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Elder German Statesmen Urge Berlin to Restore Russia Relations

  • Egon Bahr was the architect of Ostpolitik - the famous and wildly praised policy of rapprochment between western and eastern Germany in the 1970s - he is a big deal in Germany
  • He and the last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev - who ended the original Cold War with Ronald Reagan - met in Moscow and called for a new German-Russian rapprochment - Ostpolik 2.0
  • Meanwhile another notable former German politician has just published a book stating the case and the need for such a policy 
  • Merkel persists on her path against the advice of a growing number of present and former top German politicians

This post first appeared on Russia Insider

During his first trip to Moscow in 1987, influential German politician and long-time Bavarian Minister President Franz Josef Strauss used the metaphor of “the Bavarian lion and the Russian bear peacefully browsing in a meadow” to describe his vision of future German-Russian relations.

When Strauss met with Mikhail Gorbachev, both men agreed that peaceful and good relations between Germany and Russia are of the utmost importance for the people of both countries and the political future.

The talks with Gorbachev and Strauss’ vision have left a lasting impression on German journalist and politician Wilfried Scharnagl, who was a close friend of Strauss and accompanied him to Moscow in 1987. 

Last Tuesday, Scharnagl returned once again to the Russian capital to present his new book “Am Abgrund,” in which he makes the case for changing Western policy toward Russia. He blames the Ukraine crisis on Washington and calls on the West to accept Russia as an equal partner.

Gorbachev wrote the foreword for Scharnagl’s book and shares many of his views, as he has repeatedly pointed out in recent months. The former Soviet leader used the book presentation again to urge Western leaders to restore ties with Russia instead of trying to provoke it.

In particular, the deterioration of Russia’s relationship with Germany worries Gorbachev and he emphasized that “we [Russia and Germany] must restore and recover what we once had.”

Scharnagl’s book

This message was echoed by German politician Egon Bahr, who played an important part in easing tensions between East and West during the Cold War when he created West Germany’s Ostpolitik.   

Bahr sees many parallels between the current crisis and the Cold War. That is why he argues for introducing German Ostpolitik 2.0. Gorbachev agrees with him. During the event on Moscow, both elder statesmen called on the German government to take the lead in restoring relations between Russia and the West.

Germany plays a decisive role in the new Cold War against Russia. If Berlin stopped supporting Washington’s Russian campaign, the conflict would be over in next to no time.

But Chancellor Angela Merkel and the powerful Atlanticists in Germany have other ideas. The difference between Merkel’s Ostpolitik and West Germany’s Ostpolitik, which was conceived by Egon Bahr and promoted by Willy Brandt, is striking. When George Soros was asked what he appreciates about Merkel’s Ostpolitik, he simply pointed out that “without Merkel there would be no sanctions against Russia.” 

If Berlin continues with Merkel’s Ostpolitk instead of listening to Bahr and Gorbachev, the new Cold War won’t end anytime soon and Soros will have even more reason to celebrate.  

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