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Who are the men declaring war on the Germans?


How German ex-generals make a name for themselves as loden coat squadrons. How Liz Truss fails to unleash market forces unleashed market forces. And why the crème de la crème of French actresses cut off clumps of hair. This is the situation on Wednesday evening.

1. Germany, your military experts

Ex-Generals Erich Vad, Hans-Lothar Domröse, Egon Ramms

[M] Lina Moreno / DER SPIEGEL;

Photos: BrauerPhotos / O.Walterscheid;

DAVIDS / Uwe Koch;

Müller-Stauffenberg / action press

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell today warned that Putin could use nuclear bombs to avert defeat in Ukraine.

The war has entered a new phase, in which a nuclear power is going backwards and there are threats that nuclear weapons will also be used, the EU chief diplomat said today.

You shouldn't close your eyes to that.

How seriously do you have to take Putin's threats?

In Germany, a number of ex-Generals of the German Armed Forces are available to answer these and other questions.

You have long since retired but have made a late media career in recent months.

"They have become key experts," write my colleagues Matthias Gebauer and Christoph Hickmann from our Berlin office.

"They comment, analyze and discuss a war that they themselves never had to fight." Not everything they say has to be true either.

I learned from Matthias and Christoph that there is a name for the retired generals in the Bundeswehr, the »Lodenmantelgeschwader«.

The informal commander of this unit is Hans-Lothar Domröse, a former general with four stars, about whom his colleagues write: “He always looked like he had just come out of the bivouac, and he sounded like he had a sip of tank diesel in the morning gargled.

He still sounds like that when he declares war on the Germans.«

But Domröse is also the man with a clear view of Vladimir Putin.

He only understands the language of strength, said Domröse back in 2015. At the time, many thought he was an incorrigible cold warrior, but today the phrase is part of the standard repertoire of the Social Democrats and the Greens.

Domröse's antagonist is Erich Vad.

He was only a brigadier general, i.e. with one star, but was Angela Merkel’s military-political adviser for a few years.

Which does not necessarily speak for flawlessness.

"From a military point of view, things worked out," he said shortly after Russia's attack.

"And my assessment is that it will only be a matter of a few days and no more."

My colleagues Egon Ramms, Klaus Wittmann and Harald Kujat point out other members of the Lodenmantelgeschwader.

Anyone who often watches talk shows on television knows the gentlemen.

Shortly before the attack, Kujat predicted that Russia would not launch a major attack.

Now you can constantly see alleged experts on TV who are wrong with their forecasts, whether on Corona, inflation or energy policy.

The generals, however, benefit from the peculiarities of their industry.

There is little competition from active military personnel because they prefer not to attract attention and jeopardize their careers.

And there is Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht, who is unfamiliar with the matter.

Domröse explained it to my colleagues like this: “The ministry’s speechlessness opens up a flank for us alumni.”

  • Read the whole story here: The Lodenmantelgeschwader 

And here is more news and background information on the war in Ukraine:

  • "Everyone who still lives in Russia is part of the war machine":

    Putin's government will collapse in the spring, believes former world chess champion Garry Kasparov.

    Here he explains why, what he would have fleeing Russians sign - and how dangerous China is for Russia. 

  • The Federal Criminal Police Office assumes state sabotage:

    the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines were deliberately damaged, says the BKA – and according to SPIEGEL information warns of further attacks on gas pipelines, submarine Internet cables or wind turbines.

  • Von der Leyen is in favor of a general gas price cap:

    the majority of EU countries are in favor of an upper limit on the gas price, Germany is against it.

    EU Commission chief von der Leyen is open and wants to negotiate a "price corridor" with Norway.

  • EU countries are launching a new package of sanctions against Russia:

    The EU is reacting to Russia's illegal annexation of Ukrainian territories: New sanctions are intended to weaken Russia's economy - the main concern is the oil sector.

  • Find all the latest developments on the war in Ukraine here: The News Update

2. The Truss Paradox

Enlarge image

Liz Truss at the party conference in Birmingham

Photo: Hannah Mckay / REUTERS

Some time ago I read an interesting book by the British economic historian Kwasi Kwarteng.

It's called "War and Gold" and explains why many great empires have collapsed over the past 500 years due to debt and bad financial policies.

For example Spain under the Habsburgs, absolutist France or the British Empire.

It's a book that teaches a lot about the fragility of rule when rulers don't know how to handle money.

Kwarteng is now preparing to add another chapter to his history of major bankruptcies, not as a chronicler, however, but as Chancellor of the Exchequer in the cabinet of British Prime Minister Liz Truss.

Kwarteng is considered the mastermind behind the "growth plan" with which the new government wanted to unleash the economy, but which then flew in her face.

Truss and Kwarteng must have thought they were sure of market acclaim.

According to the economics textbook, tax cuts get the economy moving, trigger investments and price fireworks and then at least partially finance themselves through economic growth.

Truss role model Margaret Thatcher had also got the unions down at some point and convinced the majority of voters with good economic data.

However, the markets reacted quite differently to Truss and Kwarteng's growth plan than expected: with drastic rejection.

Within hours, the pound had fallen against the dollar to its lowest level since 1985, threatening the country's creditworthiness.

The Bank of England was forced to announce that by mid-October it would buy as many British government bonds as necessary to restore "orderly market conditions".

Unleashed market forces turned against the unleashing of market forces: one is amazed at what capitalism is capable of.

"Even among conservatives who are traditionally skeptical about the state and anti-tax, there was panic," reports my colleague Joerg Schindler from London.

And so Truss and Kwarteng felt compelled to turn around at the beginning of the week: the top tax rate should not be lowered after all.

Is that enough to calm your own people down?

George is skeptical.

At the Tory party conference in Birmingham today, Truss attempted to explain her course, one way and the other.

"We need to make the pie bigger so everyone gets a bigger piece," she said, her priorities being "growth, growth, growth."

On the one hand.

Then she said she had the finances "iron" under control.

Which in turn could be interpreted as a rejection of debt-financed tax cuts.

The truss paradox apparently continues.

British media had already oracles earlier this morning about a possible "coup" by their own people against Truss.

That didn't happen until this afternoon.

But their approval ratings are on the ground.

It is possible that she sacrifices her Chancellor of the Exchequer, Kwarteng, to distract herself first.

But then he could write a book.

  • Read more here: »Whenever there is a change, there are also shocks«

3. Take off against the mullahs

Enlarge image

Protests against the mullah regime in Iran on September 26 in Yadz: Human rights violations cannot go unnoticed

Photo: AFP

While Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock is apparently still thinking about what the concept of feminist foreign policy could mean for dealing with Iran, artists from France are sending a strong signal of solidarity with the women oppressed by the mullahs.

In a video, the crème de la crème of French cinema cut a tuft of hair: Juliette Binoche, Isabelle Huppert, Marion Cotillard, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Jane Birkin, Isabelle Adjani and many others.

The resistance song "Bella Ciao" plays in the background.

It then tells the story of Mahsa Amini, the 22-year-old woman who was arrested by vice squads in Tehran on September 13 and died three days later.

Amini "was only accused of not wearing the headscarf correctly," says the video.

"She died because she showed a few strands of hair." It's running down your spine when you see the video.

A Swedish MEP also cut her hair at the parliamentary lectern.

It can now be ruled out that those in power in Tehran will be impressed by a social media post from France.

But the action could perhaps help politics to move and Europe to take tougher action against the mullah regime than has been the case so far.

My colleague Maximilian Popp wrote in a comment what could be done: Provide more support for the opposition, such as satellite technology for free communication.

Tougher sanctions against members of the power elite, including through travel restrictions.

Freeze of nuclear talks.

And taking in refugees.

Annalena Baerbock is then welcome to keep her hair.

  • Read the comment here: Don't leave them alone! 

(Would you like to receive the "Situation in the evening" conveniently by e-mail in your inbox? Order the daily briefing as a newsletter here.)

What else is important today

  • Investor Lars Windhorst wants to get out of Hertha BSC:

    At Hertha, the dispute over an alleged smear campaign by investor Lars Windhorst is escalating.

    He is now offering the club to buy back his shares: there is no basis for cooperation.

  • Nobel Prize in Chemistry goes to three molecular designers from the USA and Denmark:

    The Swedish Academy of Sciences has announced the winners of the Nobel Prize in the category Chemistry: This year it goes to Carolyn R. Bertozzi, Morten Meldal and K. Barry Sharpless.

  • Damage caused by incorrectly laid tiles does not become statute-barred even after 30 years:

    In the 1980s, tenants in Berlin had tiles laid incorrectly, which resulted in water damage.

    The Federal Court of Justice has now ruled that it is not time-barred more than 30 years later.

  • Wolfgang Kohlhaase is dead:

    he wrote German film history, in the GDR and after reunification: Wolfgang Kohlhaase wrote the screenplays for »Solo Sunny« and »Sommer vorm Balkon«.

    The author has now died at the age of 91.

My favorite story today: The Caravan Manager

When manager Thomas Hirschbach-Taddey , 47, goes on a business trip, he doesn't need a hotel, he needs a parking space: he drives up in a caravan.

His caravan is a luxuriously equipped office on wheels, including conference technology, seating area, portafilter coffee machine, shower and toilet.

In his company, the IT group Cisco, the manager has now gotten the nickname "Circus Roncalli", writes Maren Hoffmann from our sister magazine "manager magazin".

Hirschbach-Taddey dreams of a new form of hybrid work.

Nobody has to go to the office anymore, but you still meet your colleagues face to face from time to time, just on the campsite.

He imagines Wagendörfer for conferences: "If you want to attract new young talent, the business caravan can be an interesting vehicle - you can put temporary offices where you need them at the moment".

Camping at work: For someone like me who spent my childhood holidays in a tent, this is a great idea.

  • Read the whole story here: »The magic is: Closeness is created in the caravan« 

What we recommend at SPIEGEL+ today

  • Hope in decline:

    The left in Lower Saxony hopes to move into the state parliament on Sunday.

    Your chances are not bad - if it weren't for the eternal dispute in the federal party and the rumors of an impending split.

  • What 007 really needs now:

    60 years ago the first James Bond film hit the cinemas.

    In the face of sabotage of deep-sea pipelines and a polar world order, the agent is needed right now - isn't it?

    Three (congratulations) wishes for the future of 007.

  • The Windhorst conspiracy:

    Investor Lars Windhorst is said to have hired an Israeli security company to force ex-Hertha President Gegenbauer out of office.

    Files available to SPIEGEL show how perfidiously the company apparently acted.

  • Shadow man in the twilight:

    Alexis Kohler is the most important and most powerful associate of French President Emmanuel Macron.

    Now the judiciary wants to know whether the head of the Élysée Palace favored his cousins ​​from the shipping company MSC.

Which isn't that important today

Enlarge image

US director Francis Ford Coppola (in March in Los Angeles)


Willy Sanjuan / dpa


Francis Ford Coppola

, 83, hires more stars for his heart project »Megalopolis«.

Dustin Hoffman will also play a role, according to US industry portals, and filming is scheduled to begin later this year.

The cast includes Adam Driver, Nathalie Emmanuel, Aubrey Plaza, Laurence Fishburne, Shia LaBeouf and Jason Schwartzman, among others.

The five-time Oscar winner Coppola has been talking about "Megalopolis" for years.

It will be a drama set in futuristic New York.

Coppola likened it to a Ben-Hur style epic.

He wants to raise the $120 million that the film is expected to cost himself.

It doesn't matter to him whether he makes a profit or a loss.

Typo of the day

, now corrected: the federal and state governments have agreed to the issue of financing relief in the energy crisis.

Cartoon of the Day:

A New Island

And tonight?

Enlarge image

Loretta Lynn (1932 - 2022)


Erika Goldring/WireImage/Getty Images

As I write this evening, I'm listening through my favorite records by country singer Loretta Lynn, who died yesterday at the age of 90.

Country music in Germany has long had a bad reputation beyond trucker rest stops.

The fact that this has changed radically over the past 20 years is primarily due to the late work of Johnny Cash, but also secondarily to Loretta Lynn, who in 2004 asked analog hipster Jack White for a new, rough sound for the album »Van Lear Rose«.

What is most remarkable about Lynn is her lyrics, her mastery of telling a story in less than three minutes about her childhood in a mining family, teenage pregnancy, her self-destructive marriage to a good-for-nothing.

I think Loretta Lynn songs often tell you more about America than many editorials in The New York Times.

One could spend weeks with Lynn's life's work.

There's the Oscar-winning 1980 film adaptation of her biopic, Coal Miner's Daughter, starring Sissy Spacek, and the 2016 documentary, Still a Mountain Girl. And there's the very good interview that my colleague Tobias Rapp guided when he visited Lynn in Tennessee seven years ago.

"How do you write good songs?" asked Tobias.

Loretta Lynn's answer: "One must not lie."

I wish you a nice evening.

Sincerely yours

Alexander Neubacher

Here you can order the »Situation in the Evening« by e-mail.

Source: spiegel

All news articles on 2022-10-05

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