No reason to rise the all-clear signal

by Karl Müller

Was everything half as bad? After the limited US, British, and French attacks on Syria in the early morning of 14 April, one might get that impression. But that would be a fallacy.
The reactions to the coordinated attack of the three NATO states have turned out differently. The German government has approved it, although not directly involved. German media have justified it for the most part – not without criticising the US president. What is particularly alarming: in many contributions from public service broadcasters, for example, at “Anne Will” in the ARD on 15 April 2018, nothing was balanced and serious anymore.

Should every powerful person again have the “right to war”?

Again there were numerous attempts to downplay and justify the breach of international law. This is the line the NATO states walk since March 1999, in fact with the attack on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and a little later also in their new strategic concept. That has to alert us as much today as it did then. A further habituation would be fatal. When the monopoly on legitimate use of force of the United Nations on the issue of war and peace, established after the Second World War with the UN Charter, breaks completely, the world falls back into the status of pure power politics. Then every powerful person will again arrogate the “right to war” for himself. We are not far from it.

The public is not informed

For the citizen it is not to understand what purpose the attack of April 14 should serve. The official justifications (retaliation, punishment, elimination of the Syrian chemical weapons potential, warning against a renewed use of chemical weapons by Syria) are not credible. As in the case Skripal this is no play with open cards. The public is not informed. Speculation dominate, information is missing. This is catastrophic for the formation of opinion in a democracy.

So far, no honest diplomacy in sight

The current call of the NATO countries for diplomacy and talks does not reassure confidence. Sounding all-clear would be premature. That would require that there are honest intentions. The proof is still missing, and unfortunately the opposite still has to be assumed. Namely that it is obvious  a continuation of scapegoating Russia. And one has rather the impression that either tactic should come into play to prevail in the new cold – and not only cold – war.
When does one hear from a responsible person in the West a real word of understanding for the position of Russia? I opened several German newspapers and could not find anything going in this direction. As before, the opposite dominates the field – a polemic pungency that has become unbearable. Anyone who makes disparaging remarks about Russia, however nasty it may be, will be offered a wide space. Opinions that go in a different direction have little chance.
I hear reigning German politicians, and nowhere a real word of insight. Does one still cultivate the nostalgia of the “victory” in the first Cold War? Is one looking for new ways to win again today? Why can one not accept that the times of a unipolar world are over?
You have to look at people’s hands, not at their mouths, a clever person said. More than 10 years lasted the negotiations to end the Thirty Years’ War. They acted as if they wanted to negotiate. But everyone still wanted to win and could not take the other’s view seriously. So the war went on and on – until all were exhausted. Does this threaten us again?

Russia protects itself

A statement by Mr Ischinger, the head of the Munich Security Conference, was remarkable in “Anne Will”. He, who (contrary to better knowledge) blames most of the liability for the present situation on Russia, said, almost in a subordinate clause, that Russia is not in the position to wage a major war. This should be remembered by all, who assume that Russia has aggressive intentions. One has only to take a look at the armaments expenditure of the NATO states and the Russian arms expenditure, in order to grasp the absurdity of such an assertion.
The fact that Russia has not fallen victim to the aggressive intentions of the NATO states is due to the country’s significantly increased military readiness. A few weeks ago, President Putin did not present the new weapons to the world public to announce a war of aggression. If you have such plans, then you are silent about your arsenal. All logic suggests that he wanted to warn the West against ill-considered military actions. The NATO states now have a certain respect for Russia – this is due to the policy of Russia – but they still seem to want to win.     •