Published on Current Concerns, Sept. 21, 2007.
With the decline of US rule the world and Europe are at the crossroads:
a discussion with the Member of the German Bundestag, Willy Wimmer (CDU) about the US-American, the European and the German relationship to Russia.
2 exderpts: Current Concerns: Mr. Wimmer, what development in the Soviet-American relationship respectively in the Russian-American relationship since the end of 1991, i.e. during the last 20 years have you observed?
Willy Wimmer: If one deals with Russia today, a basic truth applies, which the former Federal Chancellor Helmut Schmidt has repeatedly formulated: We will always have the Russians as our neighbours, even if one day the NATO no longer exists. Russia will always be there, and that is why – in that respect the two Helmuts, Helmut Schmidt and Helmut Kohl are much alike – our attention must be directed towards sensible relations with our great neighbour.
Seen against this background it is important to know, which developments we witnessed in the last 20 years, developments, which also resulted from the Second World War and its consequences. In 1990, maybe even a few years before, there was a turning point. It is no secret that the United States largely helped the Soviet Union during the last years of its existence in changing the system from the communist system in to something else, which was to be directed towards democratic structures. In the middle of the 1980’s these efforts even led to the situation that the CPSU’s Central Committee agendas were written in Washington …
… Many people regard an escalation in the relationship between the USA and Russia as highly dangerous for the whole world. How should Europe, how should Germany position itself, in order to counteract?
If we look at the Russian President Putin, we can say: He did not furnish Guantánamo; he did not wage any wars violating international law. He tries to articulate the interests of his country in such a way that he must be heard at the negotiating tables of the world. I have to consider that when dealing with this neighbour. He may be too powerful for my taste or too big, but he exists. In view of these facts we must give preference to an open relationship, that observes the proprieties, considers the contents, a relationship in which our own moral values are upheld in dealing with the Russian Federation.
(full long interview text).