Executive Intelligence Review
Subscribe to EIR

PRESS RELEASE


The World Dodged a Bullet—But the Guns Are Still Loaded and Cocked

Feb. 9, 2015 (EIRNS)—President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel seemed to be in agreement in their press conference today that the way forward in Ukraine in the conflict between Russia and the West is through continued diplomacy rather than war. In her comments, Merkel said,

"Whenever you have political conflict, such as the one that we have now between Russia and Ukraine, but also in many other conflicts around the world, it has always proved to be right to try again and again to solve such a conflict. And there’s always a point where you say, well, all of the options are on the table, we’ve gone back and forth, but then one has to think again. Whenever you have political conflict, such as the one that we have now between Russia and Ukraine, but also in many other conflicts around the world, it has always proved to be right to try again and again to solve such a conflict."

Obama’s comments were in the same vein, albeit expressed somewhat less convincingly:

"My hope is that through these diplomatic efforts, those costs have become high enough that Mr. Putin’s preferred option is for a diplomatic resolution. And I won’t prejudge whether or not they’ll be successful.... If they are not, then we will continue to raise those costs." Obama then went on ominously, "Now, it is true that if, in fact, diplomacy fails, what I’ve asked my team to do is to look at all options—what other means can we put in place to change Mr. Putin’s calculus—and the possibility of lethal defensive weapons is one of those options that’s being examined. But I have not made a decision about that yet. I have consulted with not just Angela, but will be consulting with other allies about this issue."

Obama had also indicated that NATO would be beefing up its military posture along the Russian border.

"Along with our NATO allies, well keep bolstering our presence in Central and Eastern Europe—part of our unwavering Article 5 obligation to our collective defense. We will continue to work with the IMF and other partners to provide Ukraine with critical financial support as it pursues economic and anti-corruption reforms. We discussed the issue of how best to assist Ukraine as it defends itself, and we agreed that sanctions on Russia need to remain fully in force until Russia complies fully with its obligations."

In reply to a question on Greece, Merkel insisted on the Troika conditionalities:

"The German policy, ever since 2010, has been aimed at Greece staying a member of the Eurozone. I’ve said this time and again. The basic rules have always been the same. You put in your own efforts, and on the other side, you’re being shown solidarity as a quid pro quo. The three institutions of the Troika—the ECB, the European Union Commission, and the IMF—have agreed on programs. These programs are the basis of any discussion we have. I’ve always said I will wait for Greece to come with a sustainable proposal and then we’ll talk about this,"

she said.