Why does Britain hate Russia

Enemy Russia: How the West is intensifying the confrontation

Report:Nikolaus Steiner, Frank Konopatzki

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Georg Restle: “The human rights situation or the military intervention in Ukraine - there is certainly a lot for which the Russian government and its president can and must be criticized. And yet the question arises as to whether Germany and Europe don't need Russia much more urgently than ever before. Especially when it comes to the conflicts of the future. The problem with that is that a lot of trust has been shattered in recent years, and it is by no means solely responsible for Russia. On the contrary. Recent history shows that it was above all the West, in the frenzy of victory in the Cold War, that repeatedly ignored Russian interests - and evidently did not learn anything from them, or does not want to learn anything. And that until today. Nikolaus Steiner. "

NATO is demonstrating strength: since Monday, almost 5,000 soldiers have been practicing in the Baltic Sea in the event of war. At the same time, the US “Saber Strike” maneuver is underway in Lithuania: 18,000 soldiers are training for ground war. A demonstration of military might towards Russia. Saber rattles in tense times.

Donald Trump, US President (May 25, 2017) (Translation Monitor): “We have to be tough, strong and vigilant. The NATO of the future must above all deal with the threats from Russia and on NATO's eastern and southern borders. "

Russia - one of the greatest enemies of the West? At least that is what the US National Defense Strategy says. NATO will prevent "Russia's adventurism," it says here. And: Russia is now one of the greatest threats to security and the

US prosperity.

Prof. Götz Neuneck, Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy, University of Hamburg: “It is being upgraded rhetorically, but also in real terms. And that's the rhetoric of the Cold War. That is the beginning of an arms race, that is a situation in which one threatens oneself with new weapon systems. "

Russia is to blame for the new confrontation, says NATO. First the annexation of Crimea, then military intervention in eastern Ukraine. Russia is an aggressor and threatens Europe, it is said. The result: Both sides are arming - but with extreme imbalance. Russia's military spending is currently around $ 66 billion a year. The expenditures of the NATO states Great Britain, France and Germany alone are around 158 billion dollars. And that of all European NATO countries combined even at around 275 billion dollars. If the European NATO countries in future - as announced - put 2 percent of their gross domestic product into the military, their expenditures would rise to around 380 billion as of today. Together with the immense budget of the Americans, NATO spending would then be around 15 times as high as Russia's current spending. An immense armament, there has long been no talk of disarmament.

Prof. Götz Neuneck, Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy, University of Hamburg: “Even in the dark times of the Cold War, there were still negotiations on the disarmament of strategic armed forces. They do not exist anymore. People no longer talk to each other and any attempts to make suggestions about what strategic arms control will look like in the future are more or less negated. That means you rock yourself up without building a forum and a dialogue at the same time. "

Forums and dialogues that have existed before. Example CFE contract. The Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe should avoid a military confrontation between East and West. In 1990 diplomatic history was written with it.

Prof. Andreas Heinemann-Grüder, Peace Research Institute BICC: “That was a contract that created a high level of mutual trust. The Russians could take part in NATO maneuvers, pay unannounced visits when troops were moving somewhere; conversely, NATO officers could go to Russian territory with a short notice. "

But then a few years later the U-turn: NATO demanded further concessions from Russia. An amendment to the treaty failed: Russia ratified, but the NATO countries refused.

Prof. Andreas Heinemann-Grüder, Peace Research Institute BICC: “Historically, in my opinion, NATO itself is to blame for this. Today we would be happy if we had this contract. "

Or the ABM Treaty: It limited the installation of missile defense systems. In 1972 it was signed between the USA and the Soviet Union. This kept the atomic equilibrium. Experts say it worked well for decades - until the Bush administration came to power.

George W. Bush, US President (December 13, 2001) (Translation Monitor): "I formally notified Russia today that the United States of America will withdraw from the nearly 30-year-old treaty."

The ABM contract - canceled. The reason: The USA wanted to build a missile defense system in Eastern Europe - against massive protests from Moscow. Such a system will be inaugurated in Romania in 2016. Russia fears it could be attacked with missiles from the West without the ability to strike back.

Horst Teltschik, former head of the Munich Security Conference: “So it was clear to the Russians that it would be directed against us. Yes, that reduces our own ability to maintain a balance, to maintain a strategic balance. Then it was promised that Russia would be involved in the development of such a missile defense system. It never happened. "

Again, Russian security interests were ignored. Trust between East and West was dwindling - and NATO kept growing: since the end of the Soviet Union, 13 Eastern European countries have joined NATO, most recently Montenegro last year. Countries like Ukraine and Georgia are still official candidate countries. And this despite the fact that Russia has repeatedly made it clear for years that it sees itself massively threatened by the enlargements.

Vladimir Putin, Russian President (February 10, 2007) (Translation Monitor): “It is obvious that NATO enlargement is not about modernization or the security of Europe. On the contrary, it is a serious provocation that destroys mutual trust. "

Destroyed trust - again and again, also in the UN Security Council. In 2011 it was about a resolution on the civil war in Libya. To protect the civilian population. Russia did not block them, but made it clear that they did not want a violent regime change in Libya. But that was exactly what happened, NATO jets launched into the attack. The Libyan dictator Gaddafi, an ally of Moscow, was eliminated. The country sank into chaos. Russia felt betrayed by the West. The protection of the civilian population only served as a pretext for the regime change, it said.

Prof. Andreas Heinemann-Grüder, Peace Research Institute BICC: “Because the Russians said that we actually recognize the responsibility to protect and in this respect we did not oppose the Libya resolution at the time, but there is a legitimate interest in protecting the population, which is threatened by Gaddafi. But we are not giving a carte blanche for regime change. It has been misused for that. And then they said we were going to be something like chaos in Libya, we won't allow that in Syria. "

The war in Syria. Russia's support for the dictator Assad. For many experts, it is also a reaction to the West's breach of trust in Libya. But what does that mean for the future? The central question is: How can trust be restored on both sides?

Prof. Andreas Heinemann-Grüder, Peace Research Institute BICC: “We need Russia in regional conflicts, we need Russia in relation to Syria, we need it in relation to Iran, we need Russia in relation to arms control. You also have to think a bit beyond these current conflicts and say that we actually have a common agenda in the 21st century. "

The test case is called Iran. Both Europe and Russia want to save the nuclear deal in order to prevent an escalation in the Middle East. A common line against the USA? Hard to imagine at the moment. But maybe it's a first step to regaining confidence with a difficult partner.

Georg Restle: "Saber rattles on both sides. Today Putin threatened Ukraine blatantly on Russian state television: If there were Ukrainian attacks on Russian separatists in the east of the country during the World Cup, it would have very serious consequences for the entire Ukrainian statehood. Sounds anything but reassuring. "