German Left Party and Greens: Warmongering after the attack in Nice

A few days ago, the World Socialist Web Site wrote that a Social Democratic Party-Left Party-Green Party coalition “would be not in the slightest more progressive than the current right-wing government” in Germany. In foreign policy, such a “red-red-green” coalition would pursue the interests of German imperialism just as aggressively. The immediate reaction of the Left Party and Greens to the terrible attack in Nice on Bastille Day has confirmed this assessment.

The blood of the many innocent victims had barely dried, and the background to the attack was still far from clear, when Daniel Cohn-Bendit (Green Party) and Gregor Gysi (Left Party) went onto broadcaster Deutschlandfunk on Friday morning demanding a strengthened military intervention in the Middle East.

Cohn-Bendit said: “As long as the Islamic State is not beaten in Syria and Iraq, and Raqqa is not retaken, the propaganda machine of Islamic State and the attraction of this terror will continue. This must simply be understood now. This can no longer be resolved only in France.”

Asked whether he supported the actions of President Hollande, who, on the night of the attack, had raised the need to step up French military engagement in Syria and also in Iraq, Cohn-Bendit responded: “Yes, and not just the French! Everyone must join in. The Germans must join in, everyone must join in. It’s just unbelievable terrorism. I call this Islamic fascism. This is not Islam; it is an excrescence just like National Socialism (Nazism) is an excrescence or the result of a certain European tradition. It is a fascism from this tradition which must be destroyed and everyone must be involved.”

Cohn-Bendit, who emerged as the spokesman of the 1968 Paris student revolt, epitomises the transformation of a layer of former radical petty bourgeois into furious war-mongers. Like his long-time political companion and former German foreign minister Joschka Fischer, who justified German participation in the Kosovo war with the cry, “Never again Auschwitz,” he has specialised in justifying wars for raw materials and geo-political interests using humanitarian and left-sounding phrases.

Gysi, the long-standing leader of the Left Party in the Bundestag (parliament), who was interviewed on Deutschlandfunk just minutes after Cohn-Bendit, did not want to be outdone by the Green warmonger. Following the “bombings in France” and the recent attack using a lorry, “we need to focus on eliminating the Islamic state now,” he declared.

It was a matter of setting “priorities” and solving the “questions” there, he said. To this end, the various countries must “coordinate (themselves) and say, what can we do jointly in order to firstly stop the growth, and secondly, effectively combat Islamic State.”

Gysi proposed initially to act jointly with Russia against the Islamic State, and possibly subsequently against the Assad regime in Damascus. He said, “The first thing we need is US-Russian understanding. But we are imposing sanctions on Russia instead of saying, OK, let’s both put the problem with Assad on the back burner and jointly consider how we eliminate the Islamic State.”

Gysi called the “military pact” between Russia and the US in the fight against ISIS and al-Qaeda, about which there is currently speculation, a “step in the right direction, if then the Security Council is involved.” He also praised the establishment of a “possible joint command and control centre for bombing and further planning.”

There was “only one solution” in Syria, according to Gysi: “Russia and the US must reach an understanding that is then carried through in the Security Council, and that is implemented also against the will of the Turkish or Saudi or Iranian governments. Otherwise it will not work.”

Gysi and the Left Party speak for those representatives of German imperialism who are pushing for a German foreign and military policy that is more independent from the US, and (at least currently) aiming for closer political and economic cooperation with Russia.

In the interview, Gysi denounced the Russian “annexation” of Crimea, but at the same time, he criticized the US and EU sanctions against Moscow. Then he said, “From the beginning, we would have to have mediated in the interests of Ukraine and Russia and Europe and Germany, and here, the United States led us in the wrong direction. And unfortunately, because we are obedient towards the US administration, we always do everything they say. We need to be a little more independent, I think.”