On the Transformation of German Greens into Atlanticist War Mongers

Spread the Word

by Gilbert Doctorow

A couple of days ago, the American Committee for US-Russia Accord, the successor organization to a similarly named think tank which I co-founded with the late Professor Stephen Cohen, published an essay by former U.S State Department expert on Russia and long time free-lance publicist James Carden explaining how and why the once-upon-a-time peaceable German Greens became the strident war mongers in Chancellor Scholz’s cabinet.

See https://usrussiaaccord.org/acura-viewpoint-james-w-carden-ostpolitik-down-but-not-out/

I fully agree with James Carden’s assessment of the deplorable role that the Greens have played in overturning the heritage of Ostpolitik going back 50 years to Willy Brandt and his Social Democratic party, a doctrine of rapprochement with Russia which essentially guided German foreign policy whatever the composition of coalition governments up to about 2012, when Merkel let lapse the strategic partnership with Russia.

However, I disagree with Carden and with the academic and political sources that informed his report on the peaceable nature of the German Greens until recent days. To my understanding, an anti-Russian dimension was incorporated in the party fiber by one of its early members, Joschka Fischer, and by one of its leaders in the new millennium, Daniel Cohn-Bendit. To the environmentalist agenda, which the broad public understood to be the content of Greens, they welded on a foreign policy plank that was Neocon in all but name. Like the American Neocons, Fischer and Cohn-Bendit were born again former radical Leftists.

Several readers of an early version of this text have reminded me that the support which Joschka Fischer gave to the American-led bombing of Serbia in 1999 marked their “coming out of the US/NATO Closet.” At that point, many if not most of the original pacifists among the Greens quit the party.

The lightly camouflaged Russophobia at the core of the German Greens came to the fore at about 2012, when the United States aggressively pursued its sanctions policy against Russia under what we know as the Magnitsky Law. German Greens in the European Parliament made common cause with the viciously anti-Russian faction of about 70 MEPs headed by former Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt to promote a “European Magnitsky Act.” They brought over to Europe the evil genius behind the Magnitsky Act, Bill Browder, and he twice made appearances at conferences in the Parliament to lobby for this Act. I know. I was there as an invited guest of one MEP who vehemently opposed the anti-Russian policies. At the time, the anti-Russian resolutions were supported by perhaps two-thirds of the Parliamentarians. Such measures are supported today by about 90% of the MEPs.

I mention the year 2012 as being a turning point. Coincidentally, in that year the Greens’ leader Cohn-Bendit co-authored a book with Verhofstadt entitled Debout l’Europe(Arise Europe!), thereby publicly sealing this nominally Right-Left alliance to further an agenda of creating a federal Europe with an anti-Russian foreign orientation.

Since Verhofstadt’s name is probably little known to readers outside of Belgium, allow me to mention that as the Prime Minister from the Flemish Liberals 1999-2008 his domestic policy was inspired by Margaret Thatcher. After leaving his leadership post in Belgium, he moved his office just a kilometer away to the European Parliament, where he formed the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe. In his capacity of Chairman of this Group, he drew upon viscerally anti-Russian Estonian politicians to guide his policies towards Russia, which entailed regime change activities including support for the anti-Putin politician Boris Nemtsov, who was the Navalny, or White Knight, if you will, of the time. This is the man with whom the Greens leader Cohn-Bendit worked hand in hand.

For those who wish to pursue these questions in greater depth, I direct you to two consecutive chapters in my 2015 collection of essays entitled Does Russia Have a Future? beginning with “The Indefatigable Bill Browder: Selling the Magnitsky Act to Europe.”

To bring us up to date and see who later went where, it is worth mentioning that after the 2017 election of Macron to the Presidency in France and the election of Macron-backed candidates to the European Parliament from his en marche political movement, Verhofstadt merged his own bloc with Macron’s to form the “Renew Europe” bloc that is a major grouping in the European Parliament today and is consistently anti-Russian.

During the period from 2012 to present, I have followed voting patterns in the European Parliament fairly closely and there was never any doubt that representatives of the German Greens were vocal and highly active in promoting resolutions condemning Russia for alleged human rights violations and under any other convenient pretext. If I may be allowed to name names, Rebecca Harms (Greens MEP, 2004-2019) was surely the biggest loudmouth in all efforts to present Russia as a pariah state.

For all of these reasons, I reject out of hand any suggestion that the deplorable behavior of the Green’s bubble-headed Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbok represents a new departure in an otherwise respectable German political party in the Ostpolitik tradition.

Before closing, I take issue with a minor point in Carden’s essay, which seeks to provide an optimistic note on where German foreign policy may be headed by pointing to the mass demonstrations in Berlin and elsewhere in Germany against the supply of lethal weapons to Ukraine. In particular, he mentions the Manifesto for peace issued jointly by the Leftist politician and Bundestag member Sahra Wagenknecht and the feminist leader Alice Schwarzer. Apart from the 50,000 who may have rallied at the Brandenburg Gates at the bidding of Wagenknecht and Schwarzer, there were more than 500,000 Germans and people from around the world who signed that open Manifesto online.

Regrettably Carden has not taken note of the first paragraph of that appeal, which flatly condemns Russia as the aggressor. Coming from Wagenknecht, who has been highly principled and never minced words in her public statements, this is a vile concession to the McCarthyism rampant in today’s Germany. Any public statement by German politicians of any stripe must open with this kind of Hail Mary, lest it be denounced as coming from a Putin stooge.

What Carden may not realize is that the public information space in Germany, in Europe as a whole, is far worse than in the United States. The USA is split politically 50-50 between pro- and anti-Trump forces. The result is a degree of conflicting views on foreign policy in the air waves that is incredible to anyone seated in Brussels, as I am. We have no Tucker Carlson shows (Fox News) drawing in audiences of 4 million viewers every evening and setting out in detail why the Biden administration’s foreign (and most every other) policy is a disaster. No, in Germany, apart from the “extreme Right” party Alternativ fuer Deutschland, there is hardly a dissenting voice to give Herr Scholz and his Foreign Minister from the Greens reasons to change course or to fear for their political survival.

Finally, I use the opportunity to mention the interpretation of Germany’s present policy with respect to the Ukraine war and its becoming the major supplier of heavy military equipment to Kiev. I take these remarks from what I hear and see on Russia’s leading political talk shows on state television, which generally are representative of the thinking of the political, academic and social elites. They now see what is going on in Germany as the rise of Revanchisme, the enthronement of those who had their fill of Germany’s public remorse and regret for its barbaric behavior at home and abroad in the 1930s and 1940s under Hitler. Alongside the now militarizing Japan, we are witnessing the formation of a new Axis which is in confrontation with a new Entente, meaning Russia and China. If this is so, then the future orientation of German politics will be decided on the field of battle in Ukraine, not in the coffee houses of Berlin.

©Gilbert Doctorow, 2023

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5 months ago

I highly recommend watching this documentary so they can understand WW2 better and thus understand the current war environment. Good luck!https://archive.org/details/europa_the_last_battle_etlb/Europa+The+Last+Battle+(03)+(Part+2+of+10)+-+2017+-+720P.mp4