War by Other Means (II)
BERLIN/KIEV/MOSCOW (Own report) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel is convinced that the West will be "victorious" in the power struggle with Moscow. Merkel told the Munich Security Conference on the weekend that the Ukraine conflict "cannot be won" with military means. That is why "a new way must be found." Comparing the current power struggle to the Cold War, she reaffirmed, "I am a hundred percent convinced that, with our principles, we will win." Earlier, Wolfgang Ischinger, Chairman of the Munich Security Conference, had expressed a similar view proposing that a "double strategy" be applied in the West's power struggle with Russia. According to the journal of the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP), the power struggle, which currently cannot won with military means, should be returned "from the military to the economic level." To this effect, Berlin has launched a diplomatic offensive that should lead to talks in Minsk on Wednesday.
Cannot be Won Militarily
The German government's current diplomatic offensive is occurring at a time when Chancellor Angela Merkel was telling the Munich Security Conference that the Ukraine conflict "cannot be won militarily." In fact, Ukraine's government troops are in desolate condition. Even if Kiev's measures for mobilization and the arms buildup would bear fruit, (german-foreign-policy.com reported ) it would take weeks - if not months - for Kiev to be able to turn the tides of the war in its favor. In a comparable situation in early September, where Ukrainian troops were facing a major defeat, after their full-scale offensive had been stopped, Berlin frantically sought to establish a ceasefire, coupled with a proposal for an alternative political-economic solution. This proposal foresaw entering talks with Moscow on Ukraine's association to the EU, to seek solutions for those Association Agreement stipulations found damaging to Russia. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.) This facilitated halting the counter-offensive of the insurgents.
From Vladivostok to Lisbon
Berlin is again taking a similar approach. On the one hand, the German government is making energetic efforts to save the official Minsk Ceasefire Agreement. Initially, Kiev had threatened to torpedo the ceasefire by announcing measures of mobilization and arms buildup, to which the insurgents responded with their own announcement of a counter-mobilization. On the other, Berlin is again supplementing its efforts with offers to Russia to engage in certain forms of economic cooperation. In late January, Chancellor Merkel had launched an appeal to "explore" "within the larger realm of the European Union and the Eurasian Union," "the possibilities of cooperation in an economic area" extending "from Vladivostok to Lisbon." This weekend, she repeated that appeal at the Munich Security Conference. This would also be a means economically to stabilize - a pro-western - Ukraine, currently teetering on the verge of bankruptcy, she said.
From a Position of Strength
In January, Chairman of the Munich Security Conference, Wolfgang Ischinger, commented on the nature of these initiatives - being promoted as a "peace policy." According to Ischinger, in the power struggle with Russia, it is necessary to negotiate "from a position of strength." NATO must achieve this. In fact, last week, NATO's defense ministers decided to initiate the creation of a "spearhead" rapid response force, able to deploy at very short notice, for possible combat in Eastern Europe, with Germany assuming the leading military role. Simultaneously, Ischinger calls for developing the "second pillar" of a "double strategy." The "first step" could be to initiate cooperation between the EU and the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) to create "a conflation of containment and engagement." According to the current issue of the DGAP journal "Internationale Politik," EU-EEU cooperation could merely be considered a "contest between two integration projects," with which the power struggle can be returned to the level of "economics" and away from the military. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.) This is, in no way, the end of the power struggle.
"We will Win"
Chancellor Merkel has confirmed this perspective at the Munich Security Conference. "This cannot be won militarily," she stated in reference to the Ukrainian civil war. This is why "a new way must be found" and "we must be long-winded." To those who begin to doubt our success "after only two months," I would respond: this is "not how one wins a battle." Through the power struggle with the socialist countries, the West has already "learned that it can take a long time." "No one knew when the cold war would be over, but that is what happened." In the context of the power struggle with Moscow, Merkel declared literally: "I am a hundred percent convinced that with our principles, we will win."
The Small Difference
If one compares the strategy described by Ischinger and Merkel being applied against Russia, one realizes there is a major difference today to that of the confrontation of the two systems. The western militaries are no longer constrained at the earlier borders separating the Federal Republic of Germany from the German Democratic Republic. In the Baltic countries they are regularly operating on territories that had been part of the Soviet Union. Ukraine and Georgia provide them access to former Soviet territory, where they are making their maneuvers. In eastern Ukraine's civil war, neo-Nazi battalions  are fighting alongside the West against Russia. Moscow views all this, militarily, as happening on its last lines of defense, which it must secure at all costs, if it does not intend to completely give up its national sovereignty. With its provocations staged along these lines of defense, the West is not merely playing with fire; it is playing with the conflagration of a large-scale war.
Other reports and background information on the West's current aggressive policy toward Russia can be found here: The Alliance of the Threatened, A Monroe Doctrine for Eastern Europe and War by Other Means.
 See The Usefulness of a Ceasefire.
 See A Lesson Learned.
 See War by Other Means.
 Wolfgang Ischinger: Eine Aufgabe für Generationen. Internationale Politik, Januar/Februar 2015.
 See Ein Ring um Russland (II).
 Mark Leonard, Ivan Krastev: Die neue europäische Unordnung. Internationale Politik, Januar/Februar 2015. See Krieg mit anderen Mitteln.
 Rede von Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel auf der Münchner Sicherheitskonferenz. www.securityconference.de 07.02.2015.
 See Ukrainian Patriots and Nationalist Upsurge.