By Oskar Lafontaine*
The well-known German politician Oskar Lafontaine has published a telling opinion piece on Facebook about what he thinks is happening to his country.
He served as Minister-President of the state of Saarland from 1985 to 1998 and was the federal leader of the Social Democratic Party from 1995 to 1999.
Read also: Check out our coverage on curated alternative narratives
We have translated the text and reproduced it below:
For most German politicians and journalists, the war in Ukraine began on February 24, 2022. With this view, which leaves out the complete prehistory of the Russian army’s invasion of Ukraine, Germany cannot contribute to peace.
The poet Aeschylus is credited with the sentence: In war, truth is the first casualty.
It follows that one must return to the truth or truthfulness to find peace. And this includes the fact that every war has its history.
And the history of the Ukraine war begins with the self-image of the USA as a chosen nation with the claim to be and remain the only world power.
Therefore, the U.S. must do everything possible to prevent the emergence of another world power. This is true not only for China and Russia but also for the E.U. or, in the future, perhaps for India or other states.
If one accepts this claim and at the same time knows that the U.S. has by far the largest military apparatus in the world, then one can conclude that the best thing to do is to take refuge under the wing of this single world power.
However, this reasoning is correct only if the protecting power pursues a peaceful foreign policy and does not militarily encircle emerging rivals, constantly provoking them and thereby accepting the risk of war.
Suppose the protecting power has military facilities on the territory of its allies from which it wages its wars. In that case, it endangers itself and the allies with aggressive geopolitics.
Ramstein Airport, for example, was indispensable for U.S. warfare in the Middle East, Africa, and Ukraine. Therefore, when the Americans wage wars, Germany is always a party to the war, whether it wants to be or not.
Because he had seen this connection, Charles de Gaulle, for example, did not want NATO, i.e., U.S. facilities on French soil. A country, he said, must be able to decide for itself about war or peace.
That Germany is not a sovereign country became apparent again when U.S. Secretary of War Lloyd Austin invited to a conference in Ramstein where the vassal states had to deliver their contribution to the Ukraine war.
Of course, the U.S. also claims the right to decide whether a country like Germany should be allowed to commission an energy supply pipeline like Nord Stream 2.
WAR WITH A LONG HISTORY
The history of the Ukraine war includes considerations by U.S. strategists that Ukraine is a crucial state regarding dominance on the Eurasian continent.
For this reason, former President Carter’s national security adviser Brzezinski wrote in a 1997 book titled “The Only World Power,” Ukraine must be made a vassal state of the United States.
Although astute U.S. policymakers such as George Kennan warned against making Ukraine a military outpost on Russia’s border, Presidents Clinton, Bush, Obama, Trump, and Biden kept pushing for NATO’s eastward expansion and Ukraine’s rearmament.
Even though Russia had been indicating for more than 20 years that it would not accept U.S. troops and missiles on its Ukrainian border.
At the latest, with the 2014 Maidan coup, the United States was unwilling to consider Russia’s security interests.
They installed a U.S. puppet government and did everything possible to integrate Ukraine’s armed forces into NATO structures.
Joint maneuvers were held, and the Russian government’s constant objections were overheard.
In this context, the mendacious argument is used that every state has the right to choose its alliance freely.
But no state should place missiles of a rival power on its border with a nuclear power without warning and justify this naively with the free choice of an alliance.
Imagine Canada, Mexico, or Cuba allowing troops from China or Russia on their territory while allowing missile bases from which Washington could be reached without warning.
Since the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, we have known that the United States would never accept this and would risk nuclear war if in doubt.
These considerations follow: An aggressive superpower cannot lead a “defensive alliance.”
After all the experiences of the last decades, how long will it take Germany to finally understand that it must take its security into its own hands and become independent of the USA?
Some German politicians saw the danger posed by U.S. policy and attempted an independent German foreign policy.
For example, Willy Brandt knew peace had to be found with Russia and its Eastern European neighbors after World War II.
He called for disarmament and détente and was convinced that security could not be achieved against each other but only together.
Helmut Kohl negotiated German unity with Gorbachev and recognized that peace and cooperation with Russia were prerequisites for a European peace order.
Hans-Dietrich Genscher had fallen out of favor with U.S. politicians for a time because he feared a limited nuclear war in Europe and therefore did everything he could to ban short-range missiles and tactical nuclear weapons from German and European territory.
“Genscherism” became a dirty word in Washington.
In his excellent book National Interests, the attitude of some U.S. strategists that a nuclear war limited to Europe could very well be waged was recently pointed out again by Klaus von Dohnanyi.
HOW TO PREVENT ESCALATION
At present, there is not even a hint of a foreign policy that puts Germany’s interests first.
The German political traffic light coalition’s leading politicians (Scholz, Baerbock, Habeck, and Lindner) are loyal U.S. vassals.
Scholz advocates rearmament and is proud to be able to announce arms deliveries to Ukraine at ever shorter intervals.
He acts as if he has never heard of Willy Brandt’s Ost- und Entspannungspolitik.
The foreign policy of the FDP party is dominated by the arms lobbyist Strack-Zimmermann, who demands new weapons for Ukraine every other day.
The Greens have turned from a party that came out of the German peace movement into the worst war party in the German Bundestag.
Annalena Baerbock’s statements that we should “ruin Russia” must already be called fascistoid.
The largest opposition party also dropped out.
The CDU party chairman Friedrich Merz, a former employee of the U.S. financial giant Blackrock, is a loyal Atlanticist, demands even more arms deliveries, and even wants to shut down Nord Stream 1.
German foreign policy is damaging our country’s interests and is not contributing to peace in Europe.
It needs a complete reorientation.
Suppose there is a danger of war between nuclear powers due to U.S. geopolitics. In that case, it is the responsibility of German and European policy to do everything possible to keep our territory out of this confrontation.
Europe must disengage itself from the United States and mediate between the rival world powers. Germany and France together have the potential to build an independent European foreign and security policy.
It is high time to start doing so.
We cannot always rely on prudent military leaders to prevent a nuclear world conflagration when war comes to a head.
For example, the Soviet naval officer Arkhipov, who prevented the launching of a nuclear torpedo in the Cuban Missile Crisis, or the Soviet Colonel Petrov, who decided in 1984, when the Russian computers erroneously reported an approach of nuclear-tipped intercontinental missiles of the USA, not to trigger the nuclear “counterattack” actually ordered for this case.
It is time to stop leaving peace initiatives to Turkey’s President Erdogan alone.
If the U.S. is already unwilling, by its admission, to work toward a ceasefire and a quick end to the war in Ukraine, it must be the existential interest of Europeans.
The founder of the music group Pink Floyd, Roger Waters, is right when he points out that peace can be achieved even now based on the Minsk agreements.
If, on the other hand, the U.S. declares that its goal is to weaken Russia so that it can never again start a similar war, that is sheer cynicism.
How many more Ukrainians and Russians are to die before the USA comes sufficiently close to its geopolitical goal of decisively weakening Russia?
Europe now has the highest energy prices. European industrial companies are in the process of migrating and setting up new branches in the USA.
The huge orders for the U.S. defense industry and the excessive profits that the environmentally harmful U.S. fracking industry is reaping also make clear who benefits from this war and the sanctions abundantly.
In the face of this situation, even the most foreign policy-averse traffic light politicians should understand that there is no way around Europe’s self-assertion.
A first step would be to push for a ceasefire, present a peace plan, and get Nord Stream 2 up and running.
Continuing current policies, on the other hand, will impoverish large segments of the population, destroy entire sectors of German industry, and expose Germany to the risk of becoming embroiled in a nuclear war.
* Oskar Lafontaine is a German politician. He served as Minister-President of the state of Saarland from 1985 to 1998 and was the federal leader of the Social Democratic Party from 1995 to 1999.
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