Massenbach-Letter: NEWS 10/05/13

Massenbach-Letter

Udo von Massenbach

Guten Morgen.

Seit Mai 2012:
Auch an die
Mitglieder des Verteidigungsausschusses
des Deutschen Bundestages.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Grundsatzrede: “Contemporary German-American Relations”
venue: Lions Halensee at 8th May 2013, Speaker Udo von Massenbach

Massenbach Diplomatie statt Sanktionen wagen

Anreize, Druck und Zwang: Viel mehr außenpolitische Instrumente setzt die internationale Diplomatie nur selten ein. Doch Hilfsgelder, Sanktionen und Militäraktionen haben nur begrenzte Wirkung: Wer den Frieden will, muss verstehen können, was den anderen umtreibt.
Ein Gastbeitrag von Volker Perthes

Wenn es um Beziehungen zu anderen Ländern geht, setzen Deutschland und EU besonders gerne auf kooperative Maßnahmen: von humanitärer Hilfe und Entwicklungszusammenarbeit über die Unterstützung bei wirtschaftlichen und politischen Umwandlungsprozessen, von der Förderung privatwirtschaftlicher Zusammenarbeit durch Marktzugänge oder Kreditgarantien bis hin zu auswärtiger Kulturpolitik oder der Zusammenarbeit im Bereich von Justiz, Umweltschutz, Polizei und Militär.

Gegen problematische Akteure und Regelverletzer werden Sanktionen verhängt. Und bei akuten Krisen, Konflikten und Bedrohungslagen sowie bei der notwendigen Stabilisierung nach Kriegen und Bürgerkriegen ist auch für Deutschland der Einsatz militärischer Mittel mittlerweile zu einem zwar nicht präferierten, aber nutzbaren Mittel der Staatskunst geworden.

Tatsächlich wird in der öffentlichen Diskussion vor allem nach diesen drei Instrumentenkategorien gefragt: Hilfe, Sanktionen, militärische Intervention – nach Anreizen, Druck und Zwang also. Alle drei haben ihre Grenzen. Die finanziellen Ressourcen, die die EU beispielsweise zur Unterstützung arabischer Transformationsländer zur Verfügung stellen kann, sind überschaubar.

Sanktionen wirken selten wie gewünscht

Andere Akteure, Katar etwa, stechen die Europäer hier leicht aus: Sie nehmen größere Beträge in die Hand und knüpfen daran ihre eigenen politischen Bedingungen. Beim Aufbau von Demokratie und verlässlichen staatlichen Institutionen können die EU und ihre Mitglieder reichlich Erfahrung einbringen. Aber diese Prozesse brauchen einen langen Atem. Sie helfen vor allem nicht, um akute innerstaatliche oder zwischenstaatliche Konflikte zu lösen.

Sanktionen dagegen wirken eigentlich immer, nur meist nicht so wie gewünscht: Sie schädigen die Wirtschaft des betroffenen Landes, und manchmal auch die eigene. Nur führen sie, wie das iranische Beispiel zeigt, selten zu den gewünschten Verhaltensänderungen.

Militärische Macht löst keine Konflikte

Militärisches Eingreifen wird immer wieder notwendig sein, um, wie zuletzt in Mali und Jahre zuvor in Bosnien oder Kosovo, Schlimmeres zu verhindern, um Menschen zu schützen, fragile Staaten zu stabilisieren, brüchige Waffenstillstände abzusichern oder auch, um die Sicherheit von Schifffahrtsrouten zu gewährleisten. Militärische Macht gehört zu den nach wie vor notwendigen Instrumenten der Staatskunst. Sie ist aber als Gestaltungsmittel unzureichend und löst selbst keine Konflikte. Das zeigt nicht nur der Afghanistan-Einsatz.

Von daher bleibt bedeutend, was wir die klassische Diplomatie nennen können – in der öffentlichen Diskussion allerdings wird sie zu wenig beachtet. In der internationalen Politik geht es immer darum, auf Verhältnisse außerhalb des eigenen Landes und auf andere staatliche oder nicht-staatliche Akteure Einfluss zu nehmen. Da hilft es durchaus, wenn man Anreize und Druckmittel in der Hinterhand hat.

Nicht jeder Konflikt ist unmittelbar lösbar

Im Kern aber bleiben die traditionellen Fähigkeiten der Diplomatie gefragt: zu verstehen, was andere Akteure umtreibt; Interessen auszubalancieren; Übereinstimmungen zu finden und daraus, was sich ja nicht automatisch ergibt, Ansätze zu Kooperation und Konfliktlösung zu generieren; in multilateralen Abstimmungsprozessen Regeln zur Aufrechterhaltung von Frieden, Sicherheit und gemeinsamen Lebensgrundlagen zu etablieren und auch deren Durchsetzung abzusichern; nicht zuletzt aber gute Dienste zur Konfliktbearbeitung auch zwischen anderen Parteien zu leisten.

Diplomaten wissen, dass nicht jeder Konflikt lösbar ist, vor allem nicht unmittelbar. Oft sind eher umsichtige Bemühungen angesagt, um Auseinandersetzungen nicht eskalieren zu lassen und die Konfliktwahrnehmung nach und nach zu verändern.

Die US-amerikanische Diplomatie ist besonders gut, wenn sie das ganze Gewicht des Präsidenten zum Einsatz bringt. Dass Barack Obama jüngst Israels Ministerpräsidenten Benjamin Netanjahu dazu brachte, sich bei seinem türkischen Kollegen Recep Tayyip Erdogan für den Angriff auf die türkische Gaza-Flottille im Jahre 2010 zu entschuldigen und Entschädigungszahlungen zuzusagen, kann durchaus als diplomatische Meisterleistung gelten.

Europäische Diplomatie ist oft da im Vorteil, wo Geduld gefragt ist, weil Prozesse eben länger dauern als eine Wahlperiode. Die Beispiele sind nicht immer aufregend, aber gleichwohl wichtig: Die mittlerweile seit zehn Jahren laufenden Gespräche über das iranische Atomprogramm haben den Konflikt nicht gelöst. Sie haben aber zumindest dazu beigetragen, dass Iran eben, anders als 2003 befürchtet, nicht atomar „ausgebrochen“ ist. Die mühsamen, von der EU angeleiteten Gespräche zwischen Serbien und Kosovo haben immerhin dazu geführt, dass die Ministerpräsidenten der beiden Länder ein erstes Abkommen ausgehandelt haben. In solchen Fällen hilft erfahrungsgemäß das persönliche Engagement der EU-Außenbeauftragten oder einzelner europäischer Außenminister durchaus.

Europäische Diplomatie muss sich nicht auf Nachbarschaft beschränken

Gerade im geopolitischen Umfeld Europas gibt es genug Betätigungsmöglichkeiten für eine aktive Diplomatie. Im israelisch-palästinensischen Verhältnis wird eine Art Notar gebraucht, der die Umsetzung von Abmachungen überwacht und gleichzeitig bereit ist, zunächst hypothetische, konditionierte Zugeständnisse beider Seiten zu sammeln und zu verbinden. Angesichts des Bürgerkriegs in Syrien könnte die EU oder ein Staat wie Deutschland glaubwürdige Repräsentanten der ethnischen, konfessionellen und politischen Gruppierungen an einen Tisch bringen, um herauszufinden, ob überhaupt noch ein Konsens für eine gemeinsame staatliche Zukunft existiert.

Mit der Türkei wäre in sehr vertraulichen Gesprächen zu eruieren, welche Form einer Assoziierung Ankaras an die gemeinsame Außen- und Sicherheitspolitik der EU denkbar ist, wenn und solange ein türkischer EU-Beitritt nicht ansteht. Die Vermittlung vertrauensbildender Maßnahmen zwischen Armenien und Aserbaidschan könnte die Eskalationsgefahr im Kaukasus reduzieren. In Zypern, wo heute alle Zukunftshoffnungen auf der Erschließung der um die Insel gelagerten Gasfelder ruhen, könnte europäische Diplomatie dazu beitragen, zwischenstaatliche Konflikte um die Ausbeutung dieser Vorkommen kooperativ zu regeln.

Europäische Diplomatie muss sich aber nicht auf die eigene Nachbarschaft beschränken. So werden im aktuellen Konflikt mit Nordkorea irgendwann vertrauliche Gespräche geführt werden müssen. Da hilft es schon, dass Deutschland und Großbritannien, anders als die USA, eine Botschaft in Pjöngjang unterhalten.

Der Politikwissenschaftler und Nahost-Experte Volker Perthes, 54, ist Direktor der Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik in Berlin.

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Policy = res publica

Bärbel Freudenberg-PilsterFreudenberg-Pilster Americans Want Cost Cuts, Employer Help to Fund Education

Majority says employers don’t provide support for attaining education

May 2, 2013
by Valerie Calderon and Preety Sidhu

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Among a list of various ways to make higher education more affordable, Americans are most likely to want institutions of higher education to reduce their tuition and fees, followed by having companies provide more assistance to their employees. Fewer Americans strongly back more assistance from federal and state governments or from community-based organizations.

Ways to Reduce Cost of Higher Education

These findings are from a Nov. 9-Dec. 4, 2012, study by Gallup and the Lumina Foundation with a random sample of 1,009 U.S. adults. The same survey found that Americans have a strong demand for education beyond high school and say that having a post-secondary degree or credential is very important to getting a good job and to improving earning potential.

Americans Say Employers Are Short on Support for Educational Attainment

In contrast to Americans‘ desires for employers to provide more tuition support, the majority of U.S. workers report that their employers do not offer critical support and services to help them pursue more education. Three in four workers say their employer does not provide financial support to the children of employees to pursue education beyond high school. Another 59% say their company does not provide financial support to their employees for enrollment in higher education courses.

The relative bright spot is that nearly half of all American workers say their employer does allow its employees to exercise flextime to pursue more education, although a full 51% says this is not an option.

Does your employer provide financial support?

Mixed Review of Learning and Development Opportunities

Forty-four percent of workers say their company provides on-site training that leads to a workplace certificate, while 54% report their employer does not. However, significantly fewer, 36%, say their company offers any other type of educational support.

Learning and Development Opportunities

Through research, Gallup has learned that on-the-job learning opportunities are one key factor of workplace engagement and performance.

Thus, it is important to note that when Gallup asks if workers agree or disagree with the statement that their manager at work provides them with opportunities to learn and grow, 65% generally agree. Using a five-point scale, where 5 means they strongly agree and 1 means they strongly disagree, 43% strongly agree and 22% agree. About one-third (32%) disagree or are neutral on the question.

Opportunities to Learn & Grow

http://www.gallup.com/poll/162158/americans-cost-cuts-employer-help-fund-education.aspx?version=print

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Politics: from Vision to Action

Barandat FDP-Parteitag – Rösler schürt Angst vor Räuber Hotzenplotz

Von Issio Ehrich, Nürnberg

Rhetorische Kreativität beweist FDP-Chef Rösler auf dem Parteitag in Nürnberg nur bei einem Punkt: Bei Attacken auf den politischen Erzfeind der Liberalen. Inhaltlichen Kontroversen weicht er mit Floskeln aus – und zwar den allerabgedroschendsten. Eine Stilkritik.

Die Rede von Philipp Rösler auf dem Parteitag der FDP lässt sich mit einem Satz zusammenfassen. Über die Grünen sagt der Chef der Liberalen: „Sie sind gegen alles, was das Leben der Menschen schön macht.“ Noch dicker kann man kaum auftragen. Rösler nimmt sich trotzdem 45 Minuten lang Zeit, um diese Kernbotschaft zu sezieren. Warum? Damit sie auch der Allerletzte versteht? Tatsächlich offenbart sein Auftritt, dass er kurz vor den Abstimmungen über das Wahlprogramm der FDP einer inhaltlichen Debatte um jeden Preis ausweichen will.

Video FDP-Parteitag in Nürnberg: Rösler wettert gegen Grün 04.05.13 – 01:24 min MediathekFDP-Parteitag in NürnbergRösler wettert gegen Grün

Themen für Röslers Rede hätte es genug gegeben. Er hätte auf den Streit um einen Mindestlohn eingehen können. Während die Parteispitze sich für eine vorsichtige Öffnung der Liberalen bei diesem Punkt einsetzt, bangen mehrere Landesverbände um den Markenkern der FDP. Doch Rösler handelt die Mindestlöhne mit ein paar Sätzen ab, die sich so fast wortwörtlich im Entwurf des Wahlprogramms wiederfinden. „Wir sind, wir bleiben gegen einen flächendeckenden, einheitlichen Mindestlohn in Deutschland – jetzt und in aller Zukunft“, sagt er. In Regionen, in denen es keine starken Tarifpartner gibt, die faire Löhne aushandeln können, sieht er allerdings Handlungsbedarf. Zur Not soll eine Kommission aus Arbeitgebern, Arbeitnehmern und unabhängigen Experten einen Kompromiss finden – auf keinen Fall der Staat. So weit, so alt.

Auch bei der Gleichstellung von Mann und Frau lässt er einen echten Impuls vermissen. Es gebe enormen Nachholbedarf – auch in der FDP, sagt er vage. Doch mit Symbolpolitik sei da nichts zu machen. Auf den (zumindest für Liberale) radikalen Antrag des Bundesvorstands der Liberalen Frauen geht er mit keinem Wort ein. Die Vereinigung, der eine reihe prominenter Politikerinnen angehört, fordert eine 40-Prozent-Frauenquote für Parteiämter.

Genauso bei der Steuerpolitik: Rösler weicht einer Kontroverse aus und versucht lediglich, mehr Vernunft zu demonstrieren. Eine vielleicht überfällige Reaktion, nachdem die „Mehr-Netto vom-Brutto“-Strategie der Bundestagswahl 2009 in der Schulden- und Finanzkrise fatal floppte. Der Haushaltskonsolidierung räumen Rösler und andere in der Parteispitze nun oberste Priorität ein. Manch ein Liberaler pocht aber noch immer auf schnelle Entlastungen. In Nürnberg ruft Rösler aber vor allem wieder einmal in Erinnerung, dass Schwarz-Gelb für 2014 erstmals einen strukturell ausgeglichenen Haushalt vorgelegt hat.

Die alte Leier von „Freiheitsgegnern“ und „Tugendwärtern“

In Röslers Rede steckt nichts Nachdenkliches, keine Denkanstöße, nicht mal eine Spitze gegen die Quertreiber in den eigenen Reihen. Der Parteichef geht über alle umstrittenen Themen mit Floskeln hinweg, sagt Sätze wie „die Grenze der Belastbarkeit ist erreicht“. Selbst die Losung „Leistung muss sich lohnen“ erspart er seinen Zuhörern nicht.

Mehr zum Thema

Was ist davon zu halten? Rösler setzt alles daran, für Harmonie und Zusammenhalt zu sorgen: Schließlich hat die Partei den Streit um ihre Führungsspitze gerade erst einigermaßen verkraftet. Zudem reißt die FDP auch vier Monate vor der Bundestagswahl in Umfragen immer wieder die Fünf-Prozent-Hürde, einen heftigen Richtungsstreit kann sich die Partei einfach nicht leisten. Also beschwört Rösler den gemeinsamen Feind. Rhetorische Raffinesse zeigt er allein bei seinen Hasstiraden gegen die Opposition. Vor allem die Grünen trifft es, schließlich bieten die mit ihrem Wahlprogramm, das eine kräftige Umverteilung fordert, Angriffsfläche.

Grünenchef Jürgen Trittin sei nicht der Robin Hood für einige wenige, „sondern er ist der böse Räuber Hotzenplotz für alle in Deutschland“, sagt Rösler. Er warnt vor Raubzügen gegen den Mittelstand und prophezeit, was geschieht, wenn die Grünen weiter erstarken. Dann nämlich würden „Tugendwächter“, „Fortschrittsfeinde“ und „Freiheitsgegner“ das Land regieren – und einen „rot-rot-grünen Spuk“ veranstalten. Ein Hauptkritikpunkt: Laut Rösler kennen die Grünen nur ein Credo: „Dagegen, dagegen, dagegen.“ In Nürnberg fällt ihm selbst nichts anderes ein.

Quelle: n-tv.de

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Middle East

UK approaching a ‚return to east of Suez‘ decision

The UK is approaching a decision point where a significant strategic reorientation of its defence and security towards the Gulf is both plausible and logical; and for the first time since the UK unceremoniously left the Gulf in 1971, a coherent strategy for a ‚return to east of Suez‘ is emerging, according to a new paper from the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI).

A Return to East of Suez? UK Military Deployment to the Gulf, by Professor Gareth Stansfield and Dr Saul Kelly, assess public statements which point to the current British government’s commitment to deepening the strategic defence relationship in the Gulf and argue the UK is taking on this burden both out of necessity and of desire.

The paper highlights the UK’s ‚return east of Suez‘ is more evolutionary than revolutionary and only partially related to the US pivot towards the Pacific. Stansfield and Kelly also suggest the UK ‚is giving renewed emphasis to its position in the Gulf in order to maintain the special relationship with the US‘ as well as engagement with the defence task in hand – namely deterring Iran.

‚Just as the UK’s withdrawal in 1971 created a security vacuum that drew the US, somewhat unwillingly, further into the affairs of the Gulf, the US’s cooling of its engagement seems to be drawing the UK back in,‘ write Stansfield and Kelly.

‚With the only remaining significant operation in which the US and UK work closely together coming to an unceremonious end in 2014, there is a clear need to ‚do something‘ if the strategy of being close to the Americans – in terms of political norms, military interconnectivities and global influence – is to be maintained.‘

The paper also addresses the considerable economic benefits, as well as the potential scale of the military deployment. The RAF is set to use the Al-Minhad air base in Dubai (currently used extensively in the logistics chain between the UK and Afghanistan) as a hub not only for the 2014 drawdown in Afghanistan, but as an overseas base of some standing in the future. The Royal Navy is also taking a more active interest in Bahrain, which is already home to the United Kingdom Maritime Component Command (UKMCC). Reports also suggest that senior army personnel are keen to build on their strong links with Oman. And the Emir of Qatar has reportedly been assured by Prime Minister Cameron of the UK’s commitment to the gas-rich emirate, with Doha a favoured location for UK military liaison and co-ordination activities in the Gulf.

‚We seem to be witnessing the slow transformation in the UK military posture towards a tentative return (at this early stage) to the pre-1971 strategy of rooting Britain’s presence in the southern Gulf through agreements with its traditional allies in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, with outlying anchors in Bahrain and Oman, and with close political and economic ties with Saudi Arabia and Kuwait that could be upgraded to the military level if necessary.‘

Professor Michael Clarke, RUSI’s Director-General, in his foreword to the study writes: ‚At a time of economic retrenchment and growing uncertainty within Europe, it may seem strange that the UK sees its future military security increasingly ‚east of Suez‘. Such an emotive phrase suggests imperial ambitions at a time when UK armed forces are smaller than they have been for 200 years. But there are compelling reasons for the UK to take its Gulf relationships much more seriously.‘

Professor Clarke warns, ’such a policy shift, if it becomes reality and is acknowledged, is not without its dangers. The military does not intend to ‚deploy‘ to the Gulf in any significant way, but it hopes to create the facilities to rotate back and forth; to pass through; to jump off from. Even so, this might represent more stretch on an already overstretched military establishment.‘

The paper also suggests there is significantly more at stake in this renewed relationship than mere military posturing: ‚By enhancing the UK’s relationships with the states of the southern Gulf, the UK is committing to the security and longevity of the Arab Gulf states – sheikhdoms which display only limited elements of democratisation (as understood in the West) and which have taken seemingly contradictory positions towards the Arab upheavals that spread across the Middle East since 2011, opposing the Shia revolt in Bahrain but supporting the Islamist revolutions in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Syria. The UK will also find itself very much on the fault line of searing sectarianism, between the Sunni and Shia worlds of Islam, that is increasingly defining the geopolitical landscape of Gulf and Middle Eastern security.‘

‚The UK could very quickly find itself with significant military forces based in one of the world’s most contested regional security complexes,‘ the study warns.

‚If the UK is serious in its reformulating its focus on the Gulf, once again, then a straightforward question needs to be answered: what is the strategic purpose of the return ‚east of Suez‘?‘

‚If it is to deter Iran, then this requires a strategy that is multifaceted and coalition-based, underpinned by the ready availability of a credible and significant military force. If it is only to strengthen the UK’s ties to the Arab Gulf states for a range of reasons including an increase in defence sales, trade and investment, then this should be acknowledged publicly and it should be explained that such limited engagements are necessary at a time when the entire region is in a state of political flux. The military-strategic and political lines of operation can be mutually complementary, but they need to be articulated as such in order to ensure a clear, readily understood British policy and strategy regarding the Gulf,‘ conclude the authors.

To read the briefing paper A Return to East of Suez? UK Military Deployment to the Gulf in full please visit www.rusi.org/EastofSuez

NOTES FOR EDITORS

1. Any enquiries and interview requests, please contact : Daniel Sherman / +44(0)20 7747 2617

2. Professor Gareth Stansfield is the Al-Qasimi Chair of Arab Gulf Studies and Professor of Middle East Politics at the University of Exeter, where he is the Director of the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies and Director of Research in the Strategy and Security Institute. He is also a Senior Associate Fellow and Director of Middle East Studies at RUSI.

3. Dr Saul Kelly is a Reader in International History in the Defence Studies Department, King’s College London at the Joint Services Command and Staff College, Shrivenham.

4. RUSI is an independent think-tank for defence and security. RUSI is a unique institution; founded in 1831 by the Duke of Wellington, it embodies nearly two centuries of forward thinking, free discussion and careful reflection on defence and security matters.

http://www.rusi.org/publications/other/ref:N517AA8D59D1B3/
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Massenbach’sRecommendation

STRATFOR: Geopolitical Journey – Nostalgia for NATO

…I am drawn to a central question regarding the U.S.-European relationship, or what remains of it. Having been in Europe at a time when that relationship meant everything to both sides, and to the world, this trip forces me to think about NATO. I have been asked to make several speeches about U.S.-European relations during my upcoming trip. It is hard to know where to start. The past was built around NATO, so thinking about NATO’s past might help me put things in perspective.

On a personal level, my relationship with Europe always passes through the prism of NATO. Born in Hungary, I recall my parents sitting in the kitchen in 1956, when the Soviets came in to crush the revolution. On the same night as my sister’s wedding in New York, we listened on the radio to a report on Soviet tanks attacking a street just a block from where we lived in Budapest. I was 7 at the time. The talk turned to the Americans and NATO and what they would do. NATO was the redeemer who disappoints not because he cannot act but because he will not. My family’s underlying faith in the power of American alliances was forged in World War II and couldn’t be shaken. NATO was the sword of Gideon, albeit lacking in focus and clarity at times.

I had a more personal relationship with NATO. In the 1970s, I played an embarrassingly unimportant role in developing early computerized war games. The games were meant to evaluate strategies on NATO’s central front: Germany. At that time, the line dividing Germany was the fault line of the planet. If the world were to end in a nuclear holocaust, it would end there. The place that people thought it would all start was called the Fulda Gap, a not-too-hilly area in the south, where a rapid attack could take Frankfurt and also strike at the heart of U.S. forces. The Germans speak of a watch on the Rhine. For my generation, or at least those millions who served in the armies of NATO, it was Fulda.

In the course of designing war games, I spent some time at SHAPE Technical Center in The Hague. SHAPE stands for Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe. The name itself is a reminder of the origins of NATO, deep in World War II and the alliance that defeated the Germans. It was commanded by SACEUR — Supreme Allied Commander Europe — who was always an American. Over time, the name became increasingly anachronistic, as SACEUR stopped resembling U.S. Gen. Dwight Eisenhower and started resembling the chair of a fractious church board, where people showed up for the snacks more than to make decisions.

To me, in the 1970s, SHAPE and SACEUR were acronyms that recalled D-Day and were built around the word „supreme.“ I was young and in awe, with a sense of history and pride in participating in it. Why I should be proud to participate in what might lead to total catastrophe for humanity seems odd in retrospect, but there is little in any of our lives that does not seem odd in retrospect. However, I was proud that I got to go into a building designated as SHAPE’s technical center. I felt at the center of history. History, of course, is deceptive.

Games and Reality

It was never clear to me what those above us (whom we called „EBR,“ echelons beyond reality) did with the games that were built and played, or with the results, but I believe I learned a great deal about the war that was going to be fought. What cut short my career as a war gamer was my growing realization of the triviality of what we were doing and that the intelligence that we were building the games from was inherently deficient. Moreover, the commanders weren’t all that interested in what we were doing. And there was the fact that I was genuinely enjoying and actually looking forward to a war that would test our theories. When the pieces on a map represent human beings and their loss means nothing to you, it is time to leave.

The war gaming was not the problem; properly done, as I hope it is by now, it can aid in victory and save lives. But then, knowing the men (women came later) who would stand and fight at Fulda if the time came, I felt I had been given a frivolous job. There was one thing I got from that job, however: I came into contact with troops from all the armies that might be called to fight. I had a profound sense that they were not just my colleagues but also my comrades. Some didn’t like Americans, and others didn’t like me, but this is no different than any organization. We were peering into the future, with our fates bound together.

The U.S. and Soviet Views of NATO

The United States believed that the Soviet conquest of Western Europe would integrate Soviet resources and European technology. This same fear led the Americans and Europeans to fight Germany in two wars from two very different perspectives. For my European colleagues, it meant the devastation of their countries, even if NATO won the war. The Dutch, for example, had lived under occupation and even preferred devastation over capitulation. For me, it was an abstract exercise, both in the strange mathematics of the war games and in the more distant consequences of defeat for my country. At the same time, there was a shared sense of urgency that formed the foundation of our relationship: War might come at any moment, and we must consider every possible move by the Soviets, and we must propose solutions.

The Americans were always haunted by Pearl Harbor. This is why 9/11 was such a blow. The historical recollection of the attack out of nowhere was always close. Doctrine said that we would have 30 days‘ warning of a Soviet attack. I had no idea where this doctrine came from, and I suspected that it came from the fact that we needed 30 days‘ warning to get ready. The Europeans did not fear the unexpected attack; rather, they dreaded the expected attack for which preparations had not been made. World War II haunted them differently. They were riveted on the fact that they knew what was coming and failed to prepare. The Americans and Europeans were united by paranoia, but their paranoia differed. For the Americans, staying out of alliances and not acting soon enough was what caused the war. The United States was committed to never repeating that mistake. NATO was one of many alliances. The Americans love alliances.

It is interesting to recognize now what the Soviets were afraid of. When World War II came to them, they had no allies. Their one ally, Germany, was the one that betrayed them. The Soviets were both taken by surprise and fought alone until the Americans and British chose to help them. The Soviets had played complex diplomacy with traditional alliances, and when it failed the Soviet Union committed itself to never again depending on others. It had the Warsaw Pact because the West had NATO, but it did not depend on its allies. The Americans threw themselves into alliances as if an alliance solved all problems. The Soviets, however, acted as if allies were the most dangerous things of all.

In the end, when we look back on it, war was much less likely than we felt. The West was not going to invade the East. On the defensive, the Soviets would have annihilated our much smaller force. And, truth be told, no one had the slightest interest in conquering Eastern Europe or the Soviet Union.

As for the Soviets, on paper they were an overwhelming force, but paper is a bad place to think about war. The Soviets did not want a nuclear exchange, and in their view the United States was itching to have one. They knew if they moved westward there would be an exchange. Plus, it turned out, the Soviets would have a great deal of trouble keeping their tanks fueled as they moved to the west. They had a plan for laying plastic pipes from their fuel depots and rolling them out as the tanks advanced. The problem was that the pipes never worked very well, and their fuel depots were slated for annihilation by airstrikes, possibly the day before the war began officially.

All of this is past and I recollect it with a combination of pride — not for what I did, which was little, but for simply being there — and chagrin about how little we understood the enemy. Both sides were ready for war. Both sides were expecting actions that the other side had no intentions of undertaking. But all of the plans that we created were, in the end, irrelevant. The only way to win the game — as the movie War Games said — was not to play it. Not surprisingly, the leaders — Eisenhower and Khrushchev, Nixon and Brezhnev, Reagan and Gorbachev — knew it better than the experts. It has always struck me as the world’s great fortune that the two great superpowers were the United States and the Soviet Union, who managed the Cold War with meticulous care in retrospect. Imagine the European diplomats of 1914 or 1938 armed with nuclear weapons. It is easy to believe they would not have been as cautious.

NATO’s Legacy and Disarray

What NATO provided that was priceless, and the unexpected byproduct of all of this, was a comradeship and unity of purpose on both sides of the North Atlantic. Even the French, who withdrew from NATO’s military command under Charles de Gaulle, remained unofficially part of it. There was little question but that if „the balloon went up“ — the enemy took action — the French would be there, arguing over who would command whom but fighting as hard as the Underground did before D-Day. But through NATO, I got to know Germans at a time when knowing Germans was not easy for me because of what my family went through during the war. I was forced to distinguish Germany from Franz who could play the ukulele.

I had a son in 1976. When I went to Europe, I met an Italian and we became friends. We would talk about what we would tell our families to do if the balloon went up. The conversation — strange and perhaps pathological as it was

Speech Udo von Massenbach -German-American Relations 2013- at Lions Halensee-published edition.pdf

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