Transformation Through Convergence


BERLIN (Own report) - German foreign policy attempts to confront the ongoing protests against anti-Islamic provocations, with a double strategy comprised of threats of force and imposing values ("dialogue"). While the threats are being circulated through secret service channels, Berlin officials declare their willingness to negotiate. "Security measures (...) alone do not suffice," to "confine the conflicts", writes the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (Institute for Foreign Relations - IfA), an important mediating organization of government policy. Berlin wants to support subversive movements in the states with coveted resources and a predominating Islamic culture ("transformation"). The objective is to initiate a western controlled "reform process". For years the foreign ministry has, with a civilian component, been supplementing the military and police efforts against these forces of the Islamic world, that are difficult to integrate into Western plans. The avowed model is the internal disruption of the East European state system during the anti-communist offensive. The collapse of the opponent in a "new war of cultures" should be the objective, is the formulation used among German diplomats.

Requirement of Security Policy

The indignation persists in the Arab world, following the renewed provocations by the northern Italy Mussolini sympathizers. The continuous spreading of the "Stuermer"-like caricatures and their preservation in the western canon of values ("freedom of the press") has provoked Muslim demonstrators into attacking Christian churches in Nigeria and Pakistan. Religious motivated murders and police massacres, against the backdrop of the increasing threats against the Islamic Republic of Iran, stirred up the sentiment for more violence.[1] Rebellious unrest causes fear that the escalation could get out of control. German foreign policy-makers are therefore calling for new initiatives of "dialogue between the cultures". This advice is in no way to be confused with "a politico-cultural 'attitude of benevolence'", but rather seen as "a requirement of security policy", according to the ambiguous formulation of the IfA).[2] As was formulated by an IfA consultant, the Islamic States should undergo a "system change" and in so doing "be supported." To regulate the inevitable conflicts a "dialogue between the cultures (...) is the only effective strategy".


The foreign ministry also uses similar circumlocutions to describe substantial interventions. A "dialogue between the cultures" is a stage in the process leading to the political-economic opening of the Islamic world. This means imposing debates on mores, in order to break the religiously inspired resistance to the achievement of western interests, disguised as promises of modernization, ("peaceful living together"). Since these offers cannot reach the majority of the populations, who are poor, of peasant background and adamantly opposed, German foreign policy is directed toward a narrow sector of intellectual interlocutors. One must support "those forces", who can offer "a political alternative to violence-prone groups", is how Berlin's foreign ministry puts it.[3] In the foreign ministry, the "Islam dialogue" has become a priority in political policy, since, in the war in Afghanistan, the government has been confronted with a military engagement against Islamic forces that are difficult to integrate. "There is no intention of changing the minds of terrorists", is how the officials draw the line for the boundaries of their "culture dialogue", without entering into the hypocrisy of their own means of warfare: "the dialogue should be an invitation for those who oppose violence."

Not All of the Same Opinion

To persuade the targeted group not to resist and induce cooperation, special programs will accompany the "Islam dialogue". The IfA dedicates itself, above all, to artists and scholars in those states with coveted resources. With "media dialogues," it draws journalists from Arab speaking countries and Iran into the networks and the concepts of German foreign policy. In collaboration with the Goethe-Institut and the government-financed "Deutsche Welle," the Institute also operates the Internet portal "Qantara", published in German, English and Arabi.[4] Through its editorial policy, left leaning political forces are also associated and can be utilized for the pacification "Dialog". "The cultural dialogue with the Islamic world does not have to lead to everyone being of the same opinion", explains the foreign ministry. But to "live together peacefully" an "intensive discussion" is necessary, is the formulation used to describe the activities aimed at winning the commitment of the resistance forces.[5]


The methods used in the " dialogue between the cultures" derive from postwar concepts and are among the props of psychological warfare, deployed, over decades, by the parties in the West/East struggle of the economic systems. Both sides used cultural means, to neutralize the opposing elite or to induce a crossover. The "Congress for Cultural Freedom" has its headquarters in Paris, with branch offices in the Arab world and in the Islamic states of Africa.[6] The organization publishes Arab language media, with similar contents as "Qantara" and is directed by liberal journalists. It is financed by a branch of the American government, which channels three-digit millions of (US) dollars to Western Europe. That conspiratorial "culture" network is directed by case officers from the military section of the psychological warfare department.

New Clash of Cultures

German foreign policy adopted these experiences at the beginning of the 1990s, after the defeat of the Eastern opponent. In reference to the offensive against the Islamic world, that was just beginning at that time, Barthold C. Witte, former director of the foreign ministry's cultural department, wrote, the "demise of Soviet communism" has furnished "lessons, that are applicable in the new clash of cultures".[7] From 1983 to 1991, Witte was in the leadership of the foreign ministry's cultural department and had had a major influence on the tactics used in dealing with the rival system. In preparation for the "new clash of cultures" with the Islamic world, Witte strongly recommended using "the keyword 'dialogue' which has long since been determinant in German cultural foreign policy". With a rhetorical analogy, the German diplomat asked, how can, "it be wrong, in the case of Islam, when it has been proven correct, in the case of communism".[8]


Beyond the "Dialog" tactics, German secret service circles are spreading unambiguous belligerent signals. In his "on-line magazine," the former regional director of the West German Broadcasting Station (WDR), Jochen Denso, prophesied: "Al Qaida will still be around in forty years" and warns "Islamic underground: It is seething in many corners of the World".[9] As if he were underway to new wars, the former WDR journalist writes: "it would therefore not suffice, to catch the leadership of Al Qaida (...). We must, at the same time, transform the conditions in their countries."[10] The "on-line magazine" maintains close ties to secret service circles around former directors of the German Federal Intelligence Service (BND) and the Military Counterintelligence Service (MAD).

[1] Militärische Drohkulisse gegen den Iran nötig!; Bild am Sonntag 20.02.2006. Brok: Iran steuert zielgerichtet auf eine Atombombe zu; Deutschlandradio Kultur 20.02.2006
[2] "Kulturdialog zwischen dem Westen und der islamischen Welt"; Pressemitteilung des Instituts für Auslandsbeziehungen 07.02.2006. S. auch IfA-Meldungen
[3] Dialog mit der islamischen Welt; kulturpolitik/islamdialog/islamdialog_html
[4] see also Kolonialamt, Druck ausüben and Freie Presse
[5] Dialog mit der islamischen Welt; kulturpolitik/islamdialog/islamdialog_html
[6] Frances Stonor Saunders: Who Paid the Piper, London 2000
[7], [8] Barthold C. Witte: Weltkultur oder Kulturkonflikt? Zeitschrift für KulturAustausch 1/2002 (Gekürzter Nachdruck aus KulturAustausch 4/1994)
[10] Jochen Denso: Können wir die Sicherheit allein der Politik überlassen?; Politik Poker 13.07.2005

see also Hass und Kriegsbereitschaft, Hilflos, Trotzdem and On the Ruins of War