“In the future nothing but peace shall emanate from German soil. We are aware that inviolability of frontiers and respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty of all states in Europe are a fundamental condition for peace.” This quote by Helmut Kohl from 1990, is at the beginning of Willy Wimmer’s latest book “Deutschland im Umbruch. Vom Diskurs zum Konkurs – eine Republik wird abgewickelt” (Germany in Upheaval. From discourse to bankruptcy – a republic is being wound up), which was published in April this year.
Willy Wimmer has actively participated and thus shaped the last decades as a CDU member of the German “Bundestag”, as spokesman on defence policy for his party in the German “Bundestag”, as Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Defence or as vice-President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly. The future of his country is one of his constant concerns: “Germany is […] my country, I care that it does not perish. And I’m willing to openly engage for it.” (p. 12)
He is aiming at exploring the developments that led to a situation today in which a global war is possible at any time. To this end, he allows the reader to participate in his many encounters and experiences in his many functions and not least as a confidant and companion of Helmut Kohl. The focus is on the many personal relationships he has been able to establish and nurture over the years.
In the preface Willy Wimmer follows up his last book “The Moscow File”. “As early as the first half of the 1990s, we felt that there was a huge upheaval in the country: other powers tried to manipulate and dominate us, primarily the United States and Britain, as well as international organizations, and to drag us into their policy of aggression against the Russian Federation. Apparently, they had already aimed at creating another ‘Moscow File’.” (p. 11)
Willy Wimmer shows how Germany has changed to its disadvantage since the 1990s and what these changes have to do with the war policy to which also Germany had been aligned to. This war policy was already evident in the late 1990s in the “war contrary to international law against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia”, the “first war of aggression after 1945” (p. 21), in which Germany participated – seconded by large sections of the public media, which no longer wanted to give a place to a “line of argument related to international and constitutional law” (p. 29) of personalities such as Willy Wimmer. At the same time, it became increasingly clear that the focus was against the Russian Federation. Here, too, Germany was compelled to take a calamitous path “under increasing gagging of public opinion” (p. 13). It carried out all hostile NATO actions against Russia, including sanctions against Russia harming its own economy.
At the same time, massive changes took place within the social and economic fabric of the Federal Republic, according to Wimmer a “metamorphosis of the republic” (p. 53). In economic policy, the achievements of the social market economy – an important part of the identity and of the economic and social success in the early years of the Federal Republic – were abandoned. The “buccaneer mentality” (p. 40) of Anglo-Saxon capitalism – fast profit and prompt distribution of profits – increasingly gained influence. “Shareholder value spill(ed) over the Atlantic” (p. 35), and those who, like Willy Wimmer, still dared to speak publicly of a social market economy were equated with communists by propagandists of uninhibited capital and even avoided by their own party colleagues.
According to Angela Merkel, a “market-driven democracy” (p. 49) should be striven for. At the same time, parliamentary democracy had been increasingly undermined within the country. Willy Wimmer brings in the example of the “putsch-like decision of the Federal Chancellor” (p. 224) Merkel in the matter of migration in the summer/autumn of 2015. Without further ado her decisions disregarded the decision-making power of parliament.
As a further example Willy Wimmer mentions the plans of the current Federal Government to to authorise military “Bundeswehr” missions in future without a parliamentary decision only by the government – which, in conclusion, “would mean allowing the NATO commander-in-chief in Germany full freedom of action, i.e. subordinating the ‘Bundeswehr’ de facto to the American president” (p. 223). At the same time, a new type of soldier was called for. No longer “citizen in uniform” but “fighter” – or in other words “‘Wehrmacht’, without being allowed to call it that”. (p. 221)
Willy Wimmer puts all these parallel developments in context, and this is one of the strengths of his book. Developments in the economy and internally have a lot to do with developments in foreign policy: Turning away from a policy of agreement and peace in international relations, heading for a policy of confrontation with Russia today pushing Germany to the brink of war. The author recalls the words of Helmut Kohl from 1992: “A Europe without Russia will not be Europe”. (p. 259)
Wimmer warns against a dissolution of societal cohesion in Germany. More and more citizens feeling alienated from their government, waning support for established parties, spreading of new parties and movements throughout Europe. Wimmer sympathises with the citizens, but at the same time he reminds: “However, who is behind the parties that were newly established to give people a political home? There are persistent indications from many sides that because of the dwindling international development since the financial crisis in 2007, many a foundation of a party was not planned in Western Europe […]”. (p. 232) It would not be the first time since the end of the Second World War that a so-called spontaneous movement was actually planned overseas to prevent an independent policy.
Time and again Willy Wimmer expresses his great concern for his country, but also for international peace. The reader learns that since the First Gulf War “considerable funds have flowed out of the federal budget for financing the wars of other allies”. These funds “are no longer available for the modernization of our community, for economic innovations or the urgently needed social compensation.” (p. 230) As a result, Germany’s economy is weakening. “Considering that American global corporations in the European Union, unlike local companies, have almost no taxes to pay, everyone gets an idea of what a partnership with the United States means in the recurrent gossip of ‘burden sharing’.” (p. 230) It is easy to understand why Wimmer describes this procedure as “deliberately bleeding Europe” (p. 229).
The book helps us to better understand many events that have occupied us in recent years. For example, Willy Wimmer blatantly reveals the causes of the refugee crisis, which are often forgotten in the polarized debate on its consequences: “Often a cloak of silence is laid over the true causes of exuberant migration. Between Afghanistan and Mali, under the thumb of NATO the world has been completely destroyed. Millions of people have been bombed out of their civilizations. A future is no longer possible in these countries, nor is one’s own life. Wherever NATO goes, murder and manslaughter become established.” (p. 68)
He points out what the coup launched by the West in Ukraine was all about. Sevastopol, an important port for the Russian fleet in Crimea, was to be snatched from Russia in order to disrupt the supply of Syrian President Assad by the Russian navy. (p. 217)
The reader takes part in a conversation with a guest from Israel who explains why Israel didn‘t sign a fully negotiated agreement with Syria on the future of the Golan Heights: “The return of the Golan Heights could have meant the end of the conflict in the Middle East or at least it could have initiated it.” (p. 218) The region could have been spared great suffering! Again and again Willy Wimmer gets to the heart of the essential problem of today’s world: “The war policy of the USA all over the world must be seen as a dramatic step backwards in civilization; it creates a situation that makes a global war possible at all times.” (p. 219)
Reading the book, the question arises: What can be done? This is also the title of the postface of his book, and it is a good afterword. Using individual citizens as an example, Willy Wimmer describes the examples of citizens and shows the possibilities everybody has in his personal life to effectively counter the mood of war. He warns against being misled or being drawn into “attention-seeking individual examples […].” (p. 237) One might rather ask oneself: What does the “criminal case in Salisbury” (p. 236) have to do with the fire disaster in the Siberian city of Kemerowo with more than forty dead children and all this with the 2018 Football World Cup in Russia? Reading the book encourages to think independently.
Willy Wimmer shows ways for a policy committed to peace and international law. Germany could return to the “obligation to the constitutional tradition of the Federal Republic of Germany as it prevailed until the change of government in autumn 1998, […]”. (p. 237) The EU could be developed in a direction with the idea of nation as the basis of the democratic state as a constitutive component. Military cooperation between EU countries could rule out wars of aggression. NATO serving only defence purposes in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations could be a condition of Germany’s membership in this organisation. Last but not least, Willy Brandt’s demand for more democracy could be complied with. The last phrase of the book refers to Switzerland: “Switzerland shows us what it means to live democracy as responsible citizens.”
Willy Wimmer still belongs to the generation that was born in the war and grew up in the post-war period and that knows what war means. The concern: No more war from German soil, is to be found in every page of his book. It is a plea for understanding among nations. The book is interesting, easy to read and extremely informative. In the appendix of the book there are valuable documents. The whole book is a real treasure trove, a “must” for anyone who wants to grasp the last 25 years of contemporary history more precisely and understand what happened. •
(Translation Current Concerns)
cc. At its meeting in Brussels on 27 and 28 June 2018, the European Council (the Heads of State and Government of all EU Member States) formulated 12 points on migration and included them in its conclusions (<link www.consilium.europa.eu media>www.consilium.europa.eu/media/35938/28-euco-final-conclusions-de.pdf). The German Chancellor took this as evidence of her claim that there must and could only be a “total EU solution” to the migration issue. She refuses independent national regulations. However, reading the agreed 12 points shows that although formal compromises were formulated in terms of uniform migration policy, combating facilitating, securing the EU’s external borders, accelerated deportation of illegal migrants, set-up of collecting places for them and also collecting points for the examination of the right to asylum, finally the combat of the causes of flight –but all that in itself contradictory, vague and non-binding. In this respect, the conclusions show that the governments of the EU member states are still not in agreement on core issues of migration policy. Only the word “voluntary”, which appears several times, probably made a formal compromise possible at all. Willy Wimmer comments on the results of Brussels as follows.
You have to look twice as far as this decision in Brussels is concerned. At it you can get “sick”, as far as the normal use of language is concerned. There are mutliple reasons for this. In Brussels, mostly those heads of state and government sit together, who are just responsible for the crisis-laden migration progress since 2015. Their interest is directed at not being held accountable in elections. A solution to the huge problems is not to be expected from these people. Only Prime Minister Orbán has set a clear line: to not let people without legal reason enter Europe and bring those who have nevertheless made it to Europe back out of EU-Europe.
You throw sand into the eyes of the people in EU-Europe when disembarking centers inside or outside the EU bring the United Nations or UN sub-organisations into play. It is precisely the United Nations that seeks to transpose anti-state concepts beyond the heads of the EU-European population with their ‘social tests’ and relocation projects. It is to be expected that the UN and the UN’s migration organisation will be even more enabled by the EU’s decisions to implement its anti-democratic concepts.
The EU summit did not even give the heads of state and government any air. Europe faces a self-inflicted shambles that may mean the end of the EU. This is how the Heads of State and Government have done the greatest possible damage to the legitimate aspirations of the people of Europe for peace, security and prosperity. First, President Trump will have to meet with Russian President Putin on July 16, 2018, to give the European continent hope for peace and good neighborliness. Those responsible in EU-Europe are toothless tigers, to the detriment of all of us.
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