Germany’s grand old man and former chancellor Helmut Schmidt paid Moscow a ‘farewell visit’ yesterday (Schmidt will be 95 by the end of this month). Indirectly he supported Putin by sharply criticizing the behavior of EU-politicians in general, but no doubt hinting at the current EU-Russia-Ukraine stand-off, even to the extent that Putin felt himself urged to come to the defense of said politicians. After all Putin still needs to do business with them in the future. Big business.
US analyst and CFR member Charles Kupchan, most known for his book ‘The End of the American Era (2002)‘, showing that he is not deluded by unrealistic views concerning US ‘exceptionalism’, observed yesterday: ‘Ukraine shouldn’t be made to choose between Russia and Europe‘ and that is exactly right. In our view the EU should pass the message to Moscow that in return for letting the Ukraine function as a bridge between Brussels and Moscow, the EU should declare that no missile shield is going to be build in Europe. In his 2002 book Kupchan wrote: “The Europeans are … making a choice that will inevitably give Europe more geopolitical clout—at the expense of American primacy. … And the impetus will come not just from Europe’s new ambition, which will gather slowly, but also from America’s domestic politics and its schizophrenic reaction to the rise of Europe.“. And this is exactly what we see unfolding before our eyes these days.
Putin in his yearly Russian equivalent of the State of the Union Address, was rather modest in his outlook. Indirectly hinting at the US, Putin said that Russia had no ambitions of becoming a super power. Our interpretation: ever since he rose to power in 2000 Putin has made clear remarks about the desirability of a rapprochement between the EU and Russia. The chances for that to happen are better than ever.