In its latest issue, the “Zeitschrift für Innere Führung” of the Bundeswehr publishes a call for an increase in the sense of threat to the German public by Russia for the purpose of strengthening German loyalty to the alliance with the NATO Eastern states. The author uses various euphemisms, but also scientific studies of public opinion, to promote an effective, anti-Russian communication campaign. On the 80th anniversary of the German attack on the Soviet Union, the call for a Russian enemy image seems to be booming again.
The warmongering in Germany is gaining momentum. This may sound drastic, but what was recently published here by the magazine for Internal Leadership (IF), the magazine of the Information and media Center of the Bundeswehr, can not be called otherwise. Under the title “Offene Flanke: Zur Bündnistreue der Deutschen”, the political scientist Timo Graf wrote an article that leaves more than a pale taste in its openly anti-Russian tendentiousness and the call for political opinion-making.
Graf discusses in the article the readiness of the Germans to come to the aid of the eastern NATO allies in the event of a Russian attack or a “Russian threat”. Graf criticizes the low willingness of the Germans to be loyal to the alliance, because although 70 percent of the population generally agreed to the NATO principle “all for one, one for all”, according to his article, only 40 percent are willing to use military force in the event of a military conflict between an eastern ally and Russia.
Quite apart from the fact that Graf assumes without batting an eyelash that Russia is an aggressive, hostile state, he puts forward the thesis that the Germans lack “solidarity” and that is a problem, because “solidarity forms the foundation of NATO and thus of the security of Europe”. The political scientist of the Center for Military History and Social Sciences of the Bundeswehr (ZMSBw) also quickly finds a reason for the antisocial attitudes of the Germans: it is the “feeling of threat by Russia that is missing in large parts of the population”. It can be shown scientifically that the feeling of the threat from Russia correlates with the willingness to agree to German NATO operations in the East.
From these simple theses, Graf then derives instructions for action in a frighteningly cold logic in order to remedy the lack of solidarity: “…in particular, the reason for the return to the defense of the country and alliance should be conveyed to the citizens of Germany: the military threat from Russia”. The summit of the euphemisms in the article is Graf’s observation that a" common understanding of threat " is essential for alliance solidarity. The old idea of the “image of the enemy” can probably no longer be packaged in a more poetic and politically correct way.
It goes cold down your spine when you realize that a state magazine is advertising here to stoke the public’s fear of Russia. The comparison to the internal paper from the Ministry of the Interior, which recommended in the spring of 2020 to systematically make the population afraid of SARS-Cov-2 in order to increase the acceptance of the freedom-cutting measures, is frighteningly obvious. Playing with fear is simple and works.
It is appalling that exactly 80 years after the German war of aggression against the Soviet Union, such calls for intensified generation of a Russian image of the enemy are again acceptable. Unfortunately, however, it seems to be a nerve of the time, because if you look at the spiteful journalistic reactions of the leading media to Vladimir Putin’s conciliatory article in Die Zeit, to which RT has already drawn attention, then nothing good can be guessed. The idea that Putin is a “killer”, as reported by the US president, is an accepted narrative and should now, according to Graf, be supplemented by a common" understanding of threat". If this internal attitude of the German “hawks” is coupled with the current escalating spiral in the east of the EU, where the Baltic states as well as Poland reject a reconciliation with Russia in such a way that they even torpedo the proposal of Macron and Merkel for an EU summit meeting with Putin, then this results in an explosive mixture for warmongering in the German, EU and NATO framework. Russia and China, according to the tenor of the recent NATO summit, are the enemy and this must also be communicated to the population, otherwise it does not look good for the acceptance of further armament and escalation in the East.
It remains only to hope that the forces of de-escalation within the EU will be strong enough to invalidate the coming fear rhetoric and to seek a future with Russia in the common European House, as Gorbachev already wanted. It is time for a perestroika of European relations with Russia.