Because they do not want peace …

No sign of détente in autumn 2021

by Karl-Jürgen Müller

Actually, by mid-August 2021, with Afghanistan, it should have become clear to everyone that the wars of the USA and its European NATO allies are a major disaster. Actually – because on 14 October, the German Armed Forces placed an advertisement throughout Germany to recall their 20-year deployment in the war in Afghanistan in a very absurd way. On a size of 15 x 20 cm, the contours of a German soldier and a German tank together with its crew could be seen in the twilight (probably in Afghanistan), and the sentence could be read in large white letters: “You have done Germany all honour.”
  Written smaller underneath: “ remembers 20 years of the Afghanistan mission”. Then, with a picture, the German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer has her say: “I am firmly convinced that the German Armed Forces can be proud of their mission in Afghanistan. Our soldiers have fulfilled all the orders given to them by the Parliament. [...] In taking stock, we must now consider what was good, but also what we must do better for the future.”

No pause in view of the failure

These sentences also show what conclusions were drawn. No pausing in view of one’s own failure, but rather the call for “more of the same”: one wants to “do it better” in the future. On 21 October, the day of the NATO defence ministers’ meeting in Brussels, the still acting German minister confirmed this in an interview with the Deutschlandfunk. On 21 October, the day of the NATO defence ministers’ meeting in Brussels, the still acting German minister confirmed this in an interview with the Deutschlandfunk.
  Germany, together with Portugal, Slovenia, the Netherlands and (the actually neutral) Finland, had formulated a “concept paper” according to which, says the Deutschlandfunk, a “rapid military reaction force of the European Union” in “addition” to NATO and with a “coalition of the willing” should be able to “act robustly and swiftly” all over the world.
  In general, EU Europe is to be further armed, including nuclear. “This is the way of deterrence”, said Kramp-Karrenbauer. Who is to be “deterred”? Russia! “We have to make it very clear to Russia that in the end – and this is, after all, the deterrence doctrine – we are also prepared to use such [military] means [...].” Even the Deutschlandfunk spoke of “figures of speech like in the times of the East-West conflict”.

Propaganda formula “deterrence”

It must be added that the NATO formula of the “deterrence” was already a propaganda formula in the first Cold War. The Soviet Union had no territorial claims beyond the results of the Yalta and Potsdam conferences in 1945. With its strong army, it wanted to prevent renewed devastation in its own country as in the war against Napoleon and Hitler.1 This is even more true for today’s Russia. To accuse it of a desire for conquest is not justified by the facts. So far, only the USA (with its NATO allies) wanted to be the “world’s sole superpower” with a claim to rule over the whole world. Such megalomaniac ideas do not exist in other states of the world – not even in Russia.

The opposite direction of more peace

Like the tips of icebergs, other reports of the past two weeks are to be added. All of them show the opposite direction of more peace:

  • After the expulsion of eight Russian diplomats (with the usual accusation of spying) from the Permanent Mission of Russia to NATO in Brussels, Russia suspended its entire embassy in Brussels and the NATO Military Liaison Mission in Moscow on 1 November.
      According to the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, the basic conditions for a joint work are no longer given. The official statement of the Russian Foreign Ministry said on 18 October: “These NATO actions have shown that the bloc is not interested in an equal dialogue or joint efforts to defuse military-political tension. Its policy towards Russia is becoming increasingly more aggressive. The myth about the alleged ‘Russian threat’ is being promoted, in part, to strengthen the bloc’s internal affinity and to make it look important in the current geopolitical circumstances.”
  • The US government wants to use its sanctions in a more targeted way in the future, making the “sword” of sanctions sharp again. This was reported by the “New York Times” and the “Wall Street Journal” on 18 October. In the future, sanctions should be coordinated more closely with the allies so that they are also fully supported by them. In the past ten years, the number of sanctions adopted had increased tenfold and had risen to around 1,000 sanctions per year during Donald Trump’s term in office. However, many of these sanctions could have been undermined in the meantime. This is to be prevented in future.
  • On 20 October, the European Parliament awarded this year’s “Sakharov Prize” “for freedom of thought” to Alexei Navalny – among other things for his “immense personal bravery”. Navalny is a convicted criminal in Russia. The Norwegian NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg warmly welcomed the award ceremony.

Also, the new German government wants to remain on a confrontational course

  • And what is the coming German government planning? In the twelve-page exploratory paper for the coalition negotiations of the SPD, Alliance 90/The Greens and the FDP, the last two pages state: “Germany’s responsibility for Europe and the world”. There is nothing new there. The previous German path is merely to be pursued more resolutely: more EU, more military “responsibility” in the world. It is about enforcing a “rules-based international order” – not about international law. They want to cooperate above all with “those who share our democratic values”. The US idea of an “alliance of democracies” is supported. It is also about “systemic competition with authoritarian states and dictatorships”. “The transatlantic alliance” continues to be the “central pillar” of German and EU-European military policy and the “NATO is an indispensable part” of German security. The phrases are familiar, including who is meant by “authoritarian states and dictatorships”. The short paragraph about a “disarmament policy offensive” stands quite lost.

If the NATO states then always say at the same time that they are ready for a “dialogue”, then that is not trustworthy. But perhaps the NATO states understand something different by dialogue than is generally meant by the word. Perhaps for the NATO states “dialogue” does not mean that equal partners with different views and respect for each other seek a dialogue in order to understand each other better and, in a good case, to move towards each other. Perhaps dialogue for the NATO states means that the dialogue partner must first fulfil NATO’s conditions.
  Be that as it may, the prospects for a turnaround in international politics towards more peace remain poor.

“Peace is not everything, but everything is nothing without peace”

It is now 50 years since a renowned German politician and different SPD Chancellor, Willy Brandt, was awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize. Ten years later, on 3 November 1981, Willy Brandt said: “Peace is not everything, but everything is nothing without peace.” How far has Germany, how far has EU-Europe moved away from this fundamental idea!
  The questions remain: What can move the political leaders in EU-Europe to distance themselves from the bellicose attitude of US policy and to follow an independent, truly peace-political path? Is this still possible without a major catastrophe? And what can move the citizens of Europe to stop watching silently – for whatever reason – but to exercise and fulfil their right and duty as sovereigns?  •

1 cf. on this Wimmer, Willy. Die Akte Moskau (The Moscow File), 2016, pp. 11f. There you can read: “In early summer 1988, the Defence Working Group of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group flew to Washington for a working visit. [...]. The trip went directly to the CIA headquarters in Langley. We should detach ourselves – was the message in the large discussion group – from what we had heard for decades about military potentials and strategies in the conflict between East and West in Europe. The results of a study on this topic were clear: The Soviet Union was pursuing purely defensive intentions. It is solely about defence to protect ‘Mother Russia’. The Warsaw Pact’s previous strategy was ultimately only the consistent reaction to the murderous attacks of Napoleon and Hitler, so it had nothing to do with aggression at all.”

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