Mr. George Friedman is Founder and Chairman, Stratfor, a private intelligence company located in Austin, TX.
This article is published herein by permission of Stratfor.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, accompanied by French President Francois Hollande, met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Feb. 6. Then she met with U.S. President Barack Obama on Feb. 9. The primary subject was Ukraine, but the first issue discussed at the news conference following the meeting with Obama was Greece. Greece and Ukraine are not linked in the American mind. They are linked in the German mind, because both are indicators of Germany’s new role in the world and of Germany’s discomfort with it.
It is interesting to consider how far Germany has come in a rather short time. When Merkel took office in 2005, she became chancellor of a Germany that was at peace, in a European Union that was united. Germany had put its demands behind it, embedding itself in a Europe where it could be both prosperous and free of the geopolitical burdens that had led it into such dark places. If not the memory, then the fear of Germany had subsided in Europe. The Soviet Union was gone, and Russia was in the process of trying to recover from the worst consequences of that collapse. The primary issue in the European Union was what hurdles nations, clamoring to enter the union, would have to overcome in order to become members. Germany was in a rare position, given its history. It was in a place of comfort, safety and international collegiality.
Mr. Nikos Konstandaras is managing editor and a columnist of Kathimerini, the leading Greek morning daily. He is also a contributor to The BusinessThinker.com
Like glaciers melting after ages of stability, the global political system is undergoing great change. Alliances are loosened or reinforced, old enmities are revived and the whole system of global governance is being tested. It is impossible to predict where this will lead.
There was a major May Day rally by workers in Moscow’s Red Square – the first since 1991 and the collapse of the Soviet Union. Many of the banners did not express the demands and wishes of Russian workers, instead they praised President Vladimir Putin for his dynamic intervention in Ukraine’s domestic affairs and for the annexation of Crimea. On May 9, a major military parade in Red Square commemorate the day in which the Allies defeated Nazi Germany. The revival of this Soviet tradition was Putin’s project. More recently, Russia adopted laws which make it easier to annex parts of countries that were in the Soviet Union; they also allow citizens of such territories to gain Russian citizenship. It is clear that Russia is on an irredentist march.