Three decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall, one of the symbols of the Cold War, Europe remains divided because it chose confrontation over a common future, Willy Wimmer, Germany’s former State Secretary for Defense believes.
Germany is marking 30 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall – a symbol of division, perhaps, not just for Germans but for all Europeans, who saw the continent split between the Western and the Soviet bloc. The wall’s destruction has since turned into a symbol of German reunification. Yet, Europe itself has failed to achieve the genuine unity that was a dream of the people who tore it down back on November 9, 1989.
Wimmer is a long-term member of the German parliament and the former vice-head of the OSCE Assembly, who also was a high-ranking official with the German Defense Ministry at the time of reunification and oversaw the integration of West and East Germany’s Armed Forces.
He believes that instead of striving for a “Common House” uniting all the European nations, the politicians drew new lines in the sand, setting their nations on a path to fresh conflict. The hopes that filled the hearts of the people following the end of the Cold War have been ultimately dashed, he said, while calling the present European and NATO policies towards Russia a “disaster”.
Below are some more of his thoughts on the issue, which he shared with RT.
Anglo-Saxon ‘division’ strategy instead of Gorbachev’s ‘Common House’
The reason for the new Cold War is absolutely clear. If we had followed the policies of [the last Soviet leader] Mikhail Gorbachev, [former German Chancellor] Helmut Kohl and even [the former US President] George H. W. Bush, we would have entered an era of cooperation. It is for this reason that I mention the “common European House” – the big idea of Mikhail Gorbachev.
It is a kind of Anglo-Saxon policy not to have cooperation on the European continent – mainly between the Russians, the French, the Poles and the Germans. They want to have a line of confrontation in this area and therefore are against all promises. [As a result] NATO was extended to the East.
I was responsible for the organization of the German Armed Forces on the German territory following reunification. We did not want foreign troops in former East Germany. We did not want to have British or French troops there; we wanted to have only German ones. We wanted to explain to the world that there was no desire to enlarge NATO up to the new borders with Russia that were created in 1992.
It was against all the ideas we had after reunification. What is happening now is some kind of Anglo-Saxon policy that was created even before WWI. We are on the path of war again. That is so much against the will of our people.
This is also against the will of the Dutch, the French, the Spanish and the Italians. We see it as a disaster that a US president that is willing to cooperate with the Russian President Vladimir Putin – President [Donald] Trump – has to face such a disastrous policy organized by the US deep state, which is against our national interests and the national interests of all other western Europeans.
The remains of the Berlin Wall are not only the symbol of German reunification or the end of the division in Europe. It is a symbol of missed hopes and forgotten expectations when it comes to the great idea of Mikhail Gorbachev to help build a common European House.
As long as we live, the German people will remember with great gratitude the Soviet Secretary General and its leader, as well as the Russian population. We always said that a key for German reunification was in Moscow. Moscow handed it over to us and therefore we have to face responsibility for the future.
Links to Russia re-established
The role of Mikhail Gorbachev is still akin to that of a saint to the Germans. People in Germany like Mr. Gorbachev and they like his idea of a common European House. We see it as a disaster in Germany that, together with NATO, we are preparing some kind of a common European battleground again.
Gorbachev is a kind of a hero for Germans. I travel a lot in all parts of Germany and when I come to the Eastern part I see another big issue for them. For 20 years after unification, it was very difficult to talk to them about the Russians and their relationship to Russia. They almost ignored such talk because of the past.
But, when you now come to Rostock, Dresden or Leipzig they are learning Russian again, they go to theaters to watch Russian performances and listen to Russian music. They have re-established their links with Russia, and if they could do what they want to do, they would be the big economic partners of Russia these days.
Things have really changed for the Russian Federation and with regard to Russia. People in Dresden, Saxony’s capital, are absolutely proud that Russian President Vladimir Putin once served there. That is the reality these days, despite what the mainstream media say.