Biden's "Brezhnev doctrine" for Germany
The term "Brezhnev doctrine" appeared in the early 60s in the West and meant the principle of limited sovereignty that the USSR used in relation to the countries of Eastern Europe that were a part of the military-political bloc of the socialist commonwealth.
The Soviet Union, as the leader of its political bloc, not only could interfere in the internal affairs of the socialist countries, but also completely determined their domestic and foreign policy. The countries of the Eastern bloc were satellites of the USSR and were part of its zone of influence, agreed at the Yalta Conference on the division of spheres of influence after World War II.
Every state has a foreign policy doctrine, unless it is a satellite or vassal of another larger state. In addition to the Brezhnev doctrine, there was the Roosevelt doctrine, the Carter doctrine, the Reagan doctrine and the Clinton doctrine. Now the Biden doctrine has emerged. It is based on the postulate that the US recognises China as its competitor, and Russia as an enemy.
As for Europe, all the doctrines of American presidents after World War II are based on the same principle: limited European sovereignty, where Europe is de facto a military and financial colony of the US, a vassal and a projection zone of American national interests. No one but the United States can influence the policy of Europe and should perceive it as a zone of exclusive American privileges.
Brzezinski, in his book The Grand Chessboard, explicitly wrote that the development of France and Germany is permissible only to the extent that it does not contradict the power of the US. I.e., Europe is not a subject, but an object of superpower policy divided into zones of influence. And when the USSR disappeared, the whole of Europe turned into a territory the development of which is permissible only if the global influence of the US increased.
The fact that at the end of the Second World War, Europe was found itself occupied by American troops and drawn into a system of military and economic alliances, where it was assigned the role of a source of military resources and a springboard against the USSR and lost the right to formulate and protect its foreign policy interests, especially if they are not coordinated with the US, in fact, is a mirror reflection of the "Brezhnev doctrine" in relation to the Warsaw Pact countries and the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance.
However, in relations between the US and Europe, no analogues with the "Brezhnev doctrine" have ever been allowed before. The term was applied exclusively with a negative connotation and exclusively to the zone of USSR influence. In relation to the West, the doctrine of limited sovereignty was replaced by the doctrine of the consolidated unity of democracies against autocracies and tyrannies.
It's even more significant that it's precisely now and precisely in Germany that the first timid attempts to call the US’ policy towards the Germans the Biden "Brezhnev doctrine" have appeared. German political scientist Alexander Rahr, who reflects the point of view of the German establishment, first made such a comparison on his eponymous Telegram channel. The number of subscribers of this channel is small, but Rahr never writes anything spontaneously, impromptu. All of Rahr's impromptu posts are carefully calibrated:
"The Germans are terribly perplexed about Biden's refusal to supply Europe with extra volumes of the American coronavirus vaccine. The US was expected to show mercy. In the US, after all, there is an overproduction of vaccines, in the EU - a shortage. Germany does not want to be saved just by ‘Sputnik’. But Biden sent the Europeans away.
...The most acute disputes are ongoing over ‘Nord Stream-2’. Biden made it clear to Merkel that the decree of his congress (which requires stopping the construction of the pipe) is more important than Merkel's request to not touch the project. But Biden also can't opt for imposing sanctions against Germany. That would be too much.
In fact, the Germans’ expectations for good Uncle Joe were not fulfilled. Biden begins to speak with the Europeans in the same commanding tone as Trump. It hurts Germans. They moan. Well, the Germans do not want to live under a kind of ‘Brezhnev doctrine’, as the Eastern European countries lived during the Cold War."
Here Rahr, of course, is a little bit deceitful: Western European countries (except France until the end of the 1960s - the Gaullist period) both during the Cold War and after it, lived and live in exactly the same ‘Brezhnev doctrine’ from the side of the US. Why is it only now that Germany has decided to start complaining?
Since the post-war reconstruction and in subsequent periods, Germany has gotten "fat" under the auspices of the US, and now understands that it will be sacrificed to American interests. The former Germany is no longer needed by the US. Europe as a whole is doomed. It must become firewood in the fire on which an America that is losing strength, but is still strong, will prepare a dinner from European bones.
And here we see that the instinct of self-preservation has awakened in Europe. It is fighting for the strengthening of the euro zone, banning dollar transactions in the EU, trying to create its own security system, taking its own position in relation to the conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East, and, most importantly, Germany stubbornly defends its energy independence. Europe is less radical about sanctions against Russia. The COVID-19 pandemic also revealed the reluctance of many European politicians to sacrifice national interests in favour of the US.
As for Germany, it is ready for sanctions against Russia, as well as for the most boundless freedoms for migrants and LGBT people, and for a demonstration of solidarity with the US on important international issues. But it's not ready to become an American dinner.
Any expectation of the German ruling class, no matter how timid and divided into pro-American and pro-European segments it is, was not met under Trump, and it is now clear that it will not be met under Biden either. The US is openly fighting against the European economy and burying European hopes for geopolitical subjectivity, the potential for which is fully realised in the EU.
Alexander Rahr laments:
"The German government is at a loss. Here, everyone was sure that Biden, after having become president of the US, would reconcile with his Western allies, stop giving them two fingers, unlike Trump, and would consult with them on all issues. Germany especially hoped to become Biden's most beloved and trusted ally.”
Then Alexander Rahr writes (punctuation is preserved):
"Biden in general ignores the Germans and Europeans, demonstrating the declining American interest to Europe. Germany was not invited to the summit meeting on Afghanistan. Biden solves this problem with Russia, China, and Turkey - Eurasian powers, and not European ones. Who needs you, Europeans, there, he asks. Germany was enraged by this."
Obviously, the German establishment is beginning to realise that its hopes for improving relations with the US are illusory. Although it is not clear why the US should suddenly recognise Germany as a partner?
Here Germany is stepping on the same rake that Hitler once stepped on. The Third Reich was brought up from the Versailles' dust by the decision of the British and with the money of the Americans. In 1935, out of 28 types of German aircraft, 11 were equipped with Rolls-Royce, Armstrong-Siddeley, Pratt-Whitney and some other British and American companies engines - until the Germans learned to make them themselves.
To do this, Germany secretly imported modern American equipment for aircraft factories in the amount of $1million in gold. It became the basis of the German aviation industry.
The famous "Messerschmitt BF-109" in May 1935 existed in one prototype, and it was powered by the "Kestrel V" engine of the Rolls-Royce company. In 1936, there were already 2 prototypes, and in 1937 – 54. Germany received from the firms "Pratt-Whitney", "Douglas" and "Bendix Aviation" many military patents, and the Junkers-87 dive bomber was built using technologies exported from Detroit.
During all the war, American, Dutch, and British companies operated in Germany. The Germans did not bomb oil factories in Europe owned by British and American corporations. German grenades, which the Germans used to kill the British at the front, were made in German factories from British materials. And there is even no need at all to speak about the IG-Farbenindustrie company.
But it was not for the sake of the beautiful German eyes that the US and Britain raised Hitler and the German economy, but solely in order to solve the Russian question, which was not completely resolved after the First World War.
Even in his book Mein Kampf, Hitler clearly outlined his Anglophile aspirations.
Here's what he wrote:
"England does not want Germany to be a world power. France, on the other hand, does not want a state called Germany to exist at all. This is still a significant difference… And if we take all this into account and ask ourselves where are those states with which we could enter into an alliance, then we will answer: there are only two such states: England and Italy".
"For a whole period of time, only two allies in Europe are possible for Germany: England and Italy”.
"England is the greatest world power", "an alliance with such states would create very different prerequisites for the struggle in Europe".
With Italy, Hitler's alliance took place, but with England it did not work, despite the famous Hess flight and other "oddities", such as Hitler's sudden stop of the defeat of the British expeditionary force on the shore of the narrowest point of the English Channel, the Pas-de-Calais Strait, in front of the British port of Dover during Operation Sea Lion.
Hitler's stop order enabled Churchill to assemble the entire British fleet, including fishing schooners and boats, and evacuate the hull. This saved England from defeat. The Wehrmacht stood by and watched the evacuation for three days without firing a single shot.
All this suggests that Hitler did not want to destroy England, but to force it to agree to Germany's participation in the redistribution of spheres of influence on Hitler's conditions. It was assumed that after this, the US position would be similar – Hitler completely ruled out a war with the US and wanted to do without it, creating a hopeless situation for the US by territorial seizures. For Hitler, this would be a victory. But for Britain and the United States, a defeat.
As a result, Hitler received a coalition against himself, where the USSR and two former sponsors of the Third Reich – the US and Great Britain united. The result is known: Germany lost its subjectivity, was divided, occupied, and only miraculously reunited, without getting rid of the occupation until now.
The current German establishment reproduces the same geopolitical guidelines that were formulated for Germany by Hitler. Only now the place of Britain is occupied by the US. The hope of becoming a privileged partner for the US is one of a series of the long-standing political utopias that are uncharacteristic of German rationality.
Similar illusions were experienced in Russia under Yeltsin: back then Kozyrev often started talking about a "mature partnership" between Russia and the US. This also meant a proposal to divide the spheres of influence.
The US responded harshly: any "mature partnership" is out of the question. The same "mature partnership" with the US – and with the same success – was desired by the Germans.
If Rahr voices a complaint to Biden about Biden himself, calling his policy the "Brezhnev doctrine" applied by the US to Germany, then this will not achieve the goal. If this is probing the ground for a change in attitude, then this is a vain hope. If this is blackmailing the US with the opportunity to improve relations with Russia, then neither the US, nor Germany, nor Russia will believe it. If this is an epiphany, then it is at least 30 years late, if not a whole 70.
The German establishment is torn between love and hatred for the US, enmity and friendship for Russia. This situation is not fraught with anything but neurosis. And neurosis is a state in which thoughtful decisions are not made.
The "Brezhnev Doctrine" in Biden's performance is not a mistake or a misunderstanding, but a pursuit of American long-term interests. Vassal Germany will always be limited in sovereignty, and if to remember Bismarck, it is possible to exit this state only with iron and blood. Is the current Germany capable of such an effort? There are very serious doubts.
Germany's choice is very difficult. It is a choice between an alliance with the US against Russia or an alliance with Russia against the US. The alliance with France is not an amplifier or compensator for Germany, it has its own contradictions. There can be no neutrality, it will not be allowed by the united Anglo-Saxons. It is the old Hitler dilemma, only instead of the US, there was Britain.
Like Hitler back then, today's German elites understand that any choice for them is war. They try to delay the decision as long as possible. But the US does not leave any more time. There can be no question of any increment of territories in favour of the power of Germany. Germany needs to choose, but it is a choice between life and death.
Elena Panina - Director of the RUSSTRAT Institute