Death and Rebirth: European Politial Observations
This document is part of the Journal of Historical Review periodical.
Use this menu to find more documents that are part of this periodical.
Concerning constitutions, Montesquieu wrote in volume IX of his work Esprit des lois: "Some...have as their purpose...the gorification of the State ( "la gloire de 1'état" ), others the political freedom of the citizen." If an unbiased observer studies those nations of the world which have succeeded in retaining their political sovereignty to this day, he will find that the majority of them have honored the universally acclaimed human rights mainly in the breach, exploiting them only when expedient, and then chiefy for the deeper entrenchment of their power or for the expansion of their territorial domain. The battle-cry of the mobilization of the masses did not die with bygone epochs.
Montesquieu, however, ignores a small, third group which appears destined to perpetual subjection to the freedom and the glory of others. Recent events place this observation in proper perspective. As early as 1976 the Bonn correspondent of a Tyrolean newspaper neatly summarized a notion that has been held for decades, even centuries, to the effect that in regard to the Common Enemy – Germany – the Western and Eastern powers are of one accord. Even in 1986 it often appeared as though the only solid connecting link between the two power blocs, drifting ever further apart, was their animosity toward Germany. Of course this includes their continuing effort to infuse in the political and cultural void in the heart of Europe, the core of the most dynamic continent in history, their own ideologies.
Current trends may be summarized under the following headings:
- Excerpts from contemporary nationalism.
- The phenomenon of Russia.
- The phenomenon of America.
- America and Geimany.
- A new Counter-Reformation?
I. Excerpts from Contemporary Nationalism
Despite widely divergent interpretations, the festivities which in 1984/85 commemorated the invasion of Normandy, France, as well as the end of the Second World War, were embarrassingly archaic in nature. Once again, they showed that the Western powers have learned nothing new from their campaign of 1944/45, a struggle which was one-sidedly military on their part, and short-sighted both politically and strategically. At the time, they overwhelmed Europe, presided over the division of the world at the conferences of Teheran, Yalta and Potsdam, and turned half of Europe over to the marauding Red Army. To this day Germany, Europe and the world remain divided.[l]
If anything,1986 turned out even worse than the preceding year. President Reagan's initially wise decision to "let bygones be bygones" and to visit a German military cemetery at Bitburg – made at the prompting of then White House advisor Deaver – twisted into a farce by Zionists on both sides of the Atlantic in 1985. In 1986 – last year – and apparently onward into an indefinite future – in Austria, the "third German state," a campaign of political defamation was waged with characteristic factual as well as emotional imbalance by the American media against Dr. Kurt Waldheim, a conservative candidate for the largely ceremonial office of the presidency of the Republic of Austria. Why the theatrics? No one knows for sure. But informed Washington observers remembered that, as Secretary General of the United Nations, Waldheim had been sympathetic to the plight of certain Third World nations, even evincing a kind of tolerance toward the representatives of the Palestinians and their spokesmen among the Arab and Islamic states. Austrian voters indignant at outside interference elected Dr. Waldheim president, an outcome somewhat surprising after the innumerable "brainwashing" campaigns foisted on them during the past four decades.
Austrian-Italian relations, on the other hand, continue to be affected by the second-class status of the Germans of the South Tyrol, an Austrian province annexed by Italy at the end of the First World War with the blessings of President Woodrow Wilson.
Recently, continuing a venerable tradition of self aggrandizement, Italy's Christian Democratic foreign minister, Andreotti, drew a characteristic conclusion before an assembly of Communists: "The reunification of Germany equals ‘pan-Germanism.’ It must be prevented." Andreotti conveniently overlooked exactly those "pan-movements" which, from the middle of the l9th century to this day, have repeatedly proved their magnetic force and their power of impact: pan-Slavism in neighboring Yugoslavia and in much of eastern Europe being one of the most successful. Apparently, Signore Andreotti's conscience is troubled over the treatment of the German South Tyrolers, whose rights of self determination, laid down in writing, have for the most part remained an unfulfilled dream. As an example of the officially induced Italianization under the aegis of sacro egoismo ("sacred egoism"), the overwhelming German city of Bozen (Bolzano) still boasts a Fascist "Victory monument" erected under Mussolini, as well as a military compound named in honor of General Luigi Cadoma, the Italian commander of the blood-drenched Alpine and Isonzo fronts of the First World War. Never mind the other, numerous transgressions against the Tyrolers' sensibilities. But let it be remembered that South Tyrol's 1400 illustrious years as part and parcel of Germamy and Austria, as a brilliant contributor to its culture and civilization cannot be wiped out with the stroke of a pen. All the same, it is remarkable to what extent Italy, as one of the losers of the Second World War, has managed to capitalize on its strategically important location and its otherwise slender resources.
Even more surprising is the fact that in recent years a German political entity has rediscovered the greatness of its national past: the German Democratic Republic.
The exhibition entitled: "Baroque and Classicism – 18th-Century Centers of Art in the German Democratic Republic," which was concluded at Schallaburg Castle in Lower Austria in October 1984, represented one of the best instances of this process of "finding one’s self again." Exhibits from Dresden, Potsdam, Wörlitz and Weimar convey insight into this spirit of this German renaissance. The political implications cannot be overlooked: the works shown date back as it does to the era of August the Strong of Saxony, King of Poland and occasional ally of Tsar Peter the Great of Russia, then on in time to Schiller and Goethe, the lumineries of a brilliant age prior to the dark triumph of the Industrial Revolution.
It is politics pur sang that is being conducted by Willi Stoph, Prime Minister of the GDR (German Democratic Republic), however. In "Einheit," the SED ("Socialist Unity Party of Germany": the Muscovite German Communists) party journal, he accuses the Federal Republic of Germany of "...ratifying the establishment of the West German separate state on September 7, 1949 [and thereby] national treason was officially sanctioned." In view of this divisive policy the establishment of the GDR had allegedly " ..become a necessary consequence." West German politicians disturbed by the revived national tone of the "workers’ and farmers' state" are hit with the added charges of "revanchism" and "imperialism," no doubt to the relief of the Kremlin, which is observing developments in Germany with attention. At the same time, however, the West German foe is being discomfited, dislocated mentally and demoralized by the maneuvers of other functionaries, such as the President of the People's Chamber, Horst Sindermann, who appeal to "all powers" conscious of their responsibilities for the destinies of their nations and of mankind, and who desire a "dialogue." The GDR is in support of all "opportunities for a negotiated end to the arms race..." An unmistakable invitation to the "Greens," who are making inroads into the political life of the Federal Republic, for their sympathizers in the SPD (Social Democratic Party) which at its party convention in Essen experienced a move to the left, as well as for the numerous adherents of disarmament in the Netherlands, Belgium, Britain and other Westem nations.
SED leaders seem to be batting .500. Party Secretary Honecker’s proposed visit to West Germany – sincerely, if naively, welcomed by West Germans desperate for a dialogue on unification – squelched by Moscow for the time being. On the other hand, during the January,1987, parliamentary elections in the Federal Republic, the Greens increased their overall representation significantly: from 5.6 percent and 27 seats in the Bundestag in 1983 to 8.3 percent and 42 seats in 1987 – at the expense of the SPD which fell from 38.2 percent and 193 seats in 1983 to 37 percent and 186 seats this election, the worst SPD showing since 1961. The combined, conservative, ruling "union," the CDU/CSU, fared even worse, however. They recorded a total of but 44.3 percent and 223 seats – their very worst result since 1949, the year of inception of the Federal Republic of Germany. In 1983 they had won 48.8 percent and 244 seats in parliament. Who picked up the missing votes this time? It was the FDP, their government coalition partner, the party of Foreign Minister Genscher, well known for his policies of détente and rapprochement with the demands of the Warsaw Pact states. (The FDP improved its standing from 7 percent and 34 seats at the last elections to 9.1 percent and 46 seats in 1987.)
Any lessons to be gained from this election with a low voter turnout, for Germany, of 84.4 percent, also the lowest since 1949?
Just this: the slight, but steady and ominous gain of the anti-etablishment Greens and the solid recovery of the pro-appeasement FDP at the expense of the CDU/CSU in a sense parallel the shift away from the classical "establishment" parties of the early Weimar republic, the then moderate SPD and the smaller parties of the bourgeois center (the German Party, the German People's Party, etc.), away from the responsible, national parties toward the more radical "Independent Social Democratic Party," the Communists and other revolutionary splinter groups. The best that can be said about the 1987 elections is that a good number of disenchanted conservative and patriotic voters stayed home. The alienation may spread. The Federal Republic of Germany, the epitome of timidity, had better be on guard lest she be one-upped by her smaller "nouveau-German" neighbor to the east with its powerful demands for national-proletarian legitimization. Preussens Gloria yet lives.
II. The Phenomenon of Soviet Russia
Too late, much too late to recover vital positions that were lost, former U.S. President Nixon conceded in his book The Real War that on the stage of world events it had been Britain, Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire and Japan who had held in check and contained Great Russia's historical expansion. These powers were destroyed or driven to the brink of collapse during the First and Second World Wars. The role of global counterweight fell to an unprepared America. Through this description may represent an oversimplification of the facts as concerns the United States, Nixon's main thesis still stands on solid ground.
The Soviets are masters at exploiting the weaknesses of their opponents. In the course of the deteriorating relations between the two world powers it has been the goal of the USSR to damage, by means of Soviet agitprop which often enlists the American news media as its prime handmaiden, the most important and vulnerable ally of the United States: the Federal Republic of Germany. Concurrently, every opportunity is exploited to encourage the widening of any divergent currents into unbridgeable differences.
With cosmopolitan sophistication Soviet foreign policy pursues a dual goal:
- The maintenance and the increase of her territorial, political and ideological (i.e., quasi-religious) conquests. Here Moscow has accumulated five centuries of experience. In the footsteps of the Tsar's tenacious forward drive, which converted the l4th century vassal state of the Tatars into the world's largest territorial empire, Russia in the l9th and 20th centuries appropriated the political dynamism of Panslavism and Slavophilism (a dynamism directed toward the goals of establishing hegemony over both the Near East and Central Europe) and, while exploiting earth-shaking crises, continued her push on toward Königsberg, Berlin and the gates of Lübeck, only a hair's breadth away from the key ports of the North Sea. (At the close of the Second World War, unsupported by American officialdom, Churchill and Eden engaged in a desperate race with the Red Army to deny it those very ports and the jutting peninsula of Jutland.)
- In keeping with the world-revolutionary tenets of Marxism-Leninism Soviet Russia has gained a foothold on the shores of the Atlantic, the Meditemanean Sea and the Indian Ocean. In the ascent to superpower status, her time-tested perseverance as well as the brief attention-span of her bourgeois adversaries have been to her advantage.
Despite the impressive gains of this first-rate but landlocked power, Soviet Russia has also inherited the less advantageous attributes of her ancestors, a Godsend to others. These include (aside from her unfavorable geopolitical location as compared to the United States):
- the ethnically varied composition of the populations within her sphere of power and in the USSR herself;
- the critical state of the military balance with China; and as a pivot point,
- the perennial "problem of succession" to the helm of state.
The Germans of the Soviet Zone, the Hungarians, the Poles, the Czechs and, prior to these, the Serbs and Croatians have openly manifested their discontent with Soviet rule since before 1953. This weakness remains critical to this day when, due to the diminishing birth rate, the Staatsvolk, the Russians, will constitute less than half of the total Soviet populaaon a few years hence. The non-Russian majority – particularly the prolific Islamic peoples of Central Asia – will want to increase their autonomy but encounter official resistance, possibly due to an armaments-related economic crisis. In such a situation, the Soviet leadership might be unable to cope with its military involvements, e.g. in Central Asia or the Far East. For the rear of the Soviet anti-NATO front, China and Japan are recovering their vitality. In stark contrast to Western Europe's and West Germany's official policy of détente the powers of the Far East are by no means willing to concede to their powerful neighbor the territories lost to Russia in the course of the l9th and 20th centuriess, concessions which would impugn their sovereignty or forfeit it altogether.
If the Soviet leadership does not come to grips with these problems – and it is making energetic efforts to do so under Gorbachev, foreign policy advisor Dobrynin and Foreign Minister Shevardnadze – their empire will disintegrate into chaos. In order to avoid this they will be amenable to far-reaching compromise with Germany and Europe – compromise they are in the process of reaching with China and Japan – particularly prior to an unstable period of internal power struggles or rather, to avoid such a period altogether. This scenario does not exclude a period of adventurism in foreign policy. More likely, the Soviet leaders – and, particularly, certain circles in the United States – may consider the possibility of a strategic withdrawal from parts of East Central Europe the function of which as a cordon sanitaire was rendered obsolete with the stationing of U.S. intermediate-range missiles, accompanied by the neutralization of Central Europe and the withdrawal of the United States from Western Europe north of the Pyrenees. Should the political-economic isolation of the United States from her allies increase as a result both of further "Reykjavik-style sell-outs" to the Soviets and of more rigid American tariff walls against the perception of an ever-more vicious competition exercised by Western Europe and Japan/Korea/Taiwan, etc. (the "Devil theory" of foreign policy familiar to students of American politics), this possibility would become a probability.
Note that the first steps toward removing both U.S. and Soviet intermediate-range missilies from "Europe" were taken in February/March 1987 against the resistance of West European governments which had incurred grave risks from their domestic nuclear opposition, by stationing the rockets in the first place. Other steps will follow. Much depends on how the Reagan administration will weather the current "Iran-Contra" crisis (which a few wags have dubbed "Israel-Contra-America"), and whether subsequent administrations will be able to avoid the type of media-hyped imbroglios which have lamed the past four or five presidencies. Slyly, First Secretary Gorbachev insures the USSR against a future American backlash by his every-more insistent courting, since the Geneva "summit" of world Jewry. The more America alienates herself from her "client states," and the more precarious her economic health becomes the more productive will be Gorbachev’s overtures.
III. The Phenomenon of America
In opposition – though not necessarily in lasting hostility – to the Great Russian drive for self fulfillment in the world arena stands the faith of the American in his mission to improve the universe. Both movements have their origins in historically deeply rooted motives, formerly religious. To some extent the two empires are rather similar. Apart from its favorable geopolitical location, however, great assets to the United States are: the regularity of its mechanism of leadership change; secondly, the solid cohesion of U.S. political culture, up to the present; and thirdly, arising from the former; the art of political mythologizing, which Americans have internalized to a well-nigh somnambulistic – an art essential for global propaganda.
All the same, a set of circumstances is foreseeable which casts shadows over the seemingly auspicious start of 1987. The prediction of strong economic growth (4 perent per annum for the rest of the decade) made by the White House seems doubtful. Negative factors are on the increase: an astronomical budget deficit; a disturbing imbalance of payments; the danger of proletarianization of large segments of the middle class by a process of enforced wage-and-benefits reductions of white-and-blue collar workers (encouraged by the administration); the massive indebtedness of the great banks, and the farm sector and others. The volatile stock market promises, to turn from bull to bear, if the fears voiced by economic pundits of such divergent schools as Galbraith and Greenspan come true. Military involvements in Central America or the Near East would strain the social fabric even more perilously. Already, the gloomly nightmare of outbreaks of violence and of race riots, a frequent experience in America's short history, looms again. In this empire, too, diversionary tactics in foreign policy are the stock of the political arsenal, though the lack of social discipline gives rise to the prospect of inadequate or overly hasty decisions. Still, it's an ill wind that blows no one any good; the restoration of the Saar region, to Germany in 1954, a result that came about through the application of German pressure during and after the Korean War, reminds us that in times of tension the "Anglo-Saxons" may amenable to real concessions, even to their allies, if these minor entities only exert their own will power – a point often made by Charles de Gaulle.
It is evident in any case, for reasons of economic and political stability, the Reagan administration – or its successors – will implement an arms reduction to an unprecedented degree and will usher in relations with the Soviet Union which reflect U.S.- American self interest exclusively. Global "understandings" with the USSR, considered the only adversary to be taken seriously, are at stake. Common interests such as the prevention of nuclear proliferation – Israel being the exception to the rule – had brought the two powers together on "non-proliferation" at the end of 1984. Then, prior to the meeting at Geneva, President Reagan addressed soothing words to First Secretary Gorbachev to the effect that "our two countries" should get together to cooperate and work for peace around the world. A near calamity followed these vague but ominous pronouncements when the "two most powerful men of the wprld" met again, at Reykjavik, in October, 1986. There the common Western and United States defense front against the Warsaw Pact nearly collapsed due to President Reagan's eagemess to denude Westem Europe of its nuclear shield of intermediate-range missiles (IRBM's) – then being installed at considerable political cost to the NATO states of Europe – leaving these states to face on their own an overwhelming Eastern superiority in numbers and equipment. Reagan apparently also fell for Gorbachev's quick suggestion of a radical reduction, and the final elimination, of all
IBCM's. He balked only when invited to scrap the Strategic Defense Initiative ("Star Wars"), just in the nick of time, one might add, for he and his adminstration had not troubled to consult either the so-called European Allies, their political and physical survival at stake, or the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff. Viewed in this light, the German parliamentary elections of January, 1987 represent merely a very slight reaction against the obvious powerlessness of the German Federal Republic. Of course, future events may deal a delayed, but a far more powerful, blow to the tottering regime.
Why the dissarray? Gorbachev – ably seconded by Dobrynin and Arbatov and others – handled the entire Administration's hunger for a sudden, global public relations coup with such skill and a near-perfect sense of timing – in which the bait of exchanging the American journalist Nicholas Daniloff, arrested in Moscow, for the so-called Soviet spy Gennadiy Zakharov, spiced with the added promise of the release of Soviet human-rights leader Yuri Orlov from a labor camp and from the Soviet Union, was used to hurry up American preparations – that, despite Reagan's previous warnings that there should be no "hasty" summit, particularly not in the midst of a U.S. election campaign, his closest advisors either were shunted aside or suffused with euphoria. Typical of the Administration's hasty planning and unprofessional mentality are the effusions of a key aide entrusted with drafting the documents considered by Reagan and Gorbachev at Reykjavik: Richard N. Perle, then Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intemational Security Policy, questioned by the influential chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Les Aspin (D.-Wis.), on November 21, 1986, Perle had this to say: "[The President) could have walked out of there with an agreement that millions would have cheered and won the Nobel prize." Verily, Hollywood at its worst.
The imperious contempt for what are termed, tongue in cheek, "America's European allies" is clad in raiments of contradictory hue. The remarks of former Secretary of State, Dr. Kissinger, which caused distress in Brussels and Bonn, provide food for thought; namely, that in case the West Europeans continue to dawdle on re-armament – as seen from America – the United States would have to look for more satisfactory solutions. Not that the United States would be content with the role of "Fortress America" for long. By no means. But seen from its geopolitical perspective America might for the time being settle for a cordon sanitaire which would extend from Greenland to Britain and the North Sea, encompass the Mediterranean, Africa and South Asia, and from there stretch to the Far East and the Pacific Ocean, which casts its ponderous shadow upon a half hearted Europe. Such a philosophy, some of which harks back to well-work Republican patterns of foreign policy, and strongly smacks of the Anglophilia of Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger, is implied both in the new edition of the Monroe Doctrine, the "Reagan Doctrine," and in the acclerated expansion of the United States Navy. Small wonder that a recently launched super-carrier was named in honor of Theodore Roosevelt, the alert and over-active president whose charisma emanated an imperial force felt from Latin America to East Asia, Africa and Europe. The name of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Theodore's even more ambitious cousin and Stalin's most loyal ally, is frequently invoked by President Reagan, probably not just for reasons of campaign rhetoric. Should a Democrat enter the White House in 1988 no changes will be needed in this "pragmatic" combination of ideology and global strategy.
Surprising sympathy for the problems of Soviet leaders is occasionally expressed by high-ranking politicians generally not suspected of harboring Russophile emotions. On the eve of the l984 elections, Defense Secretary Weinberger gave a dissertation on U.S. foreign and defense policies before the World Affairs Institute of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Apparently, he felt constrained to bow to the trend of pacifism in the public opinion of his own camp – the United States and Europe – and rhetorically offered the palm of peace to the then Soviet Foreign Minister Gromyko. On this occasion the corporate leader and friend of Big Business reiterated the weary thesis that since Russia's neighbors, such as the Tatars, the Poles, the Swedes, Napoleon and Hitler, had attacked her repeatedly the Russian nation is living in a constant psychosis of fear. All is sweetness and light in the relations between the two World Powers: such is the conclusion that the pugnacious "Defense" Secretary allows us to draw for ourselves.
IV. America and Germany
During the presidential election campaign of 1972, on the other hand, Paul Warnke, a leader of the U.S. Defense Department under the Democrats and later director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency under President Carter, and head of the U.S. delegation to the SALT II negotiations, drew a much less complimentary picture of the Common Enemy. On October 5, 1972, during a debate on defense policy before an academic audience in Boston, Mr. Warnke – then an advocate of extensive U.S. arms limitations in Europe (an idea that has suddenly gained fresh favor) – shooed the cat out of the bag:
Question by the moderator, Mr. Dukakis (governor of Massachusetts in 1987): "Does the prospect of Germany substantially rearming its forces trouble you at all?"
Reply by Mr. Warnke; "It would, Mr. Dukakis, which is why I favor maintaining a substantial American presence in Europe. I regard 130,000 American troops as being a very substantial presence. And I see no necessity for the Europeans increasing their own force deployment under those circumstances."
Not at all a personal gaffe; nor is this position a "leftist deviation" concerning Germany by the Democrats. Similar positions had been publicly expressed by Republican President Nixon prior to l974. Notions such as these are irrational, i.e., they have their origin in a pseudo-conflict with ideologically conjured-up entities. They manifest, inter alia, a bloodless, strategic victory of the Soviet Union and in the final analysis, will mortally injure the vital interests of America herself, no matter what her politicians may believe at present.
During the sixties and seventies defamatory statements similar to those cited – indeed, often more offensive – were poured out by the bushel and accomplished the intended purpose of demoralizing the legitimate representatives of the Federal Republic of Germany.
Simultaneously, they contributed to the strengthening of the leftist protest movements, of the radical adherents of disarmament, of the believers in violence and revolution, in West Germany and in western Europe. One might trace America's bipartisan resentment to Chancellor Brandt’s and special envoy Egon Bahr’s intensively pursued Ostpolitik; an appeasement policy of the East which according to Bahr’s thinking decades ago, included the (very theoretical) possibility of the unification of Germany, accompanied by the neutralization of parts of Central Europe, possibly on the model of Austria. Such a rationalization after the fact ignores the official and unofficial American advice "encouraging" West Germany to enter into negotiations with Moscow and her satellites; it ignores also the rock-like "given" of American foreign policy which, following the low of the Cold War, after 1960 strove to reach global "understandings" with the Soviets. Remember that the very preconditions for the unsatisfactory state of Ostpolitik affairs were created by the United States which in 1945 abandoned globally important Central Europe without a struggle, from Wismar in the north to Magdeburg, Leipzig and Pilsen, and who by surrendering the crown cities of Berlin, Vienna and Prague to the Red Army also deserted the heart and mind of Europe. In the portentous years of 1953, 1955, 1956, 1961, 1968 and onward, America's hands-off policy concerning affairs in the Soviet Occupation zone and East Central Europe was instrumental in bringing about the continued and unbearable oppression of Central Germany, Hungary, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Rumania. Today, four decades after Teheran, Yalta, and Potsdam the spirit of those conferences under the chairmanship of United States presidents bears much of the blame for the status quo transAlbiam.
As an aside, even as early as 1964, the political sociologist Amitai Etzioni alluded to the fact that, in a shrinking world in which the two powers with their nuclear arsenals are "facin each other down," their fears of diminished power will drive them to handle their client-states more roughly or will even deliver them up to the blackmail tactics of the great adversary in order to lasso them and rein them in more easily afterwards. With regard to Germany, the much feared statute on "enemy states" of the United Nations Charter provides a convenient handle for unlimited interpretation by the Powers.[l3]
The worm has turned now. The cautious rise of a healthy sense of patriotism is being observed in the Federal Republic. It seems amazing that after decades in which German politics, and the politics for Germany, had been officially debased in every manner and to every degree imaginable, some West German politicians dare to set new sails in the freshening breeze. During the short campaign for the 1987 elections even the Social Democrats (the SPD), the party of former Chancellor Brandt, then the chief executor of the post-1969 SPD/FDP coalition Ostpolitik, saw fit not to ignore the new conditions totally. Note that its party manager ("Bundesgeschäftsfuhrer") Peter Glotz, during the 1986 SPD convention at Nuremberg, called upon the Germans to reactivate the idea of
"Mitteleuropa" (Central Europe) publicized seventy years previously by the great National Liberal, Friedrich Naumann. So far so good. But will the renewed force of the idea succeed in welding together, effectively, its sympathizers east and west of the Iron Curtain?
Franz Josef Strauss, the old political warhorse from Bavaria, boss of its CSU, has also jumped on the slowly accelerating bandwagon. That was no surprise since he tried similar tactics, unsuccessfully, both before the Great Ice Age of 1969 and in his run for the federal chancellorship in the 1970's when Brandt's and Schmidt's governments began to unravel. Will he succeed now? His considerdble talents include a penchant for opportunistic temporizing and good connections to Israel dating from his time as Defense Minister. Perhaps his turn will come.
Some time ago, on September l4, 1984, another spokesman, Dr. Rainer Barzel, then President of the German Bundestag, found words on patriotism which bear repeating:
"The German issue... remains, above all, a challenge. He who believes the solution to be simple is no realist; he who gives up, is no patriot.
We add, inevitably: he who gives up is no realist but the gravedigger of Germany and of Europe.
Lo and behold: this time, the sentiments of Big Brother point in the right direction. Shortly upon his return from state visits to Hungary, Romania, and Yugoslavia, none less that U.S. Vice President Bush declared, in 1983, that the Yalta conference did not have the division of Europe as its goal. On the contrary, the Vice President appealed to the nations of Central and Eastern Europe to throw off the alien yoke of Soviet rule, to form a united central Europe with their brother nations united in Western Civilization, and to find refuge in the arms of the Free World. Fine words, indeed – and they did find a responsive echo east and west of the Iron Curtain. But the Vice President has yet to clarify exactly how those nations are to accomplish this revolution, after the blood revolts and uprisings from 1953 through 1983, profound events for which the United States stirred not a finger to help. Will the insecure euphoria of 1986/87, which already celebrates the dismantling of IRBM's in communist and capitalist Europe, succeed in re-uniting those great peoples, finally, for the first time since 1945, 1949, 1918? Great events do cast their shadows ahead but only great deeds will bring them about.
The noteworthy signal of the Vice President was seconded by U.S. Secretary of State Shultz repeatedly, particularly during the Stockholm conference on "confidence building, security and arms control in Europe, January 1985. The division of Germany and of Europe is an injustice perpetrated by the Soviet Union, Shultz declared. It must be redressed thoroughly. We may doubt that, steeped in an atmosphere worsened by the near-fiasco of Reykjavik and finding himself immured in a political system which has little use for Secretaries of State since 1916 at least, any future United States Secretary of State will waste more than a few soothing words on East Central Europe.
As for the Europeans, the shock of Reykjavik has brought West Germany, Britain and France together more effectively than any stirring declaration could have done. The governments of Thatcher, Mitterand and Kohl are starting to coordinate and unify their arms control policies – a singular turnabout particularly for Kohl and Thatcher who had been very closely attuned to Washington’s wishes and whims. We wish them Godspeed faced, as they are, by the double jeopardy of an America seemingly bent on transforming economic troubles into a permanent, global, political-economic crisis (à la 1929 to l94l, thus lending substance to the questionable prophecies of Marxism-Leninism), and, on the other front, of a Soviet continental colossus suddenly turned more flexible in its methods and more dynamic in its ways.
V. A New Counter-Reformation?
A pacesetter of quite a different caliber than the secular and secularly fickle politicians is the head of the Roman Catholic church. John Paul II, son of his Polish nation, deeply rooted in the church, pursues far-reaching plans, the implementation of which might well influence the course of the future for centuries to come. An ever accelerating spiritual counter-revolution is to accomplish the cooperation, possibly even the amalgamation of Catholics, Orthodox Christians and Lutherans in Eastern Europe, roll back the tide of Russian Communism, and at the same time bring about the revitalization of Western Europe, which at present has been indulging in a morally degenerate, as well as politically sterile, alien addiction to vulgar materialism. The goal of the constantly repeated papal initiatives, which go beyond mere regeneration – i.e. the revitalization of the human judgmental capability of the individual – is also the renaissance of occidental culture, and, founded thereupon, the reconstruction and new formation of the political integrity of "classical Europe." After the glorious imperial and royal era of the regnum et sacerdotum of the Carolingians, the dynasties of Otto the Great and the Saliers, this integrity was lost to us.
Germany, situated in the heart of Europe and on the strategic turntable of the Old World, encompassing Eurasia and Africa, must of necessity be accorded a culturally, politically and territorially central role, if this grandiose world project is to succed. Will her politicians develop the strength, vision and perserverance necessary to master this role? Will Germany be allowed to make genuine and significant decisions?
There are many arguments against this. Is so romantic an idea as the Pope's powerful enough to gain control of the workings of modern technology – e.g. the communications media – without being corrupted by it? Will it be possible for this idea to prevail in this culturally as well as politically torpid post bellum period after 1945 without triggering unforeseen chain reactions or catastrophic events?
The answer to these questions is that self determination for the Occident must be reattained. Europe must be allowed to be the architect of its own destiny. The alternative will be an accelerated decline, ending in extinction.
Practical politicians may – quite apart from any religious considerations – mistrust the veiled objectives of the church. The day may come, however, when the two world powers will realize that their power is overextended and that for economic, domestic, as well as military reasons it would be to their advantage to welcome openly Europe – and East Asia – into the club of world powers. Once before, an American president (Nixon) decided in the name of his country to renounce the disastrous role of "world policeman" – seven decades after former President Theodore Roosevelt with his "Corollary" (supplement to the Monroe Doctrine) and foreign policy had boldly seized upon it.
At least three prerequisites are necessary to bring about a new balance of power: (1) Never again will the – desirable – "l'Europe des Patries" (General de Gaulle) be in a position to afford the luxury of bloody internal wars, Most of all, the longer Germany sees herself hemmed in by the iron pincers of ambitous expansionists, the stronger her need for extra-European solutions will grow. (2) As an intuitive creator of public opinion the Pope recognizes that only an organic ideology, deeply rooted in the people, will be able to neutralize the claims advanced by eschatologies of dialectical, as well as Manchester-Liberal, materialism, and be of benefit to all mankind, of benefit to Russia and to America as well. The question of whether this praiseworthy idea has not come three hundred years too late is moot; for it was from the Europe of the past two centuries that the most unfruitful ideologies have sprung – parasites on the vitality of the brilliant edifices of civilized thought. It is imperative that innermost alienation be overcome, and posthaste. (3) It is imperative that, along with the vitally essential cultural, economic and ethnic-political apparatus, a common military-political morale be established if Europe is to survive. Practical politicans of the Third World such as General Mustapha Tlas, Defense Minister of the Republic of Syria, are looking forward to see the establishment of Europe as a third force, with a revitalized Germany as its core. Should this realm of the middle – facing the Powers – fail to recover its national health, Eumpe will be without the vital backbone of a common military defense system.
One can well understand the instinctive desire of those nations which are in the direct firing line of the most horrendous weapons of mass destruction and propaganda broadsides of all kinds from both fronts to "get out of history." However, it will not be granted to them to leave the roaring express train of modern times. Quite the opposite! In contrast to the situation of the Swedish nation in the course of the sometimes glorious and sometimes ignominious military campaigns of King Charles XII, Central and Western Europe constitute an essential piece of the world's prime real estate: a prize the lasting attainment of which will crown the one or the other side as ruler of the world. It is imperative that it be restored to trustworthy hands. The exertion of will, effort and power is well worth it:
So girt by danger shall youth, manhood and age
Pass kindly here their buys pilgrimage
Such swarming multitudes I fain would see!
Free people standing on a soil as free.*
Johann Wolfgang Goethe, Faust II
*Und so verbringt, umrung von Gefahr,
Hier Kindheit, Mann, und Greis sein tüchtig Jahr.
Auf freiem Grund mit freiem Volke stehn!
|||Andreas Wesserle, Paradise Lost: Roosevelt, Churchill, Teheran und Jalta; publication of the Zeitgeschichtliche Forschungsstelle Ingolstadt, Germany; volume 8,1984.|
|||"Andreotti sorgt für Aufregung, " Deutschland Nachrichten, No. 31, September 19, 1984; German Information Center, 410 Park Avenue, New York. "Italian Foreign Minister Regrets Misunderstanding," The Week in Germany, Vol. XIV, September 21, 1984; German Information Center, 410 Park Avenue, New York.|
|||"DDR sieht `Nationalen Verrat'," Milwaukee Deutsche Zeitung, 95th year, No. 74, Friday, September 14,1984.|
|||The German Tribune, Hamburg, 1 February 1987, p. l. The Week in Germany, January 30,1987, German Information Center, New York.|
|||Richard M. Nixon, The Real War, Warner Books, New York, New York; pp. 72-77.|
|||Rainer Barzel, "Ursachen und Stand der deutschen Frage," Bulletin, No 105, 18 September 1984; Presse und Informationsamt der Deutschen Bundesregierung, Bonn. Lajos Lederer, Report, The Observer, 31 July 1983. "Worldgram," US. News & World Report, March 9, 1987. "Newest Soviet Threat," U.S. News & World Report, March 16,1987.|
|||"Iceland Pact Would Have Meant Impeaching Reagan, Aspin Says," Milwaukee Sentinel, November 22, 1986. "Aspin Blasts Linking of Daniloff to Summit," Milwaukee Sentinel, November 25, 1986; U.S. News & World Report, October 20,1986.|
|||"Skepsis gegenüber Kissingers Vorschlägen," Deutschland Nachrichten, No. 8, February 29, 1984. Dr. Kissinger alluded to the possibility of the United States withdrawing half of its troops from Europe. Dr. Alois Mertens, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Bonn, replied: "Europe cannot be expected to assume more responsibility than its power permits."|
|||"The Inaugural Clement J. Zablocki Memorial Lecture on U.S. Foreign Policy by the Hon. Caspar W. Weinberger," October 24, 1984. A group of about 7 women was present in silent protest against Secretary Weinberger's alleged re-armament policy. Their leaflet proclaimed: "He will continue, and intensify, the militarization of U.S. foreign policy...leading us farther down the road toward a global war...a war no nation can win": Women for Peace.|
|||"Should You Support McGovern’s Defense Proposal?" The Advocates, The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), WGBH Television, Boston, Massachusetts, October 5,1972.|
|||Wesserle, loc. cit.|
|||Amitai Etzioni, "Strategic Models for a De-Polarizing World," Journal of Peace Research, 2: 136-150, 1965. Charter of the United Nations, Articles 53,107, etc.|
|||Rainer Barzel, loc. cit.|
|||Lajos Lederer, The Observer, 31 July 1983; William Pfaff, The Los Angeles Times, June 27, 1983; "Bonn Pins Hopes for Détente on Stockholm Conference," The Week in Germany, Vol. XV, No. 2, January 19, 1984, German Information Center, New York; "Genscher und Shultz sehen gute Ausgangspositionen in Stockholm," Deutschland Nachrichten, No. 2, 18 January 1984; German Information Center, New York; "Ruehe sieht Möglichkeiten für neuen `Dialog'," ibid. "Genscher: Stockholm Offers Fresh Start for East-West Relations," The Week in Germany, No. 3, January 20,1984.|
|||"Donnergrollen aus Amerika," Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 16 January 1987; "Europe Fears Rudderless Reagan Administration," The Christian Science Monitor, November 28, 1986; "Market Viewpoints: A Glance at the Year Ahead," Investment Focus, A Monthly Publication for Merrill Lynch Clients, January 1987; "Economic Outlook," U.S. News & World Report, March 9, 1987; "Tomorrow," U.S. News & World Report, March 16, 1987; United States Department of State, Washington, D.C. 20520; communication to this author of December 8, 1986 by a Senior Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs.|
Additional information about this document
|Author(s):||Andreas R. Wesserle|
|Title:||Death and Rebirth: European Politial Observations|
|Sources:||The Journal of Historical Review, vol. 7, no. 4 (winter 1986), pp. 443-460|
|First posted on CODOH:||Nov. 9, 2012, 6 p.m.|