Globalization and Global Powers

When did globalization begin? In the last period of the 20th century? I don`t think so. On my opinion it began with the great discoveries at the beginning of the 16th century. In the Middle Ages no one in Europe knew that America did exist, there was little knowledge about Asia and Africa was more or less a white spot on the map. Everything changed with the discoveries of Columbus, Magellan, Vasco da Gama and others. And these discoveries had far-reaching consequences. The powerful countries began to exploit the new parts of the world. There were enormous raw material reserves and human working power that brought unimaginable wealth to the upper classes of the European countries. The benefiting countries were at first Spain and Portugal, later the UK and Netherlands, then France and in the 20th century USA Russia and China entered the international stage. Did really change so much in the last decades?
What did change of course was the pace of the development, and above all the speed, people goods and information could be brought from one point of this planet to another. Jules Verne „80 days around the world“ was a science fiction in the 19th century, today we can only smile about it. 1815 Nathan Rothschild made a fortune on the London Stock Exchange because he knew a few hours earlier than others who had won the Battle of Waterloo. He got the information with the help of pigeons. Today in the time of the World Wide Web it`s no problem that any information runs around the world within seconds.
So some things have changed, but the new game seems to have the same basic patterns as the old one. Almost infinite wealth is amassed in the hands of a small upper class. The poor countries have to deliver raw material and cheap labor. Global powers are trying to control and preserve their spheres of interests, no longer Spain, Portugal or Great Britain, but USA, China and Russia, between them regional powers as for example Saudi Arabia and Iran, or India and Pakistan. They all play the old game of proxy wars and civil wars, few people benefit and so many suffer.
But two important things have changed. At first there are nowadays so many weapons of mass destruction in this world, that all life on this planet can easily be extinguished within very short time. And second the exploitation of all resources and the use of fossil fuel are near the point that civilized life on this planet will be no longer possible. That changes everything. the old game of securing and expanding the spheres of influence cannot continue. Making war and reckless exploiting of the resources will lead us definitely on the Eve of Destruction. Mankind is at a turning point. The question is not, if we can stop globalization by building walls between people, but if it can be led into a direction, so that protection of decent life for all has priority before accumulation of wealth and uncontrolled growth.
Will we recognize the writing on the wall? I think our generation is the last who has the chance.

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My Pen Is My Weapon

There`s a anecdote about the German poet Heinrich Heine. coming from France to Prussia in 1843 he was asked by custom officers, if he was carrying weapons with him. He showed them his pen.
I don`t know, if this anecdote is a historical fact, but I`m convinced, there`s much truth in it. The pen of a writer can be a weapon in current debates. I think literature is more than a purpose in itself. Of course literature is meant to enjoy and entertain the reader, but the author is not separated from the world, he lives in. Everything he writes about is reflecting somehow his experiences, his hopes his fears.
I enjoy writing exciting stories and entertaining the reader. But I want to give them suggestions for reflections on problems of our time. Terrorism and fighting against terrorism are outstanding phenomena of these days. My novel WHOEVER KILLS THE INNOCENT is about it. Without doubt terrorism is a heinous crime, but fighting against it with military weapons causes so called collateral damages, innocent people are killed too. Is it justified to use bad means to achieve a good aim? I don`t pretend to have final answers. I am with the seekers not among those, who tell you they have all answers. But I`m not neutral. I`m with those who stand up for peace, tolerance and social justice against racism and hatred.
You can read in Dante Alighieri`s DIVINE COMEDY: The darkest places in hell are reserved for those, who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crises.
I think I need not fear these places.

Meine Feder ist meine Waffe

Es gibt eine Anekdote über Heinrich Heine. Als er 1843 von Frankreich kommend nach Preußen einreiste, wurde er von Zollbeamten nach Waffen gefragt. Er zeigte ihnen seine Feder.
Ich weiß nicht ob diese Geschichte wirklich historisch belegt ist oder nicht, aber ich bin davon überzeugt, dass sehr viel Wahrheit darin steckt. Die Feder eines Schriftstellers kann eine Waffe sein in aktuellen Auseinandersetzungen. Literatur ist für mich kein Selbstzweck. Natürlich kann und soll Literatur den Leser auch erfreuen und unterhalten, aber der Autor ist nicht losgelöst von der Welt, in der lebt. Was er schreibt wird auch immer in irgendeiner Form seine Erfahrungen, seine Ängste und seine Hoffnungen spiegeln.
Ich liebe es mir spannende Handlungen auszudenken und den Leser so zu unterhalten. Aber ich will ihm auch Anregungen zum Nachdenken liefern über die Fragen unserer Zeit. So ist mein Roman UND DIE DA REDEN VON VERGESSEN zum einen spannende Unterhaltungsliteratur zum anderen aber auch ein Beitrag zu der Debatte um Erinnerungskultur. Kann man Vergangenes einfach vergessen und vergangen sein lassen oder ist Erinnerung und das Bemühen aus der Geschichte zu lernen notwendig, damit sich historische Katastrophen nicht wiederholen.
In diesem Sinne sehe ich mich als Autor in der Verantwortung und meine Feder ist meine Waffe. Ich empfinde die Verpflichtung Partei zu ergreifen für das Erinnern. Ich bin 1949 geboren, meine Generation ist nicht für das was in der Nazi-Zeit geschehen ist, aber verantwortlich dafür, dass es nie wieder geschieht.
Dante Alighieri sagt ein seiner GÖTTLICHEN KOMÖDIE „der heißeste platz in der Hölle ist für jene bestimmt, die in Zeiten moralischer Krisen neutral bleiben“. Ich glaube, ich habe diese Hölle nicht zu fürchten.

The German Election

After the general election in Germany we see, the results correspond more or less to the expectations of the last few weeks. The CDU has most seats in parliament and Angela Merkel will remain chancellor. But extreme right politicians with Nazi ideas will be in the Bundestag for the first time in German post-war history. AFD the party that gives them cover got 12,6% of the votes, that`s alarmingly much, but right wing screamers make fool of themselves, if they go on claiming „We are the people“.
Everything okay? Anyhow Marine Le Pen had 21% in France at the first ballot and Trump supporters are in spite of all still 35% of US voters. Only one of 8 Germans voted for the extreme right party. Germany looks to be stronger than most countries of the Western world. The rise of right-wing populists seems to be limited. Can we calm down?
I`m afraid we cannot. The Nazi party had at the general election in Germany 1928 2,6%, then the stock market crash in 1929 followed by the Great Depression and the Nazis had at the general election of 1932 37,3%. I don´t say history will repeat. There`re always 2 answers. The American answer was FDR, the German answer in 1933 was Adolf Hitler.
We must be aware, the problems that underlie the rise of right wing politicians are still the same. We live in a world with more wars and armed conflicts than ever before. This and ongoing climate change is causing and will cause even more migration waves that are no longer manageable. Economic inequality and unfair distribution of wealth are constantly increasing. More and more people are feeling forgotten by politics. These are the problems that need to be tackled.
The world politics need a New Deal or we will get new Hitlers!

Deutschland hat gewählt

Deutschland hat gewählt. Das Ergebnis der Wahl entspricht den Erwartungen der letzten Wochen. Die Union bleibt die stärkste Partei und wird die Kanzlerin stellen. die AFD wird in den Bundestag einziehen. Ca13% sind erschreckend viel, aber eine so deutliche Minderheit, dass rechtsextreme Schreihälse sich lächerlich machen, wenn sie behaupten „wir sind das Volk“.

Und jetzt? Irgendwie eine Koalition bilden und dann weiter so wie gehabt? Ich fürchte es wird so kommen, halte es aber für fatal.

Dieses Wahlergebnis ist eine deutliche Warnung. Wenn bei sehr guten wirtschaftlichen Verhältnissen in Deutschland Rechtsextreme 13% bekommen, wie wird es dann aussehen, sollte einmal die Blase der Finanzjongleure platzen und wie üblich die Mittel- und Geringverdiener die Zeche zahlen müssen? Ich erinnere nur daran: Bei der Reichstagswahl in 1928 bekam die NSDAP 2,6% und nach der Weltwirtschaftskrise bei den Wahlen 4 Jahre später 37,3%. Ich sage nicht, die Geschichte wird sich wiederholen, aber ich meine wir sollten uns nicht zu sicher fühlen.

Die Gefahren des Rechtsextremismus werden nicht geringer, solange an den Kernproblemen dieser Welt und unseres Landes nichts getan wird. Diese Probleme sind: soziale Ungleichheit in der Welt und im Inneren, der Klimawandel, der den Migrationsdruck verstärkt und eine aggressive und kriegsfördernde Politik vieler Regierungen. Solange die internationale Wirtschafspolitik korrupte Eliten in den Entwicklungsländern fördert und die Armen ärmer werden lässt, solange wir Waffen in Krisengebiete exportieren und ein Mann wie Trump sich brüstet 700 Milliarden USD für Rüstung auszugeben, solange viele im Inland zu Recht das Gefühl haben, es werde zwar viel Geld für Flüchtlinge ausgegeben aber um bezahlbare Mieten und anständige Renten für Geringverdiener kümmern sich nur wenige Politiker wirklich, solange wird das Damokles-Schwert über uns hängen, die Geschichte könnte sich wiederholen.

Den Politikern, die meinen mit ein bisschen Law und Order Politik der AFD den Wind aus den Segeln nehmen zu können, sage ich: Ich müsst die Probleme der Menschen lösen, nicht die Parolen der Dumpfbacken übertönen!

What Is A Nation?

What is a nation? There are different answers to this question. Some people think, belonging to a nation can only be achieved through heredity. That means parents and grandparents must have been members of the nation too as a prerequisite that a person really belongs to it. The Nazis pushed this conviction to the extreme. Every German needed a so called Aryan certificate to be a privileged member of the German nation.
Carl Zuckmayer deals with this question in his novel „The Devil`s General“. A young German officer is desperate, because he found out he had a Jewish grandmother. The general tells him the following:
“ There was a Roman captain, a dark fellow, brown as a ripe olive, he managed to teach Latin to his blond girl on the banks of River Rhine, then a Jewish spice dealer came into the family, a serious man, who converted to Christianity before the wedding and founded the Catholic tradition of the house. Then a Greek doctor, a Celtic legionary, a Swedish knight, one of Napoleon`s soldiers, a deserting Cossack, a Black Forest craftsman, a wandering miller`s apprentice from Alsace, a fat boatswain from Holland, a Magyar, a Pandur, an officer from Vienna, a French actor, a Bohemian musician and all the whole mixed up crowd that lived, brawled, drank and sang and begot children along the River Rhine! That Goethe character came out of the same pot. Also a guy named Beethoven and Gutenberg and – ah whatever, look it up in a lexicon. They were the best my friend, the best in the world! And why? Because the nations mixed there, like the waters from the springs and brawls and rivers that flow together in a great living stream.“
I know no better example in literature to describe the emergence of a nation. A nation is nothing unchangeable, it`s developing. We live in fast changing times and nowadays this development happens even faster. I understand that some people are afraid of extend and speed of demographic development. But fear is a bad guide.
We have nothing to fear but fear itself.
(Franklin D. Roosevelt)

Four US Parties

The USA are ruled by a classical bipartisan system. But if I look around among voters, I recognize 4 parties: 1. Trump supporters, who will probably back him even if he`d kill a person in the middle of the day and in public 2. Stop-Trump-Republicans who`d like to get rid of him better today but tomorrow
3. traditional Democrats, who thought Hilary Clinton would be the best of all possible candidates 4. Bernie-Sanders-Democrats, who still feel betrayed that Bernie wasn`t the democratic nominee and want a shift to the left.

Against this background we understand the dilemma and the double bind of the GOP. I am sure a majority of Republican lawmakers would be glad to replace the President as soon as possible, whereas the majority of Republican voters is on the other side. If the USA would be ruled by a multi party system as most European countries are, there would be a coalition putting Trump into place or getting rid of him. But as things are, I see minor chances for this.

Impeachment or 25. Amendment would mean, the majority of Republican lawmakers had to turn against their own President, who is supported by the majority of their own voters. The only other chance could be the President resigns. But I think this is unlikely in view of Trump`s psyche. A narcissist and megalomaniac will always prefer to listen to those who cheer him instead of recognizing that his resignation would be the best for the nation. Consequently we should be prepared for 3 and a half years Trump and hope the best that he will not wreak too much havoc to the USA and the world.