History shows that catastrophe tends to follow when the US media fail to do their job by not questioning statements fed them by our government. Vietnam and Iraq are Exhibits A and B in that argument, and I’ve argued repeatedly on this blog that Ukraine should be Exhibit C. Given the nuclear dimension to the risk, the media’s abandonment of its role is stunning. The German government is assuming the role abandoned by our media, but almost no Americans are aware of it. This post lays out what Germany is saying and, if you agree that more people need to hear that perspective, please share this post via email, Facebook, or other means.
This week’s issue of the German news magazine Der Spiegel has an article which expresses shock at the way the US is undercutting the European initiative to forge a peace agreement for Ukraine. The article quotes German officials as calling comments by NATO’s top American general “dangerous propaganda.” I encourage you to read the whole article, but have appended key excerpts immediately after my signature line.
Of course, Germany’s analysis could turn out to be wrong. But, so could our own government’s. Given the historical record of Vietnam, Iraq, and other blunders, isn’t it time we started asking more questions before a lot of people get killed? And, with Ukraine’s unclear dimension, this time, those people who might get killed include potentially anyone living on Earth.
=== BEGIN EXCERPTS FROM DER SPIEGEL ARTICLE ===
It was quiet in eastern Ukraine last Wednesday. … The Minsk cease-fire wasn’t holding perfectly, but it was holding. [Yet] On that same day, [US] General Philip Breedlove, the top NATO commander in Europe, stepped before the press in Washington. Putin, the 59-year-old said, had once again “upped the ante” in eastern Ukraine — with “well over a thousand combat vehicles, Russian combat forces, some of their most sophisticated air defense, battalions of artillery” having been sent to the Donbass. “What is clear,” Breedlove said, “is that right now, it is not getting better. It is getting worse every day.”
German leaders in Berlin were stunned. They didn’t understand what Breedlove was talking about. And it wasn’t the first time. Once again, the German government, supported by intelligence gathered by the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), Germany’s foreign intelligence agency, did not share the view of NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe. … Over and over again, Breedlove’s numbers have been significantly higher than those in the possession of America’s NATO allies in Europe. …
The German government is alarmed. Are the Americans trying to thwart European efforts at mediation led by Chancellor Angela Merkel? Sources in the Chancellery have referred to Breedlove’s comments as “dangerous propaganda.” … On Tuesday of last week, Breedlove’s public appearances were an official item on the agenda of the North Atlantic Council’s weekly lunch meeting. Several ambassadors present criticized Breedlove and expressed their incredulity at some of the commander’s statements. … Berlin sources also say that it has become conspicuous that Breedlove’s controversial statements are often made just as a step forward has been made in the difficult negotiations aimed at a political resolution. Berlin sources say that Germany should be able to depend on its allies to support its efforts at peace. …
Berlin officials have noticed that, following the visit of American politicians or military leaders in Kiev, Ukrainian officials are much more bellicose and optimistic about the Ukrainian military’s ability to win the conflict on the battlefield. “We then have to laboriously bring the Ukrainians back onto the course of negotiations,” said one Berlin official.