By Dimitris Konstantakopoulos
The other day, while reading an article published in the major German newspaper FAZ, I could not believe my eyes. It was a direct threat against the Chancellor of Austria! More or less the article was telling him to mind his country not becoming Greece, suggesting to him to cut social expenses. His crime was that he showed some sympathy for Greece, which suffered during and because of its “rescue”, an unprecedented economic, social and national disaster, losing 27% of its GDP, which is more than the material losses of France or Germany during the 1st World War.
Inevitably my mind made automatically the connection with Anschluss, the annexation of Austria to the German Reich before the war. You see, events run sometimes faster than the ability of mind and soul to analyze and ‘metabolize’ them!
The European policy of Berlin is not however the only example of Germany’s drastic shift, of the radical differentiation of the basic parameters, which determined Germany’s policy for the whole post war period. A year ago the editor of its biggest financial newspaper Handelsblatt Gabor Steingart wrote an article pointing out the similarities of the anti-Russian tone of the articles published by the German mass media on Ukraine and of those published in August 1914, when Kaiser was starting the 1st World War.
Historic experience shows that massive attacks by the mass media towards countries are nothing less than the necessary preparation of the public opinion for war. The vulgar and almost sadistic attack by the main German press against Greece in 2009-10 preceded the “markets” attack against Athens. The “economic war” against Greece followed suit, by a coalition of Finance Capital, Berlin and EU institutions and led and justified the subjection of our country to the Troika of the Creditors on May 2010. The media’s attacks against Serbia, Iraq and Libya were nothing else than the preparation of public opinion for the bombarding and the destruction of these states. The anti – Russian campaign of the western European mass media is the preparation of a big war against Russia, cold or maybe hot. The indications of “friendship” towards Moscow of a portion of the German establishment, risk to have finally no better future than the Ribbentrop –Molotov friendship, which made simply easier the attack against USSR in 1941. Of course, campaigns of the press and of the television use real events or arguments, particles of truth, but only to give credibility to the lies.
Germany, West and Russia
The existence of the Russian atomic arsenal makes very difficult (but not completely impossible) a direct military conflict between West and Moscow. However, we see already the western encouragement of the civil conflict in Ukraine and an economic war with use of sanctions and with the aim, finally, to cut off Europe from Russian energy. This dual “strategy”, aims both at the containement of Russia and to overthrowing Putin, as well as to the destruction of any Euro-Russian cooperation, which is the conditio sine qua non of European independence.
One would normally expect Berlin to oppose such a course. But even if we assume it wants to do so, it doesn’t seem that it can. Berlin does not possess an integrated view of the international situation, capable of opposing the “vision” and the determination of the extremist “neoliberal core” in the international establishment, which was expressed so clearly in the Ukrainian crisis by Mrs. Victoria Nuland (“fuck the EU”), while it seems too dependent on these forces.
Personally, I always considered as completely unfounded the expectation of the postwar European, Russian and American elites that Germany would accept to remain forever divided, essentially under some form of occupation, a second class power, with only mission to apologize for its past. Not only was such an expectation unfounded, it was also not in the best interests of Europe as a whole – that is including Russia.
Germany, with its educated and disciplined human resources, its technological achievements, its sensitivity to issues concerning the protection of nature and peace, would be necessary for the rescue of the biggest social conquest of European civilization, namely the welfare state, which has allowed until now Europeans to live in circumstances of relative security and dignity. Germany can still, at least in theory, play a leading role in defending this very important achievement from the onslaught of “globalization”, which is nothing else than the attempt a planetary dictatorship of Money. Germany may also contribute to a Europe that, in cooperation with Russia, it can prevent the tendency to push humanity to chaos, war and ecological disaster.
The unprecedented leveling of a number of important Arab states, the return of the specter of war over Europe, the extent of Greek socio-economic disaster, the refusal to take any measures to tackle the ecological threat, reveal to any serious observer the severity of the risks facing mankind.
Germany could theoretically play an important positive role in all these matters. No European could oppose this. But, if it is absolutely necessary to hope and dream and act for the Good, it is also necessary not to have illusions and to dare compare Utopia and Reality, drawing the necessary conclusions. Unfortunately, the ruling political elites in Berlin have made the opposite choices, without meeting so far any significant resistance from the German establishment and the German people.
Many in Europe hoped for the regeneration of the continent when Schröder, in close collaboration with Chirac, Villepin and Putin opposed the US-British invasion of Iraq. Unfortunately, this act of resistance was left without a follow-up, at least by Berlin and Paris. The same leaders, who undertook it, they got so scared of their own courage at a moment, that they ended up apologizing for long after to Washington. The forces of transatlantic dependence returned with a vengeance, in an unprecedented manner, together with international financial capital, the continent’s political elites over the last decade.
Economy and geopolitics
This proved something deeper, the organic unity of the neoliberals’ and the newconservatives’ projects in economic and in geopolitics. That is why politicians are not opposed to neo-liberal plans of deep deconstruction of the social State and democracy, because they cannot effectively oppose the oncoming war.
At least theoretically, there are two roads ahead for Germany. The awakening of German nationalism may be the starting point of an effort to lead the resistance to globalization and war. Instead of trying to subdue the other European people in conjunction with the markets, Germany can lead the resistance against them. Instead of rallying to, or at least not opposing to the neoconservatives’ war against Russia and the Arabs, it could counter them, thus championing Europe’s autonomous role. This would be a splendid victory for a new Germany. Such an option would constitute a historic victory in the best traditions of the German Spirit against the “counter-powers”, to use the terminology of Nietzsche, which persecute this European nation, unique among the major, historic nations of Europe, to failed accomplish a victorious revolution in its history.
But Merkel and Schäuble, assisted in a critical manner by Gabriel, chose another road. In order to “discipline” the Eurozone, Berlin concluded a Faustian alliance with the most extreme forces of global Money, organized around the most extremist neoliberals (and passively tolerating the most extremist forces of the international establishment, the “neoconservatives “).
Allowing the “markets” to attack Greece, a Eurozone country, in 2009-10, armed with the debt and the threat of “bankruptcy” and bringing the IMF into the Eurozone, Berlin acquired the political-economic weapon that it was lacking and also the convincing “ideological” guise (the debt must be paid!) to “discipline” and dominate Europe – or so it thought!
Symbolic of this “immoral” alliance is the appointment of a former Goldman Sachs banker as a President of the ECB’s, the economic supra-Prime Minister of Europe, and the solemn entrance of the IMF in the governance of the Eurozone.
For their part, the “markets”, the major global banks and other financial institutions, organized around the political-ideological core of neoliberals, acquired, through their alliance with Berlin, the political, economic and ‘institutional’ (through the EU ) means to intervene directly in Europe. ‘Not only they did not record losses due to the great crisis of 2008, which they caused, but they made profits, which have to be paid by the people of Europe by increasing sovereign and private debt. They turned the financial sector crisis into a EU crisis and fueled political conflict between the European people.
Faust is a tragic person. Insisting on the roads he took, captive inevitably to its allies, who do not want to see Germany as a leading power, (allies who have a global strategy and “vision”, contrary to the dominant, very “provincial” and historically delayed version of German nationalism), Germany risks paying in the end a terrible price, comparable to that paid twice in its history. The possible outcome of all this was depicted with perspicacity of Homers’s Cassandra by Günter Grass, in the last two poems he wrote.
Always hoping for a timely change in Berlin, the nations of Southern Europe (including France), the Russians and all the good intentioned citizens of the world do not have many options if they want to survive and avoid the worst. In this respect the example of Chamberlain, Daladier and Molotov, but also of modern Greece, is instructive, proving that only a resolute resistance to the above-mentioned plans is perhaps the only way to modify them. This game, so decisive for the future of humanity, as well as the various lesser games in Europe, Ukraine and the Middle East will be won in the end only by whoever has a comprehensive and global strategy.
(I dedicate this article to Hayo, my great German friend, a democrat, a friend of Greece and fighter for humane architecture).
July 23, 2015
Published by the ANA-MPA news agency
Translated from the Greek by Stathis Habibis