Peter Scholl-Latour – “The curse of the evil deed”

cc. In Peter Scholl-Latour’s book “Der Fluch der bösen Tat” (The Curse of the Evil Deed), published posthumously at the end of 2014, the publisher has included the greeting of former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt (SPD) on the author’s 90th birthday on 8 March 2014. Helmut Schmidt said: “For decades, Peter Scholl-Latour has impressed with his expertise of foreign continents and cultures. It is founded on countless personal encounters and experiences. His reportages are not only knowledgeable observations, but also convincing through their geopolitical perspicacity. [...] Of course, I am aware of the criticism that this man has also received from some contemporary scientists. But it is precisely his very subjective judgement that makes his opinions valuable. I can rely on that: What Scholl-Latour writes is critically examined; it is his well-considered truth.”
  The blurb of Peter Scholl-Latour’s book says: “Scholl-Latour also takes a detailed look at the increasingly uncontrollable conflict in eastern Ukraine, the causes of which he sees not least in the West’s questionable policy towards Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union.” And the back cover of the book says: “With his characteristic perspicacity, Peter Scholl-Latour illuminates a region over which, after decades of political and military intervention by the West, a curse seems to lie – the curse of the evil deed of utter interference.”

“Prisoners of their own lies”

The book begins with the chapter “Prisoners of their own lies” and the sub-chapters “Sarajevo in the Donbass” and “‘Fuck the EU’”.

At the beginning it reads:
“A year ago, the world could look forward to the upcoming year 2014 with serenity. A warlike confrontation on European soil no longer seemed conceivable. People thought they had learned from the terrible lessons of the First World War. Today, these illusions have been shattered and we are confronted with a whole series of global conflicts that bear shameful witness to those in power. Old wounds that were thought to have healed long ago are reopening.”

The very next paragraph states:
“The most absurd territorial conflict is taking place in Ukraine, and the bloodshed is reaching its climax precisely in a region that was one of the bloodiest battlefields in World War II. Hopefully, it is still too early to speak of ‘Sarajevo in the Donbas’. The desire of the eastern Ukrainian provinces of Luhansk and Donetsk to break free from Kiev’s tutelage, to achieve at least a certain degree of autonomy, could perhaps have been settled diplomatically. But that's when the tragic crash of the Malaysian Airways plane MH 17 happened, sending the hitherto controllable antagonism completely out of control.”

We read further:
“It was certainly not in Vladimir Putin’s interest to conjure up such a tragedy. The dramatic event, which immediately exposed Russia to universal condemnation, was a major setback for the Russian leader. If any government had an interest in avoiding such an escalation, it was the one in the Kremlin. But the guilty verdict had already been reached.”

“Blatant interference in the distribution of power in a sovereign state”

In the second sub-chapter, “Fuck the EU”, Scholl-Latour picks up on a wiretapped and then published statement by Victoria Nuland, the head of the European Affairs Division in the US State Department, from early February 2014. Ms Nuland had spoken on the phone with the American ambassador in Kiev, Geoffrey Pyatt, and passed on the US plans for the future Ukraine – which did not coincide with those of the EU. Peter Scholl-Latour wrote: “Accordingly, the State Department instructed its representative in Ukraine to ensure that the office of prime minister fell to the opposition politician Arseniy Yatsenyuk when a transitional government was formed in Kiev after the Maidan revolt and the inglorious flight of the incumbent president Yanukovych. He obviously enjoyed the goodwill of the USA and had the indispensable CIA connection.”
  Scholl-Latour calls this a “blatant interference in the distribution of power of a sovereign state, which, after all, had been exemplified by Washington in a multitude of other cases around the world before Ukraine”, and at the same time a “submissive attitude of the European nations towards their American hegemon”.

“Comprehensive disinformation”

“I am aware,” Scholl-Latour writes in the following paragraph, “that with this introduction I am exposing myself to the accusation of anti-Americanism. But we have succumbed, at the latest since the second Iraq campaign, to extensive disinformation [...] operated by perfectly organised institutions [...].” And: “The stupidest expression that German commentators have come up with in recent months to defame those voices that demanded a minimum of objectivity in assessing Russian diplomacy is ‘Putin-Versteher’.”
  A few pages further on, Peter Scholl-Latour looks back at post-1990 history and asks, referring to Russians who “faced a whole series of disappointments and humiliations after the dissolution of the Soviet Union”:
  “What was the justification for the American-directed ‘drive to the East’ of the Atlantic Alliance, which, as early as the Orange Revolt of 2004, with the help of subversive NGOs and obscure financial powers, sought to expand the American military presence in Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, even Central Asian Kyrgyzstan?” Helmut Kohl [who was still alive in 2014] could confirm that “when the GDR was abandoned, the Western alliance made a solemn promise to the General Secretary of the CPSU, Mikhail Gorbachev, that the states of the former Warsaw Pact would not be allowed to join Nato, although this was not documented in writing.”

Germany’s breach of promise

“‘Germany, we extend our hand to you, we return to the fatherland’, a choir of the Red Army had sung at the big troop farewell event in Berlin,” Scholl-Latour writes. “The Kremlin, which withdrew half a million soldiers from the former GDR for a financial mess of Pottage and without the slightest incident, had presumably expected the reunified Germany to react with gratitude, at least with recognition. But not the slightest objection sounded from Berlin when the ultra-conservative team of President George W. Bush – after the Orange Revolution had failed to achieve its goal – integrated the former Eastern Bloc states from Estonia to Bulgaria into the Atlantic Alliance, thus pushing the USA right up against the borders of the remaining Russian sphere of power in Europe.”

“A systematic campaign of defamation”

A few lines later we read: “When Boris Yeltsin left the Kremlin and handed over the reins of government to the hitherto unknown Vladimir Putin, it was apparently expected in Washington that this newcomer would submit to Western notions of parliamentary democracy and a capitalist market economy. However, as soon as it became clear that Putin wanted to use authoritarian methods to lead his fatherland out of the terrible misery in which he had found it, people on the Potomac were disappointed and outraged. A systematic campaign of defamation was already under way.”
  “But Russia’s new leadership,” Scholl-Latour continued, “could point to the fact that in the post-Soviet phase of transition, the Russian people had already had an extremely sobering, negative experience with the so-called liberal values of the West that Washington wanted to impose on them. Only those who were on the ground at the time of perestroika and glasnost, at the time of the squandering of state assets on insatiable oligarchs, can have an idea of the mass misery, the rampant criminality that swept Russia at that time.”

“Core of a new Russian self-confidence”

“These upheavals”, it says a little later, “were not met by Vladimir Putin as a ‘flawless democrat’, but as an autocrat. Perhaps it took an insider from the Soviet secret services to restore order step by step, to rein in the power of the 'new boyars', the oligarchs, and to plant the nucleus of a new Russian self-confidence in the ruins of the crumbling Soviet Union.”
  But: “In doing so, the new Tsar exposed himself to a systematic campaign by Europe’s remote-controlled media and their political whisperers to undermine the strategic consolidation of Russia, still a fearsome nuclear power, through internal subversion and the imposition of sanctions.”
  And: “You don’t have to be a ‘Putin-Versteher’ to understand that the offer of an economic association of Ukraine with the European Union is perceived in the Kremlin as a precursor of an expansion of Nato to the east beyond the Dniester and Dnieper. [...] The expectation that Barack Obama would take into account the imperatives of the new world political multipolarity proved to be an illusion.”

History and the present

Finally, Peter Scholl-Latour looks further back into history:

“I recall the shady conditions that prevailed during the Second World War in Eastern Galicia, in the former Austrian and Polish parts of what is now Western Ukraine. [...] From the newspaper ‘Le Monde’, which is currently at the forefront of the anti-Putin campaign in France, I take the following quote: ‘The Nazis believed they could assimilate the population living west of the Dnieper. East of it they waged a war of extermination [...] In western Ukraine the Germans were often received as liberators.’ There [...] '150 000 Ukrainian nationalists enlisted in the Waffen-SS or defence militias [...] they were indispensable for the execution of the Shoa. In the Belzec camp (600 000 victims) there were only fifteen to twenty German soldiers.’”

And he makes references to the present:
“During the Maidan riots in 2014, militarily organised shock troops set out from the vicinity of Lviv [...] invoking the national hero Stephan Bandera in their fight for a westward-oriented regime, even though he had hunted down Poles, Russians and Jews during the time of the General Government established by Nazis. But no one in the West apparently dares to touch on this dark past [...].” •

(Translation Current Concerns)

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