Statement EES President Dr Ingo Friedrich, March 23, 2021

Global history teaches us that in two-thirds of the cases in which a new aspiring power wanted to usurp an existing power from the top position this led to devastating wars. Historians calls this phenomenon the “Trap of Thucydides” which struck for the first time at the uprising of Sparta against Athens, which carried terrible consequences for Greece back then. Of course, under no circumstances must this happen in the current situation in regards to the relations between the US and China. And Europe as the “world child in the middle” must not stand back, but instead must develop its own global strategy in order to prevent a globally disastrous confrontation of the old super power against the new and at the same time guarantee that the western, therefore the European “way of life” will not be pushed out by an “Asian autocratic” regime reality.

Which “guidelines” are emerging for such a strategy: A close cooperation between America and Europe naturally forms the first and central prerequisite and premise of any strategic considerations.  But this cooperation will by far not be sufficient in view of the dramatic developments in the current confrontation.  The crucial question is:  „How can China be hedged by peaceful means and be moved to take and accept its – important – place in a world that has become small without further aggression (Taiwan, Hongkong, the Chinese Sea)?” In order to reach this goal an expansion of the European-American cooperation would be necessary, which brings Russia into the game! Only a large, global pooling of the potential of the USA, Europe and Russia can take the kind of effect that would lead to the pursued stabilisation between the super powers. Faced with such a constellation, China would act quite differently from the way it is acting now, namely (and by force) more considerately, compliant to the rules, and cooperatively.

But, of course, the crucial question is under which terms Russia can be brought into this – western – boat, especially since the other danger, namely Russia approaching the Chinese-autocratic side, cannot be ruled out. In order to clear up this question, a large “reconciliation conference” between the “current West” and Russia should be called, a conference at which all disputes would be put on the table: Crimea, the Ukraine conflict, political murders, economic and scientific cooperation and many other topics. Diplomatically, such a conference would have to be meticulously and thoroughly prepared.  But at the end there could be a widespread step-by-step rapprochement of Russia towards the western world. Quite surely, many Russian citizens would enthusiastically welcome such a development and even Putin could sit a bit more calmly in his chair.