Germany’s Phony War on Russia

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz delivers a speech on the Russian invasion of the Ukraine.
Hannibal Hanschke/Getty Images

Germany’s Phony War on Russia

In the run-up to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Germany was getting a lot of flak. While 200,000 Russian soldiers were surrounding Ukraine’s borders, Germany was intensifying its relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Germany’s newest pipeline with Russia was awaiting certification. Berlin blocked nato allies from sending weapons to Ukraine. As the United States and others tried to discourage an invasion by promising crippling sanctions, Germany undermined them, arguing that such sanctions should not go into effect.

One of the world’s most ruthless dictators was preparing to conquer Ukraine. And Germany was on his side.

Two weeks ago, all that appeared to change. In the wake of Putin’s attack, Germany announced a massive military transformation on February 27. The same weekend, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced Germany wouldn’t just be sending helmets and field hospitals to Ukraine; it would send weapons and stop blocking its allies from doing likewise. Days earlier, Germany suspended the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

But has Germany really broken with Russia? Or are appearances deceiving?

The evidence tells a different story. There was a real risk that Eastern Europe could have abandoned Germany over its cozying up to Putin. So Germany put in place enough changes to remain inside the Western alliance. Since then, it has worked to undermine sanctions from within.

Britain and America have promised to stop buying oil and gas from Russia. Germany and Europe have not. Ukrainian Ambassador to Germany Andrij Melnyk called Germany’s promise to continuing importing energy from Russia “a knife in the back of Ukraine.”

European Union leaders met in Brussels on March 10 and 11, where Germany led the whole Union to reject an oil and gas boycott.

This energy trade is literally funding Putin’s invasion. When Russia launched its invasion, Europe was sending Russia about €200 million per day (us$220 million) for natural gas alone. The invasion spiked gas prices, and now that figure is €600 million.

In 2020, the EU sent Russia an average of $296 million a day for all imports from Russia. This spike in gas prices means the EU is probably sending more money to Russia, not less, since the war began. That’s the reality behind all the talk of crippling sanctions.

The Telegraph’s Ambrose Evans-Pritchard said the EU’s policy “smacks of business as usual.”

“The measures agreed so far are disruptive without reaching the necessary shock and awe threshold for the Kremlin,” he continued.

Neither Germany nor the EU have shown any convincing plans to end this flow of funds to Russia. Germany is only talking about ending oil and gas trade with Russia by the end of the decade. The EU has a plan to cut oil and gas imports from Russia by two thirds by next winter. But it has published no details. “Nobody believes they are serious. It is just a pretence that they are doing something,” said Andriy Kobolyev, former chief executive of Ukraine’s state energy company.

“The winter is already over and the EU risks nothing over the next seven months even if it cuts off all Russian gas today. As always, it is Germany that is procrastinating,” he said.

Cutting off Russian energy would be tremendously painful for Germany, but Berlin has easy ways to reduce its dependence on Russia. It just closed three nuclear reactors that it could easily reopen, but it won’t. “Let us not forget that Germany’s extreme dependency on Russian gas is the result of a choice, unlike the legacy dependency of the former captive states of Eastern and Central Europe,” wrote Evans-Pritchard. “Berlin chose to increase the Russian share of its primary energy after the annexation of Crimea.”

It’s the same story with swift, the interbank payment system. Much has been made in the press of the U.S. and Europe cutting Russia off from swift. The headlines give the impression that Russia is almost totally cut off from the global finance system.

The truth is, America said it wanted to cut Russia off completely from swift. The EU wasn’t ready to do that. Initially it agreed to cut 70 percent of the Russian banking system off from swift. The final figure was 30 percent.

EuroIntelligence wrote: “What this means is that the swift ban falls into the sino category: sanctions in name only. The EU is cheering on the Ukrainian side from a safe distance, watching from warm living rooms, heated by Russian gas.”

Even the weapons Germany sent Ukraine ended up less impressive than advertised. Germany announced that it would be sending 1,000 anti-tank weapons and 500 stinger surface-to-air missiles. It also announced it would be sending 2,700 Strela surface-to-air missiles. However, the Strela missiles are so old and poorly stored that the German Army had been banned from using them. The weapons themselves are corroded, and the boxes so moldy that soldiers were only allowed in the storage facility in protective equipment. At least 700 are no longer operational.

Germany, the U.S and all the West want to pretend they’re going toe-to-toe with Putin, so they boast about how powerful these sanctions are. But the contrast between the reality and the rhetoric is huge.

When it comes to beefing up its own military, Germany and Europe are all action. Though none of that helps Ukraine. But when it comes to really standing up to Russia, it’s mostly optics.

Evans-Pritchard gave some excellent insight, writing: “Some seem more interested in using this ‘beneficial crisis’ as a federalizing catalyst, a chance to force the pace towards EU fiscal and defense union, whether or not these architectural ambitions have any relevance to the slaughter before the world’s eyes.”

The French paper Liberation wrote that Russia’s invasion was another “opportunity for great community integration”—just like many of the crises in the past. Thanks to the invasion “massive investments in defense … are at the top of the agenda of the heads of state and government.” Watch for Europe and Germany to seize that “opportunity.” But don’t hold your breath for much help for Ukraine.

Ambassador Melnyk had a similar complaint. He was present for Germany’s dramatic announcement that it would remilitarize. He said:

There was a strange feeling, as if the deputies were freeing themselves from a burden. They were rather celebrating themselves with standing ovations. Ten days have passed since then. But we, as Ukrainians, hardly feel a thing. No help that would do justice to the level of brutality and despair in my homeland.

It also looks like Germany is saying one thing to the general public and something different to other world leaders. After Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Germany’s Scholz and France’s Emmanuel Macron this week, the government-run media said: “Chinese and European leaders share similar stances and interests on the Ukraine situation.”

Evans-Pritchard wrote: “What Beijing seems to be telling us is that the Franco-German couple signaled an unhealthy level of distance from both the U.S. and the EU’s front-line states at a critical moment for the Western democratic alliance.” Despite all the rhetoric, this crisis hasn’t united France and Germany with the U.S.

Instead of siding with Ukraine, Germany gives the impression it is hoping for Ukraine to lose quickly, so the awkwardness of its position will soon go away. “We have the feeling that Germany is just waiting for Ukraine to go down,” said Kobolyev.

When interviewing Ambassador Melnyk, Welt asked: “Given their military inferiority, wouldn’t an honorable surrender be the most sensible thing the Ukrainian government can do to protect its citizens?”

It would be the most convenient thing to do. The longer the crisis goes on, the more Germany’s relationship with Russia comes under scrutiny.

“History shows that in between wars, Germany and Russia often work together,” Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry noted in his recent article “Why Germany Just Betrayed America.” “Most infamously, just before World War ii, the two made a deal in which Adolf Hitler’s Germany basically said to Joseph Stalin’s Russia: Stay out of it, Russia, and we will take over Europe. Then the two of us can split up Poland and other countries between ourselves.”

Germany has a history of not just making deals with Russia, but secret deals. In 1887, the two concluded an agreement known as the “Reinsurance Treaty,” where each agreed to be neutral if the other got involved in a war. If such an agreement were known, it would destroy Germany’s other alliances, like with Austria, so only a few people at the very top knew about it.

In 1922, Germany and the Soviet Union publicly concluded the Treaty of Rapallo. But privately, Russia helped Germany secretly rearm after World War i, while Germany helped Russia industrialize. This was 17 years before Russia and Germany secretly divided up Eastern Europe between the two of them on the eve of World War ii.

Some may think that modern 21st-century nations don’t secretly conspire together. But people also thought nations no longer invaded their neighbors and that Europe was free of large-scale war. History has not ended, and the patterns and practices that we’ve seen in history will continue.

Judging by its actions, it’s clear Germany is not standing with nato against Russia. Why? As Mr. Flurry wrote, “Many elite Germans feel their nation has now gotten all it can from the U.S. and are ready to move on. Some powerful Germans are thinking more and more about the Holy Roman Empire, and they want modern Germany to assume more power of its own in the spirit of that empire. They want to establish Europe as a mighty, German-led superpower.” Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has given the perfect opportunity to rapidly rearm. It is also demonstrating America’s weakness and causing Europe to look elsewhere for help. A rearmed Germany could be the perfect candidate to replace American leadership.

Just weeks before Russia’s invasion began, Mr. Flurry wrote:

Removing America will put Germany on top of a Europe scrambling to ensure it has the firepower to defend itself. The difference is, this military force would not fight to uphold nato and the American-led world order—it would fight for an independent Europe.

In that article, Mr. Flurry referenced Jeremiah 1:13, in which God gave a prophetic vision of “a seething pot; and the face thereof is toward the north.”

“This symbolic language is describing modern Germany,” Mr. Flurry wrote. “Beneath the surface, that nation is full of simmering dissatisfaction with the current world order. Germans are angry at the U.S. The imperialistic ambition that prompted Germany to start both world wars is alive and well. It is ‘seething’!”

Prophecy warns that a German-led Europe is about to boil over, spreading its power across the world. It also warns of a “prince of Rosh,” or Russia (Ezekiel 38:1-2; New King James Version), whose aggression will likewise spread around the world.

History shows that the Germans and Russians sign secret deals that remain underground for decades. Modern observers like to think everyone wants peace and all nations just want to get along. Past and present events reveal otherwise. Nations want power, and they will conspire and go to war to get it.

In May 1962, the Plain Truth—the Trumpet’s predecessor, led by editor in chief Herbert W. Armstrong—wrote: “Once a German-dominated Europe is fully established, Germany will be ready to negotiate and bargain with Russia—and behind the backs of the Western allies if necessary.”

History offers ominous warnings about the results of such bargains. The German-Russian relationship has been at the heart of the most destructive conflicts in man’s history.

The Bible offers the same warning, but it also contains a wonderful hope. Mr. Flurry concluded his article: “Men are going to continue in their futile attempts at forging peace. They will have to suffer until Jesus Christ returns. … But His return is tied to this German rising power and this Russian rising power. He says He will return before war has ended all human life! (Matthew 24:22). The rising military powers in Russia and Europe are a big part of what will make it necessary for Christ to return.

“God wants us to respond to Him. He says He will help us in any way we need if we will just obey Him. ‘[W]hy will ye die, O house of Israel?’ God pleads in Ezekiel 18:31. He doesn’t want any of us to have to suffer! He is eager to spare us from the coming cataclysmic violence and to bless us.

“We need to understand these Bible prophecies. They are preparing the way for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ to this Earth. That means all the bad news is about to end. He is going to bring peace, joy and happiness to this world forever.”

To understand more about Germany’s relationship with Russia and where it is prophesied to lead, read Mr. Flurry’s article “Why Germany Just Betrayed America.”