The Hype Behind the Resignation of the Head of the German Navy

The media storm which led to the resignation of the head of the German Navy, Vice Admiral Kay-Achim Schönbach, on Jan. 23 is puzzling in many respects. After all, the remarks he made at a confidential meeting on Jan. 21 with Indian diplomats at the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses (MP-IDSA) in New Delhi, contained nothing that one could not read in numerous western defense and foreign policy publications.

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Just what did Admiral Schönbach say? Apparently unaware that his intervention was being filmed, he stated: that all sovereign countries are eligible to join NATO provided they meet western democratic standards, and Russia has “no right to a veto”; that is is basically nonsense to claim that Russian President Vladimir Putin will “invade” Ukraine “over a small strip of land”. And then, the most quoted part: “the Crimean peninsula is gone, it will not come back, that’s a fact.” What Putin “really wants is respect on eye level. And – my God – showing respect to somebody costs almost nothing, costs nothing… It’s easy to give him the respect he demands – and probably deserves.” In his view, the bigger threat is China: “Even we, India, Germany, need Russia, because we need Russia against China.”

Former Inspector General of the Bundeswehr, Harald Kujat, strongly condemned the way Admiral Schönbach was treated. In an interview with tagesschau24, he said that if he were still in office, “I would have defended Admiral Schönbach, and I would have tried to prevent his dismissal – by all means.”

Kujat raised doubts as to whether the Admiral’s remarks constituted official misconduct or seriously harmed the reputation of the Bundeswehr. Essentially, what he said reflects the U.S. position, and thus that of Germany’s “closest ally.”

Nonetheless, Schönbach was forced to resign. German Chancellor Scholz himself has taken a cautious stance on the issue of Russia, insisting on the need to prevent an escalation over Ukraine “by all means possible”, and he has warned against the potentially very serious consequences of any financial and economic sanctions that might be imposed.

As for Helga Zepp-LaRouche, she reiterated in an article written on Jan. 22 that, under the current circumstances, NATO not only does not defend Germany’s security interests, but has become the “primary threat to Germany’s existence” (cf. SAS 3/22).

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