Russian Roulette with Red Lines

The War in Ukraine has more than one Culprit

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2022 by Uwe Bahr

The invasion of Ukraine is not going the way Russia envisioned – but the thought of abandoning his plans is unbearable for Vladimir Putin. At stake is Ukraine, his security buffer to the West. The enormous American and European aid flowing there has made the military situation very precarious for the Russians, prompting their president now to order a partial mobilization of Russian forces. There is even talk of using tactical nuclear weapons. An escalation of the conflict to this extent would be a catastrophe for all of Europe.

Workers’ uprising in the GDR in 1953: Soviet tanks roll through East Berlin and other places of the Soviet satellite state. The USA and the two other victorious powers in Berlin, France and Great Britain, looked on powerlessly a few hundred yards away.

Why did it have to come to this? Can the responsibility for this dire situation really be attributed solely to Russia? After all, it was they who started this war. A war, however, that has a long pre-history between Russians and Ukrainians, but also Europe.

At a time when everyone is talking about globalization, it is worth taking a look at recent history. During the Cold War, there were many situations that could have easily led to nuclear catastrophe. The two great powers, the USA and the communist Soviet Union, friends and allies against Hitler in the second half of the Second World War, fought proxy wars against each other virtually all over the world or even intervened directly, as the Americans did in Vietnam.

That was far away. But in the field of tension Europe, the Americans have never dared to act against the Soviets as they are now doing in Ukraine, right on Russia’s doorstep. When the Soviets tried to starve out West Berlin in 1948/49 by blocking the access routes in order to force the three Western powers to abandon the city, the Americans and the British flew non-stop missions via an air lift to Tempelhof to supply the population with all the necessities of life. Military action was out of the question for all sides, although the Soviets threatened it several times.

Four years later, when the workers’ uprising in the GDR took place and Soviet tanks rolled through East Berlin to crush it, the Americans watched in protest from a few hundred meters away but did not dare to intervene militarily. On August 13, 1961, when the East German communists sealed off West Berlin with barbed wire and construction of the Wall began, President John F. Kennedy was in Hyannis Port for a sail and did not want to be disturbed1. The West had known in advance what was going on with the approval of the Soviets – and did not intervene, even though there was a Berlin crisis team in the Washington State Department, set up long before.

Nor did the Americans lift a finger during the 1956 uprising in Hungary, which was put down particularly bloodily by invading Soviet troops; nor during the Prague Spring in 1968, nor in Poland in 1970 and 1981, when, by the way, Republican presidents were sitting in the White House.

These invaded states were all involuntary satellites of the Soviets and wanted to go their own independent ways, just like the Ukraine today. They were not involved in “real wars” with the Soviet Union, but at least the Soviets intervened militarily, and no one helped these countries at the time.

In a certain way, the West had accepted the sphere of influence of the Soviet Union, although there, too, the suffering of the population including politically motivated killings, imprisonments and deportations of hundreds of thousands of people were the order of the day. However, even because of all this, economic relations were never seriously questioned between the two power blocks, on the contrary. And in all these moments of world political dangers and wars, when everything was at stake, Russian natural gas and oil continued to flow not only to the Federal Republic of Germany and the former GDR, but to almost all of Western Europe during the Cold War and afterwards. Even the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 did not play a destructive role in this pattern of ongoing cooperation, apart from a boycott of the Olympic Games.

So, the question is: Why did the West interfere so massively in Ukraine’s affairs right after the Soviet Union fell apart in late 1991, when individual republics like Ukraine broke away from it and the Russian Federation under President Boris Yeltsin tried to see the West as a partner? What were the Bidens, Trumps and Giulianis and their stooges doing in Ukraine, where almost the entire upper stratum of society including governments were corrupt to the core? None of this looked like well-meaning intentions on the part of the West – more like a dangerous, creeping imperial expansion of its own sphere of power, as the Americans saw themselves as the general triumphant force after the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Nevertheless, there is no justification for the war in Ukraine. However, if all accepted red lines from the Cold War era had not been crossed today, this war might not have happened.

Notes:

1 A note on my own behalf: In view of the historical facts and as someone who was born in 1961 at the eastern interface of the Cold War, the question does not even arise to me to whom I owe my personal freedom. The courageous mass demonstrations in the GDR, which led to the opening of the Berlin Wall in 1989, could have been put down by the Soviets just as they had been in 1953. Here, too, the Americans could only have watched, or rather had to watch, in order not to endanger world peace. I owe my freedom to Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet party and state leader and his policy of glasnost and perestroika (openness and restructuring). – I emphasize this explicitly because I have heard many voices in America according to which the USA and Ronald Reagan brought down the Berlin Wall, although the latter was not even in office anymore at the time. It would be more correct to say that the Americans kept the path to this development open – but they could not bring it about themselves.

A Shot in Their own Leg

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.

What the Communists taught me

How the language of propaganda is related then and now

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2022 by Uwe Bahr

Fifty years ago, in socialist East Germany (German Democratic Republic, GDR), I and others were drilled into believing that only fools do not believe in communism. Once or twice I also heard the phrase, “Only a communist is a good person.”

Always pray nicely. So far, hundreds of abuse cases have come to light that the Southern Baptist Convention tried to cover up for decades. The number of unreported cases is probably much higher.

In a slight variation and a few decades later, I heard the following pithy phrase in a Florida church that made my ears ring: “Only a Christian is a good person.” What a merciful, Christian assessment for all those who dare to think differently. I left the institution of totalitarian opinion at the same moment these words were spoken, because I had heard all this before in my life.

Deriving from such experience, when we replace the words “communism” with “God” and “communist” with “Christian” in the first paragraph of this article, we should not be too dumbfounded to discover certain similarities.

The propaganda is comparable in each case, because there is no credible contrast between good and evil here. If you look at the history of Christianity objectively, you can hardly avoid the realization of the role the church has always played in the oppression and extermination of entire peoples in the name of their God. Not even the misdeeds of the churches from today’s time should be mentioned here – starting with the Catholic Church up to the Baptist sect and thousands of cases of sexual abuse. In general, communism lags behind Christianity in the crimes committed only because it did not have 2,000 years in its infamy to cause similar damage on humanity as was inflicted under the Christian cross. Mendacity, however, differs in nothing.

For myself, I come to the impossible conclusion that I am in some way indebted to the Communists. For anyone who has been exposed to their propaganda and, moreover, has not only resisted but rejected its effects, is inevitably endowed with the instinct to smell any form of propaganda from a hundred miles away for the rest of his life.

The absolute majority of people in what was then East Germany (often incorrectly referred to in the U.S. as “communist East Germany”) had a similar experience. Otherwise, a peaceful revolution like that of 1989, with hundreds of thousands of demonstrators every Monday on the streets of East Berlin and Leipzig under the eyes of snipers posted on rooftops, would not have been possible. We were sick and tired of listening to the demented socialist propaganda any longer. Needless to say, a revolution like the one in 1989 cannot be carried out with people who are on the side of the power apparatus. The tireless protests swept away the communist rulers, which would not have been possible without the tacit restraint of the Soviet occupation forces. During the workers’ uprising of 1953, which had already brought the GDR to the brink of the abyss, things looked quite different.

Experience from history should teach:

One’s own life and the independent, free thinking associated with it are too precious a personal good to let it be influenced by unscrupulous impostors – whether from religion or politics. They are easily recognized by their use of language. For such propagandists want nothing else than to bring about the unity opinion, which in the end finds no more contradiction, and all this for only one purpose: Allowing only what they and no one else think is right in the (profitable) interest of the few over the many. Nothing is more dangerous for a society than that.

It sounds like a bad staircase joke: Much of what I can observe in America today reminds me of the old GDR – with the only difference being that in the USA the danger does not come from socialism, but from the extreme opposite, namely real existing neoliberalism. Every encyclopedia explains what that is and what it stands for.

God’s Whoremongers

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2022 by Uwe Bahr

“Rather a poor sinner be than a shameless hypocrite.”

They play the Good Samaritan by asking their misguided cult members to do charity in order to create an appearance in public that is a lie from top to bottom. The Baptist sect, once founded by slaveholders who maintained that God and the Bible allowed them to own slaves. Today, they leave everything up to their great designer, but they need guns. Currently, like many other churches, deeply involved in sexual abuse. An institution of fraud and mass dumbing down.

Source: New York Times

Criminal organizations like these should have been banned long ago. Any decent person would be ashamed to associate with such a debauched club. However, it is unbridled business and profiteering as usual in America: a bunch of charlatans shamelessly line their pockets by enriching themselves on the naiveté of their brainwashed adherents. A modern-time gangster gang of populists, corrupters, fornicators, rapists, cover-up specialists and tax dodgers in the name of their creator, as it can hardly be worse.

And these criminals tell others that they are all sinners from birth because they have inherited the sins of Adam and Eve, and Jesus frees them from these sins – of course only if they follow his word. What mindless nonsense, it doesn’t get any more stupid.

Be careful which institution you send your children to. “Let the little children come to me” is not necessarily a demand that attentive people with sense should comply with.

Under Socialism I went to Lutheran Church

Our Church originated from the 12th century

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2022 by Uwe Bahr

Pastor Thom’s church of “Peter and Paul” at Elbeu, my hometown. Originally built in the 12th century, the structure was destroyed five hundred years later during the 30 Years War by passing Swedes. In 1758 the church was rebuilt with donations from the most famous Prussian king, Frederick II. – an atheist. The graves directly in front of the church date back to the 17th and 18th centuries; former pastors who ministered in the church are buried here. – In this church I took part in the Christmas Eve nativity plays as a child – unforgettable experiences.

Since I came to America in 1998, I have occasionally had to listen to the following words: “The only reason you don’t believe in God is because you grew up under socialism and were brainwashed by that propaganda.” Those who said this could obviously not imagine that there had been a church at all in East German socialism under communist rule.

Here is the contrary evidence (see documents below). The documents bear my name and date from when I was seven and eight years old. I possess another four documents from the corresponding subsequent years. That’s how long I went to church in the German Democratic Republic (GDR). It was the only time I went to church regularly.

By the way, good old Pastor Gerhard Thoms, who filled these documents out, was the only true Christian I ever met in my whole life. He lived according to the guidelines. A God who allows people to own and shoot firearms? Pastor Thoms would have given such hypocrites a piece of his mind. The man possessed authenticity and did not interpret his Bible arbitrarily, as is usually the case elsewhere. He also did not make a profit through his Christian faith – imagine that.

Nothing was commercialized; there was no crazy band playing in the church, and there were no microphones and loudspeakers. It was a worship service as it should be, not a money-making business, in walls three feet thick, made of field stones.

Translation/left side: Our Lord Jesus Christ speaks: Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them; for such is the kingdom of God. Mk. 10 14
Right side: Uwe Bahr from the parish of Elbeu participated in the second year of Christian instruction 1968/69 for twelve hours, registered on 01/31/1969. He was excused for one hour, no missing hours. Behavior 1 (which is an A), cooperation 1-2 (A/B). Elbeu, 6/27/1969, Pastor Gerhard Thoms, Catechist
Translation: Evangelical Church of the Church Province of Saxony / Testimony of the Christian teaching

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.

Not from Nowhere

Joe Biden refutes himself

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2022 by Uwe Bahr

The American mendacity cannot be greater: President Joe Biden refutes himself during his visit to the Saudis and with what he had said during the election campaign about the murder of the journalist Kashoggi. In the end, however, it is nothing other than the usual policy towards criminal regimes: business comes first. Idealism is the worst enemy of the mendacious.

It doesn’t matter whether human rights are trampled underfoot in the country in question or not. After all, the world gendarme USA itself is anything but a role model, and the much-vaunted democracy is more equivalent to a dictatorship of the moneyed elite, which is not regulated by the state and can therefore do as it pleases at the expense of the masses. The majority of the people let themselves be ripped off and plundered in ignorance, brainwashed by the corporate media and the churches, which all profit from the public misleading in the name of usury.

Long forgotten is the trade with Nazi Germany until well into the Second World War, after the persecution of Jews in Germany had long become internationally known – George W. Bush’s grandfather is only one example of this. At that time, there was also widespread anti-Semitism in the U.S., which only abated with the founding of Israel, at least officially. Since then, the situation has been reversed for American politics, for the specters they called have long since taken over the helm in the “freest country in the world.” As Democratic Senator William Fullbright already stated in 1973: “Israel controls the Senate.”

Today, the U.S. is demanding tough sanctions against Russia from its allies, while no other country is ruining itself more than Germany.

In turn, only the Americans benefit from this: Their country becomes more attractive for industrial settlements, because no one invests in Europe anymore in view of the high energy prices. At the same time, the American weaponry is running at full speed as long as the war in Ukraine rages – the corporations are making billions in profits and so is the caste of politicians in Washington, who are legally bribed by them. Future tax generations will have to pay for this.

The American elite doesn’t give a damn about their country, whether it’s Trump or Biden, Republicans or the majority of Democrats. The supplication to the Saudis is all about oil. While the world teeters on the edge of the abyss in the manmade climate crisis, Biden continues to heat up the fossil fuel business in firm loyalty to his clientele. When the situation is appropriate, he again feigns a commitment to climate protection. In reality, this tactic is called “greenwashing.”

Thus, the image of the ugly American was created throughout the world. It does not come from nowhere.

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.

No Guns in Private Hands

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2022 by Uwe Bahr

If the previous reports are somewhat accurate, then it is difficult to understand for a layman like me how parents could be so quickly in front of the school building and still heard the gunshots which killed the children …, while the local police in Uvalde/Texas allegedly could not do anything to stop the murderer for an entire hour. Because they had to wait for the “Tactical Team?”

In terms of gun advocates, then, following the theory, how are armed teachers or school security personnel supposed to stop a heavily armed murderer – when not even trained, local police officers can accomplish this?

Even in previous mass shootings at American schools, armed protective personnel have never been shown to contain, let alone prevent, a crime. These are the facts.

So, what are the gun-obsessed people talking about who believe that only guns in the hands of do-gooders can prevent such carnage? What if these good guys are scared to use their guns as apparently happened in Uvalde? Gun rights advocates generally talk incoherent, visionary, brainless stuff to justify their own motivations for carrying a gun, invoking a manipulated Second Amendment from 1791. They are kaput.

The spread of such nonsense paves the way for the next massacre. What kind of people are they who can support such a thing – what is their spiritual and mental state? They scream their throats out about abortions, while their born children literally have to run for their lives every day.

Those who still talk about weapons protecting lives should be ashamed of themselves. Weapons kill, and for this reason, without exception, they do not belong in the hands of private individuals. No stricter gun laws can stop the madness in the USA.

The Message of Hitler Admirers

The reasons why it is hardly possible to acquire a gun legally in Germany

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2022 by Uwe Bahr

I often ask myself what I am doing here in the “United” States of America. People of my host country shoot their own people in droves every day. The good thing is that even after a quarter of a century, I don’t owe this alienated land of the Brave a single crumb.

My country of origin, Germany, has one of the strictest gun laws in the world. This has to do with both our culture and our history. Growing up, my generation sat at the dinner table with family members and relatives who had lived through Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich and now left a message for us that has been imprinted for a lifetime: Only an idiot voluntarily picks up a gun.

Shocking: As always, the USA leads by a wide margin.

These people, long in their graves, were anything but wimps. They had gone out to conquer the world for Hitler and Germany. They were in France with Guderian, on speedboats in the English Channel, on the Eastern Front at Stalingrad, in the desert with Rommel. Several great uncles were in Soviet captivity for several years, which hundreds of thousands of German soldiers did not survive. We were still children when our old soccer coach suddenly took off his shirt in the middle of the sports field and showed us his war wounds, caused by shell splinters. We were shocked at the sight. “Memory of Stalingrad”, he called it, and “look, what it does.” In the end, they had at least come to their senses after initial enthusiasm for their beloved Fuehrer, and this clearly reflected on me and my generation.

Today I am glad, almost proud, to have been surrounded by people who had their minds together. Their legacy is deeply rooted in me, because they spoke out of a very deep experience that was, as it were, extremely painful for them and for which they had had to pay a high price.

Of course, they saw this experience with weapons from a different perspective than is the case today in the U.S. – from the perspective of war. A society in their own country where people justify their gun ownership by claiming they need to protect themselves from their own people – not even the former Nazi supporters could imagine such a thing. But that is exactly the daily reality in the USA, the most Christian of all countries, where gun advocates and proud gun owners sit in their churches on Sundays and call themselves anti-abortionists to boot. How can someone who calls himself pro-life and anti-abortion, in all seriousness, not be firmly against any private gun ownership when tens of thousands of innocent people, including even school children, are murdered in his country every year?

For obvious and logical reasons, the German system of gun control restricts the acquisition, possession, and carrying of firearms to those who have a credible justification for carrying a weapon. Fully automatic weapons are absolutely prohibited.