RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – For the United States, the primordial fear is the combination of German capital, German technology, Russian natural resources, and the Russian workforce. That has for centuries scared the United States, says geopolitical forecaster George Friedman in a speech from 2015 at The Chicago Council of Global Affairs.
“The primal interest of the U.S., what we fought the wars for centuries – World War I, World War II, and the Cold War – was the relationship between Germany and Russia. Because united, they are the only power that can threaten us, and our interest was to make sure that didn’t happen.”
(Watch the video and see George Friedman speak)
The U.S. strategy is to build an anti-Russian belt through the Intermarium (countries from Poland to Bulgaria), cutting Russia and Germany off from each other. Ukraine is geopolitically crucial to this.
Here are a few of Friedman’s central statements:
- The actual wild card in Europe is as the U.S. builds its cordon sanitaire not in Ukraine but to the West. The question remains: What will Germany do?
- Germany is in a very peculiar position. Its former chancelor Gerhard Schröder is on the board of Gazprom. They have a very complex relationship with the Russians. The Germans themselves do not know what to do. They must export, the Russians can not take up the exports; on the other hand, if they lose the free trade zone, they need to build something different.
- So how does it play out? The U.S. has already put its card on the table. It is the cordon sanitaire from the Baltics to the Black Sea.
- For the Russians, their cards have always been on the table. They must have a neutral Ukraine and not a pro-Western Ukraine.
- The U.S. is in the process of building a cordon sanitaire (‘security belt’) around Russia. And Russia knows it.”
- Now, whoever can tell the world what the Germans are going to do will foretell the next 20 years of history.
- But unfortunately, the Germans have not made up their mind. And this is the problem of Germany always. Enormously economically powerful, geopolitically very fragile, and never quite knowing how to reconcile the two.
- Ever since 1871, this has been the German question. The principal question of Europe.
- And now the German question is coming up again. And we do not know how to manage it. That is the next question that we have to address.
George Friedman is a Hungarian-born U.S. geopolitical forecaster and strategist on international affairs. He is the founder and chairman of Geopolitical Futures, an online publication that analyzes and forecasts the course of global events.
Before founding Geopolitical Futures, he was chairman of its predecessor Stratfor, the private intelligence publishing and consulting firm he founded in 1996.