Below is a machine translation of the “Open Letter” to Scholz, signed by
over 200,000 German personalities including Alice Schwartzer, Alexander
Kluge and Siegfried Zielinski. The source is here:

I am curious as to the letter’s significance in German debates and also,
about the many reactions to it which have apparently emerged since its
publication on April 29. Some people on the list could inform us about this!

I can’t agree with this letter, because its core notion of universally
binding moral law appears out of touch with the present-day reality of
civilizational clashes, and perhaps more representative of the 1980s than
now. However, I think that the mere rebooting of Atlanticist proxy wars,
without any discussion of a global military, economic and political
strategy for the rapidly emergent Anthropocene crisis, is equally out of

It is true that the left has wrongly abdicated any consideration of
military strategy. But one does not correct such an error by abounding in
the Free World/Cold War logic of the 1950s. Russia’s geopolitical bid for
Eurasia and its very capacity to make war are dependent on its fossil fuel
production, distribution and consumption, which largely takes place under
free-market rules. The US, and by extension, NATO, are similarly
positioned, and the US is likely to come out of this war as both global cop
and global gas station attendant, supplying Europe with LNG produced by an
otherwise failing shale-gas industry. While I do not see an alternative to
the current proxy war, beyond more vigorous and serious attempts at
negotiation which are effectively lacking, I do see an immense failure to
think about where ‘victory’ can all-too easily lead.

Nettimers, I would be glad to hear your thoughts about the current state of
political debate in Germany, and I would also be glad to be proven wrong
about the lack of a thoughts on a strategy for the upcoming decades, when
the powers of Nature will likely show that they still do seriously rival
those of Humanity – and when the international order will be continually
disrupted by crisis, conflict, breakdown, and desperate bids to maintain
outdated forms of hegemony.

All the best, Brian (who’s headed to Berlin today)


Dear Chancellor,

We appreciate that until now you have considered the risks so carefully:
the risk of the war spreading within Ukraine; the risk of expansion across
Europe; yes, the risk of a 3rd world war. We therefore hope that you will
remember your original position and will not supply any more heavy weapons
to Ukraine, either directly or indirectly. On the contrary, we urge you to
do everything you can to ensure that a ceasefire can be reached as soon as
possible; a compromise that both sides can accept.

We share the verdict on Russian aggression as a breach of the basic norm of
international law. We also share the conviction that there is a fundamental
political and moral duty not to back down from aggressive violence without
resistance. But everything that can be derived from this has its limits in
other imperatives of political ethics.

We are convinced that two such dividing lines have now been reached: First,
the categorical prohibition on accepting a manifest risk of this war
escalating into a nuclear conflict. The delivery of large quantities of
heavy weapons, however, could make Germany itself a party to the war. And a
Russian counter-attack could then trigger the case for assistance under the
NATO treaty and with it the immediate danger of a world war. The second
line of demarcation is the level of destruction and human suffering among
Ukrainian civilians. Even the legitimate resistance against an aggressor is
at some point in an intolerable disproportion.

We warn against a double error: Firstly, that the responsibility for the
risk of an escalation to a nuclear conflict lies solely with the original
aggressor and not also with those who openly provide him with a motive for
possibly criminal action. And on the other hand, that the decision on the
moral responsibility of the further "costs" in human lives among the
Ukrainian civilian population falls exclusively within the competence of
their government. Morally binding norms are universal in nature.

The escalating armament taking place under pressure could be the beginning
of a global arms race with catastrophic consequences, not least for global
health and climate change. Despite all the differences, it is important to
strive for worldwide peace. The European approach of shared diversity is a
model for this.

Dear Chancellor, we are convinced that the head of government of Germany
can make a decisive contribution to a solution that will stand up to the
judgment of history. Not only in view of our current (economic) power, but
also in view of our historical responsibility - and in the hope of a
peaceful future together.

We hope and count on you!

The signatories

*Andreas Dresen, FilmemacherLars Eidinger, SchauspielerDr. Svenja
Flaßpöhler, PhilosophinProf. Dr. Elisa Hoven, StrafrechtlerinAlexander
Kluge, IntellektuellerHeinz Mack, BildhauerGisela Marx,
FilmproduzentinProf. Dr. Reinhard Merkel, Strafrechtler und
RechtsphilosophProf. Dr. Wolfgang Merkel, PolitikwissenschaftlerReinhard
Mey, MusikerDieter Nuhr, KabarettistGerhard Polt, KabarettistHelke Sander,
FilmemacherinHA Schult, KünstlerAlice Schwarzer, JournalistinRobert
Seethaler, SchriftstellerEdgar Selge, SchauspielerAntje Vollmer, Theologin
und grüne PolitikerinFranziska Walser, SchauspielerinMartin Walser,
SchriftstellerProf. Dr. Peter Weibel, Kunst- und
MedientheoretikerChristoph, Karl und Michael Well, MusikerProf. Dr. Harald
Welzer, SozialpsychologeRanga Yogeshwar, WissenschaftsjournalistJuli Zeh,
SchriftstellerinProf. Dr. Siegfried Zielinski, Medientheoretiker*
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