French Politician: Puzzled by US Warmongering, France & Germany Trying to Avoid EU Militarisation
05:00 GMT 26.01.2022 (Updated: 21:19 GMT 19.10.2022)
Political advisers from Russia, France, Germany, and Ukraine are expected to hold security talks in Paris on Wednesday. France and Germany aren't interested in dancing to the US, the UK, and NATO's tune – for good reason – says French politician and journalist Karel Vereycken.
Radio France Internationale reported
on Monday that French President Emmanuel Macron suggested an initiative along the lines of the Normandy format talks amid the reinvigorated US-NATO scaremongering rhetoric about Moscow's plans to "invade" Ukraine. Last week, Macron called upon EU member states to draw up proposals for a new security deal with Russia and hold a "frank dialogue" with Moscow.
"Macron’s proposal to start a security dialogue with Russia, an urgent necessity for all, was immediately perceived by some inside the NATO bloc as 'a break with US calls for unity' amid ongoing efforts to halt a supposed Russian threat to invade Ukraine," says Karel Vereycken, a political analyst, journalist, and vice president of Solidarite & Progres, a political party founded by Jacques Cheminade.
According to Vereycken, Macron – who is preparing for re-election and took the rotating presidency of the EU for the first six months of this year – "wants to demonstrate he and the EU still have a role to play on the geopolitical map."
The situation escalated on 23 January as The New York Times reported that US President Joe Biden was considering beefing up NATO military presence in Eastern Europe and the Baltics. The Pentagon signalled on Tuesday that 8,500 US troops were put on standby for possible deployment to Europe.
24 January 2022, 15:21 GMT
"Quite a number of opposition parties, be it left or right-wing, want France to talk to all sides and be a catalyst of peaceful cooperation," says the Solidarite & Progres vice president. "The sense that Sarkozy’s decision to return to NATO was an error becomes also stronger and several candidates plead for leaving NATO."
It's not the first time that Macron has advocated the EU's "autonomy" from Washington. At the February 2021 Munich Security Conference Macron stressed that Europe has "an agenda that is unique." He placed an emphasis on Europe's "strategic autonomy," suggested that NATO's new blueprint should involve "a dialogue with Russia" and promoted the idea of an EU Army.
France is puzzled by the alarmism of the US and UK
who insist that Russia's attack on Ukraine is "imminent," according
to Le Monde. The newspaper's reporter Philippe Ricard on 21 January quoted his Elysée source as saying: "We see the same number of lorries, tanks and people. We have observed the same manoeuvres, but we can't conclude offensive is imminent from all that." If France's British and US allies have any evidence backing their assumptions, they should share it with Paris, added the newspaper's source.
Will Olaf Sholz Follow in the Footsteps of Willy Brandt?
New German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is not buying into the US-NATO warmongering, according to Vereycken.
Even though the head of the German navy, Vice-Admiral Kay-Achim Schoenbach – who had said Russia's "invasion" of Ukraine is nonsense – was forced to resign late on Saturday, he was strongly defended by the former Inspector General of the Bundeswehr Harald Kujat, notes Vereycken. According to the French politician, Kujat's stance reflects what many German politicians think.
"The new coalition in Berlin led by Scholz has a little smell of Willy Brandt’s OstPolitik period," Vereycken says. "For example, [Berlin] refuses to deliver lethal weapons to Ukraine, and prefers offering a field hospital!"
28 November 2021, 16:11 GMT
Addressing a Monday meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said that Berlin's priority is to deescalate the situation over Ukraine. She brushed away criticism from Ukraine, the UK, and US over Germany's unwillingness to provide military support to Kiev and impose swift new sanctions against Moscow.
At the same time, Berlin's decision to help German embassy staff family members leave Ukraine does not mean that the chancellor has been convinced that the Russian "threat" is real, says Vereycken. It's more likely that Scholz is pretending to be playing along with the US and NATO to avoid giving up the North Stream 2 gas pipeline project, argues the French politician. Despite suspending the pipeline's certification and even discussing a possible halting of the project, Berlin by no means wants to abandon it altogether, according to Vereycken.
In November 2021, the German Embassy warned American congressmen that banning Nord Stream 2 would "damage the transatlantic unity"
and "weaken the credibility of the US government."