Dr. Heinz Gärtner – A changing world


For our first English episode of Kitchen Talks in quite some time we invited Univ.Prof.Dr. Heinz Gärtner, one of the leading experts for international security matters.

Vienna was and is a leading place for international diplomacy, due too many international institutions who are located here. Still, Vienna and its politicians have to do alot to keep this position – on a local as well as on a state level. It was not by accident that the Iran Atomic deal negotiations happened in Vienna: Iran remembered our neutrality after the Tehran Revolution in 1979 and insisted on the talks to take place here. In the Israel-Palestinian conflict Austria is at the moment too partisan, Gärtner states, as the government approved Trumps quite Israel-leaning Middle East deal way too fast.

If chancellor Kurz meets with Donald Trump the next time (the recent meeting was postponed), he should try to revive the Iran deal talks.

Concerning Northstream 2, the new gas pipeline between Europe and Russia, it is obvious, that the USA wants to sell their own liquified gas with the argument, that Europe shouldn’t be overly dependent on Russian gas. With the threat of imposing sanctions by the US it could well be, that more companies drop out of this project. Gärtner doesn‘t see the overdependence on Russia over a gas pipeline, as in the past Russia never blackmailed Europe in the matter of energy resources/needs.

After the end of the Cold War and the implosion of the Soviet Union, its successor Russia was confronted with two waves of NATO expansions to which it couldn’t „react“ in any way due too economic and military weakness. It is still argued about whether there was an oral agreement between US foreign minister James Baker and Michael Gorbatschow that the NATO wouldn’t expand to the east. Under Putin, Russia, which is neither an economic nor a military superpower anymore, now deals with this and other world affairs on multiple levels, from nuclear threats to regional, political influence. If Germany would meet its 2percent goal on military spending (as demanded by the US), it would already exceed Russias military budget by 20 percent. Not to mention all of NATO. So Russia’s military threat is manageable.

Further topics of this conversation include the declince of multilateralism vs the rise of bilateralism (which Trump favors), the discussion whether the world in general becomes more peaceful or more violent, the history of neutrality in Austria and its future role in the new world order (Gärtner believes, that the idea of neutrality might soon find a revival worldwide), the concept of engaged neutrality, and the role of journalism today in the light of the cases of Jamal Khashoggi and Julian Assange.


Image Title Author License
Heinz Gärtner-ENG Wolfgang Müller CC BY SA 4.0