Frustrated in its efforts to win its undeclared war against Russia via its proxy Ukrainian cannon fodder, US imperialism is becoming yet more reckless. Failing to land the decisive blow against Russia for which they had prayed, the aggressors are raising the stakes by deploying ever more hi-tech weapons systems, threatening to draw Russia’s neighbours into a widening war and using a mix of bribery and coercion to keep their ‘allies’ (tools) ‘on side’.
The governments of western Europe (primarily Germany and France) are caught between a rock and a hard place, trapped on one side by angry home populations living through the direct consequences of their leaders subscribing to a sanctions war, and on the other side by a US godfather who will stop at nothing to achieve European ‘unity’ against Russia – that is, unity on America’s own economy-wrecking terms, an offer which the ‘allies’ cannot without peril refuse.
Scholz goes to Washington
It was against this backdrop that Germany’s chancellor Olaf Scholz recently paid his odd visit to the US president in the White House. Scholz arrived without any of the fanfare that normally attends one head of state popping across the planet to visit his counterpart.
There was no press conference, no joint statement, no media circus. In truth, this one-hour encounter resembled more that of a junior employee presenting his report to his boss and awaiting further instructions.
With protests against the war growing ever more vocal back in Europe, Chancellor Scholz had for a long time been resisting Washington’s demand that Berlin send 18 Leopard tanks to Kiev, so fearful was he of the public outcry that would ensue. In the end, Scholz folded and agreed to ship the tanks, on the understanding that the USA would also send its own Abrams tanks.
US president Joe Biden took a long time to agree to this proviso, aware that by sending the Abrams the US was effectively admitting what the rest of the world had long since tumbled to: that this was fundamentally an American war against Russia.
Washington may congratulate Berlin for having allegedly made some progress on weaning German industry off Russian gas, but it is clear that any move in that direction simply dissolves a commercially successful partnership, replacing it with an industry shackled to a dependence on overpriced US LNG.
German antiwar rally unites workers from ‘left’ and ‘right’
Getting a pat on the head from President Biden will not compensate workers facing unpayable fuel bills and factory lay-offs, let alone the prospect of being dragged ever deeper into war. This discontent is digging deeper into the working class, sweeping aside phony divisions between ‘left’ and ‘right’ affiliation.
“Police estimated there were 13,000 people at the Uprising for Peace, at the Brandenburg Gate, organised by Sahra Wagenknecht, a renegade member of the Left party, and veteran feminist campaigner Alice Schwarzer. The organisers claimed as many as 50,000 took part. Similar demonstrations took place in other German cities.
“Protesters carried banners reading: ‘Helmets today, tanks tomorrow, the day after tomorrow your sons,’ in reference to the manner in which the coalition government has increased its military support for Kiev, initially donating 5,000 helmets and more recently agreeing to send German-made Leopard II tanks.
“Other banners read: ‘Diplomaten statt Grenaten (Diplomats instead of grenades)’, ‘Stop the killing’ and ‘Not my war, not my government’.”
Foreign minister Annalena Baerbock was singled out at the demonstration as “the government member with the most responsibility for drawing Germany deeper into the conflict. Participants angrily shouted ‘Baerbock raus’ – or Baerbock out – during and at the end of Wagenknecht’s address.” (Thousands protest in Berlin against giving weapons to Ukraine by Kate Connolly, The Guardian, 25 February 2023)
Yet Guardian readers may be surprised to learn that Baerbock, Germany’s foreign minister, is a member of the Greens. This is not a fluke. In 1999, the Green foreign minister Joschka Fischer backed Nato’s bombing of Belgrade. Nor is this just a German trait: in March this year, the Green party in England and Wales voted to drop its opposition to Nato.
The Uprising for Peace in Germany, in some ways similar to the Rage Against the War Machine in the USA, appears to be tapping into a wider reach socially than is achieved by the more ‘politically correct’ left-liberals. The Manifesto for Peace garnered 650,000 signatures in the first two weeks after its publication, sparking resentment in some quarters, which have sought to de-platform the organisers and get everyone to boycott Wagenknecht’s initiative.
The reason? She suggested that “anyone whose heart beat for peace” would be welcome to the demonstration, after far-right groups expressed their desire to attend.
Would the Greens face similar calls for exclusion because one of their leading members happens to be the foreign minister of a warmongering government? And would the right-on thought police show the same enthusiasm for detecting and excluding fascists when it comes to the shower who have ruled Ukraine since the imperialist-backed coup in 2014?
No, they turn a blind eye to the torchlight parades, antisemitism and swastikas of the Bandera worshippers, then suddenly develop X-ray vision when it’s a case of some muddleheads in Germany whose incoherent rage against poverty and war, in the absence of communist leadership, makes them a prey to demagogy.
The only solution to this problem is to be found in the building of a communist party that can lead workers out of the morass of both social democracy and its fascist twin.
The antiwar movement, like the revolution itself, will be made by the working class we have now, not by some fantasy proletariat shaped by prolonged exposure to the combined wisdom of the massed ranks of the liberal petty bourgeoisie, Greens and all.
Christian Lindner, the German finance minister, says that “those who don’t stand at Ukraine’s side are standing on the false side of history”. He has this upside down: those who don’t stand on the side of Russia’s war of defence against Nato aggression, instead prettifying America’s proxy war as a struggle for Ukraine’s ‘independence’, will go down in history as tools of imperialism. No pasarán.
Nord Stream disinformation
Meanwhile, the revelations about who really bombed the Nord Stream gas pipeline from Russia to Germany are guaranteed to put a figurative bomb under Biden’s efforts to whip Europe into shape. Speculation about who really blew up the pipeline last September is a story which cannot stay buried, and the Biden regime’s attempts to bury the facts in a mountain of obfuscation – and German anger with it – may account for the low-key nature of Scholz’s visit to the USA.
Back when the attack took place, there had been some ludicrous and rather half-hearted stabs at pinning the blame on Russia itself, but mostly the approach was to let Sweden and Denmark carry out their own ‘investigations’, excluding Russia from the process, and then rely on the goldfish memory of the news cycle to quietly bury the questions.
But when veteran investigative journalist Seymour Hersh dropped his bombshell with his exposure that it was US imperialism itself that sabotaged the pipeline, on the explicit direction of Biden himself, the cat was well and truly set among the pigeons. The conspiracy of silence in the corporate media dragged on a while longer, but it was clear that the facts were circulating, anger was rising, and the story was not going to go away.
With the presidency itself now in the dock, it was time for the propaganda line to take a radical swerve. The previously taciturn intelligence suddenly grew voluble, offering a variety of ‘explanations’. It wasn’t Biden that did it, it was Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky. Or if not Zelensky, then some rogue Ukronazi outfit on a freelance adventure. Or anybody else except Biden.
On 7 March, the New York Times reported: “New intelligence reviewed by US officials suggests that a pro-Ukrainian group carried out the attack on the Nord Stream pipelines last year, a step toward determining responsibility for an act of sabotage that has confounded investigators on both sides of the Atlantic for months.
“US officials said that they had no evidence President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine or his top lieutenants were involved in the operation, or that the perpetrators were acting at the direction of any Ukrainian government officials.” (Intelligence suggests pro-Ukrainian group sabotaged pipelines, US officials say by Adam Entous, Julian E Barnes and Adam Goldman, New York Times, 7 March 2023)
This version of events, along with various other options, has been reported at great length across all the main imperialist media outlets, accompanied by dossiers of alleged ‘evidence’ and a supporting narrative, all in the breathless tone of an Agatha Christie whodunnit. Hersh’s version, when included, is presented as the least likely option on a long list of possibilities, and readers are invited to believe this is the greatest mystery of the 21st century, on which the best brains in the west are conscientiously beavering away.
Thank goodness for the forces of law and order. Move along, nothing to see here.
Meanwhile in recent weeks, Kiev has been the scene of political carnage as a swathe of key political and military figures have faced summary dismissal in an ‘anti-corruption’ drive overseen by the CIA’s William Burns. Whilst this has been dressed up as a run of the mill clean-up of corrupt officials, what it really amounts to is a purge conducted all the way to the top of the power structure.
Whether Washington is trying to protect its protege Zelensky, or is moving to isolate the actor-turned-president in preparation for setting him up as the fall guy responsible for all their failures, is as yet unclear.
Biden may be trying to save his own scalp by sacrificing his Ukrainian ‘allies’, but if it turns out to be the case that for Germany ‘standing with Ukraine’ means standing by whilst Ukrainian fascists blow up your main power supply, then don’t be surprised to see thousands more Germans take to the streets as the truth about the war, and the roots of the war, sink in.
“We are like the slaves to war and the warmongers,” said Norbert, a former soldier, who held a banner reading: “The real enemy sits in the City of London and New York.”