Why Russia?

Why Russia?

by Willy Wimmer

The question is legitimate and it has to be asked right now. 1 September is the day when the outbreak of the World War II is commemorated and it was the Soviet Union that had had to bear unprecedented losses in human lives and potentials by that murderous war.
In a few weeks time we can celebrate the 26th anniversary of the day when Germany regained her unity, which – and more than that unity – had been forfeited by her leadership during world war times. Apart from the active support from Washington it had been Moscow in particular, who had opened this road to us Germans. Mikhail Gorbachev was the one who spoke of Europe as a “Common House”. All of us in Europe were so sure we could get rid of the horrors of the past and just settle, each in one of the habitations in that common house. War seemed further afar than ever.
With the Conference for Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), which in its core had been developed from Soviet and Polish ideas immediately after the World War II, this house seemed to have a solid foundation, since the conference proved to be very efficient. Even successful disarmament talks between the highly geared-up enemy states could be launched in its orbit.
Looking back to these days and thinking of 1 September, all enthusiasm to celebrate 3 October evaporates. Pleasant anticipation of the festivities with those East Germans who were present then but are represented by other politicians today, is overshadowed by the creepy worry whether we will actually live to see another 1 September. Once again, German generals give belligerent orders to international troops which are stuffed with nuclear weapons up to the roof and amassed near the Russian border. Ukrainian troops who openly display their Nazi-time symbols are sent forward towards the borders of a country which will definitely associate great distress, death and destruction with these very symbols. Those who have not joined NATO yet are flooded with lucrative cooperation proposals and integrated into international military exercises targeted only at Russia. War is more imminent than ever.
All that did not just mushroom over night. European impotence despite their efforts to secure a peaceful power transition in a stormy situation in Kiev met with a thumb-down from Washington. Hopes and opportunities not only of the Ukraine were shot to pieces, as per order, in that Maidan square massacre which has never been properly investigated to this day. These events hit Europe hard, since total confrontation had sidelined all efforts towards European integration. Everybody in Europe should ask themselves how large proportions of their populations would have reacted to a putsch regime depriving them of much of their political rights over night? Moreover, since the presence of the Russian fleet with its supply function to the Middle East might have been intended to be eliminated at one go. Today one gets the impression that what happened at Crimea actually saved us from a war then, which seems the more likely now.
What has happened to us during all those years that we find ourselves now again positioned against a country and its people which proved its capacity as an important anchorage ground of our common European culture just recently with the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi?
Taking a sober look at recent years we have to admit to ourselves that the failure of the European foreign ministers at Maidan square in Kiev was only the climax of European impotence which had started soon after the German reunification, the end of European division and the Charter of Paris in autumn 1990. We in Germany were the first to notice and one was to get the impression that “social market economy” and “free democratic government under the law” had only been a concession after the World War II in order to prevent the countries’ defection from one’s own sphere of influence to the other side.
The economic consequences of the division had only just begun to be evaluated when “shareholder value” was utilised to destroy the social market economy which had been so successful and integrative in the German society. The current chancellor even voiced her demand quite bluntly that democracy was to be “rendered compatible to the markets”. If it is true what we know about the free trade agreement TTIP from information that was leaked from the current secret negotiations, this goal will soon be achieved. Should that be the case, constitutional democracy which has much deeper and more solid roots in Germany than allied rule has on German soil, might as well be done away with at one go. How highly esteemed international law and its peacekeeping role had been in 1999 was demonstrated by the NATO war against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The aim then had been to enforce a new system of international law in the interest of the USA. For this idea not only the Helsinki conference was sacrificed but the entire system of European international law which had been developed since the Thirty Years’ War in the 17th century.
But isn’t there even much more which has changed? These days it has been emphasised again that in our allegedly so prosperous country the middle class is melting away and poor people keep getting poorer. Families no longer know how to make ends meet. In our schools children are indoctrinated about what ideas of humanity they should have. The stream of migrants, which meets a helpless German federal government and a non-existing common European standpoint, brings people to our country who have been deprived of their livelihoods by our policies and the wars of our allies. Since these people often come from the Middle East, which may be regarded as the origin of our culture, one may say that we have destroyed not only their heritage but ours as well.
And now against Russia? Is it the natural resources they are after yet again, like ten years ago when this goal almost seemed within grasp during the Yukos case? On the other hand, with the advent of fracking the controversies have shifted towards Saudi Arabia. Is it anything else then? Viewing ourselves without illusions we cannot but realise that there is indeed something else and this can be said in a country where more than half a million people visit the US every year. Only few people in Germany would entertain the idea to seek a job in Samara instead of Silicon valley. But Russia today stands for something which seems to be a huge thorn in the flesh of those who are so busy wiping out the identities of our states because this might turn out to be more important in the future than all those things which keep changing all the time: fatherland, Christian faith and family values.
Shattered by constant wars and never-ending financial crises as it is, the West has had these issues going to rack and ruin for some time now. Regardless of what reality in Russia might look like today, this alone should be food for thought to those people in Europe who just see their life plans crumble yet again. What is actually important in life? Is it that why we are supposed to be positioned against Russia and their people? Because Russia is a counterpart to the bloody dreams of the one and only world power?     •
(Translation Current Concens)

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