25.05.2022: Comment by EUROSOLAR curator Claus P. Baumeister
Everyone is talking about the “turn of the times. Have you woken up yet? This has been taking place for many years, at the latest since the beginning of the 2000s. Of course, nobody knew anything about climate change, because scientists have been communicating in incomprehensible languages for decades and the “impacts” have not yet come close enough.
The more than negligent dependence on Putin’s cheap energy and raw materials nobody could have suspected either, after all our former chancellor Schröder attested the complete harmlessness and the current chancellor regarding Nord Stream 2 still talked about a purely private project in February 2022. And the bestial invasion of Ukraine by the Russian armed forces was impossible to foresee in the German-European peace frenzy, because Putin has only made peaceful statements for two decades, has only sent terrorists and not opponents of the regime to the gulag, has not really waged serious wars in Georgia, the Czech Republic, Syria, etc., and has only annexed Crimea for denazification.
Why does one – explicitly also our chancellor – now seriously speak of turning times? To excuse naivety and/or purely economically motivated ignorance of the actual conditions in dealing with increasingly authoritarian and aggressive “big players”?
The WEF in Davos has also just discovered the turn of the times now. Two years ago (in 2021, the conference fell victim to Corona), it was still considered appropriate to give Xi Jinping the greeting. After all, he, too, is a flawless democrat who has never spoken about the fact that he has turned China into the world’s economically, scientifically and militarily dominant power with data theft, pirate copies, extortionate foreign investments, Silk Road nostalgia, internal repression and massive armament of the armed forces. It shows absolutely no imperialist ambitions and strictly adheres to international law – apart from dealing with Uyghurs, breaking the Hong Kong Treaty, military expansion in foreign territorial waters of the South China Sea, etc. – but it does not want to become the world’s dominant economic, scientific and military power. At some point in the not-too-distant future, people will be surprised to learn of the annexation of Taiwan, and the U.S. promise of assistance renewed by Biden will prove to be a waste of time.
But until then, we are still doing good business with a misanthropic dictatorship, supplying great German cars – at least until China reverses its exports in the near future – selling our technology gems like the robot manufacturer Kuka including know-how and hanging on to rare earths, Chinese IT, CE and textile goods like an intensive care patient on ECMO. Of course, we also tolerate the closing of ranks with the other great dictator Putin that goes beyond the ideological measure, before we even begin to think about finally freeing ourselves from dependence on both potentates – while it is still possible.
In addition to major world politics, we would have another turning point, namely that of digitization at any price. Here, too, some people will rub their eyes in amazement later, because they supposedly had no idea that we were taking the completely wrong path in some areas, above all in the digitization of the energy transition, and are creating vulnerable grids without necessity, with full disenfranchisement of the prosumers, because most of the players have no idea what they are getting into. The protagonists of the wrong path, on the other hand, are already anticipating this change of era by creating new lucrative business models at the expense of citizens.
When will we finally send interest-driven consultants “into the desert”, renounce the alleged advantages of cooperation with criminal regimes and part with an unrestrained growth ideology at the expense of the environment and ultimately at the expense of peace and freedom? That would be a real turning point. Robert Habeck at least hinted at a corresponding vision in Davos. Thank you for it.
With warm greetings
Claus P. Baumeister