Germany: Joschka Fischer’s declaration of war on Russia

By Peter Schwarz
9 October 2014

In an op-ed published Monday in the Süddeutsche Zeitung, former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer (Green Party) makes what amounts to a declaration of war on Russia. Fischer states that the integration of Ukraine into the European Union is the vital question for the future of Europe.

“The involuntary return of Ukraine into Russia's sphere of influence would mean the militarily enforced end of the European order after the Cold War,” Fischer writes.

The “independence of Ukraine”—by which Fischer means bringing Ukraine into the sphere of influence of the EU—is “the cornerstone of the system of states and peace in post-Soviet states established in Eastern Europe. It would have dramatic consequences for the security of the entire continent if this pillar were to collapse.”

Fischer accuses Russia of “waging an undeclared war against Ukraine” and pursuing the goal of “permanently preventing any political, and especially economic, stabilization of the country.”

The meaning of such words is unequivocal from the mouth of a man who spent seven years in charge of German foreign diplomacy. If the system of states and peace in Europe depends on the “independence of Ukraine” and Russia has de facto declared war on Ukraine, then the EU must use every means to curb Russia.

It is remarkable that Fischer uses the undisguised language of geopolitical interests. He writes of “spheres of influence” and declares that the failure to sign the Association Agreement with the EU “would amount to a shifting of Ukraine eastwards.” He terms the overthrow of Ukrainian President Yanukovych last February the “first pro-European revolution in the 21st century” directed “against the country's return to the Russian sphere of influence.”

With such arguments Fischer draws directly from the policy of German imperialism in the last century. Rolling back Russia through the formation of a buffer state centered on Ukraine and dominated by Germany was one of the declared war aims of the German Reich in the First World War. In 1918, the goal of an “independent” Ukraine under a German puppet, the “Hetman” Skoropadsky, was realized—until Germany was forced to abandon its prize following its defeat on the Western Front and the triumph of the October Revolution in Ukraine.

Hitler continued the very same policy. The relevant passages in “Mein Kampf” were inspired by Skoropadsky, who lived in Munich exile after the war and was one of the founders of the Nazi party newspaper, the Völkische Beobachter.

At the end of 1938, less than a year before Hitler's invasion of Poland, the international press published numerous reports of German plans for a Great Ukraine dominated by Berlin. Corresponding concepts had been drawn up by a working group led by the Nazi ideologue Alfred Rosenberg, who was sentenced to death in 1946 at the Nuremberg Trials.

“Most Soviet and foreign diplomats and politicians were of the opinion that Hitler would not directly attack Ukraine, but rather seek to invoke a separatist movement,” the Russian author Vadim Z. Rogovin writes. He cites the Soviet ambassador in London, Maiski, who expressed the opinion that Hitler's policy would “be similar to that adopted for Czechoslovakia. First, a growth of nationalism, the outbreak of riots, insurrections by the Ukrainian population, and subsequently the 'liberation' of Ukraine under the slogan of ‘self-determination’.”

In the end, Hitler decided against a Great Ukrainian puppet state. Instead, he had broad layers of the Ukrainian population exterminated to create “living space” for future German colonization. The scenario described by Maiski, however, broadly corresponds—with the necessary historical corrections—to the path taken by Berlin last year: the fomenting of nationalism, support for an “insurrection”, and finally the removal of Ukraine from the "Russian sphere of influence" in the name of “independence.”

The fact that Berlin collaborated in Ukraine with fascist forces which are the political heirs of the Nazi collaborators of the Second World War, underscores the historical continuity between the policies of the Third Reich and the current German government.

Although this policy has plunged Ukraine into civil war and raised the danger of a nuclear confrontation with Russia, Fischer insists it be continued. He is not satisfied with the Association Agreement, but insists that Ukraine become a full member of the EU. There is “no alternative to its EU membership,” he writes.

Fischer's subsequent promise that the “Europeanization” of Ukraine will lead to a break “with corruption and oligarchic rule”, demonstrates the ruthlessness of this practitioner of imperialist politics. Fischer is well acquainted with the figures in Kiev who have been elevated into power with European support. He has well established international political connections. He now exploits the connections he established as foreign minister to make money as a lobbyist for international companies. His firm, Joschka Fischer & Company, is working closely with the company of his former American counterpart Madeleine Albright, the Albright Stonebridge Group.

The new Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko, is a billionaire oligarch ranked by Forbes as the seventh richest Ukrainian. In addition to his Roshen confectionery corporation, he also owns factories in the auto, marine and defense industries as well as a television station, which played a leading role in the Maidan movement.

Poroshenko has appointed two other oligarchs as governors: Igor Kolomoisky (number 2 or 3 on the rich list) in Dnepropetrovsk and Serhiy Taruta (number 17) in Donetsk. Kolomoisky finances fascist militias such as the Dnepr and Azov battalions, which are terrorizing the east Ukrainian population and members of the opposition. He is also using his influence to replace Rinat Akhmetov as the richest man in Ukraine.

Other politicians belonging to the pro-Western camp, such as Julia Tymoshenko and Vitali Klitschko, are closely linked to oligarchic clans as well or have their own fortunes amounting to hundreds of millions.

According to Fischer this gang of Mafia godfathers, who would not be out of place in a film by Francis Ford Coppola, are to be trusted to rid Ukraine of corruption and oligarchic rule. The prospect would be laughable if it was not so dangerous.

Apart from the occasional guest appearance, Fischer no longer plays an active role in the Greens. Politically speaking, however, the party follows closely in his footsteps. More than any other party it has led the campaign for military aggression against Russia.

The party-affiliated Heinrich Böll Foundation played a leading role in the preparation and execution of the coup of February 22. Since then it has campaigned tirelessly for a tougher stance towards Moscow. The head of the foundation, Ralf Fücks, gave an interview on German Radio on Tuesday demanding the dispatch of German reconnaissance drones and soldiers to monitor the Russian border in Ukraine.

As Foreign Minister in 1999, it was Fischer and the Greens who broke the taboo banning German combat missions abroad in order to participate in the bombing of Yugoslavia—a region where Hitler's Wehrmacht committed some of its worst crimes. Now the Greens are playing a leading role in returning German soldiers to another scene of bestial Nazi crimes.

Many leading Greens began their political careers in 1968 with protests against the Vietnam War. Having climbed the social ladder, they have turned into imperialist warmongers. This process is epitomized by the figure of Fischer. Unlike many of his colleagues from wealthy families, Fischer came from a modest background, and entered protest politics as a school dropout. He has internalized this social ascent. In arrogance, ruthlessness, greed and contempt for the population at large, he surpasses all others.

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