GEOPOLITICS: The four-dimensional art of watching for the blinks

Time was with shuttle diplomacy when, while there were lots of grim faces, dramatic flights, and flash-bulb press conferences, everyone was reasonably clear on the issue of why TF so and so might be visiting Ukraine or Tel Aviv or Teheran or Berlin or wherever. Not so today.

Francois Hollande and Angela Merkel flew to meet with Vladimir Putin three days ago, and it did seem to be all about trying to get peace in Ukraine, her finding the Yanks too aggressive and trying to calm Rasputin down. But then she wandered off to Kiev or somewhere to have a chat with Mrs Slimeygecko, the former Ukrainian PM….and the two were photographed like little Mädchen, vowing eternal mutual devotion while debating the price of Bratwurst.

Who is she for or against…or is she genuinely neutral? I do not have a clue –  but I expect that Geli the Bloke Impaler is quietly looking around the stables, in search of a winner. Her whole life, let’s face it, has been based on that principle.

I know for a fact, for instance, that Merkel and Putin have arranged to meet with Viktor Orban in Budapest earlier than advertised, but incognito. As to whether they’re doing this to take a romantic 5-star cruise down the Danube or because they’re plotting the death of the Dollar (or several stations in between the two) I’ve no idea….and I would wager a few guineas that they don’t either. About the only one involved in the visit emitting a clear position is Orban – but as usual, nobody’s paying attention: he’s playing for Hungary, but the Americans are far too busy claiming he’s a Nazi working for Moscow to have spotted this.

Today, meanwhile, Alexis Tsipras has toddled off to meet Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann. The official rationale for this is a belter: Alexis wanted ‘to be briefed on Austria’s employment policy’. Well of course he did: I mean, he’s only got the Brussels Gestapo on his back and a bunch of rabid Colonels trying to persuade a Golden Dawner to assassinate him. So what better than a damned good chinwag on the structure and strategy of employment in Austria…an essentially mountainous country with excellent langlauf facilities and thus a twin of the Hellenic Republic separated at birth?

It would make things so much clearer if the Greek Premier’s Office had said, “Alex heard that Werner is an Olympic class downhill champion, so he thought he’d get the benefit of his wisdom….while plotting to give the Singing Fat Lady in Berlin a poke in the eye.”

I read a piece yesterday suggesting that Merkel has three theories – referred to by Chancellery-watchers as A, B and C – that she thinks could represent what Putin might be up to. One source had told the magazine that she was shocked by A and C, but thought probably he was really trying to do B. Another source said she thought he was testing all three, but she wasn’t shocked by any of them. Without blinking, the author moved on to his next paragraph. It was surreal: clearly, it make no more sense to mainstream hacks than it does to the rest of us.

And talking of blinks…has Angela Merkel blinked yet, we ask ourselves?

blinkmerkWell Good gracious yes, there it was….a Class-A, solid-gold blink if ever I saw one. But what is she blinking about – the game of chicken with Greece? Or with the US? Or would that be with Russia? Wha’ d’yer make of that one Trevor?

“Seems to me that once again Mutti is dominating the midfield here Motty, it’s inch perfect stuff and reminiscent of the dazzling stuff we saw from Maggie in the 1982 European Cup Final…”

Yes indeed, maybe we should ask Maggie….

“No, I’m afraid you can’t ask Maggie about Mutti Motty, on the grounds that she’s…….”

blink2merkSorry to interrupt you there Trevor, but I’m just…yes, Great Scott….she’s blinked again!

“Er, no, think you’ve got that wrong there…might be that Mutti has nodded off Motty…yes, she’s nodded it off to Draghi….”

….You’re right Trevor, and the Italian Stallion is racing off down to the other end of the field…he’s going to score a goal against himself, this is absolutely incredible….the crowd are on their feet…..they think it’s all over….

To be continued

Earlier at The Slog: In the end, it takes silver bullets to kill the fundamentals