Bild’s libelous spy claim against RT is part of the German hybrid war on Russia

Russian-German relations continue to tank after Bild's libelous spy claim against RT left little doubt that Germany is waging a Hybrid War on Russia, though Berlin still hopes to complete Nord Stream II in order to retain a limited degree of strategic autonomy in Europe vis-a-vis its Washington patron and enable the Central European country to possibly influence Moscow's “balancing” act with Beijing.

The Gist Of Germany’s Hybrid War On Russia

Contrary to what many in the Alt-Media Community inaccurately claimed for years, Germany isn’t trying to partner with Russia as part of some “master plan” to remove American influence from Europe but is actively waging a Hybrid War against the Eurasian Great Power to expand Berlin’s influence there at Moscow’s expense. Bild’s libelous spy claim against RT are but the latest iteration of this comprehensive strategy, which follow in the footsteps of German banks refusing to do business with RT-affiliated companies shortly after the outlet announced its plans to launch RT Deutsche at the end of the year. It also shouldn’t be forgotten that not only did Germany earlier treat allegedly poisoned anti-corruption blogger and NATO agent Alexei Navalny, but it also supported the 2013-2014 urban spree of terrorism in Ukraine that’s commonly known as “EuroMaidan” as well as presently backs the spiritually similar Color Revolution movement that erupted in neighboring Belarus last summer. The Central European country still hopes to complete Nord Stream II, but only in order to retain a limited degree of strategic autonomy in Europe vis-a-vis its American patron and enable Germany to possibly influence Russia’s “balancing” act with China. All of this insight will now be explained in detail.

Bild’s Libelous Allegation Against RT

Regarding Bild’s libelous allegation, the tabloid claims that a former RT investigative journalist suspected that he was being exploited as a useful idiot to illegally spy on Navalny during his period of treatment in the German capital. Their full article in German can be read here. Upon reviewing the piece, it’s clear that the Russian outlet did nothing wrong. If anything, the only criticism that can be leveled against the company is that its management might have been so eager in their competitive drive to get the scoop about this globally relevant story that they unintentionally made one of their former employees feel uncomfortable. Their reported tactics, however, aren’t anything exceptional in this industry but are par for the course even if the average news consumer is largely unaware that this is how that line of work generally operates. Real-time brainstorming between some senior managers and the employee in question over Telegram is dishonestly misportrayed in a scandalous way akin to a spymaster giving their agent secret orders. RT vowed legal action to clear its name and seems to stand a solid chance at succeeding, especially since the former employee released a book about his experiences the day before the scandal broke and thus seems to have provoked all of this just for publicity.

Banking Obstacles

On the topic of German banks refusing to do business with RT-affiliated companies, this clearly seems to be part of the host country’s campaign against the Russian outlet. Bild’s libelous allegation adds fuel to the fire that RT’s network of affiliates is toxic to associate with, which might have also been one of the supplementary objectives behind the latest scandal. It’s evident that Germany is doing all that it can to impede the launch and subsequent activities of RT’s forthcoming German-language channel by the end of the year. There are also active efforts underway to discredit its activities far ahead of time, potentially to manufacture the supposedly “plausible pretext” for the government to promulgate legislation to prevent it from operating. That theory makes sense from a strategic standpoint because everything that the company has endured over the past month points to a concerted campaign aimed towards that end. German officials fear the influence that RT’s German-language channel could have on shaping the domestic debate, yet they’re currently powerless to apply existing legal mechanisms to stop it. That might soon change as a result of the latest scandals in addition to whatever other provocations might be still committed before the planned December launch.

Merkel’s Color Revolution Mania

Germany’s prior treatment of Navalny following his alleged poisoning was officially a humanitarian gesture but one that was politically exploited for the purpose of discrediting Russia after the patient’s speculative claims that his homeland’s security services were responsible for his medical emergency. German officials participated in this latest escalation of the West’s long-running information war against Russia, which served to incite unauthorized rallies across some of the Eurasian Great Power’s main cities, especially its capital. In fact, the Russian government even expelled a German diplomat alongside two of their Polish and Swedish counterparts who directly took part in those proto-Color Revolution events. This shouldn’t have been surprising since one mustn’t forget that Berlin supported the infamous 2014 “EuroMaidan” Color Revolution regime change operation and subsequent coup in Ukraine. The Central European country also backs a similar albeit much less successful movement in Belarus. An indisputable pattern of behavior is on full display in which Germany actively aids Eastern European Color Revolutions in Ukraine, Belarus, and nowadays even Russia itself as part of its efforts to assert itself as the continent’s hegemon at the “Lead From Behind” behest of its American patron.

Germany’s Ulterior Motives For Supporting Nord Stream II

Even so, Germany also doesn’t want to surrender all of its strategic autonomy to the US either, ergo why it continues to press ahead with Nord Stream II. Although that megaproject is officially apolitical, it’ll nevertheless enable Berlin to retain a limited degree of strategic autonomy upon its full completion, which explains why the US is so adamantly against it since Washington fears that Berlin might subsequently feel emboldened to undertake certain political courses that America doesn’t approve of. Some of these might speculatively relate to the Central European state leading an EU rapprochement with Russia that some countries like Poland fear would be at the eventual expense of their regional interests. The US in turn has been preemptively seeking to support the rise of the Polish-led “Three Seas Initiative” (3SI) for the purpose of carving out a “sphere of influence” between the Adriatic, Baltic, and Black Seas that could serve as a pro-American geostrategic wedge between Germany and Russia in that scenario. In his country’s defense, German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass suspiciously claimed last month that Nord Stream II would actually enhance “Europe’s abilities to influence Russia” by not pushing the Eurasian Great Power into China’s arms like would happen if the project is scuttled.

It’s Against German Interests To Push Russia Into China’s Arms

Some further elaboration is required in order for the reader to better understand the complex strategic dynamics at play. To simplify, Russia’s 21st-century grand strategic ambition is to become the supreme “balancing” force in Eurasia, to which end it seeks to work a lot closer with China following the imposition of the West’s anti-Russian sanctions in 2014 but is nevertheless also seeking to “balance” the People’s Republic in a “friendly” manner via their fellow BRICS and SCO partner India. From the standpoint of EU-leader Germany, the continent’s full compliance with its American patron’s strategic demands to impose a policy of so-called “maximum pressure” against Moscow through the scuttling of Nord Stream II would accelerate Russia’s “Eastern Pivot” and ultimately be disadvantageous for German interests. This would be especially so if the Eurasian Great Power implemented some of the 20 proposals that the author shared last month for how it could “contain” the US in response to intensified Western pressure upon it. German rhetoric has been more aggressive against Russia lately, which is why the latter fears the seemingly inevitable establishment of an ideological wall between them as a consequence of the New Cold War, so this scenario isn’t purely speculative.

The German-American Strategic Divergence Over Russia

It’s here where the German and American strategies diverge in their joint Hybrid War on Russia. Berlin agrees with Washington insofar as keeping up the pressure on Moscow, but it doesn’t want to push Russia too far lest it risk the consequences of the Eurasian Great Power being compelled to abandon Europe per the gist of the 20 aforementioned proposals, wholeheartedly embracing China in response, and therefore qualitatively empowering the People’s Republic in its quest to become the leading force in the Eastern Hemisphere. Germany fears that such a state of affairs might eventually entail the EU making “concessions” to China or at the very least being caught up too closely in the New Cold War between Washington and Beijing, which it’s already in the middle of but has yet to become as intense of a scene for strategic competition as it could be in that scenario. Ideally, Germany would prefer for Russia to keep one foot in Europe through Nord Stream II and the other in Asia through its Sino-Indo “balancing” act, which could enable Berlin to “balance” between Washington, Moscow, and Beijing more adroitly. The US, however, prefers the EU’s full submission to its “sphere of influence” and doesn’t care about the consequences of intensified competition with China there.

Russia’s “Asian Pivot” Might Ruin Its Sino-Indo “Balancing” Act

As for Russia, while it’ll pivot eastward in support of its interests if the circumstances compel it to, the country also fears the long-term consequences of becoming strategically over-reliant on China. This explains its tricky “balancing” act between China and India, which it practices in an attempt to preserve as much of its strategic autonomy as possible, exactly as Germany is attempting to do vis-a-vis Russia and the US via Nord Stream II. If that megaproject is scuttled, however, then Russia wouldn’t have as effective of a means of “balancing” Eurasia since it’ll be forced to abandon the Western half of its strategy and thus become entirely dependent on its Eastern one. Russia can’t properly “balance” China and India in such a scenario since those two might inevitably enter into a rapid rapprochement if Washington sanctions New Delhi for its S-400 purchase like it threatened to and thus compels the South Asian state to implement what critics might describe as “concessions” towards the People’s Republic since it would lose the ability to militarily contain Beijing along the Line of Actual Control (seeing as how Moscow wouldn’t replace Washington’s role in this respect in order to avoid provoking a security dilemma with the People’s Republic). Russia might then become less relevant in Asian affairs.

The Convergence Of Russian, German, And American Interests

This strategic insight suggests that Russian, German, and American interests indirectly align over Nord Stream II. Its completion would bolster Moscow’s “balancing” capabilities vis-a-vis Beijing, thus preventing Berlin and Brussels from becoming intensified objects of competition between the US and China if Russia eventually becomes a second-rate geopolitical player in Eurasia as might happen if the project isn’t completed, which could in turn endanger the viability of Washington’s hegemony there. That outcome is entirely possible upon Russia being pushed out of Europe in the event that its pipeline is scuttled and then de facto transformed into the junior partner of what might then become the Asian-wide Sino-Indo alliance that could blossom following speculative “concessions” by New Delhi should Moscow’s tricky “balancing” act between them fail. The worst-case scenario for the US is that China pushes it out of Europe once Russia’s influence there is neutralized by the US first, which could in divide the world between Beijing and Washington along hemispheric axes. With time, China would inevitably win the New Cold War, but America could prevent this if it doesn’t “lose” Europe, which requires saving the viability of Russia’s “balancing” act by allowing Nord Stream II to be completed as planned.

Concluding Thoughts

It might be a lot for the reader to take in, so they should consider rereading the piece after putting it down for a while to ponder the complex strategic insight contained within it. What’s being argued is that Germany’s Hybrid War on Russia veritably exists as evidenced by Bild’s libelous accusation against RT, the country’s banks refusing to service RT-affiliated companies, Berlin’s support of Navalny, and the Central European state’s active backing of Color Revolutions in Ukraine, Belarus, and even Russia nowadays. Nevertheless, this Hybrid War does indeed have its limits since Germany still wants to preserve Nord Stream II so as to prevent the feared collapse of Russia’s Eurasian “balancing” act that could in turn lead to China becoming the preeminent superpower all across the Eastern Hemisphere (which entails speculative eventual “concessions” by Berlin and Brussels to Beijing). The US doesn’t see the situation the same way and arrogantly believes that its hegemonic control over Europe is best preserved by compelling its proxies to fully submit to its strategic diktats, not realizing that America actually needs Russia’s “balancing” act in order to comparatively keep China somewhat more at bay. The fate of Nord Stream II might therefore prove to be a game-changer for Eastern Hemispheric geopolitics.

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Andrew Korybko

Andrew Korybko is a Moscow-based American political analyst. He specializes in the relationship between the US strategy in Afro-Eurasia, China's Belt & Road Initiative, and Hybrid Warfare. His other areas of focus include South Asian affairs and the US' recent restoration of hegemonic influence in Latin America.

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