Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Altmaier zum deutsch-russischen Verhältnis: "Empfinden wieder Hoffnung in großen politischen Fragen"

Altmaier zum deutsch-russischen Verhältnis: "Empfinden wieder Hoffnung in großen politischen Fragen"
Bundeswirtschaftsminister Peter Altmaier im Gespräch mit dem russischen Handelsminister Denis Manturow während der Russland-Konferenz des DIHK.

Dresden Terror Bombing, Like Hiroshima, a Maniacal Warning to Moscow

The destruction of Dresden, a world-famous cultural center of Baroque majesty, has been long dogged by controversy.

This weekend 75 years ago, the German city of Dresden was razed to the ground by British and American aerial bombardment. At least 25,000 mainly civilians were destroyed in raid after raid by over 1,200 heavy bombers, indiscriminately dropping high explosives and incendiaries. It took seven years just to clear the rubble.
The destruction of Dresden, a world-famous cultural center of Baroque majesty, has been long dogged by controversy. Official British and American military accounts claim it was necessary to hasten the collapse of the Third Reich; with a reasoning that resonates with US claims for dropping the atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945.
Critics say, however, that the mass bombing of Dresden was immaterial in the effort to defeat Nazi Germany. It was a wanton act of terror – a war crime – carried out by the British and Americans. Critics point out that most of the industrial and military targets on the outskirts of the beautiful city were largely left untouched by the bombing. British wartime leader Winston Churchill is even said to have expressed misgivings about the morality of this and other indiscriminate bombing of German civilian centers.
Ardent advocates of the terror-bombing campaign said it would exhaust German morale. A classic case of ends justifying means, no matter how vile the means.
There were also claims at the time that the damage to Nazi communication and transport lines would aid the advancing Soviet Red Army.
But there is good reason to believe that the rationale for the obliteration of Dresden was for an altogether more sinister reason. It wasn’t so much an act of terror aimed at Nazi Germany, but rather a show of maniacal power to the Soviet Union.
A British Royal Air Force memo on the Dresden operation noted that it would “show the Russians when they arrive what Bomber Command can do.” (See caption 17 in this linked photo essay.)
By mid-February 1945, the front lines of the Western and Eastern allied forces were such that the American and British ground troops had not yet entered Germany territory, while the Soviet Red Army had crossed the Oder River and were a mere 70 kilometers from Berlin, the seat of the Third Reich. Such was the keen advance of the Soviets that the Western allies were concerned that the Red Army might take all of German territory.
Rather than aiding Soviet forces from the mass bombing of Dresden, Leipzig and other cities in the German east, it seems plausible that, as the above British RAF memo indicates, the Western allies were intent on demonstrating a shockingly brutal, raw power to Moscow. Not just military power, but a will power to use any means necessary to defeat enemies.
There is a direct analogy here with the subsequent atomic bombing of Japan. At the Potsdam conference in July 1945 following the defeat of Nazi Germany and the carve-up of Berlin, giving the Western allies shared control of the German capital way beyond their final front lines, the American president Harry Truman relished the ability to drop a sinister hint to Josef Stalin about a newly acquired secret weapon – the A-bomb.
As with the earlier British and American bombing of Dresden and other German cities, there was arguably little military justification for dropping the atomic weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9. Like Dresden, the military significance of those cities was dubious. The death of 200,000 civilians from the atomic inferno was not a military necessity for defeating imperial Japan, as Truman’s top generals MacArthur and Eisenhower were advising him against.
So if the bombing of Hiroshima or Nagasaki was unnecessary from a military point of view to end the Pacific War, why was it done?
As with Dresden, the point was a monstrous display of terror by Western powers to let the Soviet Union know that nothing would be off-limits in the postwar geopolitical stand-off that was anticipated and which became the Cold War.
When the A-bombs were dropped on Japan, Stalin was said to have been frozen by reports of the awesome new destructive power. The Soviet Union was not to develop its A-bomb until 1949.
The terror unleashed at Hiroshima and Nagasaki seems to have had the intended effect of halting Soviet Red Army advances that were being made into the Korean Peninsula and onwards to Japan. The American troop lines were relatively remote by comparison with their Soviet counterparts, yet after the A-bombing the US was catapulted to take over both Asian-Pacific territories in the postwar period. Not unlike the precocious territorial gains that were acquired by the Western allies in defeated Nazi Germany.
Thus the moral controversies about the British and American bombing of German and Japanese cities goes way beyond arguments about the right or wrong of mass murder for the supposed purpose of ending wars. That moral hazard is difficult enough. But even more fiendish is a bigger picture; one in which the cold, calculated use of terror and genocide is not about ending war, but rather to simply exert geopolitical power against a perceived rival in the postwar era. Terror for terror sake, evil for evil sake.
A final note: it has become fashionable to falsify the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany by claiming that the Red Army became an occupying tyranny in eastern Europe after the war’s end. Suffice to say that if the Soviets committed even a fraction of the crimes that were actually carried out by the Americans and British from their aerial bombing of civilians in both Germany and Japan, one would never hear the end of deafening Western condemnations against Moscow to this day, and for decades to come.
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It is naive to expect Chinese economy to collapse 

Source:Global Times Published: 2020/2/18 12:13:40 

A worker disinfects the factory of Chang'an Automobile in Dingzhou, north China's Hebei Province, Feb. 16, 2020. Companies in Dingzhou resumed production with epidemic prevention measures during the outbreak of the novel coronavirus. (Xinhua/Zhu Xudong)
It is clear that the novel coronavirus pneumonia will have a major impact on China's economic activity, which will translate into immediate pain for some companies and even disaster for those with weak resilience. But the outbreak will be short-lived, and it will not affect China's competitiveness or disrupt the country's overall development trend, which is probably the consensus of most economists around the world.

Western public opinion has more recently assessed the impact of the public health emergency on the Chinese economy, and many of them have intentionally or unintentionally confused the short-term disaster caused by the outbreak with the long-term impact on the Chinese economy. These comments may have been mixed in with some people's hopes that China's future really will be like this. They can't help but magnify the significance of short-term events. Some of them could not help believing their own paradoxical logic.

The outbreak brought much of China's economic activity, especially in the service sector, to a halt, and some cities came to a standstill in order to allow the trajectory of the virus to emerge and be stopped. The losses are huge, of course, and the specific numbers are yet to be counted, but the absolute numbers are certainly staggering.

Yet China's sheer size means just as much maneuvering capability, and it is one of the most important indicators of strategic economic resilience. Some of the losses in services can be made up for, and a lot of them are lost, but they won't be an internal wound to the Chinese economy. Over time, subsequent economic developments will allow the wounds to heal.

While China's economy has suffered, there has been no disruption this time around. The sectors of the economy that support the daily needs of the Chinese are revving up. With the exception of emergency supplies such as face  masks, which cannot be expanded to the level of demand, the supply of other daily necessities has not been reduced.

There are no problems in basic sectors such as electricity and internet, and even the delivery system, which requires a lot of manpower, has been rapidly restored in recent days. The vegetable supply that people are most worried about has not had serious problems. These show: The Chinese economy has a very strong and tight internal organizational capability, and both the government and the market have acted very effectively in this disaster.

Much of the focus of Western public opinion on the economy seems to be on differences of a percentage point or even a few tenths of a percentage point in GDP. But Chinese society also looks beyond the economy. There are some pains and difficulties in a short period of time, of course it is a problem, but it is also important for us to keep our competitiveness and the hope ahead.

The disaster has tested China's strategic responsiveness in an extreme way. Faced with a disaster of this magnitude and a panic that was spreading rapidly among the public, the Chinese government has been able to mobilize the whole of society quickly against the extremely dangerous challenge, and it did not take long to stabilize the epidemic control and the public's sentiment.

In fact, all economic disasters ended up being completely out of control with the collapse of public confidence. The outside world should see clearly this time. As long as China has the political system it has today, a collapse of confidence on that scale would never happen in China, so the Chinese economy won't have the kind of collapse that some American elites expect.

The Chinese society will try its best to reduce and recover the economic loss this time, and the government and the market will try their best to help the enterprises in trouble. At the level of social ethics, this is the test we need to go through now. Any gloat from abroad during this period is disgraceful. As for strategy, those who want China to suffer can stop. All we can say is that they think too much and are naive and like to deceive themselves.