A commentary by Hermann Ploppa.
In Germany, the fact that high-ranking military officers in neighboring France are at least indirectly threatening President Macron with a coup d’état has only been registered on the sidelines. In two letters published so far to the French government and the French national parliament, the military leaders, who have meanwhile been joined by a quarter of a million citizens with their signatures, demand that they finally take vigorous action against Islamist “hordes in the suburbs”. Subtext: if you don’t do it, we’ll do it ourselves.
After the first letter was immediately downplayed as the nostalgic impulse of “generals in slippers,” so to speak as a fad of worn-out military men who no longer understand modern times, active military men followed up in the next step, making it clear: we are playing with real currency here. Soldiers of the “fire generation” are now joining them: tough guys who have already gone through the steel storm of Mali, Afghanistan or the Central African Republic. They have seen their comrades sink in the desert sand and have continued to fight fearlessly against the evil enemy, Islamism. And last but not least, they faced the enemy on the home front, in France, with composure during Operation Sentinel. And the great catastrophe will not come from a military “pronunciamento,” or Latin American-style coup, but from a civil uprising. That’ s what those military figures are saying.
Harsh words. How would it be: Bundeswehr officers write to Mrs. Merkel that she should take more energetic action against Islamists. Otherwise, there would be a solid coup. And this letter would have been published in a new-right, identitarian magazine. Thank God we have not yet reached that point. But if the political caste in Berlin continues as it is, one day it could be that hotshots in the German armed forces will want to interfere in politics. A new generation of soldiers has long since risen to the higher ranks of the Bundeswehr, and they no longer have much in common with Count von Baudissin’s famous “citizen in uniform”.
However, one has to deal seriously and objectively with the two warning letters of the French officers. Unfortunately, the conditions described in the letters are by no means a free invention. The child has fallen into the well. The situation in the French suburbs is explosive. You can’t just park the children of French colonialism on the outskirts of the big metropolises and then do nothing about it except bang on every now and then when cars are burning. Dumping people in a gigantic, ice-cold battery of laying eggs – that just can’t go on. That’s what the militarists are calling attention to in their very own convoluted militarist language.
But instead of addressing the underlying problems and asking how it is that, according to a survey, 58 percent of all French people supposedly approve of the military’s advance, all we see on the part of the ruling pseudo-liberal mainstream bloc is flight from reality par excellence. Among the military, there is a large percentage of sympathizers of the right-wing Rassemblement National of the ” crazy ” politician Marine Le Pen. And they are already campaigning for Le Pen. Yes, of course, Marine le Pen can be happy about this tailwind from the military. Yes, and of course this is all right-wing populism and sinister Trumpism again. Further efforts to even begin to understand the military’s threatening posturing are no longer necessary, thanks to this well-subtle concoction, more appropriately called framing. Let’s try to classify the problem. It quickly becomes clear from the public letters of the French military that they are just as incapable as the civilian government politicians in Paris of adequately grasping the situation.
It is not without reason that the first letter was published on April 21. Exactly sixty years earlier, high-ranking military officers had attempted a coup against the government of General de Gaulle. De Gaulle had assumed the presidency in 1958 in the Fifth Republic, which had been specially cobbled together for him. This was because the politicians of the Fourth Republic could not cope with the Algerian question.
In fact, Algeria was not to be released into independence, but was to be annexed to the colonial “mother country,” France, as a département. But the independence movement in Algeria put up the toughest resistance. De Gaulle succeeded in leading Algeria to independence. But the price for de Gaulle was high. The terrorist organization OAS subjected de Gaulle to countless assassination attempts, all of which the legendary World War II general survived unscathed. To this day, it is not clear whether the American secret service, the CIA, had a hand in these assassination attempts.
After all, de Gaulle did everything to make France a sovereign nation-state: he withdrew the French armed forces from NATO and, together with the German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, tried to build a European counterweight against the American superpower. Thus, even in the military’s current two incendiary letters to Macron, there is no reference to France’s great unifier, Charles de Gaulle. The presumed author of the incendiary letter is Jean-Pierre Fabre-Bernadac. The captain had already published the incendiary letter on March 13 in the military magazine Place d’Armes. Fabre-Bernadac came from a family of Pieds-Noirs who emigrated to France after the Algerian War.
Fabre-Bernadac has nothing to do with colonial restraint and cooperation with the non-aligned nations of the Third World, as General de Gaulle aspired to. Rather, the current French protest militaries are the product of joint foreign operations in spirit and lockstep with NATO. The NATO narrative that foreign deployments serve exclusively to destroy a perverted Islamism is regurgitated one hundred percent by the angry military in the current incendiary letter. Not for a second does at least this faction of the French military ask itself whether its own military actions are not rather about the brutal enforcement of massive business interests of French or, in a broader sense, Western business interests. And whether one’s own acts of violence in the former colonial countries do not make that intolerant variety of Islamism come to the fore, against which one now pretends to fight. It is not a critical question whether one does not cut off the head of a Hydra, which then immediately grows two new heads?
Finally, there was Operation Sentinel. When France was shaken by horrible terrorist atrocities in 2015 and before, the response of the government there was simply to permanently cover the entire country with martial civil war armies of military and police. France, once a nation of culture, mutated into a military state that, at least in appearance, bears a fatal resemblance to Latin American military dictatorships. I have experienced it myself. In the summer of 2019, we wanted to visit the beautiful garden of the painter Claude Monet in the little village of Giverny in Normandy with a group of friends. Our queue to buy tickets was accompanied by soldiers in combat uniforms with unlocked machine guns. What a contrast to the impressionistic peace garden of Monet! The cultural nation of France can no longer be trodden on with military boots in a more ingenuous manner.
This militaristic recipe of the pseudo-socialist Hollande government was continued and radicalized by his successor Macron. Military, military and even more police, that is the great universal recipe against all problems. There is no longer any sign of proactive state social policy. And with the Corona campaign, social inequalities are becoming even more radicalized. Unlike Macron, however, the military at least still has some trace elements of a realistic perception of social undesirable developments. However, they only see everything from their perspective as security experts. And on top of that, they dress it up ideologically by imagining themselves as protectors of the Christian West. Civilian politicians have declared military solutions to be the silver bullet. The protesting military and the ignorant civilian elite have in common that they can make good use of the Islamist hydra for their own purposes of exaltation. When, as last fall, fanned tensions lead to angry young men cutting off the head of a history teacher in the suburbs (banlieues) of Paris, that too leads only to the conclusion: repression, repression, closely followed by repression.
There is not even the slightest thought that the escalating tensions could be improved through social justice. Taking the wind out of the sails of the spiral of violence through satisfied fellow citizens – that is not possible at all. The decadence of the Western elites is now far too advanced. The people are banned from contacting each other and from visiting public restaurants. Finally, French television captures the rich and the beautiful secretly enjoying themselves at festive parties. Poorly presented denials by self-appointed “fact-checkers” try to mitigate the loss of reputation.
But we know that from Germany, as well. The Federal Minister of Health at the mask-free sponsor dinner without social distancing; buying a mansion in the fine west of Berlin for 4.4 million euros, while families in Marzahn no longer know how to make ends meet. The ignorance in social questions is not to be overlooked. Whereas in earlier times Chancellor Helmut Schmidt lived in a semi-detached house with his Loki in Hamburg’s working-class Bergedorf district, today a soccer player in his mid-twenties is already a multiple millionaire under fortunate circumstances. That cannot be good in the long run.
Fortunately, we are still a long way from French conditions in Germany. Fortunately for us, we have no colonial past worth mentioning. And thus no heavy social mortgage. Only since 2015 have we had a major influx from regions of the world where Western military operations have made life hell for the people. These problems could be avoided. One would only need to ban the export of German weapons. Prohibit the mass purchase of agricultural land, so-called land grabbing. Put a stop to the big agribusinesses. Cancel perverse trade agreements that ruin farmers in the Third World. We must help the countries we have ruined get back on their feet. That costs a lot of money. But the money is well spent. We will then no longer need civil war soldiers armed to the teeth in Germany. In Germany, we are beaten by a pseudo-liberal, pseudo-ecological power cartel that does not hesitate to call for a close alliance with NATO.
Olive-green war fanatics like Annalena Baerbock are already implicitly producing the next wave of migration. And on this point, the French military and the red-red-green organic food strategists are in absolute agreement: only military force can help against social upheavals. It is so convenient to deliberately misunderstand social problems as ethnic and religious-cultural problems. Or even to spin oneself into the self-referential cocoon of political correctness of the Cancel Culture and in this way to seal oneself off against the realization that one’s own prosperity is based on the backs of an ever greater mass of the disenfranchised and dispossessed in this world. To mentally detach oneself from one’s own responsibility for the increasing social inequality through self-righteousness.
The disenfranchised and dispossessed currently find no allies among intellectuals. They are left to their own devices and exposed to the simplistic explanatory patterns of the rebellious military. Moreover, fairground jugglers are explaining the world and earning themselves silly money with their simple-minded fairy tales on YouTube. The only consequence is to launch non-university education programs for the new marginalized as soon as possible. Knowledge is power. The rising middle classes knew that when they still had to make a living under the thumb of the parasitic feudal lords. And that is now the issue again. The unions are not only failing across the board to provide people in precarious jobs with an adequate educational resource to fight back. Today, more than ever, the unions see themselves as the first officers of the corporate bosses. They make sure that their clientele does not become rebellious. All parties in the Bundestag spectrum fail miserably when it comes to a genuine social policy.
This absolute defenselessness of the lower classes also existed on German soil in early Prussia. But the labor movement, in cooperation with the educated middle classes and Christian social doctrine, succeeded in creating effective infrastructures in the German state system, from which we still benefit to some extent today. So it works to create these infrastructures of mutual self-help in solidarity.
We should use the coming federal election campaign offensively to campaign loudly and audibly for a credible policy of social justice and peaceful coexistence. We must succeed in opposing this brown-red-black-blue-green one-size-fits-all of militarization and mass impoverishment with something truly new.
This is not only our chance. It is our duty to do so.
For us. For our children. For our grandchildren.
Thanks to the author for the right to publish the article.
Image source: Frederic Legrand – COMEO / shutterstock
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