The German government recently published a comprehensive list of weapon systems and other military support delivered to Ukraine, despite calls in the country for more diplomatic efforts instead of arms deliveries to end the crisis in Classes. One of them is from Sevim Dagdelen (Dagdelen), a German politician and member of the Left Party. In an interview with Global Times (GT) reporter Wang Wenwen, she said that sending increasingly heavy weapons to Ukraine increases the chances of the conflict escalating into World War III and that this is the German people who are suffering. It also shed light on the security architecture that Europe should pursue, as well as Sino-European 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, supplied heavy weapons to Ukraine on a large scale. And alongside my Die Linke party, I have spoken out from the start against arms deliveries, because we believe that they will prolong the war and the human losses in Ukraine.
The increasingly heavy arms deliveries to Ukraine in ever greater numbers, as well as the training of Ukrainian military personnel, increase the risk of the war escalating into World War III. This concern is shared by two thirds of the German population. So we are not at all isolated in this issue.
Wars are fought with weapons, but end in negotiations. Led by the United States and the United Kingdom, the West is betting on a proxy war and a war of attrition. The objective is to permanently weaken Russia and to achieve this, the West is ready to accept tens of thousands of deaths and unlimited suffering, as well as the destruction of Ukraine.
The extension of the economic war means that we are currently pursuing economic suicide, committed by the German government through the sanctions against Russia. We need serious diplomatic efforts in the search for a negotiated solution, as was already in sight during the negotiations in Istanbul at the end of March. And the longer the war lasts, the more terrible its effects will be, not only on Ukrainians, but on people all over the world, as the current food crisis shows.
GT: As the Ukrainian crisis drags on, German citizens must prepare for a dramatic increase in gas prices. How do you see the interests of ordinary people being jeopardized by those who are behind the Ukrainian crisis?
Dagdelen: The economic war with Russia jeopardizes Germany’s entire model of prosperity. Western sanctions did not end the war. Instead, they act like a boomerang. They hit us, the people and the industry in Germany. After all, Russia’s revenue from energy exports, despite falling sales and volumes, is higher than a year ago, thanks to sanctions that have driven up prices. So the price of these senseless sanctions is being paid by the general public who are suffering from high inflation and skyrocketing energy and food costs, while oil companies and arms companies are making profits.
If gas supplies from Russia cease, we will face a disaster in Germany such as we have not seen since the global economic crisis under the Weimar Republic.
It has been calculated that if Russian gas supplies stop, Germany’s economic output will fall by more than 12% over the next six months. And more than 5.6 million jobs would be threatened. Thus, the German government must immediately end the suicidal economic war for the good of the German people.
GT: The supposed objective of NATO is to safeguard peace and security in Europe. But judging by 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 Finland and Sweden demonstrates once again that this is a vast military pact of an expansionist nature, and that all the promises the West has made to Russia were all lies. Although nothing can justify Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine, NATO bears some responsibility for the development of the conflict. So even Pope Francis found that “NATO’s barking at Russia’s doorstep” played a part.
Thus, the NATO wars waged by the United States around the world, since the attack on Yugoslavia in 1999, 20 years in Afghanistan with more than 200,000 Afghans killed and several war crimes and the destruction of Libya , show that NATO is not a defensive alliance, but the greatest war machine. And NATO countries pursue economic and geopolitical interests without consideration. That is why we need a security architecture in Europe for the security and certainty of European citizens, including European countries. We cannot change geography. Russia is part of Europe and we have to face it.
The other thing is NATO enlargement and its strategic concept now. NATO is called the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Now, in its strategic concept, NATO emphasizes the Indo-Pacific region. The Indian Ocean or the Pacific Ocean is far from the North Atlantic.
Sevim Dagdelen Photo: Courtesy of Dagdelen
GT: What is the biggest obstacle to the EU’s goal of achieving strategic autonomy at the moment?
Dagdelen: The European Union has existential interests in not being drawn into the conflict between the major nuclear powers like the United States, Russia and China. This will require an autonomous foreign and security policy, independent of Washington. And the main objective must be to ensure that our continent does not become a nuclear battlefield. And as a matter of urgency, European states must press for a speedy end to the conflict in Ukraine and prevent the conflict from spreading at all costs.
The interests of Europe and European countries and the interests of the United States fundamentally diverge on this point. Because as the latter is ready to fight to the last Ukrainian for a Russian military defeat – this is the position of the USA, the European Union must not submit to its interests and its strategy. Enhanced autonomy must not lead to further militarization of EU Member States. On the contrary, the European Union must become a peaceful power which seeks balance in Europe and practices diplomacy.
GT: What kind of security mechanism should Europe pursue? China is promoting a new concept of security, what clues can this concept of security offer to Europe?
Dagdelen: To save peace, security and stability in Europe, confrontation and bloc logic must be overcome. That’s the first thing we have to do. The policy of relaxation implemented by 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, our long-term goal must be to disband NATO and replace it with a collective security system whose overriding goal is disarmament and cooperation.
There will be no peace in Europe without or against Russia. This is what we must learn from the current crisis. We must have a security architecture that respects everyone’s interests.
GT: The EU deals with China both as a cooperation and negotiation partner, an economic competitor and a systemic rival. Recently, some American and European voices announced that “China is losing Europe”. What do you think of such voices? What are the incentives for future Sino-European cooperation?
Dagdelen: The bashing of China has taken an increasingly aggressive form in the United States, here in Germany and in Europe. At present, the German government is considering developing a new China strategy as part of the national security strategy. And this strategy is likely to be as confrontational as NATO’s new strategic concept.
Germany and the European Union must assume a balanced and cooperative role in the multipolar world of tomorrow. And this is very important for preserving peace and solving global challenges, such as a pandemic and climate change, and also for the benefit of the German people. 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 honestly at the impacts of the economic war they have unleashed against Russia. They will see that the economy and trade in our world are so intertwined. If they start decoupling and waging an economic war against China as well, they’re going to lose even more than they do with Russia right now.
I don’t think China is losing Europe or Europe is losing China. I think it’s still a fight because the United States does not hide that they want Europe on their side against China. So there is no hidden agenda; they are very frank. This question has not yet been answered. And I hope reason will eventually prevail.