mercredi 21 janvier 2015

As Germany marks fall of the Berlin Wall, Gorbachev warns of new cold war

The Guardian

Ex-Soviet leader backs Putin over Ukraine as Germany celebrates the 25th anniversary of a seminal moment in European history


Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev walks across Pariser Platz near the Brandenburg Gate on the eve of the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Photograph: Target Presse Agentur Gmbh/Getty Images

(…)Speaking at a symposium near the Brandenburg Gate yesterday morning, former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev warned that the world was “on the brink of a new cold war” and strongly criticised the west for having sown the seeds of the current crisis by mishandling the fallout from the collapse of the iron curtain.

“Instead of building new mechanisms and institutions of European security and pursuing a major demilitarisation of European politics … the west, and particularly the United States, declared victory in the cold war,” said the man behind the Soviet Union’s  glasnost and perestroikareforms.

“Euphoria and triumphalism went to the heads of western leaders. Taking advantage of Russia’s weakening and the lack of a counterweight, they claimed monopoly leadership and domination in the world.”

The enlargement of Nato, Kosovo, missile defence plans and wars in the Middle East had led to a “collapse of trust”, said Gorbachev, now 83. “To put it metaphorically, a blister has now turned into a bloody, festering wound.”

Previously an outspoken critic of Vladimir Putin, Gorbachev backed the current Russian president’s stance over Ukraine, urging western leaders to “consider carefully” Putin’s recent remarks at the Valdai forum : “Despite the harshness of his criticism of the west, and of the United States in particular, I see in his speech a desire to find a way to lower tensions and ultimately to build a new basis for partnership.”

Such strong words of criticism, voiced by the man still affectionately known as “Gorbi” to many in Germany, came at the end of a week which has seen the value of the rouble tumbling dramatically as a result of western sanctions.

Friday afternoon had seen another reminder of the old east-west tensions still running through Germany when the usually rather staid proceedings of the Bundestag were shaken up by a musical guest performance. Veteran songwriter Wolf Biermann, who was kicked out of the GDR in 1976, performed a protest song called Ermutigung (Encouragement) and took a number of swipes at politicians from Die Linke (the Left party), successors to East Germany’s ruling party, the SED.

“Your punishment is to have to listen to me here – enjoy”, Biermann said, while gesturing towards the leftwing parliamentarians. He went on to describe Die Linke MPs as “dragon spawn” and “the miserable dregs of something that had luckily been overcome”.

Only last week German president Joachim Gauck, a former head of the Stasi archives, had questioned whether the Left party had “really distanced itself from the ideas the SED once had about repression of people”. Die Linke is on the verge of gaining its first state premier, in the Thuringia region, something Gaucksaid “people of my age who lived through the GDR find quite hard to accept”.

At the very least, such score-settling should stop this weekend’s festivities, taking place under the motto “courage for freedom”, from turning into a merely nostalgic affair. Events in Berlin will mark the culmination of a remarkable chain of events which resulted in the opening of border checkpoints in Berlin on the night of 9 November 1989. At least 138 people died trying to cross the inner-German border in the capital, more than 1,000 in the country as a whole, in the postwar years.

A host of historic key players and celebrities have already dodged a nationwide train strike in Germany to descend on the capital. Yesterday evening German chancellor Angela Merkel, who grew up in East Germany, attended a memorial concert at the Berliner Ensemble, the theatre founded by the playwright BertoltBrecht.

On Sunday, Merkel will open a new exhibition centre at Bernauer Strasse, near the Bornholmer Strasse checkpoint where the then 35-year-old chancellor crossed over to the west for the first time. “I think you never forget how you felt that day – at least I will never forget it,” the chancellor said in a recent podcast. “I had to wait 35 years for that feeling of liberty. It changed my life.”

 


COMMENTAIRE DE DIVERCITY

MENACE DE GUERRE SUR LE FRONT UKRAINIEN

Attention, attention, tandis que toute notre attention est mobilisée par l’offensive islamiste, une redoutable guerre froide oppose de plus en plus la Russie très affaiblie par les sanctions économiques à ses adversaires coalisés au sein de l’OTAN sous leadership américain.

“To put it metaphorically, a blister has now turned into a bloody, festering wound.”

Une estafillade menace de dégénérer en une vilaine plaie purulente »

 

Mikhail Gorbachev warned that the world was “on the brink of a new cold war” and strongly criticised the west for having sown the seeds of the current crisis by mishandling the fallout from the collapse of the iron curtain.

“Instead of building new mechanisms and institutions of European security and pursuing a major demilitarisation of European politics … the west, and particularly the United States, declared victory in the cold war,” said the man behind the Soviet Union’s  glasnost and perestroikareforms.

“Euphoria and triumphalism went to the heads of western leaders. Taking advantage of Russia’s weakening and the lack of a counterweight, they claimed monopoly leadership and domination in the world.”

The enlargement of Nato, Kosovo, missile defence plans and wars in the Middle East had led to a “collapse of trust”, said Gorbachev, now 83. “

Autrement dit, l’ouest et surtout les USA ont eu le grand tort d’abuser de la confiance d’une Russie affaiblie par la chute du rideau de fer (1989) et de pousser des avantages en faisant progresser l’OTAN partout dans les anciennes républiques occupées autrefois par l’Union Soviétique. Il en a résulté « un effondrement de la confiance » mutuelle.

Sans confiance et sans respect mutuels il ne saurait y avoir de coexistence pacifique entre voisins. Qu’on se le dise.

MG


Du, laß dich nicht verhärten
in dieser harten Zeit.
Die allzu hart sindbrechen,
die allzu spitz sindstechen
und brechen ab sogleich.

Du, laß dich nicht verbittern
in dieser bittren Zeit.
Die Herrschenden erzittern
sitzt du erst hinter Gittern -
doch nicht vor deinem Leid.

Du, laß dich nicht erschrecken
in dieser Schreckenszeit.
Das wolln sie doch bezwecken
daß wir die Waffen strecken
schon vor dem großen Streit.

Du, laß dich nicht verbrauchen,
gebrauche deine Zeit.
Du kannst nicht untertauchen,
du brauchst uns und wir brauchen
grad deine Heiterkeit.

Wir wolln es nicht verschweigen
in dieser Schweigezeit.
Das Grün bricht aus den Zweigen,
wir wolln das allen zeigen,
dann wissen sie Bescheid


Wolf Biermann

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