From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2022 by Uwe Bahr
In the main German news yesterday (September 16), a commentary said that Russia is waging an economic war against Europe. This is now the usual choice of words in most of the media in my home country – not much better than elsewhere. But they know very well how untrue this phrasing is, for the sanctions have been initiated by the Europeans and the Americans as a reaction to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, while the responding Russia is accused by the German government of breach of treaty in trade relations.
In reality, the Europeans are shooting themselves in their own foot. What were they thinking the Russian reaction would be if the country was hit with one sanction package after another?
Anyone who trades with Russia does not at the same time make himself an accomplice in the Ukraine war. If this were true, then Germany – and not only Germany – would have been an accomplice in countless wars so many times. The Americans in particular have instigated so many wars of aggression that even German history cannot keep pace. But no Western European country, let alone Germany, has ever started an economic war because of this.
It is Germany that has to pay the highest price for the nonsensical sanctions, while the Americans rub their hands. Not only can they now sell their dirty fracking gas to Europe, but thanks to low energy prices and the discriminatory deregulation of workers’ rights in their own country, they will also become even more profitable as an industrial destination for companies from overseas. Whether the U.S. has a real interest in ending the war in Ukraine as soon as possible is at least open to doubt.
I hope for resistance from the German people not to let their own government rob them of their livelihood. It would not be the first time in our history that pressure from the street forces a government to resign or an entire system to collapse.
From my perspective, only non-violent protest can bring about a change to rationality, hopefully without playing into the hands of right-wing populists as in the USA. But the situation is not much better in many other countries: Millions of people in the developed world are susceptible to dangerous populist slogans because they have legitimate concerns and feel abandoned by politicians from moderate camps who are more intertwined with the interests of big business than actually contributing to a solution for the world’s pressing problems – such as man-made climate change – with the necessary resolve.
These are the consequences of a globalization that no one imagined 30 years ago.