O que é este blog?

Este blog trata basicamente de ideias, se possível inteligentes, para pessoas inteligentes. Ele também se ocupa de ideias aplicadas à política, em especial à política econômica. Ele constitui uma tentativa de manter um pensamento crítico e independente sobre livros, sobre questões culturais em geral, focando numa discussão bem informada sobre temas de relações internacionais e de política externa do Brasil. Para meus livros e ensaios ver o website: www.pralmeida.org.

Mostrando postagens com marcador Der Spiegel. Mostrar todas as postagens
Mostrando postagens com marcador Der Spiegel. Mostrar todas as postagens

segunda-feira, 9 de maio de 2016

Acordo Transatlantico: comecaram as mesmas guerrilhas de sempre - Der Spiegel

Já assistimos o mesmo cenário em outras ocasiões: começou lá longe contra acordos bilaterais de livre comércio, depois contra o NAFTA, contra o MAI (acordo de investimentos da OCDE), contra a Alca (ou FTAA), e contra quaisquer outros acordos bilaterais, plurilaterais, regionais, interregionais, multilaterais, whatever...
Como sempre, muito barulho por nada, ou melhor, contra a liberalização do comércio e contra a abertura econômica de modo geral. De vez em quando, eles conseguem barrar esses projetos de acordos, não porque conseguiram no grito, mas porque governos de orientação populista-esquerdista, e governos mesmo de centro, mas temerosos de uma opinião pública manipulada, e centrais sindicais corporativas e contrárias a qualquer abertura e concorrência.
A Alca, por exemplo, foi barrada pela ação de três governos: a Venezuela de Chávez, a Argentina de Nestor Kirchner e o Brasil de Lula, todos eles orgulhosos pelo fato de terem conseguido "implodir" a Alca, como reconheceu um desses chanceleres sabujos.
Bem, cada vez que alguém consegue punir liberalização do comércio, o mundo fica mais pobre, e os mais pobres entre os pobres continuam a ser pobres, pois se tem algo que estimula a criação de empregos e de renda é a abertura comercial e econômica.
Mas, sempre teremos os inimigos dos mais pobres.
Paulo Roberto de Almeida

Protests Threaten Trans-Atlantic Trade Deal
Der Spiegel, May 9, 2016

An unprecedented protest movement of a scope not seen since the Iraq war in Germany has pushed negotiations over the TTIP trans-Atlantic free trade agreement to the brink of collapse. The demonstrations are characterized by a level of professionalism not previously seen.

TTIP is Flawed -- But Necessary
Der Spiegel, May 9, 2016

The planned TTIP free trade agreement between Europe and the United States has generated significant backlash for good reasons. But it's time for Europeans to get on board, or risk being left behind.

quinta-feira, 13 de novembro de 2014

Henry Kissinger: 'Do We Achieve World Order Through Chaos or Insight?' - Der Spiegel

Interview with Henry Kissinger: 'Do We Achieve World Order Through Chaos or Insight?'

Interview Conducted By Juliane von Mittelstaedt and Erich Follath
Der Spiegel, November 13, 2014
Photo Gallery: Henry Kissinger's World Order Photos
Henry Kissinger is the most famous and most divisive secretary of state the US has ever had. In an interview, he discusses his new book exploring the crises of our time, from Syria to Ukraine, and the limits of American power. He says he acted in accordance with his convictions in Vietnam.

Henry Kissinger seems more youthful than his 91 years. He is focused and affable, but also guarded, ready at any time to defend himself or brusquely deflect overly critical questions. That, of course, should come as no surprise. While his intellect is widely respected, his political legacy is controversial. Over the years, repeated attempts have been made to try him for war crimes.
From 1969 to 1977, Kissinger served under President Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, first as national security advisor and then as secretary of state. In those roles, he also carried partial responsibility for the napalm bombings in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos the killed or maimed tens of thousands of civilians. Kissinger also backed the putsch against Salvador Allende in Chile and is accused of having had knowledge of CIA murder plots. Documents declassified just a few weeks ago show that Kissinger had drawn up secret plans to launch air strikes against Cuba. The idea got scrapped after Democrat Jimmy Carter was elected in 1976.
Nevertheless, Kissinger remains a man whose presence is often welcome in the White House, where he continues to advise presidents and secretaries of state to this day.
Little in Kissinger's early years hinted at his future meteoric rise in American politics. Born as Heinz Alfred Kissinger in Fürth, Germany in 1923, his Jewish family would later flee to the United States in 1938. After World War II, Kissinger went to Germany to assist in finding former members of the Gestapo. He later studied political science and became a professor at Harvard at the age of 40.
Kissinger recently published his 17th book, a work with the not exactly modest title "World Order." When preparing to sit down with us for an interview, he asked that "world order" be the topic. Despite his German roots and the fact that he reads DER SPIEGEL each week on his iPad, Kissinger prefers to speak in English. After 90 minutes together in New York, Kissinger says he's risked his neck with everything he's told us. But of course, a man like Kissinger knows precisely what he does and doesn't want to say.

SPIEGEL: Dr. Kissinger, when we look at the world today, it seems to be messier than ever -- with wars, catastrophes and chaos everywhere. Is the world really in greater disorder than ever before? Kissinger: It seems that it is. There is chaos threatening us, through the spread of weapons of mass destruction and cross-border terrorism. There is now a phenomenon of ungoverned territories, and we have seen in Libya, for example, that an ungoverned territory can have an enormous impact on disorder in the world. The state as a unit is under attack, not in every part of the world, but in many parts of it. But at the same time, and this seems to be a paradox, this is the first time one can talk about a world order at all.
SPIEGEL: What do you mean by that?
Kissinger: For the greatest part of history until really the very recent time, world order was regional order. This is the first time that different parts of the world can interact with every part of the world. This makes a new order for the globalized world necessary. But there are no universally accepted rules. There is the Chinese view, the Islamic view, the Western view and, to some extent, the Russian view. And they really are not always compatible.
SPIEGEL: In your new book, you frequently point to the Westphalian Peace Treaty of 1648 as a reference system for world order, as a result of the Thirty Years' War. Why should a treaty dating back more than 350 years still be relevant today?
Kissinger: The Westphalian Peace was made after almost a quarter of the Central European population perished because of wars, disease and hunger. The treaty was based on the necessity to come to an arrangement with each other, not on some sort of superior morality. Independent nations decided not to interfere in the affairs of other states. They created a balance of power which we are missing today.
SPIEGEL: Do we need another Thirty Years' War to create a new world order?
Kissinger: Well, that's a very good question. Do we achieve a world order through chaos or through insight? One would think that the proliferation of nuclear weapons, the dangers of climate change and terrorism should create enough of a common agenda. So I would hope that we can be wise enough not to have a Thirty Years' War.
SPIEGEL: So let's talk about a concrete example: How should the West react to the Russian annexation of Crimea? Do you fear this might mean that borders in the future are no longer incontrovertible?
Kissinger: Crimea is a symptom, not a cause. Furthermore, Crimea is a special case. Ukraine was part of Russia for a long time. You can't accept the principle that any country can just change the borders and take a province of another country. But if the West is honest with itself, it has to admit that there were mistakes on its side. The annexation of Crimea was not a move toward global conquest. It was not Hitler moving into Czechoslovakia.
SPIEGEL: What was it then?
Kissinger: One has to ask one's self this question: Putin spent tens of billions of dollars on the Winter Olympics in Sochi. The theme of the Olympics was that Russia is a progressive state tied to the West through its culture and, therefore, it presumably wants to be part of it. So it doesn't make any sense that a week after the close of the Olympics, Putin would take Crimea and start a war over Ukraine. So one has to ask one's self why did it happen?
SPIEGEL: What you're saying is that the West has at least a kind of responsibility for the escalation?
Kissinger: Yes, I am saying that. Europe and America did not understand the impact of these events, starting with the negotiations about Ukraine's economic relations with the European Union and culminating in the demonstrations in Kiev. All these, and their impact, should have been the subject of a dialogue with Russia. This does not mean the Russian response was appropriate.
SPIEGEL: It seems you have a lot of understanding for Putin. But isn't he doing exactly what you are warning of -- creating chaos in eastern Ukraine and threatening sovereignty?
Kissinger: Certainly. But Ukraine has always had a special significance for Russia. It was a mistake not to realize that.
SPIEGEL: Relations between the West and Russia are tenser now than they have been in decades. Should we be concerned about the prospects of a new Cold War?
Kissinger: There clearly is this danger, and we must not ignore it. I think a resumption of the Cold War would be a historic tragedy. If a conflict is avoidable, on a basis reflecting morality and security, one should try to avoid it.
SPIEGEL: But didn't the annexation of Crimea by Russia force the EU and US to react by imposing sanctions?
Kissinger: One, the West could not accept the annexation; some countermeasures were necessary. But nobody in the West has offered a concrete program to restore Crimea. Nobody is willing to fight over eastern Ukraine. That's a fact of life. So one could say we don't have to accept it, and we do not treat Crimea as a Russian territory under international law -- just as we continued to treat the Baltic states as independent throughout Soviet rule.
SPIEGEL: Would it be better to stop sanctions even without any concessions from the Russians?
Kissinger: No. But I do have a number of problems with the sanctions. When we talk about a global economy and then use sanctions within the global economy, then the temptation will be that big countries thinking of their future will try to protect themselves against potential dangers, and as they do, they will create a mercantilist global economy. And I have a particular problem with this idea of personal sanctions. And I'll tell you why. We publish a list of people who are sanctioned. So then, when the time comes to lift the sanctions, what are we going to say? "The following four people are now free of sanctions, and the other four are not." Why those four? I think one should always, when one starts something, think what one wants to achieve and how it should end. How does it end?
SPIEGEL: Doesn't that also apply to Putin, who has maneuvered himself into a corner? Does he act out of weakness or out of strength?
Kissinger: I think out of strategic weakness masked as tactical strength.
SPIEGEL: What does that mean for any interaction with him?
Kissinger: We have to remember that Russia is an important part of the international system, and therefore useful in solving all sorts of other crises, for example in the agreement on nuclear proliferation with Iran or over Syria. This has to have preference over a tactical escalation in a specific case. On the one hand it is important that Ukraine remain an independent state, and it should have the right to economic and commercial associations of its choice. But I don't think it's a law of nature that every state must have the right to be an ally in the frame work of NATO. You and I know that NATO will never vote unanimously for the entry of Ukraine. SPIEGEL: But we cannot tell the Ukrainians that they are not free to decide their own future.
Kissinger: Why not?
SPIEGEL: You're speaking like a superpower that is used to getting its way.
Kissinger: No, the United States cannot dictate, and the US should not try to dictate. It would be a mistake even to think it could. But in regards to NATO, the US will have one vote in a decision based on unanimity. The German chancellor has expressed herself in the same sense.
SPIEGEL: America is very polarized. The level of aggression in the political debate is extremely high. Is the superpower still even able to act at all?
Kissinger: I am worried about this domestic split. When I worked in Washington, political combat was tough. But there was much more cooperation and contact between opponents of the two big parties.
SPIEGEL: In last week's elections, President Obama lost his majority in the Senate as well.
Kissinger: Technically correct. At the same time, the president is freed to stand for what is right -- just as President Harry Truman did between 1946 and 1948, when he advanced the Marshall Plan after losing Congress.
SPIEGEL: The next presidential race will soon begin. Would Hillary Clinton make a good candidate?
Kissinger: I consider Hillary a friend, and I think she's a strong person. So, yes, I think she can do the job. Generally, I think it would be better for the country if there were a change in administration. And I think we Republicans have to get a good candidate.
SPIEGEL: In your book, you write that international order "must be cultivated, not imposed." What do you mean by that?
Kissinger: What it means is we that we Americans will be a major factor by virtue of our strengths and values. You become a superpower by being strong but also by being wise and by being farsighted. But no state is strong or wise enough to create a world order alone.
SPIEGEL: Is American foreign policy wise and determined at the moment?
Kissinger: We have the belief in America that we can change the world by not just soft power, but by actual military power. Europe doesn't have that belief.
SPIEGEL: The American public is very reluctant to be engaged and would like to focus on domestic affairs. Obama himself talks about "nation building at home."
Kissinger: If you look at the five wars America has fought since World War II, they all had large public support. The present war against the terror organization Islamic State has large public support. The question is what happens as the war continues. Clarity about the outcome of the war is essential.
SPIEGEL: Shouldn't the most important objective be the protection of suffering civilians in Iraq and Syria.
Kissinger: First of all, I don't agree that the Syrian crisis can be interpreted as a ruthless dictator against a helpless population and that the population will become democratic if you remove the dictator.
SPIEGEL: But the civilians are suffering, however you define it.
Kissinger: Yes, they are, and they deserve sympathy and humanitarian assistance. Let me just say what I think is happening. It is partly a multiethnic conflict. It is partly a rebellion against the old structure of the Middle East. And it is partly a sort of rebellion against the government. Now, if one is willing to fix all these problems and if one is willing to pay the sacrifices for fixing all these problems and if one thinks one can create something that will bring this about, then one can say, "We will apply the right to interfere," but that means military measures and willingness to face the consequences. Look at Libya. There's no question that it was morally justified to overthrow Muammar Gadhafi, but we were not willing to fill the vacuum afterwards. Therefore we have militias fighting against each other today. You get an ungoverned territory and an arms depot for Africa.
SPIEGEL: But we are seeing a similarly unbearable situation in Syria. The state is falling apart and terror organizations are ruling large parts of the country. Wasn't it perhaps wrong not to intervene in order to avoid chaos that now represents a threat to us as well?
Kissinger: In my life, I have almost always been on the side of active foreign policy. But you need to know with whom you are cooperating. You need reliable partners -- and I don't see any in this conflict.
SPIEGEL: As in the Vietnam War. Do you sometimes regret your aggressive policy there?
Kissinger: You'd love me to say that.
SPIEGEL: Of course. You haven't spoken much about it all your life.
Kissinger: I've spent all my life studying these things, and written a book about Vietnam called "Ending the Vietnam War" and many chapters in my memoirs on Vietnam. You have to remember that the administration in which I served inherited the war in Vietnam. Five hundred thousand Americans were deployed there by the Johnson Administration. The Nixon Administration withdrew these troops gradually, with ground combat troops being withdrawn in 1971. I can only say that I and my colleagues acted on the basis of careful thought. On the strategic directions, that was my best thinking, and I acted to the best of my convictions.
SPIEGEL: There is a sentence in your book, on the last page, that can be understood as a kind of self-criticism. You write that you once thought you could explain history, but that today you are more modest when it comes to judging historical events.
Kissinger: I have learned, as I wrote, that history must be discovered, not declared. It's an admission that one grows in life. It's not necessarily a self-criticism. What I was trying to say is you should not think that you can shape history only by your will. This is also why I'm against the concept of intervention when you don't know its ultimate implications.
SPIEGEL: In 2003, you were in favor of overthrowing Saddam Hussein. At that time, too, the consequences of that intervention were uncertain.
Kissinger: I'll tell you what I thought at the time. I thought that after the attack on the United States, it was important that the US vindicate its position. The UN had certified major violations. So I thought that overthrowing Saddam was a legitimate objective. I thought it was unrealistic to attempt to bring about democracy by military occupation.
SPIEGEL: Why are you so sure that it is unrealistic?
Kissinger: Unless you are willing to do it for decades and you are certain your people will follow you. But it is probably beyond the resources of any one country.
SPIEGEL: For this reason, President Obama is fighting the war against terror from the air using drones and warplanes in Pakistan and Yemen and now in Syria and Iraq as well. What do you think about that?
Kissinger: I support attacks on territories from which terrorist attacks are launched. I have never expressed a public view on drones. It threatens more civilians than the equivalent one did in the Vietnam War, but it's the same principle.
SPIEGEL: In your book you argue that America has to make its decisions about war on the basis of what achieves the "best combination of security and morality." Can you explain what you mean by that?
Kissinger: No. It depends on the situation. What is our precise interest in Syria? Is it humanitarian alone? Is it strategic? Of course, you would always want to achieve the most moral possible outcome, but in the middle of a civil war you cannot avoid looking at the realities, and then you have to make the judgments.
SPIEGEL: Meaning that for a certain amount of time, for realistic reasons, we could be on the side of Bashar Assad fighting Islamic State?
Kissinger: Well, no. We could never fight with Assad. That would be a denial of years of what we have done and asserted. But frankly, I think we should have had a dialogue with Russia and asked what outcome we want in Syria, and formulate a strategy together. It was wrong to say from the beginning that Assad must go -- although it is a desirable ultimate goal. Now that we are locked into that conflict with Russia, a deal regarding the Iranian nuclear program becomes more difficult.
SPIEGEL: Are you in favor of a more assertive role for Europe, especially for Germany?
Kissinger: Yes, certainly. A century ago, Europe almost had a monopoly in creating world order. Today, there is a danger it is just busy with itself. Today, Germany is the most significant European country and, yes, it should be much more active. I do have very high regard of Ms. Merkel, and I think she is the right person for leading Germany into this role. By the way, I've met and been sort of friendly with every German chancellor.
SPIEGEL: Oh, including Willy Brandt?
Kissinger: I have very high regard for Willy Brandt.
SPIEGEL: We're a bit surprised here because a few months ago, a conversation between you and Nixon was released in which you call Brandt a "dangerous idiot".
Kissinger: You know, these phrases out of context confuse the reality. Here are people at the end of an exhausting day saying things to each other, reflecting the mood of a moment, and it probably was during some difference of opinion which I don't even remember. We had some doubts about Brandt's Ostpolitik at the beginning, but later, we worked very closely with him. Ask Egon Bahr, he will tell you: Without the Nixon Administration, Brandt's Ostpolitik would not have achieved its objective, especially on the issue of Berlin.
SPIEGEL: In Germany, you are a very controversial politician. When the University of Bonn wanted to name a chair after you, the students protested. Were you disappointed, or at least irritated?
Kissinger: I appreciate the honor. I didn't ask for the chair, and I only became aware of the chair after it was established. I don't want to be part of the discussion, it's entirely up to German agencies. I think Germany should do it for itself or not do it for its own reasons.
SPIEGEL: Mr. Kissinger, we thank you for this interview.

terça-feira, 30 de setembro de 2014

Duas tragedias da humanidade: Ebola e Holocausto - Der Spiegel

Matérias desta data (30/09/2014) na revista alemã Der Spiegel:


'It Is What People Call a Perfect Storm'

Almost four decades ago, Peter Piot was part of the team that discovered the Ebola virus. In a SPIEGEL interview, he describes how the disease was isolated and explains why the current outbreak is different than any that have come before.
Photo Gallery: A Growing Epidemic


Recovering the Lost History of Sobibór

Henchman with the Nazi SS sought to cover up the mass murder that occurred at the Sobibór concentration camp in eastern Poland. Archeologists recently uncovered the site's hidden gas chambers and important artifacts that shed light on the victims.

segunda-feira, 28 de julho de 2014

Ucrania-Putin: europeus continuam hesitantes em face do novo czar desafiador - Der Spiegel


Europe Toughens Stance against Putin

It took the shooting down of a Boeing jet carrying almost 300 people before the EU agreed on the first true economic sanctions against Russia. The Americans want further action, but it is impossible to know if punitive measures can sway Vladimir Putin.


The Time Has Come for Europe to Act

Vladimir Putin has ignored Western demands that he cease arming and supporting pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine. As such, he shares responsibility for the shooting down of MH17. It is now time for Europe to take tough action.

quarta-feira, 11 de junho de 2014

Ditaduras sempre querem mudar a historia, para controlar as mentes: falham invariavelmente...

A liberdade sempre encontra uma maneira de se expressar, mesmo reprimida duramente por ditadores, tiranos, demagogos, fraudadores da história, que também existem entre nós, mesmo que não tenham comandado massacres de pessoas, como na Rússia, na China, na Coreia do Norte, na Alemanha de Hitler, em várias outras ditaduras.
No Brasil, os fraudadores querem reescrever a história do passado, para controlar a do presente e moldar a do futuro. Vão falhar, como todos os outros.
George Orwell já descreveu as técnicas.
Sempre existe um espírito rebelde que rompe o silêncio, a mentira, a fraude...
Paulo Roberto de Almeida

Fahrenheit 1989: China Erases Memories of Tiananmen

By  in Beijing
Der Spiegel, June 11, 2014
Photo Gallery: Remembering TiananmenPhotos
Twenty-five years ago, the Chinese army violently suppressed protests on Tiananmen Square. To this day, Beijing uses pressure, censorship and money to stifle all attempts to commemorate the seminal incident in an up-and-coming China.
Hu Yaobang, 73, a reformer and one of the few politicians the Chinese have ever genuinely worshiped, died on April 15, 1989. As the party leaders who had toppled him from his position as general secretary two years earlier carried him to his grave, some 100,000 students gathered on Tiananmen Square and demanded Hu's rehabilitation. The incident marked the beginning of the revolutionary events of 1989 in faraway Beijing.
On the evening after Hu's death, his son asked his friend Zhang Lifan, a historian, to document the coming days and weeks. He told Zhang that members of the Hu family were too exhausted to do it themselves.
Today Zhang, who was 38 at the time, is one of China's leading intellectuals. He had 300,000 followers until last November, when censors shut down his blog. Zhang is a tall, kind and playful, 63-year-old man. When he is searching for a word or a memory, he tilts his head to one side and presses his left hand to his forehead. He wears a silver skull ring, a memento mori given to him by a Buddhist monk.
In the weeks following April 15, 1989, Zhang would become far more deeply involved in the events that were unfolding than he might have suspected on the evening after Hu Yaobang's death. He has waited almost a quarter of a century to publish part of his memoirs and talk about his experiences publicly.
"I felt cold on the morning of the funeral," he says. "There were thousands of demonstrators outside, while inside the building supreme leader Deng Xiaoping, that 84-year-old who had had his hair dyed once again, was stomping around like some angry young man. I was standing right next to him. He was determined and ready for a fight."
In the spring of 1989 Deng, who had fallen out of favor twice during the Cultural Revolution, saw his life's work being threatened: the economic opening of China under party dominance. "He knew that he would not experience a third comeback," says Zhang. "That fear led to the suppression of the unrest on Tiananmen."
'Enforced Amnesia'
During the Cultural Revolution in the late 1960s, tens of thousands of academics, artists and writers were banished or even beaten to death. "I knew what sort of trouble words could get me into," says Zhang, "and I had stopped keeping a diary years earlier." Nevertheless, he agreed to accept the request from Hu's family. "Historians rarely have the opportunity to witness an event that shapes history."
It was indeed an event that made history. Europe is marking the 25th anniversary of an important turning point in 2014. While Germany commemorates the fall of the Berlin Wall, the countries of the former Eastern bloc are celebrating their liberation from communism. But China's leaders see no reason to commemorate the protests that began at their palace gates and swept into the streets for the first time in 1989. The country's name still identifies China as a people's republic today, and according to its history books, nothing of any significance happened there 25 years ago. When the number "1989" is typed into Baidu Baike, a Chinese version of the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, one of the responses reads: "1989 is the number between 1988 and 1990."
The leadership isn't just ignoring an anniversary. In fact, it has erased the incident from the collective memory, despite its profound impact on China's current intellectual elite. Sinologist Frank Dikötter describes the government's policy as "enforced amnesia". Authoritarian countries, of course, have a habit of dismissing historic facts.
Ironically, though, China's Communist Party takes its version of history very seriously. Party officials constantly invoke history in their speeches, and since 1989 dozens of professorships in history have been established, days of remembrance have been introduced and countless conferences have been held. "To forget history is treachery," states an anthology of contributions to one of these conferences.
Nevertheless, the party quashes any attempt to force it to face up to its own history, one that includes the hundreds killed in the Tiananmen massacre and the millions who died in mass campaigns during the years under former leader Mao Zedong through the land reform, the "Giant Leap Forward" and the Cultural Revolution.
Unparalleled Negation
Even among authoritarian countries, China's negation of its own contemporary history is historically unparalleled. In the 25 years since Tiananmen, the country has not only taken off economically, but has also experienced a cultural explosion. And yet China's publishing houses and film studios, along with its universities, think tanks, museums and Internet companies, are producing culture devoid of much of its own history. China's version of Ray Bradbury's dystopian novel "Fahrenheit 451" could very well be called Fahrenheit 1989, a society in which the regime has deleted all unpleasant memories, so that millions of young Chinese today have no idea what happened on Tiananmen Square.
A week after the memorial service for Hu Yaobang, Zhang Lifan received a second request, this time from the government. Then Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev had been invited to visit Beijing, but the regime didn't want his reception to be tainted by thousands of people protesting outside. Men like Zhang, a lecturer at the Beijing Academy of Social Sciences at the time, knew the students. The government asked him to serve as an intermediary.
"Weeks earlier, I had met and debated with students in a student apartment in Dasuzhou Alley," says Zhang. On a day in May, 25 years later, he and his wife are searching for the apartment near Tiananmen where he met with the students. But their search is unsuccessful. Like most buildings near the Gate of Heavenly Peace (Tiananmen Gate), those in Dasuzhou Alley are now occupied by party officials and their families. There are high walls, imposing portals and security cameras everywhere. When Zhang stops walking for a moment and points to where the apartment was, a couple emerges from a crowd of tourists and photographs him. It's obvious that they are plainclothes agents.
Zhang, undeterred, continues his account: "I spent days rushing back and forth between Tiananmen Square and the office of the United Work Front, which was supposed to communicate with the students. I didn't get much sleep."
Division in Both Camps
He noticed signs of divisions in both camps from the very beginning, says Zhang. In the government, he explains, the reformers were losing ground to the hawks. Among the students, the thousands of new demonstrators arriving every day were applying growing pressure on the core group, which had persevered on Tiananmen Square from the beginning and was willing to negotiate a withdrawal.
Shortly before martial law was imposed, Zhang guided one of the government's chief negotiators through the checkpoints to the demonstrators' main tent.
"We all sat on the ground, and one of the student leaders introduced the chief of the delegation to his people. 'This here is Yan Mingfu of the Workers' Front,' he said, 'a good man from the system. Listen to what he has to say, and give the reformers a chance.' But then Yan Mingfu kicked him. It was already dangerous at the time to be called a 'reformer'."
On the next day, May 19, the demonstrators voted on a bus whether to clear the square. The outcome was negative. "I ran over to the official in charge. He was surprised, because he thought the government had been given different signals," says Zhang. That evening, the students requested another meeting with the government, and Zhang took them to see the official. "The tone had changed radically within a few hours. Now the official asked: 'What else is there to discuss? Go back and see what's on TV."
Premier Li Peng had gone on television to declare martial law. "That put an end to my mission," says Zhang. "I was disappointed by both sides, because I knew what a historic opportunity had now been lost."
Immediate Efforts to Obfuscate the Massacre
On the night of June 3, 1989, the army advanced on Tiananmen Square. Hundreds of protestors who couldn't have imagined that the soldiers would obey orders to open fire died in Beijing, and hundreds more were killed outside the capital. The exact death toll is unknown to this day. Efforts to obfuscate the massacre began immediately after it had occurred.
Many of the prominent student leaders managed to flee abroad. Those demonstrators who were arrested disappeared into prisons for months or even years, and many were sentenced to death. Those who publicly declared their solidarity with the protestors, like a few prominent journalists, were demoted or fired. Party leader Zhao Ziyang who, as Zhang later discovered, had requested his and other academics' assistance, was deposed and placed under house arrest. He died in 2005.
But the determining factor in the disappearance of the Tiananmen massacre from China's public memory was the way the regime dealt with the hundreds of thousands of sympathizers in Chinese schools and universities -- the 1989 generation, which now forms the core of China as a cultural nation.
"Sometime that fall, we were summoned by the academy," says Zhang. "We were told to sit in a circle and deliver our reports. When it was my turn, they said: 'Comrade Zhang Lifan! What have you done?' In response, I asked: 'Is that a question or an order?' It was an order, and of course I had done more than anyone else."
Life after Tiananmen
He says he received daily visits from the police after that. The interrogations became increasingly harsh, and Zhang feared that he would be arrested any day. "Instead, the mood suddenly shifted. University grants and conference and research budgets increased, and academia blossomed," he recalls.
Throughout the country, historians began writing entire libraries full of essays and books about China's humiliation in the opium wars, the history of Marxism and the rise of the Chinese nation under the Communist Party. "Most of its was completely worthless from an academic standpoint, and it didn't hold up as a historical narrative, either."
Zhang continued to work for a period of time. "I still remember what I said in parting: You and I, we no longer belong in the same wok. We no longer fit together." Since then, he has been writing his blog and occasionally publishing a book or an essay, such as his memories of the funeral of Hu Yaobang published last year in the magazine Yanhuang Chunqiu, which prompted complaints to the editors by government censors. "Those who do not participate in writing the official account of this country's history have to think very carefully about what they are writing and how much of a risk they are taking," says Zhang.
Since the suppression of the Tiananmen uprising, the power of the Communist Party has relied on four pillars, writes China expert Minxin Pei: robust growth, sophisticated repression, state-sponsored nationalism and co-opting of social elites.
China's intellectuals play a key role in this power structure, voluntarily or involuntarily. They benefit from the economic boom more than most Chinese, and they are both victims of the censorship and surveillance state and authors of a powerful account of the greatness of the nation, the rise of the party and victory over China's enemies -- an account that excludes all mention of the disasters and mountains of bodies littering the country's history.
Oliver Stone: Deal with Your History
In mid-April, on the 25th anniversary of the death of reformer Hu Yaobang, Beijing's cultural establishment listened to what one of the biggest fans of China among the West's creative classes, the history-obsessed US director Oliver Stone, had to say. He had been invited to speak about cooperation between Hollywood and the Chinese film industry at the Beijing International Film Festival.
Stone's message was unheard of, at least publicly. Before any meaningful cooperation between Hollywood and China's studios could take place, he said, the country would have to finally come to terms with its historical material. "Mao Zedong has been lionized in dozens and dozens of Chinese films, but never criticized," he told them. "It's about time. You got to make a movie about Mao, about the Cultural Revolution. You do that, you open up, you stir the waters and you allow true creativity to emerge in this country."
He could understand Beijing's studio heads avoiding subjects like Tibet or unrest in the Xinjiang region, he said. "But not your history, for Christ's sake."
The audience applauded.

terça-feira, 27 de maio de 2014

Eleicoes europeias: um voto punitivo contra os partidos nacionais - Nikolaus Blome

Opinion: A Victory for European Democracy

Der Spiegel, May 25, 2014
The European Parliament in Strasbourg, France: For the first time, voters have decided on one of the most important posts in the European Union. Zoom
The European Parliament in Strasbourg, France: 
For the first time, voters have decided on one of the 
most important posts in the European Union.
Although voter turnout was down in many places and right-wing populists scored significant gains, this weekend's European Parliament election was historically important. It has shifted the balance of power in Europe in favor of voters.
For the first time in the European Union's history, the major parties in the European Parliament launched top candidates who campaigned for the job of European Commission president and gave stump speeches across much of Europe in an experiment that affected more than 400 million voters.
The aim of creating the leading candidates was to establish a central feature in what are essentially national elections and also the personalization of the campaign and the intensification of the election on television. The hope had been that voter participation would increase enough on Sunday to hold the right-wing populists at bay in most countries.
The experiment didn't work as many had hoped it would.
Jean-Claude Juncker campaigned on behalf of the conservative Christian Democrats and Martin Schulz for the center-left Social Democrats. Both candidates took on the task of creating a truly European election to the point of exhaustion. Throughout, they had to tackle a number of small and large adversities that at times put them under great strain.
Voters Settle Scores
Despite their efforts, the two didn't manage to increase voter turnout dramatically. They had more success in doing so in countries where the economy is doing relatively well, like Germany. In countries like France, Italy, Britain, Austria and Greece, however, their campaigns didn't succeed in a drowning out domestic debates and sensitivities. Instead, voters in those countries on the left and on the right settled scores with their own governments. For them, anti-EU parties were a means to an end, and national considerations outweighed European issues. As happened in the past, the vote was used to punish national parties.
On this issue, the experiment of fielding leading candidates was a failure. The election was, however, still a historically important one.
It may not be the case in Germany, but it will make waves in domestic politics in some member states and rock the current situation. Above all, the balance of power has shifted in Europe -- providing quite a bit more to the European Parliament and the voters.
The two leading candidates, with their personalization of the election, have created some facts that will be hard to change. It is very hard to imagine that the leaders of the EU member states would be able to prevent election victor Jean-Claude Juncker from becoming the next president of the European Commission if a majority in parliament backs him. The traditional "grand coalition" in the European Parliament between the conservative Christian Democrats (the European People's Party) and the center-left Social Democrats (Socialists and Democrats) will this time be led by the conservatives and is likely to achieve that needed majority. What that ultimately means is that leaders like Germany's Angela Merkel, who has said the winner wouldn't automatically become the EU Commission president, will have to yield to the wishes of voters. Although the leaders will still be free to choose other important EU posts, including the other members of the Commission, a very important one has likely now been turned over to the discretion of voters. That's how things should be and it is a positive development.
Although the experiment with the leading candidates didn't work out as well as people had hoped, it still proved to be a worthwhile endeavor. Even if voter turnout wasn't as great as it could have been, this election has still made Europe more democratic.

domingo, 11 de maio de 2014

Copa do Mundo: mais uma heranca maldita dos companheiros - Der Spiegel

Capa da mais importante revista semanal da Alemanha:
Morte e Jogo: o Brasil antes da Copa do Mundo de Futebol

Chamada para a matéria especial:

"Justamente na Terra do Futebol, o Mundial poderá ser um fiasco. No ,lugar da festa, passeatas, greves e tiroteios. Os cidadãos estão enfurecidos com os estádios super-faturados e políticos corruptos - e ainda sofrem com uma economia em estagnação."

sexta-feira, 2 de maio de 2014

Putin post-communist, or post-fascist; may be, de facto fascist - Jan Fleischhauer

Opinion: Putin's Not Post-Communist, He's Post-Fascist

By Jan Fleischhauer
Der Spiegel, May 2nd, 2014
Russian President Vladmir Putin: "Death is horrible, isn't it?"
Some like to idealize Vladimir Putin as the ideological successor to the 
left-wing Soviet leaders, but that's sheer nonsense. His speeches 
offer clear evidence that his points of reference originate in fascism. 
Russian President Vladmir Putin: "Death is horrible, isn't it?"Zoom

In order to understand Vladimir Putin, you have to listen to him. You have to read what he wants. More importantly, though, you have to see what it is that he is seeking to prevent. Often, a politician's fears and aversions can be more telling than his or her plans and promises.
So what is it that drives Putin? The central theme of all his speeches is the fear of encirclement -- the threat represented by powers that want to keep the Russian people down because they fear its inner strength. "They are constantly trying to sweep us into a corner because we have an independent position, because we maintain it and because we call things like they are and do not engage in hypocrisy," he said in a March 18 speech before the Duma. In a television interview in April, he said: "There are enough forces in the world that are afraid of our strength, 'our hugeness,' as one of our sovereigns said. So they seek to divide us into parts."
A Threat to the Russian Soul
There remains a tendency to view the Kremlin's foreign policy primarily from a geopolitical perspective -- namely that the country is seeking to recover some of the territory it lost when the Soviet Union dissolved. But when Putin speaks of the enemy of the Russian people, he is speaking about something deeper and more basic. The forces against which he has declared war are not only seeking to expand their influence further and further into the East -- they are also going after the Russian soul. That's what he means when he says that Russia must put up a fight against the West.
But what's at the heart of this soul? Putin has provided some insights here as well. "It seems to me that the Russian person or, on a broader scale, a person of the Russian world, primarily thinks about his or her highest moral designation, some highest moral truths," he said in the interview. In contrast to this is a West that is fixated on personal success and prosperity or, as Putin states, the "inner self." In the view of its president, the battle Russia is waging is ideological in nature. It is a fight against the superficiality of materialism, against the decline in values, against the feminization and effeminacy of society -- and against the dissolution of all traditional bonds that are part of that development. In short, against everything "un-Russian."
Even today, many are having trouble recognizing the true nature of a man who is currently in the process of turning the European peace order on its head. Perhaps we don't have the courage to make the right comparisons because they remind us of an era that we thought we had put behind us. Within Germany's Left Party and parts of the center-left Social Democrats, Putin is still viewed as a man molded in the tradition of the Soviet party leader, who stood for an idealized version of Socialism. The old knee-jerk sense of solidarity is still there. It is based on a misunderstanding, though, because Putin isn't post-communist. He's post-fascist.
A search for the right historical analogy should focus on the events of Rome in 1919 rather than Sarajevo in 1914. It won't take long for those who step inside the world of echo chambers and metaphors that color Putin's thinking to identify traits that were also present at the birth of fascism. There's Putin's cult of the body, the lofty rhetoric of self-assertion, the denigration of his opponents as degenerates, his contempt for democracy and Western parliamentarianism, his exaggerated nationalism.
Enemies of freedom on the far right in Europe sensed the changing political climate early on. They immediately understood that, in Putin, someone is speaking who shares their obsessions and aversions. Putin reciprocates by acknowledging these like-minded individuals. "As for the rethinking of values in European countries, yes, I agree that we are witnessing this process," he told his television interviewer last Thursday, pointing to Victor Orban's victory in Hungary and the success of Marine Le Pen in France. It was the only positive thing he had to say in the entirety of a four-hour interview.
An Historic Mission for the Russian People

When they were first introduced one year ago, people also failed to recognize the true meaning of Russia's new anti-gay laws. But today it is clear that it marked the emergence of the new Russia. What began with an anti-gay law is now continuing at another level: The logical progression of the belief that certain groups are inferior is the belief in the superiority of one's own people.And when Putin evokes the myth of Moscow as a "Third Rome," it is clear he is assigning the Russian people with an historic mission. Responsibility is falling to Russia not only to stop Western decadence at its borders, but also to provide a last bastion for those who had already given up hope in this struggle. But he is also saying that Russia can never yield.
"Death is horrible, isn't it?" Putin asked viewers at the end of his television appearance. "But no, it appears it may be beautiful if it serves the people: Death for one's friends, one's people or for the homeland, to use the modern word." That's as fascist as it gets.
Jan Fleischhauer is the author of SPIEGEL ONLINE's weekly conservative political column.

sábado, 15 de fevereiro de 2014

Primeira Guerra Mundial e o debate de historiadores: quao culpado foi o Imperio Alemao? - Der Spiegel

A Alemanha, país, ou nação, de imensas realizações nos campos da cultura, da ciência, da filosofia, da história, continua a ser uma sociedade torturada por ações e processos vergonhosos em seu passado, nomeadamente a Primeira Guerra Mundial (ainda em debate) e os doze anos de nazismo, que causaram incomensuráveis desastres em toda a Europa e em boa parte do mundo, inclusive no terreno das ideias e motivações, pois pequenos nazistas ainda pululam um pouco em todas as partes proclamando a superioridade de uns sobre outros, e instilando ódio, desprezo, racismo, intolerância, quando não crimes e genocídios.
O genocídio, a despeito de já existir implicitamente antes e sob variadas circunstâncias, tomou uma forma definitiva no século 20, com os massacres nazistas sobre populações indefesas e com o terrível holocausto, que pretendeu eliminar todo um povo, conseguindo matar 5 ou 6 milhões de judeus em várias partes da Europa.
O fato é que os alemães continuam a ser angustiados e torturados por sua terrível história, não de todo o povo alemão, mas de alguns líderes nefastos, nacionalistas e racistas ao extremo, a ponto de provocar catástrofes inacreditáveis, no que foram seguidos sempre pela massa inerme de cidadãos pouco educados, que são sempre em maior número que o pequeno número de ilustrados que tentam se opor aos desastres.
Essa responsabilidade o povo alemão carrega consigo, e seus historiadores deveriam trabalhar sobre ela. Mas parece que alguns pretendem, na verdade, descarregar tamanha responsabilidade, e se eximir de tantas culpas.
O debate continua, como se pode ver pela longa matéria abaixo, que continua nos links finais, não transcritos neste post, mas que valeria conferir.
Paulo Roberto de Almeida

World War I Guilt: 

Culpability Question Divides Historians Today

By Dirk Kurbjuweit
Der Spiegel, February 14, 2014
(The article you are reading originally appeared in German in issue 7/2014 (February 10, 2014) of DER SPIEGEL.)
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I and the 75th of the start of World War II. Questions over the degree of German guilt remain contentious among historians, who have been fighting over the issue for years.
In his book "The Blood Intoxication of the Bolsheviks," published in the early 1920s, a certain R. Nilostonsky described a particularly horrific form of torture used in the Russian civil war. A rat was placed into an iron pipe, which was then pressed against the body of a prisoner. When the torturers placed the other end of the pipe against a fire, the panic-stricken rat had only one choice: to eat its way through the prisoner
When Hitler met with his officers on Feb. 1, 1943, after the defeat at Stalingrad, he told them that he suspected some German prisoners were likely to commit treason. "You have to imagine a prisoner being brought to Moscow, and then imagine the 'rat cage.' That prisoner will sign anything."
Historian Ernst Nolte published an essay in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper on June 6, 1986. In it, he suggested that Hitler's use of the term "rat cage" meant that the Nazi leader had heard of the Soviet form of torture involving a rat and a pipe. For Nolte, this served as evidence of the fear that Hitler and his men had of the Russians, a fear that could have "prompted" them to commit genocide.
In 1988, historian Hans-Ulrich Wehler published a book in which he devoted an entire chapter to the "rat cage," in an effort to prove that Nolte's theory was wrong.
As much as their debate seemed to revolve around rats, the real issue was culpability. How much guilt has Germany acquired throughout its history? And does the anecdote about Hitler and the Russian rat torture somehow diminish German guilt?
This year will be a historic one, marking three important anniversaries: the 100th anniversary of the eruption of World War I, the 75th anniversary of the start of World War II and the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The first two dates have been the source of heated debates among German intellectuals. The Fischer controversy in the early 1960s had to do with assigning blame for the eruption of World War I, while the dispute between historians in the mid-1980s revolved around culpability for the Holocaust. Both debates were informed by the positions in what was then a divided nation, including views on German unification.
History is not just history, but also a part of the present. This is especially true of Germany. The overwhelming history of the 20th century engulfed the country and shaped the consciousness of politically active citizens.
Both debates ended in victory for those who advocated Germany accepting the greatest possible culpability and therefore sought to exclude the possibility of German reunification, fearing that a unified Germany could lead to fatal consequences, perhaps even a third world war. As a result, German consciousness was strongly influenced by this acceptance of guilt for decades to come.
A New Identity for Germans?
In the meantime, new information has come to light on the issues in both debates, which tends to support the losing side. Could this lead to a new national identity for Germans?
The importance of this question underscores the need to revisit the Fischer controversy and the dispute among historians in this historic year. It also focuses our attention, once again, on a controversial concept of the day: revisionism. It was once anathema to one side of the debate, and subsequently to the other. But it's a necessary debate.
A device that has already been relegated to history stands on the desk of Hans-Ulrich Wehler: a typewriter. In a sense, Wehler lives between the Netherlands and Italy, in a white house on the outskirts of the northwestern German city of Bielefeld, near the underground Dutch-Italian natural gas pipeline. For Wehler, living so close to the pipeline means that nothing can be built to spoil his view. When he sits in his office, he looks out at trees and meadows. Behind him are enough books to take an ordinary person an entire life to read, but for Wehler they represent only a small portion of his reading material.
He was a professor at the University of Bielefeld for 25 years. His most important work is a book called "Deutsche Gesellschaftsgeschichte" (German Social History). Wehler, 82, is a slim, cheerful man with a hint of the singsong accent typical of the Rhineland region.
When he was an assistant professor at the University of Cologne in the early 1960s, Wehler attended a colloquium led by Hamburg historian Fritz Fischer. But he was disappointed. He had expected something wild and exciting, but Fischer was a conservative man who "engaged in the conventional history of diplomacy."
Destroying a Comfortable Relationship with the Past
In 1961, Fischer published a book called "Germany's Aims in the First World War." A sentence in Fischer's book led to many changes. For Fischer, the German Reich bore "a substantial share of the historical responsibility for the outbreak of the general war."
The young Wehler was speechless. He had been waiting for a sentence like that.
At the time, West Germany was a country that felt relatively at ease with its past. The "national master narrative," the account of Germany's good past, still existed. The 12 Nazi years were certainly viewed as horrific, but they were also largely repressed at the time. German history prior to the Nazi era was viewed as anything from tolerable to heroic, including the history of World War I. German historians of the early postwar period clung to a word that had been used by former British Prime Minister David Lloyd George: "slid." In George's view, the major powers had slid into the war, which meant that everyone was equally culpable or innocent.
Fischer's theories destroyed this comfortable relationship with the past. He saw a continuity between the war objectives and 1914 and 1939: great conquests with the goal achieving global power. The German Empire became a precursor to the Nazi regime and World War I an overture to World War II. "A mine has been placed against the good conscience of the Germans," SPIEGEL, which agreed with Fischer's ideas, wrote in its review of his book.
For Gerhard Ritter, an important historian at the time, Fischer's book was intolerable. He had served the German Kaiser as a soldier in World War I, and he believed that Fischer's theories were a "national disaster." He was uninterested in revisionist history. The Fischer controversy had begun, a debate that was carried out in newspapers and magazine, and at the 1964 "Historikertag" (Conference of German Historians) in Berlin.
Wehler says he defended Fischer "as much as possible." But he was still too young at the time to be taken seriously as a historian.
The dispute soon became political. In 1964, the German Foreign Ministry tried to prevent Fischer from traveling to the United States to give a series of lectures. In 1965, Franz Josef Strauss, the deputy chairman of the conservative faction in the German parliament, the Bundestag, called upon the government to do everything in its power "to combat and eradicate the habitual, negligent and deliberate distortions of German history and Germany's image today, distortions that are sometimes made with the intention of dissolving the Western community."
Strauss was troubled by the idea of "sole moral responsibility," which was not something Fischer had mentioned but had become a central concept in the dispute. This is often the case in debates, when they become condensed into individual words and sentences, making do with less than complete accuracy in the interest of strengthening an argument.
Carving History into Stone
Fischer's view prevailed. Whether the term being used was "sole responsibility" or a "significant share of the historic responsibility," the national master narrative had been destroyed -- an agreeable outcome for those who dominated the public dialogue starting in the late 1960s, the student revolutionaries who came to be known as the 1968 generation.
In 1972 historian Immanuel Geiss, one of Fischer's students, said: "The overwhelming role played by the German Reich in the outbreak of World War I and the offensive character of Germany's war objectives is no longer a point of controversy, nor is it disputable." It was as if he were carving history into stone.
Geiss knew how to make this final state of the history of World War I politically useful. In his view, the Fischer controversy had produced a new kind of person, "the German who had become insightful." From the 1972 perspective, Geiss had developed instructions for this person. The first and second world wars, he said, had resulted in "the need to make do with the status of lesser powers in Europe," as well as the "final liquidation of all patriotic dreams of a German Reich." He was referring to the possibility of German reunification. "Any attempt to circumvent these political consequences, to squeeze past them, would inevitably lead to a third phase of German power politics, hence leading to a third world war initiated, once again, by Germany."
Four decades later, over lunch at Potsdamer Platz in Berlin, Herfried Münkler, 62, shoots that notion down. A third world war? Nowhere in sight. Power politics? Difficult question. Germany is a power in Europe once again, but primarily an economic one. Münkler is critical of Germany, which, as "the strongest player at the center is keeping itself out of the political fray."

Münkler, who teaches political science at Berlin's Humboldt University, has just written a book about World War I, "Der Grosse Krieg" (The Great War). He refers to Fritz Fischer's research as "outrageous, in principle," noting that the historian limited his research to German archives, ignoring Russian, English and French material. This, says Münkler, meant that Fischer couldn't have discovered that the other major powers also had reasons to go to war.Confusing Scenarios and Political Plans
Besides, says Münkler, Fischer "confused scenarios and political plans." The German military leaders had in fact developed war plans, just as everyone else had, he explains. They were determined to be prepared. But the political leadership did not embrace these plans, says Münkler. Australian historian Christopher Clark reaches similar conclusions in his book "The Sleepwalkers." There are similarities between sleepwalking and sliding into war. Both involve uncontrolled movements.
Nevertheless, Münkler finds the Fischer controversy "helpful in terms of political history" and sees "a positive effect of mistakes." It was necessary, says Münkler, for the Germans to turn to their history once again, for something to break open and for the national master narrative to give way to a critical consciousness.