Easter March speech by the International Councillor of the German IPPNW, Dr Helmut Lohrer

Easter March speech   https://wp.me/paI27O-4EW

Emphases mine

Tranlsation of the Easter March speech by the International Councillor of the German IPPNW, Dr Helmut Lohrer: https://www.friedenskooperative.de/ostermarsch-2023/reden/helmut-lohrer-freudenstadt

Dear friends of peace!
War has been raging in Europe again for over a year.

We, the peace movement, condemn this war. The attack on an independent country, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the continuing violence cannot be justified by anything. The war violates the right to life of the now more than 200,000 people killed and the right to physical integrity of the countless injured. And it violates international law. Like every war, it brings nothing but destruction and suffering. That is why we demand an immediate ceasefire. First of all from President Putin, but also from Selenskyj, Biden and all the others who bear responsibility here: Stop this war !

War is a crime. In wars, people die, people are maimed and traumatised for the rest of their lives.
And: In every war, in every conflict, there are at least two sides.
The fact that the West, that NATO and thus also the German government are partly responsible for this war is usually quickly dismissed as Putin propaganda. But the refusal to see our own shares in the unfolding catastrophe robs us of the chance to make an important contribution to ending it.
Therefore, I will try to demonstrate this to you by naming 4 phases in which the West’s behaviour escalated the conflict instead of deescalating it:

1. the West was as much responsible for the Cold War and the development of the EastWest conflict as the then Soviet Union together with its allies. The nuclear armament pursued by both sides, the nuclear deterrence with the threat of comprehensive mutual annihilation that continues to this day, constitutes per se a jointly committed crime against the whole of humanity.

2. After the end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, the West failed to integrate Russia into a common concept of security in Europe (and beyond) and thus to realise the “dream of the common house of Europe” formulated by Helmut Kohl and Mikhail Gorbachev. In this process, NATO should have dissolved itself instead of redefining itself as the military guarantor of the West’s economic supremacy. The promise made to Gorbachev not to extend NATO to the territory of the dissolved Warsaw Pact, which is not doubted by historians, was broken and 10 former Warsaw Pact countries are now members of NATO. Russia has repeatedly made it clear that it sees this as a threat
to its security interests and has drawn a red line in particular with regard to Ukraine’s NATO membership.

It is not gladly heard by many, but it is an undeniable fact:

3. in the development of the current conflict situation, the security interests clearly formulated by Russia were ignored. On the part of the West, massive influence was exerted on the direction of Ukrainian policy: Towards association with the EU and the discussion of NATO membership. Ukraine failed to take the steps agreed in the Minsk Agreement to bring peace to the region, while Russia continued to support the separatists in the eastern provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk.
Draft agreements with NATO and the US presented by Russia in December 2021 were simply ignored by the West instead of being seen as an entry point for serious negotiations on a new security order and preventing the conflict from escalating further.
4. Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022, the West has actively contributed to the escalation of the war and has undermined opportunities for a peaceful settlement.

a. In March 2022, after negotiations between Russia and Ukraine, mediated by Turkey, were well advanced and an agreement was emerging that included farreaching security guarantees for Russia and, in return, the withdrawal of Russian troops behind the pre24 February borders, the agreement was scuttled by Western governments. Instead, there are demands that Russia must now be defeated and “ruined”.
b. Extensive arms deliveries by the West to Ukraine, which had already begun before the Russian invasion and now include heavy weapons such as modern battle tanks, contribute to the further escalation of the war. Meanwhile, the delivery of fighter jets and warships is also being discussed.

c. Drastic economic sanctions against Russia are also helping to destabilise the country and escalate the conflict.
Yes, the belligerent incursion of the Russian army into Ukraine is a crime. But the current policy on both sides threatens to escalate this war into a dimension that we all do not want to imagine. And: the arms deliveries make us a party to the war. Step by step, we are being drawn into this war.
More and more red lines are being crossed on both sides, the spiral is being driven further and further.
There is a real danger today, in my estimation more than ever before, that we are stumbling into a nuclear war. My organisation, the IPPNW, published a study last year. Scientifically proven by climatologists and nutrition experts. It’s on the internet, you can download it and read it. Search word: “nuclear famine”.
Even the limited use of a relatively small number of 100 nuclear weapons would lead to significant climate change worldwide, resulting in famine and misery across the globe and exposing up to 2 billion people to hunger.
But we cannot assume that nuclear war will remain limited. NATO’s military planning games regularly lead to total escalation and mutual annihilation when nuclear weapons are used.
The humanitarian consequences and risks of such allout nuclear war are catastrophic. While even a single bomb can completely destroy the city centre of a large city like Stuttgart, with hundreds of thousands of dead and just as many injured and contaminated, the use of numerous nuclear bombs, as would be expected in a nuclear war, would destroy the infrastructure, i.e. the electricity and water supply, the traffic routes, the food supply and the health system over a large area. There would be no chance of restoring this in a sufficiently short time. There would be many millions of dead. All the injured could not be cared for. Because of the number of casualties, the nature of the injuries and the extensive destruction that can be expected, we doctors must make one thing very clear: In the event of a nuclear war, there will be no medical aid. We will not be able to help you or ourselves!

Worse still, both sides now possess over 6000 deployable nuclear weapons. The use of some of these would lead to catastrophic climate change with sustained temperature drops of over 10°C. Then human life in large parts of the planet would no longer be possible, nuclear winter.
Then the millions of immediate victims will be the lucky ones, then the living will envy the dead. To put it in the words of one of my US colleagues: If we are lucky enough to survive the present crisis, we must see it as a global neardeath experience and respond accordingly. With the NEW START agreement, the last remaining effective treaty to limit nuclear arsenals was suspended in February.  The only treaties under international law that point the way out of the spiral of escalation are the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which the nuclear-weapon states repeatedly violate, and the Nuclear Banning Treaty, of which they want no part.
We are currently observing a phenomenon of habituation. News that would have aroused horror just over a year ago is now taken as a marginal note. And socalled experts play down the danger of nuclear war. The probability is low, they say. What probability of nuclear would be acceptable, I ask?
And don’t be fooled: Talk of civil defence and nuclear shelters is dangerous nonsense. There is no protection in nuclear war.
We are led to believe that nuclear deterrence has secured peace for the past 50 years. The truth is that since the Cold War, and unchanged to this day, humanity has lived with the constant threat of  being destroyed by nuclear war. Some 2000 nuclear warheads are kept on permanent standby, ready to be launched within minutes this does not make us safer, but more insecure. And the logic of deterrence, to be able to devastate the enemy even after an attack, itself became the motor of nuclear armament and was partly responsible for the buildup of an insane arsenal with which humanity can destroy itself many times over.
The principle of deterrence is, contrary to what we are told, extremely unstable. The fact that we are still alive today, as one US general and commanderinchief of the US Strategic Command, that we are still alive today is due not only to military discipline but also to sheer luck and, in his opinion, divine providence. But not to the peacefulness and foresight of our governments.
We therefore firmly reject nuclear deterrence as the foundation of international security. It is a fragile concept, ultimately leading to disaster. Anyone wanting to sell us deterrence as a garantor of peace has either not understood the concept or they are cynical haremers who are playing an irresponsible game with our lives.
The threat to use nuclear weapons, as recently heard from Russia, and of course the transfer of nuclear weapons from Russia to Belarus, are unacceptable. And of course it was unacceptable when President Putin raised the nuclear alert just a few days after the invasion of Ukraine.

But what we must not forget:

1. the mutual threat is part of the logic of nuclear deterrence

2. the threat to use nuclear weapons therefore comes from both sides

3. both sides reserve the option of first use of nuclear weapons

4. in a nuclear war there are no winners, only losers.

I consider the following to be decisive

5. a nuclear power cannot be defeated in a war that affects its national security (and that is the case here from Russia’s point of view).

6. if Russia is cornered militarily, politically or economically, the probability of a nuclear war increases.
And what is often overlooked:
7. if it comes to it, then the question of who is responsible and who started it will no longer be relevant.

That is the dimension we are dealing with here, we all have to realise.
And then it will dawn on us: Wherever we stand in this situation. Whether Ukrainians or Russians, whether we come from Western Europe or the USA. Whether we are pacifists or soldiers: What matters now is whether we survive this together or not.
That is why I am calling from here to Berlin. Mr Scholz, Mrs Baerbock: think about steps that will lead to deescalation. Consider whether the words you speak, the weapons you supply, whether the destabilisation of Russia with the help of economic sanctions, whether all this does not contribute to fuelling this war. And whether it is not possible to build bridges instead of tearing them all down.

Make sure that there is an immediate ceasefire. And that comprehensive peace negotiations are started.

And finally sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons! The abolition of nuclear weapons is the only secure way to permanently prevent the nuclear inferno.

The war raging in Ukraine seems to have abruptly changed our world. And nightmares we have long warned about are threatening to come true.

And to prevent this, dear friends of pe ace, we need courageous people. Who recognise: There is only one sensible solution in this situation. Negotiations are necessary and together we must consider how to find a way out of this spiral of escalation that threatens us all. Of course, there will always be conflicts in this world. We are not dreamers who fantasise about paradise. But that is precisely why we have to ask ourselves how we want to deal with these conflicts. My hope is that, faced with the threat of our own annihilation, we will learn to do so by peaceful means.

The warmongers on both sides must make room for those who are able to imagine and then shape a different world. A world that sees security not in fighting each other, but in the common effort of all people. And in which the problems that threaten us together are tackled: climate change and the destruction of our environment, the fair distribution of the resources we have left, and the fundamental question of how we as human beings can exist on this planet in the long term and in peace.

I and I hope we allrefuse to believe that this should not be possible, dear friends of peace.

Dr Helmut Lohrer is a general practitioner and International Councilor of IPPNW Germany.

Über admin

Hausarzt, i.R., seit 1976 im der Umweltorganisation BUND, schon lange in der Umweltwerkstatt, seit 1983 in der ärztlichen Friedensorganisation IPPNW (www.ippnw.de und ippnw.org), seit 1995 im Friedenszentrum, seit 2000 in der Dachorganisation Friedensbündnis Braunschweig, und ich bin seit etwa 15 Jahren in der Linkspartei// Family doctor, retired, since 1976 in the environmental organization BUND, for a long time in the environmental workshop, since 1983 in the medical peace organization IPPNW (www.ippnw.de and ippnw.org), since 1995 in the peace center, since 2000 in the umbrella organization Friedensbündnis Braunschweig, and I am since about 15 years in the Left Party//
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