German Banker: Obama Is Destroying Europe

Eric Zuesse (translation and added comments)

Interviewed on June 6th by German Economic News, the chief economist at Bremer Landesbank, Folker Hellmeyer, says that because of Obama’s sanctions against Russia, German exports declined year-over-year by 18% in 2014, and by 34% in the first two months of 2015 (no later figures), but he asserts that “The damage is much more comprehensive than these statistics show,” because those are only the “primary losses,” and there are in addition “secondary effects,” which get even worse over time. 

For example: “European countries with strong business in Russia, including Finland and Austria, are economically hit very hard. These countries consequently place fewer orders from Germany. Moreover, considering that European corporations will circumvent the sanctions, to create production facilities at the highest efficiency level in Russia, we lose this potential capital stock, which is the basis of our prosperity. Russia wins the capital stock,” at the EU’s expense, even though the sanctions are targeted against Russia. 

But the nub is this: “For the future, Germany and the EU place their economic reliability into question with Russia. The relationship of trust is broken by Germany and the EU. In order to build such confidence, it takes several years. Between signature and delivery are up to five years. … Siemens is now thrown out from a major project for this reason [i.e., because the requisite predictability has been lost]. Alstom has likewise lost the contract for the railway line from Moscow to Beijing. Consequently, the potential for damage is much more massive than the current figures show, not only for Germany, but for the entire EU.”

Then, he says: “More [projects] still in planning include the axis from Peking to Moscow as part of the Shanghai Corporation and the BRIC countries, the largest growth project in modern history, the construction of the infrastructure of Eurasia, from Moscow to Vladivostok, to Southern China and India. How far the EU and Germany’s sanctions-policy regarding Russia figures in these developing-countries’ mega-projects will depend upon whether we’ll be seen as hostile in other emerging countries than Russia. [NOTE from Eric Zuesse: Obama speaking 28 May 2014 to graduating West Point cadets: ‘Russia’s aggression toward former Soviet states unnerves capitals in Europe, while China’s economic rise and military reach worries its neighbors. From Brazil to India, rising middle classes compete with us, and governments seek a greater say in global forums.’ His attitude toward developing countries is clear — they are enemies, to be dealt with via the military, not economic partners to advance with us in economic cooperation.] But, obviously, there is a lack that some participants in European politics [and inside the White House!] have in their abilities to think abstractly on our behalf.”

Asked who will be paying the price for this, he says: “The measurable damage is loss of growth, in lost wages, losses in contributions to the social system and in tax revenue. This is true for the past 12 months, and it is valid for the years ahead. The people in Germany and the EU will pay the price through lost prosperity and stability. The unmeasurable damage lies in an elevated geopolitical risk situation for the people in the EU.”

Asked about the situation in Ukraine, Hellmeyer says: “It is indeed irritating. People who are focused not only on Western ‘quality media’ are amazed at those media hiding the aggression of Kiev and the discriminatory laws implemented by the Government in Kiev, which constitute a serious challenge to the claim that Western values and democracy are being supported by the West. I believe, to Mr Steinmeier’s credit, that he is in fact talking plainly about these matters behind closed doors. The question is whether the behavior of the Atlantic alliance supports Mr. Steinmeier. I refer in this regard especially to Victoria Nuland. The fact is that by the coup in the Ukraine, an oligarchy friendly towards Moscow was replaced by an oligarchy now oriented toward the United States. It’s geopolitics, which benefits third forces, but definitely not Germany, not the EU, not Russia, and not Ukraine.” So, he sees U.S. as having gained at the expense of every other country, but especially at Europe’s expense.

Asked about the future, Folker Hellmeyer says: “For me, the conflict has already been decided. The axis Moscow-Beijing-BRIC wins. The dominance of the West is through. In 1990 those countries accounted for only about 25% of world economic output. Today, they represent 56% of world economic output, and 85% of world population. They control about 70% of the world’s foreign exchange reserves. They grow annually by an average of 4% – 5%. Since the United States were not prepared to share power internationally (e.g., by changing the voting-apportionments in the IMF and World Bank), the future rests with those countries themselves, to build in the emerging markets sector on their own financial system. There lies their future. The EU is currently being drawn into the conflict, which the United States caused because she did not share power and want to share. The longer we pursue this [mono-polar, hegemonic, Imperial, supremacist, internationally dictatorial, aggressive] policy in the EU, the higher the price [to Europe will be].”

He goes on to say: “The fact is that the emerging countries emancipate themselves from US control. This is evident in the creation of competitive institutions of the World Bank (AIIB) and the IMF (New Development Bank) by the axis of the emerging countries. This displeases the still prevailing hegemon. The current international hot spots of Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Egypt, to the Ukraine, are an expression of this, in the background, as a clearly identifiable power-confrontation [between the U.S. and every other country]. If we were there intending to establish democracy and freedom, let’s look at the success in achieving those goals. [His implication: it’s failure.]”

German Economic News asks: “The contempt with which the US government deals with the Europeans is remarkable, such as the NSA tapping the Chancellor’s phone, and Nuland’s famous ‘Fuck the EU’ statement. Have European politicians no self-respect, or are they just too cowardly?”

Hellmeyer responds: “The person who is a true democrat takes seriously his duties as a politician for the public’s well-being, and does not allow his nation’s self-determination to be so contemptuously trampled underfoot, such as has followed from that remark. The person who is not a true democrat, has with respect to the above values and canon, severe deficits.”

CLOSE from Zuesse: Why is there not, in Europe, a huge movement to abandon NATO, and to kick out the U.S. military? Whom is the U.S. ‘defending’ Europeans from, after the Warsaw Pact ended in 1991? Why did not Gorbachev demand that NATO disband when the Warsaw Pact did — simultaneous (instead of one-sided) disbanding of the Cold War, so that there would not become the foundation for international fascism to arise to conquer Russia (first, to surround it by an expanding NATO — and ultimately via TPP & TTIP), in the aftermath? Why is there not considerable public debate about these crucial historical, cultural, and economic, matters? Why is there such deceit, which requires these massive questions to be ignored so long by ‘historians’? How is it even possible for the world to move constructively forward, in this environment, of severe censorship, in the media, in academia, and throughout ‘the free world’? Why is there no outrage that the Saudi and other Arabic royals fund islamic jihad (so long as it’s not in their own countries) but America instead demonizes Russia’s leaders, who consistently oppose jihadists and jihadism? Why are America’s rulers allied with the top financiers of jihad? Why is that being kept so secret? Why are these injustices tolerated by the public? Who will change this, and how? When will that desperately needed change even start? Will it start soon enough? Maybe WW III won’t occur, but the damages are already horrible, and they’re getting worse. This can go on until the end; and, if it does, that end will make horrible look like heaven, by comparison. It would be worse than anything ever known — and it could happen in and to our generation.


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity, and of  Feudalism, Fascism, Libertarianism and Economics.

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  • Thanks for the translation Eric, an opportune moment for this information.

    For the traditional parties in Europe NATO is simply a vehicle to maintain low military budgets without worrying much about national security. “Let the US do the dirty work” – dirty work that though criticised, many times in the past was beneficial to Europe. This has not been the case with the Obama administration and NATO has indeed been put to question.

    There is another angle to this issue that is worth reflecting. The permanent dragging of negotiations around a proper financial aid programme to Greece is essentially results from the unwillingness by most conservatives to accept any sort of alternative to their Austerity policy. There is still time for a last hour agreement, but it is very possible that Greece will end up being ejected from the EU. Note here that there is no legal means for a member state to simply quit the Eurozone, it can only apply Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and leave the Union altogether. Culturally and religiously closer to Russia than western Europe, Greece’s geopolitical destiny is rather clear in such scenario.

    So the question is: who’s next? Portugal. The liberal-conservative coalition is on to a major defeat in a general election next September, leading to a new executive that will have to question the Austerity policy unleashed by the European Council. Even if it last until then, in 2018 Portugal will have to return at least 40 G€ to its lenders – it will only happen with a return to Austerity, economic recession and more population loss. The Portuguese government will by then be in a similar situation to that faced by the Greek government today.

    Now, Portugal is half the North Atlantic. Russia, and especially Brasil, would surely seize such an opportunity to extend their global influence. In such scenario, what would happen to NATO? Change its name to NWATO – North-West Atlantic Treaty Organisation?


  • SausageAway

    For the life of me I cannot understand why Europe has supported the US tough guy stance against Russia over the Ukraine. Fact, Ukraine is not part of Europe, fact the Ukraine coup has CIA written all over it. Fact sanctions hurt the European economy not America’s. Fact, escalated military tensions benefit the US not the EU. The only reason for their support of Obama I can come up with is all the spying the us has been doing on them has given the nsa some serious leverage over European leaders. The whole situation is ludicrous.

    • mijj

      the political leaders of Europe (and the political leaders of the US.) are agents of the powerful controllers of the US. They’re not the agents of their people.

      Western political leaders absolutely cannot be trusted to put the interests of their peoples first.

  • Mark Burnett

    As a Central European I can tell you why there is no such movement. The European governments and especially the mainstream media of our countries are totally co-opted and controlled either through blackmail or graft, it matters little which.

    Any politician who does not toe the line is quickly eliminated via some invented and overhyped “scandal”, or worse. The others get the message. I remember an article in the Austrian “Presse” more or less threatening the new foreign minister in so many words that unless he fell in line with the anti-Russian line, the hitherto benign press coverage would reverse itself overnight. He caved, of course, although any moron could see even then that the US/EU line was totally against Austria’s economic interests.

    As for the public, they are kept blinded by deliberately distracting and infantilising media, not to mention the constant barrage of shameless propaganda. Those who see though at least part of the illusion, like myself, see little hope. Movements against the madness are immediately discredited, usually as “right-wing”, and subverted by moles; in any case they are marginalised and not covered by the media, and so have little hope of gathering steam. Moreover, the majority is too weary from trying to make a living in ever more difficult conditions to think deeply about foreign policy. Plus normalcy bias and an unjustified residual confidence that “those above” know what they are doing …

    Long story short: we are f…d.

  • Brockland

    The Anglo American Axis plan appears based on the geostrategic theory, ‘geographical pivot of history’, first espoused by Englishman Halford John Mackinder in 1904.

    As observed by Niall Bradley, and also Alfred W. McCoy of the University of Wisconsin-Madison:,_washington%27s_great_game_and_why_it%27s_failing_/

    Mackinder envisioned Eurasia as the central ‘island’ of the world and harbinger of true imperial destinies, primarily due to sheer size. Russia is at the centre of the centre, so whomever controls Russia, inherits destiny as the centre of Eurasian commerce and finance. The West has tried containment (intuitively, pre-1904 under the early British Empire), military force (Germany, WWII), economic force (Cold War) and now some mixture of the two to ensure Anglo-X owns and rules.

    The centre of the competing pivot, the United States/Fortress North America, ultimately is no match for a united and prosperous Eurasia-Africa. So, the game is to prevent such unity from ever occurring because however good for the world this is, the Anglo centre would become second banana.

    On the Western front, NATO is in Ukraine ready to storm the beaches, or rather, grainfields of Ukraine. The ‘soft underbelly’ of radicalized Islam is to be a dagger to Russia the way Italy was to the German Reich. To the Far East, Anglo-X will also try to storm the back door; all those American-friendly powers suddenly deciding to join the AIIB is not such a harbinger of American decline, but rather, a muster of those willing to fight badly for the Persians and score some loot for themselves.

    The West’s greatest competitive edge, its former sponsorship of freedom guided by human rights and moderated by democracy, (in genuine forms) is of no use to the neo-imperialists. That was all fancy talk, the legacy of every good deed ever done, merely the mask of the psychopath, discarded at the moment of apparent victory.

  • Eol Awki

    For Europe the sanctions imposed through US pressure are more than worth it in order to uphold “European principles”….LOL

  • tom

    In reply to the questions with which this excellent article concludes, I have a couple of my own. Among those entitled to vote in the UK, France, Germany, and the USA (not to mention Canada, Australia, and New Zealand) – how many people are prepared to think seriously and responsibly about politics? How many are not willing simply to give the politicians their head? A small percentage, I think, and certainly not enough to count in elections. Therefore the great majority, who prefer to focus on their work and their amusements, will continue to ignore politics and let their leaders do as they will.

  • Rocky Racoon

    When democracy what little we have of it gets in the way of profit especially during times of crisis the solution according to the 1% is fascism. During times of economic malaise it is much easier to raise these ugly undercurrents bigotry racism etc which is just what the US needs to evolve in Europe in order the get them ready to march into a war with Russia-good chance it will backfire however-it is a race against the clock and a gamble in any case-that de-dollarization will curb America’s Imperialist overbite-I say they have already doubled down on PNAC and going for broke because they are broke. They expect to come out on top as they did in ww2 but that will not happen. Russia will wipe America from the face of the earth using asymmetrical warfare-explode a few geographic faults set off tsaumi’s east and west coast-America as a geographic location will simply vanish from the face of the earth-Russia has mentioned using asymmetrical warfare in case of not being able to keep up technologically and why should they bankrupt themselves again the way the US has? American fault lines make it very vulnerable to such an attack indeed the Yellowstone geyser is long over due for rupture and has recently been discovered to stretch much further underground than previously believed. Maybe Mother Nature will come to our rescue after all and some such natural disaster will make it impossible for America to continue on it’s current course of Full Spectrum Dominance.