The End of Globalization

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2022 by Uwe Bahr

The headline to my blog page is “Wind of Change.” However, this is not how I imagined the changes – I have to say that honestly. It is a caesura in the lives of people, especially in Europe, that was considered unthinkable just a few weeks ago.

When the war in Ukraine ends one day, Putin will be sitting on a pile of rubble that he conquered, isolated from most of the world. He is already turning to China as an ally because there is nothing else left for him. Once again, humanity is facing a division into hostile power blocks: We are returning to a phase of power politics that defined the European modern era from the 15th into the 20th century and that we thought we had overcome – but that we have now fallen back into.

These are anything but good prospects for the West, because it believed – correctly – that all problems of mankind can only be solved globally, which means: with at least the largest powers of this earth on one and the same side. Because the climate crisis, the hunger crisis in the southern part of the globe, and the refugee movements, such as now from Ukraine, do not stop at national borders. Instead, achieving these goals will now be even further away.

Where Trump had failed for the time being with his “America First” policy, Putin is now much more advanced in his own, Russian sense (which is why the two got along so well). This means: Only what I want counts – and I can enforce that by any means, even by force if necessary (see storming of the Capitol on January 6, 2021). Such political means fall under the category of “autocracy.” That was the concession for the stunning decision of 75 million Trump voters in the U.S. in 2020, many of whom believe to this day that this election was rigged.

From now on, globalization in its true sense will no longer be practicable, because the world community is falling back into power blocks, with all these global problems becoming a matter of negotiation that always result in mediocre compromises instead of really tackling the problems. Moreover, the world sees itself divided into two ideological, fundamentally opposed camps: Authoritarian states on the one hand, democratic ones on the other – with even the U.S. a shaky candidate, as Christian pseudo-conservatives reject progress in a fierce determination to fight anything that threatens their supposed values.

In addition, there is a threat of social unrest in countries like Germany, because the reversion to high levels of armaments means that budget funds are being reallocated to unproductive areas like the military, which are then – logically – lacking elsewhere. Unlike people in the U.S., however, Germans are not used to being abandoned by their welfare state. The German government is already talking about subsidizing gasoline and heating costs so that the burdens on citizens do not rise ad infinitum.

Putin has succeeded in destroying the global world order. The consequences will be catastrophic worldwide. This will also be felt by those who still live with their heads in the sand and believe that they alone can solve their country’s problems with feigned ostentation.

The “Me First” policy will come with a dear price.

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.

We threw Chestnuts at Soviet Military Vehicles

Germany intends to deliver GDR Strela anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine

Germany intends these days … to deliver 2,700 shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles from former NVA stocks to Ukraine. For the record, the NVA (Nationale Volksarmee) was the National People’s Army of the German Democratic Republic (GDR), commonly known in the U.S. – and not entirely historically accurate – as the former communist East Germany. Like the same state, this army has ceased to exist since 1990.

Germany delivers 2,700 surface-to-air missiles from GDR stock to Ukraine

The military utensil (the official term is 9K32-Strela-2, but there is absolutely no military expert talking in me) is ironically of Soviet design and now to be used in Ukraine against Russian invading forces. It has been in service since 1968, and there has hardly been a conflict hotspot during and since the Cold War in which this weapon has not been deployed. Among others, the Viet Cong also used it against the Americans in the Vietnam War.

Around the same time – we were eight or nine years old – a school friend and I, crouched behind a cemetery wall, threw chestnuts at passing Soviet military vehicles. When one of these vehicles stopped and we heard a loud Russian voice, we almost wet our pants and ran away.

We had actually been told in school to always wave to the Soviet convoys whenever we saw them on the road – because according to official propaganda, they were considered “our liberators from fascism.” But that didn’t really catch on. At the same time, my father was a great admirer of the American Apollo space flights. There I was confronted with the other extreme early in life: For it was Hitler’s former scientists who decisively helped the Americans win the race to the moon during the Cold War. My father’s influence was unconsciously reflected in my thinking, which could not follow the communist propaganda. I feel with almost similar mixed feelings about the portrayals in most news broadcasts today. All this together is probably the material for a whole book.

According to the official GDR account of that time, the Soviets were our friends, but in large parts of the population it was not seen that way. The GDR, a state about two-thirds the size of Florida, was frontline Warsaw Pact territory and therefore fully occupied by Soviet troops. They were omnipresent in the daily street scene, although strangely we hardly came into contact with them.

The chestnuts of 1969 against Soviet military have of course achieved nothing, and yet they were – in a figurative sense – probably trendsetting. For in the fall of 1989, peaceful protests in the Eastern Bloc, not chestnuts and certainly not tanks, led to the end of the Cold War. Mikhail Gorbachev’s policy of “glasnost and perestroika”, which means “openness, transparency and reformation”, led to the peaceful withdrawal of the Soviets from Middle and Eastern Europe. When two weapons-staring systems faced each other, things could have gone very differently, despite the supposed weakness of one of the opponents (we see it today with Russia). But in the decades to come, the West has struck at the outstretched hand of the Russians several times and without careful consideration. Without necessity, one did not understand how to turn a previous enemy into a partner.

And now there is a war in Europe, of which no one can say how the conflict would be resolved even after a ceasefire – from the point of view of both sides, the West as well as Russia, by the way. But the beginning of the 1990s proved how peace and security can be achieved: through dialogue, by approaching each other – in no case with more and more weapons.

One would think that the so-called Christianity of the Occident should understand and support Gorbachev’s option better than anyone else, but unfortunately, in the history of the world, the opposite has usually been the case.

Therefore, a Christian who advocates weapons remains for me a very strange Christian, because he permanently disregards his own principles instead of leaving everything to his dear God.

“Fuck The EU”

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2022 by Uwe Bahr

Do we remember the following? https://www.theguardian.com/…/eu-us-diplomat-victoria…

This is not meant to justify Vladimir Putin’s actions in Ukraine – on the contrary. But it may be recalled how Washington and also the European Union tried to manipulate the opposition they preferred in Ukraine after Viktor Yanukovych, a pro-Russian president, came to office in 2010 in a recognized election.

Western interference came to light when a bugged telephone conversation between U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and U.S. Ambassador to Kiev, Geoffrey Ross Pyatt, was leaked in 2014 on the internet.

By “Fuck the EU,” Mrs. Nuland was referring to the European Union’s reluctance to support the stricter U.S. intent to “arrange” a pro-Western course for Ukraine by manipulating Ukrainian opposition against Russia and for its (the West’s) own interests.

At that time, then U.S. President Barack Obama had repeatedly assured the world public that the U.S. would not interfere in the internal affairs of Ukraine. This was a lie that came to light openly through the phone call.

It has long been confirmed that the 2013/14 protests on the Maidan in Kiev, the perseverance of the masses in freezing cold in tent cities, was a subversion financed by the United States and the European Union.

The West is partly to blame for the fate of Ukraine, because for years it has ostensibly pursued only its own interests and not the interests of the people of Ukraine. The compassion of ordinary people today, who want to help, is real – the “compassion” of the West is hypocritical.

As always, it is the people who have to suffer. This is what we are now witnessing in Ukraine, and the accompanying hypocritical chatter of the Europeans at the expense of the suffering population in Ukraine is hard to bear. The West should be ashamed of itself.

U-Turn in Germany

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2022 by Uwe Bahr

Due to the events in Ukraine and under pressure from other European countries, my homeland is now supplying weapons after all, contrary to all earlier objections. And that’s not all: Suddenly, a government of Social Democrats, Free Democrats and Greens, of all people, wants to provide the German armed forces with a rearmament program of historic proportions. A decades-long, consistent policy with key points of détente and disarmament has been turned upside down from one day to the next.

It is incomprehensible that now suddenly it is pretended that disarmament and arms control encouraged a despot like Putin to invade Ukraine. Currently, NATO spends 18 times more money on armaments than the largest country in the world – Russia. Did this prevent the war in Ukraine? How will the world put Russia in its place? Attack the country with nuclear weapons? The end of any civilization on the whole globe would be preprogrammed.

It would be fatal if Germany now entered the arms race beyond the means of alliance and self-defense, perhaps to wage war in other countries. Is that the way to impress someone like Putin? Or should German soldiers end up going to war against Russia once again?

What have the Americans achieved with their highly modern army, the most expensive military in the world, in a third-world country like Afghanistan, sent by politicians with the biggest mouths? In the end, sandal-clad, medieval god warriors in captured American uniforms and American military equipment were parading through the neighborhood. Or is that not true? Americans have run away, and not for the first time. How much does it actually take before even the biggest fools realize that there is no war of aggression to be won in the 21st century? Perhaps Putin will feel the effects of this now as well.

Are the industrialized countries now falling back into the mentality of the 19th and 20th century world? No one in his right mind can want that.

Mankind is threatened by another danger of which many are obviously not yet aware: Man-made climate change, which is having an increasingly rapid impact and which only reality-impaired wafflers can deny. More and more guns instead of climate protection – is that what we have to live with now?

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.

“No one answered”

Why Putin attacked

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2022 by Uwe Bahr

He is still the President of Ukraine, but his hours are probably numbered. It is to be hoped that he and his family will get out of the country in time and unharmed, because he is still young. But Volodymyr Selensky will have his own story to tell about the reliability of the West.

The phrases from Washington to Berlin have proven to be rhetoric of outrage and compassion fading away like the echo in the cave.

His home country has been betrayed and sold by its western “partners”, in the end mercilessly abandoned, in spite of all the full-bodied words towards Kiev. Yet the country had been the plaything of Washington before, as Trump’s envoys sought to enrich themselves at the country’s expense, such as one Rudi Giuliani and his criminal Ukrainian business partners. We remember: American payments for defense purposes were used as leverage for statements by the Ukrainian president about Trump and his alleged blamelessness. This was nothing but a form of state terrorism and blackmail on the part of the USA.

It is significant what Volodymyr Selensky had to say last night on camera: he had addressed the leaders of 27 countries in the past hours to accept Ukraine into NATO immediately. “But everyone is afraid, no one has answered.”

Ukraine in NATO would activate in this hour the immediate alliance case, with which all member states would have to support Ukraine immediately militarily. The conflict would most likely turn into a global conflagration. Conversely, if Ukraine had been in NATO for a long time, Putin would not have attacked it. It was his unbearable nightmare that the country could join the Atlantic Alliance and Russia would be strategically cornered more and more. That is why he attacked.

There is little likelihood that Ukraine will settle down after the war; a human tragedy emerges. Europeans can prepare themselves for a new wave of refugees. All this is happening mainly because the West, in boundless hubris and arrogance over the past two decades, thought it could put Putin in his place and push Russia back.

The Wounded Bear Strikes

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2022 by Uwe Bahr

This time it is not a Third World state like Iraq, this time it is not a medieval Afghanistan, where American “strategy” has failed miserably: it is Russia, which lashes out like a wounded bear. Hardly anyone seriously wants to stand in his way in the current conflict. Americans and Europeans are imposing sanctions that in the end will only cause more harm to their own people than elsewhere. They do not impress the new Russian tsar.

In a kind of ultra-modern war, the West and Russia could now try to use cyber-attacks to knock each other’s lights out. The previous year had already shown how susceptible the ailing American infrastructure is to such a thing, when countless gas stations in the south of the country were temporarily without gasoline. Americans could soon see long lines in front of their banks and ATMs.

Only a few years ago, the unworldly strategists in the White House and the European Union were rejoicing that with the loss of Ukraine, Russia was doomed to become a predominantly Asian empire. Obama’s ill-advised words that Russia is no more than a “regional power” still reverberate. They have no idea what an affront, what an insult to the Russian soul such drivel can cause.

From today’s point of view, it can be said that with the eastward expansion of NATO, the transatlantic-European attempt has failed to push Russia back towards the Volga and the Asian steppes.

The cornered “regional power” is now fighting back – probably with a war that no one in Europe would have thought possible.

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.

Russia in a Pincer Grip – Germany should stay out of it

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2021 by Uwe Bahr

Incoming German Chancellor Olaf Scholz sees “Russian troop movements on Ukraine border with concern.” Oh, my goodness. The clever strategist – what does he want to do?

“It is very, very important that no one rummages through the history books to redraw borders,” Scholz said today at a press conference in Berlin, already doing his first pull-ups on the edge of the table.

He’s not even in office yet, and already he’s talking nonsense. It’s a pity that he can no longer seek advice from his great role model, Helmut Schmidt (“Schmidt the Lip,” quote: Jimmy Carter). Yet, very likely he had to say these words – for diplomatic reasons, but above all for alliance reasons, in short: Pro forma.

But the choice of words could have been a little more prudent. The history of the people is not important? Their ethnic origin, their traditions, their language, and everything that makes up their identity – all that can be swept under the carpet so easily? Scholz, as a German, should be aware that the memory of the Great Patriotic War is still very much alive in eastern Ukraine. And also, about what we Germans did there in the Second World War. Does Germany’s new chancellor know anything about this? Even if he does, he should keep his mouth shut. If that’s the way they want it, let the Americans get themselves into hot water once again.

We Germans have no say in the matter.

Has anyone ever considered the fact that Ukraine is not a unified state, because the eastern part with the Donbas is deeply Russian, while the western part was Austrian for a very long time, between the World Wars even polish? Is it ever asked what the people in eastern Ukraine want?

The Americans including NATO want to push their sphere of influence right under Putin’s nose, and that’s what it’s all about. I can understand very well that he doesn’t like that. In the end, Biden, too, will be cautious – because he cannot risk the next American military disaster.

After the end of the Cold War more than 30 years ago, there was absolutely no reason for the West to reject Russia’s outstretched hand. And yet it did. Even more, it broke its promises to Russia and extended NATO across the Oder-Neisse line. It is understandable that Russia feels threatened by this. But the West always puts the blame on the other side.