View from Europe anti-war movement: “The mad race”…

10:55 16.03.2024 •

NATO army. Poland side.

The democratic forces of Europe – and they still exist there – are very concerned about the escalation around Ukraine, which is being provoked by European leaders. The ‘Defend Democracy’ publication presents these views.

In 2014, the centenary year of the outbreak of the First World War, the old debate broke out again as to whether the major powers had “slithered” or “sleepwalked” into the war, or whether they had deliberately started it. With NATO’s deployment against Russia, this question is superfluous. The European powers are not slithering into war, they are plunging headlong into it.

In recent days, leading European statesmen, military leaders, and opinion-makers have accused each other of not going far enough in the war against Russia. Like adolescent boys engaged in a test of courage, they have called each other cowards, sissies and useful idiots of Putin.

French President Emmanuel Macron called on his European allies “not to be cowards” after German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (Social Democratic Party, SPD) publicly contradicted his proposal to send Western troops to Ukraine.

Ben Wallace, British defence secretary until last summer, berated Scholz as the “wrong man in the wrong job at the wrong time” for refusing to deliver Taurus cruise missiles to Ukraine.

Following the publication of an intercepted conversation between German military officers by Russian media, Britain’s Telegraph, the house organ of the Conservatives, wrote, citing a “diplomatic source,” that Russia had “identified Germany as the weakest link in the alliance and Scholz as a useful idiot to take Germany out of the equation.”

Scholz, for his part, boasts that no other country apart from the US has poured as much money and weapons into the Ukraine war as Germany. According to the Ukraine Support Tracker published by the Kiel Institute for Economic Research, German aid commitments in the first two years of the war totalled €22 billion, of which €17.7 billion was for military purposes alone. The UK is in third place with a total of €15.7 billion, and France is in 14th place with €1.8 billion.

The competition regarding “who is the most reckless warmonger” is also being played out within Germany itself. The state-owned and private media are campaigning around the clock for an escalation of the war against Russia.

The risks that Macron, Scholz, Biden, Sunak and all the other warmongers are taking are breathtaking. They are playing Russian roulette with the nuclear bomb.

Just as before the war began, they threw to the wind all warnings that Russia would react militarily if NATO continued its expansion to the east and continued to arm Ukraine, they are now doing the same in the face of warnings of nuclear escalation.

There is only one explanation for this behaviour: The US government, NATO headquarters in Brussels and the European governments are planning to use nuclear bombs themselves. They are seriously considering the use of weapons that have long been downplayed as a mere means of deterrence.

In 2014, they helped a right-wing, pro-Western regime come to power in Kiev and then systematically reorganised and rearmed the Ukrainian army. In this way, they deliberately provoked a military attack by Russia. They hoped to bleed Russia dry economically and militarily and bring the huge country with its vast natural resources under their control.

Now that the Ukrainian army is heading for defeat after hundreds of thousands of casualties, they are planning a further escalation of the war. The deployment of NATO ground troops, which is already underway on a small scale, the delivery of high-precision Taurus cruise missiles that can reach Moscow, the huge NATO manoeuvres on the Russian border, and the transformation of the Baltic and Black Seas into NATO waters are intended to provoke Moscow into a further military response.

That is madness. But the Schlieffen Plan, by which Germany prepared to conduct a two-front war in the First World War, and Hitler’s even more reckless plans for world conquest, were also madness. Nevertheless, they were implemented and supported by the generals and the ruling class to the bitter end.

The foreign policy of the capitalist powers, especially in times of war, is not determined by Kantian logic, but by the class logic of imperialism. After decades of increasing social inequality and the accumulation of mountains of speculative capital, the crisis of world capitalism has once again reached a point where there is only one way out on a capitalist basis: The violent redivision of the world among the imperialist powers and the brutal subjugation of the working class.

That is the reason for the support for war against Russia and genocide against the Palestinians by all parties defending capitalism. The pro-war policy is supported not only by the representatives of the corporations and banks, but also by the mouthpieces of the wealthy upper-middle classes that have profited from the stock market and property boom of recent decades. The trade unions, which have been transformed into corporatist apparatuses for disciplining workers, are just as much behind the escalating world war as the Greens, the SPD and the Left Party.

The Greens, in particular, are inebriated by widening war. In their early days they blockaded nuclear weapons depots. Today, they call the loudest for the atomic bomb.

In contrast, the working class and broad sections of the population reject the pro-war policy. According to an ARD Deutschlandtrend survey, despite the constant propaganda, 61 percent of respondents oppose the delivery of Taurus cruise missiles to the Ukraine. Only 29 percent are in favour.

Averting a nuclear catastrophe requires the building of a powerful anti-war movement based on the international working class, which combines the fight against war and militarism with the struggle against social inequality and its root cause, capitalism.


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