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.

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.

The Historical Falsification of the West

US-Secretary of State James Baker: “Not one inch eastward.”

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2022 by Uwe Bahr

Many people do not remember what happened in the recent past, but politicians in high positions of responsibility would actually be obliged to do so. This should be self-evident for a very banal reason: For yesterday’s events become the guide of action for today.

Thirty-two years may be a long time in a person’s life – in the history of the world they are only the blink of an eye. As someone who followed the events at that time very closely and was affected by them – after all, those were the basic conditions for the reunification of my country – I can understand Vladimir Putin today. The entire West – mainly Germany under the benevolent protection of the USA – have deceived and lied to the Russians and rejected Putin’s outstretched hand several times during his first term as Russian president.

Contrary to all international promises and assurances, NATO’s external border has steadily moved closer to Russia, starting in 1999 with the inclusion of Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic. There was absolutely no need nine years before to exploit the goodwill of the disintegrating Soviet Union in such obscurity. This is not an opinion, but an indisputable, historical fact.

For a short time in 1990, there was even discussion of admitting the Soviet Union itself into NATO. And one should also remember: At the end of a speech in the German Bundestag on September 25, 2001, there was a standing ovation for the German-speaking Vladimir Putin. All forgotten already.

Only a few days ago, the re-elected German Federal President, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, had nothing better to do than to warn Putin of “harsh consequences” in connection with Ukraine. Of course, there should be no more war in Europe, but Russia feels humiliated and threatened. What would be the reaction of the USA if Putin stationed soldiers and missiles in Venezuela? It should be allowed to ask this question.

The link below shows the two foreign ministers of the United States and Germany at the time, James Baker and Hans-Dietrich Genscher, with English subtitles.

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