(By Ray D.)
It is so heart warming to see Gerhard Schroeder looking out for the little guy this holiday season. Not long after leaving office this past November, he took on two lucrative jobs, one with his old Maennerfreund Vladimir Putin at Russia's state-controlled gas giant "Gazprom." Of course while he was in office, Schroeder was instrumental in negotiating a multi-billion dollar pipeline deal with Russia and Gazprom on behalf of the German state. His decision to join the company was met with a bit of token outrage in the German media before the subject was promptly dropped. No Watergate knives were brandished and the ex-Chancellor has been largely left to continue about his merry business.
And Schroeder is certainly a busy man these days. As always, he's deeply committed to the ideals of democracy and social justice. Now his new company, Gazprom, is being used by the Putin government to twist the arm of the newly elected, democratic Ukrainian government led by Victor Yushchenko. (Some might recall that Yushchenko was mysteriously poisoned...in classic KGB style...not long before his successful election run.) Anyway, Putin and Gazprom are not happy with the "Orange Revolution" in Ukraine and want to lash out at the former Soviet satellite by raising natural gas prices this winter...by over four times! Merry Christmas neighbor...Vladimir and company would prefer to quash your little democratic movement! The Brussels Journal reports:
"Unfortunately, as we reported earlier, President Putin has Western collaborators who assist him in his political and geopolitical strategies. The most infamous of these is the former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder. Last September, during his final weeks in office, Herr Schröder signed an agreement with Russia to build a pipeline on the Baltic seabed. The pipeline, which is to be finished by 2010, will provide Germany with gas directly from Russia, bypassing transit through the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. Immediately after his resignation as Chancellor, Schröder was given a lucrative position as an advisor of the Russian state-owned gas company Gazprom. The gas deal is generally perceived as being a private pension scheme which Schröder – a Socialist – has provided for himself.
The new pipeline will allow Russia to squeeze the nations that it occupied until fifteen years ago. One of these countries is the Ukraine. ... Such prices would, however, bankrupt Eastern and Central European nations. Moscow has apparently forgotten that it was the Russian imposed Communist dictatorship which caused the dire conditions these countries are in today. Russia has a historical debt to these nations but, with the help of an immoral German Socialist, President Putin (a former Colonel of the Soviet secret police KGB and hence one of those directly responsible for the crimes of the Communists) intends to ignore this."
So far Gerd has refused to unleash his world-famous negotiating skills to resolve the crisis with Ukraine. And the German media has absolutely no interest in investigating the ex-Chancellor's obvious (and massive) conflict-of-interest in taking the Gazprom post just weeks after leaving office. Why would they? They know that, ideologically, Gerd-baby is one of theirs...a member of the German leftist-elite. So they refuse to ruin his reputation any more than necessary. In fact, SPIEGEL ONLINE is already writing conciliatory pieces praising Schroeder as a "gifted instinct politician" to placate their readership.
Schroeder and Putin: "Pipeline Pals" (source)
This much is clear: If George W. Bush or Tony Blair ever pulled a similar stunt and took a job at Halliburton just weeks after leaving office, they'd be in hot water with the German media for years and the talk of scandal would have no end. They would be under even more "massive pressure" in the German media than they already are.
But this is Gerhard Schroeder folks. The man who stood up for "peace" against the USA in 2002-3. Had he succeeded in his quest for "peace", Saddam could still be in power shoveling kids into mass graves and all would be well. In fact, Schroeder was so committed to "peace" that he even supported selling European arms and nuclear reactors to the "peaceful" Communist Chinese government. And because of this commitment, Schroeder will always be fondly remembered by his compatriots in the German media. Never mind his total failure to solve the domestic unemployment crisis. Never mind his pandering to dictators, thugs and oligarchs from China to the Middle East to Russia. Never mind his party's massive losses in state elections and abysmally low ratings throughout his administration. Never mind any of that. Gerd is, at his core, one of them. And that's all that really matters.