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pixabay.com | WilfriedPohnke | Ukraine

© pixabay.com | WilfriedPohnke | Ukraine

The 2023 Easter Message

NATO has 31 members as of April 4, 2023, with the accession of Finland. The NATO Secretary General, the German government and the majority of Germans welcome the fact that NATO is getting stronger. After the end of the Cold War, the military alliance had 16 members; today it has 31.

But hardly anyone in the West wonders how this development must affect the Russians and the warlord Putin.

Let’s imagine the reverse development: How would the U.S. react if Russia formed a military alliance with U.S. neighbors Canada or Mexico? Would the U.S. really react differently than Russia does today toward Ukraine? At least in 1962, the U.S. threatened nuclear war when the Soviet Union deployed nuclear missiles in Cuba. The world was on the brink of nuclear war then. As it is again today. But this lesson is being suppressed by many today.

U.S. President Biden recently said that we are as close to the nuclear abyss today as we were during the Cuban missile crisis. If anyone knows that, it’s the U.S. president.
What sense do such demonstrations make?

This Easter, the German peace movement will again demonstrate tens of thousands in the streets for peace, cease-fire and peace negotiations. The addressee is first and foremost the aggressor Putin, but not only. What sense do such demonstrations make? Do they achieve anything? Are there alternatives to the mass murder in Ukraine, which Putin has started against all international law and morality?

History and our life experience teach us that every settlement of a dispute or a war begins with trying to put oneself in the other person’s place. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus formulates this basic law of all reconciliation thus: “Why do you see the mote in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the beam in your own eye?” One cannot divide the world only into good and evil, always thinking of oneself as good, of course. The Pope also spoke of “NATO barking at the gates of Russia.”

Depositphotos.com | frizio| Nato Russland
© Depositphotos.com | frizio | NATO Russia

Permanent NATO enlargement to the East and now NATO enlargement to the North makes Russians and Putin afraid and worried. Of course, this is never a justification to invade Ukraine and commit mass murder, I add, not to be misunderstood. But if you try to put yourself in the other’s shoes, you can understand the Russian concern.

So far, each side is trying to calm its own fear by making the other side even more afraid by arming itself more and more. This vicious circle has now led us again to the nuclear abyss and to the brink of a third world war. 35 years ago, the peace politician Mikhail Gorbachev showed a way out of the crisis through courageous negotiations and prepared the way for peaceful German reunification. Even against his own hardliners.

Western politicians should now signal to Putin that they, too, are prepared to take Russia’s security interests into account more than before in the future. Not only Mikhail Gorbachev, in a book we wrote together (“Come to your senses – never again war”), but also Helmut Kohl and Helmut Schmidt have often pointed out that the West has criminally neglected Russian security interests after 1990, especially the United States. The admonitions of these three politicians should give us food for thought!

Benevento Verlag
© Benevento Verlag

Just now, France’s President Macron and China’s leader Xi also called for joint peace talks between Russia and Ukraine and warned against nuclear escalation. Macron said lasting peace is as important to China as it is to France and Europe. “I know I can count on you … to bring Russia to its senses and everyone back to the negotiating table,” Macron told Xi. “We need to find a lasting peace.”

Western deliveries of defensive weapons to Ukraine, as a Christian and a pacifist, I consider justified and necessary in the current situation. But at the same time, it is now high time for negotiations. Only joint security for Ukraine and for Russia will create a just peace and a new European peace order.

Germans and Russians and all Europeans should be interested in this together. That is the Easter message 2023: Peace for Ukraine – Freedom for Russia!


Franz Alt 2023 | Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

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