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Ultimatums instead of Diplomacy

by Albrecht Mueller and Joachim Kleppe
In what phase is NATO's confrontation with Russia? Contrary to a promise to Gorbachev, NATO expanded eastward from 16 to 28 states. A missile system is built along the Russian border in former eastern bloc states newly accepted in NATO. Military maneuvers with 10,000 soldiers are staged at Russia's border. Imagine Russia carrying out such a maneuver at the Mexican border to the US!

How long before a shooting war?

By Albrecht Mueller and Joachim Kleppe

[This article published on April 19, 2018 is translated from the German on the Internet,]

In his analysis, the historian Joachim Kleppe, born in Braunschweig, recalls events from a few years ago. Our short-term perception is clear. This is true for the conflict around the Ukraine and Crimea and for the events in Syria. That Gulf states and the West began the weapon shipments and incitement of the inner conflict in 2011 and Russia first came years later as a conflict party was completely forgotten. Politics and the media rely on this forgetfulness. A Spiegel article on the demonstration yesterday at the Brandenburg Gate is one of many depressing examples.

In what phase is NATO’s confrontation with Russia? An escalation that can lead to a military conflict in Europe is developing faster than we imagined a few weeks ago. Does a military confrontation of the two nuclear superpowers threaten? An example from German history shows how quickly this can happen.

US and Russia – Threats Instead of Conversations

In 2014, the Mayodan uprising in the Ukraine began after years of US subversion. The US “invested” $5 billion for influencing the Ukrainian public according to European commissioner Victoria Nuland. After the Ukrainian president Janukowytsch refused to accept the conditions for the European Union association agreement (one condition was cancellation of the customs union with Russia), the Mayodan uprising developed under active participation in the demonstrations of leading US (McCain) and German politicians (Rebecca Harms, Westerwelle and Elmar Brok).

Janukowytsch fled after the shootings of demonstrators and police by sharpshooters at the Mayodan. Jazenjuk supported by the US was elected Prime Minister in the Ukrainian parliament in violation of the Ukrainian constitution (see Wikipedia). With that, the way was free for an annexation of the Ukraine in the European Union and NATO. The Russian military base in the Crimea would have been in a NATO country. Russia’s access to the sea would have been threatened. Russia prevented this by reception of the Crimea. According to the political standpoint, taking the Crimea in the Russian state was judged an annexation or secession.

In 1999, NATO bombed Yugoslavia. International law did not play any role. Afterwards former German chancellor Schroeder described the NATO attack on Yugoslavia as a violation of international law. In 2014, the NATO camp criticized Russia for violating international law in the case of Crimea. There is a difference. NATO bombed Yugoslavia and recognized Kosovo without a plebiscite. Russia did not wage any war on Crimea. On the peninsula, a plebiscite was carried out within a few days and then a parliament vote. The Crimea was admitted right away in the Russian state.

Since then, the Ukraine has been split into an area dependent on the US and an area dependent on Russia. Thus, the plan of the influential US strategist Brzezinski to cut off access to the western sea by splitting the Ukraine and making Russia a regional power could not be realized in the past (see Z. Brzezinski: The Great Chessboard, 1997).

The US obviously did not want to accept this situation. Since 2014, the tensions between the two superpowers grew from year to year. Russia and the US meet directly in other countries like Syria.

In March 2018, the poisoning of a Russian double agent and his daughter in England remained unexplained. Without evidence, England gave Russia a 24-hour ultimatum to admit its responsibility and simultaneously refused all cooperation with Russia in explaining the crime. Because of the incident, several NATO states including England, the US, France and Germany expelled 150 Russian diplomats.

A few days later, at the beginning of April 2018, a use of poison gas in Syria was reported. Without waiting for the OPCW’s investigative conclusion as in the case of the double agent, Russia was blamed and the US, France and England threaten with a military strike against Syria and against the Russian army stationed there.

Do we face the outbreak of a 3rd world war?

Ultimatum instead of Diplomacy 1914

There was a very similar situation in 1911 when the colonial powers could not find any peaceable solution for the division of their colonies in Africa. At that time, Germany sent a warship to Morocco to strengthen its demands to the other colonial powers. Ultimately, Germany withdrew at the protests of France and England. There were further conflicts after 1911.

On June 28, 1914, a Serbian assassin murdered the Austrian-Hungarian successor to the throne in Sarajevo. The Habsburg monarchy consciously imposed an ultimatum to Serbia that could not be fulfilled combined with a threat of war. Previously, Austria-Hungary gave a mutual assurance to Germany that Austria-Hungary would assist German militarily in case of Russia’s assistance to Serbia. Although Serbia fulfilled nearly all the points of the ultimatum, Austria-Hungary declared war and Russia as expected began a general mobilization as Serbian mutual assistance. Germany had its desired reason for war and the media had its title “We are attacked and must defend ourselves!”

It took 5 weeks until the politics of the ultimatum started World War I in Europe and the offensive German war. After 4 years and more than 17 million deaths, the assassination of the successor to the throne was “avenged” and Europe devastated.

Ultimatums instead of Diplomacy 2018-04-29

The 2018 developments are very similar. The rivalries between the US and Russia have intensified since the Ukrainian crisis. Russia made clear it will not withdraw from the Crimea under any circumstances. But the US and NATO will not accept the integration of the Crimea with Russia in any case. The US and NATO seem to have resolved that the time of diplomacy is over. The change of political actors and advisors in the USD government is a sign of that. Pompeo follows Tillerson and Bolton follows McMaster. At the same time, the personnel in the NATO states England and Germany were changed with advocates of a confrontational policy towards Russia (Boris Johnson and Heiko Maas).

The poison gas attack is represented in England by the English government as an attack against England and against all NATO states. Diplomatic conversations for conflict resolution are refused. In addition, a military attack on Syria and against the Russian military there is threatened without any previous investigation.

An acute danger exists for a 3rd world war – in Europe!

The example from German history shows the time period of a policy of ultimatums to an outbreak of war can be very short.

After the regime change in the Ukraine through active collaboration of western politicians, the arming of fascist Ukrainian forces, the deployment of US mercenaries and the arming of the Ukrainian army followed. A missile system in Europe is built along the Russian border in former eastern bloc states newly accepted in NATO. Military maneuvers with 10,000 soldiers are staged at Russia’s border with Germany assuming the leadership of NATO battalions. Not very long ago, Russia made possible Germany’s reunification through the peaceful withdrawal of its military.

Imagine Russia carrying out such a maneuver at the Mexican border with the US!

In the leading German media, Russia’s role in the 1989 reunification is not mentioned anymore. Instead, there is propaganda against Russia as the evil demon and its elected president Putin as the devil incarnate. Critical voices are often slandered as “Putin sympathizers.” A mobilization of diverse NGOs occurs and a promotion of just war circles in the parties and foundations with millions of euros.

Everyone should raise the following questions:

Even if all the reproaches by the English government in the case of a poison gas attack were true, would that justify conjuring a military or nuclear conflict of NATO (in the worst case) against Russia in Europe? Could NATO use an attack on a double agent and his daughter, an unexamined use of poison gas in Syria, as a legitimation?
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