The Transatlantic War Party Doubles Down, as Opposition Mushrooms
A two-faced Munich is one way to describe the events of last weekend in the Bavarian capital. On the one side, was the Munich Security Conference (MSC), marked by wild ravings for more war against Russia and by just as wild praise for NATO. On the other, was the impressive rally for peace that took place on Feb. 19 on the nearby public square.
U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris took to the podium to announce that the U.S. “has formally determined that Russia has committed crimes against humanity” in Ukraine. She was followed by U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak (as the crowds poured out of room, according to Politico), who stressed Britain’s role in supporting Kyiv’s war effort. German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock stated, with her usual light-headedness, that Ukraine will not be safe as long as Vladimir Putin remains in power. And as was to be expected, both Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy (via video) and Foreign Minister Kuleba demanded more weapons and more money to continue the war, while excluding any negotiations.
But most of what was heard was only blustering and posturing, as only a small part of the aid promised will actually be delivered. Moreover, serious military experts know that Kyiv cannot win the war, no matter how many weapons are available and how many lives are lost.
The one voice offering a constructive proposal for actually ending the conflict was Chinese diplomat Wang Yi (cf. below). In his bilateral meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken, the American threatened Beijing with dire consequences if it were to supply lethal weapons to Russia, but the Rambo-like rhetoric did not intimidate the Chinese. It is of course the case that since the Biden Administration began wildly shooting down unidentified balloons in the skies (at $400,000 per missile), its credibility has plunged around the world.
Thus, as the Financial Times complained, the developing sector representatives at the MSC, were by and large not on board with the war plans towards Russia and China. They expressed “much greater preoccupation with issues such as inflation, debt, higher energy prices and food security than with the war in Ukraine”, wrote the FT.
Nonetheless, in an attempt to keep the theatrics of Munich going, Joe Biden himself suddenly showed up in Kiev on Feb. 20, before making his scheduled visit to Poland.
Meanwhile, outside the NATO bubble, an antiwar movement is growing in the transatlantic world, and none too soon. The rally in Munich, under the banner of “The Peace Movement Is Back!”, was a singular event. The organizers expected some 2,000 people to conduct a march around the city, to denounce the war drive. Instead, over 10,000 demonstrators showed up, from various political orientations. This can be seen as the kick-off event for the mass rallies that are planned in at least 100 German cities this week, culminating on Feb. 25, and in dozens of French cities. The U.K. and other Western European countries are also planning protests calling for a halt of weapons deliveries, a ceasefire in Ukraine and the opening of peace talks.
One day after Munich, a unique demonstration was held in Washington with speakers and citizens from very different backgrounds and political convictions, but all committed to ending war. At these events and the upcoming ones, a Schiller Institute leaflet will be distributed (cf. below).