Former German Federal Chancellor Schröder suggests ”Finlandization” of Europe - his suggestion would bind the EU to the military sphere of influence of Russia
Professor Alpo Rusi, Iltalehti (November 11, 2018)
An unofficial translation
Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, whom I respect for his work in Kosovo peace negotiations in 1999, has given an interview to Aachen Nachrichten (6.11.2018) which does not make the German Federal Government very happy.
Schröder is of the opinion that ”Without Russia, there is no stable peace in Europe”. Only very few are in disagreement with him. When reading his interview, one can ask whether the former chancellor has assumed a role for himself of being an unofficial Envoy of Russia for the European union.
Schröder is speaking about Germany's strategic interest which is related to Russian energy sources and the security of his own country. He would be more credible in the case if he was not paid very well by Gazprom since 2005 and also Rosneft quite recently. His lucrative business deals have been criticised not only in Germany, in particular after the annexation of Crimea and for the revelations of GRU activities in various countries.
Schröder suggests a kind of Association and Partnership Agreement between Russia and the EU, which would also facilitate peace in Ukraine.
In Schröder’s view, ”there is no Atlantic Ocean between Russia and Europe”. He furthermore states that ”the United States would like to keep Russia as a less important country”.
Schröder is of course aware that there is a permanent interest of the US to maintain and strengthen Nato. Concerning Russia, there is no economic basis for a continuing hybrid war and threatening of military might in the longer term.
In case Schröder's long term thinking is applied for the EU, the security of the Union would be weakened and be bound to the security sphere of influence of Russia. The result could easily be a ”Finlandization” of the EU. The Partnership of the EU with Russia would take place at the expense of the United States with respect to European security, because the pre-condition of European stability is based on the transatlantic partnership.
Many people fear the former German chancellor is undermining or is paying not enough attention to the security concerns of the countries in Central Europe and the Baltic sea region. One can understand his view so that the security interest of Germany is the same as the security interest of the whole of European union. This is not his purpose as such but the end result of his vision could easily mean exactly this.
Of course, the security policy partnership between Russia and Europe is not a new innovation. The president of France, Charles de Gaulle, suggested in the 1960's a partnership between Paris and Moscow to balance the influence of the United States. France withdrew from the command structures of Nato in 1967. De Gaulle suggested that the American soldiers should leave France, but got a bitter comment from the US Secretary of State Dean Rusk, who wanted to know whether 50 000 American soldiers lying in the graveyards in France should leave too. France rejoined the command structures of Nato in 2000.
Schröder suggests indirectly that the annexation of Crimea should be understood in the light of history and repeats the argument of many Western pro-Russian politicians that the Crimea was given as a gift of the Soviet leaders to Ukraine, one of its republics, in 1954.
However, Cathrine the Second occupied the Crimea in the spring 1783. The name of Crimea,”Fortress”, had been given by the Tatars many hundred years ago. Her commander in chief Grigori Potjomkin built hastily fake villages, ”coulisses”, to vindicate the historic relationship of occupied Crimea with the mother Russia.
Schröder suggests that the next president of the European Commission should be commissioner Margrethe Vestager of Denmark. A very good proposal, but again: one can ask the motives of Schröder. The candidate of the CDU/CSU is Manfred Weber, who is critical concerning the Nord Stream 2 and suggests a more demanding strategy towards Russia.
"The more you understand the world, the higher your chance of shaping it".
Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.
Valtiotieteen tohtori, suurlähettiläs, tasavallan presidentin entinen neuvonantaja, professori ja kirjailija.
Kirjoituksia saa lainata. Lähde on mainittava.