Michael Kuhn – Arguing about theories and political opinions

How to not argue against war – Comments about a declaration of leftist intellectuals concerning the Ukraine conflict

(The declaration is copied below in English)

To the signatories of the declaration 

I read your statement – and find it disastrous. Why? I wonder how many more wars leftists need to realise that such constructive interference in the strategic considerations of imperialist states on how to wage their enmities and define their real enemies, that this is alternative war propaganda with the invention of alternative world power agendas.  This kind of interference in the debates with the question of who should and should not wage war against whom is a view that wants to prevent war with enemy A (Russia) in order to redirect it to the real enemy (the USA), such considerations inevitably end up in alternative war propaganda. Don’t you actually realise that? 

The fact that this declaration, with its interference in the strategic considerations of imperialist powers, ends up in the discussion of alternative enmities, namely that between the would-be world power No. 1, Europe, and the real one, the USA, is not to say that people who fabricate such a statement are arguing for a different war. But you are already creating other enemy images in the direction of the USA presenting other world powers competing with the USA in the world of state powers, such as Europe, as  victims of the world power No 1 , and with this alternative enemy image of the USA, also an image of Europe is created, one’s hair stands on end with so much blindness for what Europe is. 

You also know very well that this European project has been and is being built up as an ambitious world power against the world power monopole of the USA and, of course, and against Russia, started after the end of World War II with alliance of the old inner European enemies France and the Germans, relativating their hostilities among them in order to still play thanks to this alliance of two small nations a role in world politics in the new world order under the so far accepted reign of the new sole world power, the USA, and that it is this united Europe that now wants to withdraw a bit from this reign of the USA in order to pursue its own world power agendas without and even a bit against the USA. These world political ambitions of the EU, and within it those of the top European Powers, Germany and France, as a result of your branding of the USA as the world villain, you portray this cute innocent Europe as if it were being dragged by the USA into world political hostilities against its will. And that is a portrayal of Europe with which you present the ambitious party in the West after the US in this conflict,  a party which is in fact a war-monger, you present this as a poor victim of the USA. And this is really an imperialistic propaganda in your statement, because it does not only play down Europe’s contribution to today’s war situation, but indeed becomes war propaganda itself by presenting this war party, which the Europeans in this Ukraine case are, as hired victims of your preferred enemy, the USA. Sorry, are you completely crazy? 

And as if that was not enough, you call for a “return to the cornerstones of Willy Brandt’s peace policy”. Apart from the EU, you also think you have to present Germany, the country that is pushing together with France the EU towards, as they call it, more responsibilities in world politics  and Germany’s  “Ostpolitik”, which is and was the contribution of a leading NATO member Germany (hello, did you forget, Germany your victim of the US is a member of the NATO?) to the “steady advance of NATO towards the Russian border” – you present this Germany as a state also hired by the USA – an “Ostpolitik” of Germany which this innocent German nation, as you certainly remember, pushed through together with the USA against the will of its EU partner France. 

After you have thus made the EU and Germany to victims of the USA, do you really want to stop your readers from crying out for war in the German media against Russia by redirecting this crying out for war in the direction of the USA freeing this poor cute Europe from its role as a USA victim? Sorry, do you not even notice that you are not arguing against any war, who ever the political parties are all burning their citizens for their rivalries about the world power. I personally at least want zero war, neither with Russia nor with anyone else. 

Have you ever noticed that you are so much caught up in world power politics in your declaration, where it goes up and down about who puts which weapons where when, which states have which treaties, break them, who the true and false enemies are, which countries you need as auxiliaries for your alterative world power fantasies, which countries you would like to put down with your alternative great power Germany with Europe behind it, etc., etc., have you ever noticed that your paper does not argue with a single word, really not with a single word, about what war means for the people, no matter in which country? 

Such things simply do not occur to you. And that is no coincidence at all.  It doesn’t irritate you in the least that at the end of your text, with sentences like “On these bases, it is indeed necessary to take on more responsibility for peace and security”, you seriously think to be heard by your political masters you have to accommodate your critical views to the very official position of Germany’s and the EU’s world power ambitions in participating in the world of wars and give your reasons for this, which world power goals would really justify Germany’s military interference in world politics. And then don’t even notice that it is precisely this formula of “responsibility for peace and security” that the EU as a whole and Germany use to present their further advance to become a major player in world politics as a peaceful mission. And that then your statement only  differs from the one of a Germans top military who reminds Germany that it is wiser to come to terms with Russia so that Germany can concentrate all its forces on the enmity with China, only in the choice of the real enemy of peace-loving Europe, even this coincidence with the considerations of a German military leader about the question who the real enemy of Germany is, even this does not really  make you think about what kind of arguments you are spreading there “in the sense of preserving peace and peaceful coexistence”. And also this, decorating your alterative war propaganda with such notions like “Peace and peaceful coexistence”: That’s why you don’t even notice that exactly these phrases about preserving peace are the very phrases used by Mr Biden, Mr Putin and Mr Xi, Mr Scholz and Mr Macron and all the other war-preventers in a world full of wars to justify their preparations for war – and their wars.


For a German Security Policy in the Service of Peace (translated by deepl)

In on 14 January, the letter of a number of “experts” on Eastern Europe and security policy was published with the demand that Germany should pursue a more aggressive policy towards Russia that clearly goes beyond the previous EU economic sanctions. The signatories call for an ice age, a new Cold War, economic blackmail, a strength-oriented confrontational policy by Germany towards Russia, the fuelling of the Ukraine conflict and the continued expansion of NATO right up to Russia’s borders. Diplomatic means to peacefully resolve conflicts and build mutual trust are denounced as “merely verbal or symbolic reactions by Berlin” that “only tempt the Kremlin to further escapades”. 

Since that letter is based partly on false statements, partly on half-truths and abbreviated interpretations of facts, it is appropriate to respond to it in the sense of preserving peace and peaceful coexistence.

Negation of Russia’s security interests

That the Russian basic position that the assurance of non-expansion of NATO to the east was part of the overall agreements to end the Cold War in 1990 is based on facts can still be seen on the internet ( or in a recent study from the Department of Political Science at the University of California, Los Angeles (    

After the “Charter of Paris” (1990), a pan-European peace and security order including Russia did not come into being, because the USA already took a different path under the Bush Senior Administration (1989-1993) and subsequently with the allegiance of the West or NATO. The security situation after the end of the Cold War has deteriorated. This is due, firstly, to the military imbalances, secondly, to NATO’s steady advance towards the Russian border and, thirdly, to the denunciation of international security agreements.

The facts on military imbalances speak for themselves. According to the figures of the Stockholm Peace Research Institute SIPRI, global arms expenditure amounted to 1,830 billion US dollars in 2020. The US led the way with $738 billion (that’s 40 per cent of global arms spending); it is almost four times higher than China’s ($193.3 billion) and 12 times higher than Russia’s ($60.6 billion). If one adds to NATO’s military spending that of important allies such as Australia, Japan and South Korea, “the West” accounts for two-thirds of global military spending. Among the European NATO states, the United Kingdom was in the lead with 61.5 billion US dollars, followed by France with 55 billion US dollars and Germany with 51.3 billion US dollars. Thus, these three states together also spend almost three times as much on the military as Russia.

In terms of strategic nuclear weapons, in 2020 there were 13,400 warheads in the world (also according to SIPRI), including Russia 6,375 and the US 5,800. In addition, China has 320 nuclear weapon systems, France 290, the UK 215. The five, according to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, “official” nuclear powers issued a Joint Declaration on 3 January 2022, according to which they consider the avoidance of nuclear war to be their most important task, in the wording: “We reaffirm that nuclear war cannot be won and must never be waged.” In this respect, it is dishonest to speculate now about Russian nuclear weapons without talking about those of NATO.

In the conventional field, the picture is as follows: active military personnel (in millions): NATO 3.2, including US 1.8, Russia 0.9; aircraft carriers: NATO 16, including US 11, Russia 1; combat aircraft and ground combat aircraft: NATO 5,043, including US 3. 002, Russia 711; air surveillance aircraft: NATO 134, including USA 111, Russia 18; attack helicopters: NATO 1,290, including USA 862, Russia 414; battle tanks: NATO 9,042, including USA 2,509, Russia 3,300; artillery: NATO 26,271, including USA 6,941, Russia 5,754. So who would have more reason to fear for its security, Russia or the West?

NATO’s advance included the war against Serbia, which violated international law, the separation of Kosovo, NATO’s eastward enlargements and the refusal of NATO countries to ratify the modified CFE Treaty (on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe). Even after Vladimir Putin’s admonishing speech at the Munich Security Conference in 2007, there was no compliance: in 2008, it was decided that Ukraine and Georgia would join NATO; Georgia felt encouraged to go to war in 2008. The ABM Treaty (on the Limitation of Strategic Missile Defence Systems) was unilaterally terminated by the USA in 2002; missile defence systems capable of offensive operations were set up in Eastern Europe; the INF Treaty (on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces, 1987) was terminated by the USA; likewise, the “Open Sky” Treaty was terminated by the USA. Only with the pro-Western coup d’état in Kiev in 2014, which was massively supported by the USA and some of its allies, did Russia finally feel compelled to abandon its restraint. The real facts had objectively led to a new threat situation for Russia and destroyed previously existing mutual trust.

Gernot Erler (SPD), then Coordinator for Cooperation with Russia, Central Asia and the Eastern Partnership Countries at the Federal Foreign Office, emphasised as early as 2017 that the crisis “at first glance originated from the Ukraine conflict, and there is often talk of the violation of the European peace order, i.e. the agreed rules and principles of Helsinki and Paris”. The question, however, is “why is no political solution found? The crisis obviously has roots that go deeper. More and more it is becoming apparent that the conflict is not the cause but the product of a process of loss of trust and alienation that has been going on for some time.”


The escalation of the conflicts between NATO and Russia, currently centred on the Ukraine conflict, can only be resolved by strengthening security guarantees for all states involved and building trust between NATO and its partners, Ukraine and Russia, as well as all other European states. In this context, both international formats for talks and treaties and intergovernmental confidence-building measures must be reactivated or re-established. Germany can play an important role in this situation, given its geographical location and politico-military position within the EU and NATO. It must choose between being a conflict amplifier on the one hand and a conflict relaxer on the other.

Calls for Germany to align its foreign policy more strongly against Russia are aimed at further subordinating it to US policy. The “West/Europe-Russia conflict” has always been a US-Russia conflict. After 1945, European security structures were primarily the result of a security policy balance of power between the Soviet Union and the USA. This balance no longer existed with the dissolution of the USSR and the Warsaw Treaty. Contrary to Soviet and then Russian expectations, however, the USA continued its old policy of containment, left its armed forces and nuclear weapons in Europe/Germany, consolidated the system of limited sovereignty in Western Europe, integrated a number of Eastern European states into its pre-state organisation and used this increase to the point of transferring armed forces to the Russian borders. The build-up of bases in the Baltic States, Poland, Georgia, Ukraine and soon Slovakia underlines this. In this respect, the conflict between NATO/Western Europe/Ukraine and Russia is not a separate conflict from the Russian point of view, but at its core the conflict with the USA. Russia is preparing to resolve this conflict. This can only be done by the USA withdrawing from Russia’s borders (or by stationing missiles on Washington’s doorstep). The USA (President Biden and Secretary of State Blinken) seem to have understood this, otherwise they would not have reopened various negotiation formats that Russia did not close. Direct negotiations between Russia and the USA remain the key to solving the problems.

Egon Bahr already pleaded in the 1990s for an appropriate sense of proportion in relations with Russia after German unification:  Europe as a whole was larger than the European Union could ever become, so stability for this large Europe “demands the inclusion of Russia and the republics that were formerly parts of the Soviet Union, insofar as they want this. It is not without or against Russia, not without or against America that pan-European stability can be achieved.” In this context, Bahr referred to a fundamental difference in the interests of Germany and the USA: “Perhaps in America one may believe to gain advantages from the continued internal and external weakening of Russia, as long as only chaos is avoided and the nuclear factor remains controllable.” For Germany and the EU, on the other hand, “a Russia that consolidates itself is preferable”. Western confrontation policy against Russia is thus more in the interest of the USA and the desire to keep Western Europe under US control than in the German and European interest.   

We therefore demand that the new German government return to the cornerstones of the peace policy of Willy Brandt and Egon Bahr. Security for Germany and the EU is only possible together with Russia. This requires equality and equal rights, as laid down in international law in the United Nations Charter, the Helsinki Final Act, the Charter of Paris and the NATO-Russia Founding Act. On these foundations, it is indeed necessary to assume more responsibility for peace and security.






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