Merkel confesses NATO plans for Russia since 2007 in new interview
Germany's ex-chancellor Angela Merkel reveals in an interview that for NATO, the Cold war never ended since Russia was never 'pacified'.
Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who, earlier in December, confessed that the Minsk agreements were only "meant to give Ukraine time" said on Tuesday that the question of whether or not she will be participating in a possible Ukrainian reconciliation process "has not been raised."
In an interview with the Italian Corriere della Sera, the ex-chancellor first noted that she is oblivious about how the war in Ukraine will come to an end, arguing that "it will eventually end in negotiations," adding that "wars normally end at the negotiating table."
However, she further explained that "there is a difference between a peace that was imposed - which many people, including me, do not want to happen - and open, friendly negotiations."
Merkel then stated, "I don’t have anything else to add," before going on to further explain, in detail, her government's policy toward Russia and Ukraine.
Merkel argued that the logic of her decision-making process, at the time, "still seems rational" to her today, and noted that "it was all about preventing a war, similar to the conflict that is unfolding now. We failed, but it does not mean that it was wrong to try."
She also reaffirmed her statements from her Die Zeit confessions and said that the "Minsk Accords of 2014 were an attempt to give Ukraine time. Ukraine used this period to become stronger, as seen today," and insisted that "the country of 2014/15 is not the country of today. And I doubt NATO could have done much to help Ukraine, as it does today."
Merkel uncovers Putin plan since 2007 but failed to contain Russia
During the Corriere della Sera interview, Merkel was asked why she adopted an energy policy that made Germany, and Europe as a whole, so dependent on Russia when she realized, as declared in Merkel's first post-Chancellor public appearance in 2007 that Putin only understood the language of force given his view of Europe.
In response, Merkel explained "we all knew that it was a frozen conflict [the Ukraine-Russia gas dispute], that the problem was not solved, but it was precisely this that gave Ukraine precious time."
To put Merkel's confessions in context, it is worth noting that in 2004, the US-led "Orange Revolution" took place in Ukraine and brought President Viktor Yushchenko to power. Between 2005 and 2006, the then-new Ukrainian President attempted to withdraw Ukraine from Russia’s "sphere of influence."
And in 2007, the Ukrainian parliament passed a law that banned the privatization, sale or lease of gas pipelines. This decision came after Russia had suggested creating a consortium to run the gas distribution system.
Read more: Russia fooled on Minsk agreements: Putin
Why was Nord Stream 2 authorized?
In what followed, Merkel rhetorically asked, given the aforementioned, "Why was the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline approved in such a situation?"
The ex-chancellor noted two conflicting opinions that existed at the time. On the one hand, she stated, "Ukraine considered it very important to maintain its role as a transit country for Russian gas as it wanted the gas to pass through its territory and not through the Baltic Sea."
She added that "Today it seems that every molecule of Russian gas is the devil. It wasn't like that then, gas was disputed."
On the other hand, Merkel confessed that authorization for Nord Stream 2 was not requested by "the Federal Republic of Germany," but rather " 2, it was the companies."
That said, the ex-chancellor noted, that "for the government and for me it was a matter of deciding whether or not, as a political act, to promulgate a new law to deny authorization to Nord Stream 2."
And in that regard, Merkel argued that "a refusal, combined with the Minsk Accords, would have exacerbated relations with Russia."
These statements link back to the intentions Merkel, and Germany as a whole, had when they pushed for the Minsk accords, to which she confessed earlier in December, and the value they brought for the current war in Ukraine.
On the other hand of the equation, laid the question of Russian gas dependency which the ex-chancellor explained, "energy dependence arose because there was less gas coming from Holland and Great Britain and the quantities extracted in Norway were limited."
Merkel's self-criticism: the Cold War never really ended and I did not do enough
When asked for self-criticism, Merkel confessed "I haven't done my utmost on a daily basis to support this cause [containment of Russia]." She further added, "the Cold War never really ended," and that's a fact she argued, stating that this assessment stemmed from the other fact that "ultimately, Russia was never pacified."
Merkel explained that "when Putin invaded Crimea in 2014, he was excluded from the G8," adding that also "NATO deployed troops in the Baltic region, to demonstrate its readiness to intervene."
Furthermore, she argued that, at the time, "we decided to allocate 2% of GDP to military expenditure for defense." This German decision was only kept in the government program by the CDU and CSU, Merkel noted. However, she claimed that even they "should have reacted more quickly to Russia's aggressiveness."
She explained that "Germany fell short of its 2% target," and she confessed, "I haven't done my utmost on a daily basis to support this cause either."
When asked why so, Merkel showed that she always put Germany first. She said she did not secretly think it was unnecessary, but rather she "acted according to Kohl's principle: what matters is the result [Helmut Kohl was her predecessor]."
She highlighted that "to do all one can do for a cause and then failing would not have helped the state budget."
NATO's double decision regarding Russia's containment
Merkel revealed NATO's clear set policy for Russian containment since 2007 when she said that "if I search history for recipes for success, I find the double NATO decision," meaning the decision to pursue democracy and rearmament.
She elucidated that "the clever aspect in the NATO double decision was precisely the dual approach, involving rearmament and diplomacy," which allowed the time to prove, going back to the 2% target note, that the "increase in defense spending was not enough of an intimidation."
Read more: Moscow finds the Merkel 'confessions' concrete grounds for a tribunal