Will MAD prevent the next world war

Trump, World War III and the EU

Brexit, refugee crisis, tax evasion - can the European Union still solve anything?

Tuesday, June 13, 2017, 2:27 a.m., Washington D.C. Lights are on on the third floor of the White House. Donald Trump is wide awake. He's just sending another of his infamous tweets: “@andrewcuomo is a total failure. How could he have made such a stupid decision. Catastrophe!"

Suddenly the phone rings. Trump takes off. “Excuse me, Mr. President. We have an emergency. North Korea just fired an ICBM. It is heading for the American west coast, but it is still unclear whether it will crash into the Pacific beforehand. We're all meeting in the Situation Room right now. Can you come down please? "

"Give me a minute, I'll be with you in a minute." The President picks up his cell phone and types "North Corea" into it. “Do you mean Chick Corea?” He reads on the screen. "Fuck you, North!" He swears between his teeth. What he was looking for finally appears. Then he tweeted: "Kim Jong-un - you will never get away with this. Bombing will start in three minutes. You are fired! "

Between war and peace

Almost all leather chairs are occupied when the 45th President of the United States of America enters the wood-paneled conference room. The members of the Security Council stand up, many in uniform, and you can tell by looking at how quickly they dressed and raced out of their Maryland and Virginia homes onto Pennsylvania Avenue.

"Good Morning, Mr. President," it sounds almost in unison. Donald Trump takes a seat in the middle. “Didn't I say it six months ago: We have to arm nuclear weapons,” he looks around triumphantly. An intensive discussion then begins. One side advocates waiting for the impact of the rocket, which they have already calculated in an area 400 miles off the American west coast. The other side argues that such a provocation cannot and should not be left unanswered and that the state of defense of the US armed forces must at least be raised to level three, Defcon 3.

The missile forces are put on immediate alert and the US troops communicate with each other using secret radio signals. The next step would be an order to fire. "You have to decide, Mr. President!"

Michael Flynn, the new National Security Advisor, looks at Trump next to him. He thinks about it. But what will he act on? For decades, only two categories were decisive for him: How do I increase the value of my investments and how do I increase my profile - or how do I best achieve both at the same time. Now he has to make a choice between war and peace. "It's your decision, Mr. President!" He booms in his head.

Flashback: November 30, 2016, European Parliament. I have discussions with students at a Vienna commercial academy. “What can the EU do when World War III breaks out?” A 17-year-old asks me.

Last year it was my daughter who asked me on WhatsApp: “Is the Third World War coming?” I passed the question on to Federica Mogherini, the High Representative for EU Foreign Policy. "Your daughter is right," she replied, "we are very close to the edge of the abyss."

The trigger at the time was the shooting down of a Russian fighter jet by Turkish interceptors. Since the early hours of the morning, Mogherini explained, she had made countless phone calls with people involved in order to help prevent the worst.

Worldwide uncertainty

It is difficult to determine whether it was thanks to them that the worst did not come, or whether other motives were decisive. This “act of war” soon led to the opposite of an ice age in relations: the Ankara-Moscow relationship returned to normal, and even the murder of the Russian ambassador at a photo exhibition in the Turkish capital at the end of December could not change that.

This time it is global insecurity and not a specific armed event that moves the HAK students from Vienna. Brexit, refugee crisis, tax evasion - can the EU still solve anything? “We must not forget that the EU ensures peace on this continent. Never before has there been such a long period in which Member States have not hit each other's heads, "I say.

But to prevent a third world war, the EU has no weapon - neither in the real sense of the word nor in the figurative sense. If Donald Trump were to react to an attack from North Korea with an atomic bomb and China were drawn into the dispute, Russia would not stand idly by either.

The Crimea and Southern Carinthia

Still, I try to calm down. “All nuclear powers know they have such a large arsenal that if they used atomic bombs they could wipe each other out multiple times. We are talking about 'Mutual Assured Destruction' - that is, mutually assured destruction. It is not for nothing that the abbreviation for it is called: MAD - crazy. ”The students are somewhat reassured. At that time, almost three weeks after his election, the whole irrationality that surrounds Donald Trump had not really seeped into the general consciousness.

December 19, 2016. I am walking past a hotel on Lake Klopein. I hear a voice behind me: "Eugen Freund, EU-Member, Servas." I turn around, see two men who look vaguely familiar to me and I say hello politely. A few seconds later, one of the two caught up with me: "The biggest mistake is the EU with Russia," he calls out to me, gesticulating violently. “They shouldn't have done that.” We both march on. “Dos wor a heavy wrong!” He repeats, as if I hadn't understood it the first time.

I reach deep into the box of arguments: “Imagine that Slovenia would invade southern Carinthia and claim that the Slovenes who live there belong to them. How would you react if the EU shrugged its shoulders and said, that's none of our business. ”“ Yeah, yeah. . . ”“ Give to peace! ”Shouts his companion.

Some EU - a rarity

What wise words that lead to the end of the discussion. My conversation partner has already arrived at the back entrance of the hotel, I turn left into the meadow.

Only half an hour earlier, but outside the perception of my talkative compatriot, I received a breaking message on my cell phone: “EU is extending economic sanctions against Russia by six months. Reason: Moscow has not fully implemented the ceasefire in eastern Ukraine. ”The EU is in agreement. Some. How long have we not heard that? . .

Emails to: [email protected]


Eugene friend
(born 1951 in Vienna) worked for many years as a journalist and press officer. From 1986 to 2013 employee of the ORF,
Among other things, he was a presenter of news programs and a correspondent in Washington. In the 2014 EU parliamentary elections, Freund ran as the SPÖ's top candidate. Author of several books. [Clemens Fabry]

("Die Presse", print edition, January 3rd, 2017)