A German Mr. Scholz in Vietnam

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2022 by Uwe Bahr

The Americans have committed unspeakable wartime atrocities in this Southeast Asian country, and now the German chancellor Olaf Scholz, of all people, expects Vietnam to take a clear stand against Russia in the Ukraine war. But during his visit today, the country’s communist leadership gave him the cold shoulder.

Every German politician should keep out of it. In Vietnam, the war against the American aggressor is deeply etched in the collective memory. And it was mainly the then Soviet Union that massively supported North Vietnam. How can anyone today seriously expect Vietnam to oppose Russia and side with the Americans, of all people? Put yourself in the shoes of a Vietnamese of my generation who lost siblings, parents, relatives to the American bombing, “body count” and Agent Orange war.

But the deep meaning of Germany’s intentions is discernible. Once again, Berlin proves its almost unconditional Nibelung loyalty to the Biden administration and now as its agent of fulfillment. For it is clear where the foreign policy pressure to have fewer trade relations with China comes from, so that Washington can push back its main economic competitor, China.

However, China is Germany’s most important trading partner. Olaf Scholz’s attempt to kill two birds with one stone in Vietnam is bound to fail. He will be lucky if the Vietnamese agree to new trade arrangements with Germany that could compensate, at least in small parts, for reduced trade with China. Once again, Germany is fatally complying with U.S. expectations, to its own detriment.

“Only Interests”

Henry Kissinger’s words bear witness to the United States of America

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2022 by Uwe Bahr

Really? What is CNN, a media funded by neoliberal corporations, alluding to (see image below)? To a part of the left-liberal, young voters who come from wealthy families and have enough time to cheer for a president who could be their spooky great-grandfather? Young people who support neoliberalism in ways not fundamentally different from the view of the Republican Party? Or perhaps more likely young Americans who are far more sympathetic to the progressive wing of the Democrats and don’t care if they are called “socialists” for it? The latter would be a real attempt at change in this country that could provide social justice and greater equality to overcome the abysmal rifts in American society.

Informing instead of agitating: good journalism is about objectively reflecting what is happening, not engaging in politics itself to pull public opinion in a particular direction. But the latter is exactly what networks like Fox News and CNN, bought by the ruling moneyed elite, are doing.

But Joe Biden is not the right President for that.

These elections will not change the aggressive nature of this country either. The leading country in the world stands for an ancient, Manchester-like capitalist economic system with a dazed president who calls himself a capitalist because he is afraid to go down in the history books as some kind of socialist pope otherwise. A president who, even more than his predecessor, pursues the policy of “America First” and takes no account of the allies on the other side of the Atlantic, because own interests, world supremacy and greed for profit have absolute priority for the USA. A president who drags America into everything that will sooner or later hurt the country just as it did under Trump.

For the USA, true friends and partnership have no value. After all, partnership means working together at eye level. The sanctions policy against Russia imposed by the U.S. on the Europeans benefits no one more than the Americans, who on top of that are trying to lure European and especially German companies to their country with economically unilateral measures. If anything, U.S. allies serve only as a means to an end for the moment. The German government, in particular, is too stupid to grasp this fact and continues to believe in the USA as its great friend.

As Henry Kissinger, a Republican, said: “America has no eternal friends and no eternal enemies, only interests.”

These words bear witness to the United States of America.

Alluring Southern States: Aldi at the Gates

German Retail Chains Expand in the USA

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2022 by Uwe Bahr

Aldi in Blairsville (North Georgia) has supposedly been in the planning stages since 2019, long before the energy crisis in Europe began. However, German public TV channels recently reported that the German discounter is reducing the opening hours of its stores in its country of origin due to exorbitant increases in energy costs. Looking at America, however, it is extremely striking to see how many German grocery stores are currently being built in the comparatively poor south of the USA, and I would not like to know how many Aldi’s and Lidl’s are closing their doors forever in Germany in return. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find any details on this so far.

Aldi in my hometown Wolmirstedt, federal state Saxony-Anhalt, Germany

It is not only the lower energy prices and taxes that make the USA so popular as an industrial location. Above all, the absence of a balanced collective bargaining system and the widespread absence of trade unions, especially in the southern United States, mean that companies find extremely favorable conditions for maximum profits – not least because they are largely free to determine the welfare of their employees at any time.

In the eight years I worked for Walmart, I was told more than once, “Just to be clear – the word ‘union’ does not exist in our store. We handle our problems internally.” – I didn’t take that very seriously at the time, especially since I had classified unions in Germany as extortionists anyway. That may have been true for Germany 30 years ago – but there, and even more so in the U.S. with its neoliberal economic system, I think unions are indispensable today to ensure workers’ rights.

I literally experienced firsthand how important this is. For a double hernia I contracted while working at Walmart, I had to pay part of the medical bills out of pocket, even though I was covered by health insurance – a higher four-digit sum that would have taken me years to pay under my circumstances in the U.S. at the time. Instead, I was able to pay the bill immediately with funds generated not in the U.S. but in my home country.

Those who have the favor of circumstance on their side are fortunate not to have to earn a living from lower- or middle-income sources in an area like North Georgia. The neighborhood occasionally reminds the outside observer of a Third World country, or someone like me of living conditions experienced in the former Eastern Bloc during the Cold War. This is also something I would not have thought possible in my earlier notions about the USA, long before I moved here. I say this not with condescending intent, but because this is my inevitable assessment after almost 12 years.

So far, every worker in Germany has been spared an experience like mine as a Walmart employee, since such treatment would still be classified illegal in Western Europe – but I don’t want to sign off on that statement much longer. Who knows how things will develop in my home country in these uncertain times. Sanctions against other countries come back as a boomerang, that’s nothing new either. The ongoing neoliberal globalization and the urge of the West, led by the USA, to impose its will on others without paying consideration to their security interests makes me worry about the future. In Germany, too, there are more and more people who do not know how to pay their energy or grocery bills despite government assistance. The state cannot always lend a helping hand, especially in view of the dangerous scale of the current energy crisis in Europe, especially in Germany.

In addition, politicians who are no longer recognizable in their statements, make the horror even greater. Those who, like German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, say that all negotiating options (with Russia) have been exhausted and the peace dividend has been used up for Germany, possibly hope for victory in war. Yet weapons and wars do not create peace in the long run; they are rather the basis for open accounts and feuds to flare up again. To be sure, folks who call themselves Christians understand this even better than I do. The history of the 20th century alone knows countless examples, and today’s Americans should be more aware than others from their recent history of the futility of the wars they have waged against other countries in other parts of the world. And as far as Ukraine is concerned, sooner or later there will be negotiations with Russia – with or without Putin.

My home country has joined the prevailing world opinion that Russia embodies evil. We Germans have already heard this many times in our history, and it has led to nothing good. A less perceived influence leading to misperceptions occasionally came from the opposite side. For anyone who kept their eyes open in Germany in the 1990s and did not hold a very uncritical, very pro-American opinion, as I did, could already see the German future through the images from the USA as if through a burning glass. Almost everything that sooner or later spilled over from America to Europe was euphorically adopted and copied there as the latest trend – from lifestyle, music, clothing, fast food, shrill sounds and drugs to the conspiracy theories and Trumpism that began their triumphal march from the USA.

German President Prepares His Country for Rough Times

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2022 by Uwe Bahr

If Germany’s leaders decide to have their president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, give a completely unscheduled speech to the nation today to get people in the mood for “hard times for the years to come,” it’s a sure sign of how far Germany is still slipping into calamity – and beyond the coming winter.

Almost every sentence he said could be refuted – it is a disgrace how the population is made a fool of. Just one example from his speech:

“We are just leaving the era of fossil industrialization …. We are entering an age increasingly without coal, oil and gas.”

Increasingly without?

The facts paint a different picture:

Coal, a fossil fuel: At the instigation of the Green Minister of Economics, Habeck, the Saarland is currently bringing completely outdated, environmentally harmful coal-fired power plants back to the grid.

Liquefied natural gas, a fossil fuel: LNG terminals are under construction in Wilhelmshaven, Brunsbuettel, Stade and Lubmin to land the dirty fracking gas from the USA. Allegedly, the Americans earn 100 million euros with each arriving ship, paid for by the German consumer.

Oil, a fossil fuel: Chancellor Scholz was recently in Saudi Arabia (a begging US-President Biden was there before him) to ask the Saudis for higher oil production. Here, a brutal war of aggression in Yemen and human rights suddenly no longer play a role, unlike regarding Russia. The German double standards are deplorable. The Saudis, however, have so far given Biden and Scholz the middle finger: they have cut production because this allows them to obtain a higher price for oil.

Steinmeier had not even finished his speech when the news came: The inflation rate in Germany has risen to 10.4 percent.

This is not the result of the war in Ukraine, but of the insane sanctions of the West against Russia.

During the Cold War, oil and natural gas flowed steadily from the Soviet Union to the former Federal Republic and the GDR, despite all international crises, wars and ideological antagonisms. In comparison, today it looks as if the West is virtually conjuring up the discord with Russia and does not miss any opportunity to fuel it further, because this corresponds to the American doctrine of weakening Russia.

Any diplomacy to end the war has been rejected – as already proven by the rapprochement of both belligerents in March under Turkish mediation. In the subsequent negotiations in Istanbul, Kiev had agreed to abandon its aspirations to join NATO and settle for neutral status. Then, without any credible, concrete indication of reasons, the Ukrainian negotiators rejected everything at that time. They had been called off from Washington by Mr. Biden and his minions.

At that point, the Americans had long signaled that they would support Ukraine with whatever it needed against Russia. This is how proxy wars are fought.

Mendacious Hypocrites

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2022 by Uwe Bahr

Of all parties, the Green Party in Germany – which emerged from the peace movement in the early 1980s in the old Federal Republic of Germany – currently supports German arms deliveries to Saudi Arabia more than anybody else.

Self-deception in one’s own cause and mendacity apparently know no bounds in my country anymore. The Greens have betrayed their own ideals: Supplying weapons to war zones, reactivating coal-fired power plants, extending nuclear power plant lifetimes are all things the party vehemently opposed until recently. A turnaround that is unparalleled in German history.

For when German arms deliveries to Ukraine the topic are, Green Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has adopted a widespread style of argumentation: the Greens (who are currently part of a so-called traffic light coalition: Red for the Social Democrats, Yellow for the Liberals, Green for the Greens) demand these deliveries because Ukraine needs to defend itself against the aggressor Russia.

This is how a German government twists the facts nowadays, and every day the German public is more and more fooled. The system of propaganda and lies is no longer inferior to the American one. Because when it comes to German arms deliveries to Saudi Arabia and not to Ukraine, an aggressor suddenly no longer plays a role.

With regard to deliveries of German armaments to the Arabian Peninsula, Baerbock recently had the cold-bloodedness and impudence to say the following:

“We do not deliver directly to Saudi Arabia, there are no arms deliveries from Germany to Saudi Arabia, where human rights are trampled underfoot.”

Oh, so that’s what my compatriot wants to express – if German weapons are not delivered “directly” to Saudi Arabia, but via third countries, then that is not German support for an aggressor.

A brutal civil war has been raging in Yemen since 2014, with women and children suffering the most. A war coalition led by Saudi Arabia, including the U.S. and the U.K., intervened a year later with aerial bombardments. According to the UN, at least 150,000 people have died in the war so far.

Saudi Arabia is conducting regular offensive operations, including air strikes, in a country where, according to the UN, 20 million people are at risk of famine. The U.S. – under the pretense that Iran had interfered in Yemen – provided the government of Yemen with hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of weapons, most of which reportedly went missing in Yemen.

A German peace party now wants to supply weapons to such a war zone in support of Saudi Arabia. It is not difficult to figure out what caused the sudden change of mind: In addition to Russian natural gas, which is still flowing to Germany in a very limited way and not via Nord Stream 1, Russian oil is to be stopped. Germany, which joined the nonsensical sanctions against Russia and suffers from them like no other country, is begging the world for natural gas and oil.

For this, the responsible politicians are now throwing overboard all the values that brought my country back into the world community after a devastating Second World War and after Hitler, transforming it into a recognized, admired nation that was once the envy of the whole world in the light of its technological uniqueness, its outstanding products under the label “Made in Germany”, and its exemplary social system.

Of course, things change over time and space; new circumstances require new thinking. A historian is aware of this. But the way my country has developed in the last two or three years, it is hard to understand, especially for a conservative German, how all this could happen and become what it is today.

I do not recognize my own country anymore since I left it a quarter of a century ago, and all that remains are the memories of better times.

The Abject Failure of the USA

God tells them to go to war

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2022 by Uwe Bahr

In the Taiwan Strait, the Americans are currently gearing up for the next potential conflict, and the rest of the so-called “free world” is once again joining in, as if enough damage had not already been done to them by the nonsensical Russia sanctions. It is now also going against China.

May 2003: To frenetic applause from the crew of the aircraft carrier “USS Abraham Lincoln,” President George W. Bush declares the Iraq mission as “accomplished.” A fatal miscalculation, like the lie about weapons of mass destruction, under the pretext of which the war was started. Many Americans who enthusiastically supported the invasion at the time suddenly wonder today, and too late, what sense it all made. In 2011, the long retreat of the Americans ended. Today, conditions in Iraq are similar to those of a civil war; the country is farther away than ever from the democratic form of government envisioned by Bush in 2003. – The Americans experienced an even greater fiasco in Afghanistan, where they had to flee from the Taliban in 2021 – those Taliban whom Bush wanted to drive out with pathetic words in 2001 and who are now the masters in the country again. After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, large segments of the American public allowed themselves to be misled by their president, who had announced the Christian crusade in grand terms: “God told me to go to war.”

As they did in Ukraine with regard to Russia and its security interests, the USA threatens the “Empire of the Middle” over Taiwan. U.S. President Joe Biden, who doesn’t always seem to be in the loop, even recently did not rule out “having American men and women in uniform fight there if necessary.”

Such nonsensical words, which one should first let melt on the tongue, would have rather suited his obtuse predecessor in office. But when it comes to foreign policy misjudgments, it makes no difference which of the two political camps the president hails from.

For the pattern of the aggressive American approach is always the same: A country in the immediate vicinity of an unpopular adversary is armed with American weapons, in this case Taiwan, which is of course part of China. Ominous alliances are being formed around China, all under the leadership of the USA. It is only a question of time when China will no longer tolerate these provocations. Imagine China doing the same thing right on the doorstep of the United States.

As a reminder: Russian President Vladimir Putin warned years ago to expand NATO to the Black Sea: “It would surround us.“ Putin wanted to negotiate, but the Americans flatly refused. In reckless imprudence, then-President Barack Obama publicly downgraded Russia to a marginal Asian power.

Wherever the USA has shown up and interfered since the end of World War II, it has left nothing but devastation and chaos in its wake. Afghanistan was only the most stinging evidence of many in recent history. There is not a single example to the contrary. It is a listing of facts and evidence of an abject failure of American foreign policy, guided by pathological hubris and arrogance: We are the noble ones, we run the world. How many times must such a scenario be repeated before even the last American realizes how fatal his country’s misbehavior is to the rest of the world?

The U.S. perceives itself as the sole superpower and believes it can achieve its expansionist goals behind every step of its foreign policy with military threats, brushing away security concerns of others. In connection with Ukraine, a decrepit President Joe Biden has ruled out negotiations. His corrupt lackeys in Kiev are flexing their muscles, having been sufficiently boosted with war material mainly by the Americans. This is the way the U.S. – with the consent of both leading political parties, by the way – is acting against the rest of the world to preserve its imperial supremacy. In doing so, they apparently accept even the possibility of a confrontation with nuclear weapons.

In this context, it seems downright bizarre that even former President Donald Trump, who is certainly not endowed with any particular intelligence, has understood that only negotiations can lead to peace in Ukraine, not more and more weapons. But Trump would not remember his words if he returned to the White House, having already handed out more tax giveaways to his country’s rich while he was in office. For as long as the war in Ukraine continues and Russia fails as a competitor for cheap energy in Europe, U.S. fossil fuel corporations and war materiel manufacturers are making huge deals in the most criminal way ever legalized by politicians, while the public is deceived with lip service to climate protection.

The Christian Misbelief about Adam and Eve

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2022 by Uwe Bahr

Of course, mankind does not originate from a single couple, as the Christian story about Adam and Eve would like it to be in the realm of mythical creatures. Our genes – those of every living human being – go back to hundreds of Adam’s and Eva’s who lived at different times. This is scientifically provable.

This means that we are not descended from one single pair, but from originally about 12,000 human-like beings, which have evolved in Africa over millions of years to today’s man by the natural selection of evolution. Of this early man, a number have gradually spread throughout the earth. There was never just one Adam and Eve.

If there was no first Eve and no first Adam who could sin according to church doctrine, then of course there was and is no sin to which we are all hereditarily exposed – even if we have not committed such a sin ourselves (Christian diehards insist that we are all sinners). Consequently, Jesus of Nazareth could not have been nailed to the cross on behalf of each of us when he was cruelly executed by the Romans to sacrifice himself (for us!).

His remains have never been found because he rotted away like any other dead person. He also didn’t reach heaven on a cloud, as it was quite understood in the literal sense at his time.1 Science leads the whole Christian doctrine ad absurdum. The Bible, which was essentially written only a short time after Jesus’ death, goes back to deep superstitions that were prevalent in the first century, when most people could neither read nor write and rarely lived past the age of 35 to 40.

To this day, there has been no one who has been able to return from the dead to the living. The Jesus shirt, kept by the Catholic Church for 500 years, has turned out to be a fabric of the same age. Where have the remaining 1500 years gone?

In the year zero, when Jesus is said to have been born in Bethlehem, there was no Roman census at the behest of Emperor Augustus, as described in the Gospel of Luke. So, neither Joseph nor Mary nor the three shepherds (of whom I was one in the nativity play of my home church in the early 1970s amidst GDR-Socialism!) could make their way to Bethlehem to see the Christ Child wrapped in swaddling clothes in the manger.

A beautiful story, unfortunately too beautiful to be true. The Bible was written to make people willing servants to the authority. To this day, clerics and their believers threaten their little sheep: You will be freed from your sins, but only if you believe in the Savior and pray to “Him”.

Those who refuse to obey are threatened with the eternal fire of hell. What a warm-hearted Christian characteristic.

The greatest deception ever successfully instilled in humanity began with Christianity 2000 years ago. Until today this hoax has persisted, because many people have the weakness of not finding their own direction and therefore want to cling to the supernatural, even if it is only Christian assertions without any evidence, reminiscent of the fairy tales from the Thousand and One Nights of our early childhood days.

But the supernatural also embodies superstition, which makes every religion what it is: A belief that owes every proof for the existence of deities. Superstition, i.e., religion, in turn, is dangerous, because one can fall victim to all kinds of charlatanry without noticing it. Also, in our time people have denied medical treatment for religious reasons, sometimes even on their children – and some of these people have died from it. The bereaved had to live on with the proof that there is no God who has an influence on things or can even determine them.

Religious self-deception could be one of several explanations for why 78 percent of evangelical Christians in the U.S. voted for a pervert like Trump for president and are, in their majority, willing to do so again at any time. They are the easiest prey for any propaganda that does not have to present any evidence for its claims, because especially religiously influenced people are gullible for everything that fits into the scheme of their own wishful thinking. In doing so, they blot out unpleasant truths like man-induced climate change from their perception – even when they know full well that the evidence is clear.

1 It was inevitable that most of the content of the Bible has been reinterpreted into an allegorical account as times advanced and much of the scripture appeared to be too preposterous to be sold seriously. The literalists were increasingly sidelined. It is one of many proofs of how much this booklet can be interpreted at will – a perfect concoction for the gullible, who do not care about evidence for thrown assertions.

The USA: A War Winner This Time

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2022 by Uwe Bahr

Russia – apparently incapable of succeeding in the war against Ukraine with ground troops – is now reacting once again with intensive air strikes, under which, as always in wars, mainly the civilian population has to suffer. A handful of corrupt politicians in Kiev who keep all of Europe in check have been massively armed by the USA and its accomplices with the aim of bringing Putin to his knees. President Biden has no intention of negotiating, because his country profits massively from the conflict, not least in the energy sector. Europe basically no longer gets Russian natural gas and has to buy it from elsewhere at much higher prices with catastrophic consequences for the population. Russian oil is also expected to stop flowing to the West soon.

The current world situation plays brilliantly into the cards of American imperialist strategy. With wars, in which American armaments are used up and new ones can be produced, the country’s moneyed elite and the politicians they pay earn trillions. This is the real reason why the Biden administration, like every aggressive administration before it, is concerned with expanding American hegemony: speculation and aiming to gain access to new sales markets as well as access to unimaginably rich sources of fossil fuels in order to make billions at the expense of poorer regions and climate change. At the same time, they feign to the international public an alleged commitment to combating the manmade climate crises.

Thus, if parts of Russia were to fall under U.S. control through the installation of puppet regimes such as those in Kiev, American world power would be expanded. What neither succeeded in the direct US-wars of aggression against Afghanistan in 2001, Iraq in 2003, and Libya in 2011, could now lead to the fulfillment of true American intentions against Russia – as long as Ukraine can be prompted not to negotiate with Putin in a real way.

In connection with the U.S. wars against the three countries mentioned, the majority of the populace in the U.S., and not only there, obviously forgets with what brute air strikes these wars were opened. Exact casualty figures cannot be determined, but conservative estimates assume that several hundred thousand people, mostly civilians, have fallen victim to the terrorist attacks of the USA.

In the end – and this is also part of the truth – the Americans have not succeeded in installing regimes in Libya, Afghanistan, or Iraq that are obedient to them. From Afghanistan, where the Taliban returned, the brilliant US-military – the most expensive one in the world – ran away from one hour to the other, leaving equipment behind to the delight of medieval warriors in sandals, but also a country they have plunged into misery and chaos with their senseless invasion. The American military, at the behest of decisive politicians, has not solved a single problem anywhere – it has created more conflict and havoc wherever it has appeared. These are the facts.

Generally, fingers today are pointed at Putin, while George W. Bush (“God told me to start this war”) has never been held accountable for the war crimes committed under his presidency.

Shameless Duplicity

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2022 by Uwe Bahr

This is where the duplicity of many Western politicians and one-sided reporting media becomes apparent: If that many Russians leave their homeland because of the partial mobilization and their country is the sole culprit – why doesn’t Russia prevent them from leaving? Surely this could be put into practice relatively easily by closing the borders. Why are Russian draftees apparently able to escape unimpeded – something many Americans could not do to evade having to go to the murderous war in Vietnam?

Why does the West so blatantly apply double standards? How can the American Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, accuse Russia of ignoring UN values when his own country has so shamelessly and deliberately lied about weapons of mass destruction before the same body to justify an invasion of Iraq? As an American of all people, Blinken should be blushing up to his ears when he says something like that in public.

Meanwhile, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is touring the Gulf region these days to explore energy sources in replacement of lost Russian oil and natural gas, which has stopped flowing due to sanctions against Russia and could put Germany in even more dire straits over the winter.

The German chief diplomat’s first dialogue partner yesterday was Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince bin Salman – admittedly only after big uncle Biden from America made his first appearance there weeks ago. Anyone who actually assumes that figures like this Crown Prince including his country are less involved in crime than Putin and can even be a more reliable source of Germany’s energy shortage than Russia in the long run is playing with the safety of the German people and believes in Santa Claus. What a despicable double standard.

As a reminder, Saudi Arabia is one of the countries where Sharia law still applies, which means: oppression of women, especially when it comes to marrying off underage girls; application of inheritance and divorce laws in which a woman’s word counts for only half as much as that of a man. In the case of rape, the woman must name at least four eyewitnesses (!). Sharia also provides for punishments for theft and homosexuality, as well as for apostasy with floggings and amputations.

So, this is not just about the murder of journalist Jamal Kashoggi, which the U.S. blames on the Saudi crown prince. But the people of Germany are officially being asked to make horrendous sacrifices because of the loss of Russian energy supplies, while their chancellor is begging for replacements from countries that are not a whit better than Putin’s Russia, especially since they themselves have been and are involved in many proxy wars that are solely about their very own interests in the name of profit.

The fact that they also go over dead bodies then no longer plays a role.

Russian Roulette with Red Lines

The War in Ukraine has more than one Culprit

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2022 by Uwe Bahr

The invasion of Ukraine is not going the way Russia envisioned – but the thought of abandoning his plans is unbearable for Vladimir Putin. At stake is Ukraine, his security buffer to the West. The enormous American and European aid flowing there has made the military situation very precarious for the Russians, prompting their president now to order a partial mobilization of Russian forces. There is even talk of using tactical nuclear weapons. An escalation of the conflict to this extent would be a catastrophe for all of Europe.

Workers’ uprising in the GDR in 1953: Soviet tanks roll through East Berlin and other places of the Soviet satellite state. The USA and the two other victorious powers in Berlin, France and Great Britain, looked on powerlessly a few hundred yards away.

Why did it have to come to this? Can the responsibility for this dire situation really be attributed solely to Russia? After all, it was they who started this war. A war, however, that has a long pre-history between Russians and Ukrainians, but also Europe.

At a time when everyone is talking about globalization, it is worth taking a look at recent history. During the Cold War, there were many situations that could have easily led to nuclear catastrophe. The two great powers, the USA and the communist Soviet Union, friends and allies against Hitler in the second half of the Second World War, fought proxy wars against each other virtually all over the world or even intervened directly, as the Americans did in Vietnam.

That was far away. But in the field of tension Europe, the Americans have never dared to act against the Soviets as they are now doing in Ukraine, right on Russia’s doorstep. When the Soviets tried to starve out West Berlin in 1948/49 by blocking the access routes in order to force the three Western powers to abandon the city, the Americans and the British flew non-stop missions via an air lift to Tempelhof to supply the population with all the necessities of life. Military action was out of the question for all sides, although the Soviets threatened it several times.

Four years later, when the workers’ uprising in the GDR took place and Soviet tanks rolled through East Berlin to crush it, the Americans watched in protest from a few hundred meters away but did not dare to intervene militarily. On August 13, 1961, when the East German communists sealed off West Berlin with barbed wire and construction of the Wall began, President John F. Kennedy was in Hyannis Port for a sail and did not want to be disturbed1. The West had known in advance what was going on with the approval of the Soviets – and did not intervene, even though there was a Berlin crisis team in the Washington State Department, set up long before.

Nor did the Americans lift a finger during the 1956 uprising in Hungary, which was put down particularly bloodily by invading Soviet troops; nor during the Prague Spring in 1968, nor in Poland in 1970 and 1981, when, by the way, Republican presidents were sitting in the White House.

These invaded states were all involuntary satellites of the Soviets and wanted to go their own independent ways, just like the Ukraine today. They were not involved in “real wars” with the Soviet Union, but at least the Soviets intervened militarily, and no one helped these countries at the time.

In a certain way, the West had accepted the sphere of influence of the Soviet Union, although there, too, the suffering of the population including politically motivated killings, imprisonments and deportations of hundreds of thousands of people were the order of the day. However, even because of all this, economic relations were never seriously questioned between the two power blocks, on the contrary. And in all these moments of world political dangers and wars, when everything was at stake, Russian natural gas and oil continued to flow not only to the Federal Republic of Germany and the former GDR, but to almost all of Western Europe during the Cold War and afterwards. Even the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 did not play a destructive role in this pattern of ongoing cooperation, apart from a boycott of the Olympic Games.

So, the question is: Why did the West interfere so massively in Ukraine’s affairs right after the Soviet Union fell apart in late 1991, when individual republics like Ukraine broke away from it and the Russian Federation under President Boris Yeltsin tried to see the West as a partner? What were the Bidens, Trumps and Giulianis and their stooges doing in Ukraine, where almost the entire upper stratum of society including governments were corrupt to the core? None of this looked like well-meaning intentions on the part of the West – more like a dangerous, creeping imperial expansion of its own sphere of power, as the Americans saw themselves as the general triumphant force after the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Nevertheless, there is no justification for the war in Ukraine. However, if all accepted red lines from the Cold War era had not been crossed today, this war might not have happened.


1 A note on my own behalf: In view of the historical facts and as someone who was born in 1961 at the eastern interface of the Cold War, the question does not even arise to me to whom I owe my personal freedom. The courageous mass demonstrations in the GDR, which led to the opening of the Berlin Wall in 1989, could have been put down by the Soviets just as they had been in 1953. Here, too, the Americans could only have watched, or rather had to watch, in order not to endanger world peace. I owe my freedom to Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet party and state leader and his policy of glasnost and perestroika (openness and restructuring). – I emphasize this explicitly because I have heard many voices in America according to which the USA and Ronald Reagan brought down the Berlin Wall, although the latter was not even in office anymore at the time. It would be more correct to say that the Americans kept the path to this development open – but they could not bring it about themselves.