This article originally appeared on Nachdenkseiten.de
For years, Russia put up with almost everything. The West waged war after war in many corners of the world. Lies like those about the alleged weapons of mass destruction in order to be able to wage war against Iraq. Western wars in Afghanistan, in Syria, in Libya. Expansion of NATO to the Russian border. Rotating deployment of troops to the Baltic States. Missiles in Romania and Poland, allegedly against Iran and for defense. Allegations of alleged massive interference in the 2016 presidential elections in the USA – the so-called Russiagate. All fake. The threat to Ukraine. Stop signals for Nord Stream 2 etc. – The Russians stupidly put up with all this. Even after Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary joined NATO in 1999 and after the exclusion of Russia from a common Europe had been propagated at a conference attended by the US State Department in Bratislava in 2000, Putin still gave a friendly speech in September 2001 and stretched out a hand for cooperation. The West didn’t agree to that. Now the Russians no longer want to play along.
Up to here and no further
During his appearance in Davos in 2007, the Russian President already indicated that Russia was disappointed. It is only now that many in the West are realizing that something has happened in relation to Russia that could be aptly characterized as “so far and no further”. This is a dangerous situation: aggressive tones are spreading in the West. Almost every day, our media is filled with finger pointing at Russia. Massive propaganda has been used to accuse Russia of invading Ukraine. Propaganda creates the impression that the construction and commissioning of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is solely in the interest of Russia and not also in our interest. The Ukrainian ambassador to Germany is allowed to intervene loudly in the German debate about arms deliveries to his country without being summoned to the Foreign Office. One impertinence after another. Ms von der Leyen, as head of the EU Commission, announces further financial aid to Ukraine of over 1.2 billion euros. Just like that. There we have it.
This is one impertinence after another for Russia. And this can create a very dangerous situation. A self-reinforcing process of confrontation has been set in motion here in the West. And in Russia the mood threatens to change – to aggression against the West. The constellation predicted earlier occurs: fatal change through confrontation – which is probably in store for us.
Understanding of the difficult situation in Russia after the dissolution of the Soviet Union?
In a lecture on Mikhail Gorbachev’s 90th birthday – you can watch it here – Gabriele Krone-Schmalz, former ARD correspondent to Moscow, pointed out, among many other interesting things, that Gorbachev also believed that the West needed to understand the difficulty of governing a country that spans 11 time zones and encompasses a great many ethnic groups. In fact, there is little understanding of these particular problems in the debates we are having. This is probably also due to the fact that the key forces that shape opinions here and in other Western countries still have an aggressive basic feeling towards Russia. And also, obviously, a perspective that is focused on one’s own advantage determines thinking and acting. Primitive merchant souls obviously determine our politics.
When dealing with Russia, propaganda is the most important political tool
On the basis of the in “Believe little. question everything. Think for yourself” I want to conclude by describing a few examples of the methods used to exacerbate the conflict:
- The (alleged) concentration of Russian military on the border with Ukraine, which was detected by satellites, is declared to be an intention to attack. This happens through constant repetition and above all by sending this message, this description of an alleged intention, from different corners. These are the methods III.5. “Repeat” and III.7. “Sending the same message from different corners” and III.8. “Everyone in the group is of the same opinion. Then it must be right.” Everyone says the same thing. Then untruth becomes truth.
These methods are the most important bases for the repeatedly successful propaganda of the West.
- In the complaint about the so-called annexation of Crimea by Russia, method III.3. “Tell short stories” applied. The important prehistory For example, the US “investment” of $5 billion to influence the people of Ukraine and the activities of NATO in Ukraine and the coup in the context of the Maidan are simply omitted when assessing the Crimean annexation process.
- Thinking about the whole problem, it became clear to me that the list of methods of manipulation must be supplemented by one more method: the basic attitude that we are the good guys and those in the East are the bad guys. – This basic feeling is the inspiration behind most of the articles and programs and phrases that we read and hear today in our media and statements by many politicians on the complex of Russia, Ukraine, war and peace.
My pessimistic conclusion: Western propaganda can do anything. The next war too.