It takes more than tanks to alleviate Germany’s guilt – POLITICO

Vasyl Cherepanyn is head of the Visual Culture Research Center in Kyiv.

Germany, one of the world’s leading economic and political powers, like most of the West, abandoned the war in Ukraine long before it even began.

It would have been a hidden relief for many across the continent if President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had done so chosen to respond to the Russian invasion by asking not for ammunition but for a ride – instead of becoming a war leader, a national politician in exile, like Svetlana Tikhanovskaya of Belarus.

Western Europe would then not have had to deal with the chaos of war. It could have been able to just take in refugees, provide humanitarian aid and feel pretty complacent. But Ukraine’s willingness to resist and fight has complicated all anticipated conclusions.

Germany was finally and reluctantly pushed into agreeing to the supply of tanks to Ukraine while fighting against its oppressor. But that doesn’t eliminate the elephant in the room – that Germany, despite its historical background, not only overlooked the new breed of fascism under Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, but fed the aggressor from its own hands. And as soon as Germany’s beloved mom On the left, the Kremlin leader unleashed his malice.

With Russia’s February 24 invasion, a new cataclysmic reality, one that re-enacted past genocidal fantasies, challenged everything integration principle of post-war Europe. The foundations of the institutional order, as well as the political and ideological practices on which the European continent has since been based, appeared under direct existential threat from Russian state totalitarianism, which threatened the Ukrainian people with mass physical and political annihilation.

But it was not only Ukraine, but also Germany history politics, their politics of remembrance, which was forced to go to war. The Germans are considered world champions in their commitment to collective guilt and the associated national burden. It’s an idea long pondered by the nation’s writers and thinkers, from Thomas Mann to Karl Jaspers, who insisted that no one can escape collective guilt and responsibility – that it is inevitably always personal. It is also a lesson that Russians will soon have to learn as well.

However, Germany has drawn the wrong conclusions from its historical experience, confusing the causes and consequences of its famous pacifist attitude inscribed in the DNA of modern Germany. Pacifism and the pursuit of peace, the defining policies of Germany and other Western European governments, have become an international norm not because of “dialogue” and attempts at appeasement, but only thanks to the military defeat of aggressors on the battlefield. There would be no pacifism at all if the Nazis won the war.

Germany’s “Economy First” approach has also historically been seen as part of its collective work, which simultaneously enabled Germans to transform their society and make their country the engine of Europe. But that seems to have been a now replacement policy — a compensatory policy that covers up historical trauma and replaces moral responsibility with business-as-usual.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Germany has imposed a neocolonial outlook on its Eastern European “peripheries” and particularly the post-Soviet space, where Ukraine has long been seen as a gray buffer zone about which the EU was “deeply concerned”. Germany hasn’t bothered to differentiate between the past of the former Soviet countries. Until recently, a Ukrainian agenda in Germany was often “balanced” with a Russian perspective, so as not to exclude the latter.

but Change through HandelGermany’s change through trade was simply a maskirovka, a deception that has allowed German companies to maintain ties with their fellow Russian oligarchs all along. It has helped stave off efforts to combat Russia’s international crimes and aggression against Ukraine.

The tanks that Germany sends will be welcome, but they will not be enough. Historical responsibility today requires doing everything so that Putin loses. The united Europe and the free world came about on the basis of anti-Nazism. If the political and economic foundations of the current strain of fascism remain intact, we will soon no longer have a common world to live in. It takes more than tanks to alleviate Germany's guilt - POLITICO

Fry Electronics Team

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