Stumbling into world war and Ukraine War, 1/28/23
by Sahra Wagenknecht & Christoph Habermann
We are on a slippery slope that could end in a world war and a nuclear apocalypse. And it is also clear that for going to war, the West would have to sacrifice those “values” that have so far been used to justify war, first and foremost freedom of speech and democracy. For such a step into the abyss could hardly be made palatable to the population, even with continued propaganda.
Stumbling into world war
More and more weapons for Kiev
By Sahra Wagenknecht
[This article posted on 1/28/2023 is translated from the German on the Internet, Stolpern in den Weltkrieg.]
Sahra Wagenknecht (Die Linke) is a member of the Bundestag
The Ukrainian leadership’s hunger for weapons seems limitless. No sooner have the U.S. and Germany announced that they will supply Ukraine with “Leopard” and “Abrams” tanks than Ukrainian President Selensky demands fighter jets and missiles. True, Chancellor Scholz ruled out the delivery of fighter jets or the deployment of ground troops in the Bundestag on Wednesday. But how credible is that after he has already drawn red lines several times, only to cross them a short time later? Initial talks between NATO chief Stoltenberg and Selensky on the delivery of F-35 nuclear bombers are probably already underway, and both the U.S. and France have not ruled out supplying fighter jets to Ukraine.
“We are fighting a war against Russia,” slipped out the German foreign minister at a Council of Europe meeting. Doesn’t Ms. Baerbock know what she’s saying? Or does she want to send German soldiers to accompany German tanks to battle Russia soon, since there is no time to train Ukrainian soldiers? Or have we all been deceived and this training has long since taken place, since it was decided months ago to deliver “Leopard” tanks?
Either way, without direct NATO intervention, Ukraine will hardly achieve its goal of driving Russian troops out of the Donbass and Crimea as well. “Victory without air power is hardly conceivable,” is how Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister and Bandera admirer Melnyk sums it up.
So the West will have to decide: Will it play Russian roulette for a Ukrainian victory and risk nuclear war? Or will the U.S. and NATO still come to their senses and get Ukraine to accept a compromise peace? But then how cynical is it to encourage the Ukrainian leadership now, through ever new arms shipments, to send tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands more people to their deaths?
We are on a slippery slope that could end in a world war and a nuclear apocalypse. And it is also clear that for going to war, the West would have to sacrifice those “values” that have so far been used to justify war, first and foremost freedom of speech and democracy. For such a step into the abyss could hardly be made palatable to the population, even with continued media propaganda.
“Only as much truth asserts itself as we assert. The victory of reason can only be the victory of the sensible” – this wisdom of Bertolt Brecht must now be taken up by opposing the tank and bomber coalition forged by parts of the ruling elites with a great coalition of the sensible. This must raise its many voices and resist – in the workplaces, the media, the parliaments and on the streets!
Enlightenment instead of propaganda
The daily newspaper junge Welt provides enlightenment instead of propaganda! Its daily reporting uses analyses and background research to show who is acting how and in what interests.
Destruction of war in Ukraine
Ukraine: Responsible action instead of dangerous moral arrogance
by Christoph Habermann
[This article posted on 1/24/2023 is translated from the German on the Internet, https://www.blog-der-republik.de/ukraine-verantwortungsbewusstes-handeln-statt-gefaehrlicher-moralischer-ueberheblichkeit/.]
Coverage in Germany of the war in Ukraine is becoming increasingly skewed. One gets the impression that a growing number of journalists no longer see themselves as reporters and commentators but as influencers.
It’s no longer about the pros and cons of every single proposal to help Ukraine and how to end the dying as quickly as possible. It’s about affirmations. The loudest possible calls for tanks – and, predictably, for the warplanes and warships Ukraine has demanded, up to and including a no-fly zone – are replacing sober discussion of what responsible action means a year after Russia invaded Ukraine…. Tank politics and tank journalism dominate newspaper headlines, television news and talk shows.
Anyone who asks about the meaning of tank deliveries, who asks about the goals that are to be achieved with them, who points out the risks and dangers associated with the delivery of tanks, is put in a corner and has to be lectured down from the high moral horse. Not infrequently, this goes as far as personal attacks that are insulting, even slanderous. A particularly nasty example of this is how the former Ukrainian ambassador to Germany Andrij Melnyk, now Ukraine’s deputy foreign minister, attacked Rolf Mützenich, the parliamentary group leader of the SPD in the Bundestag, last weekend.
Justification is no longer required for the delivery of more and more weapons. Those who weigh responsibly are accused of a lack of solidarity with Ukraine. Motto seems to be stronger and stronger to make German and European policy precautionary responsible for the fact that Ukraine cannot achieve its self-declared goals militarily. Scapegoats are invented so that they can be hunted down later. Against the assessment of many knowledgeable observers, the illusion of a military victory for Ukraine against Russia is to be maintained, no matter how many lives are lost in Ukraine.
The risks and dangers that arise for Germany and Europe – not for the USA – from such a policy are faded out, suppressed or denied. Anyone who talks about risks and dangers is morally discredited, branded as cowardly or defeatist, surpassed only by the accusation of being a pacifist.
Many in the media make it even easier for themselves: other opinions, other arguments are simply not reported. Here is a concrete example from recent times.
General (ret.) Harald Kujat gave an interview to the Swiss newspaper “Zeitgeschehen im Fokus” in the issue of January 18, 2023. In no German newspaper, in no generally distributed medium was there even a line to be read or a word to be heard about this in the past few days.
Harald Kujat is not just anyone. He was Inspector General of the Bundeswehr and Chairman of NATO’s Military Committee from 2002 to 2005, so he is neither politically naive nor an enemy of the military. He has many years of practical experience, including as chairman of the NATO-Russia Council and the NATO-Ukraine Commission of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. From 2019 to 2020, he was chairman of the supervisory board of Heckler & Koch, Germany’s main arms manufacturer. So he is not an enemy of the arms industry either.
How can it be that the media in Germany do not inform their readers, their listeners and viewers with a single word about what this experienced expert has to say about the situation in Ukraine. Why is he not asked for his assessment? Why is he not invited to talk shows or to debates? Why is he not asked for name articles?
Harald Kujat says things that are taboo in the German discussion, unlike in the USA, but also in France and other countries.
No one has to believe what he says to be right, to be guided by it and to act accordingly. But it should be in everyone’s interest to deal with his arguments and views. Kujat speaks plainly:
“I find it particularly annoying that so little attention is paid to German security interests and the dangers to our country from an expansion and escalation of the war. This shows a lack of sense of responsibility or, to use an old-fashioned term, a highly unpatriotic attitude. In the United States, one of the two main players in this conflict, the approach to the Ukraine war is much more nuanced and controversial, but nonetheless always guided by national interests.”
Kujat leaves no doubt as to who the aggressor is, but he also keeps in mind the history of the conflict and geopolitical interests. This leads him to an assessment of the situation that is fundamentally different from the extreme one-sidedness that characterizes German debates in the media and politics:
“Ukraine is fighting for its freedom, for its sovereignty and for the country’s territorial integrity. But the two main actors in this war are Russia and the United States. Ukraine is also fighting for the geopolitical interests of the United States. This is because their stated goal is to weaken Russia politically, economically and militarily to the point where they can turn their attention to their geopolitical rival, the only one capable of threatening their supremacy as a world power: China. Moreover, it would be highly immoral to leave Ukraine alone in its struggle for our freedom and merely supply weapons that prolong the bloodshed and increase the destruction of the country. No, this war is not about our freedom. The core problems of why the war has arisen and still continues, even though it could have ended long ago, are quite different.”
Kujat, in addition to the U.S. interest in focusing on the confrontation with China, sees Russian interests as follows: “Russia wants to prevent its geopolitical rival, the U.S., from gaining strategic superiority that would endanger Russia’s security.” This puts him close to French President Emmanuel Macron, who recently pointed out that security guarantees for Ukraine and for Russia must come at the end of the war.
Kujat, meanwhile, sees “doubts whether the U.S. and NATO were prepared to negotiate seriously on these issues before the Russian attack on Ukraine.” He is referring, for example, to the deployment of U.S. missile defense systems and Poland and Romania, but also to the realization of the commitments made in the Minsk II agreement not only by Russia but also by Ukraine.
Harald Kujat poses the question of the “means-purpose relation” in a very practical way: “What purpose should the Western weapons serve? Selensky has repeatedly changed the strategic goals of Ukrainian warfare Currently, Ukraine is pursuing the goal of retaking all Russian-occupied territories, including Crimea….
Thus, the question to be answered is whether the means of Western arms deliveries is suitable to fulfill Ukraine’s intended purpose. This question has a qualitative and a quantitative dimension. The U.S. is not supplying weapons that would enable the clash of linked arms and, most importantly, none that could trigger nuclear escalation. Those are President Biden’s three no’s.”
Kujat considers it “questionable… whether the Ukrainian armed forces even have a sufficient number of suitable soldiers left to deploy these weapons systems, given the large losses of recent months.”
Anyone who wants to act responsibly must ask this question. Anyone who does not ask it, considers it irrelevant or morally impermissible, is acting irresponsibly and neither in the interests of the people in Ukraine nor in the interests of Germany and Europe.
For Kujat, it is clear: “Now it would be time to negotiate again, and we are not using this opportunity either, but are doing the opposite. We are sending weapons and escalating. This is another aspect that reveals the lack of security policy foresight and strategic judgment.”
Once again, no one is obliged to adopt Harald Kujat’s views. However, all experience teaches that it is not wise if analyses and proposals by men (or women) who have had prominent responsibility for security and peace in Germany and Europe over years and decades are not taken note of.
This is yet another sign of the decline of democratic debate and argument culture in Germany, which is increasingly being replaced by moral arrogance and haughtiness that is dangerous.
About Christoph Habermann
After graduating in social sciences from the University of Konstanz, Christoph Habermann worked for more than thirty years in ministerial administration. From 1999 to 2004, he was deputy head of the Office of the Federal President under Federal President Johannes Rau. From 2004 to 2011, he was secretary of state in Saxony and in Rhineland-Palatinate.