When I first read through Olaf Scholz’s comprehensive foreign policy essay “The Global Zeitenwende” recently published in Foreign Affairs magazine, it brought to mind another sensational manifesto from an international leader in the news published by this very same authoritative journal. That was an essay ‘written’ by then Prime Minister of Ukraine Yulia Tymoshenko for the late spring 2007 issue.
There are several things these two essays have in common aside from centrality of Ukraine and of Russian malevolence in their thinking about the world. Publication of the Tymoshenko article gave rise to accusations of plagiarism against her for lifting some well known phrases from the writings of Henry Kissinger without attribution. In the case of Scholz, there is a more subtle kind of ‘plagiarism,’ in that he, like Tymoshenko, is clearly not the sole author of the text published over his name. I will go into these matters in some detail below.
Another common feature is the extraordinary way in which these essays were crafted so as to slot into the susceptibilities and preferences of the American foreign policy establishment. The authors seem to have checked every possible box whether or not it was directly relevant to their overriding argument or to the nations they represent.
A third commonality is apt timing of the publication. In the case of Tymoshenko, her fierce denunciation of Russia in which she deployed every calumny invented by the American Neo-Conservatives came just a few months after Vladimir Putin delivered his now famous speech on Russian claims against the US-led West at the Munich Security Conference. The sheer temerity of the Russian leader whose speech was witnessed by Senator John McCain and other American political worthies seated in the front rows left the U.S. Administration of George W. Bush infuriated and confounded over how to respond. As soon as they found their footing and their voice, they initiated what has ever since been a vast Information War directed against Russia.