Yves here. On the one hand, retired Erich Vad, German general/former military adviser to Angela Merkel, speaking out against how the West is going about the Ukraine war is a break in narrative conformity. Or is it? His remarks appeared in Emma, Germany’s answer to Ms, and hence a small circulation outlet, unlike, say, Merkel’s interviews about her Minsk accords duplicity in Zeit and Der Spiegel. So one has to assume no outlet more establishment will let Vad-type criticisms see the light of day. This is in contrast to rising unhappiness among the business community and ordinary citizens over the costs of the conflict, both to the budget and the economy.
Helmer says that Vad has been attacked in the German press for his remarks. If so, that would be a promising development, since it would mean the Emma article is getting traction.
By John Helmer, the longest continuously serving foreign correspondent in Russia, and the only western journalist to direct his own bureau independent of single national or commercial ties. Helmer has also been a professor of political science, and an advisor to government heads in Greece, the United States, and Asia. He is the first and only member of a US presidential administration (Jimmy Carter) to establish himself in Russia. Originally published at Dances with Bears
The German generals are trying it again. That’s the Wolf’s Lair plot of July 20, 1944.
To save themselves, they are begging their counterparts in Washington, DC, to find a way to lose the war in the Ukraine as quickly as possible without losing the US empire in Germany. This means overruling or replacing, not only Vladimir Zelensky’s regime in Kiev but also the Green Party ministers in power in Berlin, Robert Habeck and Annalena Baerbock, and maybe Chancellor Olaf Scholz to boot.
The Wehrmacht plotter this time is a retired brigadier general named Erich Vad (lead image, right). As German military officers go, he’s unusual. He was trained by a German-born Israeli infantry general turned academic. Vad then reached general’s rank, according to a senior German politician, but “never led a battalion, never led a brigade, and was never deployed in active operations”; he is a “desk general”.
Vad’s self-advertisements mention no active service or combat command. Instead, he has filled advisor posts at the Bundestag (2000-2006) and the Chancellery (2006-2013) when Angela Merkel was chancellor. Since 2014 he has been selling his advice either through Vad’s own consulting firm in Munich or a Swiss intermediary company in Zurich.
Merkel appointed Vad for the German military and the armaments industry to have a voice inside her office. Because they didn’t regard Vad as one of their own, Merkel promoted him to general’s rank.
The bomb Vad has just placed under Zelensky’s table and under the Green ministers’ desks in Berlin can be spotted in an interview he published last week in Cologne.
In his new press statement, as in every one of them since he left the Chancellery in Berlin, Vad is a supporter of war with Russia and its allies. “It was and is right to support Ukraine,” he declares at the beginning, “and of course Putin’s attack is not in accordance with international law.”
In July 2014, in his German press debut, Vad supported Germany’s role, alongside the US, in bombing Serbia. “As is well known, the situation for thousands of innocent people only changed when NATO soldiers set foot on Balkan soil.”
As Vad wrote this, Merkel had participated in the US overthrow of the Yanukovich government in Kiev; she had also begun her secret plan to rearm the Ukraine, and deceive Moscow of the German intention. A few days after Vad’s interview, after the Kiev regime arranged the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, Merkel vetoed a Dutch scheme for a NATO intervention in the Donbass. Vad had been warning Merkel to rearm Germany and the Ukraine before committing forces – Merkel had adopted Vad’s buy-time line.
In 2014 Vad didn’t mention the word “Ukraine”, but he expressly supported Merkel’s notion of rearming Ukraine to fight Russia, particularly if it was profitable for German business: “A responsible security policy,” he said in mid-July 2014, “also means supporting our partners [Ukraine] in the world across the entire spectrum of our capabilities, from development aid and good governance to equipment assistance and arms exports. As a global economic and financial power, we must not shirk our international responsibility. It is hardly comprehensible that pacifism in this country can go so far that we must not enable countries that act or want to act politically in our interest with the necessary means – e.g. with armaments – without the usual cries of horror. If we Germans ourselves do not want to or should not become militarily active worldwide, then we must at least be allowed to help those who are important for our national security interests in the hot spots of this world.”
In 2016, when asked to describe in detail what he had advised and agreed with Merkel in the earlier years, Vad said next to nothing.
In his latest press statement, dated January 13, 2023, Vad has warned that the Scholz government’s decision to supply the German-made Marder infantry fighting vehicle, in a joint rearmament plan with the US and France, “is a military escalation, also in the perception of the Russians, even if the 40-year old Marder is not a miracle weapon. We go on a slide. This could develop a momentum of its own that we can no longer control.”
Vad means the war in the Ukraine has already passed the point at which the US and German military believe they can control the outcome. “Now the consequences must be finally be considered” – this is Vad’s acknowledgement the war against Russia is being lost in the Ukraine.
Asked what “consequences” he means,Vad has replied with rhetorical questions: “Do they want to reconquer Donbass or Crimea? Or do they even want to defeat Russia completely?” Vad was identifying the goals of the civilian leaders in Berlin and in the State Department.
“We have a military operational stalemate, but we cannot resolve it militarily”, he noted, adding “this is also the opinion of the American Chief of Staff Mark Milley.” What Vad was implying was not “stalemate” but defeat – defeat by the Russian Army of the war allies in the Ukraine, including all the NATO reinforcements and operational plans. Those, Vad has dismissed: “There is no realistic end-state definition”.
He has then attacked the Green Party ministers in the German ruling coalition — explicitly Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, and implicitly Economy Minister and Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck. “I am glad that we finally have a foreign minister in Germany, but it is not enough to just engage in war rhetoric and walk around Kiev or the Donbass with helmets and flak vests… I do not understand the Green’s mutation from a pacifist to a war party. I myself don’t know of any Green who has even done military service…The fact that a single party has so much political influence that it can manoeuvre us into a war is worrying.”.
February 8, 2022 – Annalena Baerbock (right) with Ukrainian military escort in the Donbass.
Vad also attacked Scholz. Asked if he were his military adviser, what advice would he have given in February 2022. “I would have advised him to support Ukraine militarily, but in a measured and prudent manner in order to avoid the effect of sliding into a war party. And I would have advised him to influence our most important politically ally. Because the key to a solution to the war lies in Washington and Moscow.”
Vad repeated this message. “The key to resolving the conflict does not lie in Kiev, nor does it lie in Berlin, Brussels or Paris.” Vad’s interviewer didn’t notice the German general had not included London, and was ignoring the British in NATO and in their “special relationship” with the US.
Vad was also attempting to appeal to the Pentagon to save the situation. General Milley, Vad said, “has spoken an inconvenient truth. A truth that, by the way, was hardly published in the German media…. What is being waged in Ukraine is a war of attrition… This strategy did not work militarily then [1914-18] – and will not do so today”. To his German audience, Vad was also reminding them of the threats to German economic survival and political independence which followed the armistice of November 1918 and terms of the Versailles peace treaty of June 1919, and then led into World War II.
General Mark Milley, November 17, 2022.
He then attacked the Scholz coalition for propagandizing the older German war aim without the military capacity to implement it against the Russian forces. “Military experts [and those] who know what is going on among the secret services, what it looks like on the ground and what war really means – are largely excluded from the [German public] debate. They do not fit in with the formation of media opinion. We are largely experiencing a coordination of the media, the likes of which I have never experienced before in the Federal Republic.”
Vad was implying there had been a stronger resistance to the war policies of Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels, but not now against Baerbock, Habeck, or Scholz. “[From the German press] this is pure propaganda. And not on behalf of the state, as is known from totalitarian regimes but out of pure self-empowerment.”
“The Greens, FDP [Free Democratic Party] and the bourgeois opposition – flanked by largely unanimous media – are exerting such pressure that the chancellor can hardly resist it.”
Their war against Russia, Vad is warning, is not only lost in the Ukraine. It is threatening to destroy Germany in “a Third World War. And that’s exactly what doesn’t get into the minds of politicians and journalists here in Germany!”
“Germany is and remains an endangered nation”, Vad declared, adding that only the Americans can save the Germans from themselves now. “I myself am a convinced transatlanticist. I tell you honestly, when in doubt, I would rather live under American hegemony than under Russian or Chinese hegemony.”
He then revealed what he, his allies in the German General Staff and in German business circles want the Pentagon to negotiate with the Kremlin before the Russian Army advances to “the further destruction of Ukraine. What is left of this country? It is razed to the ground.”
“It is true that we must signal to the Russians: this far and no further!” How far across Ukrainian territory is that — Vad wasn’t asked and didn’t say. Nor did he disclose the terms which he and his German and US associates think can be negotiated in an agreement with Moscow against the resumption of the war against Russia in future. In fact, he doesn’t abandon the US-German war against Russian “hegemony” at all.
According to Vad, if the Pentagon concedes Russia’s “very specific geopolitical interests in the Black Sea region”, if the Donbass and Crimea remain Russian, “the territorial integrity of Ukraine would have to be restored, with certain Western guarantees. And the Russians also need such a security guarantee”. Exactly what “guarantee” can be negotiated after Merkel and ex-French President Francois Hollande have admitted their deception planning, Vad hasn’t advised, at least not in public.
“The West can send 100 Marders and 100 Leopards – they do not change the overall military situation. And the all-important question is how to deal with such a conflict with a belligerent nuclear power – mind you, the strongest nuclear power in the world! – without going into a Third World War. And that’s exactly what doesn’t get into the minds of politicians and journalists here in Germany!”
Left – the Schützenpanzer Marder 1, produced by Rheinmetall Landsysteme Maschinenbau in Kiel, between 1969 and 1975. Right, the Leopard main battle tank by Rheimetall and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann Maschinenbau of Kiel. Kiel voters think war against Russia is good for their incomes and have voted Green to achieve that result. In the last federal election of 2021, the Kiel vote saw the Greens gain almost 14% to score 28% of the total, while the Social Democratic Party lost ground but held on to the seat with 29.5%. Just over two thousand votes separated them. The anti-war Left and AfD candidates lost ground in Kiel, ending up with 5% and just over 7,000 votes each.
How does Vad and the Germans he is speaking for distinguish themselves now from the Wolf’s Lair plotters who believed – with secret US encouragement between 1943 and 1945 — that if the Wehrmacht could get rid of Hitler, they would make their deal with President Franklin Roosevelt to preserve Germany and continue the fight against the Kremlin? On one point, Vad is conceding the Russian Army is now more powerful by several magnitudes than it was in 1945, and Germany weaker by even greater magnitudes. And the US too, in Europe. This is the meaning of Vad’s phrase describing Russia – “mind you, the strongest nuclear power in the world!”
In such a balance of forces, Vad has calculated that Germany cannot survive as it has until now if the US protectorate is defeated in the Ukraine. He is also implying that the US protectorate which has now replaced Russian-made or locally made arms in Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Greece, and Cyprus in exchange for expensive US rearmament, will also collapse into a rout.
“Excellent!” A veteran German banker with longstanding ties to the Chancellery in Berlin comments. “For once a moderating voice!”
From the German media Vad has been attacked for publishing “the opposite reasoning of the US State Department and other military experts”, and for whitewashing the war crimes of the Wehrmacht. According to Volksverpetzer, which claims to be a crowd-funded fact-checker, “under the guise of ‘expert status,’ [Vad] can then circulate narratives that almost coincide with Russian propaganda and are celebrated by those who spread pro-Russian narratives and disinformation. In his role as an ‘expert’, he first announces the defeat of Ukraine, then downplays attacks by Russia, talks about a nuclear war if heavy weapons are supplied, and denies, contrary to the assessment of many other experts, that Ukraine can win the war. There are other military experts who deserve this status without fear that there might be a politically tinged agenda behind their argument (source). All in all, the favourite general of the New Right seems more like a mouthpiece of Putin than a voice that can seriously assess the current situation.”
NOTE: To understand how committed the German military were, still are, to war for the destruction of Russian “hegemony”, read the works of German historian Christian Gerlach, now at the University of Bern in Switzerland. Start with Gerlach’s interview. Then his book, Chapter 9, “Hunger policies and mass murder”. According to Gerlach, for months before the attack on the Soviet Union began in June 1941, it was German military strategy to capture an area of Russia 2,000 kilometres deep and 1,600 km wide, seize all its crops and livestock to feed the German army and occupation forces, and starve the 30 million Russians to death. “This starvation policy [was] one of the biggest mass murder plans in human history [and] was designed earlier than any specific plans to kill European Jews, and was intended to kill far more [Russian] people.” For reference, the territory of the Ukraine in 2014 was 1,316 kms west to east, and 893 km north to south.