“What the West did to the image of the ‘Common European House’ is actually unbearable. These ‘muscle contests exercises’ dating back to the past cold war are just for political military child-like minds. If they are those who should determine our future, we could only be pessimistic. The ‘Charter of Paris’ of November 1990 is our only chance to achieve peace and not to end in a kind of ‘Hedge funds-camp’.”
Current Concerns: Your last book “Die Akte Moskau” (the file Moscow) will be published in June. What about its contents, and why did you write it?
Willy Wimmer: The book covers a whole generation, to be based on a 25 years period. This is a big enough time period, so as to assess political development. And this is necessary in the case of questions which could be of crucial importance for a country in particular, or even for a whole continent. Several years ago, confronted the background of massive American propaganda and the progressive demonization of the Russian Federation and of its president, one had to face the justified impression of a propaganda-machine being set in motion towards Russia, which should lead compulsively to war or “unconditional surrender” of Russia. From an objective point of view, mechanisms involved replicated the action carried out against Imperial Germany by former Stratfor chief George Friedman, to reach strategic objectives against a power soaring economically and socially in Central Europe. The Treaty of Versailles was the answer to German expectations, President Wilson’s 14 points, its reference criteria – and nowadays the world is still suffering from the consequences of the process which was engaged back then.
Nevertheless, the question is: Why then war, or why war again, when in Moscow those in charge of decisions are rational politicians who think in terms of peaceful exchange and good-neighbourly relations? As for some years Moscow’s image widespread throughout the world by Anglo-Saxon propaganda does not correspond to reality at all. Everyone can be convinced about it, when going this way. Even concerning the Ukraine crisis, all there is to say is that Western Hybris has set the cascade in motion, and the Ukraine has fallen into this Hybris.
In my book, I refer to some issues, which are important as regards assessment of what’s being done. However, all this has also a previous history which allowed me to build my own judgment, particularly in the direct contacts I had with both major powers, USA and Russia – which at the time was still the Soviet Union. The experience that I gained while in charge of the integration of the armed forces in reunified Germany and in my relationship with Soviet armed forces in Germany during these years shows it very clearly as well nowadays: with Russia, even in the difficult times, one can reach a successful conclusion to problems. We have the jurists, they have the word of honour of high-ranking officials, and this is excellent. Why should we again go to throats, as Mrs Nuland from the USA advised us, on whatever grounds?
There is also currently, at a time when atomic shelters are being renovated, a real opportunity for the book. The celebrated, both within and beyond Germany, outstanding “House of history of the Federal Republic of Germany “ in Bonn, with other seats in Berlin and Leipzig, will present on 5 July 2016 a big exhibition dedicated to the “Army of Unity “. Due to my political and administrative function of that time within the ruling team of the Bonn ministry of defence and due also to my participating, together with my GDR colleague Dr Bertram Wieczorek, in the draft concept for integration – which meanwhile became a basic requirement for the armed forces on both sides government in Germany, I have been very closely associated to the preparatory works of this exhibition.
The new cold war against Russia is now being felt almost daily. Sometimes, it’s all about politics, sometimes about sport, it may even be that the original purpose of a European singer’s contest is abused. For more than 2 years, since the coup d’état supported by the West in Kiev and the ensuing Russian reaction, for example, such as the support to the referendum on Crimean peninsula, Russia is pulled to pieces by us in the west. What’s the point of it?
All this fuss on our side determines for years and since Hillary Clinton our lifes. It looks like a slogan: West’s way of acting is legitimate, just because the West did it. This is a reminder of the darkest times, and we Germans are government-sided again, in a very near future participating in the NATO summit conference in Warsaw. There is a consistent American attitude in the NATO against Russia. Although there is still no sign of war, Western Europeans are nevertheless being at least pulled away from Russia, with the help of Poland and the Baltic states. American dominated Nato is building a new wall straight through Europe. A perverse symbol of our policy: NATO tanks in the outskirts of Saint Petersburg. If pictures could speak, the West ruthlessly leaves no doubt what should be offered to its Russian neighbour.
One gets the impression that in Germany the voices are lowering, which criticize the new cold war and want normal relations with Russia. What’s your impression about that? Have we already got used too much to the “new situation”?
We miss Helmut Schmidt. We miss him so much. Now and then, we hear from Helmut Kohl. Both would have been strong enough to address the nation in difficult times, and the overwhelming majority of Germans would have trusted both statesmen and can trust as well. Both major Christian churches totally did fall out on this matter, otherwise the Federal President’s speeches, nor would the Federal Lady Chancellor’s actions with respect to questions of the european peace have been allowed. But German people do not agree with this war policy, and the government knows that. Here remains, on the German side, the underlying cause for Minsk II. The government stands on razor’s edge, and not only concerning this issue.
Many people fear that the cold war could turn hot. Are there any indications giving way to such a fear? Can anyone imagine the West preparing for war against nuclear powered Russia? And what about the present military manoeuvres in Estonia (“Springstorm”), Poland (“Brilliant Jump”) and planned for next June, military exercises, again in Poland (“Anaconda”), as well as the number of other military exercises programmed this year in Central and Eastern Europe, are they preparing such a war?
These are all brutal signals provided to a proud nation that again, could be done in a different way – and this time in the combination of the world war proponents and world war opponents. If people in Moscow hear the sounds of German generals with these maneuvers in Moscow, they only need to seek into the disk rack. What the West did to the image of the “Common European House” is actually unbearable. These “muscle contests exercises” dating back to the past cold war are just for political military child-like minds. If they are those who should determine our future, we could only be pessimistic. The “Charter of Paris“ of November 1990 is our only chance to achieve peace and not to end in a kind of “Hedge funds-camp”. In all fields, Germany gets gradually rid of its key governmental functions.
Just last year in February the strategy analyst George Friedman has called Germany a ”questionable wind vane” for its part in the front against Russia. And as for Minsk II, in which the German chancellor was also involved, was certainly not in line with the American interests. Is this also still on today? Or are the troops, which the German government wants to send to Lithuania, signs for a German war course completely within the line of the United States? Recently German general Egon Ramms stood with martial formulations out. And he is not the only German talking tough.
The fulcrum and pivot for everything is the famous alliance issue. Therefore, the requirement of parliamentary approval was another de facto occurrence, and now for the Bundeswehr, there is a German general acting as an American chief of staff with the US armed forces in Germany practically under the responsibility of the US president. In all fields, Germany gets gradually rid of its key governmental functions and in military issues as well. Germany gets rid in all fields gradually of the key governmental functions, also in military questions. One can hope that everything does not go really wrong, but this is only hope.
You personally are very much appreciated not only by the supporters of peace in Germany, but on the Russian side as well. That, a few weeks ago, president Putin personally ensured the translation of your statement in Saint Petersburg, is a clear signal. What value do you give to this signal?
The event in Saint Petersburg with the translation into Russian of my speech by the Russian president has met world-wide attention and ensured full accountability of the situation. Further to the question of a Russian journalist asked to president Putin with reference to a speech that I had delivered the day before, it was important for me not to have any misinterpretation of the points I had treated then. Therefore, I have taken the floor, and then, to my great surprise, it was not my usual efficient conference interpreter, but the president himself who was translating individually. Previously he had discussed some two and a half hours with the 500 present journalists. For three days I could participate in this press conference. There, through committed journalists, I could have a true and gloomy picture of Russia. The attending government members had to face and answer critical questions, in a way I had never experienced beforehand. Should I then address these people and this country with hate? Just because it has been so decided in Washington or somewhere else? The Germans should make up their mind by themselves on this issue, should they wish to learn from history.
Historical experience shows that when the sound of war drums gets louder, then freedom, democracy and rule of law suffer within the country. How does this look today? How is it in Germany?
Unfortunately, this period of upheavals makes it again very clearly. I could experience it in Saint Petersburg and I can see it in Scotland. People trust democratic practices. In Saint Petersburg, president Putin and the members of his government have met local and regional journalists from all Russia and took them seriously in a way that I would like to experience here. The Scottish National Party does not only win elections, but it does so because it takes its constituents seriously. In Saint Petersburg, and beforehand in November in Moscow, I have experienced the grassroots of Swiss democracy. A democratically constituted nation is and remains the key, and these are the signals sent from Edinburgh and Saint Petersburg to an increasingly lost and confused world. Germany does not send the signals that only Germany can achieve.
In this context, how do you assess the result of presidential elections in Austria?
Now everyone in unison deplore this slide towards the right-wing in Austria and in the countries of European Union. However, all that covers a central question: What has actually driven the Christian and Social Democrats in Austria – and not only there – to distance themselves miles away from the citizens and the constituents in such a way, that the latter are storming in droves towards those which does no one actually know? What entitles the established parties to offset their own failure by political slanders directed at the upstarts? This seems to be the last card left for the failed parties to play. Citizens who complain about this failure and denounce the deplorable state of affairs are at best appointed as “scums”, at worst scolded as “Nazis”. The failure itself is then legitimized by “campaigns against right” directed at those who actually just demand to be governed properly and being taken seriously as citizens.
One should take a look at the German Liberals, who have been punished by their constituents as representatives of the Anglo-Saxon turbo-capitalism, therefore evicted from the Bundestag. This can also apply to the former people’s parties if, after Vienna - and regardless of election result – they don’t draw any conclusions. Nevertheless, the Scottish National Party demonstrated it. This party goes invariably after the people, takes them seriously, listens to them, before the increasingly questionable NGOs are wreaking havoc, and it is successful. People want a democratic government, the one which has been dismantled and brought into discredit by the traditional old parties.
And what could be the consequences for the future?
Presently, everyone in Austria is devoted to the new Federal President, and it would be outwardly fair to grant him the celebrated hundred-day state of grace. Should we take his words seriously, so he would have us believe, regarding the necessary internal reconciliation in Austria seriously, then he has enough on his plate to do with.
Outwardly every political observer is well advised to keep an eye on the “clash of cultures” and to look closely at its various implications on the party landscape.The “Austrian Model” could also very well be happen in other European countries. For all of us abroad, accessible information makes it clear that in Austria all traditional parties, losers in the first round, have then gathered in majority behind the new Federal President to get him to the office. And in this instance the big question will only be whether with it the previous “political mess” should be extended and developed or if in the combination with the new chancellor a general new beginning should be ventured.
It is therefore obvious that the old political gangs backing the new Federal President are in no way homogeneous or that they only want to provide in the matter the corresponding impression. Further to this unique show of strength they will also call after their rights and chances as independent political groups again, and this will result in a major split inside the political formations standing behind Federal President van der Bellen. The differences have not disappeared with this alliance between the respective parties. They will become keener, particularly if you look at the Hofer-camp. Here the FPÖ (Freedom Party of Austria) is the politically emerging formation, which has, as the far strongest Austrian party, magically attracted constituents from other parties – even if not yet sufficiently – without involving the parties as such in its formation. Otherwise than in van der Bellen-camp the egoisms will not increase and the centrifugal forces will not dominate. Through the results of this presidential election the FPÖ now appears as a prevailing force to the Hofburg, while the supporters of the newly elected Federal President will again aim at their respective political arrangements.
It can be anticipated that with the results of this election, all or most political formations will plumb their chances at a future FPÖ alliance in Austria. Today the election winner is Pr van der Bellen, but the actual winner’s name is Strache.
What does that mean for Brussels, the EU and the NATO?
Scotland, France, Poland and other countries make it clear that even without British fuss the “masses are gradually sung” in Brussels. While European big shots Juncker and Schulz advocate as mandatory for European nations to favour an externally determined Brussels empire, citizens determine the fair value of their own country by their responsibility as citizens and reiterated value as such. Meanwhile, “European values” have deteriorated as much as NATO did in its part of as a “Community of transatlantic values”. Nevertheless, the former Prime Minister of Luxembourg, Jean-Claude Juncker, knows best, to which extent the tax legislation has been designated as a “licence to plunder” in favour of American major corporations and that the whole system is maintained by NATO. And nowadays NATO should be seen as a “peace community”? In modern history there has never been a defensive alliance such as once was NATO, which became so shamelessly involved in a global attack formation to people and parliaments.
Mr Wimmer, many thanks for this interview. •
cc. End of July 2016 a new EU decision on sanctions against Russia is due. Actually, no one on the continent likes a policy that inflicts serious damage not only to Russia, but also to the countries of the EU itself. The EU has repeatedly emphasised that the abolition of their sanctions against Russia depended on whether the agreement “Minsk II” will be implemented. However, this can only mean that the EU wonders whether Russia contributes the part of the agreement that it has in hand, because more than Russia others have an obligation, for example, the Government of Ukraine.
Now, the German Foreign Minister Steinmeier has proposed gradually to lift the sanctions against Russia if there is recognisable further progress in the Minsk II process. According to the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” on 2 June, this has caused sharp protest by Foreign Minister of Ukraine Klimkin. He considered it “unproductive to ease sanctions gradually”. Klimkin, as the German newspaper continues to cite, “pointed out that Kiev adhered to the Minsk Agreement, but Russia did not do anything for its realisation. In the recent days, there had been repeatedly violations of the cease-fire. Seventeen soldiers of the Ukrainian army had been killed; another twenty were injured. There was heavy fire from heavy weapons, which Russia should have deducted already according to the Minsk Agreement.”
Thus, it is interesting to read what the Russian side puts forward. Its permanent representative to the OSCE Lukashevich has held a speech on that on 26 May at a meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council on the situation in Ukraine and the implementation of the Minsk Agreements (<link www.mid.ru de foreign_policy news asset_publisher cknonkje02bw content id external-link seite:>www.mid.ru/de/foreign_policy/news/-/asset_publisher/cKNonkJE02Bw/content /id/2293032). In this speech, it is said, for example: “We have lately seen Kiev recur to all kinds of pretexts to torpedo the implementation of political steps stipulated in the Package [of ‘Minsk II‘].
First, tensions are built up along the contact line. The consistent and systematic advancement of Ukrainian troops to the demilitarised territory is a blatant deliberate action aimed at escalating tensions.” Or else: “We also see the consistent build-up of weapons in the security zone and military training for offensive operations.” Or: “The presence of Ukrainian military equipment is reported in the security zone nearly every day in violation of the ‘Minsk Package‘.” One might continue the series of quotations.
Here in the West the mainstream media do not report about such speeches.
One wonders: Who is right, the Ukrainian Foreign Minister or the representative of Russia to the OSCE?
However, one can also ask: Who is interested in the fact that the conflict between the EU and Russia continues to cook over high heat? Russia does surely not want it, the EU rather not, too.
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