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.

Fire And Fury ?!

I admit, I`m very worried. We were never closer to an atomic war since the Cuba crisis. But at that time John F. Kennedy was the President of the United States. And Chruschtschow was the Leader of the Soviet Union. President Kennedy resisted the proposals of some generals who considered an atomic first strike as reasonable. At the end there was a deal that saved peace.
Today 2 unpredictable persons are in charge. Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un. Kim tries to secure his rule by showing military power and Donald Trump likes the idea to distract from his disaster at home with foreign policy confrontations. And it seems, as if they compete with impressive declarations.
North Korean state-run newspaper wrote that the United States “will sink into an unimaginable sea of fire on the day when it dares to touch our country by stupidly causing mischief and brandishing its nuclear and sanctions clubs.”
On Tuesday, President Trump told reporters that North Korean threats would be “met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.” Do these guys know, what they are speaking about? Engaging in a war of words only makes it harder for both sides to de-escalate. Prudence is the order of the day not showing-off.
The result may be an atomic war, that nobody wants.
The USA is a democracy with separation of power and checks and balances, but the the president is the Commander in Chief and the problem is, this Commander in Chief is Donald Trump.
I never thought, that I had to put my hope on persons as General Kelly and Rex Tillerson to prevent the worst.
I´m afraid, as long as Donald Trump is President of the United States, the world is in big danger.
Let`s pray for peace.

Why Autocrats Will Not Win In The Long Run

Sometimes it seems, as if autocrats are on the advance. I hear, the future belongs to China. Putin has outmaneuvered America. Erdogan is firmly in power. But I think:
No nation that defames and imprisons its best people is going to become great. No country that is afraid to let a man such as Liu Xiaobo speak freely can possibly be described as strong. Dictators who persecute 10thousands peaceful opponents really are full of fear Regimes that are fearsome are brittle, too.

Westerners besotted by the “rising China” hypothesis often make the case that while the country’s human-rights record is lamentable, it has no bearing on its economic future. Economies, they say, run on inputs, not values. If anything, they believe that China’s dictatorship confers advantages in efficiency and decisiveness that fractious democracies can only dream about.
I remember well people predicting at the beginning of the 1960ies the Soviet Union would overtake USA till 1990. We all know, what did happen 1991. And 80 years ago not only in Germany many people thought, Hitler-Germany would have a great future. We all know very well, how it did end 1945.

The core mistake is to assume that values aren’t inputs. “The process of abandoning the ‘philosophy of struggle’ was also a process of gradual weakening of the enemy mentality and elimination of the psychology of hatred,” Liu Xiaobo wrote in a courtroom statement that would become his Nobel lecture

Creativity requires freedom. Ideas need room to compete and collide, free of social and legal penalties. As economies approach the creative frontier, the need for freedom expands commensurately. The gap between available information and necessary information needs to be as narrow as possible. Much of what is economically necessary information is also political information, making censorship and repression incompatible with the requirements of a dynamic economy.
As a novelist I know about the importance of creativity and I think that`s not only true in the world of art but in politics and economics too. No truly successful government can be based on military violence. When Soviet tanks rolled down democratic development in Prague 1968, I remembered the verses of the poet Bert Brecht
On the bed of the Moldau, the stones are churning,
The days of our rulers are ending fast.
The great don’t stay great, the order is turning,
The night has twelve hours, but day comes at last.

And we know what did happen 21 years later.
Don`t give up the hope of freedom or let me say with the words of the peace nobel laureate, Malala Yousafzai:
The pen is mightier than sword!

July 4 In Special Times

We hold these truths for self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.
A new period in history began with these words on July 4 1776,the era of modern liberal democracy. This idea and democratic American values spread over many parts on the world. Today these values are under attack from two sides. One side is the islamistic terrorism, the other threat comes from alt-right.
Donald Trump and Steve Bannon want to rewrite, how you define American values.
In this context a quote of one of the Founding Fathers of the American nation comes in my mind:
Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism
(George Washington)
We see that Independent Press, an important pillar of democracy is under siege. But „there`s nothing so fretting and vexatious, nothing so justly terrible to tyrants and their tools and abettors as a free press.“ ( Samuel Adams)
Steve Bannon and like minded people want to propagate values as nationalism, patriarchy and religion, rejecting at the same time pluralism, egalitarianism and secularism. But the Founding Fathers wanted a separation of state and religion. „If my neighbor believes in one or twenty Gods, it doesn`t break my bone and doesn`t pick my pocket“ ( Thomas Jefferson). Steve Bannon and comrades believe in White Supremacy. But „no man is good enough to govern another man without this other`s consent ( Abraham Lincoln).
It`s no coincidence that Donald Trump admires authoritarian leaders as Putin of Russia or Duterte of Philippines, but he doesn`t like to shake hands with the German chancellor Angela Merkel.
If we look worldwide, we see an increasing right-wing populism. In USA right-wing populist have captured the GOP, the Tories in UK made a shift to the right, in France, Austria, Hungary, Netherlands and in nearly all European countries right-wing parties have a frightfully high percentage of voters. Certainly no coincidence, that most of these parties have very much understanding for Putin. And Le Pen in France had her campaign financed by credits of Russian banks. It`s part of Putin`s strategy to destabilize free Western world.
The USA have been, with few interruptions for 100 years the leader of the free Western world. And this was good. I say this despite the knowledge that there have been sometimes serious failures in the foreign policy of WH. I count to these the second Iraq war 2003, that among other developments created the conditions for the present mess in Middle East.
The free Western world most time has been and should be a community of values. The free countries of the world need strong USA, needs an America that is following its own true values als Freedom, Democracy and Human Rights for all. I put my hope on it. The time may come soon, the USA will be again the torch bearer of a Free World.

Die Werte unserer Demokratie und die Neue Rechte

Am 4. Juli 1776 begann eine neue Ära der Menschheitsgeschichte. Die Ära der bürgerlichen liberalen Demokratie wurde eingeläutet mit der amerikanischen Unabhängigkeitserklärung. Dreizehn Jahre später fand unter dem Kampfruf „Freiheit! Gleichheit! Brüderlichkeit!“ die französische Revolution statt. Freiheit und demokratische Grundwerte verbreiteten sich in vielen Teilen der Welt.
Die Werte der Demokratie werden heute von zwei Seiten angegriffen, von Terroristen, die sich fälschlicherweise auf den Islam berufen und von einer erstarkenden Rechten die ebenso zu Unrecht behauptet, das Abendland zu verteidigen. Zur Zeit sieht es zwar vordergründig so aus, als ob die islamistische Bedrohung wesentlich gefährlicher sei, aber wir sollten uns nicht täuschen lassen. Zwar sind Le Pen in Frankreich und Wilders in den Niederlanden weit hinter ihren Erwartungen zurückgeblieben und auch in Deutschland werden rechtsextreme Politiker in diesem Jahr keinen großen Zulauf bekommen, aber die vielen Krisen dieser Welt sind nicht wirklich unter Kontrolle und auch eine große Finanzkrise in den nächsten Jahren, ist alles andere als unwahrscheinlich. Solche Krisen werden von Extremisten oft als ihre Chance begriffen.
Unter diesen Gesichtspunkten ist es dringend notwendig, sich auch mit der Gefahr von rechts zu beschäftigen. Zumal wir von den USA, über Westeuropa bis nach Russland ähnlich denkende Kräfte feststellen können.
Steve Bannon, im Weißen Haus der Chefberater für die Strategie des Präsidenten, kommt aus der „alt-right“ Bewegung, er propagiert die Überlegenheit der Weißen und er bekämpft die Förderung von Pluralismus und Minderheitenrechten durch die sogenannten liberalen Eliten.
Die neuen Rechten bewundern weltweit autoritäre Staatsmänner, wie Putin in Russland oder Duterte, den Präsidenten der Philippinen. Wer Menschenrechte verachtet, Homosexuelle verfolgt, Freiheit und Grundrechte mit Füssen tritt, der ist bei ihnen gut angesehen. Wen wundert es da, dass Kräfte aus Russland im US Wahlkampf versucht haben Einfluss zu nehmen und das Weiße Haus heute beim US Kongress Lobby-Arbeit betreibt, um Sanktionen gegen Russland zu lockern.
Bewunderung für Diktatoren, Rassisten und Homophobe das sind die geistigen Leitlinien der neuen Rechten. Dazu passen ganz gut, dass von Storch (AFD) Aktionen gegen die Homo-Ehe durchführt und Andreas Gehlmann (AFD)im Landtag von Sachsen-Anhalt seine Sympathie für die Strafverfolgung von Homosexuellen in Nordafrika zu Protokoll gibt.
Wen wundert es noch, dass solche Parteien sehr viel Sympathie und Verständnis für Putin zeigen und z.B. Marine Le Pen sich ihren Wahlkampf durch Kredite aus Russland finanzieren lässt.
Genauer betrachtet haben fundamentalistische Islamisten und die Neue Rechte den gleichen Feind und sind sich in vielem ähnlich. Der gemeinsame Feind ist die moderne demokratische Gesellschaft in ihrer Freiheit und Toleranz. “ An Liberalismus gehen die Völker zu Grunde“ ( der rechte Ideologe M. Lichtmesz). Dieser Behauptung würde jeder Islamist sofort zustimmen. Beide Seiten sind auch an einer Polarisierung interessiert, weil ihnen das hilft weitere Anhänger zu radikalisieren.
Unsere freiheitliche Grundordnung, die auf den Traditionen der Aufklärung aufbaut und den Werten der Demokratie und des politischen Liberalismus verpflichtet ist, ist es wert verteidigt zu werden. Damit will ich nicht sagen, dass alles ideal ist und es nichts zu verbessern gibt. Das kann und soll in einem offenen Diskurs unter Demokraten geschehen. Ich kann durchaus verstehen, wenn der eine lieber ein stärkeren Staat hätte und der andere mehr Freiheit und der nächste eher eine konservative Linie bevorzugt. Meinungsverschiedenheiten gehören zur Demokratie.
Wer aber von einem „ewigen deutsche Volk“ spricht, dem man nur durch Abstammung angehören kann, der steht in einer unseligen Tradition. Die Geschichte zeigt uns, wo sowas endet.
Ich hoffe darauf, dass die Demokraten weltweit gegen solche Tendenzen zusammenstehen und aus der Entwicklung in der Weimarer Republik gelernt haben. Damals gab es Linke, die Hitler nicht als den Hauptfeind ansahen und es gab Konservative, die ihn nur als ein vorübergehendes Phänomen betrachteten und meinten, alles werde gar nicht so schlimm werden, man hätte die paar Fanatiker schon im Griff.
Nicht alles ist in der Geschichte vergleichbar. Aber Lehren kann man doch ziehen. Gefordert ist die Solidarität aller Demokraten gegen die, die einen anderen Staat wollen.  

If I Were Donald Trump

I am a novelist, so I sometimes slip into some strange characters.
The other day I had a crazy idea, I asked myself, if I were Donald Trump, how would I feel, what would I do?
I were a rich business man having the concept, I go into politics. As I have a high self-esteem, I am applying for the most powerful office in world. Perhaps I don`t count on coming in the Oval Office, but I know running for presidency of the USA is at least a good advertising for my international business.
And now? Oops!
During the campaign I noticed a lot of encouragement from people who felt left behind in this society. In fact I don`t have the slightest idea of their problems, because I´m a billionaire. But my instinct tells me, if I pretend to have solutions for them and at the same time feed their prejudices, I will get a lot of votes.
And Oops I have a majority in the electoral college and a few weeks later I`m in the WH.
But now my problems begin. About 4.000 government officials must be found. So many? I never knew. Even 4 month after my inauguration this is not done. And many more problems seem to be more difficult, than I ever thought before. A lot of problems everywhere. Foreign policy for example. So many countries. Qatar ? The only thing I remember about Qatar is, I could not do business there. Probably they all are bad terrorists. A big US military base in Qatar? Nobody told me or I forgot, whatsoever.
Healthcare? Medicaid? Problems I`m not really interested in. I want these thing get done by Paul Ryan and Mich McConnell anyway. 100.000 $ a year for a nursing home can´t be a big problem, or?
Annoying that people always argue about constitution. So called judges stop my executive orders, some lawmakers call for independent investigators. Nonsense I am the boss- I can demand loyalty.
25. Amendment ? Impeachment ? Bullshit! My people in Congress will prevent that. But what´s about the voters? The people I promised better and cheaper healthcare and who will lose it? The people in the rust belt, whom I promised jobs?
If I were Donald Trump I would try to get as soon as possible rid of a job I do not understand. But I forgot, if I were Donald trump I´d be a narcissist and I´d only listen to the people who flatter me and cheer. So I´m afraid we will have to watch the tragedy to the bitter end.