Détente Now: A New Call for Peace, Security, and Cooperation

by Gilbert Doctorow, Ute Finckh-Krämer, Ludger Volmer, Rolf Ekéus and Noam Chomsky

Civic and religious leaders in Germany are spearheading a new initiative to avoid war between Russia and the West.

A transatlantic appeal for a new policy of détente with Russia has been launched. The declaration’s authors invite the general public to join leading political figures and social activists who have publicly rallied to support the call.
The initiative was born in Berlin several months ago in the days of deepest gloom engendered by confrontation with Russia over Ukraine, the Baltic countries, and Syria, with major war exercises held around Russia’s borders and bellicose language from both sides that suggested imminent hot war. As German Minister of Foreign Affairs Frank Walter Steinmeier (SPD) said in an interview with Bild newspaper on October 8, present times are more dangerous even than during the Cold War that ended in 1990:

Previously, the world was divided, but Moscow and Washington knew each other’s red lines and respected them. In a world with many regional conflicts and dwindling influence of the great powers, the world becomes more unpredictable.”

The roll-out of the initiative called Détente Now aims at bringing civil society on two continents into play both to enforce and to support approaches to pursue dialogue and compromise with Russian counterparts, e.g., on confidence- and security-building measures between Russia and its neighbors. Détente Now will be a powerful voice for change of direction in foreign policy within Europe, and within Germany in particular, as it and several other key EU countries have their national elections in the course of 2017.
In the United States, the word “détente” brings to mind the efforts of former presidents and secretaries of state to control and reduce strategic weapons and to find ways of cooperation instead of confrontation. In Germany, the equivalent policy,  Entspannungspolitik, was crafted in the 1970s by Chancellor Willy Brandt and his close adviser Egon Bahr.  Their “Eastern Policy” promoted rapprochement as a means of gradually changing the behavior and views of the opposing side.  It is widely believed to have facilitated the eventual fall of the Berlin Wall and end of the original Cold War.
The Détente Now declaration specifically seeks implementation of the twin objectives of a “Europe whole and free” and a common space of peace and security extending from Lisbon to Vladivostok. That vision of all-European security set out in the Charter of Paris signed in 1990 by all European states and the institutionalization of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in Budapest in 1994, was predicated upon respect for human rights and liberties, and upon equal security provisions for all. Regrettably, in the 1990s this grand vision was replaced by political and security schemes that left Russia out in the cold: the greater European Union and an expanded NATO. The result has been nearly calamitous, the authors of Détente Now believe.
The declaration was initiated by a few concerned citizens of civil society, churches, and science, including Wolfgang Biermann (former adviser to Egon Bahr), Peter Brandt (historian), Konrad Raiser (former secretary general of the World Council of Churches), Reiner Hoffmann (chairman of the German Trade Unions Federation), and Horst Teltschik, (former head of Chancellor Kohl’s office and 1999–2008 director of the Munich Security Conference), as well as, from the United States, Daniel Ellsberg (longtime advocate for an informed citizenry).
Many people from the United States, Germany, and other countries support the declaration in the wake of the American presidential election as a transatlantic appeal for a new policy of détente. Among the key first signatories in Germany are well-known Bundestag members from the SPD party, recently joined by a growing number of Green deputies, as well as city mayors, scientists, artists, and journalists. In the United States, the declaration has won the support of several board members of the American Committee for East West Accord, the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, the Association of International Physicians for Prevention of Nuclear War, Veteran Intelligence Officials for Sanity, and of celebrities from the film and music industries, among them Roger Waters (founding member of Pink Floyd) or David Kasper (an Academy Award–winning filmmaker).
Starting this month, the declaration will be published on various homepages, and public collection of more signatures of support will start. A German version can be found here, with an English version here.
The Initiative “neue Entspannungspolitik jetzt!” / “DetenteNOW!” will open a German- and English-language portal to make available literature relevant to the cause. Supporters of the declaration also propose to organize round-table discussions both in Europe and in the United States, and to set up direct US-German-Russian and other exchanges of civil society activists who support the initiative.

Originally published by the Defend Democracy Press, December 8, 2016


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Ewiak Ryszard
Ewiak Ryszard
Dec 16, 2016 7:59 PM

Where are we heading? Let me remind here a fragment of an ancient vision: “And [the king of the north] will go back (to) his land with great wealth [1945. This detail indicated that Hitler will attack also the Soviet Union and will fight to the bitter end. In the beginning there were no signs of such the ending of this war]; and his heart (will be) against the holy covenant [hostility towards Christians. Soviet Union introduced state atheism]; and will act [it means activity in the international arena]; and turned back to his own land [1991-1993. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact. Russian troops returned to their country]. At the appointed time [he] will return back.” (Daniel 11:28, 29a) The return of Russia in this context means the breakup of the European Union and NATO. Many countries of the former Eastern block will reconcile with… Read more »

Dec 13, 2016 1:04 AM

“In the United States, the word “détente” brings to mind the efforts of former presidents and secretaries of state to control and reduce strategic weapons and to find ways of cooperation instead of confrontation.” It isn’t possible to do this now. But it doesn’t mean that you don’t try. I guess it’s relative. ‘Not possible’ may not be quite ‘impossible’. Which isn’t to say that I expect those who make money selling weapons, and their sick allies, to change their stripes and start heeding marchers at peace marches. Chomsky isn’t one to bother with something he fully believes is a waste of time.

Dec 13, 2016 1:18 AM
Reply to  Arrby

Why would the links to the documents (in English and German) be dead?

Greg Bacon
Greg Bacon
Dec 12, 2016 7:29 PM

Is this another Putin attempt at sabotaging the West? 😉 Honestly, some of the same people that scream like Chicken Little about climate change/global warming are the same ones who look forward to nuking Russia to teach them a lesson, which would be the biggest climate change ever.

Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives. I think we’re being run by maniacs for maniacal ends and I think I’m liable to be put away as insane for expressing that. That’s what’s insane about it.
John Lennon

Dec 13, 2016 6:59 AM
Reply to  Greg Bacon

“Honestly, some of the same people that scream like Chicken Little about climate change/global warming are the same ones who look forward to nuking Russia to teach them a lesson…”
Too true. And, re: “Climate Change”: sounds suspiciously like the four seasons, to me. Johnny had it right with that remark, didn’t he? I prefer “psychopaths” to the generic concept of “the insane”, though.

Dec 12, 2016 12:22 PM

This is the hand-wringing brigade who want their cake and to eat it too.

Dec 11, 2016 10:14 PM

Reblogged this on Susanna Panevin.

Eurasia News Online
Eurasia News Online
Dec 11, 2016 9:25 PM

Dear EU if you want to talk peace then get yourself liberated from over seventy years of occupation by foreign troops. Read your history books and you will find that “Europe” has never been threatened by Russia but it was always the other way around. Your stories about “defence” are just pure crap coming from your “left” as much as from your “right”. No more sweet talking. Kick foreign troops who are not protecting but rather occupying you out and then give us a call. So, as long as there is NATO you can blab your declarations to someone else – try your former colonies if they are willing to listen any more of your lies. After all – colonialism and genocides are your true “European values” that the whole world knows all too well (except those that learn from History Channel of course)

Dec 11, 2016 6:54 PM

The main obstacle to peace, security and cooperation in the world is the US. The US is not interested in peace and cooperation and the only security it is interested in is its own. So until this change don’t expect things to improve. This initiative, if it makes serious political advances, will only represent an obstacle to be overcome by the people running the county in Washington. I am sure that this will not be too difficult for them to accomplish.

Eurasia News Online
Eurasia News Online
Dec 11, 2016 9:19 PM
Reply to  Phnatastron

You forgot the other of the “five eyes”. They ALWAYS do things together. After all Caliphate of Chaos (hiding under USA name) is just continuation of Kingdom of Genocides (appearing as UK in public). Other three are perpetual colonies and that will NEVER change.

Dec 13, 2016 2:18 AM

As an Australian, I would agree with you when it comes to our established political channels in operations on this continent.
But what is occurring in Europe politically, is occurring here, albeit much more slowly, due to Murdoch’s Media Empirical propaganda in full saturation running interference to rationality. This is currently being expanded further by the current Political establishment, in order to hold the status quo at any cost, due to our location to supply a vista for intelligence, to a third of the globe for the Caliphate of Chaos.
If we didn’t have that for them, they wouldn’t give a “stuff all” about us.
Good luck with your peace efforts. 😀

Neil Youngson
Neil Youngson
Dec 11, 2016 3:15 PM

A version of this article with links to the Declaration can be found here