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Ukraine War in “Anne Will”: Heavy Weapons or Diplomacy?

Ukraine war in “Anne Will”
Heavy Weapons or Diplomacy?

By Marko Schlichting

In his televised speech, Chancellor Scholz explains the goals of the federal government in the Ukraine war: One should not capitulate to naked violence. The guests at “Anne Will” discuss whether this works with the delivery of heavy weapons or with diplomacy.

While the Russian and Ukrainian armies are fighting heavy battles in the south and east of Ukraine, a discussion about the further delivery of heavy weapons has flared up in Germany. A week and a half ago, the Bundestag made a clear decision to support these deliveries to Ukraine. Chancellor Olaf Scholz confirmed this in a television speech on Sunday evening, although he spoke of heavy equipment. After the end of World War II, people in Europe fought for an end to war and tyranny. “And yet it happened again,” said Scholz, referring to Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine. That’s why Scholz promised: “We will defend rights and freedom on the side of those attacked. Not to do that would mean: capitulate to naked violence. We will help so that the violence can come to an end.”

Two groups of scientists, politicians and cultural workers had previously expressed different opinions in open letters about how the current war should be ended: with diplomacy or with more heavy weapons. Two of the signers of the two open letters are guests of Anne Will on Sunday evening in the first: The sociologist Harald Welzer, who believes that the discussion about a diplomatic solution to the Ukraine war has receded into the background too much, and the CDU Politician Ruprecht Polenz, for whom an end to the conflict is not possible without further arms deliveries.

Speech by Scholz “too indifferent”

Both criticize the Chancellor’s speech at the beginning of the program. “Too indifferent,” she calls Welzer. He lacks a positioning in one direction or the other, i.e. towards diplomacy or heavy weapons. “There wasn’t much new in it,” says Polenz. However, he acknowledges that Scholz is now rallying his government to continue the tough course. “The point is that Russian President Putin must not win the war, he must not gain any advantages from it,” said Polenz.

SPD General Secretary Kevin Kühnert is happy that Scholz has clearly stated the lines “that guide the federal government in its actions and that are immovable: we will not become a war party, we will not weaken our own defense capabilities and we will not do anything alone”. The moderator points out another point that Scholz mentioned in his speech: not to do anything that harms Germany more than Russia.

The leader of the Greens in the Bundestag, Britta Haßelmann, emphasizes the will of the Federal Chancellor that Ukraine must not lose the war. “Ukraine has the right to territorial integrity, and it must not allow itself to be dictated to a dictated peace,” demands Hasselmann.

The Ukrainian ambassador Andriy Melnik would have liked more specific statements about the weapons that Germany would like to supply. He does not believe that the promised Gepard tanks will ever be used in Ukraine because the search for ammunition is apparently in vain.

“Relying on the logic of diplomacy”

When it comes to further arms deliveries to Ukraine, the sociologist Harald Welzer does not agree. “Because we are dealing with a violent trial here,” he explains his view. The scientist warns that heavy weapons would prolong the war and increase the spiral of violence. “And that challenges the point that we’re not going to war,” he says. Russia is a nuclear power and Putin has already threatened to use nuclear weapons. “The escalation dynamics of military violence result in the danger of an increasing dissolution of the war’s boundaries and thus the involuntary slipping into a role that the Federal Chancellor rejects,” said Welzer. In short: We could be drawn into the war by supplying arms. That is dangerous because: “A war against a nuclear power cannot be won in the traditional sense.”

But he can, replies the CDU politician Polenz – and refers to the wars in Vietnam and Afghanistan, which the nuclear power USA lost or at least didn’t win. Putin’s goal is to destroy Ukraine. “He mustn’t be successful with that,” said Polenz. The Ukrainian President has formulated a clear war goal: the Russian army must go back to where it was before the war began, and then negotiations can be held on the occupied territories in Ukraine.

But the question of perpetual rearmament has no logical end, says Welzer, which he is certainly right philosophically, but not militarily or even economically. That’s why the signers of the open letter he represented wanted to get out of the “one-dimensional logic of relying on weapons” and offer a second option. “We want to put the logic of diplomacy next to the logic of violence,” he says.

“Absolute Illusion”

The Ukrainian government also wants to negotiate, they wanted to take this step, but Putin didn’t go along with it, explains Melnyk. He calls Welzer’s demands “an absolute illusion”. For him it is clear: “Only in the combination of supplying heavy weapons and stopping Putin’s flow of money is it possible for him to say: Enough is enough, we’re taking a break. And then he will come to us and say: Guys, we make a truce and see how it goes.”

Ukraine and its allies have definitely won one battle: at today’s victory celebrations in Moscow at the end of the Second World War, the Russian President cannot announce the quick victory over Ukraine as hoped.

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