German Chancellor Angela Merkel for the first time in the last 4 years will take part in the Munich security conference, which will take place February 6-8. Looks like Germany is seriously concerned over security issues.
This is the first time the President of Iran will be among the participants. The list of speakers also includes: Masoud Barzani, President of the Kurdistan, Haider al-Abadi, the Prime Minister of Iraq and Ashraf Ghani, the President of Afghanistan. «The international order is collapsing right now», warned the event's organizer, veteran German diplomat Wolfgang Ischinger. (1)
No eye opener. He expressed the official point of view of Germany. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told the UN General Assembly that the world was on the brink of collapse. He did not mean the Middle East only, but also Ukraine. German media often cites his words. Back then the German Foreign Chief was sure that the worst scenario for Ukraine was averted. The Minsk cease-fire agreement gave hope for the better. Today the Steinmeier’s opinion is of no interest to the people who live in eastern Ukraine. The worst scenario? It has already happened. Civil wars spare no one.
No matter numerous violations, the Minsk agreement produced a cease-fire deal. Kiev used it as planned from the start. For Ukraine it was nothing else but a breath taking period to re-group the forces and prepare for launching a new offensive. About a month has passed since the bloodshed started again. Now the Ukrainian President is openly and persistently asking NATO to provide his military with the weapons to counter the aggressor. (2) The statement was published by all German respected media outlets. President Poroshenko came to power to implement a “peace plan” which ended in total mobilization of Ukraine. The issue of supplying Ukraine with lethal weapons has been in focus for a long time. No doubt it will top the agenda of Munich security conference. Hot debates are taking place in the United States and Germany.
The US stance makes the German political elite split no matter it has become accustomed to obediently toe the line and follow Washington. Now Germans have to guess what coded signals they get from overseas. National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said the White House is «constantly assessing our policies in Ukraine». «Although our focus remains on pursuing a solution through diplomatic means, we are always evaluating other options that will help create space for a negotiated solution to the crisis», she said. No matter the phrase definitely needs clarification, German political scholars say it was the quote of the week. (3) What exactly options are considered by the White House? It’s not known how American media managed to read the Bernadette Meehan e-mail. «Although our focus remains on pursuing a solution through diplomatic means, we are always evaluating other options that will help create space for a negotiated solution to the crisis», the New York Times quoted the spokeswoman for the National Security Council, as saying. (4) The history can offer examples when the so-called space left the other side no choice but to withdraw from the talks.
«Germany will not support Ukraine with weapons», Ms. Merkel said after meeting with Hungary's Prime Minister Victor Orban in Budapest on February 2. Germany is one of leading world arms exporters. German law prohibits the export of weapons to crisis or conflict regions. Its arms supplies to Bahrain and other countries of the Middle East have already given rise to loud scandals. Now it looks like Germany wants to let it slide without much noise. The voices calling for increasing the defense budget are getting louder.
Wolfgang Ischinger believes that the issue of offering lethal arms to Ukraine is important and the time is right to tackle it. (5) What does Mr. Ischinger lack? Is it perspicacity or courage? A very experienced person, he fails to realize what consequences the arms supplies to the country plunged into chaos may lead to. He should take into consideration the fact that Ukraine is more near to Germany than its embassy in Washington where the respected diplomat has served. Or wherever the body may be his soul is always in Washington?