On the war path
UN mandate: spongy!
European peace power?
Confrontation with Russia and China
Nuclear weapons: little ray of hope
Hardly any light and a lot of shadow on the peace issue – a comment
The Greens had already initiated a program process some time ago in order to position themselves in terms of the content of the desired government participation after the upcoming Bundestag election. For this purpose, various papers for the areas of peace and military policy had been fed into the debate, some of which were now also presented on June 26, 2020 Program design flowed in.
Even if the draft, particularly with regard to the nuclear weapons question, is not as bad in all respects as some of the papers circulating in advance, it is nevertheless bellicistic enough to leave no doubt: Green participation in the government will definitely not be achieved in peace policy positions fail. So commented Political scientist Jürgen Walter aptly describes the purpose of the program in the following words: “The Greens want to prepare themselves for government participation.”
Not surprisingly, but at least honestly in terms of clarity the commitment to military interventions contained in the draft program, even if they – of course – should always be “only an extreme means”:
The use of military force in war always brings massive suffering. But we also know that failure to do so can lead to greater suffering in individual cases. The expanded UN concept of Responsibility to Prevent, Protect, Rebuild, which obliges us as an international community to protect people against the most serious violations of human rights and crimes against humanity is guiding action in international security policy.
For many years, attempts have been made to establish said Responsibility to Protect (R2P) as a new international legal intervention standard, but this fails due to strong opposition from Russia and China, but also from numerous countries in the global south. As with its predecessor, the “humanitarian intervention”, R2P is “perfect” for overturning the state’s prohibition of intervention by referring to actual – or in many cases alleged – violations of human rights, which turns the construct into an instrument for completely different, namely economic and enforce strategic interests.
For this reason, R2P is only ever tried if one has to punish anti-western states: Saudi Arabia, which is certainly also anything but unaffected in terms of human rights violations, is not threatened with the R2P club, to name just one example .
Generally accepting the use of military force was an important step by the Greens towards the war party, which is known to have taken place at the latest with the war of aggression against Yugoslavia in the late 1990s. The fact that this war also took place without a mandate from the UN Security Council and thus with blatant violation of international law completed the military-political realignment of the party, which was then under government responsibility.
Obviously, some parts of the Greens then gripped their guilty conscience: the fundamental commitment to military operations was no longer seriously questioned, not even when one later found oneself again on the opposition bank. However, the Greens moved away from the course they had chosen in the war of aggression against Yugoslavia.
So it says in the current green Basic program from 2002: “The UN Charter and international law apply to us. That is why missions abroad require a mandate from the United Nations.” And that too Election program for the 2017 federal elections sounded very similar: “We will only agree to deployments by the Bundeswehr with a mandate from the United Nations.”
This – you should think my self-evidently – commitment to international law was then in the first the “Böll Foundation”, which was published in April 2020 as a contribution to the “debate on the next policy program”. It was written by a number of relatively prominent green security politicians: Sophia Besch (Center for European Reform), Sarah Brockmeier (Global Public Policy Institute), Tobias Bunde (Center for International Security, Hertie School), Gerrit Kurtz (German Society for Foreign Affairs) Politics) and Robin Schroeder (Institute for Security Policy at the University of Kiel).
The key paper in the impulse paper calls for a new repositioning on the mandate question, which is necessary due to a new “era of the competition for superpowers”, because “Bundeswehr missions abroad would continue to be necessary.” This was extremely unfortunate, after all, the “probability that the five permanent members of the Security Council would agree on a mandate would have decreased significantly”.
Taken together, this requires a rethinking of the mandate question:
Anyone who refers to the UN mandate in this context [ist bereit] to ignore the party’s core tenet from an unprecedented engagement with previous missions abroad: that it depends on the political solutions. If you want to advance political solutions to the crises and conflicts in the European neighborhood and protect people, you must at least leave open the possibility to use military means to support such solutions as an ultima ratio. This political need cannot end automatically when the Security Council is blocked.
This position is not uncontroversial within the Greens, after all, shortly afterwards, second impulse paper arguing against it publishedIt is bad enough that such claims are apparently considered acceptable.
The fact that one no longer wanted to be chained to an obligation to mandate – and thus to a cornerstone of international law – was also not intended to be stated clearly in the draft program. However, the chosen wording is sufficiently vague to make this possible in an emergency:
A violation of the sovereignty of a state or where there is no state sovereignty requires a mandate from the United Nations. If the veto right in the Security Council is misused to cover the most serious crimes against humanity, the global community faces a dilemma because non-action damages human rights and international law as much as action.
In any case, a clear rejection of non-mandated military operations sounds different than this passage.
The passages to the European Union, of which the program draft says in a nutshell: “The European Union is a power of peace,” also bear witness to a remarkable distortion of reality.
A glance at the most important current EU strategy document is sufficient EU global strategy from 2016 to know that EU military operations are not about peace, but only about the pursuit of interests:
In the context of the EU’s interest in an open and fair economic system, there is a need for global growth and maritime security worldwide, creating open and protected ocean and sea routes, which are crucial for trade, and access to natural ones Resources are secured.
However, if you put together a world in which the European Union altruistically enforces the good in the world by force of arms if necessary, it may also be a logical consequence for yourself to provide this actor with more military capacity.
At least that is how it appears to be another impulse paper from the Böll Foundation from May 2020, in which it called:
Europe runs the risk of becoming the game ball of the great powers. […] If Europe wants to assert its values and interests in the future, the EU must become capable of global politics. It must be believable and speak in one voice. This requires uncomfortable decisions. The priority of human rights and civil crisis prevention is and rightly remains green DNA. But without shared military capabilities, any word of power against human rights violations and war crimes is unreliable. […] But let’s be honest: with 27 members, there will be a government in every crisis and conflict that blocks a common European stance. Only the consistent application of qualified majority decisions will enable an EU to act.
The green draft program now also calls for an expansion of the military components of the European Union:
European foreign and security policy must be strategic, forward-looking, comprehensive and quick to act. This requires common analytical skills and a strengthening of the European External Action Service. Step by step, more and more decisions in this area should be made with a qualified majority. […] Rather than channeling more and more money into parallel national military structures, enhanced EU armed forces cooperation should be expanded and military capabilities pooled. To do this, they need suitable equipment, the expansion of EU units and the strengthening of the common European headquarters.
This paragraph now pretty much includes everything that is also at the top of the priority list for the largest EU militarists. Above all, this includes the – euphemistically expanding armaments cooperation – project to build up an EU arms industry complex. It is intended to provide the hardware for the envisaged “military power Europe”, which should not only serve to “better” assert interests through specific military operations, but also to strengthen the European Union as a power political actor in general – above all vis-à-vis Russia and China, but also vis-à-vis China the USA.
In view of the fact that numerous top green politicians have been positioning themselves as hardliners against Russia for years and, more recently, against China, the corresponding passages in the program draft turned out to be almost mild. Recently, the green MEP Reinhard Bütikofer, who was not too bad, made a name for himself as co-chair of the “Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China” (IPAC) with the US hardliners Marco Rubio and Bob, among others Menendez a sharper approach to China.
The green member of the Bundestag, Franziska Brandtner, wanted her pamphlet, published in April 2020, explicitly as a contribution to the program process understand. Its aim is to “give green answers to the geopolitical new times” and “make a contribution” to “develop a foreign policy narrative”.
At the center of this “narrative”, however, is the demand, not least to position oneself militarily for new great power competition:
We are experiencing the return of geopolitical competition. Revisionist forces like China and Russia are trying to reorganize the world. […] Europe must grow up as a geopolitical actor. […] If we don’t stand together, we become chessboard figures in the game of the great powers. […] The reality is that no European country can stand up to the new great power claims alone. […] The withdrawal of the United States is forcing us Europeans to become power if we don’t want to become addicted.
Once again, the Greens did not want to make a declaration of war on Russia and China in this draft. But if you keep an eye on the goings-on of Bütikofer, Brandtner and a number of other Green politicians, you know how to interpret sentences like this:
In a value system competition between regulated capitalist and authoritarian progress, we strive for greater technological sovereignty in Europe, so that European citizens can move in a mature, informed and self-determined way even in a technological world. This applies in particular to critical infrastructure.
The days when the Greens were still in favor of a German exit from the NATO military alliance are now also a long way away – today, according to the draft program, the alliance is “indispensable”:
NATO is an indispensable and anti-renational component of the European security architecture and transatlantic relations. It suffers from diverging security policy interests within the alliance and an unclear strategic perspective. A strategic realignment is needed. With stronger military cooperation and coordination within the EU and with Great Britain, European strategic interests, especially in NATO, can be closed and more assertive.
What is more implicitly indicated here is the fact that the build-up of European military capacities should, despite all the supposed “indispensability” of NATO, also help to shift the distribution of power and influence in the alliance with the USA in its own favor. This intention also becomes clearer when the somewhat softer formulations from the program draft are compared with those from the Brandtner paper:
The Trump administration is increasingly treating Europe as a vassal, if not a rival, rather than an ally. In order to meet the international challenges, Europe has to grow up and reorganize the division of labor in the transatlantic alliance. If we want Trump to treat us as equals, then we have to be on par. This also means being able to organize our own continent geopolitically, optimize our military capabilities and become an independent actor who, despite independence, remains closely connected to the United States and pulls together wherever possible.
Pretty much the only area that can be won from the policy program in terms of peace policy is the commitment to a world free of nuclear weapons. This is all the more gratifying, since here too, attempts were made in advance to cut off old peace-political braids using impulse paper. In another $ (LEhttps: //www.boell.de/sites/default/files/2020-05/FNS_2_Die_Zukunft_europ%C3%A4ischer_Sicherheit.pdf? Dimension1 = division_asp: Impulse paper from the Böll Foundation from May 2020, it was requested to clearly oppose demands for nuclear disarmament:
Regarding nuclear deterrence, the Greens should demand that France and Britain explicitly commit to extended deterrence, i.e. extend their promise of protection to the entire European NATO. Germany does not need its own nuclear program. But insisting on nuclear disarmament in France and Great Britain – an at least implicit requirement of the interim report on the policy program – would be premature and counterproductive.
Anyone who had an eye on the extent to which the requirements from the input impulse papers had also been reflected in the program draft, after reading these sentences, also dreaded evil for the nuclear weapons area. Here, however, the worst case did not initially occur, on the contrary, there is even a very sensible requirement in the program draft:
Disarmament, arms control and the non-proliferation of weapons are and will remain essential pillars of any peace policy. […] This includes support for the UN nuclear weapons ban treaty. Our claim is nothing less than a world free of nuclear weapons.
A German signing of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty would be an extremely welcome signal for many reasons: Among other things, it would be an important strengthening of multilateral agreements at a time when the entire arms control system is under extreme pressure. Above all, however, the Nuclear Participation would have to be ended, which, among other things, on the $ (LEhttps: //www.undocs.org/en/a/conf.229/2017/L.3/Rev.1: Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in Article 1 (g) Prohibited storage of US nuclear weapons in Germany, which would render the purchase of F-18 combat aircraft unnecessary for this task, for which there was a pre-determination by the Department of Defense at the end of April, but which is likely to be final only in the next legislative period will be decided ($ (LEhttps: //www.heise.de/tp/features/Atomare-US-Alleingaenge-und-die-Debatte-um-die-Nukleare-Teilhabe-4715096.html? seite = all: Nuclear Participation Debate).
Aside from the nuclear weapons issue – and some commitments to limit arms exports and want to strengthen civil conflict management – the green program draft is a major disappointment. Even as far as this area is concerned, there is little hope, since the abolition of nuclear participation for the CDU / CSU – which is probably the most likely possible coalition partner according to the current status – should not be up for debate.
In view of the history of the Greens to date, it is difficult to imagine that they would let government participation in this peace-policy question fail. Because if another political scientist, Wolfgang Schroeder, referred to the draft compared to the previous program as $ (LEhttps: //www.tagesschau.de/inland/interview-schroeder-101.html:, then this is primarily about a reality: Namely, that no one will rule in Germany until further notice who refuses to answer the war question.
Taken together, the draft program and in particular the discussion papers fed in advance show two things in particular: First, they reveal the terrifying “spectrum of opinions” of green debates, which increasingly integrates militaristic demands, while antimilitarist and pacifist positions are completely marginalized. It is also striking that although the bank chose significantly softer wording in the draft program than in the previously published program contributions, the core of it often amounts to not dissimilar demands. This should not least be practiced in this way, so as not to scare away large sections of the voters, who still seem to imagine that they are making a cross with a peace party.
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