Why the Sudden, Secretive Trip of Olaf Scholz to Washington?
On March 3, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz made a one-day trip to Washington, for a closed-door session with President Biden, which lasted just over an hour. The latter greeted him with perfunctory talking points, thanking him for making “historic changes at home”, including increased defense spending, shipping weapons to Ukraine, and taking measures to break Germany’s dependence on Russian energy supplies. Scholz responded by stressing the importance of continuing “global solidarity” to defend Kyiv for “as long as it takes,” adding that it is “very important that we acted together”.
Following their talks, there was no joint press conference, and no communiqué, leaving the press to speculate on why the German Chancellor had come to Washington to repeat what are now standard cliches. Why was a private in-person meeting with Biden necessary? Some suggested that the topic may have been China policy, as Washington has been escalating its war rhetoric against Beijing, and pushing an economic decoupling of Europe from China, which would go against German interests.
What was missing from the press speculation were the two “elephants” in the room: The Seymour Hersh revelation, published Feb. 8, on the Biden Administration’s decision to blow up the Nord Stream pipelines; and the rally of over 50,000 demonstrators in Berlin on Feb. 25 to protest German and NATO participation in the war in Ukraine. A number of placards were seen there, demanding a response from Scholz on the Hersh story, and it was also raised by some speakers.
One explanation was put forward by 27-year CIA veteran and peace activist Ray McGovern, at The LaRouche Organization’s weekly Manhattan Project meeting on March 4. McGovern expressed his shock at the failure of the press to investigate what actually was discussed when the two met. “It cries out for an explanation,” he said, offering what he ironically called a “conspiracy theory” to explain it.
He referred to the Feb. 7, 2022 press conference at which Biden stated, in Scholz’s presence, that if Russia invades Ukraine, “then there will be… no longer a Nord Stream 2. We will bring an end to it.” And further, “I promise you, we’ll be able to do it.” In that light, Scholz’s private conversation with Biden may have been a desperate attempt at self-protection. Perhaps “Olaf” asked “Joe” not to tell anybody that he had been informed of the plans, as it could bring down his coalition government.
While McGovern readily admitted that he was engaging in speculation, there is a reality underlying this hypothetical conversation. Scholz is in an increasingly vulnerable position, having made Germany a party to NATO’s war and allying with a government that destroyed its energy security. His unwillingness to challenge what was an act of war against his nation may not only doom his government, but the continued existence of NATO.