08 Oct The Morning Call looks at the Chancellor’s legacy
THE DREAM WORLD, NOW AND THEN
So…my eyes are getting better, slowly but surely. Nevertheless, they still get very tired in the late morning, and the world gets pretty blurry. (That is in large part why I have been publishing in the early afternoon).
Noting this is my way of apologizing for yesterday’s piece. Regular readers know that I am typo-prone in general, but yesterday was an abomination: random numbers mixed into words, letters left out of words, and, most notably, the inspired phrase “moral morality.” Sorry about that – ALL of that.
Bear with me. Hopefully, it’s only a matter of time before I’m back to my usual excessive number of typos.
The other day, the worst German Chancellor since You Know Who gave a major speech, the first since she left office. It was…interesting:
Rarely has a foreign policy legacy been discredited as rapidly, and thoroughly, as former German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s . In 16 years at the top of the German government, she thought she could moderate Vladimir Putin’s imperial ambitions, and in the process she made Germany and Europe vulnerable to his energy blackmail.
But as for regrets, she hasn’t a few. That was clear from her first major public appearance since she left as Chancellor last year.
“I don’t blame myself,” Mrs. Merkel told an audience Tuesday at the Berliner Ensemble theater in the German capital. “I have tried to work in the direction of preventing mischief. And if diplomacy doesn’t succeed, this doesn’t mean that it was therefore wrong. Thus I don’t see why I should say: ‘That was wrong.’ And therefore I won’t apologize.”
She doesn’t blame herself. Of course she doesn’t. Why would she? All she did was bet EVERYTHING on a psychotic former KGB goon with a history of lying, cheating, stealing, and murdering. How can it possibly be her fault that things didn’t work out?
Now, from our perspective, there are two things worth noting here. First, this is the Gnostic Dream World exemplified. “I did something stupid, and naïve, and totally reckless, something that was almost bound to fail, but, hey, I had the best of intentions! So what’re ya’ gonna do?” Merkel admits that she did not trust Putin, that was she was not at all naïve about who and what he was. She just thought that things would turn out differently than they did, that she had the power to control the situation and to make the murdering madman do what she wanted him to do.
In the real world, this is, as Voegelin noted, thoroughly insane. Yet Merkel denies any culpability because she meant well. And, for the most part, she’ll get away with it. Largely because the entire foreign policy establishment lives just inside the confines of the Dream World.
The second thing to note here is that not only were Merkel’s actions deranged, but they were also historically illiterate. Granted, contemporary Russia is not the Soviet Union, and Putin is not Stalin. (Moreover, Merkel is not FDR, for better AND worse). Nevertheless, Frau Merkel is not the first Western leader to engage in Dram World thinking with a Russian autocrat, only to maker the world a much worse place,
As we have noted countless times in these pages, the Cold war was, in large part, the result of FDR’s Gnostic arrogance, his belief that Stalin wasn’t really a bad guy and that the two of them could, together, govern the world in socialist peace and harmony. “I have just a hunch,” Roosevelt told his first Ambassador to Russia, William Bullitt, in 1943, before ever having met the Soviet dictator, “that Stalin doesn’t want anything but security for his country, and I think that if I give him everything I possibly can and ask nothing from him in return, noblesse oblige, he won’t try to annex anything and will work for a world democracy and peace.”
In his classic, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and American Foreign Policy, Robert Dallek noted that Roosevelt graciously shared the following assessment of Stalin with his cabinet after returning from the Yalta conference at which his Soviet counterpart had humiliated him before the entire world:
Roosevelt described Stalin as having “something else in him besides this revolutionist Bolshevist thing.” The President thought it had something to do with his training for the “priesthood … I think that something entered into this nature of the way in which a Christian gentleman should behave.”
In FDR & Stalin: A Not So Grand Alliance, Amos Perlmutter noted the following:
The new American alliance with the Soviet Union necessitated a revision of popular perceptions of that country and its leader. A totalitarian and repressive state would now be portrayed as a “heroic nation” of brave peasants fighting for their lives against the fascist invader … At its height, in 1942 and in 1943, the effort to present the Soviet Union as a valuable ally, a democracy in sprit if not in practice, was the work of a diverse group of diplomats, writers, movie-makers, newspaper columnists and reporters, motivated by a sincere desire to help the war effort. The effort required a distortion of recent history—turning the purges, for instance, into a sideshow of the war efforts, and blaming the West for forcing Stalin into the pact with Hitler.
Our point here is that Frau Merkel didn’t even need to rely on her own blinkered judgment about Putin and Russia to know that trusting them was a stupid idea. She could, very easily, have relied on history to guide her and to serve as a warning that she should be exceptionally leery of promises made by the distinctively self-interested and conniving occupants of the Kremlin. She really should have known better, in other words, because others had made exactly the same mistake before. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on Merkel, whether she admits it or not.
For years, we have been subjected to the foreign-policy elites’ assessment that Angela Merkel was the “indispensable European.” Maybe that’s true. But if it is, that doesn’t say much good about present-day Europe.
As the continent starves for energy, and as the Germans continue their generous donations to the Ukrainian cause (now totaling around four incandescent and two LED lightbulbs), understand that this IS, in many ways, Merkel’s fault. She may not accept blame. She may not feel she has to apologize, but that’s only because she is, by traditional standards, out of her goddamn mind. Like FDR, she lives in the Gnostic Dream World. And the consequences of her Dream World actions may prove to be every bit as delusional and destructive as were his.