Since almost a year Europe is confronted with a bloody and dirty war raging in the Ukraine, that began after Russia’s invasion into Eastern Ukraine. The war has left presumably 100.000 victims on both sides, including 50.000 civilians and almost 15 million Ukrainian refugees. It has plunged Europa and its economy into a deep recession, with Germany being particularly hit hard. The urgent call for peace from Pope Francis remembering the “Pacem in Terris” encyclical of Pope John XXIII at the height of the Cuban missile crisis 1962, is underlining this dramatic moment. Meanwhile the US, Great Britain and NATO are preparing at high gears the next US led group of countries aiding the defense of Ukraine at the German located US air base Ramstein (it’s the 8th meeting of this contact group at various locations), in order to pave the way for more escalation (tanks and sophisticated weaponry) that is supposed to break „the escalation dominance of Russia“. This will increase the danger that “the West may become an active party in the war.” From the Russian side the escalation is marked by an extraordinarily sharp interview (Argumenty y Facty) with the Secretary of the Russian Security Council Nikolay Patrushev (January 10th). By making use of propagandistic Russian “topoi” that are known from the Cold War period, he makes strong accusations against the “Western Politicians” and “the elite.”
Pope Francis addressing Vatican Diplomatic Corps to the Holy See
On January 9th Pope Francis in his address to the members of the diplomatic Corps of the Holy See, deplored the fact that at the start of the New Year, “it looks that the terrible war in the midst of Europe- which at the moment is irresponsibly being heated up by more and more heavy weapon deliveries from the US and Europe- is risking the danger of a nuclear escalation.“(!)
He qualified the ongoing war as „part of a third world war in pieces“ by pointing out that this year marks the sixtieth anniversary of the Encyclical „Pacem in Terris“ of Saint John XXIII, who wrote the encyclical because of the threat of nuclear war that was raised in October 1962 by the so called „Cuban Missile crisis.“ „Humanity would have been only a step away from its own annihilation had it not proved possible to make dialogue prevail, in recognition of the devastating effects of atomic weapons,” the Pope stated. Given the fact that today the nuclear threat is raised again, which plunges the entire world in fear and anguish, the Pope emphasized that „the possession of atomic weapons is immoral, as John XXIII observed.“
He deplored that „ today the Third World War is taking place in a globalized world where conflicts involve only certain areas of the planet directly, but in fact involve them all. The closest and most recent example is certainly the war in Ukraine.” He renewed his appeal for an immediate end to this senseless conflict, whose effects are felt in entire regions, also outside of Europe, due to its repercussions in the areas of energy and food production, above all in Africa and the Mideast.“
(…) “Building peace requires pursuing justice. The 1962 crisis was averted thanks to the contribution of men and women of good will, who were able to devise suitable solutions that prevented political tension from degenerating into an actual war. It was also due to the conviction that disputes could be resolved within the framework of international law and through these organizations, principally the United Nations, that were established in the aftermath of the Second World War and encourage multilateral diplomacy,” the Pope said. He made clear that it is necessary to „move towards an integral disarmament, since no peace is possible where instruments of death are proliferating.”
Other voices urging restraint and dialogue
Aside Pope Francis there were other voices of reason that were raised at the end of 2022. They all expressed the concern that by pumping more and more lethal weapons into Ukraine, the war may escalate into a full-fledged Third World War. Unfortunately these voices are responded by a chorus of aggression and cynicism – that usually end up in full denunciations of those persons who raised the concern. This for example happened to the well- known German law expert Dr. Reinhard Merkel (Hamburg) who in an article in the German paper FAZ (28.12.22) „To negotiate doesn‘t mean to capitulate“ strongly urged a cease fire and peace negotiations in Ukraine, if we wanted to avoid more bloodshed. He underlined that by continuing to pour more heavy weapons into the Ukraine battlefield (as President Selensky demands) „thousands of more innocent victims are arrogantly cast aside.”
There was also the former military advisor of Chancellor Angela Merkel, General Erich Vad, who in an interview with the German TV channel „ntv“ (24.11.22) had warned before Christmas that he feels irritated by the word „victory“ which is very often used by German politicians (particularly Greenies) and the main -stream press. General Vad underlined that the word „Victory“ is misleading and dangerous, since it will prolong a bloody war where there will be no victors, except that Europe will more and more slide into becoming an „active war party.” Vad described the military situation at the military front line, as comparable to World War I – „a war of the trenches” and a “war of attrition.” Even the US Joint Chief of Staff Mark Milley, according to Gen. Vad, had correctly warned that there is not going to be a „military solution“ to the Ukraine- Russia conflict, when already there are 100.000ds killed, 50.000 civilians dead and 15 million refugees. A re-conquering of the Donbass and the Crimea is not possible without NATO and without risking a nuclear Third World War, Vad emphasized. „Russia is the strongest nuclear power of the world, a power in decline that must be managed.”
Interesting was also an interview with the Kremlin expert and author of several excellent books about Russia, German Prof. Dr. Gabriele Krone -Schmalz( Former ARD TV representative in Moscow) who in a public discussion with the chief editor of the Rhein-Neckar Zeitung in Heidelberg in mid-December, stressed that despite being confronted with a unjustifiable war of aggression, “we above all need to return to dialogue and peace,” maybe modelled on the negotiations that were broken off in March between Ukraine and Russia. She was puzzled by the way in which the war unfolded and underlined that „it is not in the interest of Russia to continue this war.” According to the expert the key to a future solution would be in the hands of the US (and Europe).
Strong warning by Secretary of the Russian Security Council
In an interview with the Russian paper Argumenti y Facty (10th of January 2023) the Russian secretary of the Russian Security Council, Nikolay Patrushev launched a very harsh attack and strong warning against the “Western elites and politicians.” He was using in part Russian propagandistic „Topoi“ from the height of the Cold War, which underlines how serious the overall situation is.
Patrushev characterized Western politicians- without specifying his reproach- as people who rather than changing life in their states for the better, are not truly „independent figures.“ “Everyone has ties with big business, lobbyists, and foundations.” He added that „it is obvious that the real power in the West is in the hands of resourceful clans and transnational corporations.”
In order to illustrate what he means by the true power of „Transnational Corporations“, Patrushev underlined that the combination of „big business“ and “military – industrial complex” is the real power that dominates the world: „The total revenue of the 500 largest companies in the world, according to unofficial data from 2021, reached almost $38 trillion in 2021. The bulk of the multinationals and big corporations are headquartered in the USA. Their revenues brought in about $16 trillion dollar with a net profit of $ 1,8 trillion.“ He further emphasized that „the capital of a number of multinational companies exceed the GDP of most economies in the world and the funds created by them to further enrich themselves, claim to be a supranational mechanism for the management of humanity.“ He particularly focused his attack on the US. „The aggressive Foreign Policy of the White House, the unbridled aggressiveness of NATO, the emergence of the military bloc AUCUS (Australia, Canada, US and the nuclear submarine deal E.H.) and others are also a consequence of the corporate influence. The draft American budget for 2023 is the best proof for plans of Washington, to unleash new wars to the detriment of its own citizens. Of the total planned expenditures of 1,7 trillion dollars of the federal government, half- more than 850 billion dollars, is allocated for defense. Only for the continuation of the hostilities in Ukraine and the prolongation of the conflict $45 billion dollars will be allocated.“
Patrushev contrasted this with the gigantic debt burden which the US has, pointing out that „the US itself and their minions are irrevocably sliding into a debt hole. The Americans have a national debt of more than 31 trillion dollars. England’s debt -2,4trillion Pounds – was the highest since World War II and exceeded 101% of the gross domestic product. Japan with a public debt of almost ten trillion dollars set a world record to the debt -to GDP- ratio of more than 2.6 times.“ Yet he also emphasized that the countries that consider themselves „masters of the world” are not going to pay back these debts.
In a fundamentally changing world, the goal of global corporations is to maintain a system of global exploitation. At its head is an elite of businessmen who do not associate themselves with any state. Under it, there are the so- called developed countries of the world, as well as the „golden billion“. And then there is the rest of humanity, contemptuously referred to as the „third world“, Patruchev said.
Fragmenting Russia into pieces?
Patruchev is very adamant when he speaks about Russia, whose size, resources and vast territory-and its people make the West nervous. It „remains in the plans of the Westerners to continue to tear Russia apart, and eventually simply wipe it off the political map of the world. Today they continue to shout loudly that Russia must not remain united, it must be driven into the framework of Muskovy in the XV century. To do this, they do not hesitate to do anything, including inventing a completely false history of our country, shifting its responsibility for the oppression of other peoples to it, something that Russia has never done.“
According to him the „events in Ukraine are not a clash between Moscow and Kiev, but a military confrontation between NATO, and above all the United States and Britain, and Russia.”
He added that „we are not at war with Ukraine, since by definition we cannot hate ordinary Ukrainians – Ukrainian traditions are close to residents of Russia , just as the heritage of the Russian people is inseparable from Ukrainian culture…“ Yet he mentioned that at the same time Americans, the British and other Europeans often create the illusion that they are protecting civilization from barbarism.
Patrushev presented as future Russian strategy a Russia that will return to a policy of sovereignty and nationalism based on the pillars of economic sovereignty, education, scientific innovation and culture. “Our country is on its way to creating a strong, modern, independent economy, in order to achieve economic sovereignty. Russia has all the resources for this. We need a culture of using them, a careful and masterful attitude to our treasures, not only natural, but also intangible. Russian business must be nationally oriented. Private capital, just like the government, should think about the long term development of the country. Financial independence is important to Russia, as well as technological sovereignty. We have enough Lomonossovs and Kulibins of our own. The problem is to notice them in time. It is necessary not just to develop science and education, but to revive the real cult of a scientist, engineer and hard worker. The young generation should be inspired by the ideas of creative work for the benefit of our homeland, rather than sitting in the offices of Western corporation.”