A few days ago German corporate media jubilated as if they had caught Putin with his hands in the cookie jar — and proudly presented a „strategy paper“ which they supposed proved that all events regarding Crimea and in Donbass were just the Kremlin’s evil machinations.
They must think all their readers are idiots.
This paper is said to have been written just ten days before the coup in Kiev last year. It contains some serious analytical flaws, like the expectation that Yanukovich would remain in power until the regular elections. Therefore it could only be considered an on-going tactical analysis and never a „strategic paper“. And something like this is supposed to prove that the events were orchestrated?
This claim can function only based upon the fact that people had been successfully convinced that strategic thinking in itself is evil, and the assumption that such analysis amounted to a “conspiracy theory”.
This can only work due to the fact that equivalent German papers are not so openly published.
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Let’s think a bit about who might spend thoughts on such matters in Germany, starting with the relevant authorities.
The German Chancellor’s Office surely receives stacks of on-going analysis of Ukrainian developments from the BND. The Foreign Ministry would have additional strategic concepts for German foreign policy. General political analysis could be found with BND-created SWP. Probably even the German army makes it’s own analysis.
Next come the foundations of the political parties, which also produce such papers, though not always for public consumption. It’s hardly possible that the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung[i] (the think-tank of the CDU) would put millions into Klitschko´s Udar party without first making an analysis and developing a Ukraine strategy. Exactly the same must have happened in the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung (think-tank of the ‘Green’ party), because their chairman Ralf Fücks must have had some reason making friends with Kolomoisky.
The big banks and corporations all maintain their own strategic departments too, which evaluate not only economic, but also political developments and suggest political measures in their own interest. More or less every single position on the DAX-list should have produced at least one of those documents.
Every single one of these papers will contain suggestions for certain political measures. Every single one of these papers can be read as an attempt to control political processes in another country, and if they are successful, they make the case for actual control of political processes in another country. From the German side a quite a well known example are the actions of the Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung (think-tank of the now nearly extinct FDP) in Honduras.[ii]
It would be really interesting to know why the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, in addition to supporting the Ukrainian puppet party Udas, also supported the Nazis of Swoboda. Since the latter have nothing to offer other than limitless hatred against Russia, the document that justified this support might tell a lot about the strategic intentions regarding Russia.
This is all everyday politics. Anybody who ever stuck his nose into these structures knows it. If they were honest, they would have dropped this particlar Russian paper with a shrug and the remark that they used to be better.
Instead an absolutely banal document is treated like the proof of a crime.
And it even works. Reader’s comments prove that some people really buy this tale. Why? Because political actions and reporting on them are as remote from each other as earth and outer space, and the tale that is presented no longer has any connection at all with motives, interests and actions. The political scene is presented as a series of short-term, spontaneous reactions, directed by some ‘values’, towards unforseeable events. Even the talks about TTIP are presented as if the negotiations about the contract itself hadn’t been preceded by preparatory talks where the claims of interest are identified, and as if even those preparatory talks hadn’t been preceded by a long period of industrial lobbyists sculpting the soul of politicians in the right shape.
Even at the lowest political level, the communal one, political decisions that are guided by interest will be clothed in a romantic tale. A tiny example from Munich: the municipal department of works, (number five on the German energy market by the way), builds a windpark off the Welsh coast. The reason given is to secure the supply of renewal energy for the citizens. To finance this project the city guarantees for a credit above one billion Euros. But there is one detail that distinguishes this project from earlier offshore-windparks: it is the first windpark that isn’t constructed by medium sized companies, but by one of the large corporations, Siemens, which by this means tries to get control of this market (accompanied by several attempts to buy producers of turbines). Siemens, btw, is based in Munich. So the municipal guarantee for this project is actally a subsidy in the interest of one of Germany’s big corporations which has successfully placed the risk for entering in a new market on to the shoulders of Munich citizens. Naturally this wasn’t mentioned in the documents presented to the City Council; and much less so in the sparse version presented by the press.
Even in this case there must be, somewhere in the inner workings of Siemens, a document that developed a strategy on how to reach a position on this specific market, and which political measures would make sense. And then someone from Siemens and someone from Municipal Utility will have met, and the result of this meeting becomes the offshore project. (The Welsh, whose coast got decorated with it were not asked during the whole procedure, and it would be quite interesting to know how Siemens achieved approval in London’s political scene).
In some places, like in the Weissbuch of the German army, interests are actually stated openly; actions are taken openly. For example, the reason for the deployment of the German navy to Somalia was in the interests of the German container fleet. — which is quite impressive, due to massive public subsidies for decades, even though these ships are rented out through international shipping companies and running under the usual exotic flags. The only moment this became visible was when HSH Nordbank (a bank owned by several states of Northern Germany) got in trouble due to the breakdown of international trade.
Subsidies for the construction of container ships themselves also followed a strategic interest, namely support of the German export industry…
The moment you look into the details you discover strategic actions everywhere, so it should be supposed there is strategic thinking too.
So what sense does it make to treat one single document as scandalous?
Naturally, it is used to demonise Russian politics. But the supposition that politics here acted differently is directed inwards. It’s not only with regard to Ukraine that they behave as if Germany is above muddying the waters and as if neither German politics nor German industry followed any self interests. TTIP and it’s off-shoots are presented as if it is only others who benefit from such undemocratic structures, and as though German industry isn´t also striving to escape all political control. Meanwhile all evil machinations in the EU, like the Bolkestein directive, were grown on German soil. There is no cover-up any longer about who tightens the strings of the political straightjacket called Troika; nowadays Greek ministers of finance negotiate directly with Mr. Schäuble, because everyone knows already that he is going to decide how ECB, EU and IMF will react.
In Ukraine it’s not just the changes in tax laws that bear a recognizable German footprint; during the last few days some changes were introduced in work laws that resemble the Troika-contracts[iii] so strongly that the creators must be supposed in Berlin. Which leads to a tiny strategic afterthought with regard to Ukraine — besides being the deployment ground against Russia it seems to be a laboratory for experiments on how heavy a burden the citizens of a state can bear before that state inplodes.
But that sounds a bit like ‘conspiracy theory’, doesn’t it?
The really malicious element in this tale, that alone the existence of “intentions” is already the proof of evil, is its reverse. What is being said is that, in German policies there are no ‘intentions’ and therefore no plans for putting into them action. And any assumption of such ‘intentions’ would be an allegation. Surprisingly, even people who consider themselves enlightened, critical and on the left, accept this construction.
In this way, a taboo is placed on the one question that is the start of any enlightened view on political discussion, yes, even the beginning of political thought itself, one so ancient that it has survived in it’s latin form: Cui bono? Who benefits?
This question is rejected as degrading the ‘values’ that are supposed to direct western politics. Actually, there are no facts that support that. Facts, and even whole libraries of historical research, prove that any war is driven by interests that can be named and counted; that those powers usually succeed in the arena of politics that hold economic power already, and that those moments when the dispossessed, the economically impotent, succeed in realizing their interests even in partially, are always the result of grim conflicts.
On my bookshelf there is a book titled ‘Europastrategien des deutschen Kapitals von 1900-1945’ (European Strategies of German Capital from 1900-1945)[iv] — one thousand pages of documents without comment, just strategic papers, reports, memoranda from German corporations and ministries. There you find a shocking continuity of the ideas which are followed in the EU today.
The fogbank which has been raised in front of such available and accessible information carries such a load of sacred pathos that any attempt to question it, to look for intentions and interests behind it, is answered with an accusation of heresy.
Actually we see a surrogate for the feudal idea of a ‘sacred order’. When a battle cannot be won on the basis of facts, it must be prevented that anyone asks the questions that may lead to those facts. That is the only use of the concept of ‘conspiracy theory’. The first question, „who benefits?“, already transgresses the borders of the true faith, and immediately inquisition steps to the front and proclaims that whoever asks this question consorts with the devil. It is no longer a conflict about the content of a critical point of view, it is a conflict about the possibility of criticism.
This is where all leftist friends making the accusation of ‘conspiracy theory’ err enormously. They think it’s about faulty assumptions; that it’s about fighting wrong interpretations, like anti-semitism being hidden in a criticism of financial capital. They completely overlook the fact that this accusation isn’t aimed at the content of criticism, but at criticism itself — not at an invalid answer to a valid question, but at the question itself. Thus they become willing collaborators of an ideological strategy that also eliminates valid answers to valid questions and replaces political thought with a foggy pompousness made of ‘values’ like ‘freedom’ and ‘tolerance’ which have no political content any longer. They have no connection to reality like to the everyday racist crime of Frontex, one of the worst forms of institutional racism. As was visible in the „XY is colourful“-manifestations during the last months, they are just the sacral acts of an unquestioning belief, void of any class conflict, any interest, any material reality, that declares everyone an apostate who is unwilling to follow.
Wolfgang Ischinger, organizer of the Munich Security Conference, who recently orchestrated the attack against Lavrov there, is financed by the insurance corporation Allianz. In the same way that you can suppose that Elmar Brock states the positions of Bertelsmann corporation, you can expect that Ischinger expresses the positions of Allianz. Otherwise they wouldn’t pay him. Allianz is the biggest global insurance company and mother of the biggest hedgefund PIMCO. So, when the political mouthpiece of Allianz is openly aggressive towards the Russian foreign minster,does this have nothing to do with interests? Or, to turn it the other way round, if Ischinger’s behaviour contradicted the strategic aims of Allianz, for how many days would he have stayed on their paylist after this performance? Exactly.
Some day there will be another book, ‘European Strategies of German Capital after 1946’. There you may be able to read the Allianz strategic papers. Or those of the German foreign ministry — the real documents, not those handouts for the dumbing down of the people that have passed through German press recently. Then it will be possible to understand and to prove who had which interest in inciting a war, when, why and to which extent. Just as it is possible now to understand how it was with the other two (successful) attempts.
But this is only if we succeed in preventing the full scale incineration of archives which is being toyed with at the moment. Therefore we have to defend acrimoniously the one question that is the precondition for any type of resistance:
Cui bono? Who benefits?
Dagmar Henn is a social services professional, she is a former member of the Munich City Council for Die Linke (“The Left’”), formed from a fusion of the former ruling party of the German People’s Republic, the Socialist Union Party, with a left-wing split from the Social Democratic Party.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Oceania Saker.
[i]Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) is one of the think-tanks/ political foundations of Germany´s political parties. Their work in Germany is financed by the parliament, but their work abroad is financed by the foreign ministry. They are an extremely efficient tool to influence politics abroad..
The other big foundations are Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), related to SPD, Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung (HBS) related to the ‘Green’ Party, Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung (FNS) related to FDP and Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung (RLS) related to Die Linke.
Quite a comprehensive article about their political function abroad was published on the German website ‘Hintergrund’ under the title „Instrumente deutscher Machtpolitik“ (instruments of German power politics). They proved such an efficient tool that the US tries to copy this model.
[ii]Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung spent close to 400 000 Euro in the years from 2000 to 2008 to support a few politicians inside the Liberal Party of Honduras; surprisingly exactly those people who overthrew the democratically elected government in July 2009.
[iii]What is called Troika is the collaboration of ECB, EU and IMF, who dictated austerity measures to several European countries, f.e. Greece. These measures were forced upon those countries in the form of a contract to prevent an easy escape through democratic elections. Actually the content of those contracts mainly stems from the German ministry of finance headed by Wolfgang Schäuble. An actual example for these politics can be seen here: the recent statement regarding Greece
[iv]There is no English version of this book; but there is a book about those strategies: Volker Berghahn, Quest for Economic Empire: European Strategies of German Big Business in the Twentieth Century