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Everyone wants peace

by Rudiger Rauls
The visions of a possible peace in Ukraine differ among all parties. For Russia, it is a matter of ensuring that Ukrainian territory no longer poses a threat to its own security. Therefore, it primarily wants to achieve the demilitarization of Ukraine. It must not become a deployment area for NATO.
Everyone wants peace

If a peace movement is to succeed, we must emphasize the interests of Germans instead of "values."

Imagine that no one wants war - and yet everyone goes! All parties involved in the conflict profess to want peace, yet the war in Ukraine continues. Each side has different ideas about peace and the conditions for negotiations. Why does the German peace movement have no influence on the development? You can hardly lure the Germans out from behind the stove with morals. What would probably help would be to point out the devastating economic consequences of further involvement in the war.

by Rüdiger Rauls

[This article posted on 6/23/2023 is translated from the German on the Internet,]

Economy does not want war

It is always the others who are to blame for war, because officially nobody wants war and yet it is omnipresent. It is a popular approach to see the arms industry as the driving force behind wars. But this does not correspond to the realities. While arms manufacturers are indisputably the industry that earns the most from war, they account for only a small percentage of the economic output of industrialized nations. In Germany, spending on the military has averaged about 1.2 percent of gross domestic product over the past 10 years.

However, these funds did not only benefit the domestic arms industry. A large part of it was spent on foreign weapons systems. This means that the German defense industry has to share German defense spending with foreign competitors. In addition, defense equipment is not the core business of most arms manufacturers. At aircraft manufacturer Airbus, defense only accounts for about 20 percent of total sales, and even Leopard maker Rheinmetall makes a not insignificant portion of its sales from the manufacture of civilian products, such as heat pumps.

The majority of the economy hardly benefits from the war. It is expensive, and both the course and the outcome are impossible to predict. War does not always lead to victory, it can also end in defeat. This is well known in the economy, especially in Germany, which earned well in two world wars, but was then set back by the destruction of its own industrial plants and the requirements of the victorious powers.

After 1945, the bulk of German industrial products served and still serve the civilian economy, not the war. Profit is made with it. For most companies, armaments are a marginal business, but one that is gladly taken if profits can be made from it. But even today, in times of confrontation with Russia and increasing tensions with China, the German and European economies are not happy about this development. The sanctions policy has already caused markets to collapse and break away, and enormous sales have been lost.

Apart from the arms industry, the economy as a whole has more interest in peace than in war. Times of peace are the times for investment, trade and expansion of economic activity, not times of war. That is why most companies wait for the wars to end before they start investing. Except for Rheinmetall, this also applies to the Ukraine war.

Words as weapons

Media corporations have greater influence on war or peace than weapons manufacturers. It is the hostile attitude of opinion makers in politics, the media and culture that creates discord and sows discord. They poison relations not only with other states but also among social groups in their own country.

They create moods because, as media, they earn money from people's fears, which they themselves spread. Politicians create images of enemies because they persuade people to protect them from these enemies. Scientists and cultural workers create theories, world views and elite thinking because they feel intellectually and morally superior to others.

The Ukraine war could have been avoided if the West had respected Russia's security interests as much as it expects its own. In particular, Western aspirations to supremacy and its intransigence toward the interests of other peoples and states had been the cause of most wars since the end of World War II.

These could have been largely prevented had there been more willingness to engage in honest dialogue on the Western side and less hostility.

Conceptions and possibilities

The visions of a possible peace in Ukraine differ among all parties. For Russia, it is a matter of ensuring that Ukrainian territory no longer poses a threat to its own security. Therefore, it primarily wants to achieve the demilitarization of Ukraine. It must not become a deployment area for NATO. In addition, Russia is demanding recognition of the new political realities in the Donbass and Crimea because the population has spoken out in favor of them.

From Ukraine's point of view, there will be peace only when the territorial state of 1991 is restored and the Russian army has cleared all these territories. However, it is also aware that these goals cannot be achieved without the support of the West. It is aware of its dependence on Western arms supplies because, unlike Russia, it has no substantial arms production. Under these conditions, its demands on the West increase in terms of the nature and scope of arms deliveries.

In the West, the situation is more mixed. Powerful forces in politics and especially the media want Russia to suffer a defeat from which it is never to recover. Large segments of the Western population also feel threatened by Russia. For all of them, peace will be restored when Russia leaves Ukraine either because of economic and military exhaustion, but preferably because of regime change in Russia. From their perspective, the belief that more extensive arms deliveries will bring peace closer is logical.

However, it is questionable whether the forces in the West are really concerned with the fate of the Ukrainians. They are much more likely to be driven by ideology or hostility. They are less concerned with Ukraine's victory than with Russia's defeat and downfall.

They are implacably hostile, or in the case of the Greens, self-righteous.

Therefore, for them, too, there is no turning back, no giving in, and no negotiations. On the backs of Ukrainians they let fight to the bitter end. And because they have already invested so much in victory, they will continue to deliver what their arsenals can provide. Because nothing would be more unbearable for them than the idea that Ukraine could capitulate shortly before Russia's downfall.

For these forces in the West, the war will only end when they can no longer send weapons or when Ukraine collapses due to personnel exhaustion or the war-weariness of the population. The Ukrainian leadership will continue to fight as long as the West plays along. This is because it is pursuing its interests, which it sees as the interests of the country and the population.


At present, the voices calling for a negotiated settlement between Russia and Ukraine carry little weight. The movement that Sahra Wagenknecht and Alice Schwarzer initiated has not known how to use the social potential that was there. Their grand announcements at the demonstration in Berlin at the end of February 2023 were not followed by action.

This is not least due to the contradictory nature of their own argumentation and their value-oriented approach. They want to end the killing on both sides, which is honorable. But this makes little impression on the powerful of this world. The German peace movement leaves the initiative to them alone; it does not develop independent possibilities for action.

In their "Manifesto for Peace" they argue in a similar way to the war advocates in the West. They accuse Russia of waging a war of aggression and speak of "raping women, frightening children, traumatizing an entire people" (1). Therefore, they demand: "The Ukrainian people, brutally invaded by Russia, need our solidarity" (2). One wants to avoid the impression of being on Russia's side.

The majority of the German population does not care about the war as long as it does not spread to Germany and does not lead to a nuclear or third world war. And as long as the U.S. does not send long-range weapons, this danger should be limited. The population is not in favor of war, but knows better than the value-oriented around Wagenknecht that appeals for peace will not change the current situation. Besides, if Russia is the aggressor, why should German citizens be in favor of negotiations? Most of them know that by doing so, they are putting themselves in danger of being branded as Putin supporters in their own environment or even of being targeted by the judiciary. That is not worth it to them.

Interest orientation

The majority of the population does not think in terms of values; for these people, their own interests are paramount. If you want to reach this part of the population, you have to emphasize the economic consequences of the war. Without the active support of a significant part of the people, the German government will not be forced to change its thinking. But this will not succeed if the population is brought into conflict with the government power on an issue that does not affect its own interests.

The interest of most Germans in the current conflict can be reduced to a simple denominator: "No euros for war!" We need the money to alleviate hardship in our own country, to support people against the increasingly unbearable price increases of food and energy. To support the food banks! To support housing construction! To improve health care, where even medicines are now in short supply. There are shortages everywhere. Only for the war money seems to be available in abundance.

Schwarzer and Wagenknecht have disappeared. They have no political concept. Their value orientation has led them into a dead end. Yet they hold the keys. Their petition has 800,000 supporters. These are not just signatures. They are also contacts. They haven't used those contacts yet. They would offer the opportunity to create local support groups that could get things moving locally.

Above all, this way there is the possibility of organizing events and taking the protest to the streets, perhaps only locally at first, but in perspective regionally and nationwide. But it must be clear that this should not be about general appeals for peace, but about people protesting against rising prices and the threat to their livelihoods. Peace in Ukraine is not decided in our country, but whether our tax money is used to alleviate hardship or finance war is.

Sources and Notes:

(1) Manifesto for Peace

(2) ibid.
Ukraine never posed a threat to Russia. They voluntarily gave up all of their nukes. Not once has Ukraine attacked Russia. Russia, however, has been installing puppet leaders, stealing land, and otherwise attacking Ukraine for a long time. Russia's current war in Ukraine is aggressive, not defensive.

Start an article with bullshit like that and it's an easy pass on reading any further.
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