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.

Mr. Paris would have liked it

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2022 by Uwe Bahr

It was reported that in Georgia, Union County’s sole commissioner Lamar Paris contracted the coronavirus. That’s unfortunate. As probably the sole German citizen in Union County to whom the thought of acquiring property here, of all places, has occurred, I take this opportunity to wish him a speedy recovery.

However, the senior civil servant may not care much about recovery wishes from such a side. Already in the past, he saw no need to respond to a request sent to him by e-mail from the alien German. This question was simply in reference to the use of tax dollars for a proposed shooting range that apparently has not been completed to date and wastes tax dollars from just about every resident.

Can Mr. Paris do pretty much whatever he wants? It is not for me to question his performance, and certainly he did not invent the system of his own one-man show. But in fact, in that regard, he is someone who is quick to have the boardroom cleared as soon as there is too much opposition to him. When I hear something like that, dark memories come back to me.

As an old political observer on both sides of the Atlantic, it is a complete mystery to me how somebody like Mr. Paris can function in a democratic sense of pluralism. As a contemporary witness, I saw a lot of the “socialist” dictatorship in the German Democratic Republic (GDR; back then elsewhere commonly called “East Germany”) during the Cold War – a state that was anything but democratic and consequently not a Republic. There, too, – in a dictatorship it must be remembered – a district commission existed, consisting of several members though, unlike today in Union County. They “voted” on everything possible, but usually these votes ended unanimously, for only one party controlled everything. Such an institution could certainly not be called democratic.

In the United States of America, still a Republic and allegedly the freest country in the world, it seems outlandish when a single person in public service can de facto say: The party, that’s me. Moreover, according to malicious tongues, Mr. Paris has claimed to be the only one who is up to the task. Somebody like a modern Jesus, in other words.

Self-praise stinks from heaven, says an old German proverb. For Paris pats himself on the back and thus feeds the suspicion of seeing himself as an irreplaceable autocrat, an impression that may or may not be justified.

How things resemble each other – one should not even think it possible. In the GDR, the dictatorship in which I was born and grew up, the comrades cheered each other on. Their party held all the power. They thought themselves infallible. I have the unpleasant and hopefully false feeling that Mr. Paris would have liked that.

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.

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.

The Note that James Baker no longer knows

The West is not innocent of the War in Ukraine

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2022 by Uwe Bahr

Former U.S. Secretary of State James A. Baker III responded to my question about NATO’s eastward expansion. Mr. Baker was present in a leading position when, in 1990, the negotiations with the Soviets on the reunification of my homeland primarily concerned the question of the future of the transatlantic alliance.

The answer of the statesman to a directly affected person like me is extremely polite, but also just as politically codified. I assume that the chief negotiator at the time can no longer openly refer to the actual result of 1990 in view of the current explosive nature of the unchecked eastward expansion of NATO.

He then does not address my core question in an unambiguous form but refers mainly to the issue of Germany’s future NATO membership, which was very relevant at the time. The possibility of excluding the area acceding to the Federal Republic of Germany – i.e., the GDR – from future NATO membership was also briefly discussed, but finally discarded. With reference to my main question, Mr. Baker writes to me that “nobody at that time was considering the possibility of expanding NATO to other countries.” But in another passage, it says: During the early stage of the negotiations he (Baker) had raised the possibility towards Gorbachev that the USA COULD agree to a non-extension of NATO to the East, if the Soviet Union agreed to a German reunification. However, this had only been a “what if” consideration, which was withdrawn a short time later.

His initial remark apparently refers to February 9, 1990, when he settled the NATO issue with Soviet leader Michael Gorbachev in Moscow, which resulted the following day in the Soviet “yes” to an economic and monetary union vis-à-vis East Germany – which, as is well known, led to German reunification that same year. But Mr. Baker did not mention to me a note he wrote specifically about the promise to the Soviets not to expand NATO beyond the German Oder-Neisse line.

Instead, the end of the letter from his office states that the information is for the recipient’s personal use only and is to be kept confidential. Therefore, I cannot publish them in their entirety, but only use parts of their content analogously.

As chance would have it, on the morning of February 26, 2022, I came across an interview with the former German Minister of State in the Foreign Office and former First Mayor of Hamburg, Klaus von Dohnanyi. The interview with him had been broadcast by Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk (Central German Broadcasting), a public broadcaster for the federal states of Thuringia, Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt (my home state). I followed von Dohnanyi’s statements live on the Internet.

Von Dohnanyi cited a written memo from the U.S. Secretary of State referring to NATO, without which German unification would not have been possible because the Soviets would otherwise have refused to give their consent. The German politician said in a statement: “Baker’s reference in that note implies Germany can join NATO as a whole, but beyond that there is no expansion.” And further: “The context is completely indisputable – anyone who denies this does not know the files.”

So, we have two statements here. One diplomat doesn’t really get to the topic, avoids it politely and very clever – the other diplomat quotes the file situation.

I personally have not seen this note, but it hardly makes sense why the Soviets de facto gave up everything they had gained in World War II without at least securing their own borders and demanding corresponding assurances from the West. This seems highly unlikely – regardless of the fact that in 1990 no one could have accurately foreseen the breakup of the Soviet Union and with it the emergence of independent former Soviet republics like Ukraine that would now pursue their own security interests.

In addition, there are statements in audio and visual documents from politicians active at the time who, by their own admission, did not intend NATO to expand eastward – see my article “The West’s Falsification of History.”

Let’s conclude with one of the most respected and brilliant diplomats the U.S. has ever had: George F. Kennan, the architect of US post-World War II strategy of containment of the Soviet Union. When secretary of state Madeleine Albright in 1999 formally welcomed Poland, Hungary and Czech Republic into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) at the Harry S. Truman presidential library in Independence, Missouri, Kennan called the expansion of NATO into Central Europe “the most fateful error of American policy in the entire post-Cold war area”, causing damage “beyond repair” to efforts to transform Russia from an enemy into a partner.

My implication is the following: Putin is inexcusable, because every war is a crime, no matter who starts it. But how the West presents itself these days is not only frightening, but shameful.

The West bears a historically verifiable share of the guilt for the war in Ukraine.

The German Chancellor’s Balancing Act

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2022 by Uwe Bahr

The new German chancellor Olaf Scholz could not signal his agreement with U.S. policy toward Russia fast enough in Washington yesterday. And yet he knows how careful he must be.

The Americans, always profit-oriented, want to sell their highly polluting fracking gas to Germany as well. Yet even if it worked that way against expected protests from the massive Green Deal movement overseas, it would not meet the demand in Germany, as natural gas from Russia can. But it’s not about Nord Stream 2 alone.

My home country, as always, is in a moral dilemma when it comes to Russia. In both countries – a fact not very well known in America – the last Great War has not been forgotten. 25 million people were lost by the Soviets because of the Nazi invasion in World War II. Almost every Russian family was affected. No other country has had to pay a higher blood toll.

It is true: Stalin was hardly better than Hitler, but he was suddenly in league with the Americans two years after the alliance with the German dictator had ended. Those who believe that this no longer plays a role in the consciousness of Russians and Germans today are very much mistaken. World War II is the reason why Germany cannot supply weapons to Ukraine – although German war atrocities in Ukraine were particularly brutal there in 1941/42.

The Germans, even in subsequent generations like mine, have accepted the guilt. This is not self-evident in world history. Until today, the Americans have not officially apologized for the war crimes committed in Vietnam.

Of course, Putin is not a flawless democrat, but the Americans, in their neoliberalism, also have their difficulties in asserting democracy in their country. And they all – the U.S. as well as the European Union – should remember how badly the disintegrating Soviet Union was mishandled in 1991 and after. As in a boxing match in which the opponent is already down, the Americans struck again below the belt in form of the secret Wolfowitz-Memorandum, casting “Russia as the gravest potential threat to U.S. vital interests [before it had even done anything] … The Pentagon had decided the United States would never permit any nation … to rise again even to the status of regional superpower” (Source: Patrick J. Buchanan: A Republic, not an Empire, pages 7-9).

The memorandum proves the West’s aggressive strategy against Russia: pushing NATO forward to its borders in open breach of previous agreements – the same agreements, by the way, that enabled the Germans to reunify in 1990. I was there, I lived it and experienced it.

One can declare someone the main enemy before even knowing whether the opponent is an enemy at all. This is exactly what happened with Russia after the end of the Cold War. The truth of the history is long forgotten today. Just one hundred years ago, the current confrontations over Ukraine would have led to a full-scale military conflict. Who still cares about that? Of course, Putin also has skeletons in the closet – but from the point of view of the West, he alone is the villain. It is as simple as that.

Is What Bernie Sanders is Saying not True?

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2022 by Uwe Bahr

Is someone a radical left if he calls a truth by its name – a truth that affects the majority of people in the U.S. at that?

The truth should prevail above personal political and, by the way, religious convictions. Why? For, first, humanity has been misled and abused by both sides – by politics and even more so by religions – more often than seldom. And secondly, because those who in principle give their convictions a higher value than facts and truth degrade themselves to intellectually wretched creatures whose train of thought discharge into baseless assertions. From such a corner emerge the conspiracy theorists, who, by the way, have always existed throughout history.

Without my own experience, I probably wouldn’t believe Bernie Sanders so easily either. In eight years of working for a company called Walmart, I’ve encountered more than enough not to know what he’s talking about. I can justifiably say that I have not experienced such a lack of rights on the part of the workers even under communist rule in the GDR. There – in a command state in which we were all walled in – at least the physical well-being of the workers was still taken care of. In the workplace, physical integrity was a high priority, and no one has ever been burdened with additional financial demands other than the monthly health insurance contribution. Medical care at that time was excellent, even if it was subsidized.

It is an arbitrariness like in a third world country, to which the employees at Walmart and more than likely elsewhere in the country are exposed – without a real possibility to defend themselves. Working time was cut if the profit figures for the store did not match greedy corporate expectations. Consequently, those who were spared from even lesser income now had to run faster to get all the work done. In a hopelessly understaffed department, I contracted a double hernia. All references from my side to a health impairment contracted at Walmart were of no use – the superiors had their instructions according to which they had to proceed.

A case like mine was everyday business, and Walmart had long since taken precautions to shirk its financial responsibility. Workers’ compensation insurance was only on paper, because according to Walmart’s philosophy, I had not sustained the injury while loading hundreds of bags of mulch, garden soil and compost for the customers, not seldom without help, but probably at home growing tomatoes or studying American history books.

Despite health insurance, a not inconsiderable part of the costs for the surgery fell on me. I settled the bill with means not generated in the USA, but in my home country Germany. How many Americans are fortunate enough to be able to similarly compensate for the miserable care their own wealthy country provides them?

After the passing of a young colleague, the lady from Human Resources went from table to table in the Walmart break room asking for donations for his immense hospital bill that the bereaved family was facing. No one sitting there could answer in the negative. People barely able to make ends meet themselves pulled a dollar out of their pockets, some as much as five, while American health insurance companies shoveled billions in profits into their own pockets without lawmakers lifting a finger to stop the criminal profiteering at the public’s expense.

A few weeks later, this HR woman who had helped me get a full-time job in 2014, was also hospitalized and died.

During my tenure at Walmart, I’ve seen colleagues 80 and older dragging themselves to work, forced by medical bills, incurred years ago. People undergoing cancer treatment had visible difficulty to make it through the workday. I saw all this for the first time in my life, and I couldn’t believe I was in the United States of America.

Of course, Bernie Sanders is right. Anyone who denies this has lost all touch with reality and lives in another galaxy. Facts cannot be blurred by closed eyes during prayer, either, but faith and belief can be misleading. Religion can very easily lead astray – especially when those who derive lucrative benefits from it know how to skillfully spread it among people as an ideology. As a consequence, this has a lot to do with how few of my colleagues recognized the injustices that happened to them every day. Most took it in silence. To put it bluntly: they were used to it, they didn’t know any different.

The old man Bernie is also right about the Democratic Party. Because just like the Republicans, Democrats with very view exceptions are also grateful recipients of large donations from the country’s moneyed elite. Their corrupt nature deprives millions of needy Americans of much-needed help in connection with the build back better act once so hopefully announced by Biden. Instead of supporting their president, his own party is embroiled in an internal battle of alignment while more and more Americans are dissatisfied.

Is he really surprised? Joe Biden is an American, he should have known better. After all, not long ago he publicly described himself as a capitalist. It seemed to me as if he wanted to make clear with this very insipid formulation how little he has to do with socialist ambitions. The man knows only too well what a sour taste such a disposition would evoke in most of his compatriots. Therefore, he did not even bother to explain to them what socialism actually is, nor what kind of capitalist he himself impersonates as president of the country.

I don’t think a turn for the better is imminent for most Americans.

The Neoliberal Blow to the USA

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2021 by Uwe Bahr

Children sent to school with guns, a silly never-ending abortion debate, a congressman posing with his family in front of a Christmas tree, all with guns in hand: profit-hungry gun manufacturers with a criminal National Rifle Association (NRA) as their umbrella of protection take precedence over the welfare of the American people, while at the same time the protection of unborn life is prioritized as the noblest of Christian values. The insanity of all American contradictions is supported and directed by the donors of a targeted policy that in the end ensures the greatest possible financial gain for both sides. At the same time, most Americans are apparently unwilling to recognize that their society is vegetating under subversive neoliberalism.

How should they know? If they already associate the term “socialism” with the most ludicrous notions, then how should they grasp the facts about neoliberalism in their very own country? An essential factor is: There is no realistic approach to tangible socialism in the United States; instead, neoliberalism is pervasive. The specter of socialism is meant to ensure that a perception of real existing neoliberalism cannot arise in the first place.

I know both forms of society all too well; I have personally lived among them and experienced them first hand. The second experience occurred in a place of freedom where I least expected it: the United States of America. For in the past, living far away in a completely different world, we looked longingly to America in the firm belief that this was the freest country on earth.

In my “first life”, I was involuntarily exposed to socialism in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) for 28 years. I didn’t see anyone there who was really enthusiastic about it; we were walled in, separated from relatives in the free part of Germany, and there was no escape without a high possibility of endangering life and limb. In 1989, the barrel overflowed, and the long-pent-up popular anger was discharged in an astonishingly peaceful manner. The realization had already grown in us long before: Socialism is indeed a dictatorship, therefore it has no human face and it does not work also because there is no freedom for individual creativity due to the nationalized means of production. Moreover, people in the masses do not function according to predetermined moral norms. For similar reasons, Christianity as a whole has continuously failed in its own demands, with very few people able to live according to Christian ambitions (read the first paragraph again).

I experienced the excesses of neoliberalism for more than eight years in a company called “Walmart”; a lawless space without any legal protection for the working people, some features strongly reminiscent of the GDR with intimidation methods the order of the day, here and there. Of course, in the end you could “merely” lose your job at Walmart, while in the GDR personal freedom was at stake – a disproportionately higher price. In terms of labor, however, the working people in the GDR did have rights, which I could not see in any way at Walmart.

The deception about socialism is spread in the United States as deliberately and purposefully as is the concealment of inhuman neoliberalism: in the media, in the schools, in the churches, by politics anyway, because the political caste is the essential part of the whole, similar to a referee in sports who has been bribed by one of the participating teams. As shocking as the realization is, but it has been possible in the land of the free and the brave to create a broad stratum of ordinary people whose thinking is directed to the restrictions of microcosm and who willingly allow themselves to be trimmed in almost any direction – except that of reality.

The real disaster of the present is the Republican Party’s nearly unconditional agreement to neoliberalism, thereby dealing a deep blow to the old idea of conservatism on American soil. Large sections of the Democrats are not lagging behind. This is how a country is divided from the top down. Those who speak out against it risk being assigned to socialism, a form of society that is not applicable to practical life anyway.

Thus, a conducive discourse about the country’s problems cannot even take place, especially since every opinion in the U.S. is subject to the principle of deeply divided two-party rule. Even wearing a mouth-nose guard because of Corona some interpret as political orientation.

How conditions are supposed to change for the better under such circumstances is a mystery to me.

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?