NATO

NATO Unity Is Put to the Test

Only time will tell if Germany is the "incredibly reliable ally" that Biden claims it is.

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President Joe Biden met with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz for the first time today to dissuade American fears that Germany is an "unreliable partner" in the possible Russia-Ukraine conflict. It's still unclear what role the largest economy in the European Union will play if Russian forces invade Ukraine.

Previously, Germany has received harsh criticism for its "soft treatment" of Russia as its troops gather at the Ukrainian border. Until recently, Chancellor Sholz has been reluctant to clarify what exactly Germany will do if Russia invades Ukraine. Biden attempted to put that doubt to rest in a press conference on Monday by declaring, "Germany is an incredibly reliable ally."

When countries like the United States, France, and the United Kingdom sent weapons to Ukraine, Germany sent helmets—which Scholz insisted Ukraine really needed. This led to strong criticism of the German leader from both sides of the aisle. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D–Conn.) thinks Germany has been "missing in action," and Sen. Robert Portman (R–Ohio) questioned why Germany hasn't allowed planes full of military aid for Ukraine to fly through German airspace. 

The Chancellor pushed back at this narrative by telling The Washington Post, "The reality is that Germany is the biggest NATO partner in continental Europe, that we are continuously strengthening our military forces, that we are a very good partner." By embracing the ethos that Germany is a largely pacifist nation, Scholz points to the German tradition of not sending weapons into countries in crisis.

There is one wrinkle in Germany's relationship with Russia that has much of the world on the edge; the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Referred to as an "existential threat" to Ukraine, the natural gas link between Germany and Russia will make the former largely dependent on the latter to meet energy demand. When asked if the plug on Nord Stream 2 would be pulled if Russia invades Ukraine, Scholz vaguely responded, "We are absolutely united in our decision-making, and we will take the necessary steps together." Scholz also refused to name the Nord Stream 2 pipeline outright. The U.S. has never imposed sanctions on an economy as large as Russia's, and this partnership between Germany and Russia further complicates how sanctions could be carried out.

"The strongest sanctions ever seen" will be imposed on Russia if they invade Ukraine, claims Biden and Germany has agreed to this plan. But, no specific details of the sanctions have been released to the public. 

President Biden & Chancellor Scholz agreed that when it comes to Russian aggression, "diplomacy is the best way forward on all sides," and it appears that their French ally is on the same page. On Monday, President Emmanuel Macron tweeted: "Let us start building a response that is useful for Russia, useful for all of our Europe, a response that helps us avoid war and build all the elements of trust, of stability, of visibility. Together."

On February 15, when Chancellor Scholz meets with President Putin, the world will see if Germany will stick to its promises. 

NEXT: That Study of Face Masks Does Not Show What the CDC Claims

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  1. Germans sure love their gas.

    1. Oy vey! Didjew think that one through?

      1. Did you hear about the British power plant? They recently illuminated their smokestacks in observance of the holocaust.

        1. Did folks shower them with criticism for this?

          1. You are the boss.

          2. A lousy joke.

          3. They got blasted

  2. When Angela made the commitment to shut down the nuclear plants, this was inevitable. Frankly, Russia should just annex Germany, there's been no better puppet state in the EU than them.

    1. She was a stasi agent you know.

    2. When even France is telling you to listen more to the Americans, you know you have gone too far.

      1. France is nuclear.

        1. The nuclear family of nations is an obsolete social construct.

        2. They are lit.

  3. possible Russia-Ukraine conflict

    Crimea river.

  4. By embracing the ethos that Germany is a largely pacifist nation

    Nazi guilt will be the end of Germany.

  5. Putin on the blitz

    1. yeah, that beats my comment.

    2. Right off the cliff.

  6. "When asked if the plug on Nord Stream 2 would be pulled if Russia invades Ukraine, School vaguely responded, "We are absolutely united in our decision-making, and we will take the necessary steps together." Scholz also refused to name the Nord Stream 2 pipeline outright."

    We should mention that Biden said there would be no Nord Stream 2 if Russia invade Ukraine, within the last hour, apparently, in a joint press conference with Scholz. Although Scholz didn't say that, Biden said it right in front of him.

    “There will be no longer a Nord Stream 2” if Russia invades, Mr. Biden said during a joint press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/biden-says-nord-stream-2-pipeline-wont-go-forward-if-russia-invades-ukraine-11644268407?

    What I really want to hear is that the U.S. isn't involved in pushing Minsk-2, which would effectively give a Kremlin appointed governor veto power over the Ukrainian government. I'd rather go to war with Russia than give Putin a veto over legislation by the U.S. government, and if that's the way the Ukrainian people feel, we're not avoiding any wars by capitulating to Putin on Minsk-2 either.

    In the meantime, all of this is a direct result of Biden's initial capitulation on Nord 2, from months ago. In the meantime, Biden's efforts to shut down fracking and natural gas in the USA has been counterproductive to our foreign policy efforts. Can you believe we were seriously staring at a fat chunk of the Green New Deal being passed in the Senate, as a function of Build Back Better, only a few weeks ago?

    I'd give Biden some credit for coming to his senses, but I can't help but think it's a function of necessity. The reason he's swimming back to the beach so fast isn't because he's realized the error of his ways. It's because he's being chased out of the water by a gigantic shark.

    1. Dude you're such a dumbass. Here's what happened when Trump tried to sanction Nord 2 BEFORE Russia threatened the shit out of Europe:

      "On Saturday, the EU voiced its clear opposition to the US sanctions.

      "As a matter of principle, the EU opposes the imposition of sanctions against EU companies conducting legitimate business," a spokesman for the trading bloc told AFP news agency.

      Russia's foreign ministry also strongly opposed the move, with ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova accusing Washington of promoting an "ideology" that hinders global competition.

      The consortium behind Nord Stream 2 confirmed that it would build the pipeline as soon as possible, despite the sanctions.

      It said: "Completing the project is essential for European supply security. We, together with the companies supporting the project, will work on finishing the pipeline as soon as possible."

      As you can read the EU and Russia were united against America. They were gonna do the project anyway and we were going to look like assholes. Now that Putin has changed the calculus it's now possible to enact sanctions that would work.

      1. But of course you have to make everything fit thru the "Biden bad" prism and so you'll twist anything up to do it.

      2. The suggestion that the president's opposition to Nord Stream 2 is inconsequential is entirely undermined by Biden's announcement that there will be no Nord Stream 2 if Putin invades Ukraine.

        You should pick one end of that candle to burn--either Biden's decision to rescind sanctions back in May of 2021 was consequential or today's announcement that he'll kill Nord Stream 2 is inconsequential. Are you saying that Biden's decision was inconsequential then, or are you saying that Biden is just blowing smoke today? You get one or the other.

        "WASHINGTON, May 19 (Reuters) - The Biden administration waived sanctions on the company behind Russia's Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to Germany and its chief executive, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday, a move decried by critics of the project in Congress . . . .

        "The decision came as the Biden administration seeks to rebuild ties with Germany, after relations deteriorated under Republican former President Donald Trump."

        "Washington fears Russia could use Nord Stream 2 as leverage to weaken European Union states by increasing dependency on Moscow.

        "Russia's state energy company, Gazprom (GAZP.MM), and its Western partners are racing to finish the pipeline to send natural gas under the Baltic Sea. The project, now about 95% complete, would bypass Ukraine, depriving it of lucrative transit fees and potentially undermining its struggle against Russian aggression."

        ----Reuters, May 2021

        https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/us-waive-sanctions-firm-ceo-behind-russias-nord-stream-2-pipeline-source-2021-05-19/

        Everything Biden could have done, peacefully, to stop Nord Stream 2 should have been done, but instead of opposing Nord Stream 2, he waived it through on purpose--because that's what he wanted to do. Everybody's brother knew this would lead to Russian aggression--except the Biden administration, apparently, because they're monumentally incompetent.

        I blame TDS. The Biden administration wanted to be more friendly with Germany, because Trump was so rude, so they gave the Germans a pass on Nord Stream 2. What could go wrong--except for the obvious Russian aggression on the doorstep of our allies in NATO? What could go wrong--except for Germany switching sides and undermining American security interests? And who could have known this would be the result of Biden's decision--except a Reuters reporter and everyone else in the world?

        I repeat: The Biden administration is profoundly incompetent. The Biden administration is so incompetent, they can't figure out what the obvious consequences of their decisions will be until Putin has stacked 100,000 troops on the border of the Ukraine. Why didn't he know this would be the consequences of his decision before he made it? Occam's razor says it's because the Biden administration is profoundly incompetent.

        1. You're an idiot. Europe and Russia were united against American sanctions. It took Putin showing his ass to change the calculus for Europe. They are now support the sanctions (Thank you Putin). The sanctions only work with Europe's support and which we now have finally again thanks to Putin. When tried to unilaterally impose sanctions which you wanted Biden to do, Europe said fuck you and we looked like assholes.

          1. Because Germany wanted the pipeline didn't mean they would pursue it in spite of U.S. sanctions and against the wishes of their most important NATO ally.

            And this is reinforced by the announcement--today, in a joint press conference with the German Chancellor--that Germany will not get Nord 2 if Putin invades Ukraine.

            “There will be no longer a Nord Stream 2” if Russia invades, Mr. Biden said during a joint press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz."

            https://www.wsj.com/articles/biden-says-nord-stream-2-pipeline-wont-go-forward-if-russia-invades-ukraine-11644268407

            Do you not understand what those words mean? Do you not understand their implications? Do you think Joe Biden is lying?

            1. Biden is playing world daddy. He mostly mumbles, stumbles and drops deuces in his pants.

          2. Sounds like you're saying Trump saw this coming and Biden didn't

            1. That's part of it, but what I'm really saying is that EVERYBODY saw this coming and the Biden administration didn't.

              They're flying blind. Their mission is not encumbered by concerns for the likely consequences of their policies.

              They want what they want because they want it without regard for the likely outcomes--and it's frightening. The Biden administration is completely incompetent.

              They couldn't run a burger joint.

              1. I was replying to Strazzle, seems like he agrees, but won't admit it

    2. "Top Senate Democrats have long opposed a Russian natural gas pipeline that’s set to enrich Vladimir Putin. But those lawmakers are putting those concerns aside to back up President Joe Biden as he navigates increasingly precarious talks with Moscow.

      "Democrats have consistently supported sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, arguing that the project will jeopardize Europe’s energy security and allow Putin to blackmail his enemies. But as the Senate prepares to vote next week on legislation from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) that would force Biden to impose those sanctions, Democrats on Wednesday signaled a significant shift in their posture.

      "The reason, Democrats say, is that they don’t want to undermine Biden while he engages with Russia over its military buildup on the border with Ukraine."

      ----Politico, January 5, 2022

      https://www.politico.com/news/2022/01/05/nord-stream-pipeline-russia-biden-526579

      The Senate Democrats didn't even want Biden to give Nord Stream 2 a pass. The Biden administration gave Nord Stream 2 a pass over the objections of the Democrats in Congress! Joe Biden is a fucking dimwit.

      1. Agaun, it doesn't matter what "we wanted" . Germany, Europe and Russia were united against us. Europe said,

        "As a matter of principle, the EU opposes the imposition of sanctions against EU companies conducting legitimate business," a spokesman for the trading bloc told AFP news agency."

        Russia's foreign ministry said: we also strongly opposed the move, with ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova accusing Washington of promoting an "ideology" that hinders global competition.

        The people who were going to be sanctioned said:

        "The consortium behind Nord Stream 2 confirmed that it would build the pipeline as soon as possible, despite the sanctions.

        It said: "Completing the project is essential for European supply security. We, together with the companies supporting the project, will work on finishing the pipeline as soon as possible."

        Sanctions were a losing strategy in May 2021. Things have changed. Thank you Putin. Keep it up. Yes, invite China to jump off the cliff.

        1. Of course they said that!

          Jesus Christ.

          If you asked Matthew Stafford whether he's going to win the Superbowl, he'd probably say he will.

          Don't bet the farm on the Rams just yet! Just because he says he'll win, doesn't mean he necessarily will.

          You see, there's another team playing on Sunday, too. They've got a quarterback named Joe Burrow, and I haven't heard any interviews with him that say so, but I think there's a good chance that Joe Burrow and the other the Bengals will probably do their best to stop Matthew Stafford from winning--even if they don't say so!

          You see, people say all kinds of things, and what they say often doesn't really matter in reality. The important things is what they do, and what the consequences of their choices are in the real world. Maybe they would have completed the pipeline over our efforts to stop it.

          Joe Biden decided to give it away.

          And the consequences of that are 100,000 Russian troops on the border of the Ukraine.

          And it doesn't matter what anybody says about it. Those troops are sitting there because of Biden's capitulation anyway. And if you're really obsessed with what Biden says, he's saying he'll stop Nord Stream 2 now that he knows it means the Russians invading the Ukraine! Honestly, Biden wouldn't have put himself in this position if he wasn't stupid. Even if what you're saying is true, and Biden couldn't have stopped it with sanctions, from a political perspective, he'd much rather they finished the pipeline over his objection rather than with his permission. If you don't see that, you're being willfully blind.

          If Biden's decision to give Nord Stream 2 a pass was inconsequential in terms of the downside, what was the upside? Because Biden have Nord Stream 2 a green light, what did he or the United States get for that?

          The correct answer is nothing.

        2. "As a matter of principle, the EU opposes the imposition of sanctions against EU companies conducting legitimate business," a spokesman for the trading bloc told AFP news agency."

          Since when do the concerns of the EU trump the security interests of the United States?

          Is Joe Biden the President of the EU? He's supposed to be the Commander in chief of the United States of America. If the EU doesn't like what's in the best interests of the United States, then fuck the EU.

          "Russia's foreign ministry said: we also strongly opposed the move, with ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova accusing Washington of promoting an "ideology" that hinders global competition."

          Why do we care what the Kremlin says?

          You're quoting Russian propaganda as if it's authoritative--do you have any idea how stupid that makes you look?!

          Jesus Christ, you are fucking dumb.

      2. Ken,

        Why do you care? So, Putin wants to be the big man regionally up to the borders of what we used to call "Eastern Europe?" Europe is pretty much a "dead" continent in terms of vibrancy, culture, economic growth and population growth. Two wars devastated the 300 years of growth and improving the human condition. The Brits lost their empire. Socialism and cultural marxism have left the once crowed gothic cathedrals empty. A few years ago in early December I had to go to Tilburg, Netherlands for work. I arrived on the weekend and wanted to go to mass on Sunday. A small but beautiful gothic church was about a block from my hotel. I walked there for mass. I was one of about 10 people at mass. Later I walked down the plaza to get coffee and strudel (they have basically home made "toaster strudels" and at the end of the street was a massive brand new Mosk. The families with kids were muslim immigrants on the streets. Many female friends I had from Germany in college never got married nor had kids. Europe has become an example of wokism...please tell me how that is worth saving? And how is Putin a danger to America? The whole Ukraine fiasco is just CFR elites and the usual suspects who have some weird fixation with Russia (probably because the czar did this or that..funny low liberals loved the USSR when I was a kid). As for Germany, they started a damn war that killed 30 million Russians and gased millions of Jews. They are not about to fight anyone unless their country is invaded and even then maybe not. Guilt will always be with Germany.

    3. Biden hasn't come to his senses. His puppeteers have just realized how badly things are going and are trying to catch up.

  7. remember when Laverne & Shirley worked on the Scholz Brewery line?

    1. It was part of the Penny Marshall Plan.

      1. That makes cents.

  8. Of course Germany is an incredibly reliable ally, they're still abiding by the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact.

    1. Post cold war Germany became aware that, with Poland joining Nato, the next war with Russia would be fought in Poland, with Polish and American troops. That means Germany gets free military protection. No way America would let the Poles fall, so any money saved on military can be spent on other things.
      When the US makes noise about pulling out of Germany however, the Germans scream about lost local jobs.

  9. It bears repeating (daily) that Ukraine isn't part of NATO. I'm sure Germany will be there to support us of the USA is invaded by someone.

    1. should be "if the USA is invaded". What happened to the Edit button?

      1. It's on a diet or went out with the tide.

    2. One of Russia's demands for de-escalation was that Ukraine be permanently barred from NATO membership. It's a bit of a catch-22 because Ukraine will never be allowed to join NATO under the current circumstances either, since other NATO members don't want to be drawn into a war with Russia if they invade

    3. They’ll be reich by our side.

  10. Oh, and by the way, since I've been pretty much slam-dunk vindicated on surgical masks and cloth masks, let us pivot to N95 masks-- which I do believe work in certain circumstances

    Here's the CDC on N95 and KN95 masks:

    Summary
    What is already known about this topic?

    Face masks or respirators (N95/KN95s) effectively filter virus-sized particles in laboratory settings. The real-world effectiveness of face coverings to prevent acquisition of SARS-CoV-2 infection has not been widely studied.

    CDC, Feb 4, 2022.

    And this is the study which is being panned by real scientists. So this study that shows that other masks are... sort of kind of effective admits that even n95 masks haven't been studied, while my newspaper breathlessly tells its readers where to pick up their super effective n95 masks because that cloth mask is just facial decoration because the CNN science infotainment babe told us so on Don Lemon's show!

    Their large study from YEARS ago which showed no significant effect with 'surgical masks' and 'cloth masks' did talk about n95 masks:

    We did not consider the use of respirators in the community. Respirators are tight-fitting masks that can protect the wearer from fine particles (37) and should provide better protection against influenza virus exposures when properly worn because of higher filtration efficiency. However, respirators, such as N95 and P2 masks, work best when they are fit-tested, and these masks will be in limited supply during the next pandemic. These specialist devices should be reserved for use in healthcare settings or in special subpopulations such as immunocompromised persons in the community, first responders, and those performing other critical community functions, as supplies permit.

    Well, there you go. Is your KN95 mask you ordered from Amazon fit-tested Beardsly McHipster?

    1. 1. Not shaving my beard. I had a beard before it was cool, not like those hipsters.
      2. Supporting data on masks (posted here recently): https://www.justfacts.com/news_face_masks_deadly_falsehoods

      Warning, this site will very carefully, methodically, and convincingly say things that piss you off. If you think masks work, they'll tell you they don't. If you think it was a "just in case" precaution, they'll tell you why no science supports community masking like the CDC and some governors, unions, and mayors are pushing, and that is even more infuriating.

      1. I can accept that there may be some minor effectiveness of masks in certain situations- including cloth/surgical masks. However, I don't believe they're effective enough to justify their constant, two-year-long mandated use, and I believe the downsides for children is profound. Think about the implications of muzzling toddlers for 50% of their lives.

        1. We ALL can. Well, except for that one guy. There's always that one guy. But most of us know masks work where they work. Which is in tightly controlled situations, or for brief face to face interaction, using very good masks, properly worn. Pretty much nowhere else.

          But, that's the thing. It's unreasonable, and far more burdensome than the zeitgeist seems to believe. It bothers me to no end, I suffer from not seeing facial cues. I can't imagine how bad it would have been to my development if that was the case when I was four.

          I do wonder if anyone is doing any good science around this. I know kids are resilient, but ... kick a puppy and it cringes the rest of its life. You don't fuck with children's development. The repercussions of bad decisions affecting children can be heard for decades.

        2. Mandatory, indiscriminate masking is effective as psychological warfare

      2. Honestly, I'm really glad this happened when my daughter was grown. Had this happened when she was 3, or 5, or even 10 or 12, I would have been faced with making some very hard choices that I'm glad I didn't have to make.

        1. Home school or moving to a free state is the only answer if you have kids today

  11. QAnon follower who attacked police at Capitol gets prison
    Nicholas Languerand called himself a patriot, but the judge who sentenced him said the rioters who invaded the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, don't deserve that description.

    https://www.inquirer.com/politics/nation/qanon-trump-jan-6-prison-20220126.html

    1. After losing his job in the fall of 2020, Languerand was living in Vermont in a trailer with no vehicle or television. He began spending all of his time consuming information on the internet about QAnon and the Proud Boys, a far-right extremist group, according to his lawyer.

      Sounds like one of the Hit & Run nutjobs.

      1. turd lies; it’s all he ever does. Turd is a pathological liar, a trafficker in kiddie porn and a TDS-addled asshole, entirely too stupid to remember which lies he posted even minutes ago, and also too stupid to understand we all know he’s a liar.
        If anything he posts isn’t a lie, it’s totally accidental.
        turd lies; it’s what he does. turd is a lying pile of lefty shit.

  12. "assuage", not "dissuade"

  13. "We" learned a thing or two when England, France... everyone but Finland defaulted on loans begged from the USA during WW1. Britain and France took loans in the billions of gold dollars and welshed. They then wondered why Americans were slow to save them from their fellow narcotic-refiners in 1939. Foreign entanglements? No thanks.

    1. UK Welshed?

      1. Scotch that calumny, it raise my ire!

  14. What alternate reality have we spawned where we insist Germany enters a country uninvited to fight Russians?

  15. "Do you have a nagging feeling that President Trump is putting the United States on a slippery slope to war? If so, you are not alone.
    Senator Bob Corker, Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said on Sunday that President Trump, with his reckless threats to other countries, could set the nation “on the path to World War III.”
    “He concerns me,” Sen. Corker said, clearly questioning Trump’s fitness to be commander-in-chief. “He would have to concern anyone who cares about our nation.”"

    Anyone heard from Corker (or anyone else) concerning droolin' Joe's shenanigans?

    1. That’s a real corker (central Maine pun).

      1. Real estate guy...loves the Fed, easy money and govt subsidizes for his sector. Not a real conservative

  16. You know who else got Germany and Russia in bed together with less-than-peaceful results?

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  18. I think Germany is trying to become the new Switzerland.

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