Munich Security Conference- between negotiation and surprise coup?
The Munich Security Conference will satr this weekend. Harris is coming, Macron is coming, Scholz personally, because this time he doesn’t want Baerbock to be first like the last time when she presented her feminist foreign policy, which is now to be developed in guidelines for the AA/Foreign minister and also part of the National Security Strategy announced for the MSC , which is now not available in time due to differences within the traffic light coalition and between Scholz and Baerbock, but is expected to be presented to the German Bundestag in March. Baerbock is parked in the parallel meeting of the G7 foreign ministers. Scholz wants to show that he has the leading role in Germany, especially with Macron together in the Franco-German axis as the engine of the EU. Russia, Iran and the AfD are not invited, but the Chinese will send Wang Yi, who has risen from foreign minister to become a member of the Politburo, and in whom there are projected hopes that he will put pressure on Putin and that there might be some relaxation between the USA and China after the balloon affair, especially since China has also conjured up the „Spirit of Bali“and Biden has now also signaled a willingness to talk to Xi, but the Chinese are still a bit angry.
The pressure to negotiate with Russia is increasing from the German population, but also from parts of the western elite. This is expressed, for example, by the report that the outgoing MSC boss Ischinger supports arms deliveries, but at the same time calls for a working group for diplomacy and negotiations with Russia. That’s a different tone than the new MSC chief and former Merkel adviser Heusgen. Furthermore, the now much-noticed and discussed „Manifesto for Peace“ by Alice Schwarzer and Sahra Wagenknecht, who also together with Merkel’s former military advisor General Vad called for an anti-war demonstration at the Brandenburg Gate on February 25 with the appeal to start peace negotiations with Russia immediately. The US military chief of staff, General Milley, is also quoted extensively by all three. When Sahra Wagenknecht and Alice Schwarzer write in their manifesto: “Ukraine can indeed win individual battles with the support of the West. But it cannot win a war against the world’s largest nuclear power. That’s what the highest military in the United States, General Milley, says. He speaks of a stalemate in which neither side can win militarily and the war can only be ended at the negotiating table. Then why not now? Immediately!” is not entirely correct. In fact, the United States‘ Joint Chief of Staff said at a Pentagon press conference in November, „The likelihood of a Ukrainian military victory — defined as driving the Russians out of all of Ukraine, including their claimed Crimea — is not very -militarily speaking-“ high.” Milley continued: “Ukraine will continue to stand firm. Ukraine will not give in „Be free and they want to stay free“. He added that the United States would support Ukraine in self-defense for as long as needed, echoed by US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin at the same event. Yes, Milley says the war can end at the negotiating table, but that’s a truism: every war ends at a table. For Milley, however, it is clear that the Russians must retreat so that there can be a political solution. Schwarzer and Wagenknecht conceal this. In their national-pacifist manifesto, which denies Ukraine’s statehood, the country Ukraine is not mentioned as a nation fighting for its freedom.
In addition, Milley did not speak out against further arms deliveries. As Putin continues to escalate, the only chance he sees is that the Ukrainians will continue to be armed to ensure their survival or some land gain, to keep up and to build up negotiating pressure on Putin at all. Milley does not deny that this is a battle of attrition at the moment. He weighs up the fact that if fighter jets, warships, etc. are still being delivered from NATO and US stocks, that at some point the western arsenals will come to an end and reduce their own ability to defend themselves and especially since there are fewer and fewer resources left for dealing with China. Especially since the USA has indeed increased its defense expenditures, but according to a US study it hasn’t gotten anywhere in the Indo-Pacific, even Japan formally changed its post-war constitution from the SDF “shield” to the counterstrike capacity “spear” against China and North Korea, especially in view of the enormous armament of China and North Korea and the complete conversion of the Russian economy to a war economy under the new Russian Albert Speer Medjedew. As long as the Western armaments industry has not yet switched to a kind of war economy and has not ramped up, the USA, its European and Asian allies still have to divert arms deliveries to Ukraine and elsewhere from their meager peacetime dividend stocks, an end to the flagpole and the ability to escalate is then in sight if you don’t want to intervene yourself or the western military and its armaments industry can catch up quickly within a certain period of time.
Furthermore, Milley also spoke of a possible “Korea solution”, so from a certain point in the war of attrition and the hopelessness of a further escalation dominance of one or both sides, he would be in favor of negotiations, can even imagine a “Korea solution” as a scenario in the worst case, unlike Ben Hodges, who believes that Crimea will be liberated by August 2023, then the associated fall of the Donbass and perhaps also of Putin. But when it comes to the Korean solution, we have to be honest about it. Proponents of further arms deliveries and a physical liberation of the Ukraine argue that a division of Ukraine or a „dictated peace“ means that Putins in the occupied territories will murder tens or even hundreds of thousands, torture chambers, and extermination and dictatorship by this “ peace“. Proponents of a dictated „peace“ and a division of Ukraine point to further mass destruction of human life and infrastructure, a completely destroyed and soon depopulated country if the war is escalated or goes on. They are right too. So you have to be honest, if e.g.there is talk of a Korea solution or “peace”. In the Korean War, the Soviet Union and China waged a proxy war, with China then intervening itself as US troops came near its border and Mao and Stalin fought back the US with supplies of fighter jets, anti-aircraft missiles and mass waves of soldiers to the 38th decarmation line. This Korean solution and division of the country was achieved after 5 million dead soldiers and civilians, the North Korean population was sacrificed to the firing squads, concentration camps and torture chambers of Kim Il Sung and the country was just a rubble and debris desert. After that, North Korea quickly recovered, also with the help of the Soviet Union and China, and the fact was that the heavy industry was in North Korea, while South Korea, as an agricultural developing country under the corrupt Syngman Rhee, hardly carried out any industrialization or land reform. It was only when the USA supported the coup by South Korean General Park Chuhee, who launched an industrialization and economic reform program, that South Korea blossomed into today’s economic powerhouse, while North Korea developed into Asia’s hungerhouse, which can only survive through nuclear weapons programs and Chinese aid . A Korean solution would mean that both sides would accept Ukraine being reduced to rubble and then accept a division for a grave yard peace, whereby the Ukrainians who live under Russian occupation would be exposed to all the atrocities like the North Koreans and that would be the case if you accept this bloody price. And then one also hopes that Ukraine, like South Korea, can quickly flourish in 2 decades with US and EU aid like South Korea. Vietnam also cost 3 million dead, more bombs were dropped there than in World War II, including Agent Orange and napalm, but today the country is an Asian tiger and has a booming economy with a new generation which doesn´t know the war time anymore. And even in the case of use of tactical nuclear weapons, the logic of Reagan’s adviser Paul Nitze should be quoted: „Today Hiroshima is a flourishing and thriving city again – what’s the problem?“. Putin doesn’t think in other categories either, but rather in much more ethnic, fascist and genocidal fantasies of extermination.
After the AfD (which also wants a Dexit), Wagenknecht’s life partner Oskar Lafontaine, who did not sign the appeal, is now demanding in his own polemic „Ami. Time to go!” now also the withdrawal of all US military from Europe. You can read about it in the left German newspaper Freitag interview with him;
„Oskar Lafontaine, what would you do better than Olaf Scholz? Interview Oskar Lafontaine talks about Germany, NATO and the war in an interview. How would he act if he had the power?”(…)
Freitag: Putin also has the idea that the United States has a very large influence on Germany. In a recent speech to students, he said that Germany was a country occupied by the United States, and mentioned the Ramstein air base. As Chancellor, would you close Ramstein and risk breaking with NATO? Lafontaine: First of all, I would do everything to end the illegal drone war that the USA is waging over Ramstein. We should take a lesson from countries like Brazil, which are not involved in the war, and are pushing for peace. Now it is always said that we are not a party to the war if we supply weapons …
Lafontaine: We are a war party in the drone war in which thousands of innocent people are dying because it is also controlled via Ramstein. That has to stop. The second step would, of course, be to gradually dismantle US military installations in Germany. Because as long as they are here and used for wars by the USA that violate international law, we are also a party to the war. According to Charles de Gaulle, a country’s sovereignty consists in making its own decisions about war and peace.
Conflict manager Sporrer is also in favor of negotiations today in the Munich newspaper Münchner Merkur, from which further arms deliveries with a simultaneous offer of negotiations are expedient. He also thinks that Scholz’s war goal, that Ukraine must not lose, makes more diplomatic sense, since it includes several options, including victory and liberation of the entire Ukraine, but one does not commit to them, but leaves diplomatic leeway for negotiations. It is probably no coincidence that Sporrer, who worked for the OSCE for a long time, is giving the interview today at the same time as the OSCE meeting in Vienna. Ukraine and Lithuania, of course, do not want to take part in protest because of the participation of a Russian delegation. So the OSCE seems to be going a different way than the MSC, where the Russians and Lavrov were not invited. Sporrer takes a kind of intermediate position of small steps with simultaneous arms deliveries to the Ukrainians in contrast to Schwarzer’s and Wagenknecht’s manifesto – as Sporrer explains in the Münchner Merkur:
“Münchner Merkur: Mr. Sporrer, a manifesto has recently been issued calling for a halt to further arms deliveries to Ukraine and for immediate negotiations. Can you gain something from this?
Sporrer: The call is a classic case of: well is the opposite of well intentioned. That’s why I didn’t sign it. In terms of the goal of achieving de-escalation and peace as quickly as possible, the text goes in the right direction. But he prescribes the wrong medicine. Stopping arms shipments is not the right way to achieve peace quickly. You would rather get Russia to bleed Ukraine dry and win the war, it would be a catastrophe for all of Europe. What would be the right way? First of all we have to have the right debate, namely the one about the war aim, which the West, especially the USA, has never precisely defined. Some say that Ukraine must win the war, others that it must not lose it. There are worlds in between. If I want to strengthen Ukraine in such a way that Russia realizes it cannot win, then arms deliveries can be dosed well. If I say Ukraine has to win the way the government in Kiev wants it to, namely across the board, it needs a completely different type of support. Unfortunately, there is no consensus on how far the West wants to go.
Münchner Merkur: Chancellor Scholz stuck to the formula that Ukraine must not lose. is that wise
Sporrer: This is very clever, because the wording includes the possibility of a Ukrainian victory. The other position is firmly committed to something that will be difficult to achieve. But the important debate about it is not being conducted, it is being obscured by partly uninformed debates about weapons.
Münchner Merkur: After a year of war, Kiev and Moscow rule out talks. In view of Russian war crimes, the call for negotiations is also cynical, isn’t it?
Sporrer: That may be morally correct, but I think the problem lies elsewhere. There is no fundamental unwillingness to talk to each other, but rather an unwillingness to forego preconditions and an unwillingness to negotiate political solutions to the conflict. May I remind you that both sides are setting impossible preconditions: Ukraine is demanding complete removal of the Russian Federation from its territory, Russia is demanding recognition of territorial gains. Neither will happen.
Münchner Merkur: With the difference that Ukraine is right with its preconditions.
Sporrer: Morally, Ukraine may be right about its preconditions. But from a pragmatic perspective, the preconditions are unattainable on both sides and are designed solely to prevent negotiations.
Münchner Merkur: How can this knot be untied?
Sporrer: Talking about a grand ceasefire and political solutions at this point is unrealistic, at least as far as direct talks between Russia and Ukraine are concerned. Both sides believe too much that they will become stronger on the battlefield. I advocate first closing the gap that comes with all demands for peace: namely, alleviating the suffering of the people. What is missing are suggestions. My idea is to conduct negotiations on small, concrete projects and to take feasible steps. This must happen without any precondition. And it needs a mutually recognized mediator, preferably a person from the ranks of the UN or the OSCE.”
A former German NATO general told Global Review that he had no sympathy for this and only made the very disparaging assessment: „…The OSCE has been infiltrated by Russians for years….“ I have never dealt with the OSCE so intensively, because, following Kissinger, although the CSCE goes back to him and Nixon’s Detente, never appreciated so much so-called collective security systems, and the role of the OSCE seemed to me to be wildly overestimated. When any conflict arose, the OSCE was always called upon, although it is also just a toothless paper tiger and forum, can sometimes send election observers or other observers, but not much more. Or as Stalin once said: How many troops does the Pope have? Dr Wieck, whom I met when I was still a student, once criticized that in an interview with him, I failed to mention the role of the OSCE. Well, for reasons mentioned before. Wieck was also in Belarus for the OSCE and was once fiercly attacked by Lukatscheko as a former BND president and allegedly for being a German imperialist who wanted to involve Belarus in a Yugoslav war scenario through NATO. But I never perceived Wieck as Russian infiltrated at all. More of a classic transatlantic. So let’s leave the alleged Russian infiltration of the OSCE open and rather state that it is more of a discussion forum without real hard power.
The criticism of Heusgen and the MSC does not stop. What’s going on with Burda’s Focus?
“An analysis by Ulrich Reitz
Wishes for peace fade away because of a gross mistake by Merkel’s confidante
83 foreign and defense ministers come to the Munich Security Conference. The Russians were not wanted. is that smart The very nature of diplomacy demands dialogue, not cancel culture.”
The non-invitation or „offensive disinvitation“ of Lavrov, Iran and the AfD as an expression of wokeness and cancel culture of the new MSC boss Heusgen. Wow. According to Reitz Merkel would have done it differently and the argument that enemies of freedom should not be given a forum would be wrong on two counts. First, it is an issue of diplomacy not only to negotiate with one’s friends, but also with one’s enemies. Secondly, their statements would reach the population in the media and social media anyway. Where Ulrich Reitz is actually right in his criticism of Heusgen with a „de- Putinization“, although it is unclear what follows from that: should Putin be left in his place, or does Reitz want to re-educate and replace Putin along with the entire Russian elite and society? However, the USA only succeeded in this in Germany and Japan because they were occupying powers and liberators and because they were able to comprehensively and effectively reshape the reeducation, economic, cultural, political and military structures. Especially with the involvement of incriminated Nazis, who could easily be won over to the common fight against communism during the Cold War. There will be no US/NATO occupying power in Russia, although people like Mearsheimer hope that there could still be a common Western-Russian enemy China with or after Putin. All very illusory. More likely a constellation like in the Weimar Republic with at best a democracy without democrats. Especially since economic modernization program ala Yeltsin era or modernization program financially supported by the West would easily be criticized by Russia’s right-wingers like Stresemann or the Young and Dawes plan by the NSDAP, national conservatives and KPD – as a sell-out. Khodorkowsky’s startegy of „leapfroging“ the Russian economy into a high-tech society is also not without risk either. Or a Russia with possible scenarios of disintegration, as described by Alexander Motly in Foreign Affairs, who, regardless of the outcome, calls for a Western barricade against Russia from the Baltic to the Black Sea region to Central Asia to contain and prevent instability from spreading.
While Lavrov and the Russians are not invited to the MCS, opposition oligarch Khodorkovsky is given a forum to present his new book. In addition, his second book, in which he actually formulates a comprehensive program for an opposition and a new Russian government after Putin, as well as including instructions for action. It almost looks as if Navalny has already been forgotten and Khodorkovsky has been quietly chosen by the West as the new leader of the Russian opposition, especially since his rival opposition figure Ponomarev, who loudly announced the establishment of a government in exile under his leadership, didn´t come up with deeds, but just words.
„Putin can’t stop“: Khodorkovsky warns against attack on NATO – and expresses thesis on „oligarch“ deaths
A nuclear strike would be „suicide“ for Vladimir Putin, says Mikhail Khodorkovsky. In the event of a victory in Ukraine, however, war against NATO is to be expected. Munich – The former oligarch and current Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky does not expect Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin to use strategic nuclear weapons. However, he believes an attack on NATO is inevitable if Russia does not lose in the Ukraine war. That’s what IPPEN.MEDIA’s Khodorkowski Merkur.de said on Thursday (February 16) in an interview on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference. It is impossible to persuade Putin to withdraw from Ukraine, Khodorkovsky stressed. „For the same reason he’s unlikely to use strategic nuclear weapons: He’s not suicidal. And that would be suicide.“
„Putin can’t stop“: Khodorkovsky warns of Russian war against NATO
At the same time, the former oligarch said that the West could exert an important influence on the situation in Russia at two points. One of them was a military victory in Ukraine. „If that doesn’t happen, the next thing we’ll have to talk about is a war between Russia and NATO,“ Khodorkovsky added. “Because Putin can no longer stop – even if he wanted to. Incidentally, he also said so publicly.” Putin has declared that he wants to push NATO back to its 1997 status. Theoretically, this would affect Poland, the Baltic countries, but also Romania, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov had already presented corresponding demands and documents at the end of 2021. Khodorkovsky named dealing with a post-Putin Russia as another critical decision by the West. It will be about accepting a disintegration of the country, to rely on an autocrat again – or to support Russia in a balancing act between disintegration and autocracy. For this, the country needs, among other things, new federal structures and a parliamentary democracy.
Mysterious oligarch deaths in Putin’s Russia: Khodorkovsky expresses his suspicion In an interview with Merkur.de, Khodorkovsky also commented on the deaths of Russian top managers over the past year, which have received much attention in the West. „It’s not about oligarchs, it’s about people who sit on large streams of money,“ he explained. In view of the sanctions, there is a need to „disguise the origin of certain assets“. There is a possibility that the deceased „knew too much“. “For example, we heard that $300 billion in Russian assets were frozen. That’s what the reports from Russian banks show. But I also read recently that only 100 billion is documented as having been frozen – so where is that 200 billion?” Khodorkovsky asked rhetorically. „I don’t think you’re still safe if you know the answer.“ Khodorkovsky presented his new book „How to Kill a Dragon – Manual for Budding Revolutionaries“ in Munich.
What about Khodorkovsky’s claim that if Russia wins in Ukraine, there will be a war against NATO. On the one hand, Khodorkovsky claims that Putin is not suicidal and therefore fears strategic nuclear weapons and will not use them. But that would be the case with a war against NATO. Or does he hope that this war against NATO could be conducted conventionally or nuclear limited to Europe – with the exception of the USA and Russia? Limited nuclear wars in Euroshima? Does the much-cited nuclear deterrent no longer apply or has it become an empty shell, a paper tiger? In his book “The Senkaku Paradox-Great Power Wars on Small Stakes”, Michael O Hannon sees the scenario in the case of the Baltic States or Taiwan and the East and South China Islands that the the USA and NATO get paralyzed because of the occupation of small territorial gains by means of hybrid warfare and green men and could become divided and could be faced with the choice of nuclear war or acceptance and inaction. How high is actually the probability that Putin will surprise the MSC, which is supposed to demonstrate the strength of the West and the Ukrainians, with a surprise coup by means of Belarus entering the war with simultaneous Russian mobilization and offensive as he did with the invasion of Ukraine at the last MSC. Except for the USA and the Eastern Europeans, no one see it coming at the time. Global Review predicted that too. Would Lukachenkov go along with it and how would China react? Also regarding Taiwan and/or Russian-Chinese strategic partnership?
Putin and China will probably wait and see what the talks at the MSC will bring. Especially since a KMT delegation was in China, the DDP will probably continue to lose votes in the elections, and despite the balloon affair, Biden has now signaled a willingness to talk to Xi. If Putin and China rate the MSC as too negative, such a surprise coup after the MSC cannot be ruled out. A former German NATO general commented our scenario:
„I don’t believe in that. China reportedly said: Ukraine okay, NO NUKES, NO MORE COUNTRY.”
The former is true, the latter has not yet been officially heard. And what does that mean? Ukraine okay as the whole of Ukraine or no country other than Donbass and Crimea, not even Moldova. Perhaps the hope that Wang Yi at the MSC and Xi could be persuaded to be more specific. But to try a historical example in view of the even more simply structured Russian-Chinese strategic partnership for a multipolar world: The allied Hitler-Tojo-Mussolini axis also acted very uncoordinated, although they were allied via the Anti-Comintern. Without the consent of the Germans, Mussolini embarked on his adventures in the Balkans and Greece, which turned out to be a disaster and the Wehrmacht had to help out, which upended Hitler’s entire war plan. The same in Africa then with the Afrika Corps. Japan expanded to southern China and the Pacific instead of attacking the Soviet Union as Hitler’s Germany had hoped and desired. Not everything is comparable, but it nevertheless shows that the Chinese could not have as much say in Putin’s decisions as is generally hoped. Likewise, it’s entirely possible that Xi has no interest in ending the Ukraine war prematurely, as it ties the US in Europe, keeps it away from the Indo-Pacific, and could force Biden to make concessions.