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General Kujat Argues Cooperation as Alternative to NATO ‘Exaggerated Reservations’ against Zapad 2017 Exercise

WIESBADEN, Sept. 24, 2017 (EIRNS)—Former NATO Military Committee chairman Gen. Harald Kujat (Bundeswehr, ret., 2002-05) deflates hype, including NATO’s, about the joint Russia-Belarus Zapad 2017 military maneuver that ran from Sept. 14-20. In an Sept. 23 NDR radio interview General Kujat called the figure that NATO gave of "possibly" 70-100,000 troops "exaggerated reservations" against Zapad, which suggests either NATO itself didn’t really know, "which would be of major concern," or, the figures, including invasion plans, were "dramatized," which he considers "irresponsible." It’s wrong: We don’t need an increase in tensions, but the opposite, he argued. In motivating competent use of the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act, which included a "Strategic Partnership," unlike the past years, he stated there "is an array of conflicts on the European periphery" as well as North Korea, which "demand" close cooperation between the West and Russia, "and in particular between the U.S. and Russia," in order to avoid uncontrolled escalation. It is wrong to exclude President Vladimir Putin, as with the G8, from discussions on finding solutions. General Kujat termed the 1967 NATO Harmel Report, a "door opener," which made possible the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Brandt Ostpolitik, and in a sense, German unification.

Questioned who would be blocking cooperation, General Kujat avoided saying the obvious, but did motivate working with Russia to solve the Ukraine crisis "in the heart of Europe," by putting Ukraine in a European security architecture. Only the United States and Russia coming together can solve the crisis, and Berlin can use its connections to both to assist that. He recommends a 4+2 approach as with German unification, but including both the Kiev regime and also the rebels in east Ukraine.