Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) MP Petr Bystron has sharply criticized Chancellor Scholz’s decision to provide Ukraine with state-of-the-art Leopard II tanks, and questioned why those who defend Germany’s national interests are labeled “Putin agents” while those who lobby in favor of U.S. interests are glorified as “defenders of Ukraine.”
In an impassioned address delivered on the floor of the Bundestag last week that took place during a heated debate over the tank deliveries, AfD MP Petr Bystron accused lawmakers arguing in favor of the motion—members of the SPD, Greens, FDP, and CDU/CSU—of blatantly disregarding one of the critical principles of Germany’s post-WWII foreign policy.
“Foreign policy, dear friends, is not to send tanks, but diplomacy, to search for balance, for understanding, for compromise,” MP Bystron asserted. “Unfortunately, in this chamber over the last year, all those—and this applies to all parties—who have pursued this approach were vilified in the worst possible way. This also applies to former foreign ministers and former chancellors. Anyone who has stood up for German interests has been defamed as a Putin agent. Everyone who has promoted American interests has been hailed as a savior of Ukraine. Both are wrong.”
You have made an interesting proposal. German tanks against Russia in Ukraine. Your grandfathers already tried this with different Melnyks and Banderites, and what was the result? Inexpressible suffering, tens of millions of dead on both sides, and in the end—Russian tanks here in Berlin. Two of them are still standing here in Berlin. All of you pass them on your way to work and should remember this!
The AfD MP then challenged the conventional wisdom, which is rarely questioned, that by sending some 200 tanks to Ukraine the collective West will change the outcome of the armed conflict.
“The Russians have more than 10,000 tanks. They can mobilize two million people. So, whether it is 200 Marder tanks or any other tank it won’t make any difference. This conflict cannot be won militarily,” Bystron proclaimed.
Echoing a line of thought repeatedly made by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán over the past year, the AfD lawmaker asserted that this armed conflict does have a winner—and that winner is the United States.
Continuing, MP Bystron explained to the chamber:
The U.S. is winning geopolitically. They have extended their zone of influence to Russia’s border. They also win economically: they benefit from the sanctions and they benefit from the arms shipments. Did you know the Americans are leasing weapons to Ukraine? But Ukraine is broke—it has no money. And what do the Americans do then? As it was explained by the Financial Times, they put pressure on the EU so that the EU pays for Ukraine. They not only put pressure on the EU to pay, but they also want us to give them the money instead of lending it to them, and they want this to happen automatically, if possible in monthly installments. And they want the whole thing to be covered up and concealed. That is why the fund from which the EU pays for the war is: hold on, hold on tight, the Peace Fund!
Just before finishing his address, MP Bystron asserted that “despite the propaganda and despite the cover-up, the majority of Germans do not want this war.”
Bystron, who serves as the AfD’s foreign policy spokesman, cast significant doubt on whether Scholz’s government, along with the CDU/CSU, which also voted to send Leopard II tanks to Ukraine, are acting in Germany’s national interests.
On whose behalf are you making such a motion, he asked his colleagues from the CDU/CSU, before going on to answer himself:
You have answered this question yourself in your motion: Central Europeans demand it and—hold on!—the NATO Secretary General and the U.S. Embassy. That is how far we have already reached. The CDU/CSU is introducing motions in the German Bundestag to meet the demands of NATO and the U.S. Embassy.
That’s where the corks pop at BlackRock, isn’t it, Mr. Merz?
Dear colleagues from the CDU/CSU, you should not be beholden to NATO, not to the U.S. Embassy, and not to American arms companies. You should be committed to the German citizens.
The German citizens do not want this war. The German citizens do not want this escalation. The German citizens do not want these arms deliveries. That is why we do not agree with this motion.