Maischberger’s foreign policy: Ischinger does not expect an Israeli attack on Iran

Foreign policy at Maischberger
Ischinger does not expect Israel to attack Iran

By Marko Schlichting

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Former diplomat Wolfgang Ischinger does not expect Israel to retaliate with the same weapons after the Iranian air attack. In the ARD talk show “Maischberger” he explains what reactions he can imagine from Israel.

It is still not clear how Israel plans to respond to the Iranian air strike on its territory on Sunday night. “The worst case has not yet happened,” stated former diplomat Wolfgang Ischinger on the ARD talk show “Maischberger” on Tuesday evening. There, the former head of the Munich Security Conference discussed the current foreign policy situation with CNN chief reporter Frederik Pleitgen. “What the Iranians have produced is an even bigger joke than what Russian President Putin shot with his attack on Ukraine,” says Ischinger.

Four days ago, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu was under great pressure over the actions in the Gaza Strip. As a result of Iran’s attack, all Western countries are now on Israel’s side. Regarding the possible Israeli reaction to the attack, the diplomat says: “I hope that they take the advice from the USA and Europe and don’t overreact.” He could imagine attacks on certain facilities and Iranian militias in Syria and other countries in the region. “Unfortunately, this would still be far from establishing peace,” adds Ischinger. A situation has arisen between Israel and Iran that cannot be healed in the long term.

Frederik Pleitgen does not believe that Iran is interested in open war with Israel or the United States. “I think that after the Israeli strike on the embassy building in Syria, the Iranians felt they had to do something and say that they were now going to strike back,” says the CNN journalist. In the Middle East, it is particularly important to show strength after an attack.

Pleitgen partially contradicts Ischinger on one point: “I don’t think the attack was that unsuccessful for the Iranians. I think that they achieved roughly what they wanted to achieve. They wanted to show that they have military strength.” Iran fired drones and cruise missiles at Israel, and they worked, said Pleitgen. “It’s an interesting thing to show with Iran: They’ve been under sanctions for decades and they’ve managed to launch an arsenal like this.” Iran also informed some countries in the region about the planned attack up to 72 hours in advance. “It’s no coincidence that the American and British air forces were already in the air to intercept all these things.”

Israel also does not want a major war to break out after the Iranian attack. Nevertheless, you have to show strength. And finally, the United States is not interested in escalation because it has many military bases in the Middle East. Pleitgen’s conclusion: “I don’t have the impression that the Israelis or the Iranians want this to really get out of control.”

“By the way, the Chinese don’t want that either,” adds Ischinger.

Scholz in China

Ischinger is certain that China will have a say in conflicts such as those in Gaza or Ukraine in the future. “So we have to reckon with China,” says the diplomat. Ischinger traveled to the People’s Republic of China last week, shortly before Chancellor Scholz. He ended his visit to China on Tuesday and also met with Chinese President Xi. Scholz appealed for Xi to work to ensure that the Russian President ends the bloody war in Ukraine.

This is difficult, says Pleitgen. China is not interested in ending a conflict that Western governments have failed to resolve. One reason for this is the friendly relationship between Xi and Russian President Putin. “Xi is more of a friend of Putin than of us,” says the journalist. If China influences Putin, the question also arises as to whether the negotiated peace would then be more in line with the Western spirit.

Nevertheless, Chancellor Scholz is right with his appeal, says Ischinger. But he also thinks that Germany should keep its expectations of China as low as possible. China will not weaken a partner that it may still need in the long-term conflict with the USA.

Nevertheless, Ischinger and Pleitgen are thinking about ending the war in Ukraine. “At the moment you have to say: the Ukrainians are under pressure in all sectors of the front,” says Pleitgen, who repeatedly flies to Ukraine to report from there for CNN. However, the Russian gains in terrain were very small and cost many lives on the Russian side. What you can see, however, is that Russia is continually expanding its technical superiority. Russian industry has learned to build much better bombs that are much more accurate. “We have to recognize here and also in Ukraine that at this point in time Vladimir Putin may not win the war, but he has at least outmaneuvered the West and Ukraine,” said Pleitgen.

In order to bring the war in Ukraine to an end, Ischinger is counting on peace conferences like the one that will take place in Switzerland in June. Apparently, Chancellor Scholz tried to convince the Chinese President to take part. According to Ischinger, China will only do this if the Russian side is also represented there. Ischinger: “This preparatory conference in Switzerland makes a lot of sense, you should put a lot of energy into it. But the next step has to be – and the Chinese can actually help: In what way can you bring the Russians on board? Because completely In the end it won’t work without negotiations with the Russians.”

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