What does it mean to be on the right side of history?

Anyone who corners a nuclear power is acting irresponsibly. US President John F. Kennedy already knew that

by Oskar Lafontaine
23 December 2022

In his government statement to the German Bundestag on 27 February 2022, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said: “In Kiev, Kharkiv, Odessa and Mariupol, people are not only defending their homeland. They are fighting for freedom and their democracy, for values that we share with them. As democrats, as Europeans, we stand by their side, on the right side of history.”

So whoever stands on the side of the Ukrainians is on the right side of history. But who stands for Ukraine, and what do Ukrainians want? For sure, the vast majority wants the killing and destruction of their homeland to end immediately through a ceasefire and peace negotiations. When journalists and politicians claim otherwise and talk, for example, about Ukrainians willingly sacrificing their lives for freedom and democracy, this is nothing more than the clumsy war propaganda of those who do not risk their own lives and send others to the battlefields from their desks. Needless to say, the Russian soldiers also want nothing more than an immediate ceasefire and peace negotiations. Why is it always so difficult for warmongers all over the world to imagine how the families feel whose fathers and sons have to die on the battlefields?

Ukrainians want peace negotiations

In any case, you are not on the right side of history if you support the policies of Selenskyj and his entourage. They want Ukrainian soldiers to fight until all Russian-occupied Ukrainian territories are liberated, including Crimea. Anyone who can count to three knows that, politically, these are completely unattainable goals. In general, Selenskyj has long since lost his credibility for many because he keeps calling for a third world war. Sometimes he calls for a no-fly zone, sometimes he wants pre-emptive strikes against Moscow. Sometimes he calls for nuclear weapons for Ukraine, and then he untruthfully claims that the Ukrainian defence missile that killed two Poles was fired by Russia, and then he demands that NATO protect the Russian-occupied nuclear power plant Zaporizhzhya from sabotage. Even the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung got fed up: “Selenskyj wants to drag NATO into war,” it wrote.

With his constant demands for an extension of the war, for a re-conquest of the Donbass and Crimea, Selenskyj proves only one thing: he has not represented the Ukrainian people for a long time. After nine months of war, they want a ceasefire and a peace solution, despite all the claims in the propaganda press. It is all the more irresponsible when European politicians, above all the warmongers from Germany, encourage Ukraine in its goal of defeating Russia. Ukraine must win, they often say. The fact that you cannot defeat a nuclear power should have got around even among those who, like the leading politicians in the German government, have spent little time in their lives dealing with foreign policy. What the legendary US President John F. Kennedy once said still applies: you must never put a nuclear power in a situation from which it cannot get out without losing face. Anyone who wants to drive a nuclear power into a corner, i.e. who risks a nuclear war, is certainly not on the right side of history.

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Only those who do not have to put their own lives on the line beat the drum for war. In his famous song «Le déserteur», the French chansonnier Boris Vian wrote: «S’il faut donner son sang, allez donner le vôtre, vous êtes bon apôtre, Monsieur le Président.» Leobald Loewe translated this into German: “You swear in parliament that blood must be shed, so let yours flow, dear President.” One can be sure that many Ukrainians and Russians have similar sentiments when they think of their presidents and the war propagandists. This is the age-old refrain. Even the Roman poet Horace wrote: “Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori” – it is sweet and honourable to die for the fatherland.

With these corrupt morals of those who send others to war, innocent people have died on the battlefields for thousands of years. It is time for a ceasefire and peace negotiations, because every day Ukrainians and Russians fall victim to this “love of one’s country”. At this point at the latest, the question must be answered as to which moral principles can be invoked if one wants to be on the right side of history.

In answering this question, I have always referred to the great humanist Albert Schweitzer, who advocated reverence of life as the basis of human action. “The ethics of Reverence of life, [which we human beings must attain], comprehends within itself everything that can be considered as love, devotion, and sympathy whether in suffering, joy, or effort.” Love of and compassion for fellow human beings are prerequisites for a peaceful world.

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Greens suddenly in favour of arms deliveries

But life is also invoked by politicians who, like Annalena Baerbock in Germany, promote ever greater arms deliveries to Ukraine. “Our weapons save lives.” This is an adventurous development! The Green Party, which emerged from the peace movement, is now promoting a foreign policy with the slogan of the US arms lobby “Guns Save Lives”, which will lead to the war in Ukraine dragging on longer and longer, with many thousands more losing their lives and Ukraine being destroyed more and more.

The main problem why the West cannot be on the right side of history is that it is paying homage to a double standard on an unprecedented scale. Ukrainian President Selenskyj, for example, a few days ago called Russia’s attacks on his country’s infrastructure with widespread power cuts a “crime against humanity” and called on the UN to respond decisively. He demanded that the UN Security Council clearly designate Russia as a terrorist state. France’s President Emmanuel Macron has also called the Russian attacks on Ukraine’s electricity and water supplies war crimes that must have consequences. “Any strike against civilian infrastructure constitutes a war crime and must not go unpunished.” And the European Parliament classified Russia as a terrorist state.

Those who haven’t quite handed in their memories with their wardrobe at the cloakroom will remember the NATO bombing of Serbia. In 1999, you read in the Tagesspiegel: “NATO attacks paralyse Serbia’s supply of electricity and water. After the nationwide paralysis of the electricity and water supply in Serbia, NATO has threatened the Belgrade regime with further attacks on central energy facilities. NATO spokesman Shea said in Brussels on Monday that NATO had demonstrated its ability to shut down Serbia’s supply system whenever it wanted.”

The European Parliament did not classify the NATO states as terrorist states at the time, and no one called for punishing the war criminals of the USA, Germany, France and the other NATO states who were responsible.

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We experienced the climax of this double standard on 30 November. The European Commission had unveiled plans for the establishment of a UN-backed special court to investigate and prosecute potential war crimes committed by Russia in Ukraine.

“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has brought death, devastation and untold suffering,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement. “Russia must pay for its terrible crimes, including its crimes of aggression against a sovereign state.” That Ukrainian soldiers are also committing war crimes is something the European Commission, with its German president, apparently cannot conceive.

Western elite in the dock

One only has to replace the word “Russia” with “USA” and Ukraine with Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yugoslavia and so on to immediately realise with what incredible impudence and mendacity the EU President celebrates her double standards.

To top it off, the German Bundestag decided a few days ago to tighten up paragraph 130 of the penal code against incitement of the people. Now even those who “approve of, deny or grossly trivialise war crimes” are to be prosecuted.

The above-mentioned examples fulfil the offence of denial or gross trivialisation of Western war crimes. With the new law, the German Bundestag puts the political elite of the West in the dock. If it were really applied, they would not be on the right side of history. But they would be sitting on the right bench.

Source: https://weltwoche.ch/story/was-heisst-es-auf-der-richtigen-seite-der-geschichte-zu-stehen, 8 December 2022
Reprinted with kind permission of the author and the “Weltwoche” editors.

(Translation “Swiss Standpoint”)

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