Ukraine Crisis

Conflict with Russia Is Not an Option

Moscow dpa-DISTORTED
Clouding Western-Russian relations.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Germany’s elder statesman is concerned that bellicose East-West talk over the Ukraine crisis is smothering any chance at constructive dialogue, risks sparking another Cold War and is leading Europe in a dangerous direction.

  • Facts


    After the European market and the euro, Mr. Genscher calls for common economic policies to push European integration.

    The author says that the NATO-Russia council is an underused foreign-policy tool to ease tensions in times of crisis.

    Europe has a responsibility toward the people of the world to establish and support peace, Mr. Genscher says.

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A global health crisis, international terrorism and warfare — the word is in turmoil. Millions of people are fleeing their homelands. Kidnappings and murders are daily occurrences. And in societies in the northern hemisphere xenophobia is offered as a remedy. One must ask: Quo vadis, humanity?

While all that is happening around us, Europe is allowing a confrontation to its east, which could not be more out-of-date, to destroy trust and blind it to common interest, collective responsibility and mistakes made on all sides.

Twenty-five years ago we had the happiest autumn, that of 1989, which peacefully ended the Cold War. And now? Didn’t everyone expect that would also mean an end to the division of the continent? What went wrong?

The European Union has at least used this time. A European single market and the euro have long been global realities. Does that mean that European integration is complete? Not at all! New major steps are also needed here. The integration must continue. The common currency requires common economic policies. Here again, those who stand still, fall behind.

The die-hards who want to obstruct the integration in progress are really dismantlers, who are jeopardizing everything that has been accomplished. In 1989, the European Union had 13 member countries. Today it has 28. It is a gigantic integration project. It is unprecedented in history, and borne by a feeling of solidarity on the continent.

Never before in their often bloody history were the people of Europe as united and as close as they were in 1989. But that was brought about by great individuals, Mikhail Gorbachev, Lech Walesa, Vaclav Havel, the reformers in Hungary, and by the many, many people who took to the streets everywhere in favor of freedom and democracy.

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