You are currently viewing Friedbert Pflüger: A CDU man on the trail of Willy Brandt – or: Unusually moderate tones in the DLF

11 Jan. 2022 21:10

A comment by Leo Ensel

They still exist, the voices of reason! Or maybe there is again? In any case, lately one or the other can even be heard in the leading media. And that from political camps too, where one would least have expected it.

It began most clearly on December 5th with the realpolitik-based appeal for de-escalation of predominantly transatlantic-oriented German ex-ambassadors and generals. And last Saturday morning, of all places, you could go to the chronically anti-Russian Deutschlandfunk (DLF) to hear with great surprise and pleasure that on the faden DLF-Water soup finally swam a grease eye! The CDU politician and former close colleague of Richard von Weizsäcker, Friedbert Pflüger, presented unexpectedly thoughtful and thought-provoking theses on the relationship between the West and Russia, as they are nowadays only very rarely found in the retired party of détente and in the former party of the peace movement Has hardly been heard at all for decades. They deserve to be presented in a little more detail here.

“Value-bound foreign policy” – a realpolitical reinterpretation

The ball the DLF-Editor Jürgen Zurheide played the CDU politician at the opening, had it in itself: It was the famous “value-bound foreign policy” that has been staccato-like broadcast from a certain house in Berlin Werderschen Markt all over the world for a month. He wanted to know whether this term was too “idealistic” DLF-Editor know. Pflüger’s answer was extremely clever: Of course – how could it be otherwise! – he first met Zurheide by “the importance of human dignity in the context of our history” stated. It be right “When it comes to foreign policy, not only to look to one’s own interests, but also to a certain set of values.” But the following sentence already signaled – moderate in tone, but clear in the matter – an unmistakable distance from the brisk tones of the young green foreign minister:

“But that must not lead to us overestimating ourselves, to embarking on new self-righteous moral crusades, looking down on other nations and saying: ‘The world should recover from the German being’!”

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Whether a “value-based foreign policy” would also result in the current repeated demand to “position oneself resolutely”, asked Zurheide and ventured with the added keyword “Is that the excessive demand you just mentioned?” for DLF-Relatively far from the cover. And Pflüger again applied the argumentation technique that had already been suggested at the beginning:

“Our clear image of man demands the condemnation of the violation of human rights. But value-based foreign policy also includes the preservation of peace! Willy Brandt wrote the very important sentence: ‘Peace is not everything – but without peace everything is nothing.’ That means: If we just stand up and keep turning the spiral of escalation, keep demanding, threatening, issuing sanctions, but not also dialogue, new disarmament, a new conference for security and cooperation, as recently proposed by leading generals and diplomats offer to the other side, then we’ll make a mistake! We have to position ourselves against injustice in the world, but above all we have to live human rights in ourselves in the European Union and we have to see what we do in others Countries can really align. Just fluffing up does very little! I believe that dialogue, talking to one another and solving problems at the negotiating table is still the greatest and most important imperative in politics and diplomacy. “

Unfamiliar sounds. For the CDU, and especially for the CDU Deutschlandfunk! And in terms of content, Pflüger had just reinterpreted and substantiated Baerbock’s pompous formula, which in the worst case resulted in “value militarism” in a realpolitical way.

“We cannot shape the whole world in our image!”

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What Russia is up to now, that Russia is aggressive – do you subscribe to that sentence? Or is that a too western view of things, as we are currently seeing it in the Green Party too? “, Zurheide wanted to know could also broadcast a cautious distancing from Zurheide’s questions for 24 hours a day DLF– Listen to the narrative …)

Pflüger remained true to his argumentation: of course, a troop deployment and the associated threat is an unacceptable “muscle game”. However, one should also ask the question how it came about in the first place.

“And trying to solve a conflict through dialogue and diplomacy – like the coming days in the NATO-Russia Council or in the strategic dialogue between American and Russian top diplomats – is not the same as appeasement or betrayal of one’s own values! There is also that legitimate attempt at relaxation and real dialogue. “

Pflüger also expressed himself differently about the most recent events in Kazakhstan. Although he clearly rejects the president’s order to shoot demonstrators, one has to look carefully at what is happening there. Soldiers and police officers were also beheaded and mayors’ offices were stormed. And then Pflüger spoke plainly:

“Above all, we have to ask ourselves what we can do specifically and what the alternative is. A value-based foreign policy sometimes also includes the insight that nothing can be changed! That one cannot shape the whole world as one would like to . That has nothing to do with moral indifference, it is the insight into the fact that other regions have different values, different traditions. We may not like them, but we cannot shape the whole world in our image! “

A “climate CSCE”

Pflüger passionately campaigned for the idea recently brought up for discussion by the high-ranking ex-generals and ambassadors for a new, large two-year European Security Conference with the participation of the USA and Canada, at which, in addition to human rights, economic cooperation, the dismantling of sanctions, Arms control and a common climate policy should go:

“We need something like a ‘climate CSCE’! Regardless of where we are politically in the world and what values ​​we have: The task of protecting this planet from global warming is a joint task. And maybe it can the spirit of such a policy will give rise to new trust! “

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Neither Putin nor the Chinese will be able to bring sanctions to their knees. Although it is important here to defend one’s own position with confidence, a balance of interests is also necessary.

“And we also have to look at the situation from the other’s point of view. That is a basic principle of foreign policy and diplomacy. We must not dismiss it and say that we are always right!”

After all, in 1969, at the height of the Cold War, under the leadership of Willy Brandt, a social-liberal government came to power, which started a project for cooperation with the Soviet Union with the gas pipeline business. This “interdependence of interests”, which has survived even the most serious political crises, has been helping to stabilize peace in Europe for 50 years. Cooperation in climate policy could now achieve something similar:

“That has nothing to do with idealism, but rather the attempt to slowly build up new trust! Is there an alternative to that?”

The voice of reason

Once again: This was not an SPD member speaking, this intellectual heir of Willy Brandt is a proven CDU man! And one can only encourage the formal heirs of the Brandt party and especially the members of the former party of the peace movement to deal more intensively with Friedbert Pflüger’s clever and balanced positions. (How tightly leading SPD politicians position themselves against Russia, on the other hand, has a two days later – also from Deutschlandfunk – Interview with the new chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Bundestag, Michael Roth, demonstrated.)

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In short: the voice of reason, which has been speaking more and more in the political discourse for several weeks, is not a question of party affiliation. You can now hear them in all political camps. The fact that it sometimes comes not from the usual suspects, but also from dedicated transatlantic people, makes this voice all the more valuable. In the optimal case, it could be the first seedlings of a more realistic Russia policy, the basic axioms of which would be to recognize Russian security policy needs as equal and to find their way back to the central sentence of the “Charter of Paris”:

“Security is indivisible, and the security of each participating state is inextricably linked with that of all others.”

Let’s hope that the many individual voices will come together to form a strong choir. And let’s hope that this little eulogy on Friedbert Pflüger – of all people RT DE – will not harm this too! Unfortunately, times are still that paranoid today.

RT DE strives for a wide range of opinions. Guest contributions and opinion articles do not have to reflect the editorial team’s point of view.

more on the subject – “USA are playing with fire” – Lavrov’s deputy explains in Geneva what is non-negotiable for Russia

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