Michael Kuhn – Arguing about theories and political opinions

Why peace and war are variations of the same state rational – What war is and what to do and what not

(This blog is the topic of the next “Polit Talk” on 5. June, 11 am CET, see also “Polit Talk” on this site)

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1. Dangerous stupidities 

It is true: if a state attacks another state in a war, of which you are a citizen, you become an enemy object of the attacking state. So, as in Ukraine, every Ukrainian becomes an enemy object of the attacking state Russia and every Russian becomes an enemy of Ukraine. In war, pure political racism reigns.

Nevertheless, it is a stupidity, in reverse, to embrace this political racism and join the war of one’s own state against the attacking state. Why is that? Strictly speaking, even if it sounds harsh, this is not stupidity because one risks one’s life with this decision and one’s joining one’s own state’s war. Against this justification of not following one’s state into a war, one can rightly object that this does not protect one from the warlike violence of the other state at all. That is so, states that are at war with other states make no distinction at all between citizens of the other state they are fighting, and direct their violence only against the citizens of the other state who join their own state’s war. As I said political racism pure and simple, not only ideological, but practiced.  It is in fact the case that the decision not to join one’s own state’s hostility toward another does not exempt one from the hostility of the other state at all, that is, the danger of being killed in a war by another state. The reverse conclusion, that one therefore in the interest to protect oneself from the dangers of a war for life and limb by the war of another state against one’s own state, by joining the war of one’s own state, is already for this reason nevertheless a stupidity, because it is simply also not true that one thereby protects one’s life. As one sees, strictly speaking, one must have already done something wrong before, if one does not want to get into such troubles by a war. To this later.

In fact, it is exactly this obvious lie with which states want to persuade their citizens to enter their wars with other states, their answer to the war of another state with the entry of their own state into this war is to protect the citizens of this state from the violence of the other state. The dissemination of creepy pictures of citizens of one’s own state killed by the other state in war is meant to prove this silly conclusion that one should follow one’s own state into its war because doing so would protect one from the other state’s attacks. Then, as these pictures prove, this has not only gone wrong in these cases. The proof itself is so insane to protect oneself from the dangers of a war for life and limb by joining a war on the side of one’s own state; nevertheless, states at war use this insane proof to suggest to their citizens in their fear the stupid fallacy that they could protect themselves from such the dangers of war by joining their state’s war. 

And such fallacies do indeed exist not only in exceptional cases. In fact, not a few citizens, especially in war, out of fear of the warlike activities of the enemy state, which in fact does not sort its warlike activities according to whether citizens of another state follow the war of their own state or not, make the stupidity and believe that it protects them from the war of the other state if they oppose it with the war of their own state. And it is this stupidity, the advocacy of the war of one’s own state, that protects the citizens of this state from the warlike activities of the other state, on which the whole war propaganda is based: with the reference to the extensively illustrated warlike victims, which the other state actually produces continuously with its war – it is war, after all – the citizens are agitated to throw themselves into the slaughter for their own state, because this protects them from the slaughter.  States themselves, however, know very well that such stupid conclusions that one can protect one’s life from the warlike actions of another state by joining the war of one’s own state are nothing but stupid conclusions. States that wage wars, whether on the side of the attacking state or on the side of the state defending itself, know very well that in their wars their citizens risk their lives; after all, the citizens on both sides of the war are the ones who execute the warlike violence on behalf of the politicians of their states, and war consists of nothing other than destroying the means of violence of the other state, i.e. its citizens. Because in spite of all technical refinements of the weapons, it remains on both sides the citizens, who bring these weapons to the use, whom both sides kill therefore in a war, in order to win a war. 

Because this is so, that wars do not protect state citizens, as they want to make believe with their war propaganda, states also do not rely on the false conclusion that a state protects its citizens in a war against the dangers for the citizens by the enemy state and make their wars dependent on these or similar considerations of their citizens, but force with their monopoly of force their citizens as soldiers to fight their wars. What should also be for any citizen on whatever side of warring states reasonable reasons for activities where nothing is left of those who put them into action. How can there be good reasons for goals whose pursuit costs those who put the pursuit of those goals into action their lives by pursuing those goals? States know about the folly of these goals from the point of view of the citizens of the state and therefore force them by their force to execute such goals on behalf of states – and use all kinds of lavish activities for their war propaganda to produce the will to war of their citizens besides their lavish activities for the production of their technical military war capability, so that they adopt the state war goals because this will to war remains their decisive weapon.

And what then are such goals of a war that citizens are supposed to make their own, but because they cost their lives, are forced to carry out these goals through wars by their states? Goals that citizens pursue cannot be that, if the pursuit of these goals consists in giving away one’s existence. For what, actually? What are wars actually about?  For challenging the sovereignty of states over land and people, that is, for challenging the existence of states. For the questioning of the existence of states, the citizens of states are forced to use their existence. And what justifies for states, whose whole concerns are supposed to always apply to the life and the interests of the citizens, what justifies the giving up of the existence of the citizens for the existence of states, if their mission supposedly consist in standing up for the life of the citizens?

Something is very fundamentally wrong here, if saving the existence of states, whose mission supposedly is to take care of the existence of citizens, for the preservation of their existence sacrifice the existence of citizens, whose existence care to serve the existence of states. 

Instead of getting involved in a war, which cannot be about interests of citizens already because wars use the death of citizens as a means of their successful execution, instead of getting involved in a war with wrong conclusions on the side of one’s own state, it is better to ask oneself what a war is actually about, if it is certainly not about one thing, the protection of citizens or even the interests of citizens.

On top of that: It is indeed the case, as already stated above, that even those who do not engage in this stupid fallacy that advocating one’s own state’s war against another protects one from the belligerent activities of the hostile other state, and who, by refusing to enter the war, would be protected from the hostile activities. States, as is well known, basically never, and certainly not in war, make distinctions between the citizens of the state being warred against. For them citizens are no matter what these think, in the war human resources for the war of the other state and the persuasion method to use the need of the people to convince them that their servitude for others is the best for themselves, this tour, a sort of argumentation, which is called elsewhere also blackmail, is anyway this basic principle of state art of persuasion, the blackmail with the need created by it, and this not only in the war.   So again: If you don’t want war, you’d better ask yourself what a war is actually about, so that you know what you can do to prevent it from happening in the first place and so that you get dragged into wars either way, no matter what you want. And in fact, from the treatment of the citizens of the other state as a resource of power of the other state, one can already learn everything important about what wars are, what they are about and what role citizens play in them – thus also about what one can do so that one does not get into the situation in the first place that, no matter what one thinks about a war, one is nevertheless drawn into a war merely thanks to one’s citizenship. Even if it is too late in this case – at least for the citizens of the states involved in the war – when the war is there, knowing this can at least save you from other bigger stupidities.    

2. What are wars actually and what are they about?

Even if everybody knows what wars are thanks to 200 years of experience with all the wars among capitalist states around the globe and after 200 years of such wars one seems to have got used to the fact that wars simply belong to these capitalist societies and their world of states and somehow, also thanks to the crazy enlightenment of science, one considers them to be the most natural thing of human thing, one should though realize in the 21st century what wars are. In the 21st century one should realize what the highly honored political leaders of the states of this world do with states, that universally praised historical achievement of civilization, when they, thanks to their monopoly on decision-making and power over their national societies and thanks to the leading position of their states in the world of states, wreak havoc with the life of mankind when they decide to wage war. 

What is this kind of dispute and what is it about in these conflicts between states, when states fight wars? First, what are these warlike conflicts about? Do the disputing states have conflicting ideas about such existentially important issues as how best to provide food to the members of those communities, or how states coordinate this among themselves? Do they argue about what products their societies should and should not produce? Are they arguing about who gets what from it? Do they argue about which natural resources their economies should use to produce which products? Do they argue about how to distribute the manufactured products between their societies? Can they not agree on how to make the trash-ridden globe livable again? Do they have conflicts about how the members of their societies make political decisions?  Nothing like that, one could actually argue about it and indeed, one should not deceive oneself, such kinds of disputes are not always to be decided with the agreement of all, thanks to their rational subject, but one thing is also sure: such conflicts about such questions are certainly not decided with war. War is not about such questions at all. What do states argue about in war? 

Wars are not disputes about any issues that affect the lives of citizens. Wars are conflicts between states, and the object of conflict is what states are in essence, what they are by nature, that is, their sovereignty over land and people within the boarders of their sovereignty, that is, within the boarders of their monopoly on the use of power. In war, states argue about, not whether there should be, states; the extinction of a state by war merely replaces it with another state; in wars, states are the subject of this sort of violence and what states are elementally, their sovereign power over a piece of land and, above all, the people who live there. Wars decide which state has the monopoly of power over land and people in a national territory, which has the – tautologically speaking – exclusive monopoly of power over that part of the earth. And this question, who has the monopoly of power, can really only be decided by which state has the more powerful force, i.e. has the force over the force of the other, i.e. disempowers its force. That to decide which state can eliminate the other’s means of power with its means of power and thus make itself the monopolist of power, that is war. And it is this decision-making, who has the most powerful means of power, which takes away the power of the other side, it is this kind of decision-making, which – how should it be otherwise, if it is fought over the monopoly of power – is carried out as this orgy of violence and destruction. Democratic states are also purely violent apparatuses. If such states use their monopoly on the use of force to enforce their political programmes already within the societies they govern, how else but by using all the means of force at their disposal, should they then enforce their political programmes vis-à-vis other states, a fortiori when it comes to the question of which state power rules over the land and people in a national territory, than with the means of force specifically developed for such cases, their military.

Wars are a very archaic seeming mad act of destruction, in which mercilessly all wealth is destroyed, which is nevertheless fought out in such a way only by political monopolists of power of the modern citizen societies, in which these machines of violence and the citizens in uniform who serve them measure themselves in it, who possesses the better machinery of destruction and who succeeds in destroying the machinery of violence, above all by killing the operating personnel of the other side, i.e. above all by killing the soldiered citizens of the other side. How much in these wars fought between the states of citizen societies about the monopoly of power not only the soldiered citizens are object of the warlike violence and this not only as side effect, is evident from acts of war which are war-decisive by bombing away the basis of rule of an enemy state. The Second World War provides ample examples of how states decide wars for themselves by destroying the decisive power base of the states of citizen societies with the bombing of the citizens.  Nuclear bombs are the most appropriate weapon for the destruction of citizens as the elementary arsenal of the state power of citizen societies. However, not only the weapons used in their wars and their goals reveal the war subjects as capitalist states with their subservient citizen societies as the lifeblood of these states, those monopolists of power over these citizen societies who dispute their monopoly of power, but also reveal the political program that these states enforce with these wars.

In the war in Ukraine, states that are world powers over the world of states, the U.S. with all its states allied in NATO on the one hand and Russia on the other, which is using the war to stake a claim to be respected as a world power by the former, are measuring their power as world powers in this war, i.e. states that govern the world of states and their national citizen societies.

What states mobilize in terms of technical knowledge, with which they create means of power, with which the means of power of other states can be destroyed, already says a lot about what monopolists of power consider significant and impose on the citizens as their business: Nothing is more valuable to them than their monopoly of power, because that is what they are, for which they invest vast sums of economic resources in technical knowledge and weapons, and destroy on the other side, with which they procure means of force suitable to enforce their monopoly of power over land and people against other monopolists of power, when these dispute each other’s monopoly of power. 

And this already says everything important about the political program for which the monopolists of power dispute their monopoly of power, first and foremost those states which thereby assert their worldwide power over the world of states and over their international relations. The world of citizen societies and their states, constructed by these states as the use of their state peoples for their mutual enmity in the struggle for their share of a wealth, in which the winner is the one who succeeds most successfully in forcing the production of this wealth from the citizens of this earth at the expense of their consumption, i.e. by means of their poverty, and accumulating it with the rich of this world, this is the political program for which states, with their monopoly on the use of power, enlist the citizens of the world and for which the citizen societies of all states fight each other over it economically, politically and militarily, in order to decide who can dictate to the world of states how they may participate in this permanent war for the conquest and appropriation of this kind of wealth.  Such questions, which are about which state has which power over the power of other states, such questions can be solved at all only with this kind of warlike violence, that is with this warlike measuring of the power between the states and in such conflicts between states, which command the world of states, and this, the destruction of land and people of other states, is the opposite of an archaic insanity, but the political purposefully used destruction of the means of power of states, which do not submit to the commanding states thanks to their means of power or which, as in the case of Russia, want to conquer a global commanding power in the world of states. In these wars for their state, therefore, the death of citizens for their state is not a contradiction to the service to the citizen claimed by these states, but for states a fulfillment of their citizenship revered as a heroic act. 

3. What can be done?

In war, therefore, states expose quite unmistakably what they are really about, and that in war and not only there, but in general. First and foremost, in their wars and the agitation of citizens that accompanies them, states refute their life lie that states of citizen societies are a political institution that exists for nothing but the citizens. That this is exactly the other way round, that the people of the state are there for the state, can be seen not only in the cynicism with which a state in war asserts to them the worries for their sheer survival, which no one else but the state itself imposes on them with a war, these worries of the citizens to survive, of all things presented as the goal of its war against another state, and that in war, in which it burns up the existence of its citizens for the protection of the state’s existence against other states and celebrates their death as heroism. But this, that it is the people of the state that is the servant of the state and not the other way around as states and their assembled claqueurs claim, this cannot be only concluded from this cynicism with which the political class, the functionaries of states, equate the existence of the political violence of citizen societies with the existence of citizens in war, as if a war were not the defense of a state’s monopoly of power over land and people against another state’s seizure of the object of its rule, but as if citizens and their political rule were the same thing, precisely as if citizens lost their existence when the political rule of one state was taken over by another thanks to a won war. Certainly, for the political class of a state, in fact, with the existence of a monopoly of power that they execute, their existence is at stake, although this political class is in this respect very flexible. The German Nazi politicians of Germany, defeated by the USA, have become from one day to the next helpful politicians of the USA in the new war project of the USA against the Soviet Union, allied with the USA in the just ended war against Germany.  There is already some flexibility there among these political elites. And the citizens? What will change in the war if Ukraine obeys Russian or American politicians, whether the wealth produced there by Ukrainian citizens will enrich oligarchs or capitalists and whether this wealth will be counted in rubles or in dollars. From the point of view of citizens, it all remains the same in principle.  What is exchanged in wars, especially in times of a world consisting of basically the same states, is the assignment of citizens to a state, their nationality. From a citizens point of view, that’s basically all. Otherwise, not too much changes there, in any case, the end of the existence of a nation state is not the end of the existence of the citizens, if the political rule is taken over by another state thanks to a war. Then citizens do pretty much what they always do, they go to work, send their kids to school and pay their taxes. That’s about it, if you add that in their quadrennial civic exercise they get to choose which politicians run the state affairs; true, they have different names. In any case, the claim by belligerent states that the questioning of the existence of a state in a war against a state is questioning the existence of its citizens is a rather transparent lie with which they want to persuade their citizens to give up their existence in defense of the existence of their political power and the political elites that execute this power. Because without the commitment of the soldiered citizens not only no rifle shoots a single bullet at the citizens of another state, a war without the commitment of the citizens does not go with the most fantastic weapons. Without citizens, nothing works in the states of these citizen societies.

But not only in the war this is so, more importantly is, that the structure and building of national power up to the measuring of the power of states in wars among states is also only the result of the labor of the citizens of states under the guidance of the state’s national political functionaries. The measuring of power, which states use in wars against each other for their power over each other and which, thanks to the availability of enough means of power, making them capable of this measuring of power in the first place,  is the use of the citizens of states which provides states with the means of power for this measuring of state power. States draw these means of power from the quite everyday use of their citizens, with which they earn their money and with which they and nobody else work out the wealth from which states skim off their share for their means of power. That at all only for this reason citizens are allowed  to care about their everyday existence only as their delivery of their work for the increase of the wealth of those who have it plentifully, and that it the states which make this sort of the simple existence safety device of citizens by work dependent on the increase of the wealth of those who have it, that it is for this reason that it is nobody else but the citizens who compile all this wealth from which states skim their share for their political activities including for their military means of power, this is another story. It remains to be stated here that it is the people of the state which, via this economic mechanism of the normal acquisition of money by citizens for their livelihood and the wealth thus generated, from which states draw their means of power, with this mechanism states already use their people of the state in peacetime for their power struggles with other states, and not, as they would like to make believe, vice versa. It is these means of power, which the citizens create with their work for their states, that first put them in a position not only to be able to raise power questions of all kinds for other states not only in wars, i.e. to interfere in the affairs of the sovereignty of other states, interferences of all kinds. From quarrels over market shares, to their conquest for economic sanctions towards war, the steps are not that far. And  for these  battles among states not only in wars it is also the citizens who pay the price for all the battles before any war with the degradation of their living conditions, which they then pay in the war with their complete existence for the defense of the existence of the state, which imposes this state-regulated and on the service at its power interests aligned way of life upon them. 

From this it becomes actually also clear enough what happens in the times, for which only people long, who do not want to understand at all, that it is these peace times, in which everything is built up for the war ability of states by the same people, who are then burned up in the wars for their states. And with this it becomes actually also clear what the only thing is, one can do, in order to keep wars from the neck, including the then due imposition to put its life in the all time due wars in the all time due wars for those, which instigate these wars and for this already in times of peace are completely sure that their political mission cannot get along without a sumptuous equipment with military means of force in the long run.






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