Achim Müller is active against war in general and the US Airbase Ramstein in particular. He doesn’t care much about the new US president.
taz: Mr. Müller, what does the accession of US President Joe Biden mean for the peace movement?
Achim Müller: I assume that our protest conditions will not improve under Biden. He has already announced that he will hold on to the demand that the NATO states spend two percent of their gross domestic product on the military. That actually means that you should spend around 20 percent of your budget on it. He wants to strengthen NATO and, he says, re-establish the USA as a reliable military partner. The partial withdrawal of troops from Germany announced by President Trump has unfortunately already been reversed. And Biden even plans to tighten sanctions against companies involved in the Russian-German Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project. Biden’s criticism of Trump is an inner-imperialist, not an anti-military criticism.
55, is a vocational school teacher in Landstuhl, a peace activist and spokesman for the “Palatinate Initiative Indignant You!”.
Don’t you expect signals from Biden towards relaxation?
Trump, for example, has rebuilt political and economic pressure in the direction of Cuba, in violation of international law, in order to force a “regime change” and even put Cuba back on the list of “terrorist supporting states” as the last action. Biden will also stick to the goal of overthrowing the Cuban government. But he relies on “gentler” methods. So far, however, he has supported all of the USA’s war missions, in Iraq, Yugoslavia, Syria, Libya and Yemen. He’s not against the drone war. However, he has at least criticized the extrajudicial execution of the Iranian general Qasem Soleimani in Iraq and perhaps corrected Trump’s course on the nuclear treaty with Iran. But I don’t expect a big change.
What does this mean for the peace movement and its actions?
In spring, we from the Palatinate initiative “Indignant You” want to deepen the topic of socio-ecological conversion concepts in the Kaiserslautern military region together with the Stop AirBase Ramstein campaign. A conversion brochure was developed for this purpose. The focus of our work is further networking with groups active in environmental policy in order to put the dire ecological consequences of the military use of the West Palatinate on the agenda. For the second week of July we are also planning the days of action against AirBase Ramstein, with a peace camp, demonstrations and an information event in Kaiserslautern with prominent peace politicians. The change in office in the USA will change little for our agenda. Much remains to be done.
What do you expect from Biden domestically?
I don’t expect progressive reforms from him. In the 1980s, he approved Reagens’ social cuts and tax cuts for the rich. He is a neoliberal democrat. In the 1990s he campaigned for the tightening of criminal laws and the arming of the police. This hit the African American and Hispanic populations in particular. Unlike Trump, however, no openly racist rhetoric is to be expected from him; that may be a small step forward.