An event without precedent (in Germany, at least) occurred last week that made me postpone the continuation of the series dedicated to the systemic debate going on in the USA (Mead versus Ikenberry, in principal). The chief of the CIA residence in Germany was formally invited (on July 9) to leave the country in the context of the scandal over the tapping of the phone conversations of German personalities (Chancellor Merkel included), conducted by the American official agency (NSA). This was a completely unusual move between allies and hints to a cooling of the relations between the two NATO allies.
Between allies, such ‘incidents’ that are not completely unheard of are treated with maximum discretion, at very high level, to avoid sending wrong signals to the public and causing political and public signals to the alliance which the states belong to.
What comes to mind is the similar case of Romania and USSR, members of the Warsaw Pact, of course keeping the proportions imposed by the historic context, also regarding the ideological orientation and the asymmetric character of the relations between the two communist countries. Starting with 1963-1964, the ‘top’ leadership in Bucharest repeatedly raised with the Soviet interlocutors the issue of the intelligence network thoroughly built during the previous years of occupation by the Red Army. The dossier of this sensitive matter had a long inertia and the Soviet spy ring remained active until 1989. In spite of the evidence, Moscow denied the truth of those communicated by the Romanian side, but the whole matter remained confidential, although for the well-informed people the secret was… public. This dossier with repeated episodes remained a hint to the mistrust installed between the leaders in Moscow and Bucharest and accompanied the accelerate cooling of bilateral relations, also determining countermeasures taken by the communist leaders of Romania ever since the moment when it confidentially raised this issue.
The analyses conducted in Germany after this “incident” that was made public emphasize on the particular situation of Germany in Europe following World War Two. Firmly integrated in Europe by the first post-war chancellor of federal Germany, K. Adenauer, in the western alliance (it gained NATO membership in 1955), the country remained somehow divided over its place on the continent, hence its systemic identity. Episodes like that of phone tapping by the NSA immediately reveal this division with important political consequences. A recent opinion poll conducted on a representative sample found out that subjects are almost evenly divided between East and West, in the political understanding of this systemic division. When they were asked what country Germany should cooperate with in the future, 56 pc answered USA and 53 pc Russia. And, according to another poll recently made by ‘Der Spiegel’, 57 pc of Germans believe that Germany must take a more independent stance in relation to the USA in matters of foreign politics, which would explain the particular formal moves made by Berlin in the context of the Ukrainian crisis.
The abovementioned figures are significant and represent the tip of the iceberg that designates a real phenomenon of redefining the politics of this most important state of the European Union, capable to determine a structural modification of the global orientation of the whole European continent. Which way Germany? East, or West? It is obvious for anyone what major implications has for Europe the firm answer of Berlin to this geopolitical question, the overwhelming systemic impact of a possible change of azimuth.
One of the analyses quoted by the German press insists on a special statute for Germany. This would consist in affirming a much more independent role toward the USA, while providing Europe with a systemically distinct stature. “It must offer an outlook to Russia in its yearning to become part of the West. But it must also set clear boundaries if Moscow reintroduces violence as a political tool and threatens allies. For America, a Germany that assumes this role may not be a convenient partner, but in the end, may be a source of relief.” (‘Der Spiegel’).
(To be continued)