Peace and cooperation throughout Europe

Peace and cooperation throughout Europe

by Prof Dr habil., colonel in the General Staff, ret. Wjatscheslaw Daschitschew*, Russian Academy of Sciences

Europe’s development is characterized by an awful peculiarity – the incessant struggle for supremacy between France, Germany and Russia or the Soviet Union. A struggle, which lasted for centuries, crossed the borders of Europe and expanded into world wars. In regular intervals this struggle brought periods of terrible suffering, victimizations and destructions to the peoples. Out of this “European confrontation” the United States achieved enormous geopolitical and economic advantages. It finally enabled the US to take control over Western Europe and to position Western Europe against Russia, thus throwing the Europeans into a political pre-war crisis at the beginning of the 21st century. The maintenance and if necessary the intensification of this “European confrontation” was one of the main tasks of the United States’ global policies. Britain also took advantage of the clash between French, German and Russian interests for its own purposes.

As soon as one of these three powers began to strive for supremacy, the other two joined forces against it. Thus, Russia and Prussia joined forces against Napoleonic France, when it began with the conquest of Europe. In World War I France and Russia joined forces against Germany. During World War II once again the Soviet Union and France were fighting against the threat of Nazi Germany’s domination. They were joined by the US and Britain.

After the Second World War, the Stalinist leadership acted as a standard-bearer of hegemony policy. They were driven by an expanding communist sense of mission and by the ideology of class struggle, which contradicted the laws of geopolitics. During the war and immediately thereafter they established their control over Central and Southeast Europe, forcing the countries of the region to take over the Soviet social system. From the beginning, the Western powers rated this as a major violation of the geopolitical balance of power in Europe and in the world as well as an extremely serious threat to their interests and their independence. On this ground uniting of forces by the United States and the Western European states developed into a frontal position against the Soviet Union. With pleasure, the American ruling elite took over the role of the guarantor and saviour of the Western states against “the danger from the East”. The result was a global anti-Soviet coalition. The Soviet Union turned out to be in an extremely difficult and vulnerable situation. The United States, however, were given the opportunity to impose their rule on the countries of Western Europe.

Europe’s division is advantageous for the USA

One has to admit that this was a direct result of severe miscalculations and nonsensical decisions of the former Soviet Union. Rather than bundling all forces of the Soviet peoples and the incredibly rich natural resources of the interior country to strengthen and to improve the Soviet society, the Soviet leaders led the country into an unnecessary, destructive and futile altercation with all Western powers. Not to mention their creating such conditions, which turned the United States into a global superpower, into a contender for world domination, which began to impose its will onto the European states. The periodic power struggle within the France-Germany-Russia or Soviet Union triangle, evolved into the “Cold War” and caused a deep East-West divide in Europe. This turned out to be beneficial for the United States alone. And that’s why the foreign policy doctrine of the USA was based on two principles: “to keep the Americans in Europe” (“keep Americans in”), that is maintaining the domination of the United States there, and “keep Russia out of Europe” (“keep Russia out”), that is, by no means permit Russia’s rapprochement and cooperation with the European countries, especially not with Germany.

Perestroika and the foundations of a new foreign policy

During the Perestroika (reform), the insight that this was leading to an impasse in international relations in Europe and that it was necessary to find a way out was dawning on Soviet politicians. In the beginning, the Soviet leadership were focussing on problems how to pull the Soviet Union out of this dangerous state of confrontation with the West which was not only threatening mankind with the apocalypse but also consuming the best resources of the country and preventing the solution of more important tasks in domestic policies, especially ensuring a high quality of life and a high standard of living for the Soviet citizens.
Since 1985 the new Soviet leadership under Mikhail Gorbachev had been tackling this task. In the Perestroika years, the most important foundations of the new thinking in Soviet foreign policy were elaborated. These principles included the following:
•    Rejection of a policy of messianic reign and its condemnation;
•    Putting an end to the east-west confrontation and the arms race;
•    Respect for the basic rule that the force of law and not the law of force should govern international relations;
•    Respect for the right of every people to choose its path of development;
•    Establishing an undissolvable connection between politics and morals;
•    Transforming greater Europe (EU) into a united Europe and creation of a pan-European political and economic region of law and culture (the idea of a “Common European House”);
•    Transforming the OSCE into the central organisation, enabling it to act for security and cooperation in the states of the new Europe;
•    Stepwise dismantling the block structures in international relations in Europe and ban of spheres of influence and domination on the European continent.
All these principles were characterizing the essence of new Socialist foreign policy. Based on these principles we saw the peaceful reunification of Germany which would have been unthinkable without overcoming the “Cold War”. The countries of Eastern Europe won their independence. The war in Afghanistan was ended and the Soviet troops were withdrawn.

The Paris Charter – decreed for oblivion by Washington

The culmination of Soviet foreign policy under Mikhail Gorbachev was the memorable 21 November 1990 when the representatives of all European states signed a fundamental international act, the Paris Charter. It was the first time in history that a pan-European consensus on the conservation of peace, security and cooperation was reached among all European states. Also the US, together with Canada, signed the Paris Charter. They could not stand apart in this pan-European urge for peace and the creation of a new Europe. Otherwise the US might have risked a loss in credibility. This is why they had to join – even though the Paris Charter contradicted the core of the American foreign political doctrine which was based on the division of Europe and their own dominance. But after the breakup of the Soviet Union, Washington made every effort to let the Paris Charter disappear from the European agenda until it was completely forgotten. And that was what happened. European safety and the European cooperation were severely damaged.
Thus the ruling American elite became guilty of the disappearance of one of the most important international file of the 20th century. It had expressed the vital interests of all European peoples. Under pressure from Washington, it even fell into oblivion in the western mass media. It is a strange fact that after 1991 even the leaders of Russian foreign policy did not once recall it, although the Paris Charter dealt with the fate: “We, the Heads of State or Government of the States participating in the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe, have assembled in Paris at a time of profound change and historic expectations. The era of confrontation and division of Europe has ended. We declare that henceforth our relations will be founded on respect and co-operation. Europe is liberating itself from the legacy of the past. The courage of men and women, the strength of the will of the peoples and the power of the ideas of the Helsinki Final Act have opened a new era of democracy, peace and unity in Europe.“
What remarkable words! It seemed as if wonderful prospects and chances were opening to create a completely new Europe of peace, stability and cooperation, for the European peoples who had suffered three World Wars in the 20th century – two hot and one cold war – with their unspeakable horrors, losses and sufferings.

The foundations of the Paris Charter

It is worthwhile here to recall the most important principles of the Paris Charter. Not just for historical interest but because they have to be reborn in a new way and applied to European policy in order to avert the dangers which threaten again the security of the old continent and the whole world. Because it is not without reason that we again start hearing agitated voices talking about the possibility of a new World War. These are the fundamental principles:

  • Not to accept any acts directed against the territorial integrity or political independence of states or towards threats with or applications of violence, and all other acts incompatible with the principles and goals of the Charter of the United Nations and the OSCE or violating international law.
  • The safety of Europe needs to gain a new quality. It needs to be non-dividable and equal for all states. For the peaceful settlement of controversies and disputes, appropriate procedures and institutions need to be established. All countries are obliged to collaborate in the stabilisation of trust and safety.
  • The problems of disarmament and armament control need to be solved in Europe.
  • All peoples of Europe need to have the same right of self-determination, but also of territorial integrity in agreement with the UN Charter and the norms of international law.
  • It is indispensable to ensure the conquest of perpetual distrust between the peoples and the building of a united Europe through joint acts and an increase of the mutual dependence of the signatory states of the Paris Charter.
  • In its search for answers for the present and future challenges, Europe needs to be open for dialogue with other countries including the United States and Canada.

In the case of their realisation, these new foundations of European coexistence were meant to put an end to war on the European continent. In view of the 21st century they had defined the new philosophy of peace and collaboration between the peoples.1

Enemy stereotype and sanctions – artificial estrangement of Russia from Europe

Without the Charter of Paris, Europe became absorbed again into a state of affairs characterized by: division, domination of the United States, policy of isolation and a general weakening of Russia, its demonization in the eyes of the European and American public, information warfare against this country in a not as yet experienced sly, crafty style, a heavy tightening of anti-Russian orientation in the policy of NATO and the EU. The enforcement of “orange” state changes in the countries of the post-Soviet area with the aim to bring governors depending on America to power, aiming at a confrontation with Russia.
The situation in Europe was greatly aggravated after the radical nationalists’ seizure of power in Kiev following an American script and funded by American money.2 The leaders of the “Euro-Majdan” were selected carefully by US intelligence agencies and began to strictly execute all their orders. From the outset they operated following the parole of hostility and fight against Russia, just the same US strategists were pursuing in their policy. They sparked off a cruel and fratricidal civil war in the Ukraine. Washington had expected that Russia would intervene thus providing a pretext to transform the Ukrainian crisis into a European carnage. It is to be noted that the revival of the principles of the Paris Charter could have served and still can serve to stop the Ukrainian tragedy. This insight is increasingly gaining ground in the European countries’ political circles and the public.
The wide ranging sanctions against Russia by the United States worked as a crucial component of the European crisis. Their purpose has been to alienate Russia from Europe and to exacerbate the European political situation. They are also intended to create an artificial “enemy stereotype” of Russia as a more or less aggressive great power.
For reasonably thinking and experienced politicians in the West it is not hard to guess what is hidden behind this purpousful malicious disfigurement of Russia’s nature on the part of the United States and their European vassals. Former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt explained already in an interview by Deutsche Welle as early as on 20.11.2007: “No danger emanates from Russia. The threat is coming from the United States.”

Way out of the deadlock

Today, the revival of a Pan-European movement, which is founded on the basis of the Charter of Paris for a new Europe, gains high priority.3 Only observing the principles of this Charter can bring Europe out of the dangerous deadlock, in which it was driven. The Charter conforms to the vital interests of not only Russia, but of all European States.
The most experienced European politician, Hans-Dietrich Genscher, who has been Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic for 18 years, has voted in favor of a return to the Charter of Paris. In his speech on 10 November 2012 in Berlin in the Willy-Brandt-Haus entitled “The responsibility of the Germans in Europe” he particularly pointed out that to cease for ever more the policy of domination will provide the most important precondition to create a new Europe. Earlier, on 18 May 2012, he had published an essay: “It is not confrontation, but cooperation with Russia”.4 He wrote: “Today it is about America, Europe and Russia to jointly determine their common interests. Their interests coincide much more than certain security bureaucrats in Brussels and their comparable ones in Washington’s departments […] think. It is also about the relationship with our great neighbor in the East and about exploiting the opportunities of the East-West cooperation. In a situation that is getting more and more complex, statesmanlike wisdom is required. And that means, to end the confrontation and not to allow the risk of a new confrontation […]. And it is important that Europe meets the great ideas of the European Charter of 1990. [Emphasis added by W. D.] All this and the solution of the major problems of our time is possible together with Russia, but in no case against Russia.”5

The lesson taught by the 20th century: A policy of domination is unlawful

This is actually the main conclusion from the history of European development in the 20th century. In the 21st century, in order to ensure the survival a new philosophy of peace and cooperation is required that declares a policy of domination illegal and creates firm guarantees against the outbreak of war in Europe and against its being sparked from outside. By all accounts, this has been realized by the politicians of many European countries, among them French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. An unprecedented event bears evidence to this: Their joint trip to Moscow and the permanent contacts with President Vladimir Putin in the development of measures to end the war in the Ukraine, a war which poses a major threat to the peace of Europe in itself. There is every reason to hope that this visit lays a foundation for the cooperation between France, Germany and Russia to strengthen the unity of Europe, the security and welfare of all European peoples, and their economic, scientific and cultural progress.

Cooperation instead of confrontation to the benefit of the peoples of Europe

Favorable conditions for convening a new pan-European meeting have been maturing in order to take decisions for Europe’s return to the Paris Charter renewed principles, that would meet the requirements of the present. It is the order of the day, before it is too late, to stop the wrong path of confrontation between the European powers and to address the task of creating a new Europe. The close cooperation between France, Germany and Russia must serve their welfare. This must be a collaboration which ends the wars for ever under which the Europeans suffered so severely.
In this context the question arises: How will this cooperation affect the status, the activities and geo-political role of the European Union? No doubt, it will allow expanding the scope of the EU significantly to increase the political and economic effectiveness of this supranational organization. A new pan-European integration area of Lisbon will arise, not only to the Urals, the dream of Charles de Gaulle, but to the coast of the Pacific Ocean. This is going to open up unprecedented favorable prospects of political, economic, scientific and cultural development for the European countries.
This pan-European integration area will be part of a new world order. Franz Betschon – Colonel of the Swiss General Staff – wrote about this topic in his book6. According to his ideas the future might look as follows: Europe and Asia are growing into one economic unit; the term “the West” loses its meaning; Western Europe and North America cease to exist as a unit; Continental Europe will be oriented towards the East; the US will lose its dominance; the EU and NATO will be replaced by something else.
Of course, this version of global development depicted by Betschon has to be understood as a vision in a distant future. But you have to admit that on the whole he has correctly detected the mega-trends of the development of the new world order and Europe’s place within this order. The successful development of this tendency is in the interests of Russia and of other European countries.     •

1    The Paris Charter can be found on the internet in many languages.
2    More precise in: W. Daschitschew, “Die ukraini­sche Tragödie und der neue ‘Kalte Krieg’ der USA gegen Russland”, in: Sozial-humanitäre Kenntnisse, No 4, 2004; Geopolitik, No 1, 2014 (Russian)
3    I wrote a series of essays about the subject. Cf. “Es ist an der Zeit zu den Prinzipien der Pariser Charta zurückzukehren.” in: Geopolitika, 15.8.2012; in the collective volume Geopolitik. Theorie, Geschichte, Praxis. Arbeiten der internationalen wissenschaftlich-praktischen Konferenz, scientific publishing centre “Raum und Zeit”, Moscow 2012. “Die Pariser Charta – eine Zukunftschance für Europa”, in: Wirtschaftliche und philosophische Zeitung, No 36 (926), September 2012
4    Hans-Dietrich Gentscher: “Nicht Konfrontation, sondern Kooperation mit Russland”, in: Tagesspiegel, 19.5.2012. This essay was reprinted in Russia in the journal Raum und Zeit, No 1, 2013
5    In the above-mentioned journal Raum und Zeit, p. 13
6    Franz Betschon. Das eurasische Schachtur­nier. Krisen, Hintergründe, Prognosen. Frankfurt/Main, 2009

(Translation Current Concerns)

“In the 21st century, in order to ensure the survival a new philosophy of peace and cooperation is required that declares a policy of domination illegal and creates firm guarantees against the outbreak of war in Europe and against its being sparked from outside.”

“The culmination of Soviet foreign policy under Mikhail Gorbachev was the memorable November 21, 1990 when the representatives of all European states signed a fundamental international act, the Paris Charter. It was the first time in history that a pan-European consensus on the conservation of peace, security and cooperation was reached among all European states. Also the US, together with Canada, signed the Paris Charter. They could not stand apart in this pan-European urge for peace and the creation of a new Europe. Otherwise the US might have risked a loss in credibility. This is why they had to join – even though the Paris Charter contradicted the core of the American foreign political doctrine which was based on the division of Europe and their own dominance.”

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