Final discussions of the programmes for this year’s Bundestag election are currently taking place. Robert Habeck and Olaf Scholz elevate the position on military policy under the trivializing concept of foreign and security policy to a central decision - making criterion for a party’s ability to form a coalition. Thus, the Left Party, which is the last Bundestag party critical of NATO, rejects foreign missions and has massive disarmament in the program, will be prevented from participating in the government. This approach parallels the strategy of leading NATO military forces against so-called hostile entities, as they manage to keep alive and strengthen popular skepticism about the actions of the military. The skepticism is more than justified in view of the experience with the militarization of politics.
Militarization has also arrived in the draft of the Bundestag election program of the Greens:
“A military operation needs a clear and achievable mission, balanced civilian and military capabilities and independent (interim)evaluations. … Germany should be able to rely on its allies and in the same way the allies should be able to rely on Germany. … We are committed to a new goal determination, which is not abstract and static, but starts from the tasks, and will seek talks with NATO partners about this. … The European External Action Service (EEAS) and the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) must be strengthened. … We know that this requires numerous talks in the Alliance, including with our European partner states, and above all the strengthening of the security and reinsurance of our Polish and Baltic allies.”
How the protection of the biosphere and the climate is compatible with NATO military policy, which is responsible for more than half of the world’s arms spending, the program does not answer. Instead, the text reproduces the EU and NATO narrative that Russia is a threat to the states on its western border, while NATO implicitly stands for defense and security. The Greens are ignoring the fact that NATO is the alliance of states from whose territory the most and most massive violations of international law have not only started and continue since the end of the Cold War. The common foreign and security policy also includes the military sector, as confirmed by the Heinrich Böll Foundation, which is close to the Greens:
“The EU’s Common foreign and security Policy (CFSP) brings together all the EU’s foreign policy - related areas and issues: diplomacy, trade and economic policy, neighbourhood policy and the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP).”
The SPD has already presented its election program at the beginning of May. It says on the issues of military policy:
“The Bundeswehr makes a responsible contribution to securing peace and defence… It is clear to us that we can only fulfil our tasks as a reliable partner in Europe and NATO with a well-equipped and modern Bundeswehr. Our soldiers can rely on us. Therefore, after many years of more and more rounds of austerity, we have increased investment in the defense budget.”
The draft programme of the Left Party differs very clearly from these two programmes:
“We want to end foreign missions of the Bundeswehr. Especially in a pandemic, the money should flow into health care – also internationally – and a fairer world economy, not into tanks or drones. Instead of upgrading the Bundeswehr with reference to NATO’s 2 percent target, we are committed to disarmament.”
In this position, the Greens and Social Democrats state that the LEFT is not suitable for a coalition, since it rejects NATO policy. However, a socio-ecological turn requires disarmament and a peace policy of cooperation instead of deterrence. Requiring the Left Party to move to the NATO line would not only be the end of its identity alongside the peace movement; it would also undermine the future prospects of society in a world of growing tensions and military escalation.
This can be traced in the topic of foreign missions – Sabine Zimmermann, then deputy chairman of the left faction in the Bundestag commented in 2017:
“The foreign missions of the Bundeswehr not only cost a fortune, many soldiers have paid them with their lives … This is particularly bitter, since usually no conflict is solved by military operations. The Bundeswehr must not continue to be used for military interventions abroad…. We need an active peace policy. The Bundeswehr must be withdrawn from all foreign missions. Arms exports must be banned. The money used today for military interventions must be used for civilian peacekeeping and development cooperation. Military force must not be a means of politics.”
The correctness of this sobering assessment of the military interventions of the Bundeswehr can be traced to the individual of the more than 50 deployments in which more than 100 Bundeswehr soldiers lost their lives and significantly more than 20 billion euros were lost: The first armed “out-of-area deployment” of the Bundeswehr went to Somalia in 1993, and it was openly communicated as a result of Germany’s power interests after unification, according to Michael Glos (CSU) in the Bundestag debate on:
“It is about the entry into a new security and foreign policy, the central concern of which is the re - entry of Germany into world politics, the permanent seat in the Security Council and … the military normalization of Germany.”
The balance of this ascension command is staggering, as the” taz " describes:
“Somalia 1993/1994-UNO-SOM II - was a completely unsuccessful operation. The US waged a kind of side war: they wanted to capture a warlord with whom they had made a pact shortly before. The UN did not quite know how to distribute the international troops over the country. For the Germans, the result was that they were allowed to use the time to repair wells, practice shooting and play volleyball. The US, in turn, did not get control of the situation in Mogadishu and, after terrible losses, hastily pulled out – the other Western countries also gave up. Somalia remained a ruined state for many, many years, the population without confidence in the international community.”
As an example of the series of self – deception and manipulation of the public, the intervention, which is being ended unsuccessfully these days, is considered in more detail here-this is about the Afghanistan operation.
He contradicted the Constitution from the very beginning and was sold to the German population as a defense of freedom. Chancellor Schröder had to combine the Bundestag vote on the intervention with the question of trust in order to ensure success. Mind you, it was about war or peace.
At the request of the Federal Republic of Germany, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1510 (2003) on 13 October 2003. “The Security Council approved the extension of the mandate of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) “to allow it … to assist the Afghan Transitional Administration and its successors in maintaining security in areas of Afghanistan outside Kabul and its environs, so that the Afghan authorities, as well as … international civilian personnel engaged in particular in reconstruction and humanitarian operations, may carry out their activities in a safe environment and in the performance of other tasks …to provide security-related assistance…”
Already on 22.12.2001 the Bundestag had decided “the participation of armed German armed forces in the International Security Assistance Force authorized by the Security Council of the United Nations” , with the following reasons:
“In order to give Afghanistan the prospect of a peaceful future, steps to prevent renewed anarchy in public life are urgent. … The participation of armed German forces in the International Security Assistance Force authorized by the United Nations Security Council is a significant contribution by Germany to the implementation of the … reconciliation process in Afghanistan, which opens the way to a reconstruction of the country … …”
The result is as unsurprising as it could have been foreseen from the start, according to MDR, for example:
“Surrender in Afghanistan: After twenty years, NATO troops leave Afghanistan. It is likely that the Taliban will take power. The Bundeswehr had gone to war to defeat them … . The attempt to build a Western-style democracy in a country with other political and religious traditions has thus failed. This experiment has cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of civilians and also German soldiers. It shouldn’t have been.“Tim Herden, MDR 28 April 2021
What Tim Herden criticizes here is the “surprising” appearance of the predictable. In October 2001, the Terre des hommes Children’s Fund declared its decision to participate in the war in Afghanistan:
“The fight against terrorism cannot be won by force. Violence … leads to an escalation of the conflict and further destabilization. An overall strategy with short - and medium-term measures is needed. … The basis of the anti-terror measures must be a development policy concept that focuses on combating poverty, bridging the gap between rich and poor and creating fairer trade conditions. These include comprehensive debt relief for poor countries; the reduction of protective tariffs and thus the opening of Western markets for products of these countries; social and environmental minimum standards for national and international companies that produce in poor countries. The global economy must be changed in such a way that poor countries also have a chance. Conflict resolution and conflict prevention must be strengthened worldwide. Human rights violations must not be condoned or actively supported in any region of the world. Only such a U-turn in world politics will help to deprive terrorists of popular support. This is the only way to really win the fight against terror. … This war is also causing a further escalation of violence in Afghanistan and its neighbouring countries, and making political solutions for the future more difficult.”
All that remains to be added is that what Terre des hommes says here about Afghanistan applies worldwide. Wars do not end in peace. Instead of fighting violence, it is about tackling the causes of violence. It is about building a socially and ecologically sustainable society; only with the construction of a just world can violence disappear. The military-industrial complex is not interested in this, because it reduces its prospects for returns and stock prices. Anyone who accuses the pacifists of knowingly accepting death with their resistance to military missions argues in the sense of those who, in part, knowingly earn vast sums from death in the dynamics of violence and counter-violence.
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