Russia: The Dilemmas of an Underachiever?

Global Review publishes a fourth RIAC contribution as we think that the author asks very fundamental questions on the political theory of international relations, realism/neorealism and structuralism and proposes the ideas of international agents as an alternative to structures. The main idea is that traditional realism and structuralism focus only on hard power, not soft power or the domestic fabric of society and the skill of its leaders to act as creative and willing agents in international affairs as exemplified in the case of Russia and Syria and separate domestic-internal factors from international factors which should be viewed in a holistic way. He also draws conclusions from that which are discussed already by Russian elites as the Valdai Club or RIAC.

Ivan Timofeev

PhD in Political Science, RIAC Director of Programs, RIAC Member, Head of „Contemporary State“ program at Valdai Discussion Club

The October events in Syria were an interesting indicator of the specific character of current international relations. Two NATO allies — the United States and Turkey — took opposite stands on the Kurdish issue. Washington had to introduce economic sanctions against Ankara, while Turkey conducted a military operation without so much as a backward glance at its ally. The European NATO members remained passive. Russia again consolidated its positon, spending minimal resources and maintaining equidistant relations with the key regional power centers. Iran remains an influential player in Syria despite enormous US economic pressure. Moreover, its determination to capitalize on its potential in the country and the region is increasing in proportion to Washington’s growing urge to punish Tehran.

The powerful financial and military resources of the Gulf monarchies are not helping them play a decisive role in Syria or otherwise. An ever growing China, which looms beyond the horizon, still tries to distance itself from the Middle East affairs as a matter of principle, but its de facto presence makes it part of the equation. Against the backdrop of an ostensible retreat in Syria, the United States carried out a blitzkrieg operation to destroy the leader of ISIS (banned in Russia) with what US officials describe as tacit support by Russia, the Syrian Government, Turkey, Iraq and the Kurds. However, the Americans will not leave the Syrian oil fields, while maintaining a strict oil embargo against Syria.

In all probability, these events may be considered a triumph of “agents” over “structures.” Some players show that their actions pursue quite specific pragmatic interests and that their political will prevails over the established structural restrictions, be it alliances, international institutions or allied commitments. The very policy of “agents,” that is to say, individual states, does not fit in into the linear logic of “the more the better.” Minimal pinpoint actions that result from sophisticated combinations or simple good luck yield serious dividends, whereas enormous power, resources and funds do not guarantee success. Needless to say, it is too early to write off structural factors. After all, allied relations between the US and Turkey have alleviated political differences on individual issues more than once. But deals are increasingly situational, and strategic horizons are eroded by tactical tasks. It is also premature to write off the power of states. As Kenneth Waltz aptly put it, strong states may certainly err, and weak countries can be more successful in certain situations. However, strong states are more resilient and can afford to make more attempts. So, if strong countries can afford the luxury of being wrong, any mistake can become fatal for the weak.

These events return us to one of the basic questions of the science on international relations: What are the parameters of power enjoyed by modern government players? What makes some stronger and others weaker? Is there a universal formula for power and influence that produces success under different circumstances?

Attempts to find a universal formula for comparing all states have been made for a long time and are still popular. Most formulas are based on the parameters of economy and military might. Thus, Expected Utility Generation, the well-known US project by Scott Bennett and Allan Stam, uses parameters like the numerical strength of the armed forces, defense expenditures, power generation, metal smelting, total population and urban population. Despite the relativity of these parameters, an emphasis on the economy and military potential is typical of universal comparisons. The big problem is how to fine tune the indexes to take into account various nuances. A Russian project, The Political Atlas of Modern Times, by Andrei Melvil et al attempted to take into consideration these nuances plus technological development and soft power indices.

However, universal power formulas have shortcomings. The first is that any global distribution of power will be asymmetrical. This is a reflection of objective reality and is hardly a drawback of the method as such. Almost any power potential index reveals one super leader, several leaders and the remaining mass of states that are behind them by dozens and even hundreds of times. The use of such a projection is not helpful in explaining specific situations with the participation of local players that are formally weak but may prove indispensable under specific circumstances. In addition, a departure from linearity occurs when it comes to the quality of interstate relations. For instance, there is no doubt that the United States is much more powerful than Russia, India or China. But a scenario of US military aggression against any of these states is most unlikely because of its high price. Moreover, when a potential armed action is discussed against Iran, a much weaker non-nuclear country, the United States will think twice and has so far rejected this path because the price may also prove to be too high. In other words, the ratio of power is not indicative of the quality of relations between states.

Another shortcoming is that power parameters coexist with other dimensions of the life of an “agent” or a modern state. Statistically, they may have little connection with power parameters. There are both democracies and autocracies among powerful states. Some of them are prosperous whereas others have lower living standards. There are federations and centralized states among them. Corruption is at different levels as well. In other words, the realists seem to be right when they urge us to separate power and foreign policy from government systems and domestic political issues. However, in some cases, these parameters suddenly begin to play a crucial role. In 1989, the USSR, in statistical terms, was in fairly good shape. It was a superpower with the world’s second largest economy, decent demographic potential, advanced industry and technology, and the world’s best army. But it collapsed like a house of cards in a minute, judging by the historical standards. And a no small role was played by factors that cannot be measured at all — the condition of the elites, the “crisis of the spirit and willpower,” the underlying nihilism and total cynicism as regards the dominant ideology. Similarly intangible parameters brought Russia back to the supreme league of world politics, when formally it had long been written off as a “slowly waning state” and “a leftover of the empire” with a reactive foreign policy, and a population that was becoming extinct and drinking itself to death, a country without any outlook for a future.

Interestingly, the Political Atlas revealed an important regularity. If power is considered not just by itself but in combination with other parameters of a state’s life — its political system, quality of life, the condition of statehood and the level of threats — the picture of the world will be somewhat different. Instead of a linear scale, a kaleidoscope of different clusters of states emerges. Moreover, each cluster has its own dimension. In other words, modern states exist in parallel realities as it were, and each reality has criteria and parameters of its own. The club of great powers has one set of dimensions and agendas. The cluster of advanced states with relatively small militaries has another. The cluster of underdeveloped states that are fighting for their survival has still another. The problem is aggravated by the fact that these clusters and their agendas are permeable. One fine day a state from the great power cluster can knock on the door of a state from an underdeveloped or even a “well-off” cluster with its not always welcome agenda in the shape of bombing raids, clandestine operations, economic sanctions or open interventions.

Of course, our main task is to figure out what this means for Russia. A trivial but frequently ignored truth is that Russia is a fairly unique country by global conventions. For many years, we have been involved in self-castigation, trying to be like someone else. Just look at how fast India and China are growing! And what about us? Look at what a nice life the Germans have! Why can’t we? Look at South Korea’s great chaebols! Why don’t we have this? Look at how pushy and unceremonious the Americans are! Why not do the same? How well does democracy work in Switzerland! But what about us? We are like an underachiever whose parents lecture and hector him every day, pointing to other children in the neighborhood as an example to emulate. Basil plays chess, Peter plays the violin, Nick already helps his dad in the store, and Mary is an A student and a member of two hobby groups. But you are just good for nothing, a big guy with an evil look, in a torn school uniform, with bad marks and a black eye. The problem (and possibility) lies in the fact that this underachiever will never become a Basil, a Peter, a Nick, or a Mary even in theory. However, this doesn’t mean that he has no hope or his own formula for success. The dilemma is whether he should try to match his “successful” classmates or follow his own path.

If “agents” are replacing “structures” in modern international relations, maybe it is worth changing the analytical lens through which we look at “agents,” especially an unconventional agent like Russia. Maybe, we should proceed from the qualities of an “agent” rather than universal formulas with which we study “structures.” This issue is important from both methodological and political points of view. In the final count, we are talking about the sources of our political identity. We could look for it in a “structure,” trying to conform to a universal criterion. But we can also look for it in our own selves — our specifics, balance of strong and weak points, and eventually in our history and culture. It is possible that we will have to rediscover ourselves anew.

First published in the Valdai Discussion Club.

https://russiancouncil.ru/en/analytics-and-comments/analytics/russia-the-dilemmas-of-an-underachiever/
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How to Stop NATO – the Russian point of view about 70 years NATO

Global Review wants to give the Russian view of NATO a public. An interesting article is „How to stop NATO“ and the plan B  and we also recommend the study „Towards a more stable Russia-NATO relationship“ -product of the European Leadership Network and RIAC, the Russian´s foreign ministery´s think tank. It can be downloaded here:

https://russiancouncil.ru/papers/Towards-a-more-stable-Russia-NATO-relationship.pdf

Author: Andrey Kortunov

Ph.D. in History, Director General of the Russian International Affairs Council, RIAC member

Catherine the Great is credited with saying that the only way to secure the borders of the Russian Empire is to expand them continuously. This logic is to some degree applicable to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which embarked on a path of geographical enlargement quite literally from the very first days of its existence. Seven rounds of enlargement over the next 70 years brought NATO membership from 12 to 29 countries. And, from the look of things, the expansion will not stop there.

It is far from obvious that there is a linear correlation between the number of NATO members and the organization’s military and/or political effectiveness. Geographical enlargement comes at a cost: the accumulation of internal contradictions; the emergence of tensions among members with diverging interests; and occasional heated conflict within the group. A recent example of such a conflict is Turkey’s purchase of Russian S-400 Triumph anti-aircraft weapon systems and the failed attempts of the United States to scuttle the deal.

The sixth and seventh rounds of NATO enlargement into the chronically unstable and explosive region of the Western Balkans (Albania, Croatia and Montenegro) created more problems than significant new opportunities for the organization. The planned eighth round of enlargement (to include North Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina) also raises a number of questions as to the ability of the new members to strengthen the organization’s military potential and increase its overall security. The possible accession of Cyprus, not to mention that of Georgia and Ukraine, posits just as many questions.

The Logic Behind Enlargement

Alarmist voices can be heard from time to time in Europe and the United States calling for at least a temporary suspension of NATO’s endless and thoughtless enlargement and for its members to focus their attention on enhancing cooperation within the organization. The alarmists’ stance is clear: the expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization by including mostly “security consumers” puts the “security providers,” primarily the United States, in a difficult situation. The United States’ obligations to its European allies are mounting, while its security is not being strengthened. Last year, Donald Trump, in his typically outrageous manner, reminded the distinguished audience that a third world war might very well break out as a result of a crisis provoked by “aggressive” Montenegro.

Nevertheless, NATO’s ineluctable enlargement has its own logic and justifications, or can at least be explained.

One of these explanations is bureaucratic: each new member brings with it new personnel for the organization’s executive office, new budgets and targeted projects, and new instruments of exerting administrative pressure on old members. One look at NATO’s immense new headquarters, built two years ago at the cost of over $1 billion and taking up an area of over 250.000 square metres, is sufficient to understand why Brussels bureaucrats believe the enlargement process is rational.

Another explanation is legal: NATO cannot close its doors to potential new members without revising the 1949 North Atlantic Treaty, which that states in Article 10 that NATO membership is open to “any other European State in a position to further the principles of this Treaty and to contribute to the security of the North Atlantic area.” That is, NATO can reject specific applicants (the request of the Soviet Union was rejected in 1954, for example), but it cannot close its doors as a matter of principle. Revising or amending the founding Treaty under current circumstances is a purely hypothetical question.

A third explanation is economic: each subsequent candidate undertakes to modernize its weapons so that they comply with NATO standards. Accordingly, U.S. and European defence contractors gain a new market. It is not even important who ultimately pays for the modernization programme, the candidate or the United States itself, since in any case, the enlargement of the organization means new contracts and new profits for the politically influential defence industry.

And finally, the political explanation: enlargement is one of the principal instruments of legitimizing NATO. The constant flow of candidates wishing to accede to NATO means that any talk of the alliance being obsolete, ineffective or unneeded is groundless. Enlargement is a weighty argument for those who disagree with the diagnosis recently made by President of France, Emmanuel Macron, that NATO was experiencing „brain death.“

Supply and Demand

Given all of the above, it is unlikely that the further enlargement of NATO can be stopped through negotiations with the organization’s leadership or with its most influential members. While there are forces in both Washington and Brussels that oppose the endless process of NATO enlargement, their influence is clearly weaker than that wielded by the proponents of further expansion into the Balkans and possibly Eastern Europe. However, even if the desire to stop further enlargement once and for all dominated in the West today, enshrining this desire “for centuries to come“ in the form of legally binding agreements is virtually impossible.

Presidents and prime ministers come and go, the strategic and geopolitical landscape of the Euro-Atlantic space changes, and the concepts of threats and challenges to national security evolve. History, including that of the recent past, demonstrates that “where there’s a will, there’s a way” when it comes to getting out of any treaty if it no longer satisfies the leadership of a signatory country for whatever reason. Legal commitments inevitably recede into the background when it comes to political expediency. Especially when fundamental security interests of great powers are at stake.

If this is the case, then the further geographical enlargement of NATO should be counteracted not so much on the supply side as on the demand side. This requires understanding the specific motivation that drives the population and political elites of those countries that are currently in line for the long-sought-after entrance to the building on Boulevard Leopold III in Brussels.

Clearly, the issue of NATO membership takes different shapes in Tbilisi, Kyiv or Chisinau: the level of public support for NATO varies widely, and those in Eastern Europe who call for membership countries (let us note in parentheses that such people, even if they are presently few, can be found even in Belarus and Kazakhstan) have their own specific set of expectations when it comes to NATO membership. Nevertheless, we can distinguish three groups of incentives that push a part of the population in these countries, and especially part of their “establishment,” into joining NATO. These incentives are linked to security, identity and inclusivity. Let us consider each group in more detail.

Security

Naturally, not all security problems of the countries of Eastern Europe and the South Caucasus can be automatically eliminated by acceding to NATO, especially when it comes to new issues that have appeared on the global agenda this century. For instance, NATO has no particular reason to advertise its successes in counteracting climate change and illegal migration, or even in the fight against international terrorism. Moreover, involvement in NATO’s activities or participating in situational Euro-Atlantic coalitions can generate additional security risks for participating countries. A textbook example of this is the series of large-scale terrorist attacks at Madrid train stations on March 11, 2004, which, according to those responsible (Islamists), were perpetrated as a means of exacting revenge on Spain for its active role in the Iraq War. However, some former Soviet republics interpret national security primarily as security in relation to the supposed aggressive intentions and actions of Moscow, and all other security aspects are automatically moved down the national priority scale.

Is it realistic to offer the countries in the “shared neighbourhood” alternative options of protection against what they perceive as the “Moscow threat”? It should be immediately acknowledged that there is no full-fledged alternative to the military guarantees stipulated in Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty. But we should also remember that, frequently, those countries of Central Europe that have already become full-fledged NATO members do not even see Article 5 as a complete and sufficient guarantee of their security.

A heated discussion on the security of the Baltic countries in the face of “possible Russian aggression” following the outbreak of the Ukrainian crisis in 2014 served as another reminder of the profound uncertainty within these countries concerning the effectiveness of Article 5. It is probably no coincidence at all that Poland (a NATO member) has long been fighting to have U.S. troops and U.S. military facilities on its territory, since the country views NATO’s multilateral guarantees as insufficiently convincing.

If we strip Article 5 of its “sacral” and metaphysical meaning, then there are grounds for discussing alternative options for ensuring the security of the countries in the “shared neighbourhood.” Long-term and interconnected actions in two areas could potentially serve as a replacement for NATO enlargement.

In order to alleviate the security concerns of its neighbours, Russia needs to pay persistent, consistent and carefully considered attention to the eastern trajectory of its foreign policy. This work should be done no matter how grounded or divorced from reality these concerns appear to the Russian leadership. This task looks exceedingly difficult following the 2014 crisis, and it will take many years to resolve. Without going into detail, let us note that Russia’s success will, to a great degree, depend on its ability to effectively combine the military, political, diplomatic, public and humanitarian aspects of its approaches to its post-Soviet neighbours.

As for the western trajectory of its foreign policy, Russia should take NATO ‘s efforts to expand its cooperation with its partners as a given, as long as this cooperation does not turn into practical preparations for admitting new members to the alliance. Several neutral and non-aligned countries have experience of working in partnership with NATO without the explicit goal of joining the organization (for example, Finland, Sweden, Austria, Switzerland and the Republic of Ireland). Some of these countries participate in a number of the alliance’s programmes (in particular, the “Partnership for Peace” programme) and even hold joint exercises with NATO. They have also repeatedly deployed troops to support NATO operations in the Balkans and Afghanistan.

The attempts of some European countries to make up for the lack of multilateral guarantees from NATO by concluding bilateral agreements with the United States (following the example of Japan and South Korea) should also be viewed as inevitable. The effectiveness of these attempts will most likely depend above all on the state of U.S.–Russia relations. Whatever the case may be, however, it is highly unlikely right now that the United States will provide military guarantees to an Eastern European country.

Identity

It is well known that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is both a military bloc and a self-proclaimed “club of Euro-Atlantic democracies,” an alliance based on “western values.” During the 70 years of its history, the organization has not always lived up to this image: for instance, Turkey in the 1950s, or Greece at the time of the Regime of the Colonels could hardly qualify as democratic states. Nevertheless, the interconnection between NATO and political liberalism is evident. At the 1999 Washington summit, the attendees adopted a list of requirements for new members that included, among other things, the obligation to demonstrate a commitment to human rights and the rule of law and to organize the necessary democratic and civilian control over the national armed forces.

Consequently, the countries of Central and Eastern Europe have traditionally viewed NATO membership as both a security issue and a matter of identity. Belonging to North Atlantic Alliance also meant belonging to the Euro-Atlantic, or the western civilizational space as a whole. Historically, the countries of Central Europe and the Baltic began to drift towards NATO long before they pondered and legitimized their fears of the “revanchist” Russia.

Strictly speaking, during the 1990s and up to the 2014 crisis, Russia itself actively debated the possibility of acceding to NATO’s political bodies (for instance, the North Atlantic Council and the NATO Parliamentary Assembly). Even back then, the complete military integration of Russia into the organization seemed like an impossibility, or at least as a task for the foreseeable future. However, the idea of using the “French model” of political integration with NATO seemed possible during the period 1966–2009, when Paris did not take part in the activities of the Defence Planning Committee and the Nuclear Planning Group but continued to work in NATO’s political bodies and joined some of its military operations in 1995. The proponents of Russia’s gradual political integration with NATO believed this step would be an essential confirmation of the unalterable Euro-Atlantic orientation of Russia’s foreign political strategy.

Of course, it is clear to any politician in Central or Eastern Europe that, from the point of view of western identity, EU membership significantly outweighs NATO membership. However, becoming a member of the European Union is far more complicated than joining NATO. Accession to the European Union requires a far more profound (and more painful) socioeconomic and political transformation of the candidate country than NATO membership. It even took the United Kingdom 12 years (from 1961 to 1973) to become a member of the European Union.

Most countries of Central Europe and the Western Balkans (Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia) joined NATO first and later acceded to the European Union. In some cases, accession to both alliances was almost simultaneous (Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Slovakia and Slovenia), while in others, countries that are already NATO members are still waiting to join the European Union (for example, Albania and Montenegro). However, there has not been a single case of a former socialist country acceding to the European Union first and then to NATO. The current sentiments in EU leadership do not leave much hope that such a precedent will be set in the foreseeable future.

This experience leads Eastern European countries to the logical conclusion that NATO membership is an insufficient, yet requisite condition for acceding to the European Union. In the worst-case scenario, NATO membership can be seen as a “silver medal” of sorts in the historical race for western identity. Although Turkey’s experience demonstrates that, while a silver medal does not satisfy everyone, it is still better than withdrawing from the race.

Accordingly, if the objective is to stop the further territorial enlargement of NATO, then NATO and EU membership should be separated as far as possible. It would be useful here to rely on the rich experience of the non-aligned and/or neutral European states that are EU members: Finland, Sweden, Austria and the Republic of Ireland, whose European identity cannot be doubted. On the other hand, the attention of potential NATO members should be drawn to the fact that several countries that have long been NATO members have not come any closer to full-fledged EU membership.

Strengthening the “strategic autonomy” of the European Union could play a certain role in reducing the appeal of NATO membership for post-Soviet states. This, in turn, means that Russia should not perceive the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) programme in security and defence for the EU countries in a solely negative light. On the contrary, if this programme is successful, it could help lay down the foundations of long-term defence cooperation between Russia and Europe outside the framework of the highly toxic Russia–NATO relations.

Inclusivity

In addition to the important, yet somewhat abstract issue of “Euro-Atlantic identity,” Eastern European countries are faced with the no less important, but far more specific issue of their participation in practical everyday decision-making on matters of European security. Each country seeks to gain a seat at the table where the most pressing political and military issues — issues that are of direct relevance to them – are discussed. Nobody would like to find themselves in the position of an outside observer who does not have a say in this discussion, not to mention the right to veto decisions.

It should be acknowledged that in the 30 years since the end of the Cold War, Europe has failed to create sufficiently influential pan-European bodies that are capable of ensuring adequate and effective representation for all, including the continent’s smaller countries. Meanwhile, over the course of its 70-year history, NATO has established approximately 20 committees and councils of various kinds for all imaginable issues, from air traffic to public diplomacy. All these bodies are well staffed with officials and experts, have large budgets and, most importantly, enjoy close and stable ties with the relevant ministries and agencies in member states.

NATO has numerous national and international think tanks and leading European media outlets at its disposal. Any ambitious politician from a Central European or Balkan country can clearly see that working in the NATO executive office may prove to be a unique springboard to a high-flying career. Suffice it to recall the story of Croatian Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, who in 2015 moved from the office of Assistant Secretary-General of NATO for Public Diplomacy directly to the Presidential Palace in Croatia.

In short, NATO quite simply does not have any worthy institutional competitors on many specific security issues in Europe. This means that reducing the appeal of NATO for the countries in the “shared neighbourhood” will require attempts to strip the organization of its current monopoly on the European security agenda, which can be achieved by strengthening the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), developing regional cooperation mechanisms and creating inclusive pan-European regimes regulating individual dimensions of European security.

Europe does have a positive experience of „outsourcing“ its security issues. For instance, the very pressing problem of military flights over the Baltic Sea by aircraft that, as a matter of protocol, had their transponders turned on was ultimately settled not in the NATO–Russia Council, but by a special Baltic Sea Project Team created under the auspices of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

On the other hand, history demonstrates that adhering to a policy of neutrality that frees countries and their leaders from rigid bloc discipline can, under certain circumstances, afford them several additional opportunities in international affairs. Frequently, neutral states find it easier to propose original new ideas, act as unbiased intermediaries in acute conflicts and exhibit maximum flexibility in their foreign policies without having to agree to morally and ethically dubious compromises.

Let us once again refer to examples of such non-NATO states like Austria, Finland and Sweden, which have played an active role both in Europe and around the world for many decades now, sometimes being far more visible and effective than larger and more powerful NATO members. Thus, neutrality and non-alignment do not themselves always mean some kind of defective status. On the contrary, in certain circumstances, they can prove to be a significant comparative advantage on the international stage.

How about Plan B?

None of the proposals provided a guarantee that NATO will curtail its geographical enlargement. Sceptics will likely say that the current momentum of geographic expansion is too great, that NATO will continue its process of enlargement unless Russia and its partners fill the “geopolitical vacuum” in the “shared neighbourhood.” However, we should note that the attempts to fill that “geopolitical vacuum” in the three decades or so following the collapse of the Soviet Union have not been particularly successful, and that today, Russia is not surrounded exclusively by friendly neighbours. Even in the best-case scenario, it would take an extremely long time to create a reliable “good-neighbourliness belt” around Moscow. The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) that many in Russia view as potential “Eurasian” counterbalance to the North Atlantic Alliance is hardly capable of filling the “geopolitical vacuum” in the near future. While NATO continues the process of enlargement, the CSTO, on the contrary, is shrinking, as Azerbaijan, Georgia and Uzbekistan have all pulled out of the organization within the past ten years (Tashkent has even managed to leave the CSTO on two separate occasions, once in 1999 and again in 2012).

The idea that Russia could block the accession of former Soviet republics to NATO entirely by using the candidate requirements formulated at the 1999 Washington summit has gained widespread popularity in Moscow. The requirements state that potential members first resolve, by peaceful means, any international disputes, as well as any ethnic, territorial and political conflicts in which they are involved, in accordance with OSCE principles. Stoking the flames of smouldering territorial or other conflicts in neighbouring states could, in theory, block the paths of these countries to NATO membership indefinitely.

However, even if we put rather important moral and ethical considerations to one side, as a long-term strategy, this route will not necessarily bring the desired results. First, it is entirely possible that the requirements for candidates may be revised at a future NATO summit. The western expert community is already actively discussing proposals to “make an exception” for Tbilisi so that Georgia can accede to the organization despite its unresolved problems with Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Once this issue is resolved, nothing is stopping the expert community from turning their attention to Ukraine with a similar idea in mind.

Second, the existence of unresolved, albeit mostly frozen conflicts along Russian borders itself creates multiple large-scale national security threats. It is entirely unreasonable, to say the least, to construct a foreign policy based on the „lesser evil“ principle, since an always present „lesser evil“ could at some point turn out to be more dangerous than what was initially thought to be the “greater evil.”

There is another possible course of action, which is to observe NATO’s irresponsible enlargement dispassionately until the organization collapses under its own weight. If we are to believe Napoleon Bonaparte, all “great empires die of indigestion,” and there is no reason to suppose that NATO will be an exception to the rule. And, following the logic of the lesser-known British writer, historian and satirist Cyril Northcote Parkinson, NATO’s move to its ostentatious headquarters is a clear symptom of its approaching decline and inevitable collapse.

However, will a world without NATO be better for Russia than a world with NATO? Will it be better if Turkey or Germany start to think about acquiring their own nuclear weapons, while Poland attempts to create an anti-Russian “three seas” military and political alliance, uniting the states of Central Europe? Will it be better if another president of the United States turns out to be entirely free of all the obligations and restrictions imposed on him by NATO’s multilateral rules and procedures?

We should harbour no illusions regarding NATO: as it approaches its 70th anniversary, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization appears to be a clearly obsolete, very costly, exceedingly cumbersome and significantly fossilized organization that is stuck somewhere in the world of the middle of the last century. The organization is very poorly prepared to counteract the threats posited by networked non-state structures and the ever-increasing number of global problems and challenges. On the whole, the idea that security issues can be resolved on a territorial basis by creating a region of “absolute security” around oneself appears rather unconvincing, to put it mildly, in the age of globalization, especially given the ”project-based” approach to security that is rapidly gaining ground in the world today.

Nevertheless, we believe that the task is not to simply go back to a “world without NATO.” Nor is it to go back to a “world without nuclear weapons.” Any return to the past is not only impossible, but it is also undesirable, since the world of the past has never been the ideal for the future. The task is to replace the bloc security system inherited from the Cold War era with a new system that exceeds its predecessor in such critical parameters as openness, efficiency and reliability.

https://russiancouncil.ru/en/analytics-and-comments/analytics/how-to-stop-nato/
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Europe’s Greens as Future Strategic Partners of Russia

Global Review tried with Dr. Sasha Rahr to promote the idea of a Green Eurasia /Greater Europe and an ecological cooperation between a green Europe and Russia. We suffered many setbacks, but see now the new article by RIAC´s chief Dr. Kortunov as an programmatic support for our ideas.

Author: Andrey Kortunov

Ph.D. in History, Director General of the Russian International Affairs Council, RIAC member

When analyzing last month’s European Parliament elections, most observers primarily focus on the impressive results of the right-wing populists and Eurosceptics. Naturally, the advance of the right-wing parties is a major factor in the current political life of Europe. However, a factor that is of no lesser importance is the rather unexpected rise of Europe’s Greens, who were able to compete successfully with both right- and left-wing radicals and with the leading European centrist parties.

The Greens finished second in the polls in Germany and third in France. They also achieved noticeable successes in Finland, Portugal, Irefland, and even the United Kingdom, which will soon be leaving the European Union. As a result, the Greens became the fourth largest faction in the European Parliament. Unlike the right-wing populists, they are a very close-knit and highly purposeful group. There is every reason to believe that their rise will not stop there: a third of Europeans under 30 voted for them in the elections.

What does this mean for Moscow? The triumph of the Greens did not attract much enthusiasm from Russian politicians. And this is no coincidence. Traditionally, Russia has had difficult relations with European politicians of this particular persuasion. The political program of the Greens included environmental protection and combating climate change, emphasized human rights, called for increased attention to be paid to all kinds of minorities, and categorically rejected the notion of resolving international problems through the use of force.

Naturally, Moscow is the only target of Europe’s environmentalists. For instance, in the spring of 2003, the leader of Germany’s Greens Party and the then Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs Joschka Fischer did not hesitate in closing ranks with his Russian and French counterparts to condemn the U.S. intervention in Iraq. However, during the conflict in Georgia in August 2008 and after the onset of the Ukrainian crisis in 2014, Europe’s Greens were among the Kremlin’s harshest critics.

Nonetheless, despite the inevitable difficulties in cooperating with Europe’s Greens, they may become a crucial strategic partner for Russia in the future.

Russia’s environmental agenda is still taking shape. Attempts to create a “Green Party” in the country have not been particularly successful so far. However, the Russian people are interested in the development of such an agenda, and this demand is likely to keep growing in the foreseeable future. Suffice it to mention the recent scandals surrounding landfills, and this is just the tip of the iceberg!

What is more, the environmental agenda is not divisive. Quite the contrary, it brings people together. It offers a chance to overcome the political barriers that Russian society is accustomed to, such as the barriers between the left and the right, between conservatives and liberals, between nationalists and globalists. Today, Russia needs a unifying agenda more than ever. We can even suppose that environmental protection will, at some point become one of those national ideas that Russia’s political philosophers have been searching for in vain for several decades.

Another unique feature of the environmental agenda is its comprehensive nature. It affects all aspects of public life in one way or another. The environment is tied to issues of economic and social modernization, local self-governance, civil society, freedom of the press, human rights, technological progress, culture, and healthcare. A serious approach to environmental protection inevitably sets the chain reaction of renewing society and the state into motion.

On the other hand, the specifics of international environmental cooperation mean that it practically does not fall under the scope of the European sanctions imposed against Russia. Most likely, this will not change. Even the most intractable European critics of the Kremlin will hardly object to cooperation in environmental issues, because the environmental agenda is transnational by definition, and any major environmental problem in Russia will inevitably and rapidly generate consequences west of Russia’s borders.

Finland’s presidency in the European Union in July–December 2019 opens additional tactical opportunities for Russia in environmental issues. Finland is one of Europe’s unquestionable “environmental leaders”: it has cutting-edge technologies and boasts the best examples of Europe’s “environmentally friendly” corporate culture. Moscow has extensive experience of successful bilateral and multilateral environmental cooperation with Helsinki. For instance, the environment of the North was the focus of Finland’s recent two-year presidency of the Arctic Council.

Clearly, Russia’s environmental agenda will not be recognized by the European Union if it takes the form of another simulacrum intended to handle ad hoc foreign political tasks. However, if Russia does succeed in transforming environmental protection into a priority of its national development, and if environmental thinking does make protecting nature a fundamental national value, it will certainly have a positive influence on the attitude to Russia around the globe in general, and in Europe in particular.

And then the Greens may prove to be Russia’s most reliable partners both in the European Parliament and in the legislative bodies of individual EU countries.

https://russiancouncil.ru/en/analytics-and-comments/analytics/europe-s-greens-as-future-strategic-partners-of-russia/

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The Intellectual Vector: Where Russian Interventionism Is Imperative

Author: Dayan Jayatilleka

Ph.D., Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka to the Russian Federation

In an interesting contribution to a valuable volume, Prof T.V. Bordachev of the HSE Centre for Comprehensive European and International Studies makes a superbly insightful point: “Russia in Asia should play the role that France played in Europe at the dawn of European integration— the main intellectual engine of the new format of relations between the states [1] .”

In a period characterized by hysteria over alleged Russian intervention in everything from conflicts to elections, I would like to point out a deficit or indeed absence of such intervention in a vector it should, could and indeed must intervene: the intellectual vector. Just as the USA and France, Russia has been a seedbed of ideas and concepts during the period of Modernity, and still is, but with a difference. Unlike France and the USA, it has seemingly abandoned the vocation of the globalization of its ideas and concepts; of its very perspective.

In this brief note, I wish to spotlight a few thematic areas in which a Russian intellectual intervention is imperative and feasible. These are the Cold war and the clash of contending world orders in the 21st century, the phenomenon and problems of globalization and the Greater Eurasia concept/project.

The Battle of (Big) Ideas

While a vast number of books on the end and the history of the Cold War have been published in the West, with widely diverse perspectives; of the Cold War seen teleologically, from the standpoint of how it ended, there isn’t a single major, recognized Russian work, even an anthology, in English—which for better or worse, is a quasi-universal language—on the same theme and topic. Thus, teleological western perspectives of contemporary history dominate if not monopolize, by default.

The same is true of perspectives of the post-Cold war world. The ‘big ideas’ framing the future of the post-Cold war world came from the West, from Fukuyama and Huntington (and others with less impact, like Robert Kaplan). There is a dearth of ‘big ideas’ from Russia for and of the world, in the English language. Were there counters in Russia to Fukuyama and Huntington? Were there the counter-perspectives from Russia to neoliberalism and neoconservatism as paradigms or even as conceptual frameworks? Was there an ideology or doctrine from Russia that is a counter to both neoliberalism and neoconservatism? Did the Third Rome venture a Third Ideology, a Third Doctrine, not just for itself, but for and of the world—not only Russian versions/variants of neoliberalism and neoconservatism, of either Fukuyama or Huntington? There cannot be a third space in ideas globally without such a Russian intervention in ideology and political thought.

 (If I may strike a personal note, I have ventured an alternative narrative and explanatory framework from the global South. The Fall of Global Socialism—A Counter-Narrative from the South | D. Jayatilleka | Palgrave Macmillan).

Eurasia, Greater Eurasia

In the aftermath of the important recent conference “5 years of the ‘Greater Eurasia’ concept : issues and accomplishments” held at the Higher School of Economics, Moscow, and the question that was posed at the conference „What is to be done?“, I suggest that one of the intellectual tasks is to create a Eurasian/Greater Eurasian intelligentsia and a Greater Eurasian Idea, which I might add is not coterminous with the ‘The idea of Greater Eurasia’.

In developing a Greater Eurasian Idea, the future work requires both institutional and intellectual thrusts. The institutional work simply means that in a situation in which there seem to be no academic institutions, be they universities, think tanks, or centers of Advanced Studies, dedicated explicitly and specifically to Greater Eurasia or at least Eurasia itself, these should be created. A network of such institutions will be the material basis or substructure of the creation of a greater Eurasian intelligentsia.

But still more important is the Greater Eurasia Idea, which goes beyond the idea of Greater Eurasia, and develops an idea of a greater Eurasian perspective and world outlook. One of the most important means of a Greater Eurasian idea is that of excavation. By this I mean an exploration and auditing of the ideas of thinkers (including political leaders) past and present, of and from Greater Eurasia, about the existing world order and a more desirable world order. I refer not only to the ancient wisdom from this area, but much more importantly, the thinking from the period of Modernity, encompassing personalities such as Sun Yat-sen (China), Rabindranath Tagore, MN Roy (India), Renato Constantino (Philippines) and Soedjatmoko (Indonesia).

Such an audit can take the form of a multivolume anthology of writings and speeches, but would need to be extended to tracing the alternative models of a world order that was suggested by thinkers from Greater Eurasia, resulting in a conceptual reconstitution or ‘holographic projection’ of such an alternative world order.

The crucial questions concerning Eurasia and Greater Eurasia are those of architecture and organization. At the heart of such questions is that of the all-important ‘Primakovian’ triangle the RIC, i.e. Russia, India, China, which Lenin in his last published writing of March 1923, said would determine the direction of the world’s destiny. What are the structural relations that are possible in the ensemble R-I-C? Should or should not other powers be included in it? Should the architecture of Eurasia and Greater Eurasia be one of concentric circles and what criteria would determine which circle which power is in—or would that change situationally?

The history of the Russian Revolution of 1917 demonstrated the crucial strategic importance of organization exemplified by the two models or types: Menshevik and Bolshevik. The organizational or architectural question—though the two terms may not be identical—can also be used in the international arena. Decades after the Bolshevik-Menshevik split, the pith and substance of the Bolshevik organizational philosophy was summed up by Lenin in his later writings, with the phrase “Better Fewer, but Better”—meaning quality over quantity.

In today’s global context it will mean grappling with the problem that the Chinese Communists raised in the early 1960s, namely „friendly and fraternal“, which they posed as a choice „do you support the friendly or the fraternal states?“ Thankfully in today’s context, such a zero-sum game is not necessary, but the question remains of priority and hierarchy. Should the relations ship between those states which face a military strategic, and in some cases, existential, threat from a common source, have a relationship of a qualitatively higher level than those who do not, however powerful and friendly the latter may be? Should a new global architecture or a new global policy privilege such relationships, especially in a context of real or attempted global encirclement of Eurasia?

The complex problem is made slightly easier when one recalls that the tighter and looser, qualitative and quantitative, Bolshevik and Menshevik organizational models were in fact merged in the 1930s formula of the Anti-Fascist Popular Front, which had a national and broader international version. Does the thinking of Stalin, Dimitrov, Gramsci and Togliatti have an international relevance and applicability today in the face of a project of global encirclement, grand strategic offensive to preserve unipolarity and wage globalized hybrid war? What would a global united front or bloc against unipolarity, war and intervention look like in the current context?

State, the Nationalities Question and Terrorism

The theoretical, strategic and policy questions that await a perspective by Russian and Eurasian thinkers are at least three:

  1. How to reconcile the contradiction between state sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity on the one hand and the right of self-determination of nations and nationalities on the other. What are the limits of state sovereignty and of the right of nations to self-determination, respectively? Where does one stop and the other start?
  2. How to reconcile the contradiction between the need for strong sovereign states, and forms of autonomy or regions and peoples? What are the non-federal forms of autonomy that can be designed for states in which federalization is strongly felt, for historical reasons, to be fissiparous?
  3. What are the universal criteria by which legitimate struggles of resistance and for liberation can be distinguished from terrorism? Is it not possible for a global consensus reflected in a universal charter to be signed which unconditionally rejects the intentional targeting of unarmed civilians as a legitimate tactic of struggle, and registers this as the defining criteria of terrorism , irrespective of the causes involved, however legitimate, and while remaining agnostic of the issue of armed resistance/armed liberation struggles as such?

Globalization

As Marx made clear in the Communist Manifesto, capitalism was a globalized and globalizing system (which Immanuel Wallerstein was to call a ‚world system‘). What then is new about ‚globalization‘? „Globalization“ refers to the collapse of an alternative and parallel socialist system, and the incorporation of Russia and China in the world economy, which is essentially capitalist in character; a capitalist world economy. The problem, indeed the root of the crisis today is not globalization per se, it is the specific form of globalization which can be summed up as neoliberal globalization at the economic level and unipolar globalization at the geopolitical and geostrategic level. That is what I call asymmetric globalization.

The contradictions arising from these two specific forms of globalization has resulted in a hydra-headed reaction which threatens globalization itself. Therefore, globalization has to change if it is to survive and resume its pace. The dangerously false choice of “globalization or no globalization”, “globalization or de-globalization”, should be reframed. Thus, the question should be, what kind of globalization and who benefits from it? The search must be to define a model that is not an alternative TO globalization but an alternative model OF globalization. My own view is that the real choice must be framed as ‘neoliberal and unipolar globalization or Alt-globalization?’ as I call it, or ‘Asymmetric Globalization, Anti-Globalization or Alt-Globalization?’

Multipolarity

There are two conceptual problems which have to be cleared up regarding multipolarity. The first is the increasing tendency to either conflate multipolarity and multilateralism and or to surrender the project of multipolarity and settle for multilateralism. The second problem is the question of how to arrive in a multipolar world. As for the first problem, it should be clear that a multipolar and multilateral world order is the desirable goal, but that these two aspects are separable and the multipolar aspect is more important than the multilateral one. In the post-Cold War period, the western liberals used multilateralism in service of the unipolar project, while the neoconservatives did so only exceptionally or hardly at all, but the essence was the same: a unipolar hegemonistic policy. Multilateralism is an institutional pathway which is preferable to unilateralism, but the central issue is not the institutional aspect of the world order, but the politico-military aspect of the world order; the aspect of power. The (Leninist) question is “which will prevail?” The unipolar project or the multipolar project will prevail?

The second problem area concerning multipolarity is that of the transition. How will we get from here to there? From the unipolar project to a multipolar world order? As in the old question of the transition from capitalism to socialism, there are the mechanistic and evolutionary interpretations; the ones that say that the transition will take place inevitably and inexorably, as a result of the working out of the process of historical change; indeed, as an evolution. A Realist interpretation would hold however, that the transition will involve a protracted struggle along all vectors, taking place over an entire historical period, and which will involve a tipping of the scales in favour of Greater Eurasia with Eurasia as its core.

The West

The conventional attitude to the West in the world as a whole is either that it remains the fount of all enlightened norms and values or that it is in irretrievable decline and decay, incapable of yielding anything of value. There is, however, a third possibility, namely that the West is in deep crisis and from within that crisis a surprising new development may arise which Eurasia and Greater Eurasia may do well to regard with objectivity and open-mindedness. The great surprise arising from the West is that in the USA, recent polls show that 50% of millennials regard ‘socialism’ as positive, and that the mainstream US Democratic party has shifted to the Left. Similarly, in the UK, the mainstream opposition Labour Party is led by a leftwing anti-interventionist personality. Is this potential or latent transformation in and of the West, an essential component in the transition to a truly multipolar world?

Russia’s intellectual intervention in these and other areas of contemporary concern is imperative and needs to be globalized, in order for Russia to fulfil the role of the ‘intellectual engine of the new format of relations between the states’ (Bordachev, 2019).

***

These are the purely personal views of the author.

With the election of a new President in Sri Lanka, this writer’s tenure as Sri Lanka’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Russian Federation concludes at the end of this year.

1. ‘What Russia can give to Asia?’, Russia in the Forming Greater Eurasia, Problems of Geography, Volume 148, eds. VM Kotlyakov, VA Shuper, Moscow Kodeks Publishing House 2019, p. 71

https://russiancouncil.ru/en/analytics-and-comments/analytics/the-intellectual-vector-where-russian-interventionism-is-imperative/

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70 years NATO – China for the first time as a „possible threat“


The 70th Anniversary of NATO was marked by many disagreements in the Alliance. Macron’s statement that NATO was brain-dead and needed a policy debate was only one point of controversy, alongside Erdogan’s rapproachment to Russia and his call to brand the Kurdish YPG fighters in northern Syria, hitherto supported by the West, as terrorists. What was surprising about the meeting was that Trump rejected Macron’s comments, pushing for a burden-sharing and higher defense spending by the Allies but attesting NATO’s progress over the past three years, contrary to his earlier statements that NATO was „obsolete“. Macron intends to move closer to Russia, start a new detente with Putin to relieve pressure on the European central front to get more NATO resources for the South: Africa and the Near and Middle East. France has long pushed for a Mediterranean Union in the EU and is now trying to do so in NATO.

The Eastern Europeans, on the other hand, see NATO’s main area of ​​activity as against Russia in the east, and Trump wants to withdraw from the Middle East, with the exception of Iran. Trump sees Russia as Macron not the main enemy of the Alliance, is also considering a detente with Putin-Russia, especially as he wants to prevent that in the Sino-American conflict Russia allies with China and for Africa, he sees especially the AFRICOM in Stuttgart responsible.

Macron, some European countries and Trump would like to make a detente with Russia and also strengthen the European pillar inside NATO except Great Britain. But most European countries don´t think that an European military could replace NATO as Macron, Joschka Fischer or the Spinelli Group inside the European Parliament want. At this point, it´s more Grand Nation thinking of Macron who wishes an European military with France as the leading power. Most European countries do not believe that a European military could replace NATO, but Macron, Joschka Fischer, or the Spinelli faction in the European Parliament warn that Europe should not wait for the next Trump tweet, in which he dissolves NATO and then be unprepared and defenseless. Therefore, Joschka Fischer suggests that Europe should now behave and act as if Trump had already disolved the alliance and quickly build their own European force More engagement in Africa and the Near and Middle East is what the South Europeans, France , Great Britain and Germany want, but not the East Europeans. The refugee crisis, resources and markets and Islamism is the reason for it as well as these powers don´t want that these regions become exclusive spheres of influence for China and Russia. And France and Great Britain also have traditional interest in and connections with their former colonies –be it the Commonwealth or the francophone zone.

Trump’s main focus is on China and Iran. It was also significant that for the first time NATO declared China a potential threat. Trump has thus brought an important point in the Sino-American conflict now also in the Western Alliance. However, this is overdue, as NATO can no longer ignore the rise of China. In the military sense, this does not mean anything, because NATO will not have the Indo-Pacific and Asia as its area of ​​operations, but more diplomatic and economic support for the USA is needed, including 5 G , Huawei and security issues. Similarly, there is only talk of a possible threat, so it remains vague, as well as China is defined as a challenge and as an opportunity. The NATO leader meeting also emphasizes that China is not an enemy. It was also stressed that China should be included in an arms control agreement between the West and Russia.

The NATO leader meeting was accompanied by the scandal over the exiled Chechen murdered in Berlin. Although the murder is already older date now the scandal seems to come as timely as the Skripalaffair in London during the Olympic Games in Sochi. A Russian hitman was arrested, two Russian diplomats expelled and Russian spies were arrested in France. Two possibilities: Putin wants to show similar to the Soviet Union with the assassination of the Ukrainian dissident Bandera in Munich that his power is sufficient even against protests of the West to terminate dissidents in exile or anti-Russian forces wanted to counteract a detente with Moscow and propel a change of mind in the Western public.

A former diplomat commented on this:

„The Moabit case is becoming virulent not only in connection with the NATO summit, but in the immediate forefront of the FRA-GERMANY-RUS-UKR meeting in the so-called Normandie format. Cui bono?

The case is reminiscent of the Bandera murder in Munich during the Cold War. The Chechen in Berlin (no Georgians) was in close contact with Georgian (Saakashvili) offices and also US institutions. He was one of the sharpest opponents of Kadyrov and its protectors. After it was no longer safe for him in Tbilisi, he came to Berlin in 2017. Here he received material and political support from the Heinrich Böll Foundation (Fücks and Marie-Luise Beck), from the funds of a cooperation program of the HBS with the Soros Foundation (all data of the Tagesspiegels shortly after the murder).

So a gray zone. But it would be a scandal of the first order, if, for example, the GRU would use contract killers here in Berlin.

We live in a peace on the brink of war. Wolfgang Ischinger is right when he writes that the situation has long since ceased to be as unstable and dangerous as it is today. And I admit: you were right when you wrote that the biggest risk is a major Sino-American conflict. “

In addition, there is also the Ukraine summit and an Ukrainian oligarch was arrested in Germany who is supposed to have incriminating evidence against Trump in the impeachment process. Everything is a bit opaque. Anyway, Merkel drove undisturbed to the Ukraine summit in Normandy format and stressed that she wanted to wait quietly for further investigations.

In the meantime, the Ukraine summit has been completed, a ceasefire has been agreed, a prisoner exchange and the withdrawal from the front line. Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer has demanded a tougher line against Russia, Putin now expelled German diplomats in return. Putin also appears to have indirectly endorsed the murder of the exile Chechen in a press conference. Putin said the murdered exiled Chechen had been involved in the bombing of Russian civilians in the Moscow subway, making him a terrorist and outlaw. However, what sort of freedom fighter and Democrats are Beck, Fücks, the Heinrich Böll Foundation, Soros and the USA supporting?


The Chechen resistance is a crude mix of hardcore jihadists who once attacked the Moscow opera with black widows or children at the Beslan school and wanted to kill Russian hostages, Islamists, militant nationalists and a few secular Democrats. And in the West, in the past, people never looked so closely who they actually supported. At the time of the Cold War, support was extended to Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden or, in the case of Syria, to the Muslim Brothers and other Islamists who wanted to topple Assad with their Islamist assassination militia to establish an Islamist dictatorship. Israel also liquidated Palestinian terrorists of the Black September after their attack on the 1972 Olympics in Munich, without there being any complaints from the West.

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70 Jahre NATO- China erstmals als „mögliche Bedrohung“

Der 70jährige Jubiliäumstreffen der Führer der NATO war von vielerlei Uneinigkeit in dem Bündnis gekennzeichnet. Macrons Äußerung, dass die NATO hirntot sei und es eine Grundsatzdebatte bräuchte, war da nur ein Streitpunkt, neben Erdogans Annäherung an Russland sowie seiner Forderung die bisher vom Westen unterstützten kurdischen YPG-Kämpfer in Nordsyrien als Terroristen zu brandmarken. Überraschend an dem Treffen war, dass Trump Macrons Äußerungen zurückwies, zwar auf Lastenteilung und höhere Verteidigungsausgaben der Verbündeten drängte, aber der NATO gute Fortschritte i den letzten 3 Jahren attestierte.- ganz entgegen seinen früheren Äußerungen, dass die NATO „obsolet“sei. Macron beabsichtigt eine Annäherung an Russland, eine neue Detente mit Putin um an der europäischen Zentralfront Entlastung zu schaffen, um mehr NATO-Resourcen für den Süden-Afrika und den Nahen und Mittleren Osten zu bekommen. Frankreich hatz schon lange in der EU auf eine Mittelmeerunion gedrängt und versucht dies nun auch in der NATO.

Die Osteuropäer hingegen sehen das Hauptaufgabengebiet der NATO wie gehabt im Osten gegen Russland und Trump möchte sich aus dem Nahen und Mittleren Osten zurückziehen-mit Ausnahme des Irans. Trump sieht in Russland wie Macron nicht den Hauptfeind des Bündnisses, erwägt auch eine Detente mit Putin-Russland, zumal er verhindern möchte dass bei dem sinoamerikanischen Konflikt sich Russland mit China verbündet und für Afrika sieht er vor allem das in Stuttgart stationierte AFRICOM zuständig.

Macron, einige europäische Länder und Trump möchten mit Russland eine Entspannung herbeiführen und auch die europäische Säule innerhalb der NATO mit Ausnahme Großbritanniens stärken. Aber die meisten europäischen Länder glauben nicht, dass ein europäisches Militär die NATO ersetzen könnte, wie es Macron, Joschka Fischer oder die Spinelli-Fraktion im Europäischen Parlament wollen, die davor warnen, Europa solle nicht den nächsten Trumptweet abwarten, in dem er die NATO auflöst und dann unvorbereitet und schutzlos dastehen. Daher schlägt Joschka Fischer vor, dass Europa sich jetzt schon so verhalten solle, als habe Trump das Bündnis schon aufgekündigt und rasch eine eigene europäische Streitmacht aufbauen.

An diesem Punkt denkt Macron nostalgisch in Kategorien der Grand Nation und wünscht ein europäisches Militär mit Frankreich als Führungsmacht. Mehr Engagement in Afrika sowie im Nahen und Mittleren Osten wünschen sich die Südeuropäer, Frankreich, Großbritannien und Deutschland, nicht aber die Osteuropäer. Die Flüchtlingskrise, die Ressourcen und Märkte und der Islamismus sind der Grund dafür, und diese Mächte wollen nicht, dass diese Regionen zu exklusiven Einflussbereichen für China und Russland werden. Und auch Frankreich und Großbritannien haben traditionelles Interesse an und Verbindungen zu ihren früheren Kolonien – sei es das Commonwealth oder die frankophone Zone.

Trumps Hauptaugenmerk ist China und der Iran.So war es auch bezeichnend, dass die NATO erstmals China zur möglichen Bedrohung erklärte. Trump hat damit einen wichtigen Punkt bei der sinoamerikanischen Konflikt nun auch ins westliche Bündnis eingebracht. Gleichwohl ist dies überfällig, da die NATO den Aufstieg Chinas nicht länger ignorieren kann. Militärisch bedeutet dies erst mal nichts, da die NATO nicht den Indopazifik und Asien als ihr Einsatzgebiet haben wird, mehr diplomatische und wirtschaftliche Unterstützung der USA gefragt sind, sei es auch in Bezug auf 5 G, Huawei und Sicherheitsfragen. Ebenso ist nur von einer möglichen Bedrohung die Rede, es bleibt also noch vage, wie auch von China als Herausforderung und als Chance. Zudem wird auch betont, dass China kein Feind sei. Desweiteren wurde betont, dass man China in ein Rüstungskontrollabkommen zwischen dem Westen und Russland einbeziehen wolle.

Begleitet war das NATO-Führertreffen von dem Skandal um den in Berlin ermordeten Exiltschetschenen. Der Mord ist zwar schon älteren Datums scheint nun aber so zeitgerecht wie die Skripalaffaäre in London während der Olympischen Spiele in Sotschi zu kommen. Ein russicher Auftragskiller wurde verhaftet, zwei russische Diplomaten ausgewiesen und in Frankreich russische Spione verhaftet. Entweder Putin will ähnlich wie die Sowjetunion beim Banderamord in München zeigen, dass seine Macht ausreicht, auch gegen Proteste des Westens Oppositionelle zu exektuieren oder aber antirussische Kräfte wollten einer Detente mit Moskau propagandistisch entgegenwirken und einen Meinungsumschwung herbeiprovozieren.

Ein ehemaliger Diplomat kommentierte dazu:

„Der Fall Moabit wird nicht nur im Zusammenhang mit dem NATO-Gipfel virulent, sondern im unmittelbaren Vorfeld des Treffens FRA-DEU-RUS-UKR im sog. Normandie-Format. Cui bono?

Der Fall erinnert an den Bandera-Mord in München während des Kalten Krieges. Der Tschetschene in Berlin (kein Georgier) stand in engem Kontakt mit georgischen (Saakaschwili)-Stellen und auch US-Institutionen. Er gehörte zu den schärfsten Gegnern von Kadyrow und dessen Protektoren. Nachdem es für ihn in Tbilissi nicht mehr sicher war, kam er 2017 nach Berlin. Hier bekam er materielle und politische Unterstützung von der Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung (Fücks und Marie-Luise Beck), aus den Mitteln eines Kooperationsprogramms der HBS mit der Soros-Foundation (alles Angaben des Tagesspiegels kurz nach dem Mord).

Also eine Grauzone. Doch es wäre ein Skandal erster Ordnung, wenn etwa die GRU hier in Berlin Auftragskiller einsetzen würde. 

Wir leben in einem Frieden am Rande des Krieges. Wolfgang Ischinger hat recht, wenn er schreibt, dass die Lage seit langem nicht mehr so instabil und gefährlich war wie heute. Und ich räume ein: Sie hatten recht, als Sie schrieben, dass das größte Risiko ein sino-amerikanischer Großkonflikt ist.“

Zudem steht auch noch der Ukrainegipfel an und wurde in diesem Zusammenhang auch noch ein ukrainischer Oligarch in Deutschland verhaftet, der belastendes Material gegen Trump im Impeachmentverfahren haben soll. Alles etwas undurchsichtig. Jedenfalls fuhr Merkel ungestört zu dem Ukrainegipfel im Normandieformat und betonte dass sie erst einmal ruhig die weiteren Ermittlungen abwarten wolle.

Inzwischen ist der Ukrainegifpfel abgeschlossen, hat man eine Waffenruhe beschlossen, einen Gefangenenaustausch und den Rückzug von der Frontlinie. Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer hat eine härtere Linie gegen Russland gefordert, Putin nun deutsche Diplomaten im Gegenzug ausgewiesen. Putin scheint zudem in einer Pressekonferenz indirekt den Mord an den Exiltschetchenen gebilligt zu haben. Putin erklärte der ermordete Exiltschetschene sei in den Bombenanschlag auf russische Zivilisten in der Moskauer U-Bahn verwickelt gewesen, womit er ihn zum Terroristen und für vogelfrei erklärt.

Fraglich ist aber welche Sorte Freiheitskämpfer und Demokraten Beck, Fücks, die Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung. Soros und die USA da unterstützen. Der tschetschenische Widerstand ist ja ein kruder Mix aus Hardcore-Dhschihadisten, die auch mal die Moskauer Oper mit Schwarzen Witwen oder Kinder in der Schule von Beslan als Geißel ofern wollten, Islamisten, militanten Nationalisten und ein paar säkularen Demokraten. Und im Westen wurde in der Vergangenheit nie so genau hingesehen, wen man da eigentlich unterstützt. Die Unterstützung reichte ja zu Zeiten des Kalten Kriegs auch bis zu Al Kaida und Osama Bin Laden oder im Falle Syrien zu den Muslimbbrüdern und anderen Islamisten, die mit ihren islamitischen Mordbrennermilizen Assdad stürzen wollte, um eine islamistische Diktatur zu errichten. Israel liquidierte ja auch palästinensische Terroristen des Schwarzen Septembers nach ihrem Anschlag auf die Olympiade 1972 in München, ohne dass es da Beschwerden des Westens gegeben hatte.

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Some basic thoughts on the Chinese opposition movement



First the Chinese opposition should have a common sense or find a compromise for a united front and ask itself which sort of New China she would like to have:


• A Western democracy, be it representative democracy as in Germany or presidential democracy in the USA (as represented by Fang Lizhi, Hu Ping or Weijingsheng)


• A Democracy with Chinese characters (first of all it would be necessary to clarify how it would look like and this would be a long process, since one can not refer to already existing models, maybe even India).
• Chinese Singapore semi-authoritarian democracy with rule of law and prevalence of a reformed CP China or other parties


• Return to the collective leadership of the Communist Party of China without social bonus system – one-party dictatorship instead of one-man-dictatorship with a totalitarianism


The last point would be unacceptable to the democracy movement, be only the demand of Xi-Jinping opponents within the Communist Party of China which could be in greater proportions and could be a result of  an escalation of Simo-American trade war, even a war, an imperial overstretch by the New Silk Road Xi’s cleansing orgies against KP internal critics, a financial or economic crisis that calls into question the legitimacy of the Communist Party as a developmental dictatorship, leading to a fractionalization, a power struggle within, even a split, of the Communist Party of China.

The Chinese democratic-secular opposition must therefore also think about who are allies for which goal. To what extent an alliance of the secular-democratic forces without CP dissidents and neo-religious-authoritarian Falungong is set, whether one wants an alliance with the Falungong, whether one wants an alliance with Communist Party dissidents – perhaps with the offer of a democracy with Chinese characteristics ( although one could put the clarification of the democratic form of society also after a seizure of power, but which would postpone the conflict, that also new authoritarian movements can creep in, which verbally advocates democracy, but abolish it after seizing power, especially since it is to be feared that the negotiation process in the post-CP China  could bring a paralyzing dispute between the various groups that cause instability) or a Chinese Singapore, which, however, does not question the role of a leader party`s existence as far as it reforms. As long as these issues are not offensively discussed and clarified, there is no prospect of a common strategy for the Chinese opposition, which is already marginalized at home and abroad anyway.


Other key issues that still have to be clarified, but which largely arise from the former, are the question of central state/federalism, the role of the military and the economy, and how one wants to reach the youth and which groups of the population will be addressed for mobilization.

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The Falungong- China’s Power to overthrow the CP China?



The Falungong was founded by Li Hongzhi as a meditation movement and neo-Buddhist-Daoist sect, claiming that all Buddhism in China is a „buffalo horn Buddhism“ that has become increasingly constricted and no longer promotes the truth of Chinese traditions and culture That is why Li Hongzhi’s Falugong is the hoped-for the broadening of the buffalo horn, the demolition of existing constrictions, and the ultimate liberation and redemption. Buddhism and Daoism in the West tend to think of peaceful, nature-oriented, ecologically esoteric-harmonic movements, of the Dalai Lama, but there are other forms of Buddhism  for example, the fundamentalist Buddhist monastic movement in Myanmar, fanatically militant against the Rohingya. The fact that there could also be fundamentalist forms of Buddhism is as overlooked as Islamism was because of the liberal-democratic and Marxist historical materialism (Histomat), which neglected a potential  political role of religion, much as the US and the Soviet Union did in the face of the Islamist revolution in Iran and how Dmitry Asinovsky retrospectively describes this in his article „How Experts, Intelligence Services and Politicians of the Two Superpowers Missed the Birth of Islamic Fundamentalism“ in Russia in Global Affairs.


The fact that the Falungon is by no means limited to China in its proselytizing and mussionary activities , but has the whole world in the field, is also evident in the fact that she founded her groups in numerous countries, trains her Dafa elites and also publishes her publications multilingual.

Essentially, there are three main world missionary fundamental religious movements that are pushing for world domination: Islamism, Evangelicalism, and the Falungong, although the Falungong is suppressed by CP China and it spreads a largely positive, harmless image as a victim in the West, never even in power could be the culprit. The Hinduism of the Indian BJP is more regionally limited, the other Buddhism as well. The Orthodox Church of Russia and Ukraine are currently segregating themselves and submitting themselves as identities to the nationalist ambitions of Putin and Poroshenko. A purportedly Buddhist movement such as the Falungong has yet no one on the radar in the consideration of religious fundamentalism, even if Li Hongzhi with vlaims that all other established Buddhism is wrong and „buffalo horn Buddhism“ quasi claiming the absolute truth for his Falungong. Another change to traditional Buddhism of Li Hongzhi was the introduction of the „Yeli“, the evil power, who made this purportedly Buddhist doctrine dualistic and antagonistic  and designed  the CPC as this evil power and challenge of the forces of the heavens and the only sin against  the forces of nature and of the Dao as well as of the sky.

The CPC initially supported the Falungong as an outlet valve for politically disappointed people of the Tianmen massacre, as well as frustrated Chinese people, who were supposed to relieve their frustration in some meditation exercises. A bit of exercise, harmony and peacefulness, some body movement is good, that one does not let his mind slide too much into political things except the Communist Party of China propaganda. So a kind of gym, wellness movement brand Far East, for the inner well-being of their participants and the CPC- The CP China offered its dissatisfied subjects a kind of Aldi a Walmart  mass Buddhism that also became mass-compatible through its simplistic meditation practices. The CP China hoped for a kind of Chinese Jane Fonda, including aerobic exercise, that would dissolve grim thoughts through exercise therapy, while Li Hongzhi  linked His date of birth with that of the Gautama Buddha at an early age, and this whole irrational nonsense was legitimized by the Communist Party of China and enjoyed state support. Li Hongzhi became a CCP-promoted mega-guru, who then turned against his creator just like Frankenstein’s monster.

Because of this, Li Hongzhi and his Falungong were also initially funded by the Communist Party of China, even overloaded with para and pseudo-scientific prizes from state institutions. Such nonsense was represented with the support of state institutions that gold could be made from iron by means of Falungong meditation and that matter could be converted by means of mental power into precious substances. Millions of Chinese people meditated in China in all public places and privately. The Falungong grew into a mass movement, according to a study by the Communist Party of China, they even had 100 million followers. The decisive change came when Li Hongzhi propagated the formation of so-called Dafa elites and irrationally challenged the scientific nature of the dogmas of the Communist Party of China. As a result, the Chinese Communist Party, through a professor, questioned the scientific and societal benefits of the Falungong, which it saw as an attack on itself.


In addition, Bill Clinton saw and supported both the Democratic Party of China and the Falungong as democratizing forces in China, especially since China joined the Human Rights Pact in 1998 and the USA wanted to test the pact through party registration of the Democratic Party of China and if the CPC would take it seriously. The Democratic Party of China was simply banned, and the Falungong carried out its first public demonstration in front of the Chinese government headquarters in Beidahe. The then President Jiang Zemin was quite angry, how it can come to such demonstrations so open and why one has learned nothing from the suppression ala 1989, especially since there have been such religious movements in Chinese history before, be it the Yellow Lotus or the Taiping revolt. Why this liberality? Jiang Zemin then ordered the Falungong being banned, founded the 610 Office, which devoted itself exclusively to the suppression and persecution of the Falungong. Jiang Zemin wanted to smash the support network as well as the previous state support for the Falungong.


The question is whether the Falungong could convert their 100 million support network after the ban into an underground network of Li Hongzhi’s early propagated Dafa elites, so if there could still be a hardcore of 2 million or similar dimensions that went underground and who are  subversively waiting for their coming chance of overthrowing the CP China. Li Hongzhi fled early to the United States because he wanted the confrontation with the Communist Party of China and brought himself preventively to safety to spread anti-Communist propaganda from abroad. Li Hongzhi published  the 9 comments on the CP China, which openly called for the overthrow of the CP China, launched a party exit campaign, which, however, showed no significant success, especially as the Falungong fantasized even mendacious desire figures of 90 million CCP withdrawals. Meanwhile, she operates by means of her Cultural program ShenYun, which is touring through the US and Europe, wants to present itself as the true representative of Chinese culture alongside China’s Confucius Institutes. In addition, she publishes the multilingual „Epoch Times,“ which co-operates with right-wing populists and right-wing extremists, as a broadcast by  the Team Walraff has revealed and is increasingly turning into a Breitbart-based Chinese ala Steve Banon. She has also led a campaign accusing the CPC of organ harvesting s from detained Falungong followers and slaughtering and exterminating them.

There is no information about the domestic work of the Falungong in China, and apart from a Tiananmen self-immolation, there were no serious actions by the Falungong in China anymore, but that does not mean that it does not yet have a underground network that can support itself In as much as there should be this Falungong underground network, it is likely to outstrip that of the secular-democratic opposition. And the father of the democracy wall movement Wei Jingsheng pleaded just for the use and cooperation with this imaginary underground network, while the rest of the secular-democratic opposition emphasize the leader-centered, authoritarian nature of the Falungong, the possibility that in the event of toppling  the CP China, not a democracy, but a neo-religious -totalitarian leadership could emerge.


The Falungong can also benefit from US religious rights, which hates the atheism of the Communist Party of China. Li Hongzhi has read his Lenin („What to do?“ – about building an organization and party around a newspaper and media), he is an organizational genius and very modern. Also, that he was able to organize such an Aldi / Walmart mass Buddhism with about 100 million followers, is considerable, although initially supported and encouraged by the Communist Party of China. But the former trumpeter of the People’s Liberation Army is a person who understands agitation and propaganda with modern means and media.

The Falungong is a fundamentalist missionary religion that has China as its cultural base and wants to overthrow Communist Party China first, but then wants to proselytize and conquer the whole world, such as Christianity and the evangelicals and Islam and Islamism, especially since the Falungong wants to be political and create a religious-authoritarian rule and world state. The Falungong wants to appeal to Chinese, but at the same time, it also addresses humanity. Hence the multilingualism of the Epoch Times and the membership and recruitment of non-Chinese members.


If one still talks about the democratization of China, it is striking that the secular democratic opposition has completely failed and has been marginalized since the Tiananmen massacre in 1989, the destruction of the Democratic Party of China in 1998 and the last attempt of the Charter in 2008. They are as defeated as the German revolutionaries of 1848. This completely weakened the democratic-secular opposition which  is meanwhile mostly inactive, while a few representatives still hope for the imaginary power of the Falungong subnetwork as a partner, the possible existence does not even exist and should it exist  it would be all times more powerful than the secular-democratic movement and would aim for a leader-centric neo religious dictatorship under títs leader and Great Helmsman Li Hongzhi who  would very quickly push aside and suppress. his secular-democratic allies

Conversely, China’s party system is increasingly turning into a neo-totalitarian expansive nationalistic system that is increasingly being transformed from an authoritarian one-party dictatorship to a neotozalitarian one-man-dictatorship. . In short, for China, there seems no hope of democratization or of a Chinese Singapore, the latter would be possible at best in the event of civil unrest or in the event of a lost war. Apart from that, China is resolutely pursuing the path of German Reich before WW I right into a Sino-American war.

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Politischer Islam als strategischer Faktor – Das Jahr 1979 und die Folgen

Autor: Dr. Hans-Ulrich Seidt

Moderne Strategie dient einer nüchtern abwägenden und rational handelnden Politik. Wir finden ihre konzeptionellen Grundlagen bereits in der Renaissance, vor allem aber in der späten Aufklärung.

Institutionell sollte strategisches Denken idealerweise in hochqualifizierten Stabsstrukturen verankert sein, die der Führung eines Gemeinwesens beobachtend, planend und beratend zugeordnet sind. Sie haben vorrangig jene Faktoren zu identifizieren, die in Zeit und Raum zur Erreichung eigener Ziele beitragen, gleichzeitig aber auch jene Kräfte zu erkennen, die den eigenen Werten und Bedürfnissen schaden können.

Analytisch geht es vor allem um die genaue Bestimmung entscheidungsrelevanter strategischer Faktoren. Mit diesen politisch wirkenden Kräften befasste sich im Jahre 1797 eine bahnbrechende Studie. Sie untersuchte die überraschenden Siege der revolutionären, politisch völlig isolierten Französischen Republik über die Koalition der sie umgebenden europäischen Monarchien.

Bereits im ersten Satz fasste der Autor, Gerhard von Scharnhorst, das Ergebnis seiner Untersuchung zusammen. Der unerwartete Erfolg der Franzosen war nach seinen Beobachtungen mit den „inneren Verhältnissen“ des revolutionären Frankreichs „tief verwebt“.

Scharnhorst machte deutlich, was er mit “inneren Verhältnissen” meinte: „Man versteht unter diesem Worte in dieser Abhandlung sowohl das Verhältnis des physischen als auch des moralischen Zustandes“.

Nicht die überlieferte christliche Religion bot Scharnhorst Anlass, die Bedeutung des moralischen Faktors zu betonen. Scharnhorst war Agnostiker ebenso wie sein Schüler Carl von Clausewitz, der die Gedanken seines Lehrers in seinem Hauptwerk „Vom Kriege“ weiterentwickelte. Beide hatten die unmittelbare Wirkung einer neuen, bürgerlichen Religion, einer religio civilis, vor Augen.

Die siegreichen Freiwilligenheere der französischen Revolution kämpften als ecclesia militans, als eine kämpfende Kirche, für “liberté, égalité, fraternité” unter der Trikolore. Carl von Clausewitz hat daraus eine Folgerung gezogen: Es kommt darauf an, zwischen der Religion als dem Glauben an ein besseres Jenseits und der Religion als einem politisch motivierenden Faktor zu unterscheiden.

Heute, 30 Jahre nach dem Ende des Kalten Krieges, ist die Zeit revolutionärer Ersatzreligionen vorüber. Sicherlich entfaltet Karl Marx’ Diktum “Religion ist das Opium des Volkes“ mancherorts noch seine Wirkung. Aber in Albanien, von Enver Hodscha zum ersten atheistischen Staat der Welt erklärt, sind die Moscheen und Kirchen wieder geöffnet. Im Pekinger Lama-Tempel beten Menschenmengen für das Wohlergehen ihrer Familien. Und es gibt keinen Staatsakt der Russischen Föderation, in dem nicht der Moskauer Patriarch eine prominente Rolle spielt.

Selbst kritische Rationalisten sollten daher Gedanken ernst nehmen, die im Jahre 2008 der saudische Prinz Turki al-Faisal im Theresianum, der traditionsreichen Diplomatischen Akademie Wiens, vortrug.

Der ehemalige Chef des saudischen Nachrichtendienstes und spätere Botschafter in Washington und London erklärte, während seiner gesamten Laufbahn sei für ihn die Religion Richtschnur seines politischen Handelns gewesen.

Prinz Turki empfahl seinen internationalen Zuhörern, von Muhammad ibn Zafar al-Siqilli zu lernen. Nach diesem muslimischen Gelehrten des 12. Jahrhunderts müssen strategische Planung, diplomatisches Vorgehen und politisch motivierte Gewaltanwendung fünf Prinzipien folgen: Glauben an Gott, Tapferkeit angesichts von Gefahr, Geduld in schwierigen Lagen, Hinnahme des göttlichen Willens und Geringschätzung weltlicher Dinge.

Die vom saudischen Prinzen und Staatsmann vorgetragene Tugendlehre ließ erkennen, dass für ihn eine strikte Trennung zwischen Diesseits und Jenseits, zwischen civitas Dei und civitas terrena in der politisch-diplomatischen Praxis nicht möglich war.

Seine Ausführungen lassen es als geradezu selbstverständlich erscheinen, den politischen Islam als einen strategischen Faktor zu bezeichnen, dessen Wirkung im 21. Jahrhundert weit über den vorderasiatisch-afrikanischen Übergangserdraum zwischen Nil Indus und Bosporus hinausreicht.

Betrachten wir daher nach diesen einführenden Überlegungen in chronologischer Folge vier Schlüsselereignisse des Jahre 1979, die im Rückblick erkennen lassen, welche Relevanz der politische Islam für unsere Gegenwart und Zukunft besitzt.

Das erste Ereignis:

Am 17. Januar 1979 verließ der krebskranke Schah Reza Pahlevi den Iran. Seit dem Jahre 1953, als Washington und London den damaligen Premierminister Mossadegh gestürzt und als Ergebnis  einer verdeckten Operation einen regime change bewirkt hatten, waren die USA die entscheidende Stütze des iranischen Herrschers gewesen.

Als Präsident Carter zur Jahreswende 1978/79 dem kranken und unpopulären Monarchen keine Zukunftschance mehr gab, brach sein Regime zusammen. Im Februar 1979 begrüßten Millionen von Menschen Ayatollah Chomeini jubelnd in Teheran.

Das autoritär-säkulare System des Schahs wurde durch eine theokratische Ordnung ersetzt, deren Verfassung im Oktober 1979 ein Referendum billigte.

Es handelte sich um eine Verfassung sui generis, die dem hohen schiitischen Klerus in allen wichtigen Fragen die politische Entscheidungskompetenz zuweist. Sie bildet bis heute die Grundlage und den politischen Handlungsrahmen der Islamischen Republik Iran. Der substanzielle Kern der iranischen Verfassung ist, das bringt die Staatsbezeichnung zweifelsfrei zum Ausdruck, der Islam und zwar in seiner schiitischen Ausprägung.

2. Ereignis:

Nahezu zeitgleich zur Entwicklung im Iran vollzog sich im östlichen Mittelmeerraum eine zweite strategische Wende.

Am 26. März 1979 unterzeichneten der israelische Premierminister Menachem Begin und der ägyptische Staatspräsident Anwar as-Sadat in Washington den israelisch-ägyptischen Friedensvertrag, der zuvor in Camp David ausgehandelt worden war. Präsident Carter unterschrieb als Zeuge für die Garantiemacht USA.

Der Vertrag gab Ägypten die Souveränität über die künftig demilitarisierte Sinai-Halbinsel zurück. Das Land erhielt zudem erhebliche Finanzzuwendungen westlicher Staaten und private Investitionen. Sie kamen in erster Linie dem Tourismussektor und der Bauwirtschaft zugute.

Hinzu kommt seit 1979 eine jährliche Budget-Hilfe der USA, die schwerpunktmäßig in den ägyptischen Verteidigungshaushalt fließt und für den Kauf wehrtechnischen Materials in den USA verwandt wird.

Der ägyptisch-israelische Separatfrieden des Jahres 1979 bedeutete allerdings auch den Bruch der bis dahin zumindest deklaratorisch existierenden pan-arabischen Solidarität und ging, das ließen bereits die vorab getroffenen Vereinbarungen von Camp David erkennen, zu Lasten der Palästinenser.

Obwohl Anwar as-Sadat noch zu Beginn der Verhandlungen erklärt hatte, er wolle keinen Separatfrieden, sondern eine Gesamtregelung des Nahostkonflikts, sollte sich bereits nach wenigen Jahren zeigen, in welchem Umfang Israel durch die militärische Entlastung an seiner Westfront operative Handlungsfreiheit in den Palästinensergebieten und vor allem gegenüber dem Libanon gewann.

Gemeinsam mit Menachem Begin erhielt Anwar as-Sadat für die Vereinbarungen von Camp David den Friedensnobelpreis. Seine säkulare, prowestlich ausgerichtete Politik wurde von der Oberschicht und der oberen Mittelschicht Ägyptens, die von den ausländischen Investitionen und einer liberalisierten Wirtschaftspolitik profitierte, begrüßt und getragen.

In der breiteren ägyptischen Bevölkerung aber regte sich Widerstand. Die von Anwar as-Sadat zunächst als Gegengewicht zum linken Nasserismus geduldete und hofierte Muslimbruderschaft wandte sich gegen die prowestliche Politik des Präsidenten und den Separatfrieden mit Israel.

Repressionsmaßnahmen gegen die Anhänger der Bruderschaft folgten, bis schließlich am 6. Oktober 1981 Präsident Sadat während einer Militärparade erschossen wurde. Geplant und ausgeführt wurde das Attentat von einem jungen Offizier mit familiären Beziehungen zum militanten Flügel der Muslimbrüder und Kontakten zu einer radikalen Gruppierung namens al-Dschihad, die sich später al-Qaida anschloss.

Nach der Ermordung Präsident Sadats kam es in Mittelägypten zu einem Aufstand, der rasch niedergeschlagen wurde. Sadats Nachfolger Mubarak hielt bis zum Frühjahr 2011 das Land mit zunehmender Härte unter Kontrolle.

3. Ereignis:

Nicht nur Iran und der östliche Mittelmeerraum, auch die arabische Halbinsel erlebte 1979 eine Zäsur. Als am Morgen des 20. November 1979 nach islamischer Zeitrechnung ein neues Jahrhundert begann, besetzten religiöse Fanatiker die Große Moschee in Mekka.

Ein zweiwöchiger Kampf um die heiligste Stätte des Islam begann. Die genaue Zahl der Toten ist bis heute nicht bekannt. Die überlebenden Besetzer wurden öffentlich hingerichtet. An ihrer Bekämpfung war auch eine französische Spezialeinheit beteiligt, die vor ihrem Eintreffen in Mekka rasch zum Islam konvertiert wurde. Der notwendige Einsatz ausländischer Sonderkräfte war den persönlichen Verbindungen des saudischen Sicherheitschefs, Prinz Turki al-Faisal, zu seinem französischen Kollegen zu verdanken.

Mit dem politisch-gesellschaftlichen Hintergrund und den religiösen Vorstellungen der Aufständischen befassten sich sorgfältige Studien. Danach war der spektakuläre Gewaltakt religiös-eschatologisch motiviert. Gleichzeitig aber wies er eindringlich auf das von Außenstehenden kaum wahrnehmbare gesellschaftliche und geistige Unruhepotential des saudischen Königreichs hin.

Seit der ersten Ölkrise im Herbst 1973 hatte der Ölboom der 70er Jahre zur Modernisierung und oberflächlichen Verwestlichung des Landes sowie bei der saudischen Königssippe und den ihr nahestehenden urbanen Milieus zu einem kaum vorstellbaren Reichtum geführt.

Allerdings waren vom neuen Wohlstand große Teile der Bevölkerung aus tribalen Gründen ausgeschlossen. Sie wandten sich gegen die Verwestlichung des Landes, forderten die Rückbesinnung auf Tradition und Religion.

Der Konflikt zwischen materieller Daseinsorientierung der Elite und der Jenseitsorientierung der konservativen Bevölkerungsmehrheit stellte die traditionelle Allianz der Herrscherfamilie mit der radikal-fundamentalistischen Glaubenslehre der Wahhabiten in Frage.

Heute vor genau 40 Jahren, am 2. Dezember 1979, waren die Zeichen des Aufruhrs im Nahen und Mittleren Osten nicht mehr zu übersehen. Sie wurden in den westlichen Hauptstädten mit wachsender Sorge verfolgt:

Der Schah, seit nahezu drei Jahrzehnten Repräsentant einer pro-westlichen Politik, war gestürzt, die US-Botschaft in Teheran am 4. November 1979 gestürmt und ihr Personal in Geiselhaft genommen worden. Ägyptens Präsident Anwar as-Sadat und die saudische Königsfamilie konnten sich ihrer Herrschaft nicht mehr sicher sein.

Die Wut der Straße richtete sich gegen die USA und Israel. Unmittelbar nach Bekanntwerden der Ereignisse in Mekka wurde auch in Islamabad, der Hauptstadt Pakistans, die US-Botschaft gestürmt und niedergebrannt.

4. Ereignis:

Bereits im Oktober 1979 hatte das Politbüro der KPdSU in Moskau einen regime change in Kabul ins Auge gefasst, bevor dann am 12. Dezember 1979 die endgültige Entscheidung fiel: Hafizullah Amin, der afghanische Staats- und Parteichef, sollte durch sowjetische Sonderkräfte liquidiert werden.

Hafizullah Amins Person und seine Politik boten aus Sicht der Mehrheit des Politbüros keine Gewähr dafür, dass die im April 1978 durch einen Putsch an die Macht gelangte Demokratische Volkspartei Afghanistans (DVPA) ihren pro-sowjetischen Kurs erfolgreich fortsetzen würde.

Daher sollten zeitgleich zur Ausschaltung Amins reguläre sowjetische Großverbände in das formal noch blockfreie Afghanistan einmarschieren und das neue Regime unter Amins Nachfolger Babrak Karmal stützen.

Vergeblich warnte der Chef des sowjetischen Generalstabs, Marschall Ogarkow, die politische Führung vor einem Einsatz der sowjetischen Armee am Hindukusch. Nur sechs Jahre später bezeichnete dann Michail Gorbatschow den Krieg in Afghanistan als „blutende Wunde“.  Der Einmarsch und Einsatz regulärer sowjetischer Truppen hatte sich tatsächlich als politisch-diplomatisches und militärisches Desaster erwiesen.

Der Zorn der islamischen Welt, der sich noch im November 1979 gegen die USA gerichtet hatte, wandte sich in kürzester Zeit gegen die atheistische Sowjetunion. Das afghanisch-pakistanische Grenzgebiet wurde zum Zentrum des islamischen Aufruhrs und des anti-sowjetischen Widerstands.

Das bis Ende 1979 belastete Verhältnis der USA zur pakistanischen Regierung unter General Zia ul-Haq verbesserte sich schlagartig. Bedenken wegen der problematischen Nuklear-, Islamisierungs- und Menschenrechtspolitik Islamabads wurden in Washington zur Seite geschoben.

Die saudische Königsfamilie, deren Herrschaft noch im November 1979 unmittelbar gefährdet war, erklärte sich zum Vorkämpfer des Dschihad. Gemeinsam mit den USA finanzierte Saudi-Arabien den afghanischen Widerstand gegen die kommunistischen Ungläubigen und ermutigte nicht nur saudische Fundamentalisten, nach Pakistan zu gehen und die Feinde des Islam in Afghanistan zu bekämpfen.

Einen Einblick in die Gedankenwelt der Gruppierungen, die sich im Kampf gegen die Sowjetunion formierten, bietet die islamische Widerstandsliteratur in Farsi, Paschtu, Urdu und Arabisch.

Sie ermöglicht eine Übersicht über Entwicklungsstufen und Erscheinungsformen jener Bewegungen, die sich im Jahrzehnt nach dem sowjetischen Einmarsch formierten und radikalisierten.

Als bevorzugtes Instrument nutzte der mit den Geheimdiensten der USA und Saudi-Arabiens eng kooperierende pakistanische Nachrichtendienst ISI die radikale Hezb-e Islami, die „Partei des Islam“, unter ihrem Führer Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.

Hekmatyar erhielt den größten Teil der saudischen Hilfsgelder und der amerikanischen Waffenlieferungen. Seine Schrift „Die Gemeinschaft der Gläubigen im Islam“ wurde in Farsi und Paschtu mehrfach aufgelegt und in den afghanischen Flüchtlingslagern verteilt.

Daneben warben in einer Zeit, in der es noch keine elektronischen Medien gab, einfache Broschüren für Organisationsformen, die als Vorbild für den islamischen Widerstand dienen konnten. Sie trugen Titel wie „Die Muslimbruderschaft in Ägypten und Jordanien“ oder „Theorie und Praxis der Muslimbruderschaft“.

Deutlich wird in diesen Veröffentlichungen allerdings auch, dass der im Namen des Islam agierende, anti-sowjetische Widerstand die ethnische und religiöse Segmentierung der afghanischen Bevölkerung nicht überwinden konnte.

Schriften wie „Imam Khomeini und die Islamische Revolution“ wandten sich an die schiitische Bevölkerung Afghanistans, vor allem an die ethnische Minderheit der Hazara. Diese wurde wiederum von dem sunnitischen Paschtunen Hektmatyar und seiner Hezb-e Islami heftig bekämpft.

Auch die arabisch-sunnitischen Dschihadisten aus Ägypten und Saudi-Arabien wandten sich scharf gegen die afghanischen Schiiten. Zwar ist der Umfang der arabischsprachigen Widerstandsliteratur gering im Vergleich mit den zahlreichen Veröffentlichungen in Paschtu, Dari oder Urdu. Aber sie war konsequent dschihadistisch ausgerichtet.

Denn zu den internationalen Kämpfern, die sich mit Unterstützung oder Duldung des pakistanischen und saudischen Nachrichtendienstes sowie der CIA im afghanisch-pakistanischen Grenzgebiet sammelten, gehörte der künftige Kern von al-Qaida um den Saudi Osama bin Laden, den Ägypter Ayman al-Zawahiri und den Jordanier Abu Musab al-Zarquawi.

Für sie hatte der anti-sowjetische Dschihad eine weit über Afghanistan hinausreichende Bedeutung und wurde getrieben von der Idee, dass die Rückbesinnung und Erneuerung des Islam aus dem Osten, aus Khorasan, der alten Bezeichnung für Afghanistan, erfolgen müsse.

Die Vorstellung, Afghanistan oder Khorasan spiele für die Revitalisierung des Islam eine Schlüsselrolle, beruht auf zwei Hadiths, auf überlieferten Spruchweisheiten, die dem Propheten Mohammed zugeschrieben werden. Ernst Herzfeld, der Ausgräber von Persepolis, hat bereits 1921 auf diese Textstellen hingewiesen und war sich ihrer politisch motivierenden Wirkung bewusst.

Der eine Hadith lautet: „Keine Fahne wurde je von Khorasan aus entfaltet, in der Unwissenheit oder im Islam, die zurückgeschlagen worden wäre, ehe sie ihr Ziel erreichte.“ Und der andere Hadith liest sich wie der Leitspruch für die al-Qaida Operation des 11. September 2001: „Khorasan ist der Köcher Allahs, aus dem er einen Pfeil schießt, wenn er einem Volke zürnt.“

Nicht ohne Grund liegt der Begründer des Panislamismus, Jamal ad-din al Afgani, auf dem Gelände der Universität Kabul begraben. Ebenso wie Ayatollah Chomeini hatte er seine religiös-revolutionäre Gedankenwelt während eines Aufenthalts im laizistischen Frankreich entwickelt.

Conclusio:

Der Rückblick auf das Jahr 1979 und seine Folgen legt folgende Überlegungen nahe, die möglicherweise auch zum Ausgangspunkt unserer Diskussion werden können:

  1. Wer die Formierung gegenwärtig aktiver politischer Gruppierungen auf der Grundlage des Islam erforscht und nach den Ursprüngen dschihadistischer Militanz sucht, der wird nicht zuletzt im afghanisch-pakistanischen Grenzgebiet fündig. Hier entwickelte sich während des Kampfes gegen die Sowjetunion unter den Sunniten ein pan-islamischer Inkubationsraum, der seine geistige Wirkung nach dem Ende des Kalten Krieges in einem Spektrum vielfältiger, militanter und nicht-militanter Erscheinungsformen entfaltete. Von besonderer Bedeutung für die Rekrutierung islamistischer Kämpfer bleiben bis heute die in den 1980er Jahren gegründeten Koranschulen im pakistanisch-afghanischen Grenzgebiet.
  • Zu den seit den 1980er Jahren sich zunächst langsam, dann aber immer schneller formierenden Erscheinungsformen des politischen Islam gehört der dschihadistische Terror der al Quaida und ihrer Nachfolgeorganisationen ebenso wie der Versuch, etwa über das afghanische Emirat der Taleban oder mit dem Islamischen Staat in Irak und Syrien die territorialen Voraussetzungen für ein neues Kalifat zu schaffen.
  • Neben einem gewaltbereiten Proto-Staat wie dem IS und den dschihadistischen Extremistengruppen wie al-Quaida agieren politische Bewegungen, die, wie etwa die afghanische Hezb-e Islami, als „Partei des Islam“ vordergründig Parteien westlichen Typs ähneln. Sie verfolgen ihre Ziele mit Hilfe einer systematisch ausgerichteten Langzeitstrategie. Sie orientieren sich am Vorgehen des nicht-militanten Flügels der ägyptischen Muslimbruderschaft.

Wie schon vor dem Dezember 1979 sehen seit dem Zusammenbruch der Sowjetunion sowohl die gewaltbereiten Dschihadisten als auch die überwiegend gewaltfrei operierenden islamistischen Parteien ihren Hauptgegner in den säkularen Gesellschaften des Westens, insbesondere den USA, und im Falle der von den Wahhabis oder Salafis inspirierten sunnitischen Militanz im schiitischen Iran, dessen regionale Großmachtaspirationen spätestens seit dem Scheitern der US-Intervention im Irak unübersehbar sind

Autor: Dr. Hans-Ulrich Seidt

Nach dem Studium der Rechtswissenschaft, Politik und Geschichte an den Universitäten Tübingen, Genf, Bonn und an der École Nationale d’Administration (ENA) in Paris, das er mit der Promotion zum Dr. phil. abschloss, trat er 1982 in den Auswärtigen Dienst ein. An der Rheinischen Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität zu Bonn promovierte er 1983 zum Dr. phil mit einer Arbeit zur französischen Nahostpolitik. Nach Auslandsposten in Moskau, Nairobi, Brüssel (NATO) und Washington wurde er 2005 zunächst deutscher Geschäftsträger in Duschanbe, Tadschikistan. Zwischenzeitlich war er von 2003 bis 2005 Lehrbeauftragter für Internationale Politik am Otto-Suhr-Institut der Freien Universität Berlin. Die Valparaiso University im US-Bundesstaat Indiana verlieh ihm den Ehrentitel eines Dr. jur. h. c. Von 2006 bis 2008 war Seidt Botschafter der Bundesrepublik Deutschland in Kabul (Afghanistan). Im September 2009 wurde er Botschafter in Seoul (Südkorea). Bis Juli 2012 behielt er diesen Posten. Nachfolger als Botschafter in Südkorea wurde im Juli 2012 Rolf Mafael. Nach seiner Rückkehr wurde Seidt Leiter der Abteilung Kultur und Kommunikation des Auswärtigen Amtes und war als dieser unter anderem der Vertreter des Auswärtigen Amtes bei der Max Weber Stiftung sowie dem Deutschen Archäologischen Institut und dessen Kommissionen (Kommission für Archäologie Außereuropäischer Kulturen, Kommission für Alte Geschichte und Epigraphik und Römisch-Germanische Kommission). Seidt ist stellvertretender Vorsitzender der Politisch-Militärischen Gesellschaft und Mitglied des Kuratoriums des Internationalen Kammermusikfestivals Schloss Moritzburg. Er ist verheiratet und hat drei Kinder.

Veröffentlichungen

  • Berlin, Kabul, Moskau – Oskar Ritter von Niedermayer und Deutschlands Geopolitik. München 2002, ISBN 3-8004-1438-4
  • Alexander Swetschin: Clausewitz – Eine klassische Biographie aus Rußland. (= Dümmlerbuch 8215). Übersetzt, eingeleitet und herausgegeben von Olaf Rose und Hans-Ulrich Seidt. Mit einem Geleitwort von Vizeadmiral Ulrich Weisser (Leiter des Planungsstabes des Bundesministers der Verteidigung). Ferd. Dümmlers Verlag, Bonn 1997, ISBN 3-427-82151-X (Bildungsverlag Eins, 1999).
  • Europa in der Konzeption Frankreichs nach de Gaulle – Französische Nahostpolitik und Aussenpolitische Gemeinschaftsbildung, Diss., Bonn 1983.
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Kai Strittmatter „The rediscovery of the dictatorship“ – China as a pioneer of a new digital totalitarianism

Kai Strittmatter’s new book „The Rediscovery of Dictatorship“ describes China as a pioneer of a new digital totalitarianism:

„This new China is not supposed to be a huge, ascetic and disciplined barracks court, as it was with Mao, but rather an externally colorful mix of George Orwell’s 1984 and Aldous Huxley’s ‚The Brave New World‘, where man becomes commercial and gets pleasure and thus results in supervision of its own accord. The vast majority of subjects are always aware of the knowledge of the instruments of the dread of power as a possibility, it is the background radiation in the universe of this party. (…) „Xi Jinping creates a China that dates back to the 1950s, with a Leninism, with repression as strong as it has been since the days of Mao Zedong. With a censorship and propaganda that really draws on old methods as it did then. With one leg he goes back to the 50s, but with the other leg he goes far into the future and goes to places that other autocrats and dictators may have dreamed of, but where there was no human being yet.“

Rongchen is the first pilot city for the euphemistic called social bonus system, and by 2020, other pilot cities are to be merged. So the whole thing still seems to be in the testing and experimentation phase. So the question is: How long will it take for the infrastructure for and the social bonus system to be established nationwide throughout China? How long is the window of potential resistance until it is implemented. Whereby it may only need another generation, which has internalized it psychically and thus socialized, it takes as a matter of course and knows nothing else, certainly no private liberties. So far, the deal was between the CPC and the population: The Communist Party of China, as a collective development dictatorship party , is raising prosperity and affluence, leaving small private freedoms to citizens as they remain apolitical and politically reticent. Now, this consensus is called into question by Trump’s economic war, the transition from a collective one-party dictaorship to a one-man rule for an indefinite period, as well as the social bonus system.

Another question is therefore: Won´t there be any resistance or even opposition to the social bonus system and the transformation of the People’s Republic of China from a one-party rule to a one-man rule? Even in the CCP, there are Xi critics. Some Communist Party members also fear that China may have some sot of imperial overstretch and a kind of Great Leap Forward by the New Silk Road. Many Chinese also know their current small but private freedoms and it probably takes a generation that no longer knows them, but keeps the social bonus system for the normal state and internalizes it so that it wants to be an active point optimizer.

And does not the bonus system also have systemic contradictions? What happens if respondents disagree with their assessment and sanction and think their social bonus point assessmentis unfair? Is there a complaint office at all, or would a complaint be scored negative again? Can not resistance be alsbe the result of such a bonus system? Is Rongchen just the soft initial variant to expand the system? Is it simply tacitly established or is the CCP trying to make its citizens propagandistically palatable portraying the controll system as favourable advantage, e.g. crime prevention?

Western companies are also complaining that the bonus system should also be extended to commercial enterprises. One fears discrimination and control by the CP China. However, this concerns might not only be the concrn of western companies, but a cybernetically controlled economy could be introduced here, perhaps also with planned economic elements, which wants to make the Chinese economy crisis-proof? The use of computers existed before the USA under the Socialist President of Chile Salvador Allende, who sought to realize the planning of the economy by means of a central computer, which tried to the 400 largest nationalized enterprises by cybernetics. Rudi Dutschke spoke in discussions also for planned economy by means of supercomputers? To what extent does the CPC have a similar idea of ​​cybernetic regulation of the economy?

The Communist Party of China has a monopoly on media and information, as well as by the social bonus system a control and sanction monopoly. Nevertheless, everything depends on computers and digitized systems, which can be disturbed by hacker attacks and paralyzed. Does not this high level of networking give potential oppositional hacker groups and foreign states the opportunity to create the basis for a colour revolution through cyberattacks? As long as the CP China has a monopoly on media and social media, and a sanction monopoly by the social bonus system , nothing will change. As long as there is not a well-organized opposition hacker army or support by Western hackers or Western cyberwarriors of the US-Cybercommand, NSA, etc. there will be no breakthrough in propaganda and the exile dissidents and the opposition in China will be limited to their debates in far remote, foreign countries which will never reach the Chinese masses.

Interesting that young people at our town are now discussing Tic Toc. Tic Toc is the Chinese Instagram which became very popular in China and Western countries due to its innovative performance and that you could have contact with Chinese young people. Of course, it was subject to Chinese censorship and you couldn´t talk about politics or sensitive issues. However, an influencer for cosmetic products was sending Tic Toc information about Chinese concentration camps against the Uigurs. It took the Chinese censorship agency 1 week to discover it. Now the discussion among unpolitical young people in the West and China is if the CP China will reduce the contacts with young Chinese people or even suppress it totally. These are the discussions of young digital natives and not of analog foreigners.

And, what was the reason that the CP China agreed to Xi Jinping’s one-man rule and the model of digital totalitarianism and social bonus system? China was on the road to success with the WTO admission in 2001 and the 2008 Olympics. Kai Strittmatter claims that despite these foreign policy highlights, there was a deep discontent in and protests of the population that had alarmed the Chinese Communist Party and led it to take this step. But it is also possible that in addition to prevention and social control, there is also a tendency to centralize domestically, as China is expanding strongly to the outside world via the New Silk Road and the inner concentration of power is accompanied by this external expansion, because it is hoped that through total internal control a stable basis for the external expansion would be given.

Especially since this control concentration is indeed not limited to the bonus system, but is also in the reduction of the Politburo from 9 to 7 members, the transformation of the previous one-party dictatorship to a one-man dictatorship with a lifelong rule. Kai Strittmatter’s book is not only a book on China, but a warning that China is only the model of a digital Totalitarism that other authoritarian leaders in the West could follow. In response, he or President Steinmeier suggest to digitalize democracy or to democratize digitization. But more detail on what that means in concrete terms and how this should be done does have the two both neither.

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Kai Strittmatter „Die Wiederentdeckung der Dikatur“-China als Vorreiter eines neuen digitalen Totalitarismus

Kai Strittmatters neues Buch „Die Wiederentdeckung der Diktatur“beschreibt China als Vorreiter eines neuen digitalen Totalitarismus:Zitat:

„Dieses neue China soll kein riesiger, von Askese und Zucht geprägter Kasernenhof sein wie noch bei Mao, sondern eher eine von außen bunt anzusehende Mischung aus George Orwells 1984 und Aldous Huxleys ‚Schöne Neue Welt‘, wo sich der Mensch dem Kommerz und Vergnügen verschreibt und so ganz von allein der Überwachung ergibt. Den allermeisten Untertanen ist dabei das Wissen um die Schreckensinstrumente der Macht als Möglichkeit stets präsent, es ist die Hintergrundstrahlung im Universum dieser Partei.(…) „Xi Jinping schafft ein China, das einerseits zurückgeht in die 50er Jahre, mit einem Leninismus, mit einer Repression, die so stark ist wie seit den Tagen Mao Zedongs nicht mehr. Mit einer Zensur und Propaganda, die wirklich zurückgreift auf alte Methoden wie damals. Also mit dem einen Bein geht er zurück in die 50er Jahre, aber mit dem anderen Bein geht er weit in die Zukunft und geht da an Orte, von denen andere Autokraten und Diktatoren vielleicht schon geträumt haben, aber wo noch kein Mensch war.“

Rongchen gilt als erste Pilotstadt für das euphemistisch genannte soziale Bonussystem und bis 2020 sollen andere Pilotstädte zusammengeschlossen werden. Das Ganze scheint also noch in der Prüf- und Experimentierphase. Die Frage ist also: Wielange braucht es bis die Infrastruktur für und das soziale Bomussystem flächendeckend in ganz China eingerichtet sein wird? Wie lange ist das Zeitfenster für potentiellen Widerstand, bis es implementiert ist. Wobei es möglicherweise erst eine weitere Generation braucht, die es psychisch internalisiert hat und damit sozialisiert wird, es als etwas Selbstverständliches hält und nichts mehr anderes kennt, schon gar keine privaten Freiheiten. Bisher war der Deal zwischen der KP China und der Bevölkerung. Die KP China sorgt als kollektive Entwicklungsparteidikatur für steigenden Wohlstand, lässt den Bürgern ihre kleine Freiheiten, insofern sie unpolitisch bleiben und sich politisch zurückhalten. Nun wird dieser stillschweigende Konsens durch den Wirtschaftskriegs Trumps, den Übergang von einer kollektiven Einparteiendikatur zu einer Ein-Mannherrschaft auf unbegrenzte Zeit wie auch das sozaile Bonussystem infrage gestellt.

Eine weitere Frage ist daher: Sind denn keine Widerstände oder gar Opposition gegen das soziale Bonussystem und die Umwandlung der VR China von einer Ein-Parteienherrschaft zu einer Ein-Mannherrschaft zu erwarten? Selbst in der KP China gibt es Xi-Kritiker. Auch befürchten einige KP-Mitglieder, dass sich China vielleicht mit der Neuen Seidenstrasse übernimmt. Viele Chinesen kennen zudem noch ihre momentanen kleinen., aber privaten Freiheiten und es braucht wohl eine Generation, die diese nicht mehr kennt, sondern das soziale Bonussystem für den Normalzustand hält und dieses so internalisiert, dass sie aktiv Punkteoptimierer sein will.

Und hat das Bonussystem nicht auch systemische Widersprüche in sich? Was ist, wenn Bewertete mit ihrer Bewertung und Sanktionierung nicht einverstanden sind, diese ungerecht empfinden? Ist überhaupt eine Beschwerdestelle vorgesehen oder würde schon eine Beschwerde wiederum mit Negativpunkten bewertet?Kann sich nicht auch mit und aufgrund eines solchen Bonussystems Widerstand bilden?Ist Rongchen nur die sanfte Anfangsvariante, um das System noch auszuweiten? Wird es einfach stillschweigend eingerichtet oder versucht die KPChina es ihren Bürgern auch propagandistisch schmackhaft zu mache und gar als Vorteil darzustellen.z.B. als Kriminalitätsprävention?

Westliche Firmen beschweren sich inzwischen auch darüber, dass das Bonussystem auch auf Wirtschaftsunternehmen ausgeweitet werden soll. Man befürchtet Diskriminierung und Kontrolle durch die KP China.Doch betrifft dies nur westliche Firmen oder soll hier nicht eine gelenkte Wirtschaft eingeführt werden, vielleicht auch mit planwirtschaftlichen Elementen, die man dann krisensicher macht? Den Einsatz von Computern gab es noch vor den USA unter dem sozialistischen Präsidenten Chiles Salvador Allende, der die Planung der Volkswirtschaft mittels eines Zentralcomputers , der die 400 grö0ßten verstaatlichten Betriebe kybernetisch lenkte, zu realisieren suchte. Rudi Dutschke sprach sich in Diskussionen auch für Planwirtschaft mittels Supercomputern aus? Inwieweit hat die KP China eine ähnliche Idee einer kybernetsichen Regulierung der Wirtschaft?

Die KP China hat das Medien- und Informationsmonopol, wie auch mittels des sozialen Bonussystems ein Kontroll- uns Sanktionsmonopol. Dennoch hängt alles von Computern und digitalisierten Systemen ab, die auch durch Hackerangriffe störbar sind und paralysiert werden können. Bietet dieser hohe Grad der Vernetzung potentiellen oppositionellen Hackergruppen und ausländischen Staaten nicht die Möglichkeit durch Cyberattacken die Basis für eine farbene Revolution zu schaffen? Solange die KP China ein Monopol auf Medien und soziale Medien und ein Sanktionsmonopol durch das soziale Bonussystem hat, wird sich nichts ändern. Solange es keine gut organisierte oppositionelle Hackerarmee gibt oder die Unterstützung durch westliche Hacker oder westliche Cyber-Krieger des US-Cybercommand, der NSA usw., wird es keinen Durchbruch in der Propaganda geben und die Dissidenten im Exil und die Opposition in China werden begrenzt sein mit ihren Debatten in fernen, fremden Ländern, die die chinesischen Massen niemals erreichen werden.

Interessant, dass die jungen Leute in unserer Stadt jetzt über Tic Toc diskutieren. Tic Toc ist das chinesische Instagram, das in China und westlichen Ländern aufgrund seiner innovativen Leistung sehr beliebt wurde und dass man als westlicher Jugendlicher Kontakt mit chinesischen Jugendlichen haben kann. Natürlich unterlag es der chinesischen Zensur und man konnte nicht über Politik oder sensible Themen sprechen. Eine Influencerib für Kosmetikprodukte schickte über Tic Toc Informationen über chinesische Konzentrationslager gegen die Uiguren. Die chinesische Zensurbehörde brauchte eine Woche, um es herauszufinden. Nun ist die Diskussion unter unpolitischen Jugendlichen im Westen und in China, ob die KP China die Kontakte zu jungen Chinesen reduzieren oder sogar ganz unterdrücken wird. Dies sind die Diskussionen junger Digital Natives und nicht analoger Ausländer.

Und:Was war eigentlich der Grund, dass die KP China Xi Jinpings Ein-Mannherrschaft zustimmte und dem Modell des digitalen Totalitarismus samt sozialen Bonussystem? Mit der WTO.- Aufnahme 2001 und Olympia 2008 war China doch auf der völligen Erfolgsspur. Kai Strittmatter behaupetet, dass es aber trotz dieser außenpolitischen Highlights eine tiefe Unzufriedenheit und Proteste in der Bevölkerung gegeben hätte, die die KP China alarmiert hätten und zu diesem Schritt bewogen hätten. Möglich ist aber auch, dass zusätzlich zu der Prävention und sozalen Kontrolle es auch eine Zentralisierungstendenz innenpolitisch gibt, da China über die Neue Seidenstrasse stark nach aussen expandiert und die innere Machtkonzentration mit eben dieser Aussenexpansion einhergeht, weil man hofft, dass durch die innere totale Kontrolle eine stabile Basis für die Aussenexpansion gegeben würde und man nicht an den Rändern ausfranse.

Zumal diese Kontrollkonzentration sich ja nicht nur auf das Bonussystem beschränkt, sondern sich auch in der Verkleinerung des Politbüros von 9 auf 7 Mitglieder, die Umwandlung der bisherigen Ein-Partei-Dikatur zu einer Ein-Mann-Diktatur mit lebenslangem Herrschaftsrecht einhergeht. Kai Strittmatters Buch ist aber nicht nur ein Chinabuch, sondern eine Warnung und Mahnung, dass China nur das Vorbild eines digitalen Toatlitarismus ist, dem andere autoritäre Führer auch im Westen nachfolgen könnten.Als Antwort schlagen er oder etwa Bundespräsident Steinmeiner vor, die Demokratie zu digitalisieren oder die Digitalisierung zu demokratsieren.Nähere Angaben, was das konkret bedeuten und wie dies geschehen soll, machen beide aber nicht.

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Trump-Xi deal or regime change policy in China?

Trump fans who thought that Trump would stop regime change policy and regime change war are afraid that he now leads an anti-Chinese regime-change war.
They don´t see this as part of his America First policy in a struggle with China for world leadership but hope for a Trump-Xi deal which will constitute a Sino-American alliance in the future. Therefore they see anti-Chinese hawks in the person of Steve Bannon, Ted Cruz, and George Soros at work and influencing Trump in a bad manner. A good example of this sort of thinking is the article by Matthew Ehret:

„Sociopaths on the Left and Sociopaths on the Right Work to Break Potential US-China Alliance

Donald Trump is in a painful bind.

The China-bashing traitors within his own party trying to pass themselves off as American patriots have done everything imaginable to destroy the one chance the President has to save America from the policies of economic and social decay which have mis-shaped the past 50 years of world history. Before breaking under the pressure to pass the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act on November 27, Trump attempted desperately to push against the hard liners stating a day earlier:

“I stand with Hong Kong, but I also stand with President Xi. He’s a friend of mine, he’s an incredible guy. We have to stand, but I’d like to see them work it out, OK? We have to see them work it out. I stand for Hong Kong, I stand for freedom, I stand for all those things we want to do. But we are also in the process of making the largest trade deal in history.”

Of course, Trump’s desire to use protective tariffs, rebuild decayed infrastructure and industries while reversing the regime change wars abroad are good things. However, the ugly fact is that the Trans-Atlantic financial system is also set to crash, and a serious military confrontation between the US military and the Russia-China alliance is both very real and very dangerous.

This is also why the passage of the anti-Beijing Bill on November 27 is so tragic, since the desperately needed economic alliance which Trump has desired may have suffered a wound from which it cannot recover. Not only this, but those anti-China hawks pervasive across Washington are now emboldened to go even further starting with Sen. Ted Cruz’s new bill to recognize Taiwan’s sovereignty, thus undoing the 1972 ‘One China’ agreement which established Beijing as the capital of China.

Cruz’s Taiwan Symbols of Sovereignty Act aims in Cruz’s words to “peel back some of the extreme insults of the Taiwanese that are inflicted by the One-China policy protocol” including the banning of Taiwan officials from visiting US government agencies, and Taiwan students studying at West Point military academy from wearing the Taiwan flag.

Already, the US-military have vastly amplified their presence on China’s border ever since Obama’s “Pivot-to-Asia” and “Air-Sea Battle” were put into practice in 2011-2012 and which heavily relies on a militarized anti-China force in Taiwan ready to do the US’s bidding.

Many leading figures in Taiwan are stuck in a Cold War traumatized mindset established 60 years earlier, and still see their life’s mission and Taiwan’s destiny through the outdated lens of their Kuomintang forebears- as the only rightful leaders of China, destined to reconquer the mainland lost to the Communist Party in 1949. These groups would do anything to fulfill that quasi-religious sense of purpose, making them the perfect puppets for the Deep State which would be more than happy to undermine both China and America as viable sovereign nation states undoing the common cause for which both Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Sun Yatsen dedicated their lives.

Bannon, Soros and Falun Gong: Golems of the Great Game

An ugly and overlooked example of this operation includes the renewed effort by China-basher Steve Bannon who Trump rightly booted from his team in August 2017. Bannon has been a dangerous character attempting to coral Trump supporters in America and the European right into a new anti-Chinese united front while reviving the neo-con “clash of civilizations” doctrine with a vengeance.

One of the main conduits Bannon chose to unleash this assault was the Committee on Present Danger-China which he founded alongside a group of raging neocons in March 2019. Labelling China’s Belt and Road as a new empire threatening to undo America and enslave the world, Bannon’s think tank stated: “As with the Soviet Union in the past, communist China represents an existential and ideological threat to the United States and to the idea of freedom – one that requires a new American consensus regarding the policies and priorities required to defeat this threat.”

Bannon has also found himself working ever more tightly with the anti-Beijing CIA-funded cult Falun Gong which has been banned from China since 1999 and used by the CIA as a propaganda weapon against China claiming anecdotal evidence of Beijing-sponsored organ harvesting and killing of religious minorities. Though pushing itself as a meditation group, its leader Li Hongzhi is based in the USA and promotes the idea that he has magical powers that keep the forces of evil from destroying the world.

Bannon most recently produced the Falun Gong-funded film “Claws of the Red Dragon” putting him into the same boat as his left-handed mirror image George Soros who also supports the Falun Gong through Open Society Foundation’s Freedom House.  The contradiction arising from this alliance of pro-Trump sociopaths working with anti-Trump sociopaths only makes sense when you look at the anti-human game from the top down rather than the bottom up.

It is here, that we start getting a fuller picture of the nature of the false ‘left vs right’ game being played, as we look at a City of London-based think tank which Bannon leads called the Dignitas Humanitae Institute alongside 5 other highly connected figures which were recently exposed in a powerful expose by journalist Stan Ezrol who described Bannon’s four other co-patrons of this Catholic group as “Archduke Otto Von Habsburg, successor to the throne of the Holy Roman Emperor when it was dissolved; His Royal Highness Charles of Bourbon Two Sicilies and Duke of Castro, a leading figure in the anti-Renaissance wing of European nobility; Field Marshal the Lord Guthrie GCB (Knight of the Grand Cross), LVO (Lieutenant of the Victorian Order), OBE (Order of the British Empire); and Father Matthew Festing.”

The forces managing this international battle are desperately afraid of the fact that western and eastern renaissance traditions may be awakened in the face of the existential crisis facing the human species today. These groups are very much aware that the essential character of any society fit to survive is rooted on certain moral principles that are found in both Christian and Confucian cultures alike, making the USA and China potentially very strong and organic allies.

When one reads the writings of such founding fathers of either great nation as Dr. Benjamin Franklin or Dr. Sun Yatsen, the common moral worldview and sense of human nature as a species made in the image of the creator endowed with inalienable rights is electric. It is thus no coincidence that Dr. Franklin saw in Confucius the key for the foundation of America and Sun Yatsen saw in America’s Constitution the key for China’s future. This is a concept which Hong Kong rioters, Taiwan militarists, Open Society ideologues and right wing Bannonites know nothing about.

Today, Xi Jinping and President Putin exemplify this common outlook wonderfully as their alliance has transformed the international rules of the game on every level, and if Trump wasn’t constrained by such bigoted agents as Cruz, Bannon or the rabid hive of leftist hacks frothing at the mouth for impeachment, then the USA would make an organic ally in this new multipolar alliance.“

The dissident scene seems to be renewing itself. For one thing, the academic 89s are veterans who are divided among themselves, who have not yet solved the organizational and financing issues, don´t have a program or even a united front. Then the Falungong, a Leninist religious organization with its undisputed leader and guru Li Hongzhi which has already resolved the financing and organizational issues and pushes programmatic work – after the book 9 Comments to the CP China a new one is now in preparation. Given that Falungong also maintains the Epoch Times newspaper in 28 languages, Tang TV and the Shenyun Cultural propaganda show, it also already has a very efficient propaganda department.


Then exile oligarchs like Guo Wengui, a financially strong Chinese Trump who has exile in New York, uses social media, founded a Rule of Law Foundation, and maintains good contacts with Steve Bannon. Some hope of a renaissance of the labor movement and the influence of the Hong Kong protest movement that will bring youthful tech-savvy fighter types and fighting spirit and fresh blood into the movement. In the first place, one sees the escalating Sino-American conflict and the increasing difficulties in the New Silk Road as well as internal CP resistance to the transformation of a one-party dictatorship to a one-man dictatorship as an ideal breeding ground. However, the secular democratic fores are quite weak at the moment, disunited and split, while Falungong and exiloligarchs like Guo Wengui have a centralized, well-funded organizational and financial base and a program. Therefore if the neototalitarian Leninist CP China should collapse it could be probable that such Leninist-style organizations make replace them and that instead of a democratic, secular, peaceful Hongkong-Joshua Wong- style China you will get a religious neototalitarist China or a Chinese Trump. Trump´s goal might not be regime change policy, but a Trump-Xi deal that will guarantee the USA the No.1 world power status for a long time and cement China´s No.2 status. However the question is if Trump´s deal conditions are acceptable for Xi-China´s aspirations or if Xi can´t accept them which would mean that the Sino-American conflict would escalate, maybe even to a Sino-Aemrican war Trump originally didn´t wish.

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The US state debts crisis and the worldgendarme role

Many European and German politicians and elites hope that if Trump isn´t reelected the crisis of the West, its postwar institutions, NATO and the US calls for burden-sharing would disappear and there could be some sort of reset. But the underlying force for the US calls for more burden-sharing is the escalating debt crisis in the USA and worldwide. This trend won´t be reversed if not radical cuts in social security, medicare, and military spending might occur which would lower the world gendarme role and the living standard of the US and Western population in dramatic ways, but might create international instability and domestic riots. And it is also clear that nobody ever can repay the state debts, but only the interest rates. The other hope for a reversal of this trend could be a new economic boom of a long wave ala Schumpeter or Kontradieff by digitalization and new technologies that creates new income and prosperity. One voice addressing this problem very openly is the libertarian CATO-Institute. Doue Bandow addresses the „bankruptcy“ in his article „How  Can a Bankrupt Republic Run the World?“ on January 2, 2019:

„The so-called “defense” budget is the price of America’s aggressive foreign policy. Playing global gendarme—or gauleiter, depending upon one’s location when America’s bombs fall—is not cheap.

Even if the U.S. once felt wealthy enough to squander its financial resources in such pursuits, those days have ended. Washington is effectively bankrupt, with massive unfunded liabilities.

Last year the Republican Party, once the self-proclaimed guardian of the treasury, approved a deficit approaching $779 billion. The Congressional Budget Office figured the president’s 2019 budget will push the deficit to nearly $1 trillion, and the numbers will continue to rise, to $1.527 trillion in 2028.

This debt increase would be accompanied by rising interest rates. CBO figured “net interest,” which disguises federal costs by subtracting interest paid to Uncle Sam, will rise from $315 billion last year to $819 billion in 2028.

Of course, Congress could cut domestic expenditures. Hah, hah … only kidding! To achieve anything approaching a responsible budget requires addressing the four big domestic boulders, which along with military outlays make up 85 percent of the budget: interest, which cannot be reduced without repudiating debt; Social Security, the traditional “third rail” of U.S. politics; Medicare, the equally popular elder health care program; and Medicaid, the perennially under-funded promise of medical services for the poor.

More likely, Congress will act like, well, Congress, and both spend more and collect less than under current law. If so, the CBO’s “Extended Alternative Fiscal Scenario” predicts that the deficit as a percentage of GDP will rise from 78 percent last year to 105 percent in 2028, 148 percent in 2038, and an astonishing 210 percent in 2048. America’s average over the last half century was just 41 percent; only during World War II and in its immediate aftermath did the federal debt exceed 70 percent, peaking at 106 percent in 1946.

With larger deficits and debts, interest rates likely would be higher and GDP growth lower. Moreover, noted CBO: “Large federal budget deficits over the long term would reduce investment, resulting in lower national income and higher interest rates than would otherwise be the case.” A financial implosion would become more likely: Imagine a 2008-style crisis, but with the debt burden twice as great to start.

Of course, Congress could raise tax hikes, but they are no more popular than spending cuts. Moreover, the growing deficit is mostly a result of increased spending.

Military cuts are inevitable. The starting point, though, is to revise foreign policy. Cutting expenditures without trimming tasks risks creating a dangerous mismatch. Instead, the administration should end unnecessary wars, stop nation-building, and drop obsolete alliances, adjusting its force structure accordingly.“

First-it is not only the USA, but the debt ratio of the GDP and state debts have risen worldwide. It’s also a global debt crisis that might reach a tipping point in the future and produce a gigant global financial crisis and maybe a currency reform. The Eurozone has its Maastricht criteria and its austerity policy, but the PIGs states don’t fulfill their obligations and at the moment more and more economic and political groups and parties propose an end of the austerity policy to finance infrastructure and digitalization programs. Japan has a debt ratio of 200% and just wants to start a new stimulus program. About Chinese state debts, you also hear bad news. The USA might reach a new burden-sharing in its alliances, but this would only produce more debts in other countries as they had to finance the rising military spending on its own and not fundamentally change the world debt ratio.If Europe had to build its own European military this would cost at least 750 billion euros.

„The U.S. government has no more important duty than defending the nation. However, providing for the “common defense,” as the Constitution puts it, is remarkably easy. America has vast oceans east and west and pacific neighbors north and south.

Today only Russia, with an arsenal of nuclear-tipped missiles, could launch a serious attack on America. However, Moscow has no incentive to do so, since the result would be devastating retaliation. China’s military is expanding but directed at preventing Washington from dominating the People’s Republic of China at home and in its neighborhood. Playing global gendarme—or gauleiter, depending upon one’s location when America’s bombs fall—is not cheap. Terrorists abound, but mostly result from maladroit U.S. policies that create enemies and make other people’s conflicts America’s own. Nor do America’s conventional forces and nuclear arsenals offer the best response, since promiscuous war-making does more to accelerate than diminish terrorism.

Why, then, is Washington spending $717 billion in 2019 to maintain vast armies, fleets, and air armadas around the world? Not for defense, of America, anyway. It is to protect allies, assert influence, remake failed societies, dictate behavior, promote values, and more.“

If the USA is canceling its alliances -NATO, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Egypt, Israel, etc., this could be an invitation for other powers as Russia, China, North Korea , Iran to change the geopolitical world order. If no New world architecture and security architecture is reached by a multipolar compromise, there won’t be a power equilibrium, but a fierce Hobbesanian struggle about spheres of influence in the vacuum of an isolationist USA and the danger of a new world war. This also could bring Eurasian alliances Brzezinski always warned of and the USA might have to protect itself against a rising Eurasian power again in the future. This was always the narrative of the world gendarme role. It will also influence the freedom for international navigation which was based on the Pax Americana and could influence sea trade and maritime stability international trade which could have a backlash on the US economy. The question is if the USA could produce a new foreign policy that makes the transition period to a new world order somehow smoothly and stable and if the USA would accept a reduced role in world politics and economy. But if such a new multipolar world order would be stable and better than the old pax Americana nobody knows. And if a new economic boom by a long wave might occur is also not sure.

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Is the comparison of the Sino-American conflict with the Cold War flawed?

Some China old hands and experts often point out that the present rivalry between the USA and China can´t and shouldn´t be compared with the Cold War analogy as it was flawed.  As example the article „China Isn’t the Soviet Union. Confusing the Two Is Dangerous.-An unusual confluence of events World War II led to America’s bitter rivalry with the U.S.S.R. That pattern is not repeating.“on December 2, 2019 by Melvin P. Leffler, History professor emeritus at the University of Virginia in The Atlantic.

„Reviewing the early history of the Cold War clarifies how inappropriate the Cold War analogy is for thinking about Chinese-American relations today. Present challenges come not after 30 years of global war and depression, but after 30 years of peace among the great powers, economic growth (the great recession of 2008–09 notwithstanding), and substantial poverty eradication (especially in countries like China and India). Whereas world trade contracted and tariffs proliferated during the interwar years, the past three decades have seen a significant expansion of global commerce, foreign investments, and capital flows. And unlike the Soviet leaders who segregated their economy from the capitalist West in the immediate aftermath of World War II, China has made itself the hub of an international capitalist marketplace.

When the Cold War began, there was hardly any trade with or foreign investment in the Soviet Union, so the United States had virtually nothing to lose economically from isolating its rival. In today’s context of economic interdependence, complex supply chains, and Chinese lending and dollar reserves, Cold War policies would have sharply different consequences for the international economy and the health of the capitalist system.

The configuration of geopolitical power is also different today. At the onset of the Cold War, the Soviet Union had ample opportunity to exploit power vacuums in Europe and Asia. Present-day China is surrounded by a wealthy and proud Japan, a robust and nationalist India, a Russia seething over the loss of former Soviet territories, and a vigorous, competitive South Korea. Chinese opportunities do not abound; indeed, they are circumscribed.(…)

Reflecting on this history, Americans should understand the impulses behind Chinese actions and prudently appraise them. But we should not encourage or institutionalize a zero-sum approach to international politics, as Cold War metaphors incline us to do. The United States should solidify its long-standing alliances in the western Pacific; enhance relations with India, Vietnam, and Indonesia; and thwart intellectual-property theft and Beijing’s practice of forcing Western firms to hand over proprietary technologies as a condition of entering the Chinese market. But at the same time, the United States must acknowledge and nurture a mutuality of interests in promoting open trade and freedom of navigation, fighting climate change and preparing for pandemics, and countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and terrorist organizations with global reach.

Americans must not dismiss a rivalry inherent in China’s regional ascendancy and growing global power, but the United States should also seek to avoid a spiraling era of distrust in which both sides will lose.“

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/12/cold-war-china-purely-optional/601969/

Funny that The Atlantic a decade ago published a programmatic article „How we fight China“ by Robert Kaplan on the frontpage. Maybe the metaphor of a New Cold War might be a little bit flawed, but the situation is similar to the international constellation between the rise of the capitalist authoritarian German Reich and the capitalist democratic British Empire before WW I and China´s New Silkroad seems similar to Germany´s Baghdad railway at that time. It was an era of rapid globalization and the struggle between two capitalist great powers about the No.1 world power status similar to the conflict between the USA and China today. And is the Cold War comparison totally flawed? China is rapidly developing into a new sort of totalitarianism with its social bonus system and surveillance system as Kai Strittmatter’s book The reinvention of dictatorship describes in detail and in Xinjiang, we may even see a sort of genocide against the Uighurs in future. Therefore China can’t be seen as just another capitalist power who has no ideological taste.

And China is not a real capitalist country, but still has a lot of state control, is more state capitalism. And the trend of the political system in China is going from an authoritarian one-party dictatorship towards a new totalitarian one-man-dictatorship which also attracts other authoritarian dictatorships in the world. Therefore you just can´t see it as just another capitalist country, but it is a state-capitalist neototalitarian great power that wants to become the No.1 world power with its Chinese exceptionalism. Therefore you can’t treat China as just another harmless capitalist country you only have some small trade disputes with and nothing more. Therefore the comparison with the Soviet Union is not that flawed and if Joshua Wong in his Berlin speech declares the fight for freedom in Hongkong as a fight between the free world and the unfree world, especially neototalitarian China he is partly correct.

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Need to reimagine strategic narratives about China?

tThe East Asia Forum published on 1 December 2019 a new article on its website „Need to reimagine strategic narratives about China“ by Jacob Taylor:

„Reality is that the human mind is more storyteller than factual analyst. It filters information to support narratives about the world and is less attuned to evidence than to the persuasiveness of characters who deliver it. These facts justify the view in international strategic thinking that objective and quantifiable interests should take precedence over subjective values and narratives in international affairs and saw institutionalised diplomacy entrenched to ensure that rational calculations dominated outcomes.

Research in neuroscience and psychology demonstrates, however, that narratives are not so easily abandoned when thinking strategically. Narratives are physically embodied in patterns of neuronal, emotional and psychological activity. Attempting to confine international strategic thinking to security and economic interests is unlikely to stop subjective narratives from overthrowing strategic thinking.

The US-led strategy of engagement with China is supposed to have been sustained in Washington by a narrative that Beijing’s entry into international markets would drive democratic political reform. In the same vein, Washington’s current view of China as a strategic competitor is underpinned by a narrative that China’s rise threatens America’s place at the top of the global order.

The ‘China as threat’ narrative interprets the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) pervasive yet opaque influence in China as evidence of a coordinated system of control that threatens US interests. A significant element in the policy community in Australia apparently buys the same story. Each explicit strategic appraisal of China is both constrained and propelled by an implicit mythology about itself (‘the United States as liberal champion’) or the other (‘China as nefarious threat’).

The narratives that underwrite US-led economic and security appraisals of China define the international arena as a contest between monolithic national actors. The only imaginable outcome of such a binary game is one nation prevailing over the other through coercion or control.

Neglecting the function of narrative in policy development in a security–economic nexus of interests deprives international strategic thinking of vital information required to envisage more sophisticated scenarios for shared security and prosperity.

(…) Understanding the role of narratives in shaping international strategic thinking is thus essential to dealing with the issue of how to change international institutions in ways that promote continuing economic and political interaction and reduce the chance of conflict.

Adam Breuer and Alastair Johnston drew on the analysis of cultural evolution to trace the development of the ‘China as a revisionist power’ narrative in the US foreign policy community and throughout the English-language digital media. They show that simple, categorical and zero-sum sub-narratives such as ‘China is a threat to the liberal order’ and memes such as ‘China challenges the rules-based order’ crowd out nuanced but less emotionally crowded strategic assessments of the China–US relationship.

Analysing a specific policy in terms of the genealogy of the story that drives it helps to expose how emotional and subjective factors — and not just explicit economic or security interests — shape international strategic thinking. Ultimately, this informs thinking about the types of collective narratives needed to underwrite shared security and prosperity within national and international institutions of governance.

‘The United States’ playing chess while China’s playing Go’ is a common adage to explain why both appear prone to misapprehending each other’s motivations and actions. For policymakers today the problem is that existing frameworks for international strategic thinking do not offer space to imagine games with better outcomes for China, the United States and the rest of the world, or to consider whether these nations should be playing games at all.

Jacob Taylor is a Visiting Research Fellow at the Asian Bureau of Economic Research at the ANU and a Postdoctoral Associate at the Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology at the University of Oxford.

The East Asian Forum is a prochinese website that should be treated with caution. However, I would like to focus on one central point. Kissinger describes Chinese strategic thinking more with Go, that is, with the slow, gradual, more evolutionary encircling of the opponent, which then incapacitates him, while Western strategic thinking is more akin to chess, where one beats a lot, plays more aggressively , has a winner takes it all attitude and the goal is final victory and submission. Assuming one shares this somewhat simplistic assumption, the question remains whether this difference is not exactly inviting misperceptions and does not make things even more dangerous. But what is the consequence? Should the West now become a Go player or China a chess player, so that the mutual perception, strategies, and expected moves are synchronized and coordinated to avoid a conflict? The article even questions the simple Go / Chess binarity. It claims that the simple zero game thinking and political and economic categories are not sufficient and that the West should reimagine his narratives and assumptions, maybe include cultural categories. However, it doesn´t propose new concrete categories except for the cultural dimension but remains very vague on this aspect, calls that the West should change its narratives so that the West should see the rise of China not as a threat, but more as an opportunity and god-given development. And even if you add cultural or civilizational categories the China threat theory still exists as Dr. Kiron Skinner, chief of the US Secretary of State Pompeo´s think tank Policy Planing Staff speaks of the Cold war as a fight between two Western civilizations and of the Sino-American conflict about a struggle between Western and non-Western civilizations, similar to Samuel Huntington´s Clash of Civilizations instead of a dialogue of civilizations.

The article stays with the vague appeal that China should not be seen as a threat, be it political, economic or geopolitical terms and categories and that these categories and narratives wouldn’t be sufficient to understand the whole picture and development. However, it doesn´t criticize China for its own narratives and sometimes propaganda lies, not even quotes Brzezinski or Kissinger or John Milligan-Whyte and Thomas Barnett who wanted close Sino-American cooperation or even a G 2. Milligan- Whyte even proposed that the USA should Deng Xiaopingsinize its political system and foreign policy to adept Chinese wishes. This in itself is some sort of call for regime change. And the article only addresses Western failures, but not Chinese „wrongdoing“. It also doesn´t address the question if China and the USA don´t perceive themselves as exceptionalist powers or are revisionist powers and if Chinese thinking at this point is very similar to American exceptionalism, even if the Chinese hide it better in their propaganda of antihegemony, diversity and win-win.

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Bank Collapse in China?

Here we want to discuss the Youtube video „Bank Collapse in China“. We often heard the story of Chinese state banks financing bankrupt SOEs and facing a financial crash in China which might trigger an international financial crisis many times in the last 3 decades. Nothing happened. The doomsayer failed. However, the exponential debt growth, the cyclical downturn, overcapacity and overaccumulation of capital and the Sino-American trade war could make a difference. The CPC tries to solve this by more injections of new credit, take over of the failed banks by the state, mergers, stimulus programs and the New Silkroad. But the failure of three banks, the Bank of Jinzhou, Hengfeng bank and Baoshan bank alone are not enough to come to a crash conclusion. But it could also be US disinformation propaganda. However, a crisis in the financial center Hongkong might have an impact on the financial system in China which might be a reason that China yet has not intervened in the special administration area. One indicator is interesting. The decline of private households saving rates in China. How to interpret this? More domestic consumption or the Chinese have to spend their last money? And what about the real estate bubble? On the other side, the New Silkroad is an outlet for the Chinese cyclical overproduction crisis and brought some economic stimulus as did China´s WTO membership 2001 before. But the New Silkroad/BRI/OBOR is not mentioned in the video with one word. Its perspective of success, a new debt trap, etc. are also not analyzed in the video. And I think you could make a similar video about a coming crash of the US financial market as the debts and debt ratios are also rising, be it consumer credits and private debts or state debts or about the Eurozone or Latinamerica. However, we want to recommend this video as it brings some interesting facts, but in our opinion not the whole picture. As we have just experienced the video was removed as a link from our website. Maybe the authors have problems with their own description of a coming Chinese bank crash.

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German students 68 to 2010: trend towards apolitical attitudes – pupil take over



Since the student years of the ’68 and ’80s a lot has changed. Up to the new university law and the Pisa reforms in the course of the Lisbon Treaty, students still had time to engage in politics or study for 2-4 semesters other subjects. There were also long-term students ( German: Langzeitstudenten/ Gammelstudenten).With the introduction of study semester linits all this was gone. Were the 60s and 70s still characterized by microphone fights, attacks on professors and seminar blasting, the students of the 80s were still politically, but to a lesser extent, especially not so militant. This generation of students I belonged to.


The students from the 90s learned as a result of the study time limits, no longer as good job prospects as the 68er only for the next exam, were increasingly apolitical, just wanted to make a career quickly, butter up and flöatter the professor and sought in the free time fun – fun society (German: Spaßgesellschaft), love parade and techno. They wanted to enjoy the peace dividend of the end of the Cold War and the nuclear war and environmental catastrophe era now and here and do not worry anymore, but celebrate free. The political sections of the student associations such as Antifa, women’s department, etc.were largely dissolved. Today’s student´s parliaments see themselves above all as a service provider and are copying lecture scripts. Not even commented scripts are there. Professors complain now that a completely streamlined and uncritical student is the dominant type, which does not want to question the professor well. Of course, there were also apolitical students in earlier times and not so rare, but by no means in this breadth.

Significantly, today’s protests in Germany are organized and driven by pupils, not students. This is all the more remarkable, since the pupils mostly have to learn by themselves in the G8 and like the students of the 90s fun generation actually only have to learn and not have to demonstrate.


Of course, what is said describes the trend. There were also some political student groups in the 90s and 2000s, such as the Linskruck, which then dissolved or sought the way into the Left Party and also some demos, such as against the German fascist Republicans, the anti-globalization movement around Attac and the social forum as well as the demo with 1 dead in Genoa and the demos against the Iraq war 2003. But that remained only straw fire and vanished in the 2000s and 2010s . Afterwards were only such marginal, unsuccessful and small movements like Occupy in the context of the financial crisis. That was it.


Even the so-called fun society has now grown up and has given up its hedonistic lifestyle in favor of bourgeois nepotism, as is well expressed in the song of Materia.


In addition, the professorships of today’s universities no longer primarily recruited from old Nazis and conservatives, but were replaced by the 68 veterans ( German nickname: Apo-Opas ) who poured their ideas into curriculum and especially with their own biography have a guilty conscience of their own protests as the youthful sins from which one should preserve the newer generation. For these ARTE TV is their nostalgia transmitter. Thus, these veterans are structurally conservative. The traditional left-wing student body was also replaced by a new left-wing student body characterized by Judith Butler’s postcolonial, gender-feminist, cultural-relativistic and Islamophile ideas and the post-modern school (the end of all grand narratives, deconstruction) and socalled Hipsters flood universities and the urban metropols and are excellently portrayed in the parody and fictional character of Malthe Torben.


The main 2 big demostrations in the 2010s did not originate from the universities, but the anti-TTIP movement with at least 350 000 participants relied on veterans of the traditional left and Attac and Friday for Future emanates from the schools, albeit supported by leftwinged green parents, teachers and scientists support and network internationally. But the universities were no longer the central focal point of social contradictions or places of debate. Perhaps this will change again when the new generation of pupils flood the universities and become first-time voters.

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Deutsche Studenten 68 bis 2010er: Trend zum Unpolitischen-die Schüler übernehmen

Seit der Studentenzeit der 68er und 80er hat sich viel geändert.Bis zu dem BHG und den Pisa-Reformen im Zuge des Lissaboner Vertrags hatten Studenten noch Zeit sich neben dem Studium mit Politik zu beschäftigen oder auch mal 2-4 Semester ein Studium Generale zu machen und in andere Fächer reinzuschauen.Es gab auch noch Langzeit-und sogenannte Gammelstudenten.Mit der Einführung der Regelstudienzeit fiel all das weg.Waren die 60er und 70er noch geprägt von Mikrofonkämpfen,Niederschreien des Profs und Seminarsprengungen,so waren die Studenten der 80er zwar noch politisch,aber in abnehmenden Maße,zumal auch nicht mehr so militant.Dieser Studentengeneration gehörte ich an.

Die Studenten ab den 90er Jahre lernten in Folge der Regelstudienzeit, nicht mehr so guten Jobaussichten wie noch die 68er nur noch für die nächste Prüfung, waren zunehmend unpolitisch, wollten nur noch schnell Karriere machen, sich beim Professor lieb Kind machen und suchten in der Freizeit Spass – Spassgesellschaft, Loveparade und Techno. Sie wollten die Friedensdividende des Ende des Kalten Kriegs und der Atomkriegs- und Umweltkatastrophenzeit nun unbesorgt geniessen und sich keine Gedanken mehr machen, sondern unbeschwert feiern. Die politischen Referate der ASTEN wie Antifareferat,Frauenreferat,etc.wutrden weitgehendst aufgelöst.Die heutigen ASTEN sehen sich vor allem als Dienstleister und Skriptenkopier für die Fachschaften.Nicht einmal mehr kommentierte Skripten gibt es.Professoren beschweren sich inzwischen darüber,dass da eine völlig stromlinienförmige und unkritische Studentenschaft der dominante Typ ist,die sich beim Professor gut stellen und nicht einmal mehr hinterfragen will.Natürlich gab es solche Stduenten auch schon früher und nicht so selten, aber bei weitem nicht in dieser Breite.

Die heutigen Proteste in Deutschland gehen bezeichnenderweise von den Schülern und nicht von den Studenten aus. Dies ist umso beachtlicher,da die Schüler ja zumeist selbst im G8 lernen müssen und wie die Studenten der 90er Spassgeneration eigentlich auch nur lernen und nicht demonstrieren müssten.

Natürlich beschreibt das Gesagte den Trend.Es gab in den 90ern und 2000ern auch noch einzelne politische Studentengruppen wie etwa den Linksruck , der sich dann aber auflöste oder den Weg in die Linkspartei suchte und auch einige Demos wie gegen die Republikaner, die Antiglobalisierungsbewegung um Attac und das Sozialforum wie auch als Höhepumkt die Demo mit 1 Toten in Genua und die Demos gegen den Irakkrieg 2003.Aber das blieben nur Strohfeuer und verlief sich wieder in den 2000er und 2010ern.Da kam es nur noch zu solch marginalen, erfolglosen und kleinen Bewegungen wie Occupy im Rahmen der Finanzkrise. Das war es dann aber.

Selbst die sogenante Spassgesellschaft ist jetzt erwachsen geworden und hat ihren hedonistischen Lebenstil zugunsten bürgerlichen Neospießertum aufgegeben, wie dies im Lied von Materia gut zum Ausdruck kommt:

Hinzu kommt, dass die Professorenschaft der heutigen Unis sich nicht mehr aus alten Nazis und Konservativen primär rekrutiert, sondern duch die Apo-Opas und Alt68er abgelöst wurden, die ihre Ideen in Lehrpläne gossen und zumal mit ihrer eigenen Biographie ein schlechtes Gewissen haben und das als Jugendsünden verbuchen, vor deren man die neuere Generation bewahren sollte.Für diese ist ARTE ihr Nostalgiesender. Damit sind diese strukturkonservativ. Die traditionelle linke Studentenschaft wurde zudem von einer neuen linken Studentenschaft abgelöst, die vor allem durch postkoloniale, genderfeminitische, kulturrelativistische und islamophile Ideen Judith Butlers und der postmodernen Schule (Ende aller Grand Narrative, Dekonstruktion) geprägt ist.Dieser linke Studententyp, der in Form des Hipsters heute Unis und Grosstädten bevölkert, wird in der Parodie und Kunstfigur des Malthe Torben hervorragend portraitiert:

Die wesentlichen 2 grossen Demos in den 2010ern nahmen ihren Ausgang auch nicht von den Unis, sondern die Anti-TTIPbewegung mit immerhin 350 000 Teilnehmern speiste sich aus Veteranen der traditionellen Linken und Attac und Friday for Future geht von den Schulen aus, wenngleich von links-grünen Eltern und Lehrern und Wissenschaftlern unterstützt und gefördert und vernetzt sich international . Aber die Unis waren nicht mehr zentrales Brennglas gesellschaftlicher Widersprüche oder Orte der Debatte. Vielleicht ändert sich dies auch wieder, wenn nun die neue Schülergeneration an die Unis drängt und zumal begehrte Erstwähler werden.

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Kissinger on US exceptionalism: What about Chinese exceptionalism?

„Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger made prudent remarks recently when he said the United States is no longer a uni-power and that it must recognize the reality of China as an equal rival.

The furor over a new law passed by the US this week regarding Hong Kong and undermining Beijing’s authority underlines Kissinger’s warning.

If the US cannot find some modus vivendi with China, then the outcome could be a catastrophic conflict worst than any previous world war, he admonished.

Speaking publicly in New York on November 14, the veteran diplomat urged the US and China to resolve their ongoing economic tensions cooperatively and mutually, adding: “It is no longer possible to think that one side can dominate the other.”

A key remark made by Kissinger was the following: “So those countries that used to be exceptional and used to be unique, have to get used to the fact that they have a rival.”

In other words, he is negating the erroneous consensus held in Washington which asserts that the US is somehow “exceptional”, a “uni-power” and the “indispensable nation”. This consensus has grown since the early 1990s after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when the US viewed itself as the sole super-power. That morphed into a more virulent ideology of “full-spectrum dominance”. Thence, the past three decades of unrelenting US criminal wars and regime-change operations across the planet, throwing the whole world into chaos.

Kissinger’s frank assessment is a breath of fresh air amid the stale and impossibly arrogant self-regard held by too many American politicians who view their nation as an unparalleled power which brooks no other.

The seasoned statesman, who is 96-years-old and retains an admirable acumen for international politics, ended his remarks on an optimistic note by saying: “I am confident the leaders on both sides [US and China] will realize the future of the world depends on the two sides working out solutions and managing the inevitable difficulties.“

But US exceptionalism is catalyzed by Trump´s America first policy worse than before. All hope for a Trump-Xi deal. However, Trump is not the peaceful businessman who just wants to get a small deal about trade issues, but a deal that makes America No.1 and China No.2 in the long term. But the question is if there is not also Chinese exceptionalism as China now claims that it was the world power for centuries and the world civilization with 5000 year`s hegemony about the barbarians till the West interrupted its exceptionalism by some unequal treaties and a short period of 100 years of national humiliation. The only hope is that Xi will make some tactical compromises to Trump in order to become the No.1 in the midterm and longterm. Nothing more and nothing less. And as I always try to point out Trump will even start a Sino-American war about this issue if reelected and if Xi doesn´t accept his conditions. And the US opposition`? If you have a closer look they all try to outperform themselves in China-bashing and Joe Biden and Kissinger even get critizised for being soft on China. It´s an election competition who is the best US exceptionalist and the best Chinabasher. Kissinger´s book On China warned of a new Crowe memorandum. But the trends in the USA are going in this direction and Kissinger is blamed by the right for his policy that made China strong, betrayed Vietnam and Taiwan and also antisemitic conspiracy theories are aired by the Trump faction. Brzezinski and Thomas Barnett who had the idea of a G2 are now as Kissinger or Joe Biden seen as traitors for the US exceptionalism and Manchurian candidates of China as Trump tries to portray the Democrats as Manchurian candidates of China as they try to portray him as Manchurian candidate of Putin-Russia. . But the main problem remains: Two exceptionalisms are confronting each other.

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Will Macron leave NATO or does he want a fundamental debate which brings gradual change?


Macron`s remarks about the braindeath of NATO and now his proposal to accept the Russian moratorium on medium-range missiles cause hot debates before the next NATO Summit on December 2nd to 3rd. However, not all statements of Macron should be taken for face-value. He wants to initiate a fundamental debate about the NATO goals. Macron sees three options for Russia: Become a superpower again, create an Eurasia with China or establish EU-Russian cooperation as an alternative model. Therefore he proposes a New East Policy with Russia, a security zone for Russia and an European security architecture. The rapprochement with Russia should also lead to a new NATO policy that sees the dangers not in Russia and the East, but in the South, the Greater Middle East and Africa, migration and Islamism. Chirac, Sarkozy and Macron already tried to get acceptance for their idea of a Mediterranean union in the EU, now in NATO.

NATO General Secretary Stoltenberg already declared that no European military could replace the USA and NATO and that this was dangerous talk. In the coming NATO meeting Macron wants a fundamental debate about the meaning of NATO and its orientation against Russia which he would like to replace by a new policy and detente with Russia. However, some NATO members see the danger that Macron´s statements and policy could be an invitation for Putin to test out the defense promise of NATO article 5 and weaken Europe and NATO. However, whether Macron will leave NATO like De Gaulle did, is questionable.

Interesting in this context is the article The Rationale and Contours of an Amicable Transatlantic Security Divorce by Ted Galen Carpenter who proposes and sees a strategic divorce beween the USA and the EU, the breakup of NATO and ist replacement by an US-EU Security Council which  focueses on the alleged real common interest of the two parties.

„French President Emmanuel Macron created a huge stir on both sides of the Atlantic in early November when he stated that NATO was experiencing “brain death.” This was not a casual, off-hand comment on his part. When reporters asked Macron whether he still believed in Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, under which an attack on one member is considered an attack on all, he answered: “I don’t know.” Indeed, Macron has been in the vanguard of efforts for several years to create an independent “Europeans only” defense capability through the European Union, a move that would, at a minimum, greatly dilute NATO’s primacy regarding transatlantic security issues. The drive to give the EU a military dimension reflects declining French confidence in NATO’s unity and the reliability of Washington’s continued willingness to be democratic Europe’s security shield.

Other European leaders, most notably German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, criticized Macron’s comment and disputed his assessment. “When France talks about more European cooperation in defense, they’re talking about strategic autonomy. The French are seeking strong European cooperation to replace NATO,” Kramp-Karrenbauer said. She asserted that instead of replacing the Alliance, Germany wanted to strengthen “NATO’s European pillar.”

It is highly probable that statements emerging from future NATO gatherings will echo the German government’s position, rather than French views. However, Macron is correct. US and European perspectives and interests on a variety of important strategic issues continue to drift apart, and no quantity of the usual upbeat clichés about “enduring Alliance solidarity” at the summit will alter that reality. Members must abandon the obsolete notion that American and European interests are compatible to the point of being nearly congruent. Such a belief was exaggerated even during the Cold War when America and its European allies faced a mutual existential threat in the form of the totalitarian Soviet Union. It is an absurd fiction today in a much more diverse and less dire security environment.

European publics, even more than their American counterparts, are implicitly recognizing the new reality. A September 2019 report from the European Council on Foreign Relations, surveying 60,000 people in 14 European Union countries, confirmed that point. The desire for independence and neutrality was evident even with respect to policy toward Russia. When asked “Whose side should your country take in a conflict between the United States and Russia?” the majority of respondents in all 14 EU countries said “neither.” Moreover, the pro-neutralist majority was massive – usually exceeding 70%.

Attitudes were no better regarding other foreign policy controversies involving the United States. When asked “Whose side should your country take in a conflict between the United States and China?” the results were lopsided against backing America – even among Washington’s longstanding NATO partners. Only 18% of French respondents, 20% of Italians and 10% of Germans chose solidarity with the United States.(…)

Trying to maintain NATO, especially with its rigid Article 5 obligation and a large US military presence in Europe, no longer serves the best interest of countries on either side of the Atlantic.

Replacing NATO with a new US-EU Security Coordination Council having more limited obligations, is a better option. Such a mechanism would facilitate regular consultations regarding international developments of mutual concern, and even authorize and coordinate joint military operations, in the unlikely event that step became necessary.

The new Council would embody a more flexible security relationship between equals instead of the current de facto relationship within NATO between a security patron and its dependents. Instead of spouting increasingly empty clichés about alleged Alliance solidarity, participants at the upcoming NATO summit should begin the multi-year process leading to the withdrawal of US forces from Europe, an amicable security divorce, and the transition to a new, more limited transatlantic strategic relationship.“

https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/rationale-contours-amicable-transatlantic-security-divorce

The CATO Institute is a libertarian think tank with outsider positions.However CATO is libertarian as Ron Paul or his son Rand Paul, both members of the Republican Party, but in the tendency, Trump’s and Macron’s views on NATO to date are also so-called outsider positions, but very similar. And if the US or French Präsident have such views you cannot really call it an outsider position.


However, nobody can imagine a united European military or an united European nuclear power that replaces the USA. Macron overestimates the real power of his Grand Nation and the Europeans and plays little Napoleon and De Gaulle, but I think he is aware of it and wants gradual change, but not the breakup of NATO. Macron now thinks about the Russian moratorium. This won´t be accepted by the rest of NATO member states. Germany’s foreign minister Heiko Maas is incorrect if he says that Macron would split NATO over this question as the NATO member states seem to be pretty united about this issue. However, I hope that Macron will change the attitude of NATO gradually and a compromise will be reached which could also have the result of a new initiative of NATO member countries towards a new policy towards Russia-The second important point Macron makes is that he wants more resources for the South, Africa and the Greater Middle East. Germany is now thinking about sending special forces to Africa which are combatants like the French as the German military to date is sending only military advisers. And he wishes that NATO would follow that path. However, this will be the hottest NATO meeting for a long time. It won´t be the end of NATO and Macron won´t leave the organization. But it´s up to the NATO member goverments to listen to him, make gradual change or initiate a New East Policy or make some initiatives towards Russia like Horst Teltschik proposes in his new book “ The Russian Roulette“. If NATO and the EU ignore or isolate Macron and try to portray him as a Putinist or Mandchurian candidate, he, in the long run, will leave NATO or Marine Le Pen´s Front National will replace him leaving NATO, the Euro and maybe start the Frexit after the Brexit and make a Eurasian instead of a transatlantic axis between Paris, Moscow and Beijing. That makes NATO and the EU strong.

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