Chancellor Scholz has repeatedly emphasized that he does not want the Ukraine war to escalate. One reason: Russia is a nuclear power. Olaf Scholz’s fear of the Russian atomic bomb best illustrates her role in the consolidation of authoritarian regimes and dictatorships.
Olaf Scholz fears an escalation of the war in Ukraine, which could lead to a Russian nuclear deployment. Apparently taking Putin’s threats at face value, he doesn’t want to appear as a belligerent by delaying or simply preventing the delivery of heavy weapons to the Ukrainians.
Other Western countries also do not want to appear as warring parties, to prevent a direct confrontation between Russia and NATO. Some argue that Ukraine’s rapid admission to the EU will have the same effect. France speaks of an admission process that could take decades. For this reason, its President Emanuel Macron proposes the formation of a European political community with the non-EU countries, where they could stew forever, as the example of the privileged partnership with Turkey shows.
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These Western concerns are pointless because Putin already sees the West as a party to the war and is acting accordingly with the full use of all military means at his disposal. He does not even shy away from using mass murder, displacement and destruction of livelihoods against civilians. The Battle of Ukraine seems to be of crucial importance to him.
dr Ralph Ghadban was born in Lebanon in 1949 and has lived in Germany since 1972. He studied philosophy in Beirut and Islamic studies in Berlin and graduated with a doctorate in political science. Since 1993 he has been working in migration research with a focus on Islam in the West. He was a member of the first Islam Conference. As a social worker, former head of the counseling center for Arabs at the Diakonisches Werk in Berlin and as an advisory board member at the Tegel prison, he had personal contact with many clan members.
For the first time there is a direct confrontation between Russia and NATO countries. During the Cold War, the confrontation always took place in third countries. Now there is fighting on the land border of Russia. Although there are no NATO soldiers there, there are western trainers and western weapons. After the Russian invasion of Crimea in 2014, the US converted the Ukrainian army to Western standards.
The war and its outcome will reshape the world order. The weaknesses of the West are already visible. The policy of “change through trade” has failed. Instead of democratization, the authoritarian regimes in China and Russia were strengthened and the West became dependent on them. The regained unity of the EU is fragile. Not only because of Hungary’s refusal to support the sanctions against Russia, but above all because of the hesitation and reluctance of the two pillars of Europe, Germany and France, to support Ukraine in their fight, which ultimately serves our freedom. They don’t seem to be aiming for a victory for Ukraine.
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The acceptance of Finland and Sweden into NATO is being blocked by Turkey, which unabashedly constantly threatens its NATO partner Greece with violating its airspace and storming its borders with the refugees. In addition, military cooperation between Russia and Turkey after the purchase of the SAM 400 missiles remains an open question.
However, the lack of support from the West in the world is extremely worrying. The UN General Assembly condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine on March 2 by 141 votes out of 193 was celebrated. A closer look, however, shows a different picture. In the countries that do not want to condemn Russia, there are 4.7 billion people out of a total of eight billion in the world. In addition to China, there are other densely populated countries such as India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Vietnam and Ethiopia that exceed the 100 million mark.
Most countries in Africa, Asia and especially the Middle East are unwilling to take a stand against Russia. Their distance from the West and their ties with China and Russia force them to remain neutral. They watch the progress of the war and wait for its outcome to decide which side they will be on in the future. This war appears to be the end of the Cold War.
The implosion of the Soviet Union in 1989 was an episode not consistently capitalized on by the West. Today it will be decided which system will win: the authoritarian regimes or the democracies. When you consider that most regimes around the world are authoritarian, it becomes clear what is at stake. Even in the EU, democracy is in jeopardy in Poland and Hungary. Brussels’ actions against them have been dragged out for years without any clear results.
Olaf Scholz’s fear of the Russian atomic bomb best illustrates her role in the consolidation of authoritarian regimes and dictatorships. After the first atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, America became the undisputed nuclear superpower for several years. Churchill, driven by concerns about the entrenchment of Soviet Communism in Central and Eastern Europe, saw the onset of the Cold War and spoke of the Iron Curtain for the first time in 1946.
He urged the Americans to take action. They should seriously threaten the Soviets with the atomic bomb. Either they should allow democratic development in the European countries they occupied, or their major cities would be erased. The Moscow metropolitan area alone is home to 52 percent of its automotive industry, and a single atomic bomb is enough to set it back for decades. The fact that three million people will die as a result should be accepted.
Churchill knew time was of the essence. On August 29, 1949, the Soviets detonated their first atomic bomb. For a while Churchill continued to advocate pre-emptive nuclear strikes, but his stance was slowly changing. When he became Prime Minister for the second time on October 26, 1951, he never again spoke of a nuclear attack on the USSR.
Churchill’s efforts were unsuccessful. Americans, seeing the dangers of the bomb and expecting that other countries would eventually manufacture them, have been striving from the start to establish an international agency to control the mining of fissile material and its processing for the production of nuclear weapons.
The Americans did not take advantage of their nuclear monopoly between 1945 and 1949. After that, a nuclear equilibrium was established. The atomic bomb protected the Soviet regime until its implosion in 1989.
In the current situation, one wonders whether Russia would have attacked Ukraine if it had kept its approximately 5,000 nuclear weapons. As a result of the “Budapest Memorandum” of December 5, 1994, Ukraine returned these weapons to Russia by June 1996. In return, the USA, Russia, China, France, Great Britain and Germany undertook to guarantee Ukraine’s political and economic independence.
Using the same logic, the Arab press is discussing whether Gaddafi would have to end up the way it did if he had continued his nuclear program. To lift the international blockade, all he had to do in 2003 was take responsibility for the Lockerbie attack that killed 270 people, stop his secret nuclear weapons program and renounce possession of weapons of mass destruction. In 2004, Libya turned over its stockpiles of enriched uranium to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
North Korea is the best example of how a “rogue state” keeps the world on its toes with its nuclear weapons. Others want to follow his example, for example the terrorist state of Iran, which cooperates closely with North Korea.
Iran boasts that it controls four Arab capitals: Baghdad, Sana’a, Damascus and Beirut. He supports terror and is determined to wipe out the Israeli state. To this end, he is working on a nuclear program that is now very advanced. According to the IAEA report, Iran has 3,809.3 kilograms of enriched uranium, of which 43.1 kilograms have a purity of 60 percent. Of these, 50 kilograms will suffice for an atomic bomb. In the 2015 agreement, Iran had committed to a maximum limit of 202.8 kilograms and uranium enrichment of 3.67 percent.
Iran is more likely to follow the Russian example. North Korea is a poor country whose regime thinks of its own protection. Iran, on the other hand, like Russia, has huge reserves of oil and gas and, like Russia, has hegemonic claims. Russia aims to restore the Soviet Empire. Iran wants to revive the Islamic empire, this time under the leadership of a Shia imam instead of a Sunni caliph. Not to be forgotten is the Chinese Silk Road, with the help of which the communist regime wants to expand its dominance in the world.
All of these new imperialist aspirations have already largely supplanted the old western imperialism. While the last campaigned for democracy – unfortunately often only formally – the new ones praise the advantages of authoritarian regimes and their successes as a successful alternative for the new world order.
The current struggle in Ukraine is a struggle for democracy and our freedoms. He will show to what extent the West is prepared to defend these foundations of its societies. It is to be hoped that Western politicians will finally see what is at stake and act accordingly.