Does anyone really believe that more and more state-of-the-art weapons, no matter how tough sanctions and huge financial injections could produce peace? …The survival of humanity depends in part on this business of death no longer having a future, and it begins at any moment. Prospects are rising as the forces for survival come together.
Negotiated solution – No alternative!
by Wolfgang Herzberg
[This article posted on 10/20/2022 is translated from the German on the Internet, https://www.ossietzky.net/artikel/verhandlungsloesung-alternativlos/.]
As a descendant of Jewish-German survivors and a political author of many years’ standing, whose family members lost their lives in the genocide of the Nazi regime or were dispersed all over the world, but whose parents also – after the Second World War, out of a deep sense of political responsibility – lived in Germany. World War II, out of deeply felt political responsibility, returned to Berlin to help build an anti-fascist and peaceful Germany, I ask myself, against the background of these existential family experiences, the following fundamental questions about the war over Ukraine, which I would also like to address to the public and all those politically responsible:
Can the enormous military, economic and financial resources that have so far been brought to bear by NATO to end the Russian campaign in Ukraine actually bring about a “values-based foreign policy” (Baerbock) and thus an end to this most dangerous war on European soil since 1945? Or will it achieve exactly the opposite? Does it really defend “our European peace order,” “international law,” the “free democratic order of values,” or are these noble goals not rather destroyed and reduced to absurdity by a wrong choice of means?
For what we hear every hour in the form of extraordinarily disturbing news from the media and from leading politicians on all sides speaks a steadily increasing, dangerous language of war and leads to the ever further escalation of this terrible conflict. Could it be, not only I ask myself, that this logic of war is also based on the continuation of a wrong, because precisely not “value-based policy” of the West, but means the failure of this policy all along the line? Does anyone really believe that more and more state-of-the-art weapons, no matter how tough sanctions and huge financial injections could produce peace? Current developments, most recently the Russian partial mobilization, the accession of eastern Ukraine to Russia, the attack on the pipelines, show abundantly clearly that this is precisely not the case. I firmly believe that only a policy of diplomatic negotiated solutions can lead to peace. This is the intuitive view of many people I have spoken to in recent months. But so far, these warning voices have hardly penetrated a broad political public. Such discourse, at eye level, is not wanted and is pushed to the sidelines. This is a dangerous ostrich policy.
On the other hand, we are drifting into an ever faster spiral of war. A negotiated solution capable of compromise, which in my view is the only alternative, seems to be unwanted, especially by NATO and the Ukrainian rulers. They rather count on a capitulation of Russia, on an illusory victory peace against Russia, which has been allied with China for a long time, a Russia which once could not be brought to its knees and defeated neither by the Swedes or the Huns, by Napoleon, by World War I, nor by the wars of intervention, let alone by World War II. Russia and China together represent the largest, industrially and militarily highly developed and most populous territorial countries on earth. For the time being, I am merely stating these geopolitical connections on a factual basis, irrespective of who really caused the escalation of this global conflict. For the answer is by no means as simple as the “West” would have us believe.
Could it be that the warring party of the West is again betting on the completely wrong military card, after the recent failure in the Afghanistan war? Are these the right lessons to learn from this grandiose disaster, where supposedly the enforcement of human rights was also at stake? Where even hundreds of modernly equipped army contingents from all over the world fought for two decades with heavy losses, only to be defeated in the end by the much weaker Taliban free fighters?
I therefore urgently ask: What kind of “values-based policy” is this that accepts thousands upon thousands of deaths on all sides? On what “values” is a policy based, in the execution of which more and more war destruction is being wrought – in areas that are supposed to be liberated from it? What kind of “value-based policy” is this, which creates more and more misery for refugees and streams of refugees on all sides, and thus also drives many votes to nationalists and racists worldwide? What kind of “value-based policy” is this, through which a global energy crisis and world hunger crisis is in reality getting worse and worse, the catastrophic consequences of which are also to be “cushioned” in the West with a hectically reacting, social symbolic policy after the fact by billions of new debts? On what “values” is a policy based, as a result of which global supply chains collapse and inflation rates for all living costs explode?
Does anyone seriously believe that more and more people in the West are not asking such probing questions as well, when this supposedly “values-based” policy is making them worse and worse off every day and eroding their hard-earned living conditions?
No, this supposedly “value-based policy” is not a goal-oriented peace strategy at all. It is the opposite of it. It is therefore doomed to fail again in Ukraine and worldwide, indeed, it even carries the danger of a 3rd world war, of unprecedented nuclear proportions.
I therefore ask: What is the basis for the misjudgements of this global conflict, especially also by the Western world, with the rulers in the USA at the top? Or does anyone seriously believe that only the rulers in Russia and China have to ask themselves these questions?
Hadn’t the policy of détente of Willy Brandt and Egon Bahr, the “New Ostpolitik”, which finally focused on “change through rapprochement”, once helpfully begun to dismantle the walls of the “Cold War” step by step through tough negotiations, through the CSCE process, through disarmament agreements, finally through the treaties between the two German states? This was a “value-based”, a successful policy of détente and peace, which finally also led to the end of the German division and seemed to end the bloc confrontation after World War II. Was not the life’s work of the late Michael Gorbachev recently praised hypocritically, according to whose foreign policy vision a “Common House of Europe” was to be created with fewer and fewer weapons?
Could it be that the Nato eastward expansions, which took place contrary to the promises of the West to Gorbachev, as well as the gradual Nato armament of Eastern Europe, including Ukraine, symbolized the actual “turn of the times”, which was reintroduced in 1990 against the successful peace and détente policy by the USA, as a continuation of the methods of the “Cold War”? Could it be that the alleged “values- and human rights-based foreign policy” of the West, led by the USA, after 1990, starting with the Yugoslav war and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, actually represented a continuation of the peace-endangering armament and confrontation policy after 1945 – the attempt to impose an interest-led, Western foreign policy and a regime-change policy in order to finally install an alleged “democratic capitalism” worldwide? Was this the right response to Gorbachev’s accommodating foreign policy? It was apparently intended thereafter to finally create a Western world order in which capitalist globalization, “economic liberalism” and NATO’s global military strategy were given absolute priority over welfare-state influence through independent national politics. Is this not a neo-colonial understanding of values and society, in which economic growth and profit maximization primarily for wealthy minorities, is ascribed hegemonic priority and the repression of social, national and ethnic polarization and exploitation has become secondary?
Do the political leaders really believe that such an anachronistic, neo-colonial and imperial understanding of politics, which has been based on countless genocides, ethnic cleansing and enslavement for many centuries, is also compatible with a Christian worldview and could, for instance, be the model for a diverse and multipolar world of tomorrow? In view of the fact that more than 80 percent of humanity does not live in the Western industrialized countries? It would be a world increasingly determined by social dislocation, ecological crises, exploitation and lack of democracy.
Is it not clear to the political leaders of the West that if they continue this violent foreign and domestic policy, they are in the process of destroying the value-based UN Charter created after 1945 as well as the entire post-war order of the United Nations, which had finally drawn the right conclusions in international law from the murderous basic experiences of World War I and World War II, with the express aim of securing world peace and international cooperation?
Is it not clear to them that from the letter and spirit of the peace and values order of the UN Charter and UN resolutions no claim to leadership of the USA and the Western world or of any nation, not even Russia or China, can be derived when it says in the preamble:
“We, the peoples of the United Nations – determined to save future generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold suffering to mankind.”
And further, Art.2 (1) therefore expressly states against any claim to leadership whatsoever:
“The Organization is founded on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its members.”
And in Art.13 (b), a values-based peace, security and cooperation policy is defined as follows:
“…to promote international cooperation in the economic, social, cultural, educational and health fields and to contribute to the realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion.” I ask again: could Western wars after 1990 really enforce these UN values worldwide, or did they not thereby finally sink into apocalyptic chaos?
The political leaders of the Western world and the entire world public can now no longer avoid the burning question of the present and the future: Does not the unilateral NATO partisanship and war support for the Ukrainian rulers in reality violate the existential vital interests of the people both in the West and in Russia and Ukraine, and thus the “principle of sovereign equality of all its members”? Humanity, as before World War 1 and World War 2, is again at a crossroads in its history, and once again Walter Benjamin’s sentence acquires an oppressive topicality: “That it goes on like this is the catastrophe!”
I ask, moreover, whether it is compatible with the substantive treaty terms of NATO, as a “defense alliance,” that it has been a decisive war party for non-NATO member Ukraine both in bringing the present Ukrainian government to power and in its present conduct of the war. Where is the call for an international court of justice that could independently judge this NATO strategy in legal terms? After all, the Ukrainian regime obviously rejected a federal solution with Russia, which had a centuries-long, albeit contradictory, economic, interethnic, intercultural and interreligious history intimately connected with Ukraine.
At the same time, I wonder whether this violent foreign policy is compatible with the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany, if not even unconstitutional, because Chancellor Scholz swore to the German voters and to no other people when he took office that he wanted to “avert harm from the German people.” Wouldn’t a legal clarification of this breach of oath before the Federal Constitutional Court be imperative here?
And lastly, I wonder whether a German government, whose predecessors killed millions and millions of people in the 1st and 2nd world wars, should be allowed to continue its work. World War millions and millions of dead Russians and Ukrainians as well as death and destruction with many other peoples with to answer for had, not least the genocide at the European Jews, to which also parts of my family belonged, that this today’s traffic light government has not just therefore the damned duty and guilt, to stand up for a negotiated and compromise solution without any alternative, instead of continuing to pour oil on the fire of this most dangerous global conflict since 1945, just in order to distinguish itself as a loyal vassal of the United States and the Western alliance in a misconceived show of solidarity.
Especially in Germany, the politically responsible people should decisively contribute to the fact that the peace-political and anti-fascist basic values of the United Nations, probably the most valuable diplomatic heritage of mankind, since the end of the 1st and 2nd World War, which is in accordance with the oath of Buchenwald: “Never again fascism – never again war!”, will not be destroyed again by the wrong means of a mutual war policy.
I say all this at the same time in the full awareness that our Earth is known to be a unique planet. That in the infinite vastness of the universe we have found so far nothing comparable in wonderful nature, in creative, highly developed life in the universe. And I ask myself again and again, how responsibly do I myself, do we deal with our present world? What kind of irrational, anti-democratic, authoritarian master-man ideology would it be, if allegedly only the western world held the basic recipe for a humane future of the whole earth in its hands, in order to enforce it then also with warlike means? How can it be that in such an infinitely diverse world there should only be a warlike way out of the endangerment of our entire creation and not a peaceful and federal coexistence of many opinions and different social systems, which could fertilize, transform and approach each other in the future, just as the UN Charter prescribes?
Therefore my unmistakable message is once again: Only by an alternative-less negotiated solution, in the here and now, there can be a peace way to common security and cooperation in this crisis-ridden world in the future, a global war around Ukraine and also elsewhere can still be averted!
The author has just published: Jewish & Left. Memories 1921-2021. on the cultural heritage of the GDR, Berlin 2022, 500 p., 24 €.
The character of this war
by Ulrich Sander
[This article posted on 10/20/2022 is translated from the German on the Internet, Ossietzky – Vom Charakter dieses Krieges.]
Among the many criticisms of Sahra Wagenknecht’s recent speech in the Bundestag, the one by the two leaders of the DIELINKE party stands out as completely out of place. In dictatorships, leaders appoint members of parliament. In democracies, they are elected by the people. I voted for Sahra Wagenknecht, she was on my ballot. She is currently making speeches that I very much approve of. What I don’t approve of is the way the two chairmen are handling it. They want to ban Sahra Wagenknecht from speaking, to villainize the parliamentary group. Members of parliament, however, are not beholden to the leadership, but to the voters – and to their conscience. Regarding the content of Sahra Wagenknecht’s speeches about the war against Russia, which Germany, among others, is waging, it has to be said:
It exists, this war, even if Russia has attacked Ukraine. It should be pointed out that there are several types of war, in this case Sahra Wagenknecht meant the German economic war, which according to Foreign Minister Baerbock is supposed to “ruin” Russia. Currently, it is ruining the German economy more than the Russian state. The shooting war, increased to a Russian war of aggression, began on February 24, 2022, and it increased Ukraine’s de facto war against its own people in the Ukrainian eastern territories. Moreover, it was preceded by a kind of Ems dispatch. This was that document, forged by Bismarck, which in 1870 tempted the French side, that is, the French president, to attack Germany. The result is well known. The many Ems dispatches from the West, from NATO, which led President Putin to his unspeakable “special military operation”, were set in motion by the dozen by US President Joe Biden. For months already there is the transformed war in Ukraine. The West waged its war against Russia on the territory of Ukraine – with weapons, troop deployments on the borders and training of soldiers. And we all suffered from it, especially Ukrainians. I hope, I appealed to the leaders of the LEFT, the party will finally join the movement against the war, against the shooting war and against the economic war. Against the sufferings also of our people, who shall freeze in the winter of war and will not have enough to eat. Please go against the government of the war and not against those people who fight the war.
Karl Marx wrote about the Franco-Prussian War, which was triggered by the Ems Dispatch: “A mass workers’ meeting in Brunswick on 16. July 1870 declared itself in complete agreement with the Paris Manifesto, rejected any thought of national opposition to France, and passed resolutions stating: ‘We are opponents of all wars, but especially of dynastic wars (…) It is with deep sorrow and pain that we see ourselves forced into a defensive war as an inevitable evil; but at the same time we call upon the entire thinking working class to make the repetition of such a tremendous social calamity impossible by demanding for the peoples themselves the power to decide on war and peace and thus to make them masters of their own destinies. ‘” (Marx: First Address of the General Council on the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 in: MEAWIII, pp. 485-487 – The Paris Manifesto against France’s war against Germany was written by the Paris members of the International Workingmen’s Association).
For today, we are told that Ukraine’s defense against Russia is legitimate, but NATO’s war against Russia is not. Ukraine and Russia should agree on a ceasefire, but the U.S. forbids Ukraine to do so. However, it is necessary that “the peoples themselves (have) the power to decide on war and peace, making them masters of their own destinies.” Left-wing deputies have the duty, in accordance with the will of the majority of the population, to reject the participation in the war and the arms deliveries, as well as the sanctions, which above all harm ourselves.
The scientific service of the Bundestag has determined that the delivery of heavy weapons and the training of foreign soldiers participating in the war on our territory means: Germany is a party to the war. This is also underlined by the fact that in Ramstein – in Germany! – a NATO general staff under U.S. leadership has recently been coordinating the participation in the war against Russia.
He probably thinks of such command centers as in Ramstein, the chancellor Scholz, who rejects “going it alone” according to the media. And if then the order from Ramstein comes, he beats the heels together!? On 12 September 2022 war-mongers in the media (e.g. Tagesspiegel) saw the time come to give Putin the rest, because he is weakening immensely. That would have to happen in such a way: Germany disarms the Bundeswehr in large parts temporarily, creates all weapons to Ukraine, in order to secure the final victory against Russia and its dynasty. This is not negligent, he said, because Putin is so weakened that he cannot wage a major land war against NATO for a long time. Germany, he said, also remains secure.
They are great strategists, these media people! And if Putin is as they always say? If he lashes out wildly, e.g. nuclear? He warned, after all, that his threat of nuclear weapons was “not a bluff.” Or he will be deposed as incompetent, and what kind of adventurous type will come next in the Kremlin? Or do people now believe that Ukraine, e.g. with Bundeswehr weapons, could march through to Vladivostok?
Another scientific service of a parliament must be still quoted here. Expert reports from the USA refer to a report of the scientific service of the U.S. Congress from March 2022 and conclude: Great is the determination of the U.S. government to use war to wear down Russia (Source: Renewed Great Power Competition: Implications for Defense – Issues for Congress. Updated March 10, 2022). The main U.S. objective, he said, is to place “a new or renewed emphasis” on defeating China and Russia. The two countries are threatened with a host of U.S. measures, including producing more nuclear weapons, increasing U.S. global military occupancy, and using the Ukraine war “to strengthen the United States and NATO to counter Russian aggression in Europe.” The attack on Ukraine is to be used as an alibi for the new occupation of Europe by U.S. troops. In response to Russia’s attack on Ukraine in late February 2022, “the U.S. has deployed additional Army and Navy units to NATO allies in Europe.” The point is that the U.S. is vigorously seeking confrontation with China and Russia while it still believes it has the advantage, which is dwindling year by year. They are deliberately heading for wars, and to do so they want to strengthen their “capabilities for high end conventional warfare,” for “waging war on a broad front, with high intensity, technologically advanced weapons against adversaries with similarly sophisticated weaponry.” Ukraine is the ideal drill ground for this ”training.”
I mean, the current Ukrainian war started as a Putin-Russia imperialist act and today is being waged primarily as a war of attrition by Western imperialists against Russia and to consolidate U.S. supremacy in Europe. And now Putin is again turning the spiral of escalation by making a partial mobilization and threatening “all means at our disposal” to “protect Russia. This, he said, is “not a bluff.” But the statement from the U.S. Congress is not one either.
Task of the Left: Do not give up!
by Bernhard Trautvetter
[This article posted on 10/20/2022 is translated from the German on the Internet, Ossietzky – Aufgabe der Linken: Nicht aufgeben!.]
Marginalizing the Left Party through parliamentary ingratiation with the transatlantic SPD and Green parties or by splitting it would make it more difficult or even deprive many alternative forces of opportunities for alliance work, starting with a decline in the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation’s ability to support projects.
The current campaign against Sahra Wagenknecht is not led solely by members of the right-wing spectrum in the Left Party, according to the “Initiative solidarische Linke,” but by a broad spectrum of media, from the taz, which accuses her of AfD rhetoric, to the conservative-bourgeois camp. The ARD politics magazine Monitor also joins in this canon.
The campaign is reminiscent of “strategic communication,” which, according to a 2010 NATO document, is a “decisive factor in the fight against competing representations (…).” NATO also counts the strategy of de-legitimizing critics (“concentrate on degrading the credibility of opponents”) among the tools of its “psychological operations,” with which it seeks to undermine the credibility of its opponents, including those at home, with intelligence management. The widely unknown influence of transatlanticists was the subject of the satirical program Die Anstalt in early 2015.
Strategic communication is enjoying great success, as can be seen from how far the Greens have moved away from the original NATO criticism of their founding years and how strongly NATO propaganda for arms deliveries and against diplomacy is accompanied by defamation of the peace movement, for example under the term “lumpen-pacifism.”
The effects of a softening of peace policy positions in the LEFT are becoming apparent. For example, rather right-wing leaders of the Left Party introduced a motion in which they attempted to soften the consistent adherence to international law: In averting human rights violations, they argued, international law stands in the way. This argumentation accommodates the position of NATO, which repeatedly presents and defends interventions as humanitarian. NATO also used this cloak to justify the war of aggression against Yugoslavia, which violated international law.
A close look at the morally sold Nato wars confirms Egon Bahr’s statement, which he gave to a Heidelberg school class in 2013: “International politics is never about democracy or human rights. It is about the interests of states. Remember that, no matter what you are told (…).”
The current campaign against the peace movement and against left-wing forces on its side paints the self-righteous picture according to which NATO defends democracy and human rights, while left-wing peace activists, with their rejection of arms exports to war zones as Putin-understanders, morally degenerate, abandon human rights and hand people over to injustice.
This sentiment is happening even though the peace movement condemns war regardless of which actors opened it; it also assumes that any war, no matter how morally justified, leads to a breach of self-declared humanitarian claims, that the associated propaganda war manipulates and abuses the population on all sides. Pacifists warn that measures of defense turn into their opposite, insofar as they escalate wars instead of ending them, when defending turns into counterattacking. The peace movement condemns not only Russia’s war against Ukraine, but also the arms race of EU partner Azerbaijan against Armenia and that of Western trading partner and arms buyer Saudi Arabia in neighboring Yemen.
Top politicians of the LEFT also participate in the double standards and half-truths when they spread that it is only Putin who is waging an economic war against Germany. And on the basis of this account, they criticize Sahra Wagenknecht for her criticism that Western states are waging economic war against Russia. How right Sahra Wagenknecht is in her criticism is shown by a close look at the years since a pro-Nato government illegally came to power in Ukraine in 2014, which led to the Crimean crisis and subsequently to over 20 sanctions measures against Russia at the EU level alone. Not to take this into account expresses a denial of reality that ties in with the fact that top personnel of the Left Party sharply criticized those members of the Bundestag who opposed the German government’s request for a military evacuation mandate in the final phase of the war in Afghanistan. This dispute was a central element in the backstory for the LINKE’s failure to win even five percent of the electoral votes in the federal elections. Coalition naiveté on the part of critics of the government’s opponents of this proposal led them to overlook the fact that the text was incapable of approval, since it implied in point 7 that the government in power in Afghanistan had agreed to the mandate. However, the previous government, with which there had been corresponding agreements, had long since fled. The loss of reality on the part of the coalition dreamers at the top of the LEFT made it easy for the later traffic light parties to deny the Left Party’s ability to govern, since it apparently refused to be rescued.
It almost reads like a response to the attempts by some top Left Party officials to ingratiate themselves with two of the three traffic light parties, what Karl Marx once wrote: “To fool others while fooling oneself, that is parliamentary wisdom at its core.” And, as if adding to this epistolary text, he criticized years later that the left-wing parliamentarians, “instead of facing the whole assembly directly,” do not give up hope of “still coming to something in the chamber and through the chamber and gaining a majority for the left.”
In an age of global ecological, social and military catastrophes, humanity has neither time nor reserves of strength for illusions and for pandering to forces that ultimately play voluntarily or unconsciously into the hands of the interests of the arms industry and its lobby. The peace movement, like the ecology movement, has potent opponents with high influence on politics and the public: “Rheinmetall is (…) the best performer in the M-Dax since the end of February with a plus of 67 percent. In June, the share had reached a new all-time high of almost 225 euros. Before that, the share price was around 80 euros until the beginning of March. (…) Thyssenkrupp is a German steel producer whose Marine Systems business unit generates around 5 percent of its total sales from defense equipment such as submarines and mine warfare vessels. At the beginning of March, they too were up about 15 percent, after originally discussing selling Marine Systems in early February due to the poor image of the defense division. (…) The stock price of Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest defense contractor, has risen about 25 percent since February.”
The survival of humanity depends in part on this business of death no longer having a future, and it begins at any moment. Prospects are rising as the forces for survival come together.