‘Difficult but fair’ – Merkel warns of ‘desperate action’ by Russia

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to: Tina Waldeck

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Frank Blasberg on May 9 with guests at the Hart Abeer Show. (screenshot) © ARD

On May 9, the Russian War of Aggression again became the theme of Frank Blasberg’s “Hart Uber Exhibition” (ARD).

Cologne – military expert Claudia Major and experienced colonel A. Rodrich Kiswetter (CDU) is in surprising agreement with Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael Roth (SPD) and journalist Jessen Dornbluth for and against the speech of democracy scholar Wolfgang Merkel by Vladimir Putin. “And this is on May 9th, which gave us completely contradictory signals,” Frank Blasberg said from the start.

“difficult but fair” (ARD): no “entry to exit”

Excerpts were played out from Vladimir Putin’s speech, in which he once again justifies how he saw Ukraine’s changing military infrastructure indicating: how NATO allies got involved and how the danger to Russia increased there. Russia responded to the aggression with a preemptive strike. It was a “convincing, timely and only correct decision” and “a decision of a sovereign, strong and independent nation”.

In the film “Hart aber Fair” (ARD), Claudia Major sees in these words a clear “ideological bond” with which the war is defended rhetorically. Vladimir Putin missed the opportunity to end the war in the eyes of the world without losing face, Rodrich Kezewter continues to explain to Frank Blasberg, Michael Roth also sees it this way: Vladimir Putin wants to lead Ukraine “the home of the Reich” and from the liberation of the Nazis. Aggressive NATO, aggressive EU, aggressive USA, aggressive West in general – everyone is to blame. Everyone got closer and closer to Russia and “it really took Russia’s breath away.”

‘Difficult but fair’ (ARD): Putin creates his own facts

“Ukraine has no right to exist,” Vladimir Putin said last year. Rodrich Keswetter gives further insights into Frank Blasberg’s Russian power structures. In his opinion, none of the former Soviet republics had the right to become a member of NATO: but who really gives this man the right to decide this? In Moldova and Kazakhstan or in the western Balkans and Bosnia and Herzegovina, “Russia has a hand in everything,” Michael Roth also agrees in “Difficult but Fair.” As Roderich Kiesewetter puts it in a less attractive way: “The Russian steamer moves slowly and without stopping.”

“The threat of nuclear weapons is unobtrusively on the table,” says Frank Blasberg. Claudia Major even calls it “the rattling of atomic swords.” This is the message to the West and the United States: stay away from it. Also, “Russia fears nuclear escalation as much as we do,” but wants to sow fear of a possible nuclear attack and thus put pressure on governments. This works because Russian narratives of “World War III” and “nuclear war” also dominate in Germany. The goal is to destabilize the public. “If we panic, we are in fact doing exactly what Russia wants.” Claudia Major believes that the probability of an actual nuclear attack is still very small.

Rodrich Keswetter Member of Parliament for the Christian Democratic Union, member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, former colonel
Claudia Major Military expert, he heads the Security Policy Research Group at the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP) in Berlin
Michael Roth Member of Parliament for the Social Democratic Party, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Member of the Presidency of the Social Democratic Party and Executive Director of the Party
Wolfgang Merkel Political scientist and democrat
Jessen Dornbluth Journalist, 2012-2017 Deutschland Radio correspondent in Moscow

With these prospects, however, Jen Dornbluth can understand the residents’ concerns. In her opinion, the Russian ideas for a possible world peace provided for the exit of Poland, the Baltic states and the Czech Republic from NATO or the withdrawal of all weapons systems from there. And that would be “an attack on our security as well,” because “the Russian security system under Putin says we have something like the one that was prevalent in the early 1990s.”

‘Difficult but fair’ (ARD): Is there a ‘worst case’ through arms delivery?

Wolfgang Merkel is loud, boisterous, and controversial at Hart Upper Weir (ARD) when it comes to the delivery of heavy weapons: because “the war will go on for a very long time.” In his opinion, everyone should reach a ceasefire and return to the negotiating table with Russia as soon as possible. Because if Vladimir Putin puts his back against the wall, “completely different disasters can happen.” We must “do everything we can” to avoid falling into a “desperate act of the aggressor”. He could not see any “victory” in Vladimir Putin’s speech. There are persistent reports of the Russian military’s deadlock: why not a springboard for more pressure for negotiations from the West?

Michael Roth shakes his head in disbelief at Frank Blasberg (ARD) and sees that Wolfgang Merkel’s speech gives the impression that there were no continuing attempts to negotiate. “It just failed because of Putin.” Germany can be accused of many things, but not that “we are too fast or too bold.” Claudia Major shows more understanding of Wolfgang Merkel’s arguments, but she finds many wrong judgments, such that if Ukraine gives way at the negotiating table, it will have a choice between war and peace.

“Difficult but just” (ARD): the war in Ukraine – “the purge, the rape, the kidnapping”

But her only choice is “between war and annihilation – or war and surrender”. Just look at the territories occupied by Russia, with Bucha, Mariupol, and “purges, rapes and kidnappings” taking place there. You may also find a ceasefire desirable, but then “the conflict will only be frozen”. So “the goal should be to put Ukraine in the best possible negotiating position.” Vladimir Putin lost a war of aggression and weakened Russia “politically, militarily and economically in such a way that such attacks are not possible again.”

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Michael Roth is alarmed by this “perpetual accusation of the West” as arms and aid shipments to Ukraine escalate the situation. For years, the policy of the West has been based on not provoking Vladimir Putin as much as possible, and on showing leniency and caution. The result: Now there is a major escalation starting from Russia. Despite the policy aimed at withdrawing his own interests, he has become more vocal with Frank Blasberg and believes that we should “not make ourselves dependent on Putin’s threats”.

‘Difficult but fair’ (ARD): Little thought for Ukraine’s survival

Even if Germany had given “only 5 matches” to Ukraine, “we would have been accused of massive interference”. For his part, he accuses Wolfgang Merkel of worrying too much about Vladimir Putin and too little about Ukraine’s survival and everyone else’s national interests. Michael Roth summarizes this: The common goal and clear sign should be that “Ukraine will survive this war as a free, sovereign, and democratic country.” (Tina Waldeck)

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