China's "peace plan" and what the West doesn't understand or wants to understand about it
by Juergen Huebschen
[This article posted on 2/28/2023 is translated from the German on the Internet, https://www.nachdenkseiten.de/?p=94432.]
"China's Position on the Political Settlement of the Ukraine Crisis" - This should be the correct translation of the official document of the Chinese Foreign Ministry "China's Position on the Political Settlement of the Ukraine Crisis". The Chinese position does not claim to be a "peace plan", as the document is referred to in many media. Nevertheless, it is of course worthwhile to deal with the content and, above all, the facts of the document. After all, this document is a serious approach to ending this war and should not be prematurely devalued by the West. By Jürgen Hübschen.
China's position on the political settlement of the Ukraine crisis
The Chinese leadership has summarized its basic position on the war in Ukraine, which it calls the Ukraine crisis, in 12 points. First, it states that the sovereignty of all countries, international law and the United Nations Charter are the basis between the relations of all countries. The legitimate security interests of all countries should be respected, bloc formation should be prevented, a European security structure should be created, and peace and stability should be ensured on the Eurasian continent. All countries and parties are urged to motivate Russia and Ukraine to resume direct talks as soon as possible in order to de-escalate the overall situation and achieve a comprehensive ceasefire. Dialogue and negotiations are the only promising solution to the Ukraine crisis.
The international community should be committed to helping the parties open the door for negotiations. China is ready to play a constructive role in this. Every effort must be made to end the humanitarian crisis. This should be done on the basis of neutrality and non-partisanship. Civilians must be protected and corridors created for evacuation from conflict zones. Similarly, the United Nations should be supported in coordinating humanitarian efforts. Parties to the conflict should strictly adhere to international law, refrain from attacks on populations and civilian facilities, and protect women, children, and other victims. The right of prisoners of war should be respected. China supports the exchange of prisoners of war and calls on all parties to create even better conditions for this. China opposes any attacks on civilian nuclear facilities and calls on the parties to abide by the Convention on Nuclear Safety (CNS) to avoid nuclear accidents.
In this context, China supports the role of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Beijing also clarifies that nuclear weapons must not be used and nuclear wars must not be waged. Nuclear proliferation must be prevented and nuclear crises must be avoided. China condemns all research, development and use of chemical and biological weapons, by any country and under any circumstances. The grain agreement between Ukraine and Russia should be supported by all countries. China's proposed Cooperation Initiative On Global Food Security offers an approach to solving the global food crisis. Unilateral sanctions and maximum pressure cannot solve the crisis, but only lead to new problems.
China opposes any form of sanctions other than those imposed by the United Nations. Those countries that are concerned should end the abuse of unilateral sanctions and "long-arm jurisdiction" in order to de-escalate the Ukraine crisis and create opportunities for developing countries to increase their economic growth and improve living conditions for their people. All states should strengthen existing economic systems and refuse to use the global economy as a weapon for political purposes. Joint efforts are needed to avoid a widening of the crisis and to prevent a disruption of international cooperation in the fields of energy, finance, food trade and transportation so that the world economy recovers. The international community is urged to plan initiatives for reconstruction after the crisis ends. China is ready to play a constructive role in this process.
China's position on the political settlement of the Ukraine crisis - a serious approach or merely a "political trial balloon"? - Attempt at an evaluation
First of all, it should be noted that any proposal on how to end this war should in principle be viewed positively, especially if one has no viable alternative or political concept to offer oneself at all. If one has read this document carefully, it is not comprehensible to call it "insubstantial," as, for example, the so-called security expert Joachim Krause, director of the Institute for Security Policy at the University of Kiel, did in the February 25, 2023 edition of the Westfälische Nachrichten. It is also not purposeful to declare this document a "non paper" quasi immediately because it was written by China, which has so far not condemned the Russian war expressis verbis and merely calls it the "Ukraine crisis" in this document.
Those who accuse China of not having formulated concrete conditions for the start of negotiations in this 12-point declaration, which from the Chinese point of view does not claim to be a peace plan, have simply failed to understand a fundamental principle of diplomacy. Indeed, preconditions and diplomacy are basically mutually exclusive, as are recriminations or personal condemnations of political decision-makers. Citing international law and demanding respect for the sovereignty and integrity of every country, Beijing has unequivocally condemned the Russian war. The demand that both warring parties return to the negotiating table nevertheless also puts the onus on the Russian president. That such negotiations must be started without preconditions can only be emphasized, and that the weapons must first be silenced cannot be disputed by anyone.
The rejection of the use of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons is to be supported without reservation and should not be devalued with the remark that this is nothing new. The demand not to carry out attacks against the civilian population and civilian facilities must also be endorsed. It is not necessary to mention Russia by name in this context, because that is how it is understood in Moscow. The call to continue implementing the Grains Agreement and to work overall for a solution to the global food crisis is clearly positive.
There is only one passage in the entire document in which a separate demand is made of Ukraine's supporters, namely the lifting of sanctions. This has to be classified as taking sides with Russia, although China did not just mean the sanctions against Russia, but spoke out against such measures in general if they were not decided by the United Nations. In my view, however, this fact is by no means sufficient to describe this document as "pro-Russian," even though a number of formulations are still clearly directed at the United States. Instead, Moscow must take clear note from this document that Chinese President Xi Jinping's statement swearing "boundless friendship" to his Russian counterpart does not automatically mean endorsing Russia's actions in Ukraine.
Beijing's positioning is one possible approach to halting the current spiral of violence. To do so, however, it is not enough to convince President Putin that negotiations are the only solution to ending this war; President Biden must also realize this and, above all, use his influence with President Selensky to ensure that he, too, no longer categorically rejects negotiations and makes them contingent on preconditions that are unacceptable to Russia. This document is a serious approach to ending this war and should not be hastily discounted as a political trial balloon.
It's about everything
by Bernhard Trautvetter
[This article posted on 2/27/2023 is translated from the German on the Internet, Ossietzky - Es geht um alles.]
In memory of the anti-fascist, contemporary witness and socialist Sally Perel, who recently passed away at the age of 97, I would like to share an appeal that we formulated together with Esther Bejarano three years ago. Since then it has been a point of reference for the motivation for social engagement for companions in the social spectra.
A few years ago, a student at a comprehensive school in Essen referred to Sally's experiences during the Nazi era: on his escape from the Nazis, he had ended up in a Soviet children's home, and after Nazi Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union, he survived as a Jew through camouflage and deception in an elite Hitler Youth educational institution. This brought the student to the question of which influence had a more lasting impact on his thoughts and actions. Sally answered that the communist dream of the solidary community of people without exploitation and oppression, as it is also found in the Sermon on the Mount, motivates him to this day not to give up. Out of this attitude we agreed that the forces working in this sense should bring their energies together in order to have a greater chance of success. From this we developed this appeal three years ago:
"It's all about! - for the cooperation of the social movements against the destruction of the earth.
Our 'no' to capitalism and violence springs from a 'yes' to life. The simultaneous occurrence of great risks makes the present the most dangerous epoch in human history. This calls for the forces of change to redouble their efforts to collectively and courageously find a way out and walk it.
Nothing less than the salvation of the Earth's habitat is at stake. This will only be possible with disarmament, with an international peace order, with negotiations instead of blackmail, sanctions and war, and with a social policy and ecological cooperation instead of competition.
Humanity is currently facing numerous dangers, not only the danger of an ecological crash. The danger of nuclear war is also approaching. Tensions and armaments are spreading.
Nuclear scientists have set the doomsday clock at two to midnight.
The polarization of societies, combined with the widening gap between rich and poor, increases the dangers of disintegration. Selfishness destroys communities. Growth mania, deregulation and privatization show that neoliberal unleashed capitalism is incapable of meeting people's needs. Competition for locational advantages, for resources, markets and trade routes - in conjunction with the rise of nationalist forces - increasingly leads to ruthlessness in the injustice of the strongest. Economic wars increase global tensions.
In times of crisis, right-wing populists, with the benevolent support of influential media, play the national card and pit disadvantaged groups of people against each other. Scapegoats, like Jews in the past and refugees today, are made responsible for the collapse of the welfare state and security. In order to weaken alternative forces, the rulers engage in a campaign to divide and de-legitimize movements that oppose the capitalist order: They stretch the concept of anti-Semitism so far that even criticism of the government of Israel's policies is discredited as hostile to Israel and thus infused with anti-Semitic patterns. To some extent, they succeed in making this position hopeful even in left-wing spectrums.
On the basis of our decades of experience with injustice, violence, fascism and war, we call on all alternative forces to remember what they have in common and to actively work to save the Earth as a living space. In doing so, it is important to see the connection between ecological, peace political, trade union and democratic demands.
Concrete demands such as those for a nuclear-free world, for affordable housing and a minimum wage, as well as for an exit from fossil fuels and for a consistent observance of human rights, gain their sustainable power when they are linked to the goal of overcoming the causes that lie in capitalism.
The window of opportunity to overcome the threats to our future may not be open much longer. This realization imposes on us the responsibility to set priorities together and to work with each other persistently, consistently and in solidarity to that end."
Now Esther and Sally have passed on, the responsibility has passed to those whose companions they were. The oath of Buchenwald connects us, as long as it is not yet crowned by the necessary success.
Esther Bejarano, who survived the extermination camp as a member of the Auschwitz Girls Orchestra and who moved many people of all generations with her literature and her music, together with the group "Microphone Mafia" and encouraged them to get involved, offered to add to these words in this context: "I survived the concentration camps Auschwitz and Ravensbrück and the death marches in 1945. At the Siemens Group, I had to do hard forced labor along with many others. Never again should mankind be threatened by wars. I cannot imagine anything worse than the experience of my generation being forgotten. Then all the victims of fascism and war, everything we suffered, would have been in vain. But you are there. We are counting on you. I trust you, dear friends! A better world is possible!" Your Esther Bejarano
The most likely way to justify this trust is for the movements for the future of life to remember what they have in common and to unfold their commitment to this other world with the staying power we can learn from the resistance fighters. Sally Perel emphasized, "Never give up!"