The statements to the press conference by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on his trip to Brazil were haunting, if not sombre.
The naturalness, self-confidence and opportunism with which he goes to Latin America to expand the declaration of war on Russia made by his foreign minister openly in parliament, and forcing warmongering alliances on Colombia, Argentina and now Brazil, brings several warnings to the world.
When Annalena Bärbock of the Green Party says that Germany, along with others, is at war with Russia, she dismantles the argument of mere military support for Ukraine. It is no longer even possible to speak of a proxy war. It is made official that NATO countries are at war with Russia. I wonder if she has a mandate from the German people for this, and why Scholz did not immediately remove her.
But Scholz’s open positions on the Ukraine war are in sound congruence with NATO’s destructive desire and Zelensky’s delusional insatiability for more and more weapons and no peace negotiations. Scholz’s total alignment with NATO rhetoric is disturbing and made me wonder whether Annalena Bärbock’s open war declaration is simply negligence from an internal point of view or is actually backed up at least by the German government’s willingness.
Scholz said and repeated that Russia must admit defeat, withdraw, and return the conquered territories to Ukraine. This statement is alienated from the military and political reality on the ground, and from any possibility of bringing any conflict to a diplomatic resolution. It can therefore, only be understood as an open signal that Germany will negotiate nothing and accepts only a total Russian surrender, including the return of the Donbas.
The totaler Krieg (Total War) will be eternal for as long as it lasts.
Scholz’s statement is dauntingly irresponsible in the context of how close his country is geographically to Russia, the historical relations and contemporary economic realities (Germany is now using coal), and the danger of escalation. NATO has never heard of diplomacy, but Scholz should at least have this in his vocabulary and public rhetoric.
If cut out, this could be a speech by Clinton or Trump, or any other Pentagon spokesman.
It is mediocre for the son of two workers of the German textile industry, who joined the Social Democratic Party at the age of 17 and defined himself as a “young socialist”, to dissociate himself from his past and the past of his party. The Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands (SPD) played a key role in the German Revolution of 1918-1919, which proclaimed Germany a republic, and collaborated to make Germany in its Federal Constitution a social democratic state, enshrining the class struggle as a form of state.
But truly overreaching was Scholz’s request for President Lula to send ammunition to Ukraine. But Lula made a point of refusing publicly and clearly, with his subtlety – “we need to use the word “peace” more. Lula also requested the creation of a negotiating group including Germany, France and “Chinese friends, who can play an important role”.
This request to Brazil for ammunition for Europe’s war is an act of political alienation or bad faith by Scholz, considering that one of the main items on the agenda with President Lula is the joint fight against the rise of the far-right worldwide.
Countries that are not part of this war, unlike Germany, did not have to feed the propaganda machine by instrumentally suppressing knowledge about the extent of neo-Nazi groups in Ukraine to whom these weapons are also intended. But in addition, we recognise them as part of the state apparatus of Ukraine. We did not lie to ourselves and we are still capable of assimilating reality.
It cannot be a disputed that Ukraine has neo-Nazi militias on the government payroll, who act and kill civilians as part of the Ukrainian regular army using torture as a method, and that they have terrorized Russian minorities for over 8 years and ignited a civil war in the Donbas. How much closer can one get to 1933? Lest we forget, the US, several European countries, and the EU have funded the neo-Nazi militias in the region. The UK government even trained them. An old modus operandi as they are the most ruthless in seeking to defeat the enemy. The question whether Russia had the right to invade does not preclude the ability and need to negotiate peace.
Scholz also seems not to be reading the environment he was in. Brazil is a BRICS country and most importantly, the Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT- Labour Party) and the Latin American left are historically critical of US interference in the Eastern bloc and of their claim that the Eastern bloc is a legitimate “zone of US influence.”
It is written in blood in the pages of common history on this continent and in the wave of contemporary lawfare how the US fabricates its own international law by marginalising bilateral agreements.
With Russia it was no different; from the second Bush administration onwards each and every diplomatic treaty ensuring the end of the cold war was unilaterally terminated by the US.
The Latin American left is aware that Zelensky is a product of a government formed in a colour revolution (coup d’état) led by US “neocons” and operating as an extended US interest in the Eastern bloc.
The Brazilian left has not forgotten the direct participation of the Justice Department and the US State Department in the parliamentary coup against Dilma and that “Lula’s arrest was a gift from the CIA”. This is not a historical coincidence or Zeitgeist, it is acknowledged by us as foreign policy of the US State.
Scholz was embarassing in his arrogance in being unaware of the new position of countries like Brazil in the world, and the less comfortable position of Germany and the nations founded on the myth of hegemony. The new geopolitical realities no longer sustain the cult of the hegemonic ideas of the so-called “collective west”.
And, although societies founded on the pillars of exploitation and sedimented in ideas of cultural superiority for centuries, insist on perpetuating this role and the cold war with Russia, reality already begins to show that the cultural ignorance and passion for domination of these nations does not have as much breath or influence. They are no longer so much the masters and the others are no longer so much the slaves. The chessboard of the old powers has crumbled.
In this context, Lula’s speech is brilliant in naturalising multilateralism as reality, declaring that the UN does not correspond to political reality and is operating anachronistically as if there were still a cold war, while Brazil and the African countries want to join the UN Security Council. He announces a new protagonism.
This message seems simple, but for me it goes to the heart of this war and of a new reality that we are building. It aims to bury the Cold War and its international mechanisms, and announces the emergence of a new world order.
Lula exposed the European left as imperialist and co-opted by neo-liberal ideas.
Scholz can learn from Lula, this is an opportunity.
*Sara Vivacqua is from the state of Minas Gerais (Brazil) and a lawyer, necessarily in that order. She graduated in Law from Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg, Germany, where she lived for 13 years, and since 2011 she lives in the United Kingdom where she works as a lawyer.