European Energy Trap

The original failure is not the energy dependence of Europeans from Russia

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2022 by Uwe Bahr

One can imagine how the situation would be now with an American president Donald Trump. Someone in Moscow would rub their hands, and the unity in the appearance of the Europeans would hardly be as determined as it is at present. Hopefully, politicians from Brussels to Berlin and London to Paris remember in this hour that already the next president of the United States might not be a transatlantic friend like Joe Biden.

While his approval rating is dropping dangerously at home, Biden can score points abroad and improve the U.S.’s international standing. But that doesn’t sit well with many of his compatriots, who think along the lines of “America first” and thus in reality support autocratic aspirations – a dangerous path that Trump had already led the U.S. down. Biden’s increasing unpopularity is unlikely to change due to the fact that the Europeans now actually want to buy environmentally harmful fracking gas from overseas.

It is hard to understand why ludicrous sanctions exist against Russian private citizens while the real lever that helps finance Putin’s war on Ukraine is left untouched. Germany, for example – according to Robert Habeck (Alliance 90/The Greens), Federal Minister of Economics and Climate Protection, – is still dependent on Russian natural gas until mid-2024 and is using this argument as justification to continue trading with Russia. A unified and convincing policy against Putin looks different, who now wants the natural gas to be paid for in rubles. Perhaps Germany will experience its decisive showdown next week, when one of the two sides will have to relent. So far, it is hard to imagine that Putin will give in.

A loss of Russian gas supplies would have a devastating impact not only on the German economy and most private households, but also on the entire European market. For the announced gas supplies from America can only cover ten percent of Europe’s demand in the short term.

There has long been criticism that Germany and Europe have become too dependent on Russia, and now we are seeing the consequences. But Germany’s energy agreements – given the country’s long and guilt-laden history with Russia – were seen not least as a guarantee of mutual trust by building reciprocal dependencies. It was assumed that the Russians would have no interest in completely throwing themselves over with us if they themselves have advantages through economic cooperation.

The project has failed. But how to solve the world’s problems without a giant country like Russia? Russia cannot be downgraded or dissolved. Isolated, it would be a constant threat to world peace.

The long-term mistakes were not made in the energy sector, but in geostrategic matters. The West, under U.S. leadership, has not made consistent efforts since the 1990s to integrate Russia into security structures while providing security guarantees to bordering countries without integrating them into NATO and thus not cornering Russia.

From the very beginning there have been no serious efforts to transform the former Soviet Union into a partner after its disintegration. If this had happened, even in America today hardly anyone would be talking about Europeans’ energy dependence on Russia.

German State Secretary: Refugees across the Atlantic as well

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2022 by Uwe Bahr

Visiting a shelter for Ukrainian refugees today in Hannover, Lower Saxony, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) said every country in Europe must take in refugees. She added: “We must also bring people across the Atlantic.” Given the dramatic situation in Germany and the economic capability of the countries on the American continent, she could only have meant Canada and the USA.

The German Foreign Minister’s demand is more than justified. The refugees from Ukraine are clearly an overall responsibility of the West due to its misguided policies towards Russia in the 1990’s. In concrete terms, this means that all NATO countries should be required to accept refugees from Ukraine, as the Alliance as a whole has been moving its external border closer and closer to Russia since 1999, thereby unnecessarily provoking the country. Of course, this does not entitle Russia to the war in which it is now bogged down. But the disintegrating Soviet Union should have been treated more carefully by the West, instead of pushing it into the corner of a possibly Asian peripheral power via the American Wolfowitz Doctrine.

Germany’s Secretary of State Annalena Baerbock (Alliance 90/The Greens).

In the meantime, it has almost been forgotten that in 1990 there were even brief considerations of admitting the Soviet Union to NATO.

At that time, there were many opportunities to integrate Russia into European security structures based on reciprocity. These opportunities have been punitively squandered. A prudent policy by the West would have made this bonding possible under the acceptance not to impose Western-style democracy on Russia. Anyone who was able to observe the political upheavals in Eastern Europe at the end of the 1980’s from close quarters knows that this is true.

Now the European Union expects ten million refugees from Ukraine – that would be a quarter of the country’s entire population. This represents an enormous social burden and at the same time an opportunity for the entire West, including the U.S., to show its true Christian commitment.

A Human Disaster

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2022 by Uwe Bahr

In 2015, Germany mastered the refugee crisis with flying colors – it is remarkable how a million people were integrated into what was already Europe’s most populous country. But now I am anything but optimistic. Special trains from Warsaw carrying Ukrainian refugees reach the German capital Berlin almost at hourly intervals. 10,000 people arrive here alone every day.

The solidarity of the local population still holds.

At Berlin’s main train station, numerous signs in Russian and Ukrainian warn young women in particular not to accept overnight offers from private individuals. Most refugees are women and children. If they do not register upon arrival, every trace is lost. The police patrol everywhere.

On the tarmac of Berlin-Tegel Airport, which was shut down in November 2020 and where my wife and I had landed just three years ago, an arrival center was opened where refugees are registered, cared for and then transported on to other federal states in Germany. The City of Leipzig has already signaled that it has reached its intake capacity.

The German government now assumes that one million refugees from Ukraine will end up in Germany, almost 300,000 of whom are already in the country. But this figure is vague, because no one knows how long the war will last. And it can hardly be assumed that most of the refugees want to return to their destroyed country.

By comparison, the U.S. is about 27 times larger than Germany, but it has barely four times as many inhabitants.

This is the largest movement of refugees in Europe since 1944/45, when 14 million people from the former German eastern territories were fleeing the approaching Soviet army at the end of World War II. One of them was my father from East Prussia.

Spied on by Communists

The Secret State Police of the GDR had me in their sights

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2022 by Uwe Bahr

The vernacular called the Ministry for State Security of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) summarily “Stasi” or “Peek and Listen.” It was not as harmless as it sounded on the surface. The Stasi, abbreviated for “Staatssicherheit”, was not a civilian secret service, but a military institution.

They called themselves the “shield and sword of the party,” the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED). Under this emblem they observed, denounced, blackmailed, harassed millions and destroyed the lives of thousands: The Stasi.

When this German Democratic Republic went down, I was 29 years old. Like most people, I didn’t dare in the communist dictatorship to be a real resistance fighter. I was rather one of those who often stood there with clenched fists in their pockets and often burned their mouths – sometimes close enough to expose themselves to the danger of the State Security Service. So, I was more of a dissenter, of which there were a few. Otherwise, the non-violent revolution that swept the country in the fall of 1989 and led to the fall of the Berlin Wall would not have been possible. There is no way to make a revolution with people who have adapted to a ruling system.

Anger pent up over the years about the government, which had not been freely elected, erupted into this revolution. It was about freedom rights and democracy, with freedom of travel at the top of the list. It was like a kettle that suddenly boiled over, setting off a chain of events that led to the fall of the Wall more by accident than design.

Of course, I knew at the time that the Stasi existed – but not how intensively they spied on people in their own country. I could not imagine having people in my immediate environment who cowardly and secretly passed on information about me to a communist power organ. Yet in the course of the last few years, I have read more and more books about the Stasi and its practices. Remembering my own experiences, especially in 1985, when I got into serious trouble because of political remarks, I became curious after so long about my own situation at that time – especially how close I came to being harmed. So, I would like to have certainty.

Now I have proof.

Invalid since 1990: Third page of my GDR identity card, issued December 27, 1988.

Unlike the secret documents in the other states of the former Warsaw Pact, the Stasi files were made accessible after German reunification. Anyone who wishes to do so can submit an application and try to find out whether he or she was classified by the GDR secret service as a “person potentially dangerous to the socialistic state”. I filed such an application a year ago and have now received the notification.

In the decisive passage of the letter from Berlin to me it says: “[Our] research has shown that you were recorded in the files of the State Security Service of the former German Democratic Republic. The registration indicates that documents on your person may exist.” Due to the high number of application processing, it can take up to two years before I can receive more detailed information. If this information exists, of course I would like to know what the communists wrote down about me and who was set on me. Because even for the aliases of the spies, their clear names can be requested.

In the months following the fall of the Berlin Wall until German reunification on October 3, 1990, the Stasi had attempted to destroy as much evidence of its espionage activities as possible. In most cases, the documents were shredded, but to this day the Stasi Archive in Berlin is still trying to piece together these mountains of paper scraps with the help of computer technology.

The End of Globalization

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2022 by Uwe Bahr

The headline to my blog page is “Wind of Change.” However, this is not how I imagined the changes – I have to say that honestly. It is a caesura in the lives of people, especially in Europe, that was considered unthinkable just a few weeks ago.

When the war in Ukraine ends one day, Putin will be sitting on a pile of rubble that he conquered, isolated from most of the world. He is already turning to China as an ally because there is nothing else left for him. Once again, humanity is facing a division into hostile power blocks: We are returning to a phase of power politics that defined the European modern era from the 15th into the 20th century and that we thought we had overcome – but that we have now fallen back into.

These are anything but good prospects for the West, because it believed – correctly – that all problems of mankind can only be solved globally, which means: with at least the largest powers of this earth on one and the same side. Because the climate crisis, the hunger crisis in the southern part of the globe, and the refugee movements, such as now from Ukraine, do not stop at national borders. Instead, achieving these goals will now be even further away.

Where Trump had failed for the time being with his “America First” policy, Putin is now much more advanced in his own, Russian sense (which is why the two got along so well). This means: Only what I want counts – and I can enforce that by any means, even by force if necessary (see storming of the Capitol on January 6, 2021). Such political means fall under the category of “autocracy.” That was the concession for the stunning decision of 75 million Trump voters in the U.S. in 2020, many of whom believe to this day that this election was rigged.

From now on, globalization in its true sense will no longer be practicable, because the world community is falling back into power blocks, with all these global problems becoming a matter of negotiation that always result in mediocre compromises instead of really tackling the problems. Moreover, the world sees itself divided into two ideological, fundamentally opposed camps: Authoritarian states on the one hand, democratic ones on the other – with even the U.S. a shaky candidate, as Christian pseudo-conservatives reject progress in a fierce determination to fight anything that threatens their supposed values.

In addition, there is a threat of social unrest in countries like Germany, because the reversion to high levels of armaments means that budget funds are being reallocated to unproductive areas like the military, which are then – logically – lacking elsewhere. Unlike people in the U.S., however, Germans are not used to being abandoned by their welfare state. The German government is already talking about subsidizing gasoline and heating costs so that the burdens on citizens do not rise ad infinitum.

Putin has succeeded in destroying the global world order. The consequences will be catastrophic worldwide. This will also be felt by those who still live with their heads in the sand and believe that they alone can solve their country’s problems with feigned ostentation.

The “Me First” policy will come with a dear price.

Only China can make Putin see Reason

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2022 by Uwe Bahr

Putin will never succeed in bringing all of Ukraine under his control. I am sure that is not his intention either. Contrary to Western assumptions, the man is not a lunatic, far from it – he knows how to play his cards. He is a Machiavellian. Therefore, he also knows what could exceed the forces of his country.

If anyone at all can mediate in this conflict, it is not the Americans, and certainly not the Europeans. Europeans no longer play any role at all in the big decisions. China – to the detriment of the USA – has the decisive key role to play. If Putin listens to anyone at all, it is Chinese leader Xi Jinping. For the same reason, all channels of communication with Putin must be kept open if the war in Ukraine is to be ended as quickly as possible. As things stand, there will be no other way.

Even then, Putin is unlikely to back down from his demands: Recognition of Crimea as Russian territory, the same for the Donbass, but above all: a guarantee by the West of Ukraine’s neutrality. If peace is wanted – and this peace must come – then this is the price that the West will have to pay for its reckless policy of hubris toward Russia.

The only other possibility would be to bring Russia to its knees militarily or, in the end, even economically. Neither seems very realistic, as Biden’s “no” vote on fighter jets from Poland for Ukraine underscores. It would provoke Russia even more with devastating consequences for the whole of Europe. Here, the West is already showing signs of giving in. And the more the West fights Russia with sanctions, the more it brings the majority of patriotic Russians to Putin’s side.

Even the pictures of protests in Moscow do not change that. For more than a generation, the majority of Russians have wondered what the country actually fought for and won in World War II – only to lose so much again afterwards under its own concession. One has to put oneself in this position of Russian patriots – of a country which was, after all, allied with the USA in the last Great War. All this is directly related to the war in Ukraine.

The other victorious nation, the United States, after the destruction of Hitler’s Germany and with far fewer casualties than the Soviet Union, did not shrink a square inch, did not lose power, although it too has since instigated unjust wars in other parts of the world.

Lindsey Graham wants a Stauffenberg in Moscow

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2022 by Uwe Bahr

US Senator Lindsey Olin Graham from South Carolina asks for a Stauffenberg in the ranks of the Russian leadership to “eliminate Putin”, referring seriously to the failed assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler on July 20th, 1944, at Wolfsschanze (Wolf’s Lair) in Rastenburg/East Prussia. Only someone who either has not the foggiest clue of the historical background himself or believes he can delude an uneducated part of his own people unable to distinguish an X from a W, can publicly express such a pathological train of thought.

At the same time, an American politician would be well advised these days to avoid any historical proximity to the time of World War II if he wants to attack Putin at least verbally.

For at the time when Stauffenberg and consorts were trying to prove the Aryan superiority of Hitler’s ideology, Mr. Graham’s country was allied with a dictator who was not only a Communist and a Bolshevik but, according to American historians, was every bit the tyrant Hitler: Joseph Stalin, the leader of the Soviet Union, predecessor of today’s Russia.

Is Mr. Graham even aware that just a few years before the Americans allied with the Bolsheviks, Stalin deliberately starved millions to death – in Ukraine, of all places? Or is the man really that ignorant? Who does he think he can sell his story to?

It is unknown to me to date that there was even one single American politician at the time, at least until the Berlin Blockade, who would have publicly called for the assassination of the mass murderer Joseph Stalin, the ally of the USA. On the contrary – in their books, historians such as Thomas Flemming and David McCullough unanimously describe that U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked Soviet leader Joseph Stalin if he could call him “Uncle Joe.”

Apart from that, the comparison with Hitler’s assassin, Colonel Graf Schenk von Stauffenberg, is completely nonsensical from a historical point of view, because the assassination coup in the Wolfsschanze in East Prussia was amateurishly carried out by a military clique that could not get close enough to Hitler beforehand and courted him wherever possible. Without the same officers, Hitler could not have started his wars of aggression in the first place. It was only after Stalingrad, the collapse of Army Group Center, and the Allied landings in Normandy six weeks earlier that most Germans realized the war was no longer winnable, and only then did Stauffenberg decide to kill Hitler.

Not a single one of this military clique had the courage to stand in front of Hitler with the pistol drawn and shoot the Fuehrer at close range. It would have been easy to eliminate Hitler in this way – long before July 20. For Hitler did not give much thought to security measures for himself until shortly before the end of the war – because he believed that he had been chosen by fate to redeem the German people.

Incidentally, the Germans also have their difficulties with the interpretation of their own history. Every year the conspirators of July 20th are commemorated in Berlin’s Bendlerblock, while those who were murdered for their genuine resistance immediately after Hitler’s seizure of power or before are given secondary attention everywhere in today’s Germany. This concerns the tens of thousands who were imprisoned and died in the first concentration camps as early as 1933: unnamed communists, socialists, Christians, trade unionists, social democrats, centrist politicians.

Of the noble officers, with few exceptions, most made common cause with Hitler or were in tacit acceptance until they saw that all was lost. In his book “Mein Kampf” (My Struggle) and his speeches Hitler never made a secret about his true intentions. With Putin, however, things are somewhat different. The war he conducts is as much a crime like the war was in Vietnam – but it does not make him a Hitler or Stalin.

Of all things, to associate a Nazi officer, albeit one who turned in the end, with an assassination of Putin shows a lack of knowledge that extends to naivety. Graham’s remark is an insult not to Putin but to the Russian soul, whereas the American probably knows the name Stauffenberg only from a movie with Tom Cruise, in which not even Stauffenberg’s uniform is properly depicted, not to mention the historical sequence of events. So how would a Mr. Graham know that the memory of the Great Patriotic War is still very much alive in today’s Russia, since the country suffered by far the most casualties in World War II?

The Americans who buy Graham’s gossip should educate themselves before they fall for such disastrous nonsense. The senseless American Rambo talk does not help especially the people in Ukraine.

We threw Chestnuts at Soviet Military Vehicles

Germany intends to deliver GDR Strela anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine

Germany intends these days … to deliver 2,700 shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles from former NVA stocks to Ukraine. For the record, the NVA (Nationale Volksarmee) was the National People’s Army of the German Democratic Republic (GDR), commonly known in the U.S. – and not entirely historically accurate – as the former communist East Germany. Like the same state, this army has ceased to exist since 1990.

Germany delivers 2,700 surface-to-air missiles from GDR stock to Ukraine

The military utensil (the official term is 9K32-Strela-2, but there is absolutely no military expert talking in me) is ironically of Soviet design and now to be used in Ukraine against Russian invading forces. It has been in service since 1968, and there has hardly been a conflict hotspot during and since the Cold War in which this weapon has not been deployed. Among others, the Viet Cong also used it against the Americans in the Vietnam War.

Around the same time – we were eight or nine years old – a school friend and I, crouched behind a cemetery wall, threw chestnuts at passing Soviet military vehicles. When one of these vehicles stopped and we heard a loud Russian voice, we almost wet our pants and ran away.

We had actually been told in school to always wave to the Soviet convoys whenever we saw them on the road – because according to official propaganda, they were considered “our liberators from fascism.” But that didn’t really catch on. At the same time, my father was a great admirer of the American Apollo space flights. There I was confronted with the other extreme early in life: For it was Hitler’s former scientists who decisively helped the Americans win the race to the moon during the Cold War. My father’s influence was unconsciously reflected in my thinking, which could not follow the communist propaganda. I feel with almost similar mixed feelings about the portrayals in most news broadcasts today. All this together is probably the material for a whole book.

According to the official GDR account of that time, the Soviets were our friends, but in large parts of the population it was not seen that way. The GDR, a state about two-thirds the size of Florida, was frontline Warsaw Pact territory and therefore fully occupied by Soviet troops. They were omnipresent in the daily street scene, although strangely we hardly came into contact with them.

The chestnuts of 1969 against Soviet military have of course achieved nothing, and yet they were – in a figurative sense – probably trendsetting. For in the fall of 1989, peaceful protests in the Eastern Bloc, not chestnuts and certainly not tanks, led to the end of the Cold War. Mikhail Gorbachev’s policy of “glasnost and perestroika”, which means “openness, transparency and reformation”, led to the peaceful withdrawal of the Soviets from Middle and Eastern Europe. When two weapons-staring systems faced each other, things could have gone very differently, despite the supposed weakness of one of the opponents (we see it today with Russia). But in the decades to come, the West has struck at the outstretched hand of the Russians several times and without careful consideration. Without necessity, one did not understand how to turn a previous enemy into a partner.

And now there is a war in Europe, of which no one can say how the conflict would be resolved even after a ceasefire – from the point of view of both sides, the West as well as Russia, by the way. But the beginning of the 1990s proved how peace and security can be achieved: through dialogue, by approaching each other – in no case with more and more weapons.

One would think that the so-called Christianity of the Occident should understand and support Gorbachev’s option better than anyone else, but unfortunately, in the history of the world, the opposite has usually been the case.

Therefore, a Christian who advocates weapons remains for me a very strange Christian, because he permanently disregards his own principles instead of leaving everything to his dear God.

“Fuck The EU”

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2022 by Uwe Bahr

Do we remember the following? https://www.theguardian.com/…/eu-us-diplomat-victoria…

This is not meant to justify Vladimir Putin’s actions in Ukraine – on the contrary. But it may be recalled how Washington and also the European Union tried to manipulate the opposition they preferred in Ukraine after Viktor Yanukovych, a pro-Russian president, came to office in 2010 in a recognized election.

Western interference came to light when a bugged telephone conversation between U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and U.S. Ambassador to Kiev, Geoffrey Ross Pyatt, was leaked in 2014 on the internet.

By “Fuck the EU,” Mrs. Nuland was referring to the European Union’s reluctance to support the stricter U.S. intent to “arrange” a pro-Western course for Ukraine by manipulating Ukrainian opposition against Russia and for its (the West’s) own interests.

At that time, then U.S. President Barack Obama had repeatedly assured the world public that the U.S. would not interfere in the internal affairs of Ukraine. This was a lie that came to light openly through the phone call.

It has long been confirmed that the 2013/14 protests on the Maidan in Kiev, the perseverance of the masses in freezing cold in tent cities, was a subversion financed by the United States and the European Union.

The West is partly to blame for the fate of Ukraine, because for years it has ostensibly pursued only its own interests and not the interests of the people of Ukraine. The compassion of ordinary people today, who want to help, is real – the “compassion” of the West is hypocritical.

As always, it is the people who have to suffer. This is what we are now witnessing in Ukraine, and the accompanying hypocritical chatter of the Europeans at the expense of the suffering population in Ukraine is hard to bear. The West should be ashamed of itself.

U-Turn in Germany

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2022 by Uwe Bahr

Due to the events in Ukraine and under pressure from other European countries, my homeland is now supplying weapons after all, contrary to all earlier objections. And that’s not all: Suddenly, a government of Social Democrats, Free Democrats and Greens, of all people, wants to provide the German armed forces with a rearmament program of historic proportions. A decades-long, consistent policy with key points of détente and disarmament has been turned upside down from one day to the next.

It is incomprehensible that now suddenly it is pretended that disarmament and arms control encouraged a despot like Putin to invade Ukraine. Currently, NATO spends 18 times more money on armaments than the largest country in the world – Russia. Did this prevent the war in Ukraine? How will the world put Russia in its place? Attack the country with nuclear weapons? The end of any civilization on the whole globe would be preprogrammed.

It would be fatal if Germany now entered the arms race beyond the means of alliance and self-defense, perhaps to wage war in other countries. Is that the way to impress someone like Putin? Or should German soldiers end up going to war against Russia once again?

What have the Americans achieved with their highly modern army, the most expensive military in the world, in a third-world country like Afghanistan, sent by politicians with the biggest mouths? In the end, sandal-clad, medieval god warriors in captured American uniforms and American military equipment were parading through the neighborhood. Or is that not true? Americans have run away, and not for the first time. How much does it actually take before even the biggest fools realize that there is no war of aggression to be won in the 21st century? Perhaps Putin will feel the effects of this now as well.

Are the industrialized countries now falling back into the mentality of the 19th and 20th century world? No one in his right mind can want that.

Mankind is threatened by another danger of which many are obviously not yet aware: Man-made climate change, which is having an increasingly rapid impact and which only reality-impaired wafflers can deny. More and more guns instead of climate protection – is that what we have to live with now?