“Every time in the world something bad happens, everyone is looking at Moscow and said: “Putin Is to blame”. Criticism of Russia is not adequate. Portrayed Putin as a unique personification of evil, cruelty and ruthlessness. But this is not true. The behavior of Putin as an autocrat reminiscent of Erdogan in Turkey and shows it may be better than Sisi in Egypt. The Saudi regime, which has close Alliance with the United States, is extremely anti-liberal regime. There several times a year people get beheaded, women are subjected to gross discrimination. Therefore, when creating the portrait “Putin as the unique personification of evil”, it violates all the proportions. The wrong image of Putin in the West is, unfortunately, misguided policies”.
It says Flemming Rose, former editor of Jyllands-Posten on culture and foreign policy, and now a senior fellow at the liberal center for mental Cato Institute in the United States. In his comments published in the newspaper Weekendavisen January 13, he was opposed to “demonize” Russia. Rosa, at one time worked as a correspondent in Russia, has been criticized by former colleagues of Samuel Rachlin (Rachlin Samuel), who in his article has put question mark about the motives of Flemming Rose.
Jyllands-Posten: What do you say in response to criticism about the fact that portrayed the threat is less than it really is?
Rosa: we must Have a discussion based on facts. To provide an adequate policy need to have a more realistic idea about it. If all attempts to obtain (real) representation of the answer should be “you’re sitting in Putin’s pocket” or something like that, then nothing happens. I’m not a fan of Putin. Hell, my main political position is freedom, and Russia is a place where freedom is a problem. But the distance between this position and claims that Russia and Putin is the existential threat to Denmark and Western Europe, is very great. It is not the threat that was the Soviet Union. When I say that we must consider the problem from the point of view of Putin, this does not mean that I agree with him. But it is necessary to consider that Russia has certain legitimate interests.
— Do you think that the West demonize Russia. What, in your opinion, are the consequences?
— This leads to misguided policies. For example, why we imposed sanctions after the annexation of Crimea? If this was a consequence of violation of the rules of the game, I think that was right. But if the intention was to force Russia to change course or weaken Putin’s policies, as evidenced by Martin Lidegaard (Martin Lidegaard, the Minister of foreign Affairs of Denmark — approx. ed.), it is the wrong policy. Putin’s position in the country strengthened, it created the myth that “the West is after us”, and supposedly so the economy has worsened. This is well within the historical scheme which is easy to operate for the masses of the population. If you look at it from a historical point of view, Russia was often subjected to invasions from the West, than the attacked.
— Do you think their objective the protection of interests of Russia?
— Absolutely not. To accuse me thus — that intellectual helplessness, I’m sorry to say. If you every time you disagree, Express a different opinion or lead the discussion, accuse the opposite side that she is a Kremlin agent or a useful idiot of Putin, it is an expression of weakness. I state very clearly that NATO needs to have a reliable protection. I believe in NATO and believe that we need to protect the Baltic countries and Poland and to make clear to Putin that this is not negotiable and that we are ready to defend the Baltic States if Russia attacks them. I just don’t believe that Russia is the unconditional real risk.
— Then what’s the real risk?
— At present the biggest danger to Western institutions comes from within. It comes from populist movements, from the EU, which have lost legitimacy, and the growing distance between politicians and voters. Yes, the Russians try to stick a knife where they find our weaknesses. But these weaknesses are not created by them. These weaknesses are the consequence of our own behavior, our own systems and that the development went wrong, especially in the EU.
— What, in your opinion, need to do exactly?
— To spend more money on studying Russia. To understand it better. Knowledge about Russia very little. A number of experts in Denmark can be counted on the fingers of one hand. And I don’t relate to him because I don’t use my time for this purpose. I just want to say that we should try to avoid misunderstandings. And misinterpretation exists on both sides. It is quite clear that the Russian, especially those who grew up Putin in the KGB, the security apparatus, have a bias towards the West, which is based on the fact that NATO is a real threat to Russia’s sovereignty, and that we want to steal their resources in Siberia. It is definitely incorrect interpretation. But we also have misconceptions about Russia. It is dangerous and can lead to confrontation.
— However, some believe that the confrontation is already taking into account that Russia tried actively to influence the American presidential election.
— Yes, but what was done in the last 25 years, the United States and we all the rest? Weren’t we trying to influence elections in other countries? Is e-war. She has absolutely no rules, and we focus all attention on what you are doing Russian, although there are more Chinese people who carry out the majority of hacker attacks in the world.
— And do you feel that people are more afraid of the attempts of Russia to undermine Western democracy, not the threat of conventional war? Isn’t is a real threat that Russia, thanks to such actions, may weaken the West, not sending tanks?
Yes, Russia is a global political threat. In the plans of Russia to undermine or remove the liberal order, but China wants the same.
But then how the West can solve the issue with Russia, if the existing policy is not true?
— If I had any answers to that, I’d be sitting there, in the Ministry of foreign Affairs or something. None of us are so familiar with this case, to give completely clear answers. But we should try to use the facts that we have. So, again: how does Putin — is an attempt to undermine the European order. But if you look at it more broadly, you can find other great powers that behave in the same way in neighboring regions. Yes, we should criticize, and it is a challenge. But Putin is not a unique evil and cruelty. And if to compare to conditions in the Soviet Union, today’s Russia is much more free society than the Soviet Union.
— But Russia has annexed Crimea and is putting pressure on the countries around them. Should we just accept the fact that Russia has a wide area of interest?
— No, I don’t think you need to take the zone of interest. But the big systemic problem is that there is a European great power (here anyway, and Russia is a European great power), which is not a member of the Central European institutions, i.e. EU and NATO. All went well, when the Russians were weak, but now they are the real power.
But you say that the expansion of the EU and NATO was a mistake?
I do not know. Policy is that if you can, then do. No one foresaw that Russia can return. We have long said that it is for “internal consumption”, when Russia protested against NATO expansion. We are told that the Russians understand it properly. But it was a mistake. Initially, Putin was not the enemy of the West. Something happened in recent years. It may be associated with Putin himself, his need to have an enemy to maintain power. It can be our attempts to support those forces that wanted regime change. The annexation of Crimea was based on the erroneous view of the German reaction. Putin knew perfectly well that the Americans will be pissed. But the fact that Germany was one of the first proposed sanctions were a blow to him.
— So what should be the answer?
I don’t know what to do. There were several attempts to change the OSCE, but Russian opposition. Unfortunately, we are in a situation when Russia and the West in the foreseeable future will conflict.
— Do you think the US under President trump can change this?
— It’s show time, it is a question of world politics. But if after six months the President of France will be Le Pen (Le Pen) and the Dutch leader Wilders (Wilders), Yes, that would be good for Europe. The new point is that we in the West are not as strong as we were. All because of our own double standards and hypocrisy when we say one thing and do another. We say we are supporters of the global liberal order, but what we did in Iraq, Kosovo and the Balkans? The credibility of the West in those parts of the world where once large populations are supported by the West has weakened. From the point of view of Moscow, all associated with human rights was a pretext. Now we are not so compelling as it was 25 years ago.