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Who divided Germany during the Cold War – Washington or Moscow?

The Soviet proposal for a neutral, united Germany was refused by the West, in order to create their own puppet state

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(Oriental Review) – I think some of you may have heard on more than one occasion about how that bloodthirsty tyrant Stalin set up a blockade of West Berlin in 1948 and how the freedom-loving nations organized the Berlin airlift to circumvent it. But today we’ll let you in on what really happened.

After Stalin refused to get sucked into the draconian Bretton Woods Agreement and then Churchill gave his famous speech in Fulton, MO, the West began squeezing the USSR on all available fronts. The most convenient site for this was the vanquished country of Germany.

Germany Zones of Occupation 1946
Germany Zones of Occupation 1946

Immediately after defeating the Nazis, the Allies agreed to split Germany into three occupation zones: Russian, British, and American. But the country itself was in no way divided by borders – this was united Germany but without any semblance of state power within its own borders other than the military authorities of the occupation. Berlin was sliced up in a similar way. The city had been stormed by Soviet troops, but as agreed, the USSR allowed the Allied forces to enter the German capital. On June 5, 1945, the Berlin Declaration was adopted, which announced the assumption of supreme authority in Germany by all the powers that had conquered the Nazis. Later, at the insistence of Charles de Gaulle, the French also lopped off their own chunk of German territory – they were given the Saar region to occupy and were also allocated a sector of Berlin. There were now four occupation zones. Then, on Aug. 30, 1945, a governing body was established – the Control Council – through which the Allies could work together and that held supreme power in that occupied country. On Jan. 1, 1946, trade began between the Soviet and British zones. For a while everything went smoothly – due to the fact that the USSR had not yet refused to recognize the supremacy of the Federal Reserve’s dollar …However, once that Rubicon had been crossed, things started to heat up.

March 5, 1946 – the date of Churchill’s speech and the beginning of hostile overtures from the West.

Aug. 6, 1946 – American General Lucius Clay makes an announcement in Stuttgart about the impending unification of two zones of occupation.

Dec. 2, 1946, the US and Great Britain sign an agreement in New York to merge their zones of occupation. An entity with the odd name of Bizone emerges on the map of Europe.

Jan. 1, 1947 – all trade between the Bizone and the other zones is now to be conducted in the dollars of the Federal Reserve. And what currency had been used to trade with the Soviet zone throughout all of 1946? Reichmarks. The USSR has no dollars and the Germans have even less access to them. What is the reason for demanding that trade be conducted only in dollars? It means that the choice is either to submit or to cease all trade between the two halves of Germany.

March 12, 1947 – President Truman delivers his Truman Doctrine speech before Congress and the Cold War officially begins.

June 5, 1947 – the famous Marshall Plan is adopted.

Feb. 23 – March 6, 1948 – the London Six-Power Conference is held, attended by the US, UK, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg, at which a separate decision is made to create a German state within the confines of the three occupation zones.

Thus, the US and UK undertook to split Germany into two states. In response, the USSR withdrew from the Control Council on March 20, 1948 and it immediately ceased its work. The West no longer needed a governing body to oversee all of Germany. They were forging a new German state.

But then something quite interesting happened. Between June 20 and 21, 1948, a monetary reform was carried out in the three Western occupation zones that looked quite a lot like highway robbery. The Reichsmark that Hitler had used was replaced by the Deutschmark. Each German was permitted to exchange 60 Reichsmarks at a rate of 1:1. Forty marks could be exchanged immediately, and another 20 two months later. Half of their savings could be exchanged at a rate of 1:10, while the second half was frozen until a later date when it could be exchanged at 1:20. But pensions, salaries, payments, and taxes were recalculated in the new currency at a 1:1 rate.

Allied West Germany Deutsche Mark (1948)
Allied West Germany Deutsche Mark (1948)

Legal entities faced an even sadder fate. All businesses were allocated 60 marks for each employee. All government debt that was owed in the old Reichsmarks was zeroed out without any compensation! As result, approximately 2/3 of bank assets, which had been invested in government bonds, were now worthless. And all this happened in one fell swoop – like a well-planned military operation. German marks were secretly printed in the US and put into circulation without warning.

Now let’s consider this situation for a moment. What do you think happened in a country where a new currency was introduced in one half, while the old currency continued to be used in the other half? The Germans had been offered the opportunity to exchange their savings at a rate of 1:10 or 1:20, so what would be the logical next step for them to take? They tried to spend their old marks anywhere that that money was still being accepted. In other words – in the Soviet zone of occupation. And that’s exactly what happened. The Germans rushed to transform their old Reichmarks into goods in the “eastern” zone. They vacuumed up everything on the store shelves, focusing only on getting rid of their money. In light of this outrageous situation, what was the Soviet administration supposed to do? They had to seal up the borders of their zone and try to stem this flood of money, otherwise the economy would collapse – no goods would be left in the stores at all. And this was precisely what the West was counting on: inciting a riot and then provoking the USSR into a “bloody crackdown on popular protests.”

Berlin 1948

The borders of the occupation zone could be sealed of course, but what to do about Berlin? There was as yet no wall there – the city was still undivided. And “as luck would have it,” the monetary reform was scheduled to take effect in the western sector of Berlin three days later than in the Bizone and the French occupation zone – on June 25, 1948. It was as if someone wanted the Germans to take the hint – take your Reichsmarks to Berlin! They still accept them there. And cars from all over Germany would now be filled with cash and driven straight to the German capital. But luckily the Allies and the Germans working for them had to have a special pass to travel to Berlin via the Soviet zone. What to do? The Soviet government decided to ban entry to Berlin as well as passage to Berlin through the Soviet zone. And residents of the western sector of the city were barred from going into eastern Berlin just to vacuum up everything on the store shelves. This was the “blockade” of West Berlin that Stalin proclaimed.

The East German mark would be introduced much later.

On July 1, 1948, the military governors of the three occupation zones presented what are known as the Frankfurt documents to the minister-presidents of the eleven German states that lay within their jurisdiction. The decision was made in London to effectively order the Germans to create a new national government! The overseas capitals were not concerned that this would divide both the country as well as its people.

The future West Germany would occupy 52.7% of pre-war German territory and accommodate 62% of its population.

And after that, events rolled merrily along, keeping to the familiar script.

On May 23, 1949, the birth of the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) was announced. The degree of independence granted to this puppet state’s foreign policy is clear from the fact that West Germany’s Federal Foreign Office did not even exist until March 15, 1951, and the governments of the US and UK did not proclaim the restoration of West Germany’s full sovereignty in foreign affairs for yet another three years (June 24, 1954).

Meanwhile the USSR was doing all it could to oppose the West’s plans to create a German state in only one part of Germany, leaving the question of the future state structure and neutrality of the Germans undecided.

Moscow responded to the establishment of West Germany by proclaiming the formation of the German Democratic Republic (DDR) on Oct. 7, 1949. However, Stalin thought it wrong to have two Germanys right in the heart of Europe. Therefore, on March 10, 1952, the USSR sent a proposal to the West, which history would later dub the “Stalin Note.” This document provides clear evidence that the Soviet leader’s goal was not to create his “own” German state, but to unify Germany in order to prevent Washington and London from using the Germans as pawns in their own policy.

German Democratic Republic map
German Democratic Republic map

The Soviet Union wanted to hold immediate negotiations about the reunification of Germany and free elections throughout its territory, with the subsequent formation of a single government that should retain a neutral status. Need I remind anyone that the “Stalin Note” was ignored by the West? When someone who is naive or uneducated begins to hold forth about who is to blame for the decades-long division of the German people, just remind him of this fact. The West blocked the negotiations between the two “Germanys.” And West Germany did not recognize East Germany until 1972. Prior to that the two German states did not recognize each other and did not have diplomatic ties.

If you ask a modern person who gets his information from the “independent” media about the difference between West and East Germany, you will most likely hear something about “totalitarianism.” Supposedly one Germany was free in a way that the other Germany was not. If you press him for a more specific answer, then you will most likely hear that there was no multiparty system in East Germany, which was ruled solely by the Communist Party, while West Germany was home to many political parties. Well, this is a complete … lie. By June 10, 1945 the Soviet military administration in Germany had already authorized the activities of the democratic parties and trade unions in its zone. And it did so before our “Allies” took similar actions in their occupation zones. Four parties were created in June and July 1945, and in 1946 two of them merged to create the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED), which later became the ruling party. I think many readers will find it interesting to learn that a multiparty system existed there until the very last days of the German Democratic Republic. The very first East German parliament – the provisional People’s Chamber – had 330 deputies in 1949: the SED held 96 seats, the Liberal Democrats and CDU won 46 seats each, the National Democrats – 17, and the Democratic Farmers’ Party – 15. The remaining seats were divided between trade unions and the Free German Youth. And if anyone thought that this was nothing but window dressing and that the “bloodthirsty regime” later strangled the multiparty system, then that person would be flat-out wrong. If you try to claim that the East German parliament was a mere façade, then you must admit that every other parliament in the world is equally deserving of this label. The truth is this: socialist Germany and its multiparty system continued to develop in unison. By 1986, the 500 deputies in the People’s Chamber included ten factions from five parties, trade unions, the Komsomol, the Democratic Women’s Federation of Germany, the Cultural Association of the DDR, and even the Peasants Mutual Aid Association.

Volkskammer 1990
The People’s Chamber of the German Democratic Republic

The biggest media outlets in the world today often air clichés about the “aggressive Warsaw Pact.” This is another patently obvious lie. The West created NATO in 1949 and the USSR founded the Warsaw Treaty Organization in 1955. And that military bloc emerged in response to the militarization of Europe by the West. The USSR did not react to the creation of NATO until West Germany became a member of that bloc. In a special statement on Jan. 15, 1955, the Soviet Union declared that negotiations between the two German states on the subject of neutrality would become meaningless if one of them joined a Western military bloc. But the United States and Britain deliberately created a military threat in Europe. They needed an unnatural situation in which a divided people had two governments and must be equipped with two armies facing off against one another. London and Washington have been only too happy to replicate this situation again and again: in India and Pakistan, Cyprus and Northern Cyprus, Ireland and Northern Ireland, Croatia and Serbia, and in Russia and Ukraine …

And so West Germany became a member of NATO on May 9, 1955. In response, the Warsaw Pact military bloc was created on May 14, 1955. Even the famous East German army – one of the finest in the world throughout the 34 years of its existence – was established only after the “Allies” shamelessly violated the decision made at the Potsdam Conference in 1945 that prohibited Germany from maintaining its own armed forces. Bonn officially announced the formation of the Bundeswehr on Nov. 12, 1955, but it was not until 1956 that the National People’s Army of the DDR was established …

So who initiated irreconcilable confrontation right in the heart of Europe after the WWII and 40-year division of the German people?

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Patriarch Bartholomew lifts anathemas on schismatics in Ukraine (VIDEO)

Most of the Orthodox world is in strong opposition to this move by Patriarch Bartholomew, whose motivations seem not to be of Christ.

Seraphim Hanisch

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The biggest news in the Eastern Orthodox world in recent times occurred on Thursday, October 11, 2018. The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, lifted the anathemas against two schismatic Ukrainian Churches and their leaders, paving the way to the creation of a fully independent Ukrainian national Orthodox Church.

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This announcement was given in English and is shown here in video with the textual transcript following:

“Presided by His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the Holy and Sacred Synod convened for its regular session from October 9 to 11, 2018 in order to examine and discuss items on its agenda. The Holy Synod discussed in particular and at length, the ecclesiastical mater of Ukraine in the presence of His Excellency Archbishop Daniel of Pamphilon and His Grace Bishp Ilarion of Edmonon, Patriarchal Exarchs to Ukraine, and following extensive deliberations decreed (emphasis added):

First, to renew the decision already made, that the Ecumenical Patriarchate proceed to the granting of autocephaly to the Church of Ukraine;

Second, to re-establish at this moment the stavropegion of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Kiev—one of its many starvorpegion in Ukraine that existed there always;

Third, to accept and review the petitions of appeal of Philaret Denisenko and Makary Maletich and their followers who found themselves in schism not for dogmatic reasons, in accordance with the canonical prerogatives of the Patriarchate of Constantinople to receive such petitions by hierarchs and other clergy of all the autocephalous Churches. Thus, the above mentioned have been canonically reinstated to their hierarchical or priestly rank, and their faithful have been restored to communion with the Church;

Fourth, to revoke the legal binding of the Synodal letter of the year 1686, issued for the circumstances of that time, which granted the right through economia to the Patriarch of Moscow to ordain the Metropolitan of Kiev elected by the clergy-laity assembly of his eparchy, who would commemorate the Ecumenical Patriarch as the first hierarch at any celebration, proclaiming and affirming his canonical dependence to the Mother Church of Constantinople;

Fifth, to appeal to all sides involved that they avoid appropriation of churches, monasteries, and other properties as well as every other act of violence and retaliation so that he peace and love of Christ may prevail.”

There are a few things that must be said about what this declaration is not before we get to the matter of what the points of actually are. The point of reference is the strict letter of the text above itself.

  • This is not a granting of autocephaly (full independent self-rule status) like the fourteen universally canonical Orthodox jurisdictions in the world. However, it is a huge step towards this status.
  • As far as Constantinople is concerned, Filaret Denisenko, the leader and “Patriarch” of the “Kyiv Patriarchate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church” and Makary, the “Metropolitan” of the “Ukrainian Orthodox Autocephalous Church”, and all their faithful are now restored to communion. The statement says that this applies to “The Church” which may be trying to state that these two men (and all the faithful that they lead), are now in communion with the entirety of canonical Orthodoxy, but more likely, this may be a carefully worded statement to say they now are in communion with Constantinople alone.
  • There is an official call for the cessation of the violence directed against the Moscow Patriarchate parishes and communities, who are the only canonically recognized Orthodox Church in Ukraine, and who are also the largest by far in that country. The Kyiv Patriarchate and Uniate (Roman oriented) Greek Catholics in Ukraine have gone on record for seizing MP church properties, often by force, with neo-Nazi sympathizers and other radical Ukrainian nationalists. So this official call to cease the violence is now a matter of public record.

However, the reaction has been far less civil than the clergy wished for.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko: “Expressing his view of the Moscow Patriarchate, Poroshenko added, “This is a great victory of the God-loving Ukrainian people over the Moscow demons, the victory of Good over Evil, the victory of Light over Darkness.”’

Perhaps this is the reason Metropolitan Onuphry of Ukraine (exarch under the Moscow Patriarchate) has been labeled an enemy of Ukraine and is now receiving death threats. Very civil.

Poroshenko’s statement is all the more bizarre, considering that it has been Ukrainian ultra-nationalists that have been violently attacking Moscow – related parishes in Ukraine. This has been corroborated by news sources eager to pin the blame on Russia, such as the U.K. Guardian.

The Union of Orthodox Journalists, based in Kiev and supportive of the Moscow Patriarchate, has been under intense cyber attack since October 11th, when the EP’s announcement was issued.

Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate) Chancellor, Metropolitan Anthony of Boryspil and Brovary: “What happened at the Synod in Istanbul yesterday shocked the entire Orthodox world. It seems the Patriarchate of Constantinople is consciously embarking on a path of schism in world Orthodoxy. Patriarch Bartholomew ignored the calls of the Local Churches to convene a meeting of the primates to work out a common and conciliar solution to the Ukrainian Church issue and unilaterally made very serious but erroneous decisions. I hope the Orthodox world will give this action an objective evaluation… Having received the schismatics into communion, Patriarch Bartholomew did not make them canonical, but has himself embarked on the path of schism. The schismatics remain schismatics. They did not receive any autocephaly or tomos. It seems they have lost even that independence, although non-canonical, that they had and which they always emphasized.”

Metropolitan Rostislav of the Czech Lands and Slovakia:“The Orthodox world recognizes the only canonical primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church—His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine. This fact was repeatedly mentioned and confirmed by the primate of the Great Church of Christ His Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on behalf of all present at the Synaxis of the Primates of the Local Orthodox Churches that was held in Chambésy (Switzerland) from January 21 to 27, 2016. Therefore, any attempt to legalize the Ukrainian schismatics by the state authorities should be strongly condemned by all the primates of the Local Orthodox Churches.

Patriarch Irinej of Serbia wrote two letters to the Ecumenical Patriarch, advocating that the provision of a new autocephaly is possible only with the consent of all local Orthodox Churches. According to Sedmitza.ru (Translation by Pravoslavie.ru),

“In these letters, it was very clearly stated that the granting of autocephaly cannot be the prerogative the Patriarchate of Constantinople alone, that new autocephalies must be created only with the consent of all the Local Orthodox Churches, as the Holy Synod of Antioch also said in its recent statement.”

Pat. Irinej also warned the Patriarchate of Constantinople against making such major decisions unilaterally, because “it will not bring harmony and peace to the Ukrainian land, but, on the contrary, will cause new divisions and new schisms.”

The Holy Synod of Antioch, the oldest Orthodox Church, and actually the very first place where the disciples of Christ were even called “Christians” weighed in on the issue as well and they had several things to say:

“The fathers examined the general Orthodox situation. They stressed that the Church of Antioch expresses her deep worries about the attempts to change the boundaries of the Orthodox Churches through a new reading of history. She considers that resorting to a unilateral reading of history does not serve Orthodox unity. It rather contributes to the fueling of the dissensions and quarrels within the one Church. Thus, the Church of Antioch refuses the principle of establishing parallel jurisdictions within the canonical boundaries of the Patriarchates and the autocephalous Churches as a way to solve conflicts, or as a de facto situation in the Orthodox world.

To summarize, this move by Constantinople is not being warmly received by many, many people. Most of the local Churches are on record giving their reaction to this process. In brief, here is the list most of the Local Churches and a one or two word summary of their reactions.

Patriarchate of Georgia: Unilateral action is wrong; Constantinople and Moscow must cooperate and find a solution together.

Patriarchate of Jerusalem: recognizes Ukraine as a canonical territory of the Russian Orthodox Church alone, as do all other local Churches

Patriarchate of Alexandria and all Africa: The Church does not bow to politicians. Moscow-led church is the only canonical Church in Ukraine.

Archbishop of Cyprus: Decries the Ukrainian situation but offered to mediate a discussion between Moscow and Constantinople

Bulgarian Patriarchate: Interference of the State in Church affairs leads to serious and negative consequences for both.

Polish Orthodox Church: Metropolitan Sawa called for a council of Orthodox ruling hierarchs to discuss this situation.

Estonian Orthodox Church: Condemns Constantinople’s actions in Ukraine.

Greek Archdiocese of America: Supports Constantinople’s actions in Ukraine.

The Orthodox Church of Greece (Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus quoted): “Schismatics, as we know, are not the Church, and communion with them is forbidden by the Divine and holy canons and the Apostolic and Ecumenical Councils. Why then this persistence of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in recognizing schismatics as an autocephalous Church? To provoke schisms and divisions in the one universal and Apostolic Church of Christ?”

Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR): Ceased commemoration of Constantinople, ceased concelebration with Constantinople.

This issue has also rocked the secular geopolitical world.

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S-300 vs. F-35: Stealth and Invincible Are Not Exactly Synonyms

Israel’s high-end F-35I Adir aircraft will be checkmated by this Russian-made, state-of-the-art air-defense system.

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Authored by Andrei Akulov via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


How effective is the S-300 PMU-2 “Favorit” that Russia has just delivered to Syria? Especially when employed against the F-35 stealth fighters that Israel intends to make more use of when attacking targets in Syria? Who has the edge? This is truly a hot topic for the press right now. It would be better, of course, to avoid the military hostilities and leave this as a theoretical, unanswered question, because no definite answer is possible until a real shootout takes place. Stealth technology includes both active and passive measures that reduce visibility and the chance of detection. Some of those are classified, as are the specifications and capabilities of the S-300. This makes it much more complicated to offer predictions or conclusions. But the known facts can be considered impartially and objectively.

Israeli officials play down the significance of the shipment of the S-300 to Syrian government forces. “The operational abilities of the air force are such that those (S-300) batteries really do not constrain the air force’s abilities to act,” said Tzachi Hanegbi, Israel’s regional cooperation minister. “You know that we have stealth fighters, the best planes in the world. These batteries are not even able to detect them.” Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said in April that “if anyone attacks us, we will retaliate, regardless of S-300, S-700 or any anything else’s presence there”. The Pentagon has also cast doubt on the S-300’s effectiveness.

Let’s give the devil his due. The F-35 is a fine example of low observable aircraft with extraordinary capabilities. It’s a formidable weapon, but so is the S-300. If the worst happens, Israel’s high-end F-35I Adir aircraft will be checkmated by this Russian-made, state-of-the-art air-defense system.

A stealth aircraft is not invincible. It has its strengths and weaknesses. In Syria, Israeli F-35s will be up against a tight, integrated air-defense network with multiple radars trying to detect and track the target from different directions.

Excessive use of stealth technology restricts the combat capabilities of an aircraft like the F-35. A plane based on stealth technology does not perform exceptionally well in combat. It cannot carry many weapons because everything is hidden inside the body. Its ability to remain invisible is reduced as soon as the radar is turned on. Low frequencies can detect a stealth aircraft. A bomb bay that has been opened to launch weapons will also give the plane away.

The S-300’s 48N6E2 missiles boast single-shot kill probability of 80% to 93% for an aerial target, 40% to 85% for cruise missiles. and 50% to 77% for theater ballistic missiles. The Russian system uses the 96L6 all-altitude detector and acquisition radar, which works in L-band. It has a 300 km range and enhanced resolution. The S-300 PMU-2 version can detect and track 100 targets. The radar is said to be able to detect stealth targets.

Large wavelength radiations are reflected by “invisible” aircraft. Radar that operates in the VHF, UHF, L and S bands can detect and even track the F-35 without transmitting weapons-quality track. It is true that no accurate targeting is possible, but at least you can tell where the plane is.

The S-300’s vertically launched missiles can be re-targeted during flight. The explosion is so powerful that no kinetic kill is needed. Multiple killing elements will strike targets throughout the vicinity.

The IAF F-35s still need to be integrated with other assets in order to enhance their chances of carrying out missions. Just to be on the safe side, they will probably be escorted by electronic warfare aircraft, which are not stealth, thus giving away their position and providing the enemy with enough time to take countermeasures. Israel has only 12 F-35s, with 50 more arriving by 2024. The price tag for each is about $100 million. It’ll be a long time before they are in place and integrated into the Air Force. And twelve are simply not enough.

Besides, the aircraft still needs to be upgraded with the full operational capability of Block 3F and subsequent Block 4 software and hardware configurations.

Once the S-300s are operational, all other Israeli non-stealth planes will face huge risks any time they fly an offensive mission into Syria. It should also be taken into account that Russia will jam the radar, navigation, and communications systems on any aircraft attacking targets in Syria via the Mediterranean Sea, as Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu warned on Sept. 24, 2018.

Israel boasts a broad repertoire of standoff weapons, along with highly advanced electronic warfare systems and enhanced cyber capabilities. It also has very experienced and well trained personnel. Nevertheless, the S-300 in Syria is a deterrent to be reckoned with. Hopefully, the peace process in that war-torn country will move forward and there will be no escalation to provoke an S-300 vs. F-35 fight.

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Stephen Cohen calmly DISMANTLES establishment lackeys in debate on Russia (VIDEO)

In New York City on September 20, 2018, the Intelligence Squared hosted a debate of critical importance in helping one understand much of what we are currently seeing on the global scene.

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Via Strategic Culture

The debate developed along three main questions. The first was on the role of NATO (“NATO is no longer fit for purpose”), the second was about Russia (“The Russian threat is overblown”), and the third was on Iran (“It’s time to take a hard line on Iran”).

To discuss these important issues, five very special guests were invited, namely: Derek Chollet, Executive Vice President of the German Marshall Fund of the United States and former US Assistant Secretary of Defense; Stephen F. Cohen, Professor Emeritus of Russian Studies and History, New York University; Reuel Marc Gerecht, Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a former CIA Analyst; John J. Mearsheimer, American Political Scientist & Professor at the University of Chicago; and Kori Schake, Deputy Director-General at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Looking at the panel, one immediately notices how Cohen and Mearsheimer were invited to bring a realist point of view to the discussion, as opposed to the other three who have an interventionist view of American foreign policy, viewing the United States as the indispensable nation. Cohen and Mearsheimer have worked for years, if not decades, to explain to American and international audiences how Washington’s hegemonic policies have accelerated the end of the US unipolar moment as well as spawned chaos around the world.

Cohen, and especially Mearsheimer, are pure realists. Without going into the merits of the differences between offensive realism, defensive realism and offshore balancers, they both have a coherent vision of why American actions have provoked the results we have seen around the world since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

For those who follow Cohen and Mearsheimer and see themselves as realists when observing international relations, watching this debate was painful and frustrating, but also immensely useful for understanding today’s divisions. In fact, the other three panelists must be carefully analyzed. Derek Chollet is part of the neoliberal camp, having served in the Obama administration.

Chollet finds himself amongst the field of the imperialists who, following the debacle in Iraq in 2003, opted to subvert sovereign countries using a different set of methodologies, namely, coups d’état organized through such things as color revolutions and the so-called Arab Spring. In the name of spreading democracy, countries like Libya, Ukraine and Syria have suffered unspeakable devastation at the hands of the US and her allies.

In order to represent the full spectrum of US foreign policy, former CIA agent Reuel Marc Gerecht was brought in as a hardliner, repeating the type of neo-conservative arguments reminiscent of the Bush era. Kori Schake, a former adviser to G.W. Bush, completed the lethal neocon-neoliberal offering, representing the position of NATO and the most Russophobic and Iranophobic countries in Europe.

Looking at these guests and at the questions asked, it was obvious that positions that were diametrically opposed would emerge. Cohen and Mearsheimer argued practically in symbiosis, with slightly different perspectives but coming to the same conclusion. The United States, following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, found itself the sole superpower facing no direct adversaries.

Washington’s subsequent mission was to remake the world in its own image and likeness, exporting democracy to the four corners of the world and attacking its geopolitical adversaries with soft or hard power. But this course of action, ironically, only served to accelerate the end of this unipolar moment.

Mearsheimer and Cohen tried to reiterate in their every answer how Washington has only managed to damage itself through its own foolish thinking and actions. Regarding the first question concerning NATO, both Mearsheimer and Cohen emphasized that NATO’s eastward expansion following the end of the Cold War was the main cause of instability in Europe.

The three neoliberal-neocons — who for the sake of convenience I will now call “the imperialists” — responded that it was in fact the European countries who demanded America’s presence in Europe for the purposes of protecting them against Russia.

The three imperialists brushed off or ignored Mearsheimer’s simple and straightforward riposte, borrowed from Obama and Trump’s election campaigns, that the European allies only wanted the US in Europe in order to avoid increasing their own military spending. Having apparently not heard what Mearsheimer said, the three insisted that as long as Poland and the Baltic countries demanded a US presence, Washington was obliged to respond. It was also frustrating for Cohen to explain, for the umpteenth time, how NATO’s advance towards Russia’s borders damaged relations between Russia and the US, two countries he believes should be global allies on multiple fronts.

Mearsheimer even urged the three imperialists to think of the Monroe doctrine and of how intolerable it would be for the US to have a foreign power plant itself militarily in the western hemisphere. He also recalled the Cuban missile crisis, brought on by the USSR’s military proximity to the US.

Unfortunately, the three imperialists, even when painted into a corner by Cohen and Mearsheimer’s arguments, simply ignored or glossed over them. The most aggressive imperialist of all was, unsurprisingly, the former CIA agent, who pushed the arrogant line that America’s presence in Europe is necessary not only to keep Russia at bay, but also to prevent the Europeans from descending into a Hobbesian state of nature and tearing each other apart, as happened in two world wars.

Not surprisingly, the arguments used by the former CIA agent regarding NATO in Europe received the full accord of Kori Schake and Derek Chollet. Cohen’s reminder to those present that the coup in Ukraine was organized and financed by the West was dismissed as false and ridiculous. Derek Chollet averred: “the manifestations of the Maidan were spontaneous, invoking a greater proximity to Europe in the face of a dictator in the hands of Moscow.”

The second question was related to the first, discussing Russia and its role in the world. Once again, both Cohen and Mearsheimer had to summon all their patience and explain to the general public how Putin has always acted in reaction to Western provocations. NATO’s eastward expansion (in spite of Bush’s verbal promise to Gorbachev not to extend NATO beyond Germany) was the cause of the war in Georgia in 2008 and in Ukraine in 2014.

Of course the three imperialists denied these arguments, accusing Putin of unprovoked aggression, confirming in their mind why the US presence in Europe is needed to oppose Russia as a negative actor on the international scene. Not even Mearsheimer’s echoing of Kissinger’s strategy to divide Russia and China convinced those present that the aggressive attitude towards Moscow and Beijing was only damaging the United States, accelerating the end of the unipolar moment and forging the birth of a multipolar reality that will leave Washington isolated from the other great powers.

The three imperialists affirmed that the cooperation between Russia, China and Iran should not be surprising since dictators always confederate with each other; and besides, they say, this situation should not scare the United States, as it has the capacity to deal with multiple fronts simultaneously.

Fortunately, Cohen’s words, recalling the disasters in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya put paid to such delusional optimism, provoking laughter from the audience. Such moments served to highlight how ridiculous the imperialist arguments are. Two or three such arguments were enough to open the eyes of audience members who may not have been familiar with opposing arguments to the ones presented by the imperialists.

Two such instructive moments stand out. The first was in response to the former CIA agent, who called for a coup d’état in Iran, stating that the United States knows how to conduct these successfully. But Mearsheimer’s rejoinder, recalling the failures in Iraq, Libya, Syria and Afghanistan, provoked loud applause from the audience. Mearsheimer reminded how these arguments were employed by Obama and Trump during their election campaigns to win office.

The second moment, even more effective, concerned Iran. In response to Kori Schake, who argued for greater pressure on Iran because of its alleged interference in the region in a bid to expand its influence in many neighboring countries (Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen), Mearsheimer pointed out the staggering level of hypocrisy involved, where the United States of America is the world champion of regime change and interference in the internal affairs of other countries. The strong applause that followed testified to the incontestable truth of this observation.

Unfortunately, the debate ended with most of the audience continuing to believe that NATO is of fundamental importance, Russia is an evil actor, and the US needs to place more pressure on Iran. The number of people who changed their minds before and after the debate was important (Mearsheimer and Cohen changed the attitudes of about 10% of those present regarding the first two questions) but still marginal compared to the total.

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As an online spectator, I experienced different feelings. My main frustration lay in the David-and-Goliath nature of the debate, with the arguments of Cohen and Mearsheimer contending against all the accumulated lies of the mainstream media, amplified and repeated by the three imperialists present.

The public was certainly more accustomed to hearing the imperialists’ arguments; Cohen and Mearsheimer hardly had sufficient time to overcome the audience’s conditioning. Yet a part of the public present completely changed its mind following the debate. Some people entered the hall with the conviction that NATO was indispensable and Russia aggressive, but ended up leaving with the belief that NATO is now obsolete and that Russia is not the aggressor here.

What then emerges from this whole debate is the obvious conclusion that Mearsheimer and Cohen are two formidable minds unafraid to confront, dismantle and destroy the received wisdom. Being informed is a fundamental part of our lives today. Without being properly informed we are not properly equipped to vote and elect our representatives. We are thus unable to properly shape and determine the course of events in our putative democracies.

This debate has shown how disconnected the US imperialist world is from the real world, and especially how much damage this neocon-neoliberal way of thinking has actually done, ironically succeeding in producing results opposite to those sought, only serving to accelerate the end of America’s domination over the world. As information spreads and reaches more and more people, there will be an increasing understanding of the disastrous actions of the Euro-American establishment.

Cohen and Mearsheimer are acting in service of their country, warning that the direction in which the United States is headed will only have deleterious consequences for the country’s role in the world.

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