The ZDF podcast “Lanz & Precht” has rarely seen so much helplessness. Both interpret the current exchange of blows between Iran and Israel against the background of the gradual geopolitical loss of power by the “West”. Markus Lanz fears that the third world war has already started.

The impending escalation of the conflict in the Middle East concerns Markus Lanz and Richard David Precht in the current edition of their joint ZDF podcast. “We're experiencing a real moment in time,” worries speaker Lanz at the start of a new episode of “Lanz & Precht.” He fears that he is seeing “the beginning of World War III”, a new kind of war: “the old world against the new world, the old thinking against the new thinking, the old war against the new war”.

Precht also interprets the military exchange between Israel and Iran as “the scene of major plate tectonic shifts.” This distinguishes current events from past conflicts in the Middle East. The current one takes place “during the transition of US hegemony to a multipolar world order.”

“Will we also see the departure of the world superpower, the USA?” Lanz concludes, disguised as a question, which Precht tends to confirm. “Besides all the criminality” that Iran's missile and drone attack on Israel entails, it is “also an expression of new confidence.” In addition, Israel is clearly no longer listening to the US.

Richard David Precht: “Then we'll have World War III”

But how should the much-quoted “West” deal with Iranian aggression? Precht has heard a vocal “faction” in the media calling for “more toughness.” But it is not easy to implement. “We cannot start a war with Iran. Then we will have the third world war,” warns the telephilosopher. Iran also has a population that largely rejects terror and the radical Mullah regime and does not recognize Israel or the United States as enemies. “But we should wage war against this nation.”

Podcasters don't offer a solution. But a lot of disappointment. “We have lost the illusion that we can do something concrete militarily against Iran that will permanently solve the problem,” Precht states. “You can't do anything serious economically.” Sanctions always hurt your own economy and “the Chinese benefit from them”.

Precht sums it up: “We are no longer strong enough.” This is even more true for Europe. “These dreams I hear that Europe must appear militarily united: what and how and where? You will find no position to take under the changing constellations.”

Lanz: China “degrades highly industrialized country Germany to emerging country”

Markus Lanz underscores the strategic dilemma with the numbers circulating about Israel's repulsed attack. The international defense operation reportedly cost $1.3-1.5 billion (other estimates are only slightly lower, ed.) to “intercept, among other things, Iran's cheap drones.”

“It is unimaginable how expensive wars are today,” Richard David Precht comments on this dimension. It's absolutely horrible that this money “can't be used for anything else”, not to mention the “environmental aspect” (Lanz).

Lanz and Precht also discuss Chancellor Olaf Scholz's recent trip to China amid the world's geopolitical realignment. Lanz has been told that German apple and beef exports were negotiated against high-tech imports from China.

This appalls Lanz: China, he says, “degrades a highly industrialized country to the emerging country of Germany and says, ‘You can send some agricultural products. But we are dealing with high technology.

“The big beneficiary is China”

Precht doesn't want to make it “quite that drastic,” but “From China's perspective, we are a withering country, maybe even a withering continent,” believes the best-selling author. There is huge disagreement in Europe, we cannot achieve a common defense policy, a common foreign policy. We have big problems with our nationalism and right-wing populism.” There are also “many, many other problems” such as migration and bureaucracy. The consequences can be seen on the economic and political level.

As for the new order of power in the world, Richard David Precht sees a clear trend: “If you look at the conflict in the Middle East and the war in Ukraine, it is not entirely wrong to say that in the end the big beneficiary of both developments will be China.”

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