Learning from history!

Germany needs to improve its relationship with Russia

by Karl Müller

“Genocide” during the 1999 NATO aggression against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia violating international law; “Fight against Terrorism” during the NATO aggression against Afghanistan since 2001; “weapons of mass destruction” during the aggression of a US-led “coalition of the willing” against Iraq in 2003 which was not covered in this manner by the Security Council; “genocide” during the NATO aggression against Libya in 2011; “Assad is slaughtering his own population” during the covert and open support for armed jihadists and the open war participation of NATO states in Syria since 2011, violating international law – the list of false claims presented to the world community is long. Wouldn’t it have been a good idea to face the claims regarding an alleged poison attack in Great Britain with a great deal of suspicion?
Unfortunately, the ruling governments of numerous NATO and EU states have not acted on this advice. They have heeded the statement of the British government and most probably also of parts of the US administration, following unproven prejudgements. In the already tense situation in the relation of NATO and EU with Russia, this was a targeted escalation and the question what might be the purpose of this escalation must be answered.

Prudent German voices

Now that it is starting to turn out that the accusations against Russia are most likely unfounded, it is time to be reminded, that not only many citizens are deeply worried in face of the situation but also important voices of politicians, active or retired, are speaking a different language than their governments. The following quotes reflect voices from Germany.
Some still active politicians from the ranks of the German SPD have criticised the decision of their members of government, especially of the new German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.
Of special interest is the speech of the previous Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel on the occasion of the celebration of the “Deutsch-Russisches Forum e.V.” (German-Russian Forum) “25 years German-Russian Forum e.V.” on 15 March in the Berlin Hotel Adlon, a speech that was entirely ignored by the leading German media (see article below).

Matthias Platzeck: the spiral of confrontation is increasing the danger of war

No less admonitory was the statement of the former Minister-President of Germany and former head of SPD Matthias Platzeck, head of the German-Russian Forum. On 27 March he stated in a video interview with the German newspaper “Die Welt”1:

“We are acting according to the motto: „First we shoot the suspect and then check the evidence.” According to Platzeck, the Federal Republic clearly violated the principles of a state of law. In addition, Germany, in face of the “many tragic occurrences” of its common history with Russia, had a particular obligation “to quickly return from escalation to objectiveness”.

   He continued: “The confrontational spiral that we find ourselves in, is of no benefit to anyone, it just increases the danger of war.”

Günther Verheugen: this is a contamination of minds

Also the former EU Commissioner and SPD politician Günter Verheugen stated in an interview with the German newspaper “Augsburger Allgemeine” dated 27 March:

“The argumentation in the Skripal case reminds me a bit of a passing of judgement according to the motto: ‘The act could not be attributed to the accused, but we think he would have been capable of doing it’. The attitude that Putin and the Russians are responsible for everything is a poisoning of the thought process which has to stop.”

Vollmer: Merkel and her Foreign Minister are gambling away Germany’s leeway

Many Germans also remember Antje Vollmer, the now retired Green Party politician and deputy Speaker of parliament. She spoke out on 30 March in an interview with the radio station Deutschlandfunk Kultur.
For Antje Vollmer the latest development is devastating. It is threatening to get out of control. She is addressing serious allegations mainly against the new Federal Government:

“Angela Merkel and also her Foreign Minister are gambling and losing the leeway which had been part of German politics from Brandt to Helmut Kohl. That is, to be clearly based in the West but to have a special interest in a good relationship with Russia.”
   She was appalled “that the new Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is apparently rejects this foreign political treasure of the SPD with a few sentences during his accession to office, when he stated that the reason why he chose politics was not the policy of détente, not Egon Bahr and Willy Brandt nor the Peace Movement but Auschwitz.”
   There will be no progress without understanding the other side. “And indeed, it seems like currently the Russians and the Russian population do not understand, why the country, which contributed crucially to the German reunification is now being pilloried and why the Germans, who carry a huge historical responsibility towards Russia due to two World Wars, do not understand that we have to interact as equals.”

The German FDP is also not supporting the German government politics. Wolfgang Kubicki, deputy head of the party, criticised the German reaction in the Skripal case in an interview with Deutschlandfunk of 22 March adding that he knew that more than 60 per cent of the FDP adherents were supporting him in this issue.
Even before the interview with Deutschlandfunk, Kubicki stated in another interview that the common declaration of Germany, France, the USA and Great Britain regarding the neurotoxin attack in Britain was a mistake. He expressly criticised the German Foreign Minister’s position and his statements, that he knew more. Kubicki also doubted the purpose and the justification of the sanctions against Russia (see box on page 10).

Frank Elbe: disturbing acts of political vigilante justice

The former German ambassador Frank Elbe, born in 1941, in war times, was senior clerk for the former Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher, another important FDP politician. His statements were not published in the German key media, but RT Deutsch published his comment on 30 March 2018 (see article on page 11).

Former BND president Gerhard Schindler: who benefits from the process?

Finally, a reference to an interview of the Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk MDR with the former president of the German foreign secret service, (Bundesnachrichtendienst BND). The MDR reported on 27 March 2018:

“In the case of the supposed poison attack on the former double agent Sergey Skripal, the former president of the BND Gerhard Schindler does not see sufficient evidence ‘to ascribe the responsibility’ to Russia. Schindler told MDR Aktuell on Tuesday: ‘Well, I think that the quality of evidence is not as high as could be deduced from the measures now decided.’ [...] Schindler stated that we can possibly assume that the poisoning of Skripal could help the Russian secret service, e.g. by deterring potential perpetrators. ‘But this is no benefit to Russian politics, for the Russian government as a whole. And therefore the question remains open, who benefits.’”

Willy Wimmer: it is a blessing that Russia is acting rationally and not escalating

On 27 March 2018 the MDR also interviewed Willy Wimmer, former German Member of Parliament for the CDU, parliamentary undersecretary in the German Ministry of Defence and Vice President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE. The corresponding MDR internet page reads:

“The CDU politicians spoke of an ‘activity highly dangerous for peace’, not for the first time started by London in the European Union or the NATO. When coming up with such accusations as Great Britain did in the Skripal case, the necessary evidence has to be disclosed. But nothing came from London. Instead the British government escalated all accusations against Moscow in NATO and EU. And it was appalling that half of the European Union including the Federal Government joined.
    In face of the statement from the new Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) who said that facts and evidence in the Skripal case pointed towards Russia, Wimmer stated: ‘And if a youngster like Mr Maas comes and says that there was sufficient or interesting or what kind of evidence, I can only say: His predecessor Mr Gabriel would never have made such a statement.’
    Asked if we were just watching the prelude for a new Cold War and how Russian diplomacy would react on the West’s advances, Wimmer stated: ‘Well, actually since the eastward expansion of NATO we are depending on a Russian president who is dealing with these things rationally and not in an escalating manner. I do not want to give any recommendations from my point of view. But: if we didn’t have Putin – with all the lust for war prevailing in the West, Europe would be a different place.’”

(Translation of all quotes in this article by Current Concerns)

1    https://www.welt.de/politik/video174931406/Platzeck-zur-Skripal-Affaere-Wir-erschiessen-erst-den-Verdaechtigen-und-schauen-dann-nach-Beweisen.html