Center-Left Government in Germany takes Shape

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2021 by Uwe Bahr

The coalition agreement in Germany is ready, and the country gets a center-left government within the next weeks, consisting of three parties. It is reassuring to know that there are still countries in the civilized world where political currents can come together to share responsibility without blocking each other, even if they are far apart on some issues. And it is astonishing how little this seems the case on the other side of the Atlantic, in a country that calls itself the oldest existing democracy on earth, along with all those people who proclaim a Christian faith. If only they would live accordingly instead of constantly denigrating political dissidents in support of perverts like Donald Trump and his minions.

In authoritarian countries – and the U.S. may be one of them, because a very large part of its electorate cannot be reached with rational arguments and instead adheres to delusions that may reflect in radical election results again at any time – the term “left” may sound strange and be equated with socialism. First, not only is it wrong, but the label “center left” is also not particularly informative. Secondly, content is more important than labels, not only because the pandemic has created even more complex problems worldwide that require overarching answers. Thirdly, it follows that the questions of our time will not be solved by partisan ideological stubbornness, but by rational approaches of pluralism.

Those who want to divide a people into left and right, liberals and conservatives, Republicans and Democrats, and point the finger at anything progressive, are damaging the unity of their own country. The U.S. has been and continues to be a prime example of deep social division. In Germany, too, a burgeoning polarization must be persistently countered so that those who refuse to face reality by promoting conspiracy theories cannot divide society with ideological nonsense.

So, it remains to be seen what the new German government is capable of achieving. The challenges are huge, and for that reason alone things will more than likely not run completely smoothly.

Hunter Biden, the Realistic American

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2021 by Uwe Bahr

The excitement is sometimes hard to understand. Hunter Biden, son of the president, followed a common U.S.-American pattern, practiced and recurring in countless countries around the world. American, as well as companies and corporations from other parts of the world, stick their greedy hands into mostly underdeveloped countries under the hypocritical pretense of wanting to help them, mostly taking advantage of unstable political and economic situations. With flimsy promises they buy exclusive rights for lucrative sources of profit, in order to sell them later on to friend and foe.

There is nothing new about it.

Hunter Biden used the same principle according to which the U.S. has always interfered economically in the affairs of other countries – if the political direction was not in conformity with it, then also by means of intelligence and military aid, in order to help overthrow unpleasant governments that wanted to go their own way for their country. This was also the case in Russia, by the way, on the part of large American corporations, especially immediately after the collapse of the Soviet Union and when the Wolfowitz Doctrine was already well advanced in its search for a new enemy image.

One need only look beneath the surface of history to see that such patterns have often led to attempted overthrows and bloody civil wars – always under the pretext of establishing democracy and justice. True causes and triggers are rarely mentioned in the news, much less in American media, either conservatives or liberals.

The chemical element cobalt, which is mostly hand-extracted from simple, man-high shafts in the former Belgian Congo, is important for our car batteries and cell phones, among other things. Child labor is often used for mining in Congo.

Thanks to Hunter Biden’s “investment firm”, the Chinese were able to claim one of the most profitable cobalt mines, after all 80 percent of the output in what is presumed to be the richest cobalt region in the world. Biden brokered the transfer of this mine from an American corporation to a Chinese company. In the truest sense of the word, the business deal in Central Africa was “Made in and from the US.”

Of course, this constitutes a state crime, especially since it involves the son of the sitting president as well as a country with which the USA is anything but allied.

However, since when is anything considered a crime in the U.S. as long as it serves the interests of the donor class of the political caste? Gun industry, corporations, insurance companies, fossil fuel companies – you name it. They are all under inactive political protection and can do whatever they want. According to American understanding, human rights only count when a president of their own – no matter who it is – points the finger at other countries.

That’s right, China. Mr. Biden should ask his son.

On to Carnival, Jawohl!

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2021 by Uwe Bahr

In Cologne, Germany, the famous Rhineland Carnival opened today despite galloping corona numbers across the country – the highest since the outbreak of the pandemic. Onlookers have reportedly traveled from as far away as America not to miss the spectacle, to which officially only vaccinated or recovered people have access.

And there are always justifications for such silliness, even if reality is turned upside down in the process: On German TV, Cologne’s Mayor Henriette Reker (independent) expressed herself in the most enthusiastically joy about people finally have fun again, while the whole event, of course, is subject to the strictest security rules, such as social distance.

German order, someone like me would think. It doesn’t get better than that. But wait, stop – carnival with social distance?

While she was saying this, the observer thought he couldn’t believe his eyes. In the background there were colorful throngs of people, crowded together, without masks, dancing and jumping. For me, in a figurative sense, the woman tried to explain that the grass was red, although I could see with my own eyes how green it was.

The moral of the story: Everywhere in the world everything is subject to the insanity of arbitrary interpretation – even when the facts visibly speak a different language.

Indeed: the fools are loose.

Germany has voted, waits for the new Chancellor

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2021 by Uwe Bahr

Federal elections in my home country Germany: The center-right party CDU, to which I once belonged and for which I sat as an elected representative in the city council of my hometown from 1990 to 1994, was clearly voted out of office yesterday. It should therefore not attempt to form the first federal government of the post-Merkel era via a coalition with the Liberals and the Greens. Instead, the Social Democrats (SPD) have been given the mandate to govern, and that must be acknowledged.

Similarly, there could be difficult coalition negotiations, especially since a three-party coalition at the federal level is a novelty in Germany’s postwar history. But nothing else is mathematically possible if a new edition of the grand coalition is to be avoided, which no one is talking about anyway. None of the parties want to form a coalition with the “Alternative for Germany” (AfD), which is largely comparable to radical Republicans in the United States.

Although the Greens made significant gains, they missed their target of 20 percent. Top candidate Analena Baerbock could possibly serve as vice chancellor in a future three-party coalition and make another run at the chancellorship in four years.

The old party system in Germany has not unexpectedly collapsed in the midst of a dramatically changing world with a man-made global climate crisis and enormous demographic, technological and social challenges. The country is reacting to this – for the present, it is a political shift to the left. However, the majority of climate activists, especially young people, do not trust any of the parties to stand up to the impending climate collapse with the necessary determination. I am afraid they are right.

But at least for now, though, I am relieved. With the exception of the states of Saxony and Thuringia in East-Germany, the radical right-wing AfD has not made significant gains anywhere; on the contrary, it has lost ground. This is the most important conclusion for me from this election, because I don’t want to see political-social conditions in my home country like in the U.S., Poland or Hungary, where populists were either at the helm, still are – or could regain their grip.

After all, Trumpism is very much alive in the USA and will not disappear in the foreseeable future. Millions of misguided “legacy Americans” stand by this pathologic ideology, unwilling or unable to recognize urgently needed adjustments to dramatically changing global circumstances, and thus harm their country with such vehemence that every rationally thinking American should be in fear and terror.

A War Crime, nothing else

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2021 by Uwe Bahr

First, they made the world believe to have successfully killed ISIS-K terrorists in the late August drone strike in Kabul. When even they realized that something had gone wrong again, they tried to cover it up as long as possible. This time, German public television was on the scene shortly after the attack and interviewed people from the immediate neighborhood where the drone struck. These people told a different story from the start than American officials, who quickly stated that no other military in the world uses drones more safely than the United States. In reality, they murdered children, purely by “accident.” This is what Christian retaliation looks like in response to an attack by terrorists.

After the mess the Americans made in Afghanistan, they are already planning the next invasions. AUKUS – the “security agreement” for the Indo-Pacific Region – with the British and Australia, came out of blue sky. Biden, this time, could have been Trump. The treaty is reminiscent of Victorian imperialistic alliances before the First World War and Roosevelt-policies in the Second World War, when spheres of interest in the Southeast Asian region were to be “secured”, deliberately provoking potential confrontations with Japan.

In order not to create any false impressions: this new agreement is ostensibly not directed against China, because in a confrontation with this country the Americans would more than likely go down. Moreover, why would they even fight a country to which large American corporations like Walmart have outsourced much of the American manufacturing base to make the most profit possible instead of creating good paying jobs for their own people at home? Rather, the US once again wants to poke around in regions of the world and explore lucrative expansion opportunities where it is anything but wanted. This just screams for new proxy wars against small countries, this time not with ground troops, but with new war technology that is labeled “infallible”, especially when in the hands of the American military.

After all, the arms business is the main concern in the land of the free, because it secures billions in profits, no matter if the war is lost or won. If children die in the process, as in Afghanistan – that is collateral damage, which is accepted with hypocritical excuses. The poor French are now angry because their submarine deal with Australia was screwed up by the Biden administration. But that’s too bad.

When the time comes, when the next bang occurs, the Americans at home will be told the next lie. People who have fallen for the insane “Make America Great Again” philosophy believe everything they are led to believe anyway – as soon as it is about feigned “American patriotism” and “American freedom” that has to be defended, next time somewhere in South-East Asia.

Vietnam is long forgotten.

Biden’s Egg Dance over 9/11

The God Who Told an American President to Start Two Wars

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2021 by Uwe Bahr

The American President is once again on a course of appeasement. Family members and victim’s representatives do not want Joe Biden to speak on-site on the imminent 20th anniversary of the terror attacks on the United States. Instead of the usual heroic epic, they demand clarification about the real reasons why their loved ones had to die. Yet, shortly after the attacks, reports already circulated about the actual mastermind behind the 19 terrorists, 14 of whom came from Saudi Arabia alone. But George W. Bush, in the exuberant euphoria of his deluded countrymen, ordered the invasion of Afghanistan.

With his announcement to review classified information about the terrorist attacks from FBI sources at the time and release it early if necessary, the current president is trying to take ammunition out of the game. Once again, Biden runs the risk of having to take the rap for unfortunate decisions of his predecessors. For he is no more responsible for the Bush administration’s deliberate “miscalculations” 20 years ago than he is for the premature decision to withdraw the last American troops from Afghanistan. Nevertheless, he is aware of how much more compromising intelligence material could discredit the U.S. as the Western leading power, even more so after the ignominious end in Afghanistan.

Moreover, even a Joe Biden cannot afford to seriously condemn the close ally Saudi Arabia. The Americans are too involved with the Saudis in multi-billion dollar oil and arms deals. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia is seen as a kind of bulwark that keeps the other Arab countries in a reserved position toward Israel. As tragic as it is obvious, the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center were certainly intended to also hit major Jewish interests in the United States.

Biden again finds himself in an unenviable position. This time, however, he will hardly have to fear a similar backlash from members of Congress as he did during the chaotic retreat from Kabul. For even if the truth behind the September 11 attacks now emerges more clearly with the likelihood that Afghanistan had nothing to do with it, this will hardly change anything in the public perception in the USA. The masses barely take notice. Even the American defeat in the Hindu Kush seems to have been acknowledged by the population to only a relatively small extent – ideal conditions for future U.S. military aggressions in all parts of the world. After all, war material gathering dust in arsenals does not bring in revenue, but costs money – a lot of money. And it yields billions in profits to a few as soon as it is used and subsequently replaced. Seeing it from this paramount American perspective, the results in Afghanistan and Iraq were anything but defeats.

A numerically very small caste of politicians and big capitalists operating in the background – all members of a power-obsessed oligarchy – consistently lead the American public by the nose, and they are not reluctant to deceive Americans even when it comes to senseless wars and human lives. This is by no means a new insight with regard to the USA, and it has nothing at all to do with conspiracy theories. In this context, it also does not matter who holds the presidency.

The U.S. cannot live without intervening or let to intervene militarily somewhere in the world – too often, this fact has proved to be a perpetual spiral. Perhaps this and his own place in the history books was George W. Bush’s primarily motivation when he started the two wars with shameless hypocritical religious bluster and lies twenty years ago. In the historical record, before Bush’s time, political leaders and responsible military officers had been brought before international tribunals for their actions under very similar circumstances.

But his very personal assessment for the wars against Afghanistan and Iraq, which resulted in endless civil wars in the Middle and Near East and the deaths of several hundred thousand civilians, as well as the emergence of ISIS, was, in George W. Bush’s own words, different: “God told me to start this war.”***

In reality, neither of the two wars instigated by the U.S. was directly related to the victims of September 11. Their deaths were misused to impose American ideas of democracy and freedom by force in countries that never wanted anything to do with American culture. The relatives of the dead of September 11 fear nothing less than that today.

Notes:

*** There are several verifiable sources that support Bush’s statements at the time about the wars; only two are cited here. Sometimes, the bizarreness of his choice of words seemed to rival the later primitive rhetoric of a Donald Trump. In connection with himself, Bush finally brought Divine Providence into the picture, and the majority of Americans fell for it. This was their blessing for the “Christian Crusades,” which the former President himself has called by these words.

“President George Bush has claimed he was told by God to invade Iraq and attack Osama bin Laden’s stronghold of Afghanistan as part of a divine mission to bring peace to the Middle East, security for Israel, and a state for the Palestinians.” Quote: The Independent, UK, 15 November 2011“God told me to go to war.” Quote: George W. Bush, The Mirror, GB, 10 July, 2005.

Get Vaccinated

From My Writing Room
Copyright © 2021 by Uwe Bahr

Very rarely do people in Union County, Georgia, get to read anything sophisticated stemming from local sources. Everything is apparently strikingly fine-tuned within the unwritten norms of a buddy system stuck in old habits. But every now and then, the reader is amazed at the rationality of a published opinion, as happened recently in an otherwise rather dull weekly newspaper.

It is a letter to the editor from a health expert who, in very simple but all the more forceful terms, urges previously vaccine-averse people in a somewhat backward area to get vaccinated against Covid. Seldom before have I read anything more sensible on a local level in this area, where I have now lived for ten years.

The expert rightly points out in his brief op-ed the extremely tense situation in local hospitals, caused by the Delta variant, stating that “Covid is exploding in our area.” He urgently appeals to the population not to believe the circulating scare stories about the vaccine including conspiracy theories and instead to get vaccinated.

There is really not much to add – except something that no one obviously wants to hear: If there are indeed people who believe in all possible nonsense and only not in what is rational, then the insightful have a democratic*** right to be protected from them. After all, every drunk driver must rightly expect severe punishment for endangering the lives of others.

Those who not only refuse to contribute to the protection of society in a pandemic, but, on the contrary, deliberately endanger others, should face consequences that affect their daily lives in public locations. A constraint? Of course, for no one has the right to put the lives and health of others at risk. And if these visionary hillbillies can’t put one and one together, they should at least think about the unvaccinated children.

Unfortunately, far too many “officials” in Union County have also failed in their responsibilities by allowing themselves to be obviously exploited for political purposes rather than standing up to unreason. This is especially true for the local school authorities, for they could all foresee what would happen without mandatory masks in the schools.

Note:***For some, a little explanation may be necessary at this point. “Democratic” in the proper sense does not refer to the Democratic Party (of which the author of these lines is not a supporter, by the way), but to the basic principles of democracy.

A Dead Soldier doesn’t Care

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2021 by Uwe Bahr

Why do Americans always have to emphasize heroism whenever their soldiers die a senseless death somewhere in the world? The 20-year-old boy who died in the attack at Kabul airport and his comrades would certainly have liked to stay alive. They are not heroes just because they are dead now.

“A dead soldier does not care who won or lost the war.” ***

It would be better to turn one’s own shock at such tragedies into the rationale of how terrible every war is. I’m not sure, but maybe you have to belong to a nation that, like the Germans, collectively got punched in the mouth before they could come to such a conclusion.

The bitter experiences of the World War II generation with whom I sat at the breakfast table have been passed down to those who were fortunate enough to have been born later, as I was. If there is one good thing to be said for the Germans, it is that they have actually learned lessons from their history. That is a fact.

Yesterday’s mistakes should not be forgotten so that they do not happen again. They should serve as a reminder to those who come after us.

Notes:

***The quote is taken from the West German 1959 movie “Hunde, wollt ihr ewig leben” (Dogs, do you want to live forever?”) about the battle of Stalingrad, directed by Frank Wisbar and based on the novel of the same name by Fritz Woess. The classic film is available online with English subtitles: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jrn8KsiVkoe

A remark is allowed in this regard:
Certainly, Hitler’s wars of aggression are officially not or only very rarely comparable with military interventions which followed the Second World War (I guess it always depends on who is doing what); although even this difference did not help the dead afterwards. It may be referred therefore at least to the recent USA wars and interventions, which without exception began under flimsy justifications up to lies: Lebanon, Korea, Dominican Republic, Vietnam, Cambodia, Granada, Panama, Bosnia, Haiti, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Libya, Somali, Iraq – just to name a few. Of the most recent US wars, the one in Iraq alone has cost the lives of 150,100 people, including uninvolved civilians and members of all armed forces involved, as of early 2008.

An Almost Collective Failure

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2021 by Uwe Bahr

Once again the compassionate, everything and everyone understanding citizen of the world spoke to his people.

The American president’s pithy remarks yesterday are surprising, because just a few days ago he sounded quite different. But it is he who is largely responsible for the chaos at Kabul airport.

It is amazing how the American pattern repeats itself over and over again. After the deaths of 13 soldiers, Joe Biden found words that have become standard in this country – it is what most Americans want to hear, although the supporters of the right-wing spectrum may not believe this president on this point. Because many of them falsely believe that it was he who screwed things up in Afghanistan. Yet, Biden “merely” handled the exit to another American tragedy in an incompetent manner that could hardly have been worse.

As recently as July 8, he had responded to a reporter’s question by saying that it is “highly unlikely” that the Taliban would overrun the entire country. This had proven how out of touch he was with reality. He was clueless about the historical realities in Afghanistan, which a president before him had already thrown to the wind: George W. Bush, the man leading an administration actually responsible for what we see today.

To a certain extent, however, responsible are also the millions of Americans who fell for primitive slogans 20 years ago and who, with their consent, supported the American adventure in Afghanistan and Iraq in the name of freedom and thus made it possible in the first place.

From this point of view, it is eminently notable that the crusade ends under the same slogan from the mouth of an American president with which it began in 2001: “We will hunt them down.”

A Special Kind of “Freedom”

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2021 by Uwe Bahr

In 23 years of living in the US, I never really “warmed up” to the American culture of life. The closest I came to supporting America in recent years was related to the US women’s soccer team – and not only because of their enthusiastic play, but also how civilized they behaved off the field, especially when it came to showing true character by unitedly rejecting the visit to the White House, where a perverted buffoon was president.

Unfortunately, this nation is not as united in its sanity and a responsible-minded, true devotion to the Fatherland as this outstanding soccer team.

The sometimes unnerving American bluster about freedom can certainly correspond to an individual’s view of things – or to a widespread self-deception. Americans obviously have to stress over and over again how free they are because in reality they are unfree, and they are unfree because there is no basic guarantee of fair wages in their country, much less of universal health care affordable to everyone.

How can people call their country a free country when the vast majority of their own population does not even have the freedom to not have to constantly worry about the essentials of life that define a true and just democracy?