A group of Left-SPD lawmakers have had enough of the unprecedented Ukraine arms shipments following on the heels of Berlin boosting its military budget by €100 billion. They've sent a letter to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz with the title, "The weapons must be silent!"
Instead of pumping weapons into a hot conflict with a nuclear-armed superpower, the group within Scholz's own party are demanding the pursuit of a diplomatic negotiations, pushing the Ukrainians to the peace talks table. "The escalation spiral must be stopped,"letter states, urging a "modus vivendi" until a final settlement can be found.
As predicted, Europeans weary of being told to make "sacrifices" in what for them is a somewhat distant conflict on the continent's eastern periphery will reach a point of saying enough... for some within Scholz previously pacifist Social Democratic Party, that time is now. Yet critics of the letter are already calling it "capitulation" and other denunciations which come close to essentially saying the signatories are 'traitors' to the German and European cause while standing up to Russian aggression.
As spelled out in the letter, the lawmakers not only warn of a German economy plunged into recession and an energy emergency which will hit the common people and the poor especially hard - all for supporting one side of a war that will "have no military victors" - but it could eventually lead to runaway escalation with a nuclear-armed power.
"With every delivery of weapons, it is important to carefully weigh up and consider where the ‘red line’lies, which could be perceived as entering the war and provoke corresponding reactions," the SDP lawmakers wrote.
"NATO or individual Western states must not be part of the war because this will inevitably extend the war to a third party - possibly atomic - world war."
And addressing the energy crisis and impact on German citizens at home, they wrote:
The war threatens to plunge the world into a recession with rising unemployment. Even now there are far-reaching effects on everyday life, also here in Germany, inflation and tighter emerging energy resources hit the poorest in particular. Therefore we must be war winners have to pay up and tax high incomes more heavily. This not only strengthens the welfare state, but is also a question of justice.
The SPD group behind the letter includes the following leaders:
The pacifist wing of the SPD, led by parliament whip Rolf Mützenich, has long been a thorn in the side of Scholz, who is not tired of repeating “Ukraine must not lose” and has ruled out peace by diktat.
Amongst the signatories are two EU parliamentarians of the EU-SPD, Dietmar Köster, Joachim Schuster and Constanze Krehl. Krehl is on the committee for regional development and part of the parliament’s delegation to Belarus.
Given the timing, it seems this is their response to top EU leadership growing louder in urging governments and populations to harden their resolve amid general war-weariness. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell in particular has been out front with the public call, telling the AFP this week that Russia's Vladimir Putin sees "the weariness of the Europeans and the reluctance of their citizens to bear the consequences of support for Ukraine." Borrell said: "We will have to endure, spread the costs within the EU."