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Prevent the Comeback of the Cold Warriors!

by Otto Konig and Richard Detje Tuesday, May. 27, 2014 at 3:41 AM

What lessons were learned from Vietnam, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Iraq and Afghanistan? Can countries become incapable of learning? Is preemptive war, confusion of offense and defense, a Hitlerian perversion? Does cooking intelligence create cynicism instead of public spirit?


By Otto Konig and Richard Detje

[This article published on May 5, 2014 is translated from the German on the Internet,]


There does not seem to be a great gulf (any more) between more sanctions against Russia demanded by German chancellor Angela Merkel and a military course of threats and confrontation. Defense minister Ursula von der Leyen insists the West must make clear “NATO does not only exist on paper.”

NATO general secretary Anders Fogh Rasmussen warns Russian leaders should not have the least doubt that we consider an attack on a member country,” he named Estonia as an example, “as an attack on all of us” (F.A.S. 5/4/2014). That sounds like war rhetoric. The news from the Stockholm SIPRI-Institute that armament spending fell in 2013 should not be repeated. Rasmussen says: “Do not drive back your defense spending! Reverse the trend and invest more money in defense.”

Thus there should be no policy of excuses or apologies for armament programs. The fiscal pact should ultimately be implemented in the fields of social policy, public employment and the sellout of public enterprises. All that could be material for news reports. Why is only a fraction of spending for armaments and military presence used to combat youth unemployment in Europe?

The mainstream media amplifies the political messages without getting to the bottom of the crisis… Volker Zastrow, director of the FAS political division, argues: “The good years are over; the West must rearm.” In taz, Klaus-Helge Donath insists “all EU states should increase their defense budget at least a third, parallel to the upgrading of conventional armed forces and technological innovations” (4/29/2014).

There is playing with fire – even if “only” in some key media – 100 years after the outbreak of the First World War and 75 years after the eruption of the Second World War… Journalists can have a one-sided perception fading out Russia’s interests (e.g. Fritz Pleitgen’s interview on Germany radio 5/4/2014). Why is it stubbornly faded out that the US and other western countries have done everything geopolitically to extend their spheres of influence, with the global expansion of their military base systems, the development of generations of highly modern weapons and a series of wars in violation of international law from Kosovo and Iraq to Libya” [1]

Meanwhile the western military alliance with its missile defense systems is nearly at the Russian border. On the occasion of the German unification, Michail Gorbatchev was promised NATO would not expand to the east beyond the area of the former East Germany. In an interview with F.A.S., the art theoretician Bazon Brock recently used the term “victor infantilism” for these gestures of the West “since the end of the Soviet Union.”

The re-animation of black-white thinking occurs. “What do you think of Putin?” is regarded as the litmus test. Whoever steps out of line or is different is dismissed as a “Russia interpreter” – as the “Cicero” magazine does toward the left in the best Adenauer propaganda or is denounced as “Moscow’s fifth column.” Even ex-chancellor Helmut Schmidt is not exempt. Fritz Pleitgen was aggressively opposed when he mentioned the US surprise attack on Grenada in a talk show with Anne Will. The interventions of the NATO states were “something completely different.”

In this attitude, the implicit idea is that everything the West does is legitimate per se and everything Russia does is illegitimate per se… The ARD correspondent Gabriele Krone-Schmalz criticized the “one-sided reporting about Russia and the Ukraine” in the NDR media magazine ZAPP. The media inform the population in an increasingly inadequate or even false way, suppress unwelcome facts or disqualify the reporting as “Russian propaganda” and generate “Manichaean worldviews.

Representatives of the established media obligated to truthful and objective reporting throw critical distance over board. One factor is that many journalists currently setting the tone in the “leading media” are directly tied to corresponding institutions and structures.

Still the one-sided presentation and interpretation of the facts is not unopposed. Happily that is also part of media reality. Thus there are journalists with critical voices like Fritz Pleitgen and Sabine Krone-Schmalz. Witty satirical broadcasts are also an encouraging sign.

Finally, the media play an increasingly important role in spreading critical reports and background information – and in the financial promotion of the “Maidan movement” that includes democratic-oppositional forces as well as reactionary nationalists and fascists of the Swoboda party and foreign secret services…

Despite one-sided reporting, the majority of Germans reject a harsh course against Russia according to a poll of the TNS-research institute. 55% understand Putin’s reaction to encroaching the Russian zone of influence. 73% reject economic sanctions according to a Forsa survey at the end of April.

The media reaction is often insulting the public. “The typical German anxiety” is denounced and editorial offices of periodicals flooded with criticism “about our Russian reporting” (ZEIT-journalist Bernd Ulrich). Or there are psychological interpretations, “the anti-American Germans seem hyper-moral” (Sebastian Fischer, Spiegel Online, 4/18/2014).

Happily voices are often heard that inform readers and do not immobilize them with platitudes. “They do not want evidence from Americans of Russian intervention about which no one can say where they come from, from independent documentaries or from the photo-shop of the CIA” (Jacob Augstein).

The fact is the great majority of the German population does not want any war. The elders are not the only ones who have not forgotten the barbaric events of the Second World War. This is also true for the Ukrainian-Russian population. “We do not want your tanks. We do not want the tanks of NATO. We do not want Europe’s tanks,” said Margarita Fjodorowna, a retired civil engineer, to an FAZ (Frankfurter Allgemeiner Zeitung newspaper) journalist and added: “It is because of my father. He was killed at forty-three in Charkow, in the war against the fascists” (F.A.S., 4/20/2014).

Fueling the escalating level of violence in the Ukraine is the most foolish thing. Détente policy is necessary and courage for self-critical political correction. “Whoever says A need not say B. He can also correct himself and admit that A was wrong” (Brecht).


[1] August Pradetto: Die Krim, die bösen Russen und der empörte Westen, Blätter für deutsche und internationale Politik 5/2014.
[2] Spiegel online 25.3.2014.
[3] Ihr Eingebundensein in die Zirkel der Eliten schlage sich, so Uwe Krüger in dem Buch »Meinungsmacht. Der Einfluss der Eliten auf Leitmedien und Alpha-Journalisten – eine kritische Netzwerkanalyse« (Köln 2013) in ihren journalistischen Werken nieder: »Am auffälligsten war der Befund, dass vier leitende Journalisten der ›Süddeutschen Zeitung‹ (Kornelius), der ›Frankfurter Allgemeinen Zeitung‹ (Frankenberger), der ›Welt‹ (Stürmer) und der ›Zeit‹ (Joffe) stark in US- und NATO-affine Strukturen eingebunden sind.« Die Liste der mit den Mächtigen verwobenen JournalistInnen ließe sich ohne Probleme erweitern. So war beispielsweise ZDF-Heutejournal-Moderator Claus Kleber 15 Jahre lang ARD-Korrespondent in Washington und bis vor einigen Jahren Kuratoriumsmitglied des Aspen Instituts Deutschland (US-Organisation) sowie bis 2013 regelmäßiger Teilnehmer der Münchner Sicherheitskonferenz (Nachdenkseiten, 21.3.2014).


Video: Daily Show with Jon Stewart – May 13, 2014, Harry Reid and the Koch Brothers


Alliances for Peace instead of Rightwing Conspiracy Theories

By Ozlem Alev Demirel

[This short plea published on 5/6/2014 is translated from the German on the Internet, Ozlem Alev Demirel was party chairperson of Die Linke (The Left party) in North Rhine-Westphalia up to 2012.]

The opposition between the individual imperialist states and their blocs has become greater. The battle over the “cake” picks up speed. While one even makes a pact with fascists to push back the hegemony of the other, the other power tries to protect its hegemony in the region. The saber-rattling becomes louder; a trial of strength is manifest. New formations are obviously intimated in this battle of the giants and the Ukrainian population struggling anyway with massive social problems suffers. In this battle, the rivals know who the true loser is.

While things started happening very fast in the Ukraine, the imperial powers in their game of chess advance their figureheads and the de facto government with fascist participation advances ever more brutally against the unrest in the east of the country. German streets seem quiet for the most part. While there are voices that speak against war, is there a discernable movement? No such luck. The theme hardly occurred at the great May 1 demonstrations. A colorful mixture of all kinds of election campaign posters placarded the streets. Even the anti-militarist parties are more involved in the election campaign than in the struggle for peace. The traditional Easter marches have experienced a great boom – even though Germany plays an essentially negative role in the looming civil war in the Ukraine.
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