ACEWA participates in the launch of Détente Now! / Neue Entspannungspolitik Jetzt in Berlin on December 16

The gathering in a Conference Room of the Bundestag’s ultra-modern Paul-Loebe Haus on Friday, 16 December was described by its organizers from the Détente Now! / Neue Entspannungspolitik Jetzt! initiative as a press briefing to officially launch the initiative in Germany. The conference host was Bundestag deputy (Berlin) from the SPD party Ute Finckh-Kraemer, who is a member of the parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee and deputy chair of its subcommittee on Disarmament.
Detente Now! had already had its debut in the USA the week before with an op-ed article in the iconic Progressive weekly magazine of commentary, The Nation.

At the briefing, ACEWA European Coordinator Gilbert Doctorow delivered the following address:

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I thank the organizers for inviting me to take part in this press briefing on behalf of The American Committee for East West Accord Ltd.
The American Committee, which was incorporated in New York State almost two years ago, reinstates a similarly named platform for détente that existed from 1974 to 1992. That original Committee consisting of leading businessmen, diplomats and academics was founded when President Nixon’s policy of détente with Russia encountered very serious opposition in the US Senate, which had passed the Jackson-Vanik Amendment with intent to cripple trade with Russia and undermine the President’s foreign policy.

Today in America we stand at a similar juncture, with an incoming Republican president who is supportive of détente and a Congress that largely remains anti-détente and pro-Cold War.

I mention the American political context for one purpose only: to underline that peace, and détente is another word for peace, knows no Left or Right.

In the USA, détente has been a cause carried highest by the Right. Here in Germany, it was born in the SPD, on the Left as the Entspannungspolitik.

Whether called détente or Entspannungspolitik, it is the cause of people who share the belief that the highest value we must pursue in foreign policy is to preserve human life and that the key to survival in this world is co-existence and dialogue, not confrontation and self-righteousness.

Several fellow Board members and I fully support your Neue Entspannungspolitik Jetzt! Initiative and will do all possible to help realize your plans of creating a new, peaceful Atlanticism. – Gilbert Doctorow, PhD

“Relations between Russia and the West”: An Upcoming Panel Discussion

On May 21, ACEWA European Coordinator and Board Member Gilbert Doctorow will be a featured panelist along with Professor of Journalism (Amsterdam) Karel van Wolferen in a symposium on contemporary “Relations between Russia and the West” organized in the Dutch city of Utrecht by a local NGO that has as its purpose building bridges between Europe and Russia. For registration information see the link, and for an English translation see the European Activities tab on our website.

The Danger After Putin (Gilbert Doctorow)

America’s neocons are lusting for their ultimate “regime change” – destabilizing Russia and getting rid of President Putin – but they ignore the likelihood that the leader after Putin would be a much more hardline nationalist, a prospect addressed by Gilbert Doctorow.

News Blackout: Civil society living in near total ignorance (Gilbert Doctorow)

On Wednesday, 2 December, the Russian Ministry of Defense invited several hundred journalists and military attaches of accredited embassies in Moscow to a briefing at which Deputy Minister Anatoly Antonov presented reconnaissance photos …proving the existence of a massive logistical operation that has been bringing illicit oil from wells in Iraq and Syria controlled by the Islamic State jihadists by tanker truck across the border with Turkey…

Russian television gave extensive coverage to this extraordinary briefing. In the West, however, almost all media made no mention of it at all. Not a word…

The fate of economic blocs and military alliances in Europe: A Speech to the European Russian Forum

ACEWA Founding Board Member, and the author Does Russia Have a Future?, Gilbert Doctorow told the European Russian Forum in Brussels on Sunday that “in conditions of near-hysterical concern over how to cope with the refugees and still more fears of terrorist attacks, the true role of NATO in undermining rather than bolstering European security is becoming more widely appreciated…”

Germany’s new Ostpolitik and Russia: from strategic partnership to geopolitical competition?

On September 29th, in Brussels, ACEWA co-hosted a conference with Egmont: Belgium’s Royal Institute for International Relations and the Heinrich Böll Stiftung on the topic: Germany’s new Ostpolitik and Russia: from strategic partnership to geopolitical competition? The conference featured Prof. Hans Joachim Giessmann (Berghof Foundation & University of Hamburg), Dr. Sergey Lagodinsky (Heinrich Böll Stiftung), Prof. Richard Sakwa (University of Kent), and Prof. Stephen Walt (Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University). It was moderated by ACEWA’s European Coordinator and Founding Board Member Dr. Gilbert Doctorow.

According to Dr. Doctorow, under Chancellor Merkel, German policy toward the Ukraine crisis has had a “zig-zag” aspect to it; on the one hand, Chancellor Merkel was widely expected, at the outset of the crisis, to act as the West’s principle ‘go-between’ with Russia’s Vladimir Putin; yet after the MH17 tragedy she began to take a harder line towards Russia which only began to soften at the dawn of 2015, when she emerged as a champion of the Minsk II accords.

Harvard’s Stephen Walt noted that given German’s geography and history, it is still difficult for it to have a genuinely independent foreign policy; Germany always wants to be seen as acting within EU institutions, rendering it incapable of acting in a assertive way. According to Prof. Walt, German policy under Merkel is neither Ostpolitik, nor is it neoconservative, but – importantly –  neither is it a wholly independent foreign policy either.

The University of Kent’s Richard Sakwa concurred with Walt, noting that German policy toward the Ukraine crisis is in a sense the “revenge of geography,” He also noted the EU, which affects to carry out a norm-based foreign policy, often conflicts – as we have seen in the case of Ukraine – within the space in which that foreign policy is being carried out. According to Prof. Sakwa, this tension, between ‘norms and space,’ has profoundly affected German foreign policy and reinforces its tendency to, as Dr. Doctorow noted at the outset, “zig-zag,” in seeming incoherence.
All of the panelists made remarks well worth listing to; the full video of the event can be found at this link to You Tube.

REMINDER: ACEWA Will Co-Host a Conference on 29 September in Brussels

For those who may have missed the initial announcement: The American Committee for East-West Accord is pleased to announce that on Tuesday 29 September, from 18.00-19.30, at Egmont Palace in Brussels, it will co-host a conference with Egmont: Belgium’s Royal Institute for International Relations and the Heinrich Böll Stiftung on the topic:

Germany’s new Ostpolitik and Russia: from strategic partnership to geopolitical competition? 

The vagaries of Chancellor Merkel’s policy towards Russia over the past year, from friend and honest broker to stern enforcer of sanctions and then to prime mover of the Minsk-2 cease-fire and road map to peace have left observers in both Washington and Moscow confused over the direction of Germany’s new, undeclared Ostpolitik.

Our expert panel drawn from opposing views over Putin’s Russia and how to deal with it will attempt to explain this riddle: Prof. Dr. Hans Joachim Giessmann (Berghof Foundation & University of Hamburg), Dr. Sergey Lagodinsky (Heinrich Böll Stiftung), Prof. Dr. Richard Sakwa (University of Kent), and Prof. Dr. Stephen Walt (Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University).

The event will be chaired by Dr. Gilbert Doctorow (Founding Board Member and European Coordinator, American Committee for East-West Accord).

Those interested in attending should email eastwestaccord@gmail.com.

Report on European Activities, December 2014 – May 2015

My activities are in two locations:  Brussels, the capital of the European Institutions – EU Commission, Parliament and European Council – and Berlin, which exercises the preponderant political will within those Institutions.

The activities themselves are of two kinds:

  1. Fact-finding, through face to face meetings with representatives of all political parties, right, left and center, in order to determine on the ground the voting calculus in the European Parliament/German Bundestag on Russia and Ukraine related issues
  2. Seeking co-sponsors and jointly organizing panels and debates before mixed audiences of parliamentarians, journalists, think tank officers, academics and the general public devoted to the Ukraine crisis and East-West relations.

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