Markus Lanz got stuck in the debate with Lars Pohlmeier.Image: ZDF
11.05.2022, 07:0711.05.2022, 08:54
It is currently the most hotly debated question in Germany: should heavy weapons be delivered to Ukraine or not? While many people believe that Ukraine needs the West’s full support in its fight against Russia, others fear that the conflict could escalate into World War III. “It’s the fear of the first nuclear strike that moves people,” says Markus Lanz at the beginning of his ZDF talk show on Tuesday evening. There is vigorous discussion afterwards. The group will not agree. These were the guests at “Markus Lanz” on May 10th:
- Anton Hofreiter: The former leader of the Greens has turned into a supporter of arms deliveries. The politician is thus representative of large parts of his party, which are now taking a hard line against Russia instead of pacifism. “We have to support Ukraine in such a way that Putin is ready for serious negotiations. Unfortunately, we can only achieve that with weapons,” says Hofreiter.
- Michael Broecker: The journalist is editor-in-chief of “The Pioneer” and has just returned from Ukraine, where he visited the city of Bucha, among other places. Bröcker is also clearly in favor of arms deliveries and toughness against Russia.
- Liana Fix: The historian and political scientist is program manager in the international politics department of the Körber Foundation with a focus on Russia and Eastern Europe. She was born in Kazakhstan and is a foreign policy expert. She considers a Russian nuclear strike to be rather unlikely.
- Lars Pohlmeier: The doctor is the German chairman of the organization “International Doctors for the Prevention of Nuclear War”. He signed Alice Schwarzer’s open letter against arms deliveries. “Every delivery of arms prolongs the suffering in Ukraine,” he says.
Anton Hofreiter reports on his trip to Ukraine
Pohlmeier thus represents the exact opposite position to Anton Hofreiter. Which is why there is trouble in the talk show from the start. Hofreiter first reports on his trip to the Ukraine. There one can understand the German perspective and the fears, but “not this paternalistic perspective”. Hofreiter means that people in Germany think they know better what is good for the people in Ukraine.
Hofreiter advocates arms deliveries.Image: ZDF
“The statements that arms deliveries only prolong the suffering… they get really bad-tempered,” says Hofreiter. The reality in regions conquered by Russia is torture, rape and killed civilians. Therefore, according to the Green politician, the Ukrainians should be supported with heavy weapons in order to be able to defend themselves and their values.
Negotiations instead of weapons: Lars Pohlmeier is hairy on his point of view
“I’m afraid that Ukraine won’t be able to win the war because Russia ultimately has a nuclear option,” Pohlmeier replies. Now the Russia expert Liana Fix intervenes for the first time and contradicts the peace activist.
On the one hand, one cannot trust that Russia would respect any ceasefire that might have been negotiated, says Fix, citing Syria as an example. Then she comes to the scenario of a nuclear strike. This should not be completely ruled out, but since the risk for Russia is very high, she considers a nuclear strike to be rather unlikely. The political scientist notes:
“I would not subscribe to the conclusion that we are helping Ukraine and thereby risking a nuclear war.”
Fix considers a nuclear strike by Russia to be unlikely.Image: ZDF
Are Nuclear Strike Warnings Russian Propaganda?
Talkmaster Lanz is now getting energetic in the direction of Pohlmeier. It is a “game with the apocalypse,” a game with the fear of repeatedly warning of a nuclear attack, and thus ultimately reflecting a bit of “Russian propaganda.”
“No,” says Pohlmeier.
“Yes,” says Lanz.
“No,” says Pohlmeier.
“Yes,” says Lanz.
This war of words is not an isolated case. Again and again the guests get angry and interrupt each other on Tuesday evening. Lanz also does his part by interrupting the explanations several times. The situation is most difficult for Pohlmeier, who is alone in his position that he does not want to deliver weapons to Ukraine.
Pohlmeier also got headwind from moderator Lanz.Image: ZDF
Bröcker: Putin must be stopped
The journalist Michael Bröcker has also just returned from a trip to the Ukraine. There he spoke to soldiers and politicians. It is important to support them. For him, more weapons would automatically mean more suffering is a “humanistic truism”. “If we have experience, it’s that Putin isn’t sticking to agreements. That Putin doesn’t stop and basically thinks and acts in an imperialist manner. And that’s exactly why he has to be stopped now,” says Bröcker.
You have to listen to the people fighting Russia in Ukraine, the journalist explains: “Either we support them in the way they think is right. Or we support them in the way Alice Schwarzer wants. But I find that questionable .”
Bröcker emphasizes that Putin must be stopped.Image: ZDF
Which is again a tip against Pohlmeier, who signed the Alice Schwarzer letter. The doctor then explains that he is not concerned with not supporting Ukraine. However, he does not deviate from his position that the solution must be diplomacy instead of weapons. “Putin can stop the war. It takes five minutes to make that decision. Who gets the hang of forcing it?” Pohlmeier asks. “Weapons can do that. That’s the core of our discussion,” Bröcker replies.
Hofreiter warns against spreading the war to the Republic of Moldova
You also have to think your own attitude through to the end, says Hofreiter. “What does it mean if Ukraine is no longer supported?” asks the politician: “This belief that the Russian system will then be satisfied with what has been achieved in Ukraine is needed after Georgia, after Syria and the first attack on Ukraine no longer available.” Instead, Hofreiter warned that the war would almost certainly escalate, for example to the Republic of Moldova.
On Tuesday evening, “Markus Lanz” listed a lot of arguments for arms deliveries. And some against it too. The panel discussion did not really agree. Which reflects the situation in Germany well. Discussions are likely to continue over the coming days and weeks.
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