Wednesday, July 22, 2015

"Iran-Aktionsplan bietet Chance zur Entspannung im Nahen Osten" Fritz Edlinger

GÖAB-Newsletter Nr. 69/2015
Posted am 14.07.2015

Der heute Früh erzielte Durchbruch bei den Wiener Verhandlungen zwischen dem Iran und den fünf permanenten Mitgliedern des Weltsicherheitsrates plus Deutschland stellt einen äußerst bemerkenswerten Durchbruch in der internationalen Diplomatie dar und ist daher sehr zu begrüßen, erklärte der Generalsekretär der Gesellschaft für Österreichisch-Arabische Beziehungen (GÖAB) Fritz Edlinger in einer ersten Stellungnahme. Wenn auch durch „The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action“ (JCPOA) viele der im Laufe der letzten Jahre bedrohlich eskalierten Konflikte im Nahen Osten nicht gelöst sind, so stellt er doch eine brauchbare Grundlage zu einer mittel- und längerfristigen Entspannung dar. Dies setzt natürlich auf Seiten aller Konfliktparteien ein Mindestmaß an Vernunft, Toleranz und Kompromissbereitschaft voraus. Gerade die Eskalation militärischer Konflikte im gesamten Nahen Osten während der letzten Jahre und die unzähligen menschlichen und materiellen Verluste sollten doch den verantwortlichen Politikern in den betroffenen Staaten hinlänglich klargemacht haben, dass es absolut keine gewaltsame Lösung von bestehenden politischen, wirtschaftlichen, kulturellen und auch religiösen Konflikten gibt. Er setze daher große Hoffnung in die Vernunft der Politiker im Nahen Osten, aber auch in den weiteren konsequenten Einsatz von diplomatischen Vermittlungsbemühungen, auch, wenn diese äußerst mühsam und langwierig sind, führte der GÖAB-Generalsekretär weiter aus.

Er gab abschließend seiner Hoffnung Ausdruck, dass die Hardliner im Iran und in den USA, aber auch in einigen regionalen Staaten zur Vernunft gebracht werden können, um so die Chancen dieser im wahrsten Sinn des Wortes historischen Vereinbarung tatsächlich nutzen zu können. Fritz Edlinger bedankte sich auch noch bei jenen österreichischen Politikern, welche trotz unsachlicher Kritik von manchen Seiten diese Verhandlungen unterstützt und damit einen kleinen, österreichischen Beitrag zu diesem Erfolg geleistet haben. Er gab auch seiner Hoffnung Ausdruck, dass Österreich sich im Rahmen der Umsetzung dieses Aktionsplans tatkräftig engagieren wird.

The Geopolitics and Economics of the Iran Nuclear Deal

EDITOR'S CHOICE | 22.07.2015 | 10:22
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action agreed to in Vienna by the P5+1 countries and Iran is clearly a landmark agreement, one which will significantly alter the political and economic balance of power in the Middle East, as well as the global strategic picture. However, amidst the chorus of celebration from many capitals around the world, and condemnations from Israel, some of the Gulf states, and certain segments in Iran, much of the geopolitical significance of the agreement has been overlooked.
From this perspective, the deal is more than simply a new chapter in Iran’s relations with the West and the world at large; it is the agreement by which Iran will transform itself from a potentially powerful, though politically and economically isolated country, to an emerging regional power that will become a linchpin of the strategies of both the western and non-western worlds. Of course, this potential benefit came at the cost of major concessions from Tehran, concessions which are in many ways difficult to justify, especially within the context of Iranian domestic politics where issues of national pride have a very real political currency and cannot necessarily be measured in rials, euros, and dollars.
However, an analysis of the impact of the deal cannot simply be relegated to what is in Iran’s immediate interests, nor those of the P5+1 countries, but rather must take into account the long-term strategic imperatives of each. Moreover, the emerging non-western alliance of BRICS, Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), New Silk Road, and Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) broadly speaking, factor significantly into this deal. So too does Turkey, both an important trading partner for Iran, but also a political adversary.
Seen in this way, the agreement reached in Vienna is a watershed in early 21st Century geopolitics and economic development, one which will have vast implications for years, and perhaps decades, to come.
A Nuclear Deal, a Business Deal
While the specifics of the agreement hinge on a number of specific issues such as the timetable for the lifting of sanctions and the arms embargo, the accepted level of uranium enrichment, and many other technical specifications, the agreement is not, in and of itself, a purely technical deal. Rather, it is in many ways an economic agreement. Put slightly differently, the deal was made possible, and driven to its completion, because of economic incentives on both sides.
For Iran the motivation is clear: ending the sanctions will allow it to return to normalcy and its economy to regain its dynamism lost since the imposition of sanctions in 2007, as well as providing Iran with access to an international market both for imports and exports, as well as financing and investment. In short, Iran’s central concern was having the ability to reintegrate itself into the global economy in order to continue to grow its economic and political power.
For the US and its western partners, this agreement provides a new opportunity for corporations to rake in untold billions of dollars in profits by penetrating a virtually untapped market for everything from consumer goods to energy investments and financial services. In this way, Iran offers the potential for massive profits from a market comprised of tens of millions of highly educated citizens and thousands of small and medium sized companies looking to make deals and grow in the near and long term.
From the financial side, the benefits are clear. As the Wall Street Journal recently wrote:
Iran’s $100 billion stock market is a major focus, given that there is no limit on foreign investment and [investors] view it as severely undervalued… If Iran transitions from a fringe market dominated by local investors to an open one with a size commensurate with its economy, the upside could be huge. Companies listed on the Tehran exchange are worth about 28% of the country’s gross domestic product, a lower ratio than most of the largest emerging markets.
In other words, international investors, be they western corporations, venture capitalists, or asset managers see in Iran an emerging market that, unlike some other emerging markets in the world, already has much of the technical infrastructure in place to rake in massive profits. Rather than having to wait to train the engineers, computer technicians, scientists, and entrepreneurs, these capitalist interests will be able to simply enter the market with their major cash holdings, and immediately capitalize on it.
There is, of course, also the question of investment in Iran’s vast energy sector. It is certainly no secret that the Islamic Republic has one of the largest reserves of energy in the world, as it has been a major player on the global market for decades. However, because of the sanctions, not only has the world been closed off to Iran to a large extent, but Iran has likewise been a no-go zone for energy investments, especially for major corporations. In one of the most high profile examples of this point, France’s energy giant Total was forced to suspend its billions of investments in Iran in 2008 due to sanctions and the political risk associated with the country. Undoubtedly Total and its western and non-western competitors are anxious to get back into Iran.
As Bloomberg correctly noted in late March 2015 on the eve of the initial framework agreement which laid the groundwork for the negotiations in Vienna, “[Iran] is emerging again as a potential prize for Western oil companies such as BP, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Eni SpA and Total SA. The Chinese can also be expected to enter the race, while U.S. companies, more burdened by sanctions and legacy, will be further down the pack…‘Iran is the big prize…The resource size is very attractive.’” Depending on political circumstances both in the US and Iran, US oil companies such as Exxon-Mobil and Chevron might have a difficult time penetrating that market, but that shouldn’t be an issue for their European competitors, nor for China’s massive Sinopec and Chinese National Petroleum.
It is important to remember that the market for consumer goods in Iran is massive, stemming from the upper-middle income nature of Iran’s population, and its long-standing taste for western trends. Companies such as Coca-Cola and Starbucks, Apple and Dell are all highly desirable in a country where more than half the population has internet access, literacy among the 15-24 year old demographic is 98%, and per capita income is higher than Brazil and South Africa, both members of BRICS. Iran is also a massive potential market for automobile and airplane manufacturers, both sectors highly sought after by Iranian consumers and companies.
One could easily wonder though why the Obama administration, and the major segment of the US ruling establishment that it represents, would push so hard for this deal when it’s unlikely that US companies are going to benefit from it to nearly the same extent as those in Europe and other parts of the world might? Is it merely that Obama is trying to shore up his own legacy, crowning his tenure in office with a deal of historic proportions, or is there another motive?
Neutralizing Iran: A Lever against Eurasia?
Anyone who understands the imperial and hegemonic agenda of the US should immediately understand that there is an ulterior motive for Washington in securing this deal, one which has nothing to do with morality, peace, or cooperation. Instead, the US wants to transform Iran from a regional and global adversary into something of an asset. This is not to say that Tehran and Washington will become instant allies, but rather the idea that Iran could be made into a neutral party, one that will cease to be an obstacle to the US agenda.
Essentially, the strategy relies on the tried and true colonial tactic of “divide and conquer,” or perhaps more appropriate in this case, “divide and neutralize.” What the US would like to achieve is a sort of fracturing of the Iranian political establishment, where the business elites with tremendous influence in Iranian society will have a vested interest in not creating or exacerbating tensions with their associates in the West, thereby making Iran into a de facto partner for western-led hegemony. Were Iran’s political leadership to become less assertive in the region and internationally thanks to internal pressure from powerful economic and business interests, this would greatly benefit US plans, and of course those of its allies in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and, despite its belligerent rhetoric, Israel.
Consider for a moment how Iran might have responded to the war in Syria had it not been economically isolated from the West. Does anyone truly believe that Tehran would have been as steadfast in its support for Damascus and Hezbollah if it stood to lose hundreds of billions of dollars in long term investment and ran the risk of crippling its own economy? It may seem counter-intuitive, but the harsh sanctions and restrictions on Iran gave it far more freedom to act independently in the region as it was exposed to far less economic risk. Were Iran instead cooperating with the West, it is a virtual certainty that the Syrian government would have long since fallen, and Syria would be a failed state similar to Libya or, at best, a puppet state of Turkey.
The importance of this point should not be understated. Iran’s lack of economic engagement with the West allowed it to grow into the counter-terrorism force that it has become in the region. Military experts understand that, despite the bellicose language employed by Obama and US political elites and their media mouthpieces, Iran is the single most effective force fighting against the Islamic State and Wahhabi extremism generally throughout the Middle East. Take away Iran’s motivation to be assertive, and complicate the puzzle with competing interests in Iran’s domestic politics, and suddenly you find that that force becomes far less potent, and the region becomes far more dangerous.
Perhaps the single most important objective for US strategic planners though is to prevent Iran’s integration into the emerging non-western, Eurasian political, economic, and military architecture. Washington has watched over the last few years as institutions such as BRICS, the SCO, the New Silk Roads, and the EEU grew from drawing board ideas into tangible realities which now threaten to coalesce into all-encompassing geopolitical alliances.
With Russia and China becoming closer by the day, and the former Soviet Republics of Central Asia following suit, regional integration has been proceeding at breakneck speed. Add to that the emergence of a still chaotic, but increasingly less NATO-dependent Afghanistan, along with the newly added SCO members India and Pakistan, and it is clear that the United States is faced with a daunting geopolitical imperative.
Therefore, the US must create a mechanism to slow down, if not stop and reverse, this burgeoning integration. It is here that Iran serves its most useful purpose in the eyes of imperialists in the US whose primary goal is the maintenance and expansion of US hegemony for another hundred years.
While Iran already has “observer” status in the SCO, its formal relationship with the bloc is uncertain at best. There are some who believe that the lifting of sanctions and normalization of relations would lead to Iran’s quick accession to the SCO. However this is perhaps a bit of wishful thinking.
With Iran free to make such decisions, it might decide that it has vested economic interests in the West that would make jeopardizing them with Russian and Chinese friendship a risky move. Iran could be made to feel that the advantages it will easily gain from cooperation with the West outweigh the potential of junior status within the SCO-EEU-New Silk Road framework, especially with Iran being a competitor with Russia for energy exports both to Europe and China. Indeed, this is part of the calculus as far as Washington sees it, that is to say, those in Washington with even a little vision. They want to force Iran into a competitive, rather than cooperative, relationship with Russia. Additionally, they’d like to see Iran playing the role of SCO home-wrecker, as it plays China against India in major investments such as Chabahar, the all-important Iranian port seen as a major prize by both Beijing and Delhi.
In this way, the US wants to remake Iran from a bulwark against US-NATO-GCC-Israeli hegemony, into a weapon to be used as a wedge against BRICS-SCO-EEU-New Silk Road cooperation. If this sounds far-fetched, it shouldn’t; this is precisely the same sort of tactics the US employed throughout the Cold War with many different countries that it sought to “weaponize” against the Soviet Union and the non-aligned states.
With a “New Cold War” being trumpeted by many, as well as the growing US-China conflicts in the South China Sea, Washington seeks to remake the geopolitical chessboard in both Eastern Europe and Asia. In order to do so it must realign its strategy and forge new alliances, de facto or otherwise. The seemingly eternal villain of Iran might just fit the bill.
Eric Draitser,

World Peace Council - A PeaceForce That Matters in Todays World?

What Is To Be Done? Raise Awareness! Built Up Hope!  Cooperate With Those Striving for Multipolarity Under the Logo OF BRICS/SCO/NDB/AIIB/ALBA:... (Bloggers emphasis and annotations)

Communiqué of the Secretariat Meeting of the WPC

Istanbul 20-21 June 2015
The Secretariat of the World Peace Council concluded successfully its meeting in Istanbul, hosted excellently by the Peace Association of Turkey on 20-21 June 2015. The meeting took place at the same venue after the two successive regional Meetings of the Middle East and Europe on 18-19 June respectively.
WPC's President, Socorro Gomes, and General Secretary, Thanasis Pafilis,* presented their respective interventions and reports to the meeting. They are considered part of the documents of the meeting which have been published and divulged.
The WPC received as well regional reports on the situation in the different continents and expressed its serious concerns about the further growing aggressiveness of imperialism all over the world and in many spheres of life, as well as the need to enhance the struggle for Peace, by strengthening the intervention of each WPC member, aiming at broad, militant and convergent actions in the defense of Peace.
The crisis of the capitalist system is deepening, with its negative social consequences for workers and people, class contradictions, geopolitical conflicts, rivalry among the great powers and blocks that are largely characterizing the situation.
There is growing poverty and extreme poverty in previously high developed and industrialized capitalist countries, with the marginalization of new masses, huge rates of unemployment, phenomena of hunger, malnutrition and desperate suicide rates. At the same time the profits of the big capital, the enterprises and monopolies are growing. The austerity programs jointly approved and applied by the governments, the EU and IMF are deregulating and smashing all workers and social rights are creating new masses of impoverished people.
The ongoing and increasing wars and aggressions are resulting in huge waves of refugees, particularly from the Middle East (Syria, Iraq) and from Libya and other African countries. As consequences of the imperialist plans and policies in these regions violent regime changes took place, invasion and occupation of territories, while civil wars and clashes are daily phenomena. The hypocrisy of the imperialists of USA, EU and NATO is scandalous regarding the refugees.
The US and NATO militarist rhetoric and the strategy of surrounding Russia with the concentration of NATO troops and weapons from the Baltic Sea, Poland, Romania to Bulgaria in Europe, are among the main current threats to international peace and security.
With an arsenal permanently based on the territories of allied countries up North, Central and Southern Europe, NATO under  US leadership prepares new military maneuvers to train forces for “high level response", escalating the conflict in Ukraine, where it gives support to extreme right wing forces and neo- nazi groups. The ground for all the above is the geostrategic importance of the Ukraine, in particular the energy resources in gas and its pipelines and the confrontation with the Russian Federation.
In this framework the WPC salutes the resistence of the peoples and their struggle against oppression and imperialist aggressions, for peace, freedom, sovereignty and democracy, social justice, emancipation, for the right to decide and construct their own future free from any interference.
The 70th anniversary of the anti-fascist victory of the peoples constitutes a special anniversary as the day when the red flag, the banner of the first socialist state, the Soviet Union, was triumphantly raised over the Reichstag by the Red Army. The peoples' Victory of over nazi-fascism will remain in history as one of the brightest pages in the struggle for national liberation and for peace.
This year the global Peace Movement (?)** and the WPC remembers and honors also another important anniversary. 70 years ago the US imperialists dropped nuclear bombs on the martyr cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9.
The WPC called 65 years ago with its “Stockholm Appeal” for the total abolition of Nuclear weapons. It constituted the most massive signature campaign with more than 400 million signatures worldwide. The Stockholm Appeal is valid till today.
On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Korea on August 15, a glorious victory of the Korean people, which was later pulled into a war by the US led aggression against the Korean people in 1950, the WPC supports the struggle for  peaceful reunification of the Korean peninsula, the replacement of the armistice agreement by a comprehensive peace accord and the end of all aggressions, sanctions and threats against the Korean people and the DPR Korea.

Policies of militarization and  interferences into the internal affairs of sovereign countries  are remarkable (??) ***  as imperialism pushes against (?)**** Africa. We underline here the US African Command (Africom), one of the six spread over the planet by the military doctrine of full-spectrum dominance, with its Head Office in Germany. 

The WPC stands firm and in solidarity with the Vietnamese people who liberated their country 40 years ago, but are suffering till today the consequences of the dirty war of the USA against their people, particularly with the old and new victims of the dioxin “Agent Orange”. The WPC denounces and condemns the stand of the USA who is not acknowledging its historical responsibilities towards the compensation and relief of the victims.
The WPC salutes the return of the “Cuban Five” as a victory of Cuba and of the international solidarity movement with the socialist Cuba. The WPC reaffirms its principle positions for the end of the criminal US blockade, the lifting of the reactionary “Common Position” of the EU towards Cuba and demands the end of the interference of USA and other imperialists in the domestic affairs of Cuba. Likewise we demand the shutdown of the US military Base in Guantanamo the removal of the attached concentration camp of the USA and the return of this Cuban territory to Cuba.
The WPC expresses its solidarity with the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, its people and elected leadership, acknowledging that Venezuela has never left the center of attention of imperialism, since 1998. The recent escalation of the US aggression with the “Executive Order” issued by the US president has been rejected massively all over the world and must be revoked.
The WPC firmly rejects the US “Pivot to Asia” where the USA is shifting 60% of its military power to the Asia&Pacific region and the bilateral and multilateral military agreements with many of the counties which are creating new threats to peace and stability in the area. We express our concern about the tensions in the Southeast Asia and reaffirm our position that whatever disputed should be resolved by peaceful talks amongst all involved parties based on the UN Convention of the Law of Seas (1982). At the same time we denounce the US presence in the region which is trying to use the existing contradictions for their own benefit.
The recent tragic earthquake in Nepal with the more than 10.000 loss of lives and the immense consequences of injured people, thousands of damaged and destroyed buildings as well as infrastructure, raised awareness and solidarity amongst the peace loving people all over the world, in particular by the WPC family.
We emphasize also on the necessity to keep on the efforts and the struggle in each country and globally against NATO, the armed wing and murderous tool of the imperialists. We recall the murderous bombing of Yugoslavia by NATO which led to the creation of the NATO/EU protectorate in the Serbian province of Kosovo. The imperialist aggression of NATO in 1999 became the precedent case for all later aggressions of NATO in Central Asia, Middle East and Eastern Europe today. The recent announcement of EU officials for a permanent EU army shows the growing militarization of the EU, the cooperation with NATO but also the ambitions of the European imperialists to play a greater role in the framework of their coordination/rivalry relationship with the USA. We denounce in particular the planned common military exercise of NATO Response Force in autumn between Portugal, Spain and Italy- under the name “Trident Juncture”.
We reaffirm our solidarity with the people of Cyprus which is for more than 40 years under partial occupation of 37% by Turkey and express our concern about
the government‟s moves towards US, NATO and Israel along with reactionary monarchies in the Middle East. We reject a “solution” of the Cyprus issue converting Cyprus into a protectorate in order to serve the geostrategic and energy interests of imperialists in the region having the people of Cyprus, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots as victims. The WPC reaffirms its position for a viable and just solution based on a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation, with one sovereignty, one citizenship and one international representation, with political equality as applied in the relevant UN Security Council resolutions on Cyprus.
The WPC Secretariat reaffirms its strong positions regarding  the imperialist plan for a „Great Middle East‟, which has been endorsed by the USA, NATO and the EU, along with their allies in the region by various means. The Islamic fundamentalist forces, for so many years tolerated and supported by the imperialists themselves, assumed new role with armed terrorists groups in various countries, particularly in Iraq and Syria.
The project of “ISIS” is the other side of the same coin of the imperialist agenda in the region. It is aiming in the control of spheres of influence and energy resources; it requires willing regimes and ignores any consequences for the peoples of the region. The hypocrisy and double moral is paramount. The crisis and instability created by the imperialists directly and indirectly through armed “dijhadist” groups, is being used now for new military operations and invasions in Iraq and Syria, having as “model” the case of Libya which was bombed and cut in pieces. The WPC paid special attention to the negative role of the government of Turkey which is supporting and harbouring the armed Islamist groups all this period.
For the WPC a core issue remains in the Middle East the struggle of the Palestinian people for the end of the Israeli occupation and the establishment of an independent State of Palestine in the borders before 4th June 1967 and with East Jerusalem as its capitalThe WPC supports the efforts at the UN for the recognition of a full member status for Palestine. .***** The Israeli government, fully backed by the USA and EU, is increasing its aggressions, harassments and apartheid policies in Palestine but also inside Israel against its own citizens, particularly Palestinians of 1948.
The WPC calls upon the peoples of the world to the peace loving forces and to all which identify world imperialism as the root cause for wars, occupation, injustice, misery and hunger, to join the common front of peoples and their movements to struggle for Peace, for freedom and social progress, for a new world order of friendship and cooperation amongst the peoples and to face, and confront and defeat this system in each country, region and globally, in multifaceted struggles and by diverse initiatives and actions.
At the same time we shall work hard to strengthen further our WPC, which has not only a glorious history of 66 years, but a lot to contribute in today‟s
conditions on the side of the poor and oppressed, for a world of peace and social justice, free from imperialist domination and all forms of oppression, where the peoples will become the real masters of their fortunes.
The WPC will observe the coming period amongst others the following important activities:
  •   70th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima & Nagasaki(6&9 August)
  •   The 10th August, international Day of the victims of “Agent Orange” in
    cooperation with the Vietnam Association of Victims of Agent Orange (VAVA)
  •   The 70th anniversary of the liberation of Korea in 1945
  •   The VI.Trilateral Meeting of Peace Movements of Cyprus, Turkey and Greece from September 18-20 in Larnaka
  •   To dedicate the 21st September this year to the affirmation of the WPC to the struggle for Peace and against NATO, its further expansion and aggressive plans
  •   Strengthen the international campaign against the NATO and undertake actions to protest the military exercise “Trident Juncture” in Portugal, Spain and Italy (from end September till beginning November);
  •   To support the campaign for the boycott of products from the Israeli settlements in Palestine, as an act of solidarity with the just cause of the Palestinian people
  •   Continue to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the Victory over Nazi-Fascism;
  •   Commemorate the 65th Anniversary of the WPC, value it's role and intervention
    and the urgency and timeliness of the struggle for Peace;
  •   Commemorate the 65th Anniversary of the Stockholm Appeal and the timeliness
    of the struggle for the abolition of nuclear weapons;
  •   Commemorate 65 years from the beginning of USA's aggression against Korea
    (25 June 1950 27 July 1953).
  •   Commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the UN Charter;
  •   Celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Helsinki‟s Final Act;
  •   To hold our next Executive Committee Meeting in Guantanamo/Cuba on 20-21 November, to be followed by the IV.International Seminar for the abolition of all Foreign Military Bases on 23-25 November
  • ____
  • *NEW?
  • ** Why capitalize "Peace Movement" - there seems nothing that comes near a "global peace movement" at this point if it is not spelt BRICS/SCO/LABA and the like
  • *** rather: menacing than remarkable!, remarkable connotates positively
  • **** rather grabs, colonizes anew...  push is much too weak
  • .***** missing is the right of return!!! and it must be remarked that the facts on the ground ridicule  by now the support for "a souvereign Palestinian State". All progressive forces tend now towards the call for a single democratic state in Palestine with equal rights for all its citizens...
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A Russian Voice on Historic Potsdam Conference of Summer 1945 - A Voice That Matters

Potsdam Conference

Yuriy RUBTSOV | 22.07.2015 | 00:00

The leaders of ant-Hitler coalition gathered for the Potsdam (Berlin) conference (July 17-August 2) to draw a line under World War II. It was the third conference between the leaders of the Big Three nations and the last postwar event in this format. Only six months had passed since the previous conference in Yalta but many urgent issues surfaced to be addressed without delay. 
The Soviet Union was represented by Joseph Stalin, Britain by Winston Churchill, and the United States by President Harry S. Truman. This was Truman’s first Big Three meeting. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who died in April 1945, attended the first two conferences–in Tehran in 1943 and Yalta in February 1945. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was not present for the closing ceremonies. His party lost in the elections in the United Kingdom, and he was replaced midway through the conference by the new Prime Minister, Clement Attlee.
The very spirit of talks and the sentiments of participants also changed. The victors were nations with different social and economic systems pursuing different geopolitical goals. The gap became wide as the WWII victory approached and it became even wider after the war ended.
The most pressing issue was the postwar fate of Germany. Despite numerous disagreements, the Allied leaders did manage to conclude some agreements at Potsdam. For example, the negotiators confirmed the status of a demilitarized and disarmed Germany under four zones of Allied occupation. According to the Protocol of the Conference, there was to be «a complete disarmament and demilitarization of Germany»; all aspects of German industry that could be utilized for military purposes were to be dismantled; all German military and paramilitary forces were to be eliminated (including regular military, Gestapo, SS, SA and SD); and the production of all military hardware in Germany was forbidden. 
Furthermore, German society was to be remade along democratic lines by repeal of all discriminatory laws from the Nazi era and by the arrest and trial of those Germans deemed to be «war criminals». The German educational and judicial systems were to be purged of any authoritarian influences, and democratic political parties would be encouraged to participate in the administration of Germany at the local and state level. The reconstitution of a national German Government was, however, postponed indefinitely, and the Allied Control Commission (which was comprised of four occupying powers, the United States, Britain, France, and the Soviet Union) would run the country during the interregnum.
Unlike at Yalta, the issue of partition was not on the agenda. The allies said they did not intend to enslave German people. Their goal was to ensure that Germany «would never again threaten its neighbors or the preservation of world peace».The further partition of Germany was initiated by the West, not the Soviet Union. This is an indisputable fact.
The payment of reparations was a divisive issue. The United States and the Soviet Union worked out a compromise decision. The USSR was allowed to take reparations from the Soviet Zone, and also 25% of the industrial equipment of the western zones as reparations (10% of the industrial capacity of the western zones unnecessary for the German peace economy should be transferred to the Soviet Union within two years). America and Britain could take reparations from their zones if they wished. Stalin proposed and it was accepted that Poland was to be excluded from division of German compensation to be later granted 15% of compensation given to Soviet Union.
Back in Yalta the allies agreed that Poland was to get new lands in the north and west with a final decision to be taken at a peace conference. In Potsdam the United States and Great Britain tried to deviate from the previously reached agreement.
Defining new western borders of Germany was an issue hard to solve. The position of Western states was influenced by the fact that the United States conducted a successful nuclear test. The United States successfully tested the world’s first atomic weapon near Alamogordo, New Mexico, on July 16, 1945. Truman received the news while in Potsdam. To bolster his position at the conference Truman told Stalin on July 24 that the Unites States possessed "a new weapon of unusual destructive force." Stalin showed no special interest. All he said was he was glad to hear it and hoped we would make "good use of it against the Japanese."
The US President said he won’t agree on the Polish western border as this issue was to be tackled by a peace conference. He was insincere as Truman knew for sure there would be no peace conference ever. Finally, the conference decided that Germany’s eastern border was to be shifted westwards to the Oder-Nesse line, effectively reducing Germany in size by approximately 25% compared to its 1937 borders. The territories east of the new border comprised East Prussia (Konigsberg renamed Kaliningrad in 1946, the decision corresponded to what was agreed on at Tehran 1943 conference), Silesia, West Prussia, and two thirds of Pomerania. These areas were mainly agricultural, with the exception of Upper Silesia which was the second largest centre of German heavy industry. 
Truman was not interested in deepening the existing divisions as he wanted the Soviet Union to join the Pacific war against Japan as soon as possible. Some say that by the time of Potsdam conference the United States lost interest in having the USSR involved. It’s not true. After Stalin reaffirmed his commitment to declare war on Japan Truman wrote in a private letter to Bass Truman (7/18/45) "...I've gotten what I came for - Stalin goes to war[against Japan] August 15 with no strings on it.He wanted a Chinese settlement [in return for entering the Pacific war, China would give Russia some land and other concessions] - and it is practically made - in a better form than I expected. [Chinese Foreign Minister] Soong did better than I asked him. I'll say that we'll end the war a year sooner now, and think of the kids who won't be killed! That is the important thing."
The decisions taken at the Potsdam conference had positive as well as negative implications. The conference agreed on a number of issues related to post-war world system and drew dividing lines between the Soviet Union and Western powers. At that the divisions within the ranks of anti-Hitler’s coalition came into the open. The Cold War was looming.
The USSR and the Western powers had different geopolitical interests and pursued different goals. Stalin wanted East European states to join the socialist camp and become a sphere of Soviet influence. To my mind, it was not pursuing the long ago outdated goal of staging a world revolution. I believe the real motive behind his decision was quite different. Stalin wanted to expand a buffer zone for security reasons, so that an unexpected aggression against the Soviet Union would be excluded. In 1942 Sir Anthony Eden, British Foreign Minister, wrote that the Soviet Union wanted to provide maximum security at its would-be western borders. 
The Potsdam conference made come to surface the desire of participants to expand the corresponding zones of influence. Did it make the partition of Europe into two blocs inevitable? To some extent it did. I believe it was possible to avoid the Cold War going into full swing. A good will could prevent the world balancing on the brink of hot war. The geopolitical confrontation could be avoided if the problems were tackled in a civilized way.
What about the good will and the Western allies? Not later than April 1945 Churchill instructed the British Armed Forces’ Joint Planning Staff to draw up Operation Unthinkable, a code name of two related plans of a conflict between the Western allies and the Soviet Union. The generals were asked to devise means to «impose upon Russia the will of the United States and the British Empire». The plan envisioned unleashing a total war to occupy the parts of the Soviet Union which had a crucial significance for its war effort and deliver a decisive blow to the Soviet armed forces making the USSR unable to continue fighting. The British planners came to pessimistic conclusions. They said any attack would be «hazardous» and that the campaign would be «long and costly». 
The report actually stated: «If we are to embark on war with Russia, we must be prepared to be committed to a total war, which would be both long and costly». The numerical superiority of Soviet ground forces left little chance for success. The assessment, signed by the Chief of Army Staff on June 9, 1945, concluded: «It would be beyond our power to win a quick but limited success and we would be committed to a protracted war against heavy odds. These odds, moreover, would become fanciful if the Americans grew weary and indifferent and began to be drawn away by the magnet of the Pacific war».
Truman took a tough stand too. On May 12, just as soon as the last shots in the war were fired, he suddenly ordered the Lend-Lease shipments suspended. According to him, the USSR was not at war with Japan and it would be against the law to continue with Lend-Lease deliveries. Moscow objected and the deliveries were renewed but it was clear that the advocates of diplomacy based on position of strength were winning. At the time of the Potsdam conference a secret document was in works. It was called «A Strategic Chart of Certain Russian and Manchurian Urban Areas [Project No. 2532]», (30 August 1945). By August 30, 1945 — before World War II was officially over — the command of US armed forces had already taken the time to draw up a list of good targets for atomic bombs in the USSR… and even overlaid a map of the Soviet Union with the ranges of nuclear-capable bombers. The document said «The primary objective for the application of the atomic bomb is manifestly the simultaneous destruction of these fifteen first priority targets». 
The US-UK command tried to maintain some of the German potential to be used against the Soviet Union if need be. The German military was to become a third force to contribute into rapid defeat of the yesterday’s ally- the Soviet Union.
These facts give a clue to understanding why the West takes a tough stand against Russian today. It wants to isolate Russia by introducing sanctions, ousting it from G8 to make it G7, excluding it from PACE and other international bodies, supporting enemies of Russia in the Baltic States, Poland and Ukraine.
Western leaders would do a right thing learning the lessons of post-war history instead of escalating confrontation. They appear to be carried away by the plans to make Russian pale into insignificance. After the Potsdam conference the attempts were undertaken to intimidate the USSR with nuclear weapons and make it encircled by military bases. It led to growing might of the Soviet Union turning it into a world pole capable of standing up to the United States. 
Today the activities aimed at weakening Russia with the help of sanctions and international isolation make it reach new heights in developing economy and defense potential. The Russia’s political clout is growing along with increasing influence of BRICS, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Eurasian Economic Union. No international problem of certain magnitude can be solved without Russia, be it the Iranian nuclear program, the Ukrainian crisis, doing away with customs borders in the space from Lisbon to Vladivostok, you name it.
Tags: Germany UK US USSR Stalin