Open letter to Scholz: Harald Welzer justifies his position

Starting from: 05/03/2022 4:33 PM

Social psychologist Harald Welzer co-signed an open letter to Chancellor Schultz calling for no more heavy weapons to be delivered to Ukraine.

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8 minutes

by Stefan Schlag

A total of 26 representatives of culture and science participated in the discussion about German arms shipments to Ukraine. in one In an open letter to Chancellor Schultz, they warned of the danger of nuclear war. Social psychologist Harald Welzer was one of the first to sign.

Mr. Wells, after your open letter, there has also been a lot of criticism online, and some malice. Is this what you expected?

Harold Welzer: Of course, this is because there has been a complete narrowing of the controversy. According to our popular opinion polls, about half are in favor of supplying heavy weapons and the other half are against them. But we have a completely different relationship in the public media. There is a monoculture of opinion and the desire for heavy weapons is relatively clear. In this regard, it was obvious that it would be contradictory and uncomfortable at first if we did.

In terms of content, I can say on our site that we represent both sides in a balanced way. I claim it for us. Why should the alleged danger of war, that is, that it might extend to nuclear war, depend on Schulz’s conduct of all things? Other NATO partners have gone much further.

Welzer: The question is wrong. We must see if a continuous supply of arms, increasing in quantity and quality, is adequate to end the war. War is likely to escalate, and if all goes well, make it permanent without escalation into nuclear war. Jürgen Habermas pointed out that nuclear war cannot be won in the traditional sense. A federal chancellor, a federal government, is now faced with the problem of not being able to risk that such an event would bring him to us, because it no longer has anything to do with civilization. This question is not trivial. This should be decided in a reasonable discussion based on reasonable considerations and not under pressure.

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How do you explain to the people of Ukraine who were invaded and brutally attacked by Russia that they did not have weapons to defend themselves?

Welzer: They’ve had rifles for two months. Before proceeding in this direction of one-dimensional action, one must choose the other option, namely, to enter into negotiations, by whatever means, only to break the logic of violence. The aggressor used violence and thus determined the situation. What kind of position do those who defend Ukraine take to respond only with the logic of the aggressor, that is, by increasing violence? After all, we are capable of more and should at least keep all work options open and well ventilated.

Many tried to talk to Putin. This has not worked yet.

Welzer: This cannot be an argument to say: then we will hit it.

The people of Ukraine want to defend themselves.

Welzer: There is a different logic. No one will deny that the Ukrainians, from their point of view, their situation, their terrible shock, are doing their best to defend themselves. However, participants in the surrounding area cannot follow this logic on their own. The problem of demarcation or expansion of the war would mean nothing great or beneficial to the course of the war in Ukraine, but would mean that the number of casualties would rise to the same degree in the surrounding war zones. Logically, no one wants that. The rationale could be that we have to act on two different levels: one is to support Ukraine, as is the case with sanctions, and the other is we could have to do everything internationally to ensure that this war does not. Select and expand.

Suppose Ukraine runs out of weapons and can no longer defend itself. What will happen next will be clear. Russia will take cities and territories. What will happen to Ukraine after that?

Welzer: Why not turn the game around and see what happens with the continued escalation in the level of arms supplies? The most positive alternative that results from this is a perpetual war of attrition, because two partners of roughly equal strength are facing each other. That means a war of attrition and attrition with tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands of casualties over the years and the same situation we’re in now all the time: always the danger of demarcating borders and creating a nuclear war. We are now in the discussion where we do not have a clear solution. The defensive side always acts as if they are perfectly clear what to do. But objectively speaking, we have a much more complex situation of choosing between good and evil, right and wrong. In such a situation, it is absolutely necessary to turn on all the options. That’s why we wrote the letter.

It may be the case, however, that if Ukraine can no longer defend itself, Putin will come up with the idea that he can expand his interest to other countries. Don’t you see the danger, too?

Welzer: Of course I see the danger, but in terms of predictions, we are both equally speculative. And then I always say that if we don’t have a scenario, no scenario, no reliable predictions, no reliable predictions, it’s always better to try to be on the safe side, the side that doesn’t escalate.

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Culture NDR | culture | 05/03/2022 | 7:40 AM

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