How Did the German Greens Become the Party of Warmongers? 

By Conor Gallagher

German media has been oddly silent since investigative journalist Seymour Hersh’s article revealing that the US was behind the destruction of the Nord Stream pipelines.

What little coverage there is disparages the piece.  Der Spiegel attacks Hersh’s credibility, calling him “controversial” and the report “poorly written” before warning it aids Russian propaganda. Die Welt focuses on the attention Hersh’s article is receiving in Russia and notes that Hersh “relies on a single source for his report. He published the report on his substack and not in a major US media outlet.” The newspaper does, however, admit at the tail end that the ongoing German investigation to find the true culprit has turned up no evidence of Russian involvement.

One would think an “ally” sabotaging the German economy would be bigger news, but this highlights that the propaganda for NATO’s war against Russia is arguably worse in Germany than it is in the US. It is also another reminder of Germany’s subservience to the interests of the US empire, which is aided by the German Green Party.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz looks spineless and in over his head. At every step of escalation with Russia (and China) he draws a line in the sand, only to cave when the pressure builds.

The divisions in his government are now out in the open as his Green foreign minister Annalena Baerbock pushes for more forceful intervention in Ukraine (or open war) and Scholz continues to get dragged along. Baerbock has repeatedly backed the chancellor into a corner, yet he refused to dismiss her and is instead reduced to “carefully” tallying her “mistakes.”

The Greens, working in tandem with the Americans, have been integral to pressuring Scholz into more escalation with Russia. How did the pacifist party founded partially on its opposition to NATO and US nukes on German soil become so bloodthirsty and determined to kick off World War 3? Here’s a brief background on the Greens, including their fateful turn during the Yugoslav Wars.

The ecological, pacifist party began to emerge in the late 1970s and early 1980s as a unification effort of the left opposed to environmental degradation in West Germany and rallied millions against the US stationing its intermediate-range, nuclear-warhead missiles on West German soil. Cracks began to form quickly, however, due to opportunists, big tentism, frustration with lack of success, and struggles after the reunification of East and West Germany. The levees finally broke completely in the late 1990s during the Yugoslav Wars.

Diana Johnstone, who was press secretary of the Green Group in the European Parliament from 1989 to 1996, explains the Greens’ turn in her memoir “Circle in the Darkness: Memoir of a World Watcher.” Here is a brief breakdown she gives to Black Agenda Report:

The key moment was the 1999 bombing, the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, when a German foreign minister from the Greens took both Germany and his party into that war. He directly transformed the Greens into a party championing war for the sake of human rights, much like Samantha Power. …

In order to keep control of Western Europe after the Soviet Union collapsed, the United States had to preserve NATO, which is the way the United States controls Europe. So, in order to preserve NATO, they found a new mission, which is humanitarian warfare. The Kosovo war was an example of that. It transformed NATO from a defensive force into an offensive force with a humanitarian mission. That was the purpose of the Kosovo war. And the German Green Party’s foreign minister, Joschka Fischer, was the prophet of all that.

Fischer was originally a leftist street fighter who rose to become leader of the Greens in the 1990s. In 1994, during the Yugoslav Wars, Fischer said that sending German forces into countries “where Hitler’s troops had stormed during the Second World War” would only worsen the conflict. The 1998 Green manifesto promised to oppose intervention in the Balkans and even to roll back NATO.

But just one year later, as the country’s foreign minister, Fischer helped convince Germans to do the opposite on both counts. What happened? With an opportunity for power at hand, Fischer and the Greens began to make wholesale compromises.  Joachim Jachnow in a wonderful 2013 piece that is well worth reading in full at New Left Review:

These manifesto commitments were abandoned a few months later when the Greens, with a mere 6.7 per cent of the vote in the September 1998 election, signed up to a coalition agreement with [former chancellor Gerard] Schröder’s spd that gave nato pride of place. Fischer himself had been briefed on the Clinton Administration’s plans for Yugoslavia even before entering office, during a trip to Washington with Schröder and Lafontaine. As with every step in Fischer’s career, self-advancement was marketed as a painful realization of higher truths, whose acceptance did not mean betraying but rather, more perfectly fulfilling, one’s ideals for a better society. The German media almost unanimously promoted the Schröder–Fischer line for military intervention.

The same playbook is now being used with the current German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock, but more on that in a bit. As for Fischer’s Faustian bargain, it was all downhill from there for the Greens. More from Jachnow:

Formerly defenders of the welfare state and proponents of economic redistribution, the Greens became enthusiastic supporters of Schröder’s neoliberal Agenda 2010, which led to a tremendous plundering of public assets, social insurance and pension funds, while repressing wages and granting tax cuts to business worth billions of euros—effectively, a redistribution of wealth from poor to rich.

The party also embraced surveillance, civil rights restrictions, police militarization, and tried to get Germany to back all the US’ Middle East adventures following 9/11. Everything came up roses for Fischer, though. Johnstone writes at Consortium News:

A turncoat is especially valuable in such circumstances. Many principled anti-war Greens left the party, but opportunists flooded in. Fischer could strike the appropriate chords: his reason for going to war was “never again Auschwitz!” – completely irrelevant to the problems of Kosovo but morally intimidating.

From his mentor, former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Fischer learned the art of the revolving door, and in 2007 went into the consulting business with his own firm, counseling businesses on how to relate to political circumstances in various countries. Opportunism can be an art. He also collected lucrative speaking engagements and honorary doctoral degrees from universities around the world – he who never got his high school diploma. From his youthful squat, he has ascended to a luxury villa in the best part of Berlin, with the fifth of his series of attractive wives.

Nowadays, the Green co-leaders, Annalena Baerbock and Robert Habeck, are, respectively, foreign minister and economics minister.

It’s difficult to make sense of their current policies aside from their desire for war – with Russia, with China, maybe Iran, and whoever else the ringmasters in DC want. They opposed the Nord Stream pipelines, although German coal has now made a comeback, signaling a failure in the party’s attempts to reconcile capitalist expansion to environmental sustainability. They also oppose coal and nuclear energy. They support a quick shift to EVs and heat pumps, but the electricity math doesn’t come close to adding up. Ralph Schoellhammer writes at Unherd:

Germany is faced with the prospect of reducing electricity supply by almost 40% while demand is estimated to increase by 20%. So how does the government plan to solve this problem? According to recent reports, by doubling gas firing capacity (from currently 15% to 30%), which of course begs the question of where that gas will be coming from. Supposedly LNG will be the answer, but it is questionable whether Qatar, the US, and other LNG exporters will be capable of satisfying this increasing demand, given the ambitious timetable put forward by the German government.

Despite their illogical energy policies, John Helmer at Dances With Bears makes an important point about how the Greens’ pro-war positions keep improving their vote count in aerospace and defense areas of Germany:

Kiel is home to Krauss-Maffei Wegmann Maschinenbau, builder of the Leopard tank. In the Kiel parliamentary vote of 2021, the Greens gained almost 14% to score 28% of the total, while the SDP lost ground but held on to the seat with 29.5%. Just over two thousand votes separated them. The anti-war Left and Alliance for Germany (AfD) candidates lost ground in Kiel, ending up with 5% and just over 7,000 votes each.  In Dusseldorf, headquarters for the Rheinmetall group, the Greens gained 13% in 2021 from the SDP and CDU, losing narrowly to the CDU. Similar vote switches to the Greens were recorded in Essen and Duisburg, where Thyssen-Krupp directs its military industrial complex.

On the other hand, the Greens now fully back pseudo-environmentalism efforts that benefit corporate interests. Johnstone describes how the WEF-influenced Greens see this playing out:

The Greens have not forgotten the environment, and see “climate neutrality” as the “great opportunity for Germany as an industrial location.” The development of “climate protection technologies” should “provide impetus for new investments.” Their program calls for creation of a “digital euro,” secure mobile “digital identities” and “digital administrative services.”

Indeed, the Green economic program sounds very much like the Great Reset advocated by the World Economic Forum at Davos, with a new economy centered on climate change, artificial intelligence and digitalization of everything.

What to make of such a hodgepodge of policies? Maybe Habeck and Baerbock just want power and riches like Fiscer and will say just about anything, as Baerbock did when she proudly announced the quiet part out loud about NATO being at war with Russia.

Whatever motivates Habeck, Baerbock, and the rest of the Greens, the outcome is still the same: the formerly pacifist party no longer even feigns passive resistance to the worst impulses of the American empire. Instead, they align completely under the guise of a faux human rights, feminist foreign policy.

And Baerbock and the rest of the Greens are patted on the head for it by the New York Times, Washington Post, and all the respected members of transatlantic high society. This attitude from Josef Joffe, former publisher-editor of Die Zeit, seems to be the prevailing wisdom among that crowd:

Like the White Queen in Alice in Wonderland, the Greens once believed in many impossible things before breakfast. So did most Germans. The country would get plentiful cheap gas from Russia, safely switch off its last three nuclear power plants by the end of 2022, and replace oil and coal with sun and wind.

Germany could also let its army rot, shrinking it from 500,000 to 180,000. The former Reich would act as a ‘power of peace’, beholden to its culture of (military) self-denial. Trade and investment would tame Russia and other aggressors. Made in Germany would prevail.

In other words, the Greens are good, responsible adults now who impoverish their people and pursue wars that could end life on earth as we know it. It’s unclear why Joffe believes plentiful, cheap gas from Russia is the stuff of fairytales. Many other countries are doing just that. In light of the American sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines, he likely means that the US, as the occupying power of Germany, would never allow it. Regardless, Joffe argues that the Greens have grown up and their bellicosity now makes them the most “rational” party in Germany, which is truly frightening. But again, this narrative is being widely pushed by the German media, and the Greens are actually rising in the polls.

Let the good times roll.

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  1. Meddle

    There’s a good case that the German Greens have become the political formation of the German PMC. Very enlightening piece, thank you.

    1. vao

      Their conviction that technology will solve environmental problems and the climate crisis while allowing sustainable growth is telling.

      1. ChrisFromGA

        It’s almost as if they would rather lie to themselves than admit the truth that capitalist expansion and environmental sustainability are fundamentally irreconcilable.

      2. Mr Robert Christopher

        How many of these visionaries understand what underlies Technology?

        It’s those darn Science, Engineering, Mathematics, and Business ‘things’, that happen in other university departments, and they have graduates that analyse, plan, and have a risk list for each project – and keep it up-to-date!

        And where is the competent person, who knows such things, for the whole programme – and takes responsibility, because he understands what is going on! :)

  2. digi_owl

    What seemed to happen was that during the late 60s, the material basis for marxism and its offshots were tossed aside. End result was a left only driven by emotional qualms, same as had been the case before Marx published his works.

    1. vao

      Well, as I explained elsewhere, there were plenty of maoist transfuges in the early days of the German green party.

      Most of them are now quite old, but when looking at their CV, it is clear that the heyday of those former maoists turned green was during the Gerhard Schröder / Joschka Fischer government — precisely when the greens finally dumped their pacifism and went all militaristic. Maoists are assuredly not pacifists — power coming out from the barrel of a gun, revolution not being a gala dinner, and all that.

      1. pjay

        I don’t quite follow these references to Marxisim or Maoism. Obviously, those Greens who were successfully co-opted by the emerging neoliberal, pro-NATO consensus were not motivated by any real form of “Marxist” political ideology, only self-interest. “Marxism” has about as much to do with their political advancement as it did for the former “Trotskyists” who became our beloved neocons in the US. To advance, you serve the powers that be and their interests.

        You may be making a point about the psychology of such individuals, but that is a different issue. I suppose historical antagonism to the USSR by “Maoists” or “Trotskyists” could be pointed to, but that seems rather a stretch in this post-Soviet history.

        1. vao

          I never argued that the ideological variant of marxism directs their policies — after all, both former-maoists greens had abandoned maoism, just like former-trotskyists neocons had abandoned trotskyism.

          However, both maoists and trotskyists were traditionally hard-liners hell-bent on ideological purity (including their own form of “cancellation” for deviationism), never had qualms about relying on heavy-handed methods, and were staunchly anti-USSR and anti-Russia (which was anyway the country defining what was happening in the USSR and the Warsaw Pact).

          That mentality definitely played a role in the immediate aftermath of the USSR dissolution, i.e. the 1990s. Which is exactly the decade when the Greens and the neocons ascended to positions of influence and power in Germany (under Schröder) and in the USA (under Clinton), leading, in the case of Germany, to a 180 turn regarding pacifism and military interventions in a Green party infiltrated by former maoists.

  3. John R Moffett

    Lots of political players on the left realize eventually that if they allow themselves to be absorbed by The Blob, they suddenly find themselves in positions of real power, with powerful backing in the upper echelons and in the corporate press. They no longer have to struggle to get their message out, it is broadcast far and wide with great fanfare. So it really all boils down to wanting and gaining power in a world controlled by The Blob.

    1. johnherbiehancock

      but their message is no longer material… their message is whatever the blob wants them to say.

      I guess it’s telling they never cared about the message, just that they get to say it.

      1. Daniil Adamov

        Perhaps they think they could achieve something on some issues by compromising on others to become part of the elite. Whether it is environmentalism or minority rights or what have you.

    2. tevhatch

      Greed and Power are often in proximity.
      “Recall reading some time ago that MIC money, mostly funneled through labour unions in Kiel, took over the German Greens. Tis odd physics but tests show a 1 kg brickbat dropped 1 meter onto a desk makes far less impact that 1 kg brick of €100 banknotes gently placed.” (Links February 7, 2023 at 11:18 am)

  4. Christof

    Why dive down this pipeline conspiracy theory rabbit hole and this insane “Great Reset” meme, just to prove something that’s not even true? This kind of loosely sourced narrative would have you smearing the NYTimes for promoting an agenda, so why is it fine here?

    I’m pretty sure they all want the war to be over sooner than later. If the Germans wanted war, they could have rolled tanks into Ukraine all on their own, and blown up that pipeline without any help. If there was any strategic blunder that created this war tragedy, it was the opposition of nuclear power plants.

    If the Greens are doing it wrong, committing atrocities, and driving Europe into poverty, please can you provide another alternative strategy that doesn’t appease Putin’s imperialism?

    1. BillS

      Thank you for your opinion Christof. Let us have a look at your questions.
      1) Pipeline conspiracy: How do you know it is not true? The “Great Reset” is something that was publicly discussed by the WEF and its goals are not a secret. ( About the pipeline: The fact is that it was blown up by someone who was not the Russians. Are you not interested in who perpetrated this act of war against Germany and Russia or are you more interested in covering it up to facilitate some other agenda?
      2) Alternative strategy against “Putin’s imperialism”. What “imperialism” of Putin are you talking about? Please explain. Also, explain how Germany (and perhaps you) benefit by taking a knee to US imperialism. Would you like your children to be shipped off to the Eastern Front at some point in the not too distant future to defend those “European Values (TM)” and American profits? Maybe you will volunteer yourself, no?

      I would bet that not many US servicemen are keen to face off with the New Red Army in Ukraine. Let’s send the German Greens to fight alongside their Azov/Svoboda/Pravy Sektor buddies. It’s too easy to shill for war when you have no skin in the game.

      1. Irrational

        I might borrow your expression “European Values (TM)” to preface my usual whinge that democracy, freedom and transparency seem to mean support for a regime which bans political opposition parties, shells its minorities and is a world leader in corruption. Go EU!

      2. Jams O'Donnell

        And 3) “Putin’s imperialism” You (Christof) will have to provide strong evidence of that. The facts are that the Ukrainian separatists in the Donbas etc. appealed to Putin for him to incorporate them into Russia, 14 or so years ago. He refused. Further, before the SMO in the Ukraine, Putin put forward proposals to the west which would have avoided the SMO being put into effect, and would have resulted in no Russian forces setting foot in the Ukraine. Putin seems to have a strange imperialist practice involving not jumping at the chance of taking territory.

        1. Christof

          If this strange appeal from the Donbas to be annexed was merely the “facts,” Putin’s rhetoric wouldn’t be what it is, and the Russian military wouldn’t have led a brigade into Kiev.
          Honestly, get your “facts” straight.

          1. CarlH

            You have been asked repeatedly to back up your claims, sorry, “facts”. Please do so. I am genuinely interested in what you come up with.

          2. Johnny Conspiranoid

            “If this strange appeal from the Donbas to be annexed was merely the “facts,” Putin’s rhetoric wouldn’t be what it is, and the Russian military wouldn’t have led a brigade into Kiev.”
            Why not?

      3. hemeantwell

        Russian imperialism is a geostrategic cliche. Soviet occupation of Eastern Europe is the background reference, and use of the cliche carries with it the requirement that we not consider the defensive purposes that occupation served. A very similar scenario is now being replayed, as Russia has been repeatedly shoved out of the structure of European security guarantees beginning with the Lost Decade of the 1990s. As others are pointing out, the cliche also carries the requirement to avoid thinking about imperial features of US policies. It would be helpful to consider how often it is emphasized, as part of looking at supply chain problems related to the war, that Russia can function pretty well as an autarchy, while the US is very dependent on overseas resources.

      4. Christof

        Dude, if you’re going to claim that anyone doubting if a narrative hinging on one unnamed source is merely an “opinion” then you’re going to have a hard time figuring out how to live your life.
        It’s the type of thing the writers for naked capitalism would normally be skeptical of.

        Everything else you’re on about, that a country literally invading another country with an army, isn’t “imperialism” then you’re just trying to fire potshots at boogiemen you don’t even understand.

        I personally don’t have any dog in this fight, and don’t even make advertising money or get personal notoriety off of hot takes.

        1. pretzelattack

          it’s not imperialism, and the story is far far more credible than the ones used to justify Russiagate or the invasion of Iraq or Afghanistan or Vietnam, or freaking Grenada for that matter. if you think this war was based on Russia’s desire to acquire territory and resources you know nothing about it.

          1. Christof

            More disingenuous what-about-ism in the great global game of poker, where everyone’s cheating.
            Taking land by force is the fundamental basis of imperialism, and America’s past imperialism doesn’t justify Russia’s current cruelty.
            Read a history book.

            1. tevhatch

              Taking land by force is the fundamental basis of imperialism, and America’s past imperialism doesn’t justify America’s current cruelty.

              Fixed it for you.

            2. Stephen

              To accuse Russia of imperialism independently of considering US and European imperialism is not a fair approach.

              Western wars of aggression across the Middle East are a good example of imperialism in modern day clothing.

              In the current conflict all sides are guilty of creating escalations. But to take a one sided approach that blames only Russia is the path to war.

              My read of Russia for what it is worth is that they do have valid security concerns including a dislike of missiles close to Moscow. The west chooses to ignore this because many people seem to seek conflict. They like the idea of this being 1914 and of joining a crusade against what they see as evil.

            3. BillS

              You obviously have no idea what you are talking about. Imperialism can take many forms, some of which involve invasions. The preferred American method of imperialism, for example, is through the use of international institutions and corporations, generally using military force when it is necessary to enforce access when it encounters resistance. Ancient Rome relied heavily on military force to subdue its neighbors and extract resources (and this is indeed the model that you seem to refer to). The Russians historically have never wanted to stray far from their motherland and I have no reason to believe that anything has changed in that regard. In general, they want to be left alone in their enormous country (do they really want it to be bigger?) and woe to deluded demagogues from the West who choose to fight against the Russians in their own neighborhood. This is the reality of the last 250 years. No amount of righteous whinging from the Euro-american PMC will change this.

              War is a cruel business, no matter who does it. The Russians are no more uniquely evil than Americans, Europeans, Chinese or anyone else. Our idiot neocon political class seem driven by the idea that Russians are a sort of “Asiatic Horde” that are barely even human. They don’t really think much of the Ukrainians, either since they are willing to sacrifice Ukraine to their vainglorious vision for the world and have supported all manner of death-cults to achieve their aims.

        2. Johnny Conspiranoid

          “that a country literally invading another country with an army, isn’t “imperialism””
          Not necessarily, for instance NATO’s invasions of Yugoslavia, Libya, Iraq and Syria were obviously imperialism but Russia’s invasion of The Ukraine is not since they are engaged in a humanitarian intervention to save ethnic russians across the border from The Ukraine’s terrorist facist government and also have the right to protect themselves from nuclear threats being brought to their border.

        3. PHarris

          Look up the UN Charter on genocide when it comes to neighbouring countries, and revisit the facts concerning eight years of Donbass shelling and oppressive laws against minorities by the Ukrainian government. It’s there as a justification for Russia’s military action.

    2. The Rev Kev

      ‘please can you provide another alternative strategy that doesn’t appease Putin’s imperialism?’

      Negotiate? But this time in good faith? Don’t station-nuclear capable missiles on the border with Russia to lower tensions? Settle all security issues with Russia instead of destroying piecemeal every organization that was meant to do so? Stop staging coups in countries bordering Russia or who are friends with Russia. Yeah, I realize that these are some pretty radical ideas but hey, desperate times calls for desperate measures.

      1. Christof

        “negotiating” with terrorists is not a productive strategy.
        The basis of “negotiating” is never “i get more than i had before, but the pain keeps stopping for you” either.
        Because the responsibility to have “good faith” negotiations would also fall on Russia at that point.
        But somehow you knew that already, and wanted to throw out a red herring anyhow.

        1. The Rev Kev

          “negotiating” with terrorists is not a productive strategy

          Yeah, you’re right. You don’t negotiate with terrorists, especially if they have nukes. We should nuke them. Just to be safe mind.

          1. Daniil Adamov

            To be honest, I don’t see that it is worth negotiating with, unlike lesser terrorist groups. The American government is simultaneously very powerful and very irresponsible. As such, it cannot be expected to honour any agreement.

        2. c_heale

          Contrary to this assertion, negotiating with terrorists is the most productive strategy.

          Terrorism is used by a smaller power against a larger power which has the overwhelming monopoly of force.

          Negotiating has the the following positive outcomes – first, the violence stops or is diminished. And second, a society finds a way to acknowledge and alleviate the underlying issues, causing the terrorism.

          However, the conflict in Ukraine is not terrorism (although this may be present internally in the conflict).

          It is two other things simultaneously – a civil war in Ukraine, and a great power war between the US/EU and Russia (or Russia/China).

          The basis of negotiating is finding common ground. Nothing else.

        3. Daniil Adamov

          ““negotiating” with terrorists is not a productive strategy.”

          Isn’t it?

          The ANC were terrorists, once (as an objective descriptor of their strategy), and I’d argue so was the old South African government. While modern South Africa is hardly ideal, I think it is better off for those terrorists negotiating with each other.

          Modern Ireland likewise has enjoyed decades of relative peace (outside of Ulster). It is the result of the British government negotiating with terrorists.

          Conversely, trying to fight terrorists to the bitter end… how well has that worked out in the Middle East so far?

          Maybe negotiating with terrorists is the smart thing to do, provided you can get them to the negotiating table in the first place. Situationally, anyway.

        4. tegnost

          I believe russia referred to the bombing as a terrorist act, so whoever blew the pipeline is the terrorist in russias view.
          Russia did try good faith negotiations, see minsk 1 and minsk 2

          Taking land by force is the fundamental basis of imperialism

          and taking land by finance is called super imperialism!

          What do you bet that were russia not in syria the US would have “taken” that land too?
          How many military bases does russia have abroad? More than the 800 imperial outposts of the good ol’ USA?
          How many foriegn leaders has russia couped or assassinated?
          When was the last time russia fought with someone not sharing their border?
          John Prine gives good advice…
 Spanish Pipedream
 Flag decal
          Maybe you’re not a gringo, so you might not know that this next song is/describes america today, here in the real world…
 Summers end
          We’re huffing brand fumes at this point…

        5. Johnny Conspiranoid

          ““negotiating” with terrorists is not a productive strategy.”
          And that’s why Russia isn’t negotiating with NATO.

    3. Kouros

      Yes, everyone wants the war to be over sooner rather than later, but does everyone envisions the same terms?

    4. Daniil Adamov

      “Why dive down this pipeline conspiracy theory rabbit hole and this insane “Great Reset” meme, just to prove something that’s not even true?”

      What isn’t true?

      “I’m pretty sure they all want the war to be over sooner than later.”

      I’m not so sure. If that is what they want then they could always stop supporting the losing side. They may well have good reasons for trying to draw the war out instead, but that is logically the opposite of wanting it to be over sooner than later. (Or of course they could “want” it in theory, but act to achieve the opposite result, which renders this “want” meaningless. We all “want” things…)

    1. Michael Fiorillo

      Bet on it: Howie Hawkins, former Green Party candidate in NY, is busy telling everyone how we need “solidarity” with the Ukes.

      1. elkern

        Hawkins has always been a relatively “red” Green. US Greens political philosophy has “Four Pillars” – Ecological Wisdom, Peace, Social Justice, and Grassroots Democracy – and Howie is primarily focused on the Social Justice pillar.

        The R2P framework for US Foreign Policy promoted by the Clinton Admin is popular because it appeals to basic human compassion, attracting many Progressives & Leftists as well as more mainstream Liberals. I get it; I originally supported the US/NATO bombing of Serbia “because the Serbs continued to massacre Bosnians” (and because I still generally trusted MSM at that point).

        Through the same timeframe, US Socialists got sucked into the GOP’s Culture War and came to focus more on Race and Gender issues rather than Class. This may have been intentionally engineered by Democrats, but I haven’t seen any proof.

        I respect Howie – he has worked tirelessly for decades to help poor people in Syracuse – but he hasn’t recognized the Big Picture (stated beautifully here a few days ago by Michael Hudson & Radhika Desai). He may also be influenced by needing to maintain allies among Liberal Democrats, who overwhelmingly buy the party line on pretty much all FP.

        Hawkins is heavily (& noisily) opposed to Green participation in an upcoming anti-war rally because it was primarily organized by Rand Paul types, but the Green Party chose to endorse participation.

        Yes, this is an ongoing fight within the US GP, but so far, the Peaceniks are “winning”.

      2. Adam

        More than the Green Party candidate in NY, he was their choice for President in 2020 (and looks like he’s running again in 2024). He was running around spouting Russiagate nonsense then, so I’m not surprised he’s talking up solidarity with Ukraine now. I’m not sure if US Greens can be even more irrelevant, but Howie Hawkins is definitely the one who can lead them there if it’s possible.

  5. tom67

    I am German and got to say: good article. Three things though to add:
    1. Fischer was most likely open to blackmail from the start of his career. As a young street fighter he had thrown a molotov cocktail into a police car and one policeman nearly died from his burns and was afterwards handicapped for life. I followed the story at the time and the evidence was such that any other person would have been indicted. Same most likely for Scholz. Chancellour Scholz is corruption incarnate. When he was mayor of Hamburg he directed the local IRS not to collect a fine of 30 million from Warburg bank. The scandal is flaring up time and again whenever Scholz is being to reticent about supportung Ukraine.
    2. John Helmes connection between German armament industries and the Greens is pure bulshit. It is a wellknown fact that the US wants Leopards to be delivered from the arsenals of smaller Nato countries in order to then supply the replacement tanks. It is all about gaining market share from Rhein Metall. The famous “remilitarisation” of Germany and the monies earmarked for it will be spent on Chinook helis for which Germany has no need and the infamous F-35.
    3. The take over of German decision making by US interests is capped by economics minister Habeck having made ex Blackrock Germany Elga Bartsch head of economic planning and by Baerbock giving the American Jennifer Morgan (ex Greenpeace) German citizenship and elevating her to “special representative” for climate change.

    1. Ignacio

      Thank you Tom. Good complement for the very good job Connor did, IMO. I think you get it right in point 2. Points 1 and 3 have much explanatory power.

    2. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, Tom.

      It’s interesting to note how BlackRock has former or current employees on secondment at the US and UK Treasuries and, advising on pension / retirement reform, the Elysees Palace.

      The US giant also advises the European Commission, but less formally.

    3. The Rev Kev

      ‘Baerbock giving the American Jennifer Morgan (ex Greenpeace) German citizenship and elevating her to “special representative” for climate change.’

      They’re not even trying to hide it any more. I met many young Germans in the 80s who would have fully supported the Greens but the only thing the modern Greens have in common with the 80s version is their name. Reading up on that Joschka Fischer, I can see how in the 90s that he would have fitted in very well with Tony Blair and Bill Clinton. I just wonder when he was ‘turned’ by the security services in exchange for money and power.

    4. Felix_47

      Speaking of German citizenship one area the Greens seem to be generating a lot of electoral support from is migration. Since the Iraq war Germany has undergone a massive demographic change. The older bio Deutsch are ageing out and the younger ones are emigrating. The cities are transforming into lawless or Sharia oriented Muslim districts. A very large proportion of migrants are young, testosterone loaded men. The Greens are putting in a program to grant citizenship in as little as three years to migrants.They are loosening the language requirements to trivial. They are loosening the family reunification requirements. In my kids school a very substantial number of children barely speak German and English is more common. These new voters do tend to vote Green on the immigration issue. The Greens seem opposed to any sort of national state and this might account for their attitude towards Russia which seems more nationalistic.

      1. Louis Fyne

        gonna bite them in the long run. How many 18 y.o. Germany-born Turks/Arabs are going to volunteer to fight/bleed/die in the Budeswehr?

        And if Berlin turns to conscription—-that’s how you get draft riots like in NYC during the US Civil War.

    5. Bugs

      Thanks for this. Blackrock has its eyes on French pensions as well and if the Macron “reforms” pass, the next step is financialization of the system. French Greens are now no better than the Germans on issues of war and I don’t want them near power.

    1. BillC

      Hr. Lafontaine’s wife, Sahra Wagenknecht, is no sellout, either. Unfortunately she’s no longer a major party leader, but still speaking out forcefully and clearly against the current war fever. Check out her “Wochenshau” from 3 weeks ago* for the flavor of her strong and well-reasoned opposition. I know of few peers anywhere in the EU, but despite her cogent arguments and former visibility, she gets little to no mass media coverage.

      * For imperfect but understandable English machine translation, click settings, subtitles-CC, German (auto-generated), auto-translate, and select English from the pull-down menu.

      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, both.

        Irish couple Clare Daly and Mick Wallace and their small band are rare voices of sanity in the European Parliament.

        Having worked with and in Brussels from 2007 – 16, I have witnessed how corrupt MEPs and Commission officials are and able to be blackmailed.

      2. communistmole

        Wagenknecht has just published (together with Alice Schwarzer; Lafontaine and Wolfgang Streeck, for example, have signed it) a Manifest for Peace, which states:

        “We call on the German Chancellor to stop the escalation of arms deliveries. Now! He should take the lead of a strong alliance for a ceasefire and for peace negotiations on the German as well as on the European level”.ür-frieden

        1. Irrational

          Lafontaine regularly posts on – the only German website I have been able to find that is critical of rah-rah-rah war. There have been several articles on Nordstream, including one as reaction to Sy Hersh’s piece.

          1. André Brochu

            You should discover Junge Welt, the broad Leftist daily, and
            Sicht vom Hochblauen (Evelyn Galinski Hecht ) which are websites all definitely fighting for sanity and peace.

      3. Meddle

        Yep. And Wagenknecht has just teamed up with Alice Schwarzer (formerly very prominent 70s/80s feminist leader) to put out a very good petition calling for escalation to stop and talks to start. Good combination of broad appeal and clarity on small number of key points. Seems to be collecting signatures fast. And tied to a demonstration on 25 Feb.

      4. tevhatch

        Anyone the NSA/CIA organ Wikipedia assassinates must be doing a lot of things right. When elites and their PMC pets have us hedging our endorsements because of innuendo, they win. Clare Daly and Mick Wallace (who Colonel Smithers mentions above) got a smear job by some fly-by when I endorsed their actions a few months back on Links. I replied that just means their doing the right job, clean means not worth smearing.

  6. Biologist

    A few thoughts on the greens in the Netherlands, where somewhat similar dynamics are going on (as commented earlier late in the discussion on another post:

    The Dutch greens (GroenLinks, or GreenLeft) were formed at the end of the 80s or early 90s from 4 parties: a pacifist socialist party, ‘The’ communist party (CPN), and 2 christian/evangelical parties which themselves were offshoots of mainstream christian democratic parties.

    Many, even most, ‘sensible’ progressive people I know vote for them. A handful of people I went to school or uni with are members and active in politics.

    I’ve voted for them in the past, as they were one of the few parties that unequivocally stood up for immigrants’ and refugees’ rights.

    But Kosovo 1999 was the breaking point for me. GroenLinks supported the bombing of Serbia, like other green parties across Europe, and I think this was a turning point for many former pacifists / leftists: captured by the ‘humanitarian intervention’ rhetoric, just like today with Ukraine. Sadly many of my friends have drunk the koolaid.

    They have been ruling local politics in Amsterdam for many years now. I know some environmental activists who are fighting against destruction of some nature area for developing a distribution centre, owned by some foreign investment company. The local GroenLinks bureaucrats are squarely on the side of capital.

    1. pjay

      It is striking how effective the “humanitarian intervention” psyop has been in kneecapping any resistance to US expansionism by “liberals” and “progressives” and dividing what is left of “the left” in the US. Since its emergence in the 1990s (once again, thanks Bill Clinton!) it has been used over and over again to turn our highly educated “peace loving” readers of the NY Times, New Yorker, Atlantic, etc. into raving mush-brained cheerleaders for death, destruction, and chaos. I’ve got to say that, however incompetent in fighting wars, the US and its Western allies are still very good at propaganda.

      1. Biologist

        Thank you.

        The Dutch may have been particularly sensitive to that propaganda.

        It was a Dutch batallion that was supposed to protect the civilian (Muslim) population of Srebrenica when it was under siege in 1995, in the Bosnia war. The Dutch soldiers put up no fight when Bosnian Serb armed forces overran it, and stood by when women were separated from the men – the latter to be killed in their thousands in the forests and villages surrounding the town.

        The Dutch commander allegedly said “Don’t shoot the piano player” to Ratko Mladic, head of the local Bosnian Serb army. Google ‘karremans mladic’ and you’ll find a photo of them drinking wine together.

        Four years later, the Dutch were ready to bomb the Serbs ‘to prevent genocide’ – which was the justification used.

        1. jan

          Biologist, are there any parties left in NL that do not want to jump on the/any war-train? Be it in Ukraine or next up China-Taiwan?
          I always tell people how I dislike the US two-party system, because there’s no real choice (and they do their best to keep it that way). As opposed to NL where there are some 20 parties to pick from. But I haven’t really kept up with all those choices after I left for the US in the mid nineties.

          1. Biologist

            To be honest I don’t know.

            The Socialist Party (SP) used to be very anti war and anti NATO, but if I remember correctly they’ve removed their anti NATO stance from their manifesto already 10 years or so ago. Last year they seemed to be tentatively calling for negotiations, with all the usual tropes that must accompany such calls in decent company.

            If I’m not mistaken, the only one voicing some opposition to the war is the extreme right consipiracy nutter Thierry Baudet (FvD). His party is small but quite vocal, and on the rise (but probably not because of the war, more the other extreme right stuff). The other extreme right party (Geert Wilder’s PVV, second largest party in parliament) is very pro NATO, pro US, pro Israel.

            The Dutch population at large is quite on board with NATO and the US, and the media discourse is pretty limited.

        2. LawnDart

          At that time, UNPROFOR went out of its way to demonstrate that it was a non-combatant in the conflict, and believe me, the Serbs tested this.

          I did air/land and airdrop missions over there during Winter of ’92-’93. It sucked. And the leadership sucked too: if I had access to hand-grenades, I would happily have carried-on a tradition from the Vietnam War and fragged some sons-of-bitches. Don’t get me started on the Clintons either, though I’ll say that it’s too bad that the DVs to Sarajevo weren’t actually met by a sniper– the world would be in a better spot today.

          In ’97 I met one of the Dutch soldiers who got caught-up in the Srebrenica incident… …man did it F him up: he was a bawling mess by the end of his story, and we were both seriously drunk by this time. What’s the point of being a peacekeeper if you’re not allowed or capable of keeping the peace? He was a freakin hostage, I was a clay pidgeon, and both were witnesses to some serious BS.

          It could have been an honorable mission.

          1. Biologist

            Thank you for this, interesting perspective.

            I didn’t mean to say that it was individual soldiers’ fault, they were mostly put in an impossible situation. Many were traumatised, and in fact some (many?) developed good relationships with the widows and mothers of Srebrenica, visiting their yearly commemoration of the massacre when nobody in politics or military command was taking any responsibility or apologising. Later, Dutch high courts held the state responsible for not preventing the murders, and a Dutch government resigned over it.

      2. Carolinian

        In his own mind Hitler probably thought he as “saving” Europe from decadence. He then used his victimization narrative to take over a country and kill millions. As they say in the Jean Renoir film Rules of the Game, “everyone has their reasons.” Some of them are bullshit.

      3. hk

        It’s an old argument, though. At the risk of overusing Godwin, the argument was invoked by Hitler in course of Germany’s dispute with Czechoslovakia–Czechs are about to massacre the Sudetens, he said, after Nazis inspired a race riot in the region and Czechs sent the army in (to be fair, the ethnic dispute had been going on so long that it didn’t take too much Nazi instigation and everyone knew that there were problems there).

        By definition, if you are intervening to “prevent” “genocide,” or even “atrocities,” no such event has yet (clearly) taken place and you’re simply asserting some sort of omniscience while insisting that everyone should trust you, and that’s hardly an obvious thing. This is open to all sorts of bad faith excusemaking. Of course, this is exactly what the West is claiming about Russian intervention in Ukraine (although Ukrainian atrocities in the Donbass are fairly well documented–but if no public in the West knows about it, does it count?) But this is all too commonly misused an argument going both ways (see above).

        1. pjay

          Yes, you and Carolina are right that this ideological ploy has been around for a long time. After all, the Crusades were justified as “humanitarian interventions.” I should have said that it *re-emerged* in the 1990s, or was refashioned as a particular propaganda strategy after the US and NATO lost its mortal Enemy, the Soviet Union. It was useful not only in moving tender-hearted liberals, but also in bashing foreign policy “realists” who had more pragmatic views on post-Soviet relations.

      4. spud


        yep, many blame thatcher/reagan, and they also conveniently leave carter out. but reagan did kinda figure it out somewhat, and the tories threw out the nutcase thatcher.

        but it was what came after them from 1993 onwards, that truly did the over whelming damage to the world.

        bill clinton/tony blair/shroder, etc. they were not kool aid drinkers, they were feverish believers in the tales spun by hayek, freidman/rand etc. extremely dangerous people with no grounding at all in reality.

  7. Matthew G. Saroff

    I just want to make an observation, if the PTB on goth sides of the Atlantic have to choose between the (really not that far left wing) Die Linke and the fascist and racist Alternative für Deutschland,they will always go for the latter.

    US and NATO foreign policy has been objectively pro-Nazi since 1946-ish.

    1. vao

      This is nothing new. During the 1930s, the slogan in France was “plutôt Hitler que le Front Populaire” — i.e. better Hitler than the Popular Front (it rhymes in French).

  8. polar donkey

    It is interesting that models of coopting governance get duplicated at various levels of government and all around the western world. Here in Memphis, we have NGO’s like Leadership Memphis and Memphis Tomorrow. They were like single A WEF level if WEF was like Major League Baseball. Leadership Memphis and Memphis Tomorrow sucks in any upcoming future possible leaders. They basically network them together and teach them that corporate HR right think. If you don’t have that right way of thinking, you aren’t getting past the initial classes, and you would have to build a network outside this structure, which is really difficult. Here, right think is dominated by Fedex, the two hospital systems, and banks. LM and MT were based on models in Atlanta. Create a more corporate friendly, progressive cadre of future leaders to break the traditional power structures. Whatever. Same old families moved there way into these organizations. Our problems are still the same, but seeing the power structures is more opaque and dressed up in corporate speak. And we have a massive layer of nonprofits. It is taking a long time for people to realize this is all bs. Dressed up incrementalism at best, neofuedalism at worst. Either way it gives an illusion of democracy. A “democracy” that doesn’t address problems and is becoming discredited. But that’s ok because MT and LM would be fine with a technocracy they still be in charge of.

      1. polar donkey

        The only commonality between Nashville and Memphis is they are in Tennessee. Everything is new in Nashville and it has been a boom town. It has advantages like being state capitol, having a major research university, country music industry, etc. I’m sure it is corrupt like everywhere else, especially with state politics. So that may put a different spin on things, but I know a person who works for Nashville chamber of commerce and it’s all HR corporate right think. Being a state representative or state senator and buck will not get you a coffee in Memphis. State politics in Memphis borders on irrelevant. Nashville, I imagine is different. Lots of graft and contracts. I imagine Nashville will have a property value correction soon, but it may be mild since so many people still moving there. Traffic is terrible in Nashville. It’s a lot safer and prosperous than Memphis though. Additionally, climate change will make Memphis almost uninhabitable during the summer. It already has miserably hot summers now.

        1. LawnDart

          Thank you for the response. I’ve passed through Nashville on the interstate, but in the dead of night, and had no chance to get a feel for the lay-of-the-land. It sounds like a good place to get away from, and it appears relatively easy to do so (at the right time of day).

          I spent some time in Memphis a few years ago (from winter to late summer of 2020), and, no offense to locals, arrived at the conclusion that it was one of many portals to hell, though special in its stink– rampant stupidity, reckless street-racing, poverty in many facets; hot, ugly, and pretty mean. I did meet and worked with some great people though.

          I had planned on leaving for Vietnam, no later than this summer, to pursue certain opportunities there, but spending an additional year here in the US under contract might make the transition easier: I have a choice between Nashville and Detroit.

  9. Peter G. Spengler

    Unfortunately this is not such a ‘great piece’. With some flaws and misunderstandings it sets the origins, character and the thrust of the ‘Greens’ much too late. It was not the pacifist party from the start but rather a wedge into German class [& party] relations forged in social tech laboratories established in collusion with the Club of Rome. If one wants to understand the Green world political purpose in the heart of Central Europe, study two publications against which the Greens are militating since 2021: Klaus von Dohnanyi’s “Nationale Interessen: Orientierung für deutsche und europäische Politik in Zeiten globaler Umbrüche” [] and Gerhard Schröders [quelle surprise] “Warum wir jetzt eine neue Weltordnung brauchen” [].

  10. Clif

    Thank you for the summary explanation and links to sources. Wish I could say how curious this evolution went under-reported.

    1. The Rev Kev

      The Germans now call the Greens the ‘Olive Greens’ because of their warlike attitudes. Not that any of them would sign up for the Bundeswehr. That is something for the plebs to do.

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