DIANA JOHNSTONE: Washington’s Green Branches in Europe

The German Green Party has a chance to join a ruling coalition in September’s election, after turning its back on its roots, to root for Washington.

By Diana Johnstone
in Paris
Special to Consortium News

The core of the American empire is its domination of Europe, directly through NATO and indirectly through a web of treaties, institutions and elite organizations which develop policy consensus and select upcoming leaders in European countries. Pervasive American influence has caused drastically deteriorating relation between Western European countries and Russia.

Russia is a great nation with an important place in European history and culture. Washington’s policy is to expel Russia from Europe in order to secure its own domination of the rest of the continent.

This policy entails creating hostilities where none exist and disrupting what should be fruitful relations between Russia and the West.

It is quite obvious to all serious observers that trade between resource-rich Russia and highly industrialized Germany is a natural fit, beneficial to both – and not least to Germany. A symbol of that beneficial cooperation is the Nordstream 2 pipeline, now nearing completion, which would provide Germany and other European customers with much-needed natural gas at reasonable prices.

The U.S. is determined to block the completion and operation of Nordstream 2. The obvious motives are to block “Russian influence,” to sell Germany more expensive gas from U.S. fracking and eventually to weaken support for Putin in the hope of replacing him with an American puppet, like the drunken Boris Yeltsin who ruined Russia in the 1990s.

But for those Europeans who prefer to reject Nordstream on the basis of high-sounding moral posturing, an abundance of largely fictional pretexts are available: Crimea’s vote to rejoin Russia, falsely portrayed as a military takeover; the incredible saga of the non-poisoning of Alexei Navalny; and the latest: an obscure 2014 explosion in the Czech Republic which is suddenly attributed to the same two Russian spies who allegedly failed to poison the Skripals in Salisbury in 2018.

According to the liberal doctrine justifying the capitalist “free market,” economic self-interest leads people to make rational choices. It follows that many sensible observers have placed their hopes for effective opposition to Washington’s policy of isolating Russia on the self-interest of German politicians and especially of German business leaders.

German Elections in September: Pragmatism vs. Self-Righteousness

Annalena Baerbock (Wikimedia Commons)

Next September, Germans will hold parliamentary elections which will decide who is to be the next Chancellor, succeeding Angela Merkel. On foreign policy, the choice may be between pragmatism and moral posturing, and it is not now clear which will prevail.

Aggressive self-righteousness has its candidate, Annalena Baerbock, chosen by the Green Party to be the next Chancellor. Baerbock’s virtue signaling starts with scolding Russia.

Baerbock is 40 years old, just about a year younger that the Green Party itself. She is the mother of two small children, a former trampoline champion, who smiles even while speaking – a clean image of happy, innocent fitness. She learned fluent English in Florida in a high school exchange, studied international law at the London School of Economics, and advocates (surprise, surprise) a strong partnership with the Biden administration to save the climate and the world in general.

Right after Baerbock was selected as Green candidate, a Kantar poll showed her leading a wide field of candidates with 28 percent, just ahead of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Party (CDU) at 27 percent. But more surprising was a poll of 1,500 business leaders run by the business weekly Wirtschafts Woche, which found that Annalena Baerbock was by far their favorite.

Poll results:

Annalena Baerbock: 26.5%

      Christian Lindner, FDP: 16.2%

  Armin Laschet, CDU: 14.3%

Olaf Scholz, SPD: 10.5%

Undecided: 32.5%

It is natural that the liberal FDP (Free Democratic Party) should score well among business executives. Christian Lindner also advocates harsh sanctions against Russia, indicating that business leaders prefer the two most anti-Russian of the lot. Of course, they may be primarily motivated by domestic issues.

The CDU candidate, Armin Laschet, in contrast, is a reasonable moderate, calling for friendlier relations with Russia. But he is said to lack personal charisma.

Two other parties were mentioned in the Kantar poll. Die Linke, or Left Party scored 7 percent. Its best-known members, Sahra Wagenknecht and her husband Oskar Lafontaine, are outspoken in their criticism of NATO and aggressive U.S. foreign policy. But Linke party leaders who pin their rather frail hopes on being included as junior partner in some theoretical left coalition shy away from such disqualifying positions.

The “Alternative for Germany” (AfD) party favors normalizing relations with Russia, but since it is labeled on the far right, no other party would dare join it in a coalition.

German governments are put together by coalitions. The Greens have positioned themselves to go either left (their origins) or right. The historic decline of the Social Democrats (SPD) and the weakness of the Left Party make the prospects of a Green coalition with the CDU more likely. Such a coalition might include either the SPD or the FDP, depending on the vote.

In one Western country after another, opposition to hostile NATO policy finds opposition on either the left or the right margins of the political spectrum, divided by too many other issues ever to join together. So the conformist center dominates, and as the traditionally dominant CDU and SPD have lost support, the Greens are successfully bidding to occupy that center.

The Green Program: R2P and the Great Reset

Baerbock is a perfect product of transatlantic leader selection. In between jumping up and down on the trampoline, her professional interest has always been international relations from an Anglo-American angle, including her masters degree in international law at the LSE in London.

Her initiation into transatlantic governance includes membership in the German Marshall Fund, the World Economic Forum’s Young Leaders Program and the Europe/Transatlantic Board of the Green Party’s Heinrich Böll Foundation.

On that basis, she has risen rapidly to the leadership of the Green Party, with very little political and no administrative experience.

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The Greens are in perfect harmony with the Biden administration’s new ideological crusade to remake the world on the American model. Echoing Russiagate, and with no evidence, the Greens accuse Russia of malevolent interference in Europe, while advocating their own beneficent interference in Russian domestic policy on behalf of some theoretical “democratic opposition.”

“Russia has increasingly turned into an authoritarian state and is increasingly undermining democracy and stability in the EU and in the common neighborhood,” their electoral program asserts. At the same time, the Greens “want to support and intensify the exchange” with the democracy movement in Russia, which they claim “is growing stronger for human rights, democracy and the rule of law.”

The Greens favor rigid sanctions against Russia and a complete stop of Nord Stream 2:The Nord Stream 2 pipeline project is not only harmful in terms of climate and energy policy, but also geostrategically – especially for the situation in Ukraine – and must therefore be stopped.”

Stack of pipes for natural gas pipeline North Stream 2 at Mukran port, September 2020 (Pedant01/Wikimedia Commons)

The Greens also demand that the Russian government implement its Minsk agreement commitments to end the conflict in Eastern Ukraine, ignoring the fact that it is the Kiev government refusal to carry out the agreements that is preventing a solution.

Baerbock is all for “humanitarian intervention.” The Greens thus propose changing United Nations rules to make it possible to bypass the Great Power veto (held by the U.S., Russia, China, the U.K. and France) in order to use military intervention to “stop genocide.” Her enthusiasm for R2P (the Responsibility to Protect, used so effectively in Libya to destroy the country) should resonate happily in a Biden administration where former U.S. ambassador to the UN Samantha Power is on the lookout for victims to rescue.

Needless to say, 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. International capitalism needs innovation to stimulate productive investment, and climate change provides the incentive. As a World Economic Forum young leader, Baerbock has surely learned this lesson.

Joschka Fischer Champion Turncoat

Joschka Fischer (Wikimedia Commons)

Forty years ago, the German Greens called for an end of the Cold War and condemned the “enemy images,” the negative stereotypes applied to Germany’s former enemies. Today, the Greens promote “enemy images” of the Russians and are primary contributors to the new Cold War.

Baerbock has not had to betray Green ideals – they had already been thoroughly betrayed before she even joined the party 22 years ago by Joschka Fischer.

Fischer was a fast-talking former radical who led the “realist” wing of the German Greens. His nomination as German foreign minister in 1998 was enthusiastically welcomed by top U.S. officials despite the fact that he was a high school dropout who had spent his youth as a leftist street fighter in Frankfurt, not far from U.S. bases.

In March 1999, foreign minister Fischer proved his worth by leading Germany and his “pacifist” Green Party into the NATO bombing war against Yugoslavia. 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.

As he got richer, Fischer took his distance from politics and the Greens, but the Baerbock candidacy seems to have revived his interest. On April 24, Der Spiegel published a joint interview with Fischer and leading FDP politician Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, entitled “We must hit Russia where it really hurts.” Fischer hinted that his meeting with Lambsdorff foreshadowed the possible integration of the FDP into a Green coalition.

Meanwhile, in France

Across the Rhine in France, the French Greens, Europe Ecologie les Verts (EELV), have also been profiting from disenchantment with the established parties, notably the vanishing Socialists and the weakened Republicans. Greens have won several mayors’ offices thanks to poorly attended elections during the pandemic. They have caused some stir by condemning Christmas trees (as victims of being chopped down); by de-sponsoring an aeroclub on the grounds that kids should no longer dream of flying (bad for the environment); and by contributing two and a half million euros of public funds to construction of a giant Mosque in Strasbourg sponsored by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to promote Islam in Europe (Strasbourg already has half a dozen small mosques serving its Turkish immigrant population).

The EELV candidate for French presidential elections in 2022, Yannick Jadot, is inspired by Baerbock’s current popularity to think big. In an April 15 column in Le Monde, Jadot wrote:

The arrival of the Greens in power in Germany in the fall of 2021, if combined with that of the ecologists in France in 2022, will contribute to creating the conditions for the emergence of [a strong European] policy of foreign affairs and common defense…”

Jadot titled his ed op: “Authoritarian regimes understand nothing but the relationship of force.” “All they understand is force” is the stale cliché forever trotted out by powers that themselves prefer using force.

Jadot complains of “the growing aggressivity of the authoritarian regimes that rule China, Russia and even Turkey” and the fact that they “fragilize our democracies by spreading false news” or “buying up our key enterprises”. (This is a good joke, since the U.S. notoriously intervened against France’s nuclear energy producer Alstom to facilitate its purchase by General Electric. (See The American Trap, by Frédéric Pierucci.)

One thing the French and German Greens have in common is Daniel Cohn-Bendit, who has been in and out of both parties, pushing both of them into the arms of NATO and Washington. But a difference between them is that while the German Greens are in a position to go into a coalition on either the right or the left, the French Greens are still identified with the left, and the left has very slight chances of winning the next French presidential elections, even with a khaki-green front-runner.

Biden has announced that the 21st century is the century of competition between the United States and China. For the U.S., it must be about competition, never about cooperation. Europe is not in the running; it lost long ago. The role of Europe is to be the follower, so that the United States can be the leader. The European Greens aspire to lead the followers, wherever Washington leads them.

Diana Johnstone was press secretary of the Green Group in the European Parliament from 1989 to 1996. In her latest book, Circle in the Darkness: Memoirs of a World Watcher (Clarity Press, 2020), she recounts key episodes in the transformation of the German Green Party from a peace to a war party. Her other books include Fools’ Crusade: Yugoslavia, NATO and Western Delusions (Pluto/Monthly Review) and in co-authorship with her father, Paul H. Johnstone, From MAD to Madness: Inside Pentagon Nuclear War Planning (Clarity Press). She can be reached at diana.johnstone@wanadoo.fr

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

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23 comments for “DIANA JOHNSTONE: Washington’s Green Branches in Europe

  1. Piotr Berman
    May 4, 2021 at 09:51

    One of my favorite saying of our President is his reply to a young voter in New Hampshire. “Have you been to Iowa caucuses? It was confusing!!”

    Yesterday I read two very good articles, each by Johnstone, so I was about to congratulate the author for the quality and productivity, but they are two of them!? Confusing? So thank you, thank you Kaitlin, and to you, Diane who wrote the article about the Greens.

    Greens seem to evolve to a bioweapon, a large of a larger strategy to tackle the widely understood Left, and copied from measures applied against mosquito: breed and release millions of sterile individuals (males in the case of mosquitos, but with humans, you want to make them intellectually sterile and harmless). A very reactionary president was elected in Ecuador because of the efforts of green+nativist party that was nurtured, funded and educated by NED and some less overt sources. Being accepted and coopted assures friendly media and material comfort, and opportunist tend to me more organized and effective in internal politics of organizations.

    Thus the preoccupation with “harmless themes” among assorted nominally (and, in part, actually) leftist movements. Ecology is one such theme, especially if gently steered. For example, carbon based fuels are vile, but if necessary, it is better that they come from USA. Nuclear power is vile, but if necessary, Westinghouse rather than Rosatom. Mining is vile, but if necessary, Canadian multinationals rather than Chinese. They share our values, you know… Then there is “woke-ism”, particularly sterile and harmless, deployed against Salmond, a Scottish heretic (works for RT, no less), and a number of harmful leftists in USA as described recently by Glen Greenwald. Sometimes it is very, very weird. An English charitable organization focused on affordable housing issuing demands to Conservative government to release the report of Russian influence (the main reason for the shortage of affordable housing in UK, I presume). There are millions (surely thousands) of those sterile mosquitoes, down to “grassroots level”, and huge efforts to “breed them”.

  2. PEG
    May 4, 2021 at 04:17

    Very good to hear from Diana Johnstone regarding the portending takeover by the German Green Party of power in Germany, at least as the major party in a coalition, which has great dangers for Europe and the world.

    In her highly informative memoir published last year, Circle in the Darkness, Ms Johnstone describes in detail how the Green Party, which had begun as an antiwar, environmentalist movement, was transferred into a pro-war, “humanitarian interventionist” party under the leadership of unscrupulous opportunists such as Joschka Fischer and Daniel Cohn-Bendit, with support of French counterparts such as Bernard-Henri Lévy. As the press officer of the Green faction in the European Parliament, Ms Johnstone was in the catbird seat to observe and report on these developments.

    The German Green Party – despite its sheep’s clothing as an ecological, do-gooder party – is pro-war and imperialist, the exact counterpart of the Clintonite wing of the US Democratic Party, seeking to export “democracy” and “human rights”, stop “genocides” and topple “dictators”, through interventions, bombings and the like, all the name of R2P and humanitarianism.

  3. Rubicon
    May 3, 2021 at 21:20

    It’s ALWAYS good to go to the very heart of the conflict. The pre-eminent Dr. Michael Hudson states it perfectly well,
    ” the conflict between the United States and with Europe is the tail in China. It isn’t a conflict about who’s going to make better iPhones. (Or the isssue about the Russian pipeline into Germany – my words.) It’s a conflict to the death of economic systems. The United States and Europe cannot permit any country to survive that is not polarizing the economy.

    It’s a conflict between an economic system that impoverishes the economy, which is the political aim of the European governments and the American governments, or an economy that is structured so as to help economies grow, which is Chinese pragmatic industrial economy.

    We’re really talking about a conflict not among nations, but between what was industrial capitalism, which is evolving into socialism, or finance capitalism. The United States represents finance capitalism, and it imposed this on Europe as its satellite. As long as Europe lets itself become a satellite for finance capitalism, it’s going to end up being de-industrialized as the United States.

  4. Piotr Berman
    May 3, 2021 at 20:24

    On April 24, Der Spiegel published a joint interview with Fischer and leading FDP politician Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, entitled “We must hit Russia where it really hurts.”

    Too bad Russia is not a satisfying victim, no pleasuring pictures of beggars, hungry children etc. But there is always a consolation in sanctioning Syria and Venezuela, and, best of all, supplying KSA to inflict misery upon Yemen. There you get it all!! The best war porn of 21st century.

  5. Andrew Peter Nichols
    May 3, 2021 at 19:00

    Tge Greebs in Europe are as coopted and cirrupted as all those formerly independent NGOs like Greenpeace. When the latter bafflingly started campaigning on that wretched Syrian Govt Chem Weapons scam and promoting the White Helmets, they were finished. I asked a local rep of GP about where the idea that GP had any remit to add this as a campaign and he simply had no idea. The Greens in Germany are no doubt similarly baffling their own followers.

  6. willie
    May 3, 2021 at 14:19

    Green parties,whether in the Netherlands,France,Germany are always complying with NATO initiatives to bomb poorer countries,providing falsified motivations like “preventing genocide”,”assuring girls can go to school unveiled”and so on.At the same time they turn a blind eye to the multiple civilian deaths”by mistake”,the children born handicapped even ten years later from the depleted uranium.
    The problem is ,that for many voters the green parties are the virtuous alternative to mainstream left/right parties.This is mainly due to the lack of real interest of the voting herd in the outcome of their countries’ foreign politics.And never is foreign policy a voting matter in the run-up of key elections.The people vote green,because everybody loves nature,while the green party’s raison d’être is uniquely to support NATO.

    Thank you very much ,Diana Johnstone for this article!

    PS.The green Mayor of Bordeaux who cancelled the yearly Christmas tree on the city’s main plaza last December,now advocates the chopping down of 1000 hectares of Pin des Landes in the region to replace them with a giant solar energy park.Just to show you how dumb they are:those pine forests were planted initially to drain the swamp-like soil .

    • Piotr Berman
      May 4, 2021 at 10:05

      Given that trees absorb CO2 and French electricity is largely nuclear, this solar energy plan can be actually contributing CO2 to the atmosphere. This may be a better argument than the danger of returning bogs. Bogs are ecologically valuable wetlands, and none are more valuable than swamps along lower Potomac. The latter form a unique ecological habitat of the widely varied swamp creatures that form the economy of Washington, DC. Even Trump reconsidered “draining the swamp”.

  7. Antiwar7
    May 3, 2021 at 12:41

    ‘Jadot titled his ed op: “Authoritarian regimes understand nothing but the relationship of force.” “All they understand is force” is the stale cliché forever trotted out by powers that themselves prefer using force.’

    Brilliant! So true.

  8. Helga I. Fellay
    May 3, 2021 at 12:07

    Excellent article, one of the best I have read in some time. Thank you.

  9. Jeff Harrison
    May 3, 2021 at 11:50

    What these guys don’t seem to understand is that you can only sanction somebody that’s there. Russia is leaving and Europe is going to be the poorer for that departure. And what’s really funny is that now the EU is whining that Russian counter sanctions are illegal and they want them lifted. Russian counter sanctions to Europe’s illegal sanctions. Good luck with that guys. You should have listened to President Putin’s speech.

  10. Maura
    May 3, 2021 at 11:18

    “We need to strengthen the conviction that we are one human family.
    There are no frontiers or barriers,political or social,behind which we can hide,still less is there room for the globalization of indifference. ”
    Pope Francis,Laudato Si,2015

  11. Realist
    May 3, 2021 at 08:28

    If the Greens genuinely wanted to “stop genocide” they’d act to force Ukraine to comply with the Minsk Agreements that it signed and stop the seven-year long bombardment of the Donbass to kill ethnic Russians. Mind you, the deal, which was to guarantee home rule for member oblasts in a federated republic and reunification of the country called Ukraine, was agreed to and signed by the government in Kiev, the breakaway Donbass republics, Russia, France and Germany, with only the two Ukrainian factions having specified responsibilities regarding matters of sovereignty and the borders. The only faction balking at keeping its promises has been Kiev. Analysts say that at least an additional 10-to-12,000 ethnic Russians in the Donbass have been killed by Kievian bombardment since the document was signed. If, as the West contends, Russia has to take the blame for Kiev’s bad faith and intransigence, well so does France and Germany. If Kiev wanted those Russian-inhabited oblasts back it could have had them, by keeping its word. If Germany was consternated by what fits the description of genocide, it should have acted to rectify the problem by focusing its influence on Kiev, instead it saw fit only to chastise Russia as some sort of scape goat.

    One can equally well argue that Germany and the entire United Nations have been remiss about the monumental genocide that’s been conspicuously going on through the authorship and military actions of the United States directed at the populations of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and Somalia, resulting in the deaths, wounding, starvation and displacement of millions of inhabitants of these countries over the past 20 years. Moreover, the Washington government has concomitantly been responsible for unestimated but certainly significant casualties in Iran and Venezuela by virtue of the savage economic wars it has visited upon those two countries, neither of which (just like the aforementioned seven Islamic countries being kinetically attacked) have attacked the United States in any way. If Germany and its Green Party are motivated so strongly by moral principles and upholding international law, why did they not howl in protest over such outrages perpetrated by the United States of America during a period encompassing the first two full decades of this new century? Indeed, a period even far longer than that if we were to include America’s blatant war crimes in Korea, Southeast Asia and the utterly dismembered former country of Yugoslavia. Deal first with your own staggering sins of commission and omission, Germany, NATO and the EU, before you yet again “hit the warpath” to blame Russia for all the purported troubles on this planet–because it’s what Washington demands of you as supine vassals. You are yet again simply being totally and transparently dishonest in your claims and outrageous in your demands. Are there no perceptive, objective and courageous people among your 80 million citizens able or willing to demand honesty and fairness from their national government? How tragic! Nearly as tragic as what routinely plays out on this side of the new iron curtain that our American politicos have fabricated.

  12. Stephen Morrell
    May 3, 2021 at 03:36

    The Greens have always been a petty bourgeois capitalist party whose DNA exhibits both a recessive and dominant anti-communist genes. This, along with them occasionally spouting ‘left’ phraseology, perfectly qualifies the Greens as today’s CIA poster child of the ‘non-communist left’.

    This exposure of their role in Europe, especially their sordid German history and current teutonic ambitions, should be a wake up call to all those elsewhere, especially in Anglophone countries, who coddle and nurse rather profound illusions in them: the closer the Greens get to power, the more they resemble and act for the powerful.

    • Anne
      May 3, 2021 at 12:09

      Indeed. The Germans have NEVER, not really even under Merkl, given up their loathing of the Slavs, especially those within Russia…they considered them untermenschen and were doubtless perfectly happy when the USA (via the CIA and Afghanistan) destroyed the USSR and thus made Russia (under the drunkard) open to western plundering…Until President Putin was elected into office…Then the anti-Russia S*** began all over again…Can’t have Russia becoming a normal country, society – heaven forfend.

      And what is so ludicrous re the German Greens – if they continue to purchase their Nat Gas via Ukraine, it’s still Russian Nat Gas (though if Germany ends NS2, if I were Russia I’d say, Okey Dokey, all of our gas is going elsewhere: China etc…Not through Ukie, Not to you – and you have to recompense the NS2 construction companies FULLY)…Buy US LNG while Pretending to be “Green”…

      What Ms Johnstone doesn’t mention is the Mackinder fear….the US-UK fear that the whole of the Eurasian continent, especially Russia and China (and then Europe – which is NOT a continent in reality, only in racist perception) cooperate and work together against the Anglo nations….

      Clearly Ms Baerbock is a completely unethical, inhumane, immoral and compunctionless barbarian if she is all for “Humane Intervention” (if ever there was a linguistic travesty…) that means western plutocratic govts drop bombs on, missiles on other (always, almost always on peoples of darker skin tones, on poorer countries, societies, cultures) in order to bring them into our line, under our diktat… This world gets worse, worse, not better…

      • jdd
        May 3, 2021 at 18:06

        Perhaps you have forgotten that the alternative, under extreme pressure from the United States, is to purchase more expensive American LNG. As the author points out, this is about geopolitics, not energy or the environment. A comparison of France and Germany since 1980 shows that France which has abundant electricity from nuclear power at a lower cost and less CO2, while Germany, which has shut its nuclear industry, has had soaring electricity soaring costs and more CO2.

        • Anne
          May 4, 2021 at 11:56

          No I haven’t…”Buy US LNG while Pretending to be “Green”..” Is a slightly indirect way of saying that without NS2 and without delivery via the pipeline via UKie…that is what the Germans will be left with…and the cost (to the populous and the environment) will be even greater….

          You clearly presume me to be a thickie and without any comprehension of Diane Johnstone’s argument which is not only insulting, it is UNTRUE…And I agree with her argument overall; all I pointed out were those aspects that she didn’t raise…

  13. James Simpson
    May 3, 2021 at 02:54

    I’m not entirely convinced by this. Although, from an English perspective as someone who was formerly an active member of the Green party and a Euro-election candidate, I can see how Green parties naturally move rightwards as they get closer to power, the Nordstream 2 pipeline is for natural gas. It’s not by any stretch of reasoning an intrinsically beneficial installation when we consider its likely impact on climate change. I don’t regard the argument from the pipeline’s opponents that it would enable Russia to increase its European influence as particularly valid, especially when we compare Russia’s current status with that of the USA. It’s the simple fact that it would entrench a deeply-dangerous fossil fuel at the heart of Europe’s energy supply for decades to come. That can never be right.

    I don’t see anything wrong with “de-sponsoring an aeroclub on the grounds that kids should no longer dream of flying”. If we are serious about combating the coming climate disasters, flying must be minimised, not glamorised. What else should be we do?

    • vinnieoh
      May 3, 2021 at 10:20

      Yes, of course, the worst aspect of the shale gas boom in the US was/is further entrenching the reliance on fossil fuels. Even before the many other deleterious aspects of this industry became understood, this was the foremost reason to oppose it. “If not now, then when?” is a question energy profiteers don’t want humanity at large to really consider. So the fossil fuel paradigm still reigns, and natural gas will remain for some time a widely used energy source. “IF” (tried to make that a big if) it is properly regulated and controlled it is somewhat better than coal.

      These are hard facts, and hard to swallow for those of us that have asked for many decades – “If not now, then when?” Hard choices must be made. So, consider this: LNG purchased from the US comes with a huge climatological impact as it takes tremendous amounts of energy (in the form of burning fossil fuels and subsequent GHG’s) to liquify that gas, ship it across the ocean, and re-gasify it. Between gas piped from Russia via NS2 and LNG compressed and shipped from the US, the Russian gas is the more environmentally “responsible” of the two.

      And remember also, or try to understand, all the vilification of Russia is in the service of profiteering of the US shale gas industry and their investor class, wherever they may reside. As for how Russian gas and Russian pipelines transiting Ukraine works into the mix: that scuffle had been going on for decades (before 2014) and both the Russians and Ukrainians acted in bad faith, tit for tat. And it became a wedge tool to pry Ukraine away from Russia as the US shale gas industry looked for more market for its product.

      To Europeans I say: don’t be fooled – your governments and your politicians are being bought with the very same money that purchased US politicians. And to the same end – for the benefit of those doing the purchasing.

    • Helga I. Fellay
      May 3, 2021 at 12:26

      In order to fight the rise of the so-called “Green” party (which is anything but green and seems more focused on power than the environment), it would be helpful to publish more information about the true nature of the so-called “natural” gas. There is nothing natural about it – it is as unnatural as it can get. The process of mining it is referred to as “fracking.” Fracking is the most environmentally destructive process I have ever heard of. It injects chemicals so toxic that the public is not allowed to know what they are into the ground to fracture rocks in order to extract oil it contains. These toxins enter the subterranean waterways and eventually end up poisoning our drinking water, streams, and finally oceans. The process of liquifying subterraneous rock causes almost continuous minor, and sometimes not so minor, earthquakes, damaging houses and infrastructure in the region. Once a fracking site is exhausted, it is left uncleaned and is not restored by the fracking oil companies. Driving past a heavily fracked region is the most depressing sight – a destroyed landscape.

    • Alex Cox
      May 3, 2021 at 12:28

      That is a good point. However, the Green perspective is, first and foremost, an anti-war one, as war is the greatest environmental crime. Fischer’s support of the war on Serbia discredited the German Greens two decades ago. Will they oppose the creation of LNG terminals to import US gas as well? Or is the Green Party in Germany simply a captured asset of the US?

      Green politics should be anti-capitalist! This is a very useful article: I would be interested to learn more.

    • Antiwar7
      May 3, 2021 at 12:48

      The German Greens changed from pacifist to pro-war, thanks to Joschka Fischer and his followers. And the French Greens are pro-war, too, according to their leader Jadot’s rhetoric: about “understand[ing] nothing but the relationship of force”.

      Being pro-war is not, repeat not, good for the environment.

      Granted, though, it does make a bunch unthinking liberals feel good about themselves, and leads to many Green politicians getting scandalously rich.

    • jaycee
      May 3, 2021 at 13:04

      Industrialized Germany is in no position to curtail fossil-fuels. The plan to shut down Nordstream 2 is based on substituting the Russian natural gas with US origin fracked fuels which have a far greater negative environmental impact.

      The single largest harmful entity re: carbon emissions is the world’s militaries, with the U.S. leading by a wide margin. Yet this harmful and largely unnecessary activity is rarely mentioned when “solutions” such as shutting down regional and international travel are proffered.

  14. Tom Kath
    May 3, 2021 at 01:19

    “Leading the followers” is a great term ! At least some European countries are not as extreme in that direction as my Australian government. Here they slavishly rely on “Big Brother” to protect us, without ever thinking about what “Big Brother” is and what we are to be protected FROM.

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