But what really got the French buzzing was the announcement that Russia’s Gazprom is offering to set up a joint-venture to finance, build and operate gas-fired power plants in Germany to replace the nuclear plants Merkel now says she will close down.
Russia showed that it has not forgotten how to play Cold War power politics with energy supplies when it cut off Ukraine’s natural gas supplies in the dead of January 2009, ostensibly over a payment dispute. Of course, what the Russians were really about was putting pressure on Ukrainian president Viktor Yushchenko, an anti-Moscow reformer they had already tried to get rid of once by poisoning him.
The Russian overtures to finance new natural gas power plants in Germany are a disturbing throw-back to the Cold War era when the Soviet Union tried to hold Europe hostage to Soviet gas supplies through the trans-European gas pipeline (which the Reagan administration opposed).
Faced with these challenges from a wavering ally, the Obama administration has been laying the groundwork for a massive bailout of the Eurozone by the International Monetary Fund as a means of getting the Germans off the hook.
As political consultant Dick Morris pointed out on Tuesday, the United States contributes 17% to the IMF budget, so the $1.3 trillion IMF bailout is likely to include around $200 billion in U.S. taxpayer loan guarantees.
“Everybody knows Greece is going to default,” Morris said. “And when they default, that guarantee gets called and then we automatically give the IMF the money without Congress appropriating it. It will be like a massive TARP bailout but for Europe, instead of the United States – and doing something the Europeans are perfectly capable of doing for themselves but are politically unwilling to do.”
So what is Germany’s master plan?
Put simply, it’s this. Make money by selling everything to Tehran, buy gas from Moscow, and stick Washington with the bill, all the while expecting the United States to defend them should Iran launch missiles against Europe.
A new administration should carefully re-evaluate our alliances in Europe. My suggestion: more France, less Germany.
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