[I’m happy to post a piece sent to me by one of the readers, Kaz Dziamka. I must reiterate that I am humbled and honored to have so many smart, informed people reading and commenting on this blog. It gives me hope that the world can survive the current crisis — Larry Johnson]
The song “Wind of Change” by the German rock band the Scorpions was perfectly timed when it was released in 1990: the communist system was crumbling, and people in Europe felt that there was at last a chance for lasting peace and cooperation after the Cold War had ended. Klaus Meine, the famous voice of the Scorpions, was inspired by the band’s visit to Russia in the previous year to write what has since become one of the most successful songs in the history of popular music, with over 14 million copies sold.
The song, as well as this particular YouTube video to which I have given you a link below, capture “the magic of the moment”—the hope and the good will of the Europeans in the early 1990s in a way that probably no other song or video or book or editorial does. (I happen to know a thing or two about “the magic of that moment” because Barbara and I traveled to Germany and Poland in 1990.)
The Scorpions made the best of their opportunities to give unforgettable concerts in Europe, but particularly in Russia. According to a newspaper report:
“Wind of Change” has reportedly become one of the best-selling singles in history. And it is certainly the only power ballad to have been personally performed — and numerous times, at that — for former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev (most recently in 2011, at his 80th birthday gala in London).
But while many Russians and Europeans in general were inspired and hopeful, the “war pigs” crowding the US government, the Pentagon, and the CIA (as well as NATO war piglets) were already working overtime to derail all progress towards international reconciliation and partnership. Without an enemy, real or imagined, the corporate-military US behemoth is like a monster fish without water. And so, in a matter of months, the promise made to Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev by James Baker, US Secretary of State, that NATO would not move “an inch” east of Germany was broken and the military march towards encircling Russia with NATO bases began.
This unique historic opportunity for lasting peace and cooperation between the West and Russia was missed. Forever.
At the same time, Russian economy was nearly crippled and its sovereignty almost destroyed by the Western-style, “free market” economy, relentlessly imposed by the West. As I see it, American foreign policy is moronically simple: it is either the “American Way”—or the highway (to hell). Libya is there already. So is Iraq. Syria would be there too, had Russia not intervened.
Ultimately the collapse of Russia was averted by the determination of actually only one man: Vladimir Putin. (This is why he has an 80+ percent support among the Russian population.) The rest is a recent story, leading up to Russia’s current status as, again, a military superpower, with superior, second-to-none military rocket technology. Add to this rapidly growing lethal Russian rocket arsenal (like the hypersonic Kinzhal or Zircon) a new generation of fighter jets (like the Sukhoi “Checkmate” fighter) and other military aircraft and hardware (like the super modern T-14 Armata tank), and you suddenly realize, the rules of the game have changed irrevocably this time. (The S-400, by the way, if you don’t know, is “the most capable and lethal long-range air defense missile system on the planet.” A new, superior, S-500 is being tested.)
As you listen to „Wind of Change” and watch the Scorpions live, just think for a moment what a magnificent, unique opportunity for peace and cooperation between the USA/West and Russia was destroyed by those American and European politicians, whom two decades earlier rock musicians of another famous band Black Sabbath called aptly “war pigs.”
An old adage says that the pen is mightier than the sword. But now I want to argue that mightier still than both the pen and the sword is a political protest song. And I hope that because of such artists like Klaus Meine, John Lennon, Bob Dylan, John Fogerty, or Czesław Niemen (little known outside of Poland), there may again be another opportunity for a peaceful world. Billions of people inspired by Klaus Meine’s “Wind of Change” or John Lennon’s “Imagine” or Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind” cannot be powerless forever, cannot be ignored indefinitely.
Please look at the current number of views of “Wind of Change”: nearly 1 billion.
Here’s the link to the Scorpions’ Moscow concert: