reliance on Russian commodities is something we don't feel comfortable with. And there is nothing at all that Russia has to offer that would make us trade our trusted western partners for them. Well, apart from Greece perhaps Give us a few rubles...
There are very few people in Germany today that feel sympathetic towards Russia- when former chancellor Schröder went to work as a lobbyist for Russian companies that was a real blow for his reputation.
I'll have to keep this short, but the bottom line is, if I would now go out in the streets and ask anyone this question- Moskau-Berlin alignment- 95% of the people would say no, never gonna happen.
Again I don’t think Friedman sees a replaced Eurozone with a Russian/German block which is politically, economically, socially and militarily integrated. I just think he sees the possibility of a moderate political & economic realignment, a situation where Germany isn't chomping at the bit to contain Russia in the CIS even though other western powers, notably Poland, are. I don’t think there's any suggestion that Germany is going to join a Warsaw pact BII alignment with Moscow in the face of NATO and "turn away from the west", just closer economic and to a lesser extent political relationship with Russia than any other major European power. He's right a closer relationship makes economic sense and it wouldn’t mean leaving NATO or anything of the sort. Look at Australia, our closes economic partner is China; you could say we are part of an economic block with East Asia. Militarily and culturally it couldn’t be more different.

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I'll answer like a politician and say, this is indeed not the question. I guess your assumption that anybody cares what London has to say stems from the fact that you're a Commonwealth citizen
No, strategically I don’t care about the UK one way or the other, she doesn’t have all that much do with us colonials down here any more, we're more preoccupied with American, Japanese and Chinese intentions. I do care about beating them at cricket though.

There are two reasons why I think London's reaction is important: First Germany, France and the UK are the most powerful nations in the Eurozone. The second is the historical impact London has had upon great power politics on the continent. It mattered what London thought during the last 500 years of continental politics so I'd say it's safe to assume it still matters now.

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Paris obviouisly would not be pleased with such a development. However, Germany and France are very closely connected and as our economies are very much intertwined (Airbus and Eurocopter being obvious examples) a closer german-russian relationsship would probably involve France.
But closer economic relationship between Russia and France doesn’t make as much sense, not to mention Paris' historical tendency to avoid alliances it cannot dominate. I mean given the level of Franco-German economic integration I'm sure there would be flow on effects but you can’t be sure France's political reaction would be positive.

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Actually it is a much more realistic scenario that if the eurozone failed Germany and France together would lead a "core EU" probably also involving the Benelux-zone and Austria and this core EU would then look for strategic partnerships. But as of today this is a hypothetical scenario. We'll sell Greece and we're fine
To be honest this seems like the most economically sensible outcome, I never understood how you have such disparate nations as Germany and Greece operating under the same monetary policy. Still if Germany left the Euro and reinstituted the mark I’m not sure it would be so easy to just leave the "core EU", realistically the whole EU would have to be voided and something else created in its place.
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Old May 28th, 2010   #6
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There are two reasons why I think London's reaction is important: First Germany, France and the UK are the most powerful nations in the Eurozone.
However, the UK has voluntarily excluded itself from playing any important role in European politics over the past two or three decades. The UK is explicitly not part of any sort of Core EU, as far as Germany or France are concerned.


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Actually it is a much more realistic scenario that if the eurozone failed Germany and France together would lead a "core EU" probably also involving the Benelux-zone and Austria and this core EU would then look for strategic partnerships.
Austria usually isn't part of any "core EU" plans either; "Kerneuropa" consists of Germany, France, Benelux and - in very few scenarios - Italy.
Everything else is seen as detrimental to integration by German conservatives - the idea is to get rid of the failing economies (south), the countries electing anti-european politicians (Austria, UK, Poland, parts of Eastern Europe) and the countries that are either politically neutral or unwilling to contribute to a common defense (everyone who's not a full member of the WEU treaties).
I mention conservatives because Kerneuropa is exclusively that - a conservative idea bounced around in CDU backchambers. The progressive counterpart is essentially what Verheugen and Lamy presented in 2003 - merge Germany and France into a confederation, get Benelux to join the union within a couple years, and then use this core state of 175 million people to dominate err "guide" other EU states to the blooming landscapes err... better economic times.
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Old May 28th, 2010   #7
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To be fair I don’t think Friedman is arguing a full politico-military alignment is likely, just closer economic ties which in general have squat to do with socioeconomic trends.

Again I don’t think Friedman sees a replaced Eurozone with a Russian/German block which is politically, economically, socially and militarily integrated. I just think he sees the possibility of a moderate political & economic realignment, a situation where Germany isn't chomping at the bit to contain Russia in the CIS even though other western powers, notably Poland, are. I don’t think there's any suggestion that Germany is going to join a Warsaw pact BII alignment with Moscow in the face of NATO and "turn away from the west", just closer economic and to a lesser extent political relationship with Russia than any other major European power. He's right a closer relationship makes economic sense and it wouldn’t mean leaving NATO or anything of the sort. Look at Australia, our closes economic partner is China; you could say we are part of an economic block with East Asia. Militarily and culturally it couldn’t be more different.
Well I actually think he's taking it a step further, talking of a a "Russo-German economic bloc" and "the emergence of a politico-military dimension to a Russo-German economic bloc". Although I'm sure you're right in saying the article is probably not about a "Russian/German block which is politically, economically, socially and militarily integrated".
The thing I don't like about the article is it basically says Germany has something Russia needs, Russia has some things Germany needs and therefore it would be logic to teem up. And that is simply not the case. He just makes it too easy.
What I wanted to say wrt socioeconomic trends is that there is much more to an issue like that than just summing up economic pros and cons.

There's two points I'd like to quote:
First:
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Therefore, if we simply focus on economics, and we assume that the European Union cannot survive as an integrated system (a logical but not yet proven outcome), and we further assume that Germany is both the leading power of Europe and incapable of operating outside of a coalition, then we would argue that a German coalition with Russia is the most logical outcome of an EU decline.
No, not the case. Russia has exactly one thing that we need, resources. All he then states wrt labour force and production facilities is not correct. I've been involved in several outsourcing projects with a big German tier 1 supplier for the car industry and we have European countries with a skilled and cheap labour force right next door, which are much closer geographically and culturally and these countries don't have the illusion that they are a super power. We never seriously considered Russia for several reasons: no legal security, no predictable ruling both local and nationwide, no skilled labour force to the level we needed and so on. And there is one thing that's very important, Russia once had a socialist economy with a state-directed economy. Do you know what that did to the mindset of the Russian workers? Why the hell would anybody connect closer to Russia than we already have?
Yes, one day it might become an important market, but IMO that's a very long way off.

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It would be built around the fact that both Germans and Russians resent and fear American power and assertiveness, and that the Americans have for years been courting allies who lie between the two powers. Germany and Russia would both view themselves defending against American pressure.
What the ...? Honestly, I'm furious. The USA are our allies, they liberated our country from very dark ages and they protected us against- well, Russia. It is not always an easy relationship but nevertheless, the USA are much, much closer to us than Russia. Never ever, honestly. We're in no way interested in a relationship with Russia more than we are in those we have with are longtime allies and friends in Europe and the US.

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There are two reasons why I think London's reaction is important: First Germany, France and the UK are the most powerful nations in the Eurozone. The second is the historical impact London has had upon great power politics on the continent. It mattered what London thought during the last 500 years of continental politics so I'd say it's safe to assume it still matters now.
Wrt the first reason, I'll give you that although my perception is that the UK's economic relevance is in a sharp decline as during the current crisis it has shown that their business model just doesn't work out and we're in a process that will severly undercut the way the english financial industry works.
As for the second reason, well, I'm not a fan of arguments like that because during those 500 years things have changed a lot and these days on the continent nobody cares about the UK too much, during the days when Europe consisted of rivalling nationalistic states they had the role bonehead mentions. Well, not anymore.



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To be honest this seems like the most economically sensible outcome, I never understood how you have such disparate nations as Germany and Greece operating under the same monetary policy.
Still if Germany left the Euro and reinstituted the mark I’m not sure it would be so easy to just leave the "core EU", realistically the whole EU would have to be voided and something else created in its place.
Agreed
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Old May 28th, 2010   #8
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Austria usually isn't part of any "core EU" plans either; "Kerneuropa" consists of Germany, France, Benelux and - in very few scenarios - Italy.
There are several models of a possible core Europe floating around some of which involve Austria for obvious reasons.
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Old May 28th, 2010   #9
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I think that the article points to one very unlikely unfolding of events. It does however capture a kernel of truth in the current Russo-German relations in regards to the import of energy and export of technology. And yes France is definetly moving along similar lines, especially with license transfers of technology. But I hardly think any serious Russo-German bloc can emerge. Certainly not over the heads of NATO or the EU, be it economic, military or otherwise.
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Old May 31st, 2010   #10
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Originally Posted by Feanor View Post
I think that the article points to one very unlikely unfolding of events. It does however capture a kernel of truth in the current Russo-German relations in regards to the import of energy and export of technology. And yes France is definetly moving along similar lines, especially with license transfers of technology. But I hardly think any serious Russo-German bloc can emerge. Certainly not over the heads of NATO or the EU, be it economic, military or otherwise.
German and Russian strategic objectives are intertwined, Germany needs Russian natural gas, Russia needs German imports (machine tools, technology, fancy motors). France likes to play devils advocate and will interact with anyone she thinks will enhance her standing internationally. However the elephant in the room remains America, trading with Russia is one thing, selling high-tech military technology is another. Losing access to US technology, intelligence and strategic reach is not worth it for the sake of making money off a few ships or tanks etc.

The UK, by virtue of its access to US technology (along with Australia), will never sell any military technology to the Russians. BAE (rated the top defence exporter in 2009 based on its performance in the US), would not risk sacrificing its US market share. UK politicians and senior military personnel remain sceptical of Europe's commitment to the war on terror and will always look west for support when the 'sh#t hits the fan' even if the so called ''special relationship'' nolonger applies.

If, as I suspect, the US (and UK) continue to downsize in mainland Europe as threats evolve in far off climes, Germany will quite wisely continue to cultivate friendly ties with Russia, they have no other choice, an uninterrupted supply of natural resources to fuel their economy remains an absolute strategic priority. Old ideological differences (capitalism vs communism) are long dead, son of Stalin is not waiting in the wings, it's all about economics these days. By selling military know-how to the Russians, the Germans could make them dependent upon their supply chain by ensuring the crown jewels in any weapon system are manufactured in German factories only, leaving the hard-metal bits to be built in Russia using the latest generation of German machine tools.
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