It's now time to take this massive opportunity to reconcile the Muslim people and the West. Finally, the Arab people are being treated better by large numbers of Europeans and Christians than their own people. Herein lies the political core of the Willkommenskultur: how we deal with the Arab people here, will have an impact on their image of us in the Middle East. It's a delicate task and a huge opportunity. And it needs time by the way. Three European nations greeting refugees with friendly faces and warm clothes for the past three months will not change the world. It's a start, a fragile one at that.
Given these historic opportunities it would be extremely short-sighted to try to now transform the fairly friendly welcome back into a deterrent. If we squander this opportunity for reconciliation, so much more new anger will arise that we'll never be able to drive back either militarily or with the help of the secret service.
Our Muslims and the fall of East Germany
One of the biggest dilemmas for the West has recently been that dictators are no longer able to stabilise the situation and toppling will only lead to chaos and therefore, the situation doesn't really improve. From this there is only one lesson to be learned: we should leave both well alone: toppling and stabilising.
It is, however, possible to exert some influence as shown by East-West German history. In the eighties the number of East German citizens visiting West Germany increased to 6 million a year. Their positive experience in the West continued to contribute to the erosion of the SED regime in East Germany until it finally collapsed in 1989.
The millions of people from the Arab states who have come over could play a similar role. They'll tell their friends and relatives back home what life can be like, how to obtain documents without the need for bribes, the difference a free press makes, how good the medical care is and how little the image they have of the non-believers tallies with the reality. What's more, what tolerant Islam can look like or how a robust community moves past problems even if not everyone is on board at first. At the same time those who stayed at home will have access to information on politics as well as money, shared out in a decentralised and organic way.
Finally, the fear that refugees will islamise our culture is unfounded. It's far more likely that the Arab world will be humanised at its roots, detoxified and politically reformed in the long term.
An apology from the West and the Middle East's self-empowerment
Have France, Germany, Britain, Italy and America ever actually apologised to the people in North Africa? For colonialism? For the racism? No? And why not?
In doing so you might clear away some of the resentment, which is felt (and cultivated) by the Arab people towards us. This anger is exploited by those in power who, incidentally, themselves have a racist relationship with their own people. The Western arrogance, however, is what binds the rulers and the ruled. Also, the West's continual interventions with such force and imprecision keeps the Arab "excuse wheel" turning. If the West removes its toxic practices, then the system which continues to create a culture of terror and fleeing will collapse sooner or later. In order to combat Islamistic terror we have to reconcile ourselves with the Muslims. It is therefore time for a new and genuine Realpolitik.
Realpolitik but a real one – a new deal with the Muslims
As soon as a change in the West's Middle East policy is accepted, announced and put into practice, we will once again be able to talk about the unpleasant things. Or simply having a policy that clearly serves the people and is produced based on respect and interests and where limits imposed on our principles, dialogues with murderers in power and businesses run by criminal tribal chiefs are occasional deviations as opposed to being par for the course.
Admittedly we'll have to continue dealing with uniformed Egyptian dictators as well as Islamists from Riyadh and Tehran. Only in the future it should occur with an egalitarian coolness. You can't treat one Islamist like the devil (Iran) and embrace the other (Saudi Arabia) as a brother. Even supplying arms has to be drastically cut back. There are hardly any friendly and good-natured regimes in the region.
At the same time the West can't appear to be too trusting in their new strategy. In view of the terror attacks Europeans need a stronger state, the military must be more effective and, in all likelihood, more expensive.
If a new Realpolitik is supposed to be more closely linked to our values, then we have to keep an eye on Vladimir Putin for he will try once again to draw the West into his usual web of menacing power politics.
Above all, however, it needs a positive agenda: development aid in a new form, conditioned and where possible distributed without the ruling parties. Perhaps you could introduce a Marshall Plan for the region and open up the European markets.
The end of the old Realpolitik will inspire us to develop new ideas and start a new chapter in the history of West and East relations. And we'll be able to say we were there.