Political testament of Antje Vollmer:”We made a mistake by seeing Serbs as our enemies”

The recently deceased member and Deputy Speaker of the German parliament (Bundestag) and one of the founders of the German Green Party, Antje Vollmer, who enjoyed great respect on the German political scene, published her political testament in the Berliner Zeitung daily on February 23, which was again released on March 17, following her death.

 In this kind of political testament to the German nation, she adopts a very critical view of the West’s attitude towards Eastern Europe, and primarily towards Russia after the collapse of the USSR and the end of the Cold War. In one segment of her op-ed, she critically reviews the NATO aggression on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) in 1999, as well as the recognition of Kosovo’s independence, which was done against international law. Below are excerpts from this political testament…

“I was waiting for a fast train at the station in my hometown. Suddenly, on the adjacent platform, a huge train formation approached, loaded with tanks – “marders”, “cheetahs” and “leopards”.

I couldn’t tell them apart and I could only look at them in shock. The transport moved from west to east. It was not difficult to imagine the opposite picture. Somewhere in the east of the continent, at the same time, military transport of Russian tanks was going from east to west. They are not going to clash in the style of the great tank battles of the First World War somewhere in Ukraine. No, this time they will again be involved in the weapon-studded chasm between two power blocs, over which the world may have stood for the last time, in a confrontation with a possible apocalyptic epilogue. So we found ourselves again in the Cold War and in a spiral of mutual threat to existence – with no way out and no perspective. Everything that I had fought against politically all my life, at this moment appeared to me as one huge defeat.

The beginning of the defeat

When did this defeat begin? When did the deception begin? When and how did one of the happiest phases of the history of the Eurasian continent, after the non-violent end of the Cold War, turn into a deadly escalation of war, violence and bloc confrontation? Whose interest was it that the peaceful coexistence of East and West, which was possible at the time, did not materialize, but fell prey to renewed global antagonism? And then there is the question of all questions – why of all Europe, the continent with all its historical tragedies and delusions of power politics – could not find the strength to become the centre of a peaceful vision of an endangered world?

I do not agree with the now common thesis that a peaceful order was established in Europe in 1989, which was unilaterally destroyed step by step by Russia under the dictates of KGB agent Putin, until finally war broke out in Ukraine. This is not true. The following is true – in 1989, an order called Pax Atomica (atomic peace) was broken without giving way to a new peace order. Securing a new peace order had to be the new goal. However, the visionaries of the European and Western fantasy did not have in mind to design a sustainable peace order in Europe, which would offer all the countries of the former USSR a place of reliable security and hope for the future.

The tragedy of Yugoslavia

How quickly the feeling of mild triumph returned can be seen in a sad example – the relations with Yugoslavia. Yugoslavia was one of the non-aligned states, got rid of Stalinism in time and to some extent calmed the centuries-old national rivalries from the time of the Danube Monarchy. Offering this Yugoslavia, as a whole, the road to Europe and the EU in 1989 was extremely easy. It would take time, but it was possible. The only thing that needed to be done was to refrain from giving in too quickly to the national pressures of the Slovenes and Croats and from fostering a new hostile image of Serbs being aggressive. Such wisdom, however, was completely absent in the bidding war for the recognition of new nation-states in the Balkans. The civil war in Bosnia, Srebrenica, the destruction of Sarajevo, hundreds of thousands of dead and traumatized people, the NATO attack on Yugoslavia contrary to international law, the recognition of Kosovo’s independence, also contrary to international law, and the multiple outbreaks of new national chauvinisms could all have been avoided.

The new non-aligned movement

 If I am not mistaken, Europe will soon enter a phase of great disillusionment that will deeply shake its self-image. But for me, it’s a reason for hope. The West, so confident, simply has to learn that the rest of the world does not share our view of ourselves and will not stand with us. It seems that the hastily dispatched emissaries of the new anti-Chinese alliance in the upcoming crusade against the Middle Kingdom are not particularly successful. How could we suppose that great China and the advanced civilizations of Asia would ever forget the days of arbitrary free trade and the opium wars? How could the long-suffering African continent ever forgive 12 million slaves and the exploitation of all its natural resources? Why should the ancient cultures of Latin America forgive the arbitrary rule of the Spanish and Portuguese conquistadors? Why should indigenous peoples around the world simply erase from their historical memory the injustices of illegal settlements and land grabbing? I hope that a new non-aligned movement will emerge from all this, which, after a period of many violations of international law, will once again work for the exclusive right of the UN to serve the peace and survival of the entire planet.”

(Večernje Novosti, 31.03.2023)


This post is also available in: Italiano

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