Netanyahu, Lula da Silva, China’s Xi Jinping, the US Republicans, Viktor Orban – in the West they are seen as shadow players in the Ukraine war. That is naive – the shadow power of the successful authoritarians can decide the Ukraine war.
Things are looking bad for Joe Biden and his US Democrats right now. A Republican victory in the midterms, next Tuesday’s elections, would be very bad news for someone else: Volodymyr Zelenskyy. It’s not the only one for the Ukrainian president.
Benjamin Netanyahu’s electoral victory in Israel makes it unlikely that the new Israeli government will do what Zelenskyy demands of it: provide the country with the “iron dome”, one of the best missile defense systems in the world. Netanyahu should refrain from anything that damages his good relationship with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. Especially since it is in Israel’s national interest.
Even Lula da Silva’s election victory in huge Brazil was the worst possible option for Zelenskyy and Ukraine. Lula, celebrated by the left in Germany for his climate ambitions, is an ardent anti-American who blames Washington and Brussels for the Ukraine war. And Zelenskyj mocked as a “comedian”. Lula is clearly in the Putin camp.
In this context, there is no need to talk at length about the new “Emperor of China”, the lifetime President Xi Jinping. He belongs in the anti-Ukraine front. The visit of the German Chancellor Scholz this Friday will change that in no time.
Scholz is likely to address China’s aggressive Taiwan policy, including the human rights violations by the Uyghurs, and of course support for Putin, but: Scholz made the Hamburg-Cosco deal possible as a “gift” to Xi in the first place. And he is traveling with a large business delegation, which is sending Beijing one thing above all: the German chancellor attaches greater importance to economic relations with China than human rights.
Scholz should hardly let his green coalition partner, who reminds him – Annalena Baerbock personally – irritate him. Scholz stands in the continuity of Angela Merkel, i.e. of: “Business first”.
You can think what you want about Viktor Orban, but the fact is: the man was freely elected, the next elections in Hungary are only four years away and until then Orban will rule unchallenged as the longest-serving head of government in Europe. Orban was in the United States in August, speaking to Donald Trump and other Republicans. To then explain that the great hope for peace in Ukraine is a return of Trump as US President.
Because: “One thing is certain: If the President of the USA had been Donald Trump on February 24th, then this war would not have happened.” This story is also Trump’s own narrative – with the intention of presenting his successor Joe Biden in good time to portray as idiots in the midterm elections.
Orban considers the European Union’s sanctions against Putin to be strategically stupid – they amounted to “massive support for cooperation between Russia and China.” And Orban also has a clear opinion on the Americans and their ambitions for power. He was asked in a remarkable interview by the “Budapester Zeitung” whether the USA would ever accept a multipolar order. His answer: “You can’t raise a lion to be a vegetarian.”
The answer to the American claims to power, also towards Europe, would have to be: a joint European armaments industry, joint training of soldiers in Europe and a “European armed force”. So much for Orban being an “anti-Europe”. Orban likes Europe. He just doesn’t like Brussels.
Orban calls Netanyahu one of the “most respected and experienced statesmen in the western world”. When Netanyahu visited Putin as Israel’s prime minister five years ago, he wore the Saint George ribbon on his lapel, the Putin symbol of Russia’s victory in the “Great Patriotic War” against the Nazis. This ribbon has since become the symbol of the Russian fighters in the Ukrainian Donbass who want to “denazify” Kyiv.
The fact that Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy recently compared the Russian attack on his country with the Nazi holocaust on the Jews has caused outrage in the right-wing political camp in Israel, whose icon is Netanyahu. The Israeli public saw it as a clumsy attempt at blackmail.
Netanyahu “can” with Trump, he “can” with Putin, whose help he needs in the fight against Iran, he is friends with Viktor Orban. “Netanyahu is the alpha animal among the right-wing populists,” says Die Zeit.
Orban considers Joe Biden to be a political lightweight. Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz as well. One could perhaps dismiss that if Scholz hadn’t duped France’s Emmanuel Macron and also irritated the Americans about the Cosco deal and his trip to China.
Scholz’s attempts during the German G7 presidency to get the important Brazilians in the Ukraine war against Russia to side with the West and thus Zelenskyy should have ended after Lula’s election victory. For Lula, the alliance with Putin is an affair of the heart.
If the Republicans win next week, as it currently looks like, they will not stop, but reduce, the US government’s generous aid to Ukraine, without which Ukraine would not be able to survive. In favor of “America first”. Americans are suffering from the record inflation that Biden has promoted with his trillion programs.
Trump, Netanyahu, Orban, Xi – in the German debate, these are at best shadow players in the Ukraine war. But this view, which corresponds to the official German government line, is one-sided. She is also dangerous. Because this alliance is likely to make life difficult for the Ukraine alliance. And more likely to harm Ukraine and its President.
Sometimes a look at the real circumstances helps against the moral-political narrative, which ranges from public broadcasting to Annalena Baerbock. Including the Republicans at this point, this camp of the “others” is about: election winners. If there were elections.
To act as if these people don’t exist, or as if they had no influence, or as if one could drag “system rivals” (Baerbock) into the camp of the morally good, is certainly well intentioned. But: naive.