By Global Times
The German government recently published a complete list of weapons system and other military support delivered to Ukraine, despite calls within the country for more diplomatic efforts instead of arms deliveries to end the ongoing crisis. One of them is from Sevim Dagdelen (Dagdelen), a German politician and a member of the Left Party. In an interview with Global Times (GT) reporter Wang Wenwen, she said that sending increasingly heavy weapons to Ukraine heightens the risks of the conflict spilling over into World War III and that it is German people that are suffering. She also shed light on what a security architecture Europe should pursue, as well as China-Europe relations.
GT: In June, Germany approved armaments worth 350 million euros ($353 million) to Ukraine. But you called for more diplomatic efforts instead of arms deliveries. What impact do anti-war voices like yours have? What kind of diplomatic efforts are you calling for?
Dagdelen: Germany, like many other Western countries, has supplied heavy weapons to Ukraine on a grand scale. And alongside my party Die Linke, I have spoken out against arms deliveries from the very start, because we think they will prolong the war and loss of life in Ukraine.
The deliveries of increasingly heavy weapons to Ukraine in ever greater numbers, as well as the training of Ukrainian service personnel, heighten the risk of the war spilling over into World War III. That concern is shared by two-thirds of the German population. So, we are not isolated at all in this question.
Wars are fought with weapons, but ended by negotiations. Led by the US and UK, the West is putting its faith in a proxy war and a war of attrition. The aim is to weaken Russia for the long term and to achieve that, the West is willing to accept tens of thousands of deaths and limitless suffering, as well as the destruction of Ukraine.
The extension of the economic war means we are actually pursuing economic suicide at the moment, committed by the German government through the sanctions against Russia. We need serious diplomatic efforts in pursuit of a negotiated solution, as was already within sight at the negotiations in Istanbul in end of March. And the longer the war lasts, the more terrible will be its effects, not only on the people in Ukraine, but on people around the world, as the current food crisis demonstrates.
GT: As the Ukraine crisis drags on, German citizens have to brace themselves for dramatically rising costs of gas. How do you see the fact that the interests of ordinary people are jeopardized by those behind the Ukraine crisis?
Dagdelen: The economic war with Russia is jeopardizing Germany’s entire prosperity model. The Western sanctions have not ended the war. Instead, they are acting like a boomerang. They are hitting us, the people and industry in Germany. After all, Russia’s revenue from energy exports, despite falling sales and volumes, is higher than a year ago, thanks to the sanctions having driven up the prices. So, the price of these nonsensical sanctions is being paid by the general public who are suffering high inflation and exploding energy and food costs, while the oil corporations and arms companies are making profits.
Should gas deliveries from Russia cease, we will face a disaster in Germany such as we have not known since the global economic crisis during the Weimar Republic.
It has been calculated that in the event of stopping Russian gas deliveries, Germany’s economic output would plummet by more than 12 percent in the subsequent six months. And more than 5.6 million jobs would be at risk. So, the German government must immediately end the suicidal economic war for the good of the people of Germany.
GT: NATO’s supposed goal is to safeguard peace and security in Europe. But judging from the Ukraine crisis and what happened in Afghanistan and other countries, do you think NATO is bringing peace or uncertainty to Europe and the world?
Dagdelen: The planned enlargement of NATO to accept Finland and Sweden demonstrates, once again, that this is a vast military pact of an expansionist nature, and all the promises that the West made to Russia were nothing but lies. Although nothing can justify Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine, NATO bears some of the responsibility for the development of the conflict. So even Pope Francis found that “NATO’s barking at Russia’s gate” had played a role.
So NATO’s US-led wars around the world, from the attack on Yugoslavia in 1999, 20 years in Afghanistan with more than 200,000 killed Afghans and several war crimes and the destruction of Libya, show that NATO is not a defensive alliance, but the world’s largest war machine. And NATO countries pursue economic and geopolitical interests without consideration. That’s why we need a security architecture in Europe for the security and certainty of the people in Europe, which includes the European countries. We cannot change the geography. Russia is part of Europe and we have to deal with it.
The other thing is the enlargement of NATO and its strategic concept now. NATO is called the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Now, in its strategic concept, NATO takes into focus the Indo-Pacific region. The Indian Ocean or the Pacific Ocean is far away from the north Atlantic.
GT: What is the biggest hindrance to the EU’s objective of achieving strategic autonomy right now?
Dagdelen: The European Union has existential interests in not letting itself be drawn into the conflict between the great nuclear powers like the US, Russia and China. This will require an autonomous foreign and security policy, independent from Washington. And the principal goal must be to ensure that our continent does not become a nuclear battlefield. And most urgently, the states of Europe need to push for a swift end to the conflict in Ukraine, and at all costs prevent the conflict from spreading.
The interests of Europe and European countries and the interests of the US fundamentally diverge on this point. Because as the latter is prepared to fight to the last Ukrainian standing for the sake of a Russian military defeat – that’s the position of the US, the European Union must not submit to its interest and strategy. The enhanced autonomy must not lead to the increased militarization of the European Union member states. On the contrary, the European Union should become a peaceful power that seeks balance in Europe and pursues diplomacy.
GT: What kind of security mechanism should Europe pursue? China promotes a new security concept, what clues can this security concept offer to Europe?
Dagdelen: To save peace, security, and stability in Europe, confrontation and bloc-based thinking need to be overcome. That’s the first thing we have to do. The policy of détente implemented by the former federal chancellor Willy Brandt should serve as an example here. Peacefully balancing interests through diplomacy is the only way out of the spiral of escalation.
Although this may seem utopian to many people in Germany today at this moment, our long-term goal has to be to dissolve NATO and replace it with a collective security system that has disarmament and cooperation as its overarching objective.
There will be no peace in Europe without or against Russia. This is what we have to learn from the current crisis. We have to have a security architecture, which is respecting each other’s interests.
GT: The EU deals with China simultaneously as a partner for cooperation and negotiation, an economic competitor and a systemic rival. Recently, some US and European voices are hyping that “China is losing Europe.” What do you think of such voices? What are the incentives for future China-Europe cooperation?
Dagdelen: China-bashing has taken an increasingly aggressive form in the US and here in Germany and in Europe. At the moment, the German government is planning to develop a new China strategy within the framework of the national security strategy. And this strategy will probably be as confrontational as NATO’s new strategic concept.
Germany and the European Union should assume a role banking on balance and cooperation in the multipolar world of tomorrow. And this is widely important in order to preserve peace and solve global challenges, such as a pandemic and climate change, and also in the interest of the German population. Since Germany has close economic ties with China, the German government should take the path of cooperation instead of confrontation.
I hope that the German government and the European Union will look very seriously and very honest on the impacts of the economical war against Russia they started. They will see that the economy and trade in our world is so connected. If they start to decouple and wage an economical war against China as well, they are going to lose even more than regarding Russia now.
I don’t think that China is losing Europe or Europe is losing China. I think it’s still a struggle because the US doesn’t hide that it wants Europe on its side against China. So, there is no hidden agenda; they are being very frank. This question has not been answered yet. And I hope reason prevails in the end.