“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.

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 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.

Pathological Madness

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2022 by Uwe Bahr

Just another mass shooting, only days after Uvalde, and they wonder again and pray. Constantly repeating phrases can be heard: “Tragic has befallen our community”, and “Our prayers are with the families.”

For those who impartially stick to facts, the main reason for gun violence in this Christian country is a morbid mania for guns rather than a tragedy. The U.S. is a violent country where residents are already afraid to make a doctor’s appointment, go shopping, or attend school. Almost as narrow-minded as the Christian pro-life gun nuts are those opponents of abortion who call for stricter gun laws out of sheer hypocrisy or helplessness. Hypocrisy – because they either cannot move from their traditional, right-wing Republican viewpoint or – at a higher level – fear for their re-election if they question the Second Amendment, which gave people no legal right to bear arms in 1791. The latter is a historical fact, but the unteachable do not concern themselves with the history of their own country.

400 million guns are privately owned in the U.S., more than the country’s population. How many more do they need? If more guns make for more security, then the Land of the Free and the Brave should be the safest country in the world, right? Compared to any other advanced country, the exact opposite is the case. This is also proven.

How sick must man be not to be able to recognize this? Praying does not help and has never helped, except in the imagination of people. For the dear God to whom they pray cannot hear them. It’s going to happen again.

Marx and Lenin

Does Mrs. Noem know what she is talking about?

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2022 by Uwe Bahr

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem actually said the following sentence yesterday during the National Rifle Association’s annual convention in Houston: “Let me tell you the truth about the enemies of the Second Amendment. They are schooled in the ways of Marx and Lenin.”

Soviet propaganda banner with the heads of Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov (Lenin), Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx (from left). We were fed up with such images in GDR times, because they hung in every classroom. I can’t believe that I have to come back to these pictures now, in the supposedly freest country in the world, of all places. At least no harm happened to us in school during our childhood, not once in the whole country – and that in the midst of a socialist dictatorship.

What pathetic nonsense.

“In the ways of Marx and Lenin” I was trained against my will in 1987/88 in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) on the Kalashnikov, the most widely used sub-machine gun in the world at the time – and I did not like that at all. Even that “schooling” did not change my attitude towards guns.

In the GDR, where I lived for 29 years, military education was a compulsory subject in schools, as well as military camps – by the way, also for girls -, where the young people were trained on weapons. This also included hand grenades.

Notice something? Marxists, Leninists, Communists, Socialists, were sinister propagandists in line with Mrs. Noem and the NRA in their opinion about guns. Both sides for different, but in both cases self-serving purposes. Both are characterized by efforts to sell their propaganda with all sorts of history distorting arguments to disguise their true intentions. Politicians in the U.S. for reasons of votes and donations from the gun industry, no matter how many children have to die in their own country due to gun violence. Communists and socialists believed that guns were desperately needed to succeed in the “revolutionary struggle against the class enemy.” I am not sure anymore which is worse.

So, I don’t know where the lady from South Dakota gets her wisdom from. But she doesn’t care about historical facts – because she knows how well any nonsense goes down propagandistically with the majority of her countrymen as soon as terms like “Socialism” or “Marxism” come into play. My special friend Ron DeSantis from Florida uses far-fetched allusions to German history, including odd remarks about the Cold War, with such regularity that you can’t help but laugh at them. But with a majority of Americans, that kind of thing resonates.

The radical, naive and inflammatory speeches of the Trumps, DeSantis’, Cruz’ are easy to see through, especially for those who are informed about the historical background. I understand more and more why the political right, together with the churches in the fairway, wants to teach children in schools only what they think is right. For there is nothing more dangerous for the goals of propagandists than an enlightened humanity.

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.

With Thugs at the Desk

In a Florida County Government I worked with questionable characters

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2021 by Uwe Bahr

During the ten years I worked for Pinellas County in Florida, I was gradually subordinated to a number of people who seemed richly suspicious. While most of my coworkers were normal people, others gave me the impression of rather scraggly birds who actually belonged in the innermost part of the institution where I worked: the Pinellas County Jail.

One of them was a temporary worker who regularly disappeared from the office with his briefcase around 10 a.m., sometimes earlier, and told me the recurring sentence as soon as he passed my desk to the exit door: “Uwe, I am heading for the fire station.” Meant was a County project in Tierra Verde south of St. Petersburg, and that was also the direction to his dwelling. The saying “Heading for the Fire Station” became a common phrase among us colleagues whenever we wanted to jokingly imply that we would rather go home now than work.

The other was a ruthless character, unscrupulous to the point of going far beyond what was legal, as I was soon to learn for myself on one occasion when he called me into his office and threatened me in a very illegal manner.

As if my assumptions at that time were still looking for confirmation, I recently came across a television report from News Channel 8 and suddenly saw two very familiar faces. I encountered many shady characters in the GDR dictatorship abusing their authority by intimidating others to achieve personal advantages – but these two crooks in Florida surpass in my memory everything that happened in my life before and after. I would not trust any of them with even five dollars.

Why did I have a constant gut feeling at the time that something was wrong? I could only suspect and knew nothing, because I was in the lowest position and in a sense no more than a pawn in the game of intriguers, who at the expense of the taxpayer carried out their frictions among themselves almost on a daily basis. And most of the time, I admit honestly, I didn’t want to know anything. I had my personal load to carry and was glad to have a semi-secure income with the County Government.

It is interesting to see how criminal energies in the U.S. can develop not only at the top national level, with the executors always getting away with it. Watch this and make sure to turn on the sound. By the way, Andrew Pupke, who was also overpaid, should have been fired simply for the intentionally stupid answers he gave the reporter as a public servant in a senior position.

https://www.wfla.com/…/you-paid-for-it-pinellas-county…/ The report is certainly informative, even though it is several years old.

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?