Online Press Conference of Political Scientist Alexander Rahr (Germany) for the Armenian Media

AlexanderRahr's picture
Alexander Rahr
political scientist

On July 26, online press conference was held with the Political scientist Alexander Rahr (Germany) for Armenian media.

Armen Minasyan
Question: The reality is that NATO still has a closed border in the 21st century -the border between NATO member Turkey and NATO’s collaborate Armenia. Does NATO have the mechanisms to influence this situation? Not the commodity turnover, but for example, the use of the Armenian-Turkish border for cargo transportation?
Answer: Armen, you asked three important questions. Let me answer all of them at once. NATO will not go to South Caucasus region. Security issues will be settled there within the frameworks of the OSCE, that is, in cooperation with Russia, whose perception of NATO is hostile. I am sure that European Union-Eurasian Union dialogue will start soon.  Europe cannot turn away from the SCO. Going through process of restoration of trust and cooperation, we will together ride out to a new level of relations and build a common space from Lisbon to Vladivostok. Serious working groups aimed at development of this concept are created in Germany. NATO is stuck in the Arabic world and probably in the conflicts with China at the South Chinese Sea. In addition,if Trump takes over at the US, the world order in general might undergo adjustments. I think this is the first US presidential candidate who is considering multipolar world not as a scary challenge but as a reality for America.
Armen Minasyan
Question: Do you think Brussels considers Nagorno-Karabakh as another platform for rivalry with Russia?
Answer: Compared to the conflicts in Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine it does not. Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is more internationalized. Moreover, there is no Russian military there.
Armen Minasyan
Question: Do you think the Alliance is as solid and united as during the times of the Cold War? Do the security challenges of let us say Portugal and Belgium coincide with those of Georgia, which is seeking to join the Alliance?
Answer: This is an interesting question. Formally, challenges for all NATO member states must coincide. Georgia is in conflict with Russia, so it will not be accepted to NATO. Portugal does not consider Russia its enemy. For Portugal the East-West conflict has long been replaced with that of North-South.
"Hetq" Online Newspaper
Question: Among the issues on which a consensus was not reached and no document was adopted during Warsaw NATO Summit was the issue of fighting against international terrorism. Don't you find it strange that today when the populations of different European countries are subject to terrorist attacks one after the other (France, Germany, and Belgium), the organization, the core of which are the countries of old Europe, did not find a common approach to this issue?
Answer: NATOwill not and cannot deal with the terrorism within Europe. This is done by the police. In addition, reliance is placed on cooperation of special serviceshere. I think that information exchange has increased. NATO announced that it is not leaving Afghanistan that it is going to fight against international terrorism there. I do not rule out the probability that NATO is preparing for intervention to Libya, where ISIS has relocated its headquarters. NATO is still fighting ISIS in Syria.
"Hetq" Online Newspaper
Question: How do NATO member states and Germany in particular assess the actions of the Turkish government after the coup attempt in July? Is there such a perception that as NATO member Turkey must comply with the principles of internal governance that underpin NATO's political concepts?  Is Turkey considered as a country at fault by the European community and what can that imply?
Answer: West puts a lot of pressure on Turkey so that it does not come off the way of democratization. Therealready are calls on imposing sanctions against Turkey. While Erdogan nowsuspects USA in supporting the coup against him. He recalled the pouch of 1980. However,West is not going to break the relations with the Turks. Turkey is the main ally of Germany in addressing the refugee crisis.
David Stepanyan
“Arminfo” Information Center
Question: Hello Alexander.  Many political scientists and experts in Armenia and Russia are convinced that sponsoring the revolutions in Georgia, Ukraine and now in Turkey and Armenia NATO and the West are trying to "blow up Russia's underbelly". Share your attitude towards this version, if possible, backed up by arguments.
Answer: I do not rule out the possibility, that Western forces were behind these or other orange revolutions and attempts to overthrow the regime, but there is no evidence for this. "Chenzh Mode" is not the invention of the West, but a brainchild of the Cold War. Both USA and USSR have learnt to use these tools. Of course, the West aims to not allow the resumption of the Russian empire in the territory of former USSR. Therefore, the West supports the elites of the countries that are looking for new identitythrough repulsion from Russia.
David Stepanyan
“Arminfo” Information Center
Question: What are the trends behind the appearance of Turkish military bases in the territory of Azerbaijan?
Answer: It shows that Turkey is playing an independent geopolitical game in Eurasia, somewhere in separate from NATO. And we know about special relations between Azerbaijan and Turkey.
David Stepanyan
“Arminfo” Information Center
Question: Literallytoday, the German tabloid Bild published an article citing experts. The general meaning of the article was that Russia is capable of conquering Poland overnight.For what purposes in your opinion such information stuffing is made.
Answer: Newspaper Bild has gained a status of war party in West-Russia conflict. It purposely exaggerates, provokes, and often publishes warped information. The goal is put Russia in its place and win the information war. The editor’s office believes Russia is the main threat to West and its values.
David Stepanyan
“Arminfo” Information Center
Question: Do you think the societies in Russia andNATO member states still think in terms of "cold war” under the current conflict? Or is it much easier in reality and the mutual threat is deliberately inflated purely in internal political and financial purposes?
Answer: West confidently believes that it has won the Cold War. Russia, from the point of view of the West, has lost. USSR had the wrong morals; USSR was the enemy of the West, for many- the evil empire. Since the nineties Westhas beenstipulating the following conditions on Russia, as on the legal successor of the USSR: full democratization and adoption of Western liberal values.  New West-Russia confrontation did not start with the Ukraine. It happened much earlier, when it turned out that Russia does not want to adopt the Western model. This is the source of the new cold war, which of course is not as scary as a real cold war.
David Stepanyan
“Arminfo" Information Agency
Question: Is the wave of Islamic terror swept across Europe a long-term tendency or a short-term phenomenon? Are the Europeans able to overcome it by themselves, or do they rely on NATO and particularly on USA in this matter? What are the root causes of "European terrorism" in your opinion?
Answer: It is difficult to say yet. I personally think, that this is the beginning of a large-scale conflict between the West and Eurasia and the Islamic terrorism, which firmly rooted in Africa and the Middle East. NATO failed to defeat Islamic terrorism in Afghanistan, in Iraq and Libya. If ISIS and other similar structures will take roots there and the West will be fighting them there, they will take the war into the countries of Southern Europe, as well as to France and Germany. This is an ideological conflict, perhaps a clash of civilizations.
Artak Barseghyan
Public Radio of Armenia
Question: Alexander Glebovich, how do you assess the prospects of NATO expansion to the Caucasus?
Answer: I do not see the expansion of NATO to the Caucasus. NATO will now try to keep Turkey in NATO. If it turns out that Western intelligence agencies were involved in the coup against Erdogan, infightings within the organization may begin.  However, I can think of strengthening of OSCE role, including the revival of Meseberg process, initiated by Angela Merkel and Dmitry Medvedev in 2009.
Artak Barseghyan
Public Radio of Armenia
Question: How realistic is the possibility of Turkey's exclusion from the Alliance under the conditions of the deepening hostility between the EU and Turkey?
Answer: It is possible, read my article in Alexander Rahr.
Artak Barseghyan
Public Radio of Armenia
Question: Recently the terrorist attacks backed up by ISIS have become more frequent. In your opinion, can this confrontationbecome a cause for a large-scale war in the East and lead to the third world war?
Answer: Unfortunately, yes. I am afraid that in 15 years ISIS or a similar structure will be occupying a foothold in Southern Europe. This seems a nonsense today, but the fact is that starting from September 11, 2001, West not only failed to eradicate Islamic terrorism, but the latter now takes over whole countries (Mali, Syria, Iraq, Libya, and Somalia). Bush junior was right, when speaking about the beginning of the third world war in 2001. I wrote a book about all this and it was published in Russia under the title Russia-West, zero sum? It will be interesting to debate about the future world. This book is my first attempt.
EADaily News Agency 
Question: The main outcome of Warsaw NATO Summit was declaration on placing additional Alliance forces in Eastern Europe and the Black Sea region. In the final communique, Russia is mentioned before the terroristic organization "Islamic State". At the same time, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg claims that NATO is not a threat to Russia, and the Alliance does not want to provoke a war, it wants to prevent it. How realistic do you think is the political dialog between Russia and NATO under the given conditions? Can NATO-Russia Council become an operational body? General Richard Shireff, who previously held the post of the Deputy Supreme Commander of the combined NATO forces in Europe, said in May, that a nuclear war breakout between NATO and Russia is possible in the coming year. How realistic is such a perspective in your opinion?
Answer: Everything will be all right. The world is not ruled by thecrazy yet, and the East-West conflict is in the past. North – South conflicts are the battlefields now. 
"Hetq" Online Newspaper
Question: How accurate is NATO's position towards Russia when putting this country in the same row with ISIS- in the row of the challenges threatening the countries of the West. What priority will be given to Russia in NATO's agenda in the near future?
Answer: Russia is not considered as a threat in Germany, while in Poland and Baltic states it is. NATO must first understand itself, understand what it wants. I think that after the terrorist attacks in Germany, German elites may change their critical point of view towards Russia and look for cooperation more intensely.
"Hetq" Online Newspaper
Question: The attempt to restart Russian-Turkish relations against the background of the tense atmosphere between Turkey and the USA. Is this another meaningless foreign policy zigzag for Turkey, or a more profound and long-term trend? What can it lead to in the Black Sea basin?
Answer: It is important for Russia that the Black Sea region does not fall under the rule of NATO. Turkey stands for the joint control over the sea by the Turks and the Russians. Therefore, Turkey may become Russia's ally on this serious issue.  It is possible that Turkey will somehow recognize Abkhazia. Turkey is isolated in the West and it will look for a support from Russia and Iran. Turkey will have to dramatically change its policy in Syria and abandon former super ambitions.
EADaily News Agency
Question: Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Meshkov recently announced that Russia is still waiting for NATO's response to Russian proposals on strengthening the confidence-building measures, including the so-called "Niinisto plan" for aviation security in the Baltic region. How do you assess the proposal of the President of Finland to prohibit the flights of aircrafts over the Baltic Sea with transponders turned off? What should be NATO's response in your opinion?
Answer: President of Finland made an intelligent proposal. Germany reacted positively. I think that within theNATO-Russia Council frameworks the issue will have a positive solution.
Tatevik Kazaryan
Question: Mr. Rahr, US Secretary of State John Kerry announced after the failed military coup attempt in Turkey that the actions of Turkey violating democratic principles may lead to exclusion of the country from NATO. In your opinion, how likely is Turkey's secession from the North Atlantic Alliance?
Answer: I did not think it possible, but now I consider that kind of development quiet possible. Check out my article in
"Hetq" Online Newspaper
Question: We just received an information about another violence act towards the peaceful citizens of Germany. The unknown opened fire at the University Hospital in Berlin. First, please accept our condolences on the events in Munich and Berlin. And the question is: how can these acts of violence affect the mood of the citizens of Germany towards the migrants, with the Chancellor having spoken for implementation of open-door policy towards them, thus serving an example for the other European countries that oppose to accepting migrant in quantities recommended by EU?
Answer: We need to clearly understand what happened for the past days. In somecases, it is evidently terror and an Islamist one. In other cases,psychopathsare up in arms. Yes, you can feel tension in the society. I think soon there will be more police, camcorders will be everywhere, guilty foreigners will be expelled more quickly and the illegal possession of weapons will be severely punished. If the terroristic actions will not stop, Germany will take the path of Israel. The right wing and nationalist parties will gain momentum. Merkel's open-door policy is losing popularity. Other European countries have negative feelings towards Merkel. While the latter wanted to put herself a historical monument, replacing the "last wall" of Europe (meaning the fence in Hungary against the influx of migrants).
EADaily News Agency
Question: President of Russia announced that Russian troops are unlikely to remain retracted by 1.5 thousand kilometers from French border in case this country joins NATO. He also noted that Moscow would react appropriately to deployment of NATO missiledefense system in Poland and the increase of the Alliance's contingent, because it poses an obvious threat to Russia. 
What should be Russia's actions in your opinion? Former Deputy Supreme Commander of NATO Joint Armed Forces in Europe Richard Shirreff said that, for instance, Russia could aggress against Poland to "prevent NATO strike" or to "protect access to Kaliningrad”. Thus, canwe say that NATO is getting ready for a strike? If not, why to deploy missies and the troops in Poland?  Do NATO's plans pose a real threat for Russia?
Answer: I do not understand how generals like Shirreff, who are allowed to make that kind of provocativeannouncements can be in the lead of NATO. What do they want to gain by this? Today I do not see a new arms race in the Baltic region. Both sides have been behaving low-key yet. NATO refused the demand of the Baltic States and Poland for large-scale militarization. Russia will observe what specific steps NATO will take and then react accordingly.  Germany hopes that the situation will be cooled down and NATO-Russia Council will resume its work.
Aram Sargsyan
First Armenian News &
Question: I would like to ask, what strategic revisions doyou observe in NATO's policy towards Russia after Warsaw NATO Summit? How will this affect the relation between the West and Russia in general, and should we expect for new aggravations? If yes, in what regions should we expect the rivalry between NATO and Russia, for example Eastern Europe, the Black Sea Region?
What is the role of South Caucasus region in this context, considering for example Georgia's aspiration to join NATO and on the other hand, quite serious military presence of Russia in Armenia?
Answer:  NATO does not want to fight against Russia. Warsaw NATO Summit was held for the Baltic States and Poland. It was just a demonstration of solidarity to these countries that tremble in front of Russia, and nothing more. NATO parallelly follows a policy of open doors towards Russia, because the creation of stable multipolar architecture of the world is not possible without Russia. However, of course there is some aggravation in Ukraine. A real war may break out there, and the West cannot let it happen.  In South Caucasus, a fire over Nagorno-Karabakh conflict may spark out. However, I do not see the role of NATO there.  Georgia will be accepted to NATO only if it settles it territorial disputes with Russia.This can be done by recognizing the independence of Abkhazia, but this is something Georgia is not going to do for many years. I hope that in the end we will build a joint security space from Lisbon to Vladivostok. There should be no hostility within that space; all the conflicts should be settled. Then, within the frameworks of that space separate military blocks like NATO, CSTO and SCO can exist.



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