The West shows Jürgen Habermas a red card | Opinion

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2023-06-20 21:15:39

Jürgen Habermas, the greatest living philosopher in Germany and surely in Europe, is one of the new victims of the war in Ukraine and also a sample of the scope of the intolerant and authoritarian political climate prevailing in his country. Indeed, it was enough for him to publish a very cautious article suggesting that the German government should promote the opening of negotiations with Moscow aimed at putting an end to the horrors of war – I repeat: negotiations, not an unconditional surrender of Ukraine – so that the Russophobia and the spirit of the Cold War carefully cultivated by the corrupt NATO generals, the opulent bureaucrats of the European Union and the mass media and the German political leadership completely remove the voice of the philosopher from the “public space”, that deceitful entity that was the object of long years of Habermasian reflection. *

Nothing has been heard from him since mid-February, condemned to ostracism for what is apparently an unforgivable sin: his measured criticism of the warmongering that has taken over the German government and that is fed endlessly by Washington.

In his plea in favor of negotiations in Ukraine (this is the name of his article) Habermas harshly categorizes Vladimir Putin for his violation of international law. His analysis of the war completely omits the examination of the genesis of the conflict: the decision of the United States and the European governments that today make up its unworthy protectorate to move NATO troops and equipment towards Russia’s borders. He also omits in his note to discuss the legitimate right to national security that belongs to this country, periodically invaded by its voracious neighbors, including the Germans themselves. It does the same in relation to the consequences of the coup d’état openly sponsored by the Obama Administration in 2014, which ended up installing a virulently Russophobic coalition in the government -which today openly vindicates and embraces Nazism- and which did not leave a single day to attack with heavy artillery the regions where the Russophone minority in southern Ukraine lives.

Nor does Habermas include in his plea any reference to the official documents of the United States government which, since the beginning of 1992, recommend harassing Russia with all kinds of sanctions to prevent at any price the realization of a Moscow-Berlin-Paris agreement that would have cemented the construction of an autonomous Europe in economic and military matters. Much less does it refer to the infamous document from the Rand Corporation, a discreet Pentagon think tank, from February 2019, in which the installation of lethal weapons on the border between Ukraine and Russia is recommended to provoke a military response from Moscow in addition to all a paraphernalia of sanctions aimed at “overextending and unbalancing Russia”. In short, Habermas does not seem to have understood in his exhortation that there is a war that the United States and its European allies are waging against Russia, and that for the comfort and safety of Washington is being fought far away, in the Ukraine.

The foregoing has not been said to completely disqualify Habermas’s attitude -much more dignified than that of a good part of the European progressive or left-wing intelligentsia, won by “Otani”- but to underline that the authoritarian involution that Germany is suffering today and a good part of Europe makes a very cautious call for sanity and negotiation suffice (as characters as dissimilar as Noam Chomsky and Henry Kissinger have also been doing) so that, in the prevailing rarefied ideological climate, the illustrious philosopher is condemned to ostracism. The “witch hunt” and censorship practiced without anesthesia against those who oppose the war and the crazy military escalation promoted by Washington is growing day by day and claiming more and more victims. Let us remember this teaching of history: within the framework of an increasingly fascistic capitalism, all dissent becomes an unforgivable heresy.

* This article was published in Süddeutsche Zeitung, 15/2/2 A few days later it was reproduced in Spanish by the magazine New Society, accessible at:

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