On 7 January 2023, the Swiss weekly Die Weltwoche published an interview with Emmanuel Todd, an internationally renowned French anthropologist, demographer and historian. The interview has the title quoted above. There is an internet address where German readers can also access the text: https://weltwoche.ch/story/in-diesem-krieg-geht-es-um-deutschland/?postcomments. The text is not free of charge, but I can highly recommend reading it.
Emmanuel Todd: “The West’s behaviour is a mystery to me.”
Let us start with a few extensive quotes from the interview, uncommented.
“All the newspapers are writing: The West is normal and Putin is insane. The Russians are bloodthirsty monsters. Demography says otherwise: Russia has become more stable and its society more civilised. What is happening in Russia is perfectly clear to me. I understand Putin’s thinking and actions and can explain it in three minutes. [...] The behaviour of the West is a complete mystery to me.” [Translation of all quotes by Current Concerns]
Todd is asked, “Who is responsible for the sabotage of Nord Stream?”
His answer: “The Americans, of course. But this is irrelevant. It is normal. The important question is: How can a society believe that it could have been the Russians? We are dealing with an inversion of possible reality. This is much worse. [...] My activity as an author began with the essay on the collapse of the Soviet Union. I want to conclude it with a work of reason on the Third World War. I refuse to accept the prevailing loss of reality which particularly Europeans are suffering from, and I want to try to understand it. [...] Europeans are mouthing off about peace and the spread of their humanist values without an army. They have lost their geopolitical thinking. Between the offensive strategy of the Americans and the defensive strategy of the Russians, Europeans are in a breath-taking state of mental confusion. This is especially true for Germany.”
“The expansion of NATO in Eastern Europe was not primarily
directed against Russia, but against Germany”
“The financial crisis of 2008 made it clear that with its reunification Germany became the leading power in Europe and thus also a rival to the USA. Until 1989, it was a political dwarf. Now Berlin showed its willingness to deal with the Russians. The fight against this rapprochement became a priority of American strategy. [...] The expansion of NATO in Eastern Europe was not primarily directed against Russia, but against Germany. Germany, which had entrusted its security to America, became a target for the Americans.”
“The West provoked Russia. The American political scientist John Mearsheimer has soberly noted that the cooperation of the British and Americans with [Ukraine’s army] effectively made Ukraine a NATO member. It was armed to attack Russia. Putin’s attack was a defensive invasion. He had announced this response and threatened war. [...] Mearsheimer argued that Ukraine was of existential importance to Russia. He thought Putin’s victory was a certainty. But he also thought that the USA would give up Ukraine. On this second point, he was wrong. This war is also existentially important for them: if Russia wins, the imperial system of the United States will collapse. Their debt is phenomenal. To maintain its prosperity, the US depends on the tribute of other countries.”
Todd is then asked, “But was Ukraine really planning an attack on Russia?”
His answer: “It was in preparation. Together with America, Great Britain and Poland, Ukraine wanted to recapture the Russian – really Russian! – territories in the Donbass. Including Crimea.”
Russia’s war in Ukraine is “a defensive war”
And what is the Russian strategy?
“Their strategy relies on the ‘longue durée’ of American decline. America is compensating for it with pressure on its old protégées. Control over Europe – especially Germany – and Japan has become its priority. Chirac, Schröder and Putin protested against its war in Iraq in a joint press conference. Since then, America has achieved what is called the ‘Gleichschaltung’ of Europe in German. The rest of the world, however, goes with Russia. When it was communist, it spread fear and terror. It was atheistic, imperialistic. Today, Russia stands for a conservative world view and defends the sovereignty of peoples and nations, all of which have a right to exist.”
Todd also gives an answer to the question of whether the war could have been avoided:
“Putin had demanded that the language be respected in the Russian-speaking regions. And he wanted Ukraine not to join NATO. This war could have been avoided. [...] Germany and France are partly responsible. They were constantly in Kiev. Europe dreamed of expanding eastwards, into Ukraine. The Russian reaction was triggered by the military build-up, training and ‘advising’ of the Ukrainian army. If NATO had refrained from making Ukraine part of its military disposition, this war would not have happened. [...] Donetsk is a hundred kilometres from the Russian border. The distance to Washington is 8,400 kilometres. The war is taking place on Russia’s border. That is another reason why it is a defensive war – a defensive war.”
“The West has lost its values
and is in a spiral of self-destruction”
The war in Ukraine had become a world war. With what outcome?
“If Russia survives, keeps the Donbass and Crimea, if its economy continues to function and it can reorganise its trade relations with China and India, then America has lost the war. And consequently, it will lose its allies. That is why America and NATO will carry on. And that is why it is a world war that will last. Its main cause is the crisis of the West. [...] The West has lost its values and is in a spiral of self-destruction.”
Such an interview in the established German media would currently not be possible at present. For today’s official Germany, Emmanuel Todd’s statements would be “Russian propaganda” or “conspiracy ideology”. The country’s politicians and the mainstream media are not prepared to critically examine their entrenched positions. They like to play the role of the “good guys” in the fight against “evil”.
What is Germany’s “leadership role”?
On 13 January, an SPD politician, Michael Roth, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the German Bundestag, pleaded in Deutschlandfunk to “preserve freedom and democracy in Ukraine” by all means. However, he did not mention that opposition parties and media critical of the government are banned in Ukraine. Instead, he announced: “Make peace with more weapons.” Wherever they may end up? Whatever they are used against?
The German mainstream media are almost unanimous: Russia and its president alone are to blame for the war, and Germany must supply more weapons to Ukraine. This is how headlines like the following come about: “Have courage, Mr. Chancellor! You don’t have to be afraid of Russia” (Focus, 6 January 2023) The article reads: “Whatever Germany supplies to Ukraine to help it – the Russians will not ‘escalate’ – not against Germany, not against Europe, not against NATO. And why? Because they can’t, they are too weak to do so, for which the course of the Ukraine war so far is the striking proof. There is no need to be afraid of these Russians.” The recommendation for German “leadership” is therefore: “The Chancellor could put himself at the head of a diplomatic movement with the aim of Europe supplying Ukraine with the equipment it needs. The Americans have explicitly encouraged the Germans to do so; now the Germans themselves just need to be courageous.”
The, the US is “encouraging” the Germans to go to war even more. Words can lie like that. In 1900, during the colonial war against the Chinese Boxers, British Admiral Seymour cried, “The Germans to the front.” Also, Nazi Germany’s war of extermination against the Soviet Union was very much to the liking of many in the “free West”.
A “moral line that the federal government should not have crossed”
However, the reaction of the Russian embassy in Germany on 6 January 2023 to the German plans for more and more arms deliveries is not quoted. That is why it is reproduced here:
“From our side, we emphasise once again that the deliveries of lethal and heavy weapons to the Kiev regime, which are being used not only against Russian military forces but also against the civilian population in the Donbass, represent the moral limit that the Federal Government should not have crossed. This is true in view of Germany’s historical responsibility towards our people for Nazi crimes during World War II. [...] With this decision by Berlin, it is becoming increasingly clear that the Federal Republic and the collective West are not interested in seeking a peaceful solution to the conflict. Their efforts have de facto turned Ukraine into a military training ground and instrumentalised the Ukrainian people to achieve the West’s geopolitical goals, prolonging hostilities and causing senseless casualties and destruction. Berlin’s decision to supply heavy weapons to the Kiev regime will seriously affect German-Russian relations.”
Once before in German history, Germans believed in an “Endsieg” (ultimate victory). They had fallen for the propaganda – and were bitterly mistaken. The price was high. Now, once again, everything that had distinguished German thinking after the Second World War is being thrown overboard. The preparations for this have been in progress for 30 years. At the time, critics spoke of “salami tactics” when German Defence Minister Volker Rühe (CDU) argued in the early 1990s for a new, militarised self-image of German foreign policy that could only be achieved in small steps. Now we see where official Germany intends to end up. The price will once again be high. •
1 On 9 January 2023, Ted Galen Carpenter of the US Cato Institute published an insightful article on Ukraine in The American Conservative magazine. The title: “False democracy. Ukraine is not the bastion of freedom described by most Western media”.
2 On 15 December a survey, commissioned by the trade union Otto Brenner Foundation – Maurer, Marcus/Haßler, Jörg/Jost, Pablo was published; “Die Qualität der Medienberichterstattung über den Ukraine-Krieg“ [The Quality of Media Coverage on the Ukraine War]. It emphasised that the content-analytically for the period from 24 February to 31 May 2022 the contents 4,300 articles were anaylised. The results: more than 90 % of the media articles in the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung”, “Süddeutsche Zeitung”, “Bild-Zeitung”, Der Spiegel, Die Zeit and ARD Tagesschau, ZDF heute and RTL Aktuell declared Russia and its president to be guilty of the war and – in marked contrast to the German population – around 75 % advocated military support for Ukraine. The media portrayed the German Foreign Minister Baerbock and the Ukrainian President Zelensky most positively, while the German Chancellor was criticised for his reluctance to supply weapons.
km. According to a representative survey by the opinion research institute Forsa (4003 respondents in the period from 15 to 22 December 2022), Germans’ confidence in their political institutions has fallen in all areas and in some cases considerably compared to the previous year. The German Federal Government and the Federal Chancellor suffered the greatest loss of trust. Only 34 % of those surveyed still trust the Federal Government, 22 % less than in the previous year. The Federal Chancellor is trusted by only 33 % of those surveyed, which is even 24 % less than in the previous year. Germans trust the country’s political parties the least, namely only 17 % of those surveyed. This is 7 % less than in the previous year. The EU comes second to last. 31 % trust it. Here, too, it is 7 % less than in the previous year. On behalf of the broadcasters RTL and ntv, Forsa has been asking Germans once a year for 15 years about their trust in their political institutions. For the year 2022, RTL and ntv spoke of a “drastic collapse in confidence”.
Source: https://www.rtl.de/cms/rtl-ntv-trendbarometer-das-vertrauen-in-alle-politischen-institutionen-sinkt-drastisch-5023517.html of 3 January 2023
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