Nosferatu: A Hundred Years Later

Directed by Murnau in 1922, Nosferatu is one of the great masterpieces of German expressionist cinema. Contrary to what some may have believed, it has no connection with the rise of Nazism, but undoubtedly reveals the trauma of the Great War and the Spanish flu.

In 1838, in the northern port of Wisborg. Thomas Hutter (Gustav von Wangenheim), a young real estate agent, is happily married to the beautiful Ellen (Greta Schröder). Without worrying about her dark premonitions, he leaves for Transylvania to sell a residence to Count Orlok (Max Schreck). In a tavern, locals tell him that the Count’s castle is possessed by dark forces. Nevertheless, he goes there. But as soon as he crosses the bridge, ghosts come to meet him.

When he arrives at the castle, he is welcomed by the sinister Count. During the negotiation, Orlok sees an engraving of Ellen and decides to buy the building near the couple’s house. At midnight, Hutter cuts his finger:

“Blood! Your precious blood!” exclaims Orlok before sucking his finger.

At night, the Count prepares coffins of Transylvanian soil, to take to Wisborg. Hutter then understands the true nature of his host: a vampire who, at night, feeds on the blood of his victims.

Nosferatu, after a long sea voyage, during which he exterminates all the crew, spreads in the city of Wisborg an epidemic of plague. He takes possession of his new house, located opposite the Hutters’. At night, he watches and covets his next victim: Ellen.

Ellen learns that the only way to defeat a vampire is to expose him to sunlight. To save the plague-stricken town and ward off the curse, Ellen lures the vampire into her room and sacrifices herself. The sunrise catches her there. The vampire Nosferatu crumbles to dust.

Nosferatu (Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens [A Symphony of Horror]) is a German silent fantasy film, directed by Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau, was released on March 4, 1922.

The limited budget of this film did not allow for the acquisition of the rights to the novel Dracula by the Irish writer Bram Stoker, which was published in 1897. However, Henrik Galeen’s screenplay was strongly inspired by it, while taking several liberties: the action takes place in the imaginary city of Wisborg (instead of London), the names of the characters are changed from the novel, Dracula becoming notably Count Orlok (Nosferatu). Galeen also adds to the original work an idea that will mark the myth of Dracula: daylight can kill the vampire.

Nosferatu was the subject of a lawsuit brought by the writer’s widow. In 1925, a judgment was passed, requiring the destruction of all illegal copies. However, several copies remained in the United States and in France.

Nosferatu was filmed in real settings, which was rare at the time. The filming took place in Slovakia, in the Carpathians, for the scenes that were supposed to take place in Transylvania. The castle of Orava is used as a set for the castle of Count Orlok. The interpretation is uneven. It is regrettable that Gustav von Wangenheim plays Hutter with an enthusiasm that borders on the ridiculous. Greta Schröder is more convincing when she plays Ellen resigned to sacrifice herself.

A century after the film’s release, the actor Max Schreck continues to leave his mark. Long and rigid, with long, hooked fingers, a pale and frightening face, a bald head, thick eyebrows, and an obsessive gaze, he plays a particularly horrific vampire. Murnau’s vampire is different from the character of Dracula portrayed in later adaptations, notably the 1931 adaptation in which Bela Lugosi plays a mysterious and refined vampire.

Expressionism is evident in Nosferatu’s oppressive close-ups and the play of light and shadow, as well as in the hues Murnau used to color the film, giving the illusion of alternating day and night. The soundtrack, composed by Hans Erdmann, further accentuates the dramatic tension.

The acting of Max Schreck and the expressionism make this film one of the great masterpieces of silent cinema. Thus, according to Jacques Lourcelles, it is “one of the five or six essential films in the history of cinema, and without doubt the most important silent film… Nosferatu is above all a metaphysical poem in which the forces of death have a vocation—an inexorable vocation—to attract to themselves, to suck in, to absorb the forces of life” (Jacques Lourcelles, Dictionnaire du cinéma). Murnau thus shows evil in its purest form, Nosferatu living in darkness and sowing plague behind him. Of course, this film was not conservative at the time, since it was devoid of any religious connotations. But Ellen’s sacrifice to eradicate evil is in line with such meaning.

Many film historians have believed that they can make a connection between this terrifying Weimar-era film and the rise of Nazism. In his book, From Caligari to Hitler: A Psychological History of the German Film (1947), Siegfried Kracauer attempts to show that Nosferatu, by showing Ellen’s attraction to the vampire, helped bring Hitler to power in Germany! Anton Kaes even sees “anti-Semitic motives” in the images of rats spreading the plague, or the fact that Nosferatu comes from Eastern Europe, like the “Eastern Jews” who migrated at the end of the 19th century! Bardèche and Brasillach saw in Siegfried Kracauer’s essay “a strange desire to politically distort the facts” (Bardèche and Brasillach, Histoire du cinéma).

Indeed, since this film dates from 1922, it is simply an allegory about the collective fears caused by past traumas—the First World War and the epidemics in Europe at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century, such as the Spanish flu (from which there were 426,000 deaths in Germany).

Kristol Séhec writes about culture, film and comic books. This article appears courtesy of Breizh-info.

Featured image: “Nosferatu,” one sheet poster by Albin Grau (1922).

Putin and Power

This excerpt is from Putins Macht: Warum Europa Russland braucht (Putin’s Power: Why Europe needs Russia), by Hubert Seipel, who is a well-known German journalist.

But what sets Seipel apart is the fact that he is the only Western journalist to have direct access to President Vladimir Putin. Therefore, his book is filled with great insights into the character, personality and geopolitical thinking of the man who currently leads Russia.

We are very grateful to El Manifesto for the opportunity to present this excerpt.

Learning from Capitalism

For Vladimir Putin, the missile shield is an example of the West’s failure to appreciate the way Russia has peacefully overcome the fall of the Soviet Union. Putin is quick to adapt to the negative historical judgment on “real socialism,” but he still considers that the fall of the Soviet Union was negotiated by its leaders in an unprofessional manner; that the Soviet Union, in December 1991, ceased to exist in less than two weeks after the presidents of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus announced its end. A few days later, the flag with the hammer and sickle gave way to that of the tsarist-era double-headed eagle.

When Putin was in charge of the economy of the St. Petersburg executive, he quickly understood that capital, in the era of globalization, does not move easily except in regions where it feels comfortable and secure. Russia had a number of advantages: tax rates were very low, as were wages, and the Russian people, despite miserable living conditions, were peaceful. However, Putin also saw very clearly, during this rapid initiation to capitalism, that millionaires should pay taxes in their country and respect the actions of the state.

But it is not only the feeling of having been abused that angers Putin. The lack of respect for Russia’s vital interests is, for him particularly hurtful, especially when the country shows signs of weakness. Putin confessed to me, during hours of conversation, without taking a breath, except to drink a little vodka, how the strategic configuration of Europe has been modified, without taking into account Russia’s susceptibilities. When the Warsaw Pact collapsed with the fall of the Soviet Union, NATO took the opportunity to develop with expansive madness… Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, the Baltic States, Romania, Slovakia and finally Croatia and Albania, “when we had been promised, on the occasion of German reunification, that there would be no extension of NATO.”

From Lisbon to Vladivostok

Vladimir Putin’s political objective is to create an economic space from Vladivostok to Lisbon. At the end of November 2009, he chose the Adlon Hotel in Berlin to present his vision, to German businessmen, of a common economic zone, with the European Union. A free trade zone without customs duties, a common industrial policy and the abolition of visas were just a few of Putin’s proposals. Both sides would benefit, including Russia, of course. “Because Russia, after the breakup of the Soviet Union, has not had access to its main export markets. Problems have arisen with transit countries, which have tried to take advantage of their monopoly situation to extract unilateral advantages. This is a source of disputes.”

Putin insisted on a central point in his thinking: “It is of paramount importance that we learn to respect each other’s strategic interests through deeds and not just words.”

Two years later, Putin was still convinced of his proposals. At the end of 2013, in Sochi, he explained to me the reasons for his strategic reflections. “A rapprochement with Europe is not, in principle, bad for us. We have the natural resources and Europe has the know-how. We would both profit in the long term.”

His goal has always been an agreement with the European Union and Ukraine to modify the technical standards of Russia and countries such as Belarus and Ukraine, so that they become compatible with those of the European Union and thus competitive. Leveling the economy—and responding, at the same time, to the expansive policy of the West—is, for him, nothing more than a question of time, equal opportunities and increased investments. This is the reason why Putin insisted on joining the World Trade Organization, which decides by means of its binding international rules what is authorized and what is not. After several decades of arduous negotiations, Russia was able to overcome the obstacles and was admitted as a member in 2012. The EU’s simplistic reaction of rejecting Russian proposals before even examining them provoked his anger. “They have been repeating one thing to us for years: you must not interfere in Ukraine’s affairs. We do not intervene in your relations with China and you should not intervene in our relations with Canada.”

Putin regards the attempt to separate Ukraine economically from Russia as a political maneuver against his country; and the technocratic point of view of Brussels, for which Russia’s relations with Ukraine are of no importance, he sees it as a deliberate strategy. As a political man, he is appalled that initiatives of such importance, with enormous consequences for the neighboring country, can be taken without negotiation, but exclusively bureaucratically. “It is not difficult to realize that our relations with Ukraine are different from those between Brussels and Canada, as these really have no complexity,” Putin laconically lamented.

The Fate of Churches

This treatise on the role of the Church in modern times was written by Father Alfred Delp, a Jesuit priest, while he was in prison, awaiting execution.

The fragmentary sentences near the end were written while his hands were tied. During this time, he wrote to his secretary in which he recounted a cruel comment of his SS guard who, along with some others, had just beaten him severely: “You won’t sleep much tonight. You’ll pray, but neither God nor an angel will come and rescue you. But we’ll sleep soundly and will be fresh in the morning, to give you another good thrashing.”

Despite the grim context, this little treatise is also a testimony of the workings of faith in the face of evil and certain death, and the great strength of Christian hope.

Father Delp was executed, at 38 years of age, by the Nazis, on February 2, 1945; his body was cremated and the ashes scattered in an unknown location in Berlin.

The fate of churches in the coming time will not depend on what their prelates and leading authorities come up with in terms of cleverness, sagacity, “political skills”, etc. Nor will it depend on the “positions” that people have been able to obtain from among them. All that is obsolete.

Within themselves, the churches must, for the sake of their existence, decisively be finished with fanaticism and the lagging, disintegrating liberalism. Hierarchy must be real order and leadership. The Church should know this from its origins.

But order and leadership are something else than formalism and feudal personalism. Above all, the conviction must grow again that the hierarchy does not only have confidence in the errors and follies of mankind. It must be known and felt and experienced again that it hears and answers the calls of longing and of the times, of ferment and of new awakenings, that the concerns of each new age and generation are not just filed away in filing cabinets, but are evaluated and treated as “concerns,” i.e., worries and tasks.

Also, the other way of the exacting Church, in the name of the exacting God, is no longer a path to this generation and to the times to come. Between the clear conclusions of our fundamental theology and the listening hearts of the people lies the great mountain of weariness that the experience of ourselves has piled up.

Through our existence, we have taken away people’s trust in us. Two thousand years of history are not only blessings and commendations, but also a burden and heavy inhibition. And especially in previous times a person become found in the church also only the person become tired, who still committed the dishonesty of hiding his tiredness behind pious words and gestures. A coming honest, cultural and intellectual history will have to write bitter chapters about the contributions to the emergence of mass man, of collectivism, of dictatorial forms of rule, etc.

Whether the Church will once again find a way to reach these people will depend on two things. The first is so self-evident that I will not even mention it. If the churches once again present humanity with the image of a bickering Christendom, they will be written off. We should accept the division as a historical fate and at the same time as a cross. None of those living today would carry it out again. And at the same time, it should be our permanent shame and disgrace, since we were not able to guard Christ’s inheritance, his love, in an unbroken way.

The one fact means the return of the churches to “diakonia”: to the service of humanity. And to a service that is determined by the need of humanity, not by our tastes or the consuetudinarium of an ecclesial community, however established. “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve” (Mk 10:45). One only has to call the various realities of Church existence once under this law and measure them against this statement, and one actually knows enough. No human being will believe in the message of salvation and of the Savior as long as we have not bloodied ourselves in the service of the physically, psychologically, socially, economically, morally or otherwise sick human being. Man today is sick.

Perhaps in the next few days I will get around to putting down on paper a few thoughts about man’s illnesses. And man today has at the same time become a supreme expert in many fields of life, and who has greatly expanded the space of human power and dominion. He is still quite dazed by this new ability. He does not yet feel some inner loss and atrophy of the organs, which he exchanges for this ability. And he does not need to feel them at all in the beginning. But above all, it is not necessary to tell him and reproach him constantly. A clever and wise leadership will take them into account, but will not talk about them all the time. This able and worldly-wise person is very sensitive to any presumed or real arrogance. The diligence and reliability, to which the technical life forces the majority of today’s people, also give them an eye for the sloppiness and wallowing with which we in the Church perform our “functions” in the broadest sense of the word.

Return to the “diakonia” is what I said. By this I mean the joining of people in all their situations, with the intention of helping them to master them, without subsequently filling out a column and section somewhere. By this I mean the following and wandering even into the utmost perplexities and stupefactions of man, in order to be with him exactly and just then, when he is surrounded by loss and degradation. “Go out” said the Master, and not: “Sit down and wait to see if anyone comes.” By this I mean the concern also for human space and the human order. It makes no sense to leave humanity to its fate, satisfied with a sermon and religious permit, with a pastor’s and prelate’s salary. By this I mean the spiritual encounter as a real dialogue, not as a monologue and monotonous whining.

However, all this will only be understood and wanted if fulfilled people come again from the Church. The “fullness.” This word is important for Paul (Col. 2:9). It is even more important for our concern. The fulfilled people, not the salvation-anxious or pastor-affiliated frightened caricatures, who know themselves again as not only stewards of Christ, but as those who have prayed with all openness: fac cor meum secundum cor tuum. If the churches will once again release from themselves the fulfilled, the creative human being, filled with divine force that is their lot, only then will they have the measure of security and self-confidence that will allow them to do away with the constant insistence on “right” and “heritage.” Only then will they have the bright eyes that, even in the darkest hours, will see the concerns and calls of God. And only then they will have ready hearts that are not interested in saying, “We were right after all.” They will only care about one thing—to help and heal in the name of God.

But how to get there? The churches seem to stand in their own way here by the nature of their way of being that has become historical. I believe that wherever we do not voluntarily separate ourselves from the way of life for the sake of life, the history what has happened will strike us as a judging and destroying thunderbolt. This is true for the personal destiny of the individual church person as well as for the institutions and customs. We are at a dead point despite all correctness and orthodoxy. The Christian idea is not one of the leading and formative ideas of this century. Still the plundered man lies on the road. Shall the stranger pick him up once more? I think we have to take the phrase very seriously: what worries and distresses the Church at present is man. The man outside, to whom we no longer have a way and who no longer believes us. And the man inside, who does not believe himself because he has experienced and lived too little love. Therefore, one should not make great reform lectures and design great reform programs, but rather set about the formation of Christian personhood and at the same time equip oneself to meet the immense need of man in a helping and healing way.

Most of the people of the Church and the official Church itself must realize that for the present and its people the Church is not only an incomprehensible and misunderstood reality, but in many respects a disturbing, threatening, dangerous fact. We are walking on two parallels; and there are no connecting footbridges across and over. In addition, each of the two authorities—the “natural” and the “supernatural”—appears to the other as a competent judge. For the Church, this results in a multifaceted obligation.

The hard and honest consideration of how this could have become so. And not a reflection on the guilt of the other.

The old question of what the consequences are for the revival and the appearance of the Church.

Much more important and deeper—education for reverence towards the other person. Away from presumption to reverence.

The Church must understand itself much more as a sacrament, as a way and a means, not as a goal and end.

A personal understanding is more important today than the original objective integrity.

In general, the question arises whether one can, indeed may, always and under all circumstances, leave the judgment of what has become historical to historical values.

Honest sobriety in the statement that the Church today does not belong to the leading powers and forces of mankind.

And that this fact cannot be presented unilaterally by a d’accord [in French in the original] with other powerful instances of history (throne and altar in any forms), but only by the release of its own, inner vitality and possibility puissance, not force [words in italics are in English in the original].

The force of the immanent mission of the Church depends on the seriousness of its transcendent devotion and worship. The arrogant man, always of evil, is already in the vicinity of the Church, not to mention in the Church alone and even in the name of the Church or as the Church.

Featured image: Father Alfred Delp at his trial, at the People’s Court, Berlin, January 8-9, 1945.

The Intellectual Poverty Of The Right: A Conversation With Günter Maschke

We are very pleased to present this first English-language translation of an interview given in 1997 by Günter Maschke to the journal Junge Freiheit. He was prolific and formidable thinker and published numerous books and articles for radio, newspapers and scientific journals, especially on the work of Juan Donoso Cortés and Carl Schmitt.

Junge Freiheit (JF): Mr. Maschke, almost six years ago you said in an interview that the space for intellectual freedom in Germany had all but evaporated. The situation is unlikely to have improved?

Günter Maschke (GM): No, the situation has not improved at all, because the process of coming to terms with the past has actually intensified. The real problem is not the constant hysterical dissociation from Hitler and alleged fascist or neo-fascist dangers, but that it is extended to the most distant reaches and times. If I write something today about—let’s say—about the Minnegesang, I have to first lament the degradation of women by an authoritarian patriarchy and to point out that already in medieval times the horrors of the darkest years can be foreseen, or something similar. And if I discuss the civil wars between the ancient Greek states, I can’t get around a denazification tribunal moralizing. This is somewhat caricatural, but the tendency is in that direction.

Günter Maschke, October 2015, Frankfurt am Main.

I am practically no longer allowed to see any epoch out of itself, out of Ranke’s imperative that all epochs stand equal to God—I have to pour over everything the sauce of this diffuse, suggestive, extortionate morality. The problem of coming to terms with the past is not so much that I have to pull in from my head at certain names, dates, facts or factual assertions and express the desired opinion—but that I tend to have to look at all historical events under the aspect of supposed emancipation, of guilt and antecedence.

Coming to terms with the past permeates and contaminates the humanities and historical sciences and destroys the ability to think historically, psychologically, and so on. This inability to perceive one’s own social and historical conditions, this stultification thus set in motion, is perhaps more serious than selective political correctness toward National Socialism.

(JF): How do you explain the fact that coming to terms with the past has taken on such a life of its own that the campaigns shake us like fever attacks at ever shorter intervals?

(GM): I think there are few things that are such a good career and power tool as coming to terms with the past, because through it, of course, I can see any traces of disaster or forebodings or beginnings everywhere and can suspect everyone and everything without limit. If you express the slightest doubt about women’s emancipation, you will get your head chopped off in every party executive.

The past-tense approach, which extends to the most distant regions, can be used everywhere to defame the opponent as reactionary, harboring dangerous tendencies, and so on. The normal plurality of a community is immediately and aggressively challenged; and this is of course a great tool in the struggle for power. While coming to terms with the past plays a significant role overall in Germany’s self-promotion, in the internal political and party power struggle it offers countless instruments for swatting down the opponent. The big Machiavellianism is killed, the small one is really given a boost.

(JF): Is that the reason why this way of exercising power is now also being exported, for example to France or Switzerland?

(GM): I believe that it is a general phenomenon of decadence of a society that no longer wants itself; that because it is incapable of fighting, it has to pay for its addiction to pleasure with contrition—that is endless. The main problem seems to be that these phenomena are always signs of decadence—and there we Germans are of course are in the lead once again.

In France, there was once a healthy schizophrenia; they talked about human rights, but oriented themselves to the reason of state and so on. Now France no longer has the strength to hold on to this “schizophrenia.” They have now discovered this new source of power; and since every older politician has lived at some point and something happened back then, you will always find something. In the case of Switzerland, it is motivated by the desire to weaken the Swiss financial sector. That’s a very clear motive.

(JF): How do you explain the fact that after reunification there was no slackening in the process of coming to terms with the past?

(GM): The bigger Germany is, the more the process of dealing with the past will increase. There was the threat of deciding on a different politics, a politics of self-discovery, of finding ourselves, a power-politics… this threat did exist, albeit more in the eyes of foreign countries, whose fears were knee-jerk but became our political guideline. Reunification was then allowed as a way of fitting into Europe; it was declared to be an acceptable by-product of the unification of Europe.

Ultimately, coming to terms with the past is based on the consensus that Germany must never again be a strong, independent power. This is what I once called the conspiracy of the “flak-helpers.” The moment there is even the slightest danger of something happening here, the process of coming to terms with the past must be intensified. Seven years ago, however, this only succeeded because the ideology of the GDR was not so different from that of the FRG, if one just removes the SED trappings….

(JF): Who is responsible for this anti-national consensus?

(GM): The political class itself is responsible, which draws its power from the fact that Germany has no power, or only a very limited one; in the process, under the applause of this class, even the last German power resource is to be dissolved, the German Mark. When this happens, however, the other larger countries will preserve their national prerogatives; but we will have literally nothing left in our hands. When we then have no more money, when our crisis worsens, when we can no longer finance Europe, then we will be the biggest bastards in Europe, and then there will again be huge campaigns because of the past. We should be prepared for that.

(JF): Sounds illogical. The political class usually strives for more and more power!

(GM): It gains, it strengthens and improves its power internally by renouncing it externally. The renunciation on the outside strengthens the totalitarian rule on the inside. Renouncing the pursuit of German interests within Europe implies a gain of power that is certain and calculable, especially since the intellectual middle-classes think similarly and long for denationalization: they do not want to be involved in Europe; they want it to disappear from it. If the German will proudly say that he is European, the Briton or Frenchman will tell him, no, you are a German, you little bastard! And this European will just be wide-eyed with surpirse! In addition, Kohl’s official policy is that of a new cauchemar des coalitions, that is, the nightmare of coalitions, that of a new encirclement. Bismarck had this nightmare also—and therefore Mr. Kohl is considered strangely as a continuator of Bismarck.

(JF): …with the opposite result…

(GM): Yes, because Kohl does not raise the question: How do we hold our own on this dangerous terrain? How do we gain the necessary strength? But Kohl propagates German self-captivation, promises German self-captivation. Basically, he is committing suicide out of fear of death. I can only think of Clausewitz: “There is always time to die.” This is not a policy that can be believed by others and it is not one that makes us a respected member of Europe. On the contrary, because of this policy and this mentality, because of this policy of repentance and renunciation of power, we are despised and—even worse—resented abroad.

(JF): How do you explain the fact that the left is one of the main supporters of globalization in Germany, even though it should be clear that it is the workers who will have to foot the bill—as with the euro?

(GM): The left hopes for the dissolution of the German people; in this, it is even more radical than the people themselves—even if this is only a difference of degree. But you have to see that globalization is also sharply criticized by parts of the left; for example, in the book by Elmar Altvater and a Mrs. Birgit Mahnkopf in Die Grenzen der Globalisierung, published by Westfälisches Dampfboot. If one disregards the somewhat bland proposals for solutions, nowhere else have the catastrophic economic, ecological and also psychological consequences of globalization, the appalling uprooting of people, been described so forcefully. From the right side, from us, there is unfortunately not even approximately so good an analysis!

(JF): What is the reason for the desolate situation of the intellectual right in Germany?

(GM): The right is a purely microscopic phenomenon; one must even ask whether there is still a right at all. I think Ernst Jünger once said that since the Dreyfus affair there is no longer a right. The right today also believes in popular sovereignty, and it is even vulgar-rousseauistic: the people are good. For them, however, it is not capitalism that is to blame, but the industry of coming to terms with the past, or the Allies, or corrupt television. But one has to admit that the German people are mentally and intellectually completely crippled and degenerated. They are not in a better condition than the political class. The right does not dare to say that either.

Many things that are considered right-wing are not so at all—just think of the strange love of many right-wingers for our German Constitution, of the mirage of a right-wing constitutional patriotism! The right in our country likes to talk about meta-politics, but ends up only in a very short-winded educational hype. One is content with a collage of the right-wing and conservative educational goods of the past—but at discount prices. Three pages about this, two pages about that, a real right-wing morsel culture has emerged. One does not see the sense of ambitious, rigorous theoretical work. One just wants to get quickly to the point but will not, because no measurement of the crisis, of the truly terrible mental and spiritual situation of modern man is made, which transcends everything political.

(JF): Recently it has become fashionable to claim that more and more leftists have allegedly migrated to the right, for example, to name a few names, Klaus Rainer Röhl. Can you speak to this at all?

(GM): With Röhl, I see that he became anti-communist, anti-totalitarian; but I would not call him a rightist. On the contrary, with him there is an identification with the existing system. This kind of right-wing liberals, of the national liberals, believes that this republic is basically good; that one has to defend this republic against the left. In reality, they would rather be dispossessed by these leftists than vice versa. A leading right-wing intellectual, whose name I won’t mention now, once got upset about Joschka Fischer, and I told him that this was Joschka Fischer’s state rather than his. There are enough established people who have not yet understood that they are only tolerated. They appeal to a Federal German substance that has long been in other hands.

(JF): For a while, you expressed yourself more on the right in terms of journalism. Now we have the impression that you have withdrawn more to scientific work. Is that also because of frustration, that you don’t see anything moving on the right?

(GM): You should do what you think you can do best, and that’s good enough. And, as I said before, I believe that the right has to learn how to tackle tasks that are tedious. I don’t think that’s resignation. I just can’t dance at two or three weddings.

(JF): Do you see anyone in Germany, or its neighboring countries, who would be able to do this theoretical work from the right?

(GM): Yes, I know some people, even thirty-year-olds, whom I trust to do a lot. In our country, and also in Belgium, France, Spain Italy. The problem is discerned by some, certainly. But if you look at certain usual suspects here and elsewhere, certain right-wing usual suspects, you will only find journalism, contemporary history and the like. Of course, you have to read that, too. But I know relatively well-known authors of the right who have never read a classic work of political science in the broadest sense, be it Tacitus, Tocqueville or Carl Schmitt; who live second- or even third-hand. Simply put, such is the truly distressing situation. You have to show that more is being done; and also that a people who have been reconditioned for decades, with a completely buried consciousness, cannot be cured by a few witty formulations or a few snappy phrases. The right must become more serious intellectually and scientifically, and there are beginnings of this.

(JF): So, it has to relearn its craft?

(GM): Yes, because we have almost no resources left. We are intellectually in a much worse position than in the 1950s, when certain great authors were still able to shape opinions; for example, Arnold Gehlen. We have to get back to that level of knowledge and awareness, so to speak, because today we are below that level. Just think of parliamentarism! Although the parliamentarism of today’s republic is much more disastrous, much more low-level than that of 1955; almost all right-wingers today are below the level of a Winfried Martini of 1955 with his book, Das Ende aller Sicherheit (The End of all Security), as far as the insight into the value and non-value of parliamentarism is concerned.

We are in an infinitely weak position. And if the enemy demonizes to who knows what extent, it is only because it is truly totalitarian, because it wants to nip an entirely minoritarian cause in the bud. Political correctness is precisely totalitarian, and above all it is analogous to the fascist authority syndrome. According to this, the enemy is tiny, ridiculous, stupid, historically refuted, dirty, pathetic—and at the same time tremendously dangerous. This is how we are treated. But from this, we must not conclude that we are really dangerous—but only that the enemy wants to stifle immediately the most modest beginnings, and with good instinct. Secondly, however, we may conclude from it that this enemy will reach the highest values on the F-scale of the Frankfurt School, not we!

(JF): Political developments are currently moving rapidly in the direction of the dissolution of nation states. Is it at all sensible and realistic to resist this? Or, is it logical that the result will be larger state structures and greater spaces?

(GM): The trend towards this is certainly inevitable; but what is to emerge or will emerge here is not a large space—this entity has neither a hegemon, nor is there agreement about the enemy, nor is there homogeneity among the members of the federation, nor is there a political idea affirmed by all and therefore no common metaphysics; nor is there a ban on intervention by powers outside the space. What will probably emerge is a Latin Americanization of Europe, a facilitated penetration of Europe by the United States.

Basically, what is at stake today is no longer a ban on intervention by powers from outside the region, but a ban on penetration—a desirable process, but one that is difficult to imagine, since the United States would have to be ripped out of the ganglia of the European Union.

Moreover, the European Union will probably fail because, after monetary unity, political differences between the individual states will grow, as each will seek and find the culprit in the other. The crises will be immediately continentalized without finding a clear addressee, without being able to agree on “the culprit;” and the whole relation of protection and obedience, which cannot function without clear authorities and responsibilities, will collapse in this pseudo-grand space. The people will divide and the high-time of demagogy—even nationalistically aggravated—will haunt the disuniting Europe. The process will be socially—in the broadest sense socially—destructive, without a political concept and a really iron framework. One could agree to the whole thing if the exclusion of the United States were aimed at and if there were a common political idea. Yes, if….

(JF): Couldn’t it be that Europe is also of interest to Germany?

(GM): Only if one has an interest in asserting oneself in some form. Then you have to say—we want, to a certain extent, a German Europe. Now, however, Germany wants to be integrated, i.e., tied down; Germany’s behavior in the Maastricht matter shows that. By the way, it would be difficult to play the hegemon in the new Europe, even if we were able to shake off the past.

(JF): But hasn’t coming to terms with the past become, in a peculiar way, a completely new national backbone of the Germans? Isn’t the call by Green politicians for German participation in military interventions rooted in this? Behind this is the hybrid idea that the Germans have been chosen historically, not in a nationalistic sense as they were 50 years ago, but in the opposite sense, to tell everyone what is morally good …

(GM): That may play into it, but it’s more a complete surrender to U.S. missionary ideology. Theodore Roosevelt said in 1909 that the Germans would choke on their geography and could be a useful auxiliary people to the U.S. afterwards. Is a commitment to the “auxiliary people” role nationalistic? Now we allow ourselves to be instrumentalized by the UN, now again controlled by the U.S., without imposing any conditions on it, except for the silly demands for a seat on the Security Council. We take the official humanitarian flywheel ideas seriously; our politicians believe their own lies; and so we run the risk of becoming the dumb suckers of an alliance built against us. A German reorganizes the finances of the UN; the Germans want or are supposed to carry out military actions of the UN—and they don’t even demand the elimination of the enemy states clauses!

(JF): Don’t you have the impression that the Germans of 1997 can be most irritated if they are deprived of their historical role as perpetrators?

(GM): Yes, of course, because that’s all they was left with. This goes so far that one demands that people of other nations, who are naturalized here, should share in this guilt. For example, Turks who become Germans. But then they will say: “Grandfather didn’t do anything at that time.” But at least it is expected of them; at least they are expected to have this substitute identity. Here the German policy is extremely contradictory: If we are supposed to repent eternally, if we are supposed to remain eternally aware of our terrible, incomparable guilt, is it not necessary to keep the German people intact? Is it not necessary to prevent the German people from being dissolved biologically and socially by the mass import of foreigners?

In order for the German people to continue to indulge in guilt messianism, it must be preserved in its ethnic substance and not be damaged by multiculti and mass immigration. This assertion is absurd only for those who do not realize what absurdistan they live in.

(JF): Doesn’t the demand for normalization of Germany already come more strongly from abroad?

(GM): Yes, but foreign countries understand normalization to mean that we participate in their dirty tricks, that we participate in this imperialist Western constellation on an equal footing, especially financially. That cannot be in our interest.

For example, it was not in our interest to co-pay for the United States’ techno-massacre of Iraq, a country that never threatened us; it would be in even less of our interest to actively participate in such interventions in the future, which will increase. A strengthening of our service to the victorious powers should not be christened normalization or even proclaimed a national duty.

Featured image: “New Inventions of Modern Times, The Invention of Copper Engraving,” plate 19, by Jan Collaert I, ca. 1600.

Günter Maschke: A Memorial

Probably, the most vivid memory of Günter Maschke (1943-2022), who passed away on Monday, February 7, 2022, is well-aged, like many a good wine, from many years ago, and goes back to Julien Freund. Here is how Freund portrays him in L’aventure du politique (The Adventure of the Political), in the year of grace 1991:

“A few years ago, in 1986, an international conference on Carl Schmitt was celebrated in Speyer. Even there, the main obsession of the academics present was to know whether Carl Schmitt had been a man of the right, left or center. Which was of no interest. But all of a sudden, a man stood up and spoke spontaneously, speaking off the cuff. His words struck me and consoled me intellectually. I wanted to dine with him at the Feuerbach restaurant. The itinerary of this man, Günter Maschke, is fascinating. Maschke was part of the group of students who fomented riots in Berlin between 1967 and 1968. He was a companion of Rudi Dutschke, Baader Meinhof and some others. Arrested and released on two occasions, he moved to the homeland of his dreams, Cuba. But in Cuba he was arrested and released, thanks to the intervention of a foreign ambassador. At that juncture, he got to know the work of Carl Schmitt well enough to become a specialist in it. ‘I became perfectly aware,’ he told me, ‘that there was an enemy at the center of our action, but we did not know which one, nor did we have the concept of an enemy. And when I read Schmitt, everything became clear to me.’ From an experience like Maschke’s, one comes out transformed and, above all, able to give the right weight to words.”

An indocile and curious man, disillusioned by politics, an erudite polyglot, he came to Schmittian realism. Attentive, as his well-honed work proves, to the concrete aspects of a work, that of Carl Schmitt, and led beyond right and left. But not in a crypto-fascist sense, as some superficial Italian interpreters still characterize him, for better or worse. But rather as a lever—I am speaking of Schmittian work—to study politics through the regularities of the political.

That is, by focusing on the analysis of what really remains, beyond the-all-too easy rhetoric of values and interests. The study, in short, of what precedes and goes beyond politics. And that therefore does not cradle itself in the impotent aesthetics of the nobility of defeat, nor does it caress non-existent totalitarian paradises, just as it disdains the apparently harmless traffic of petty interests.

“That’s how the politician is,” is a recurring expression of his. His was not resignation, but a self-discipline of things imposed by realism. An approach to reality as it is, not as it should be according to this or that moral or religious code. Politics, as an acceptance, I repeat, of the regularities of the political. In primis, as we read in Freund’s portrait, that of the friend-enemy.

Alongside the Schmittian scholar was the “character” of Maschke. Tall, he wore wide-brimmed hats that made him even more imposing. Gruff in appearance, but with the lively eyes of a child, perhaps unrepentant, with a gaze that sometimes, in quiet moments, between one intellectual lunge and another, was lost in the pursuit of who knows what adventures and mysterious exploits of the Puer Aeternus.

However, he was relentless with the opportunists, to whom, as a true Maschkiavelli, who had seen so many things, he reserved sharp jibes. Vanished was the Puer Aeternus

Jibes, often so subtle that they were not noticed by the unfortunate person at whom they were directed. But not missed by some of the people present, the most cunning, the nearly complicit, the intellectually complicit. A situation that Maschke could morally indulge in, because, as his friend Jerónimo Molina, very close to Maschke, points out in the wake of Álvaro D’Ors, he “had auctoritas.” It is Professor Molina who has written the important “Liber Amicorum ofrecido a Günter Maschke,” which gathers all the necessary critical, biographical and bibliographical elements to deepen our understanding of Mascjke.

I met Mascheke in person. How can I forget a sparkling Roman lunch? But also his many jokes on other occasions, “recited” in an Olympic, imperturbable way. However, I don’t think it’s fair to evoke our deep friendship, as done by many self-promoters, who are ever ready to take advantage of each circumstance. Let’s say that there was mutual esteem.

To Maschke, whom I had met in the mid-1990s I later submitted some writing projects, unfortunately never brought to fruition, not by his fault or mine.

May he rest in peace, to the right of Carl Schmitt.

And note—“right,” not in an ideological sense, but metapolitical. May he be seated, to use a high term, as a political judge, above the misery as well as the nobility of human affairs.

A history without losers, without winners. “So also is the political.”

Carlo Gambescia is a sociologist who studies consumer society. He is the author of several books, including Liberalismo triste. Un percorso: da Burke a Berlin and Retorica della transigenza.

Featured image: “A boulevard in Paris on a rainy day, the Pantheon beyond,” by Luigi Loir, painted ca. late 19th- early 20th-century.

Zelensky’s Zauberer Zone: Quo Vadis, Ukraïna?

Once again a major question of international affairs fell on Germany to decide. After the denegation of overflight rights, prohibiting the use of weapons systems containing German-supplied components, and turning down a meeting with the White House in DC (which Berlin subsequently accepted), it is safe to say the status quo ante remains extant for Germany’s governing class where NATO is concerned. Seven years after the Obama administration delivered the NATO Wales summit commitment for the member states to spend no less than 2% of GDP on defense, Germany remains the biggest laggard in bringing to bear the full weight of its mighty economy for Allied priorities. Scholz’s recent promise to bump up spending is a welcome development, but being ready for this moment would have been better—and given years of broken promises on this same subject, no shortage of reasons for the subject to remain sore.

The Ukraine, on the other hand, would love to be in NATO; they said so themselves. The sticking point—a “Russian veto”—has already been applied not only De Jure but on the De Facto grounds of the Cypriot Precedent: A candidate country mustn’t have ongoing territorial conflicts (Sorry, Georgia, having a border with Russia is a hard lot). Let’s hope our rules-loving Kantian friends have considered the possibility of a Belarusian veto on the Ukraine. Dare one invoke a Polish veto on Belarusian membership? One does pray a Finnish veto on Russian membership may yet be stilled.

Developments in the nuclear domain, a more proximate cause of this back-and-forth, are welcome: Intermediate-range Nuclear weapons (IRBMs), the sort that the defunct INF treaty covered, combined with the hypersonic sleeve of recent vintage, deliver a new strategic situation wherever the feared THAAD (USA) and S-400 (Russia) air defense systems are deployed. Nuking a sky full of hostile warheads was always the best Moscow could come up with to counter Reagan’s “star wars.” A new INF treaty seemed inevitable, given the implications of the reduction of the nuclear response window to less than 10 minutes, to say nothing of the potential ballistic missile defense possibilities given hypersonic IRBMs in range of hostile nuclear delivery systems. As ever these developments augur more advances in spaceflight, it is safe to assume (and necessary to consider in strategic scenarios) that every advantage they provide will be brought to bear. If North Korea got them so quickly, they can’t be that hard to make.

Will Germany really deny any country the means to repel active nuclear aggression? Perhaps they should specialize in SAM battery manufacturing. But in the spirit of a recently uttered French argument (Britain’s economy should be less attractive to migrants) perhaps it is time to persuade Berlin to be less invadable. If America sank into the sea tomorrow and the law of the jungle returned to International Relations, Germany’s rich, technologically advanced, and militarily weak state would be one of the ripest plums for the picking by whichever barbarians decided to do so. But Germany insists on toxically holding America’s will live against it. Very sad!

The specter of Finlandization has often been summoned into the Ukrainian conversation, always with a negative declination. This attitude betrays the heroism behind Finnish independence, when most of “Eastern” Europe and the Baltics were absorbed into the Soviet empire after Lenin’s takeover of the Czar’s security state and Stalin’s creation of facts on the ground during the Great Patriotic War (WWII). Finland won its war against Communist imperialism by force of arms and maintained its independence in an extremely sticky situation (having a border with Russia is not something you volunteer for). Finland hasn’t joined NATO yet because it hasn’t needed to—it provides for its own defense (Germany, please take notes). Berlin’s “encirclement by friends” allows it to treat nations like Poland as buffer states for its own security, making everyone regret having allowed their reunification—we could have had a second Poland, inoculated against both Nazi and Soviet excesses by the long martyrdom of its people and their freedoms under both regimes.

As part of his justification for invasion, a highlight of Moscow’s propaganda was a live speech by President Putin where he surprisingly denounced (as communists, no less) Lenin, Stalin and Khrushchev in terms general and with specific regard to their records on the Ukraine. Insofar as “Self-Determination of People’s” was a rhetorical backbone of the post-1917 revolutions, we see here a slow-motion repeat of Hungary’s 1956 uprising—Kiev turned away from Moscow in 2014 and the tanks have rolled in, dropping any pretense. The Spanish civil war tie in—international brigades come to the aid of both Stalinism and Franco’s Fascist Falange—put us in context. In the end, Kissinger’s position—Finlandization is the best Kiev can hope for—will remain the realist’s default.

And so we come to the Kabbalah which Prime Minister Zelensky—Tarot’s Jester risen to Emperor, as he must in our times—has to perform for his people. The only Jewish Head of Government outside of Israel, Zelensky must find the Zauberer (that’s German for Magician) within him to repeat the Finnish feat of the Winter War. Though most analysis considers all Russian intervention in the Ukraine (and places like Transnistria) as co-terminous, important distinctions must be drawn: Moscow had not claimed the Donbass as its own territory (the way it has with Crimea) and the forces it backs remain “little green men,” in that no state claims them. No less than the pacification Donetsk and Luhansk “people’s republics,” restoring Kiev’s sovereignty (read: Monopoly of Force) over its own territory, is necessary precondition to its ambition of joining NATO—it is the assertion of its statehood analogous to Finland’s own victory which Kiev requires to win the day.

Should Zauberer Zelensky manage to cast Kiev’s spell over the now-occupied Zones once again, the wind would be at his back. Whataboutism unfairly equating Moscow and Kiev will be quieted by the most certain guarantee of Good Government: true love for the people one is responsible for, which Putin has definitively renounced by resorting to force. The inhabitants of the areas currently ruled by the sort of rent-extractive, barbarous warlords Moscow backs have always deserved better. At that point, the Ukraine may well remain “Finlandized,” or it could trade victory on the battlefield—facts on the ground—for Moscow’s veto-abstention on Kiev’s EU and NATO memberships. With a bit of the Jester’s special Providence, Kiev might even carry the day for Helsinki and Stockholm to join as well.

It is too early to predict what new realities can be summoned into existence—first, these political questions must be settled by transmuting them into reality through other means than the Logos. To ascend fully into his role of Zauberer, Zelensky must get into the Zone—And stay there.

Felipe Cuello is Professor of Public Policy at the Pontifical university in Santo Domingo. He remains an operative of the Republican Party in the United States, where he served in both the Trump campaigns as well as the transition team of 2016/17 in a substantive foreign policy role. His past service includes the United Nations’ internal think tank, the International Maritime Organization, The European Union’s development-aid arm, and the office of a Brexiteer Member of the European Parliament previous to the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. He is also the co-author and voice of the audiobook of Trump’s World: Geo Deus released in January 2020, back when discussing substance and principles were the order of the day.

Featured image: “Volodymyr Zelensky, President of Ukraine,” by Garyck Arntzen, 2021.

Germany And World War I

This excerpt from Germany and the War, published in 1916,, by Hugo Münsterberg (1863-1916), the German-American psychologist at Harvard, who pioneered applied psychology in law, medicine and education. Contrary to popular opinion, Münsterberg laid out his argument in support of Germany, which made him unpopular in his time. And this work is a very clear and precise justification for nationalism. The work is also theoretical in that it purposes a scheme to end all future wars by instituting the division of land among all nations of the world, or what Münsterberg called “cosmochorism”:

“The word cosmochorism is formed from the Greek chora, the land. A cosmopolitan order of mankind would be one in which the state loses its individuality; in the cosmochoristic order the nations would retain their state forms, but their land would belong to the whole world. I do think that the transition to socialism is possible and would not even be extremely difficult in our present days. I think that an equal distribution of land for all the peoples on earth without any one people having a right to possession of land would be equally possible. Cosmochorism might be carried out even without externally changing much in the present status. But it would carry with it all those important and thousand times discussed disadvantages of the socialistic system. Most men are still convinced that the evils of capitalism are less than those which a socialistic order would involve. The stimulus which the possession of private and inheritable property has given to the world ought not to be dispensed with. The progress of mankind in the same way needs the possibility of private land possession by the individual nations; it needs the rivalry and I believe that such an anti-territorialistic plan ought ultimately to be defeated, for the same reasons for which the majority of the civilized nations still opposes the socialism of the anti-capitalists. But this is certain: As long as private possession of land by the nations is sanctioned, incessant changes in the size of the territories are needed and must be secured by free competition.”

This book discusses the essential factors and issues in the European war and their meaning and import for America. The hour for an impersonal account of the war has certainly not yet come, and may not come for a long while. What our time can contribute is the reflection of the great war in the minds of individuals. A story of memories and impressions, of fears and hopes, has today more inner truth than any history of the struggle apparently written with an historian ‘s coolness. This diary, therefore, views the events as they unfold themselves from week to week, from the angle of personal experiences.

Life has brought me into close contact with much which is essential in this war. Hence my studies may help toward a better understanding of facts and feelings which are easily misunderstood in America. I publish the book, of which the emphasis lies in the last paper, before the war is ended. Whatever more the struggle may bring refers to outer events, to the harvest of the guns, to victory or defeat. It cannot change the issues with which these pages have to do. They do not speak of soldiers and strategy and the chances of the battlefield; they speak of right and wrong; they speak of eternal values.

War is declared—the extra numbers of the papers shout it through the streets—War is declared. The war is declared. There have been wars as long as mankind remembers, but this is not a war like others. This is the war which will stand out from the world’s history like a Titan among the pigmies. This is the war in which undreamed-of armies will storm against each other; the war in which the battles will be fought on land and sea, under the water and high in the air; the war in which the ground of the whole globe will be shaken.

How peaceful was our yesterday! How it was filled with the work and the joy, the good-will and the stress, the pleasantness and the littleness of the passing lackadaisical hours! And suddenly a lightning and a thunder crash and a cry through the world; and we stand in a time of which men will speak through all the future ages. Passions will be ablaze, streams of blood will drench all Europe, temples will fall and sacred treasures will be destroyed, works of art and of science will be thrown in the dust, hundreds of thousands will die and hundreds of millions will suffer—it is an end, and nowhere a beginning.

Is it a terrible nightmare of our dreams? Were these peoples not bound together by innumerable ties of social and moral, economic and cultural intercourse? Were Berlin and Paris and Petersburg and Vienna and Rome and London not the sparkling centers of one great European Fair, hospitable to every guest, glittering with international spirit? Their scholars and writers and painters, their inventors and engineers and social reformers, worked for the world, and the world welcomed them and forgot all boundary lines. The national armies of European civilization marched shoulder to shoulder; was ever a war more unnatural, more superfluous, more horrible, than this sudden clash among friends? Has not a frivolous, reckless militarism won a distressing and scandalous triumph over the powers of culture?

And yet was ever a war more natural, more unavoidable! It is central Europe’s desperate defense against the mighty neighbors of east and west who have prepared and prepared for the crushing blow to the Germanic nations. This war had to come sooner or later. Russia spent billions to be ready to push the steam roller of its gigantic population over the German frontier. France armed as no civilized nation ever armed before; even the educated had to serve three years in the army against the one year’s service in Germany. For decades the French did not allow Germany an hour to rest without armor.

Germany’s pacific and industrious population had only the one wish: to develop its agricultural and industrial, its cultural and moral resources. It had no desire to expand its frontiers over a new square foot of land in Europe. It aimed to unfold its commerce over the markets of the world and to build up a great national literature and art and science. It became prosperous and even luxurious. But never did the neighbors allow to Germany a pause in its training of patriotic defenders. The neighbors begrudged this prosperity of the fatherland which had been weak and poor and through centuries satisfied with songs and thoughts and dreams. They threatened and threatened by ever increasing armaments. Germany had to spend a vast part of its material and mental income in a hard preparation for defense.

All geographical chances were against the fatherland, which was to be attacked from two sides. Only one advantage was at its disposal. Germany a small territory allows mobilization and concentration in a few days, while Russia needs as many weeks to bring its tremendous hordes to the frontier. Hence Germany’s only hope was, in case of Russian mobilization, not to wait until the Russians had completed their movements but to attack as soon as the Czar began to draw up his troops to its boundaries. To delay the German attack after such a Russian order to mobilize would mean to throw away the only chance for defense. Germany was on the lookout. Yet only a few weeks ago, no German, high or low, foresaw that such a decisive move of Russia was so near. All Germany was on a vacation, in the mountains and at the sea. The Emperor was enjoying his yearly summer trip in Norway. Nobody thought of imminent danger until the events overtook the world.

Servians had killed the heir of the Austrian throne and Austria discovered that Servia itself stood behind the dastardly deed. Austria insisted on a severe punishment of all concerned and sent an ultimatum to Servia. Belgrade was willing to yield completely to its great neighbor, but at noontime of the day on which the ultimatum was to end, a cipher telegram from Petersburg arrived, and the message of the Russian government to the Servian reversed the mood of the little kingdom. The bellicose Servian Crown Prince, standing in his automobile, drove jubilantly through the excited crowds on the streets, and a few hours later a refusal was sent to Vienna which could mean nothing but war. The Czar had instigated it and was consistent: the Russian empire was to back little Servia against its foes. He gave orders to mobilize the whole Russian army.

The German Emperor hurried home and found that the Russian troops were being concentrated on the frontier. He implored the Czar to abstain from this threatening move, and he reminded him of his pledge to his dying grandfather to keep peace with Russia as long as possible; he urged him to consider how Germany had helped the Russian cause in one conflict after another and had allowed Russia to evacuate its eastern frontiers in the war with Japan, pledging peace in the hours of Russia’s weakness. But all was of no avail. On the other hand, Austria felt that it could not withdraw from its demands to Servia. If the Servian attacks which culminated in the assassination remained unpunished, the Pan-Slavic agitation at its doors would soon grow to a point at which the Slavic provinces of Austria itself would be inflamed and the whole Austrian empire would break in pieces and become annihilated. This was evidently the hope of Russia, which would gain by it the control of the Balkans and of Constantinopl

The German Emperor nevertheless promised the Czar to urge his Austrian ally toward mediation, if, meanwhile, Russia would only pause in mobilizing the troops. But the Czar was stubborn. His armies were marching on, and as soon as the eastern colossus began to move, at the signal of Russia, France too mobilized at once. No German protest helped. Now Germany knew that the dreaded hour of the twofold attack against its homes had come. It answered with a quick declaration of war. This was the one act which was necessary for Germany’s defense. Surely, although Germany made the declaration, this is a war against Germany, and it is a sin against the spirit of history to denounce Germany as the aggressor.

It may be the declaration of war came too late. Perhaps it would have been better if Germany had really had something of the aggressive temper which hostile critics now seek in its deed. Then it would have fallen upon Russia when it was bleeding from the war with Japan. Then it would have turned against France when England was held by its Boer war. But Germany had for more than forty years the one desire to have peace in order to develop its inner energies. Aggression was foreign to its policies and plans.

It allowed all its chances for easy victory to pass. Will it suffer from this persistent peacefulness?

But I trust that the Germans will know how to protect the harvests of their fields. It is true no fanaticism sharpens their sword like those of the rivals; no craving for revenge, no mad longing for new power. The Germans feel admiration for the French genius and have respect for their political aims. The Germans will feel no hatred against England either. To be sure, they think the English selfish, and they have suffered from that selfishness. But they look up to the masterful energy with which England pushes its world-wide interests of state. There is no nation of Europe with which Germany would like more to live in deepest harmony and peace than with Great Britain. Nor do the Germans grudge the advance of Russia from darkness; they have sympathy with the Russian inner struggles; they love Dostoievsky and Tolstoi. No, Germany’s cause would be lost from the start, if only hatred could lead to victory.

But something greater is at stake. Germans are attacked; they must defend their homes and they must defend them against an overwhelming number. Germans know that the fight is not for distant places or for the gains of the mighty, but that they must protect wife and children, and a grim stolid determination will hold them firmly until the hour of decision is over. But they know also what a German defeat must mean to the ideal civilization of the world. The culture of Germany would be trampled down by the half-cultured Tartars. Strategically this may be Germany’s war with France and Belgium and England as well as with Russia. But seen from the higher standpoint of cultural world history, it is exclusively a struggle between Russia and Germany. They are truly in an internal conflict. Russia feels that it must gain political predominance over its neighbor in order to win complete control of the Balkan. This is the meaning of the war. France and maybe England are simply making use of Germany’s embarrassment and danger in order to tear Alsace-Lorraine and the African colonies and the world commerce from it, while it is forced to wrestle with the eastern giant.

Yet I trust in Germany’s armor, even though the enemy is overpowering. I trust in it, because I know that the German army is the whole healthy nation, held together not by a ruler’s will nor by the enforced demand of a class but by the one common passionate wish to defend the German land against envy and jealousy. The tradition of a full century from the solemn days of Prussia’s liberation from the Napoleonic yoke has ingrained in every heart this devotion to the army. Moreover, Germany has to a high degree overcome the apparent conflict which made the other enlightened nations suffer: the conflict between militarism and culture. It made the training in the army an educative schooling of the whole population for efficiency in every line of national work. The service in barrack and camp became a time of personal happiness, of social growth, of vocational advance. Army and nation became one as in no other land.

Finally, the German masses may not be quick and versatile but they are thorough and persistent. German thoroughness has carried the day on the battlefields of science and scholarship; it cannot have failed in the maneuver fields where the war of the future was prepared. The Germans who must fight today have been brought up under the shadow of the feeling that revengeful neighbors were waiting for the hour to burn their villages and their towns; they have never been relieved from this tension; they knew that they had to keep the edge of the German sword sharp. It became an organic part of their life.

Most Americans cannot think themselves into this German sentiment. They fancy that the workingman and the man behind the plow, the business man and the university man, hate and despise the army and that the government today is forcing the rifle to their shoulders. The Americans of our time have never known the dread that the neighbors may tomorrow break into their homes and destroy the happiness of their hearths. Spain and Mexico were intermezzos, no dangers: excitements, but not deepest life concerns. But every German has known it otherwise from his childhood days.

Nature formed from its clay no creature with more peaceful instincts than myself; yet the thought of the army was intertwined with every phase of my life. It is almost typical that the earliest memory of my mind and the earliest preserved writing of my pen referred to war. Indeed, my conscious life begins with the vivid image of the scene when victorious hussars came back in 1866 from the battlefields of the short Prussian war with Austria. I was just three years old, and I see still how my parents held me on the window-sill and gave me a wreath to throw down on the riders when they came home from victory. The strong emotion must have impressed the picture on my consciousness, as I cannot remember anything before. And the first writing which was kept from my childhood was a childish poem written in 1870 when I was seven years of age, on the day of the declaration of war between Germany and France. It began in the German rhymes: Der Krieg ist erklart; in die Hand nun das Schwert—The war is declared; take the sword in hand. I could not foresee that forty-four years later, far beyond the sea, I would have to begin once more my diary page—The war is declared.

With these two wars which my personal memory still embraces, the events began which led to the combinations of the present war. In 1866 Prussia’s predominant role in Germany was decided, but with a sure instinct for future needs, at the same time the political bridges were built on which Prussia and Austria could meet for the firm alliance of today. The war of 1870, recklessly stirred by the intolerance of imperial France, created the German empire, but at the same time it left in republican France that blind striving for the lost provinces which has controlled all its policies since that time. Again and again France threatened its neighbor with its warlike steps. I remember well in the early ‘eighties, when I was a student in Heidelberg and the elections for the Reichstag were near, how our street corners were placarded with diagrams of fortresses and regiments showing the alarming growth of French preparations. There was no other talk among us students but the war which the French restlessness would force upon us. This feeling was aggravated when Russia’s political ill will toward Germany became more violent. Soon came the time when we all were inspired by Bismarck’s words, “We Germans fear God and no one else in the world.” They echoed in every German heart and it was felt that they were meant for both the French and the Russian neighbor. The danger never disappeared. Sometimes the tension became almost intolerable. Now the explosion has come. The Czar has decreed the war. France uses the long-hoped-for hour of Germany’s danger. Germany is attacked on both sides; Germany is forced to fight; Germany must win or perish. But whoever wins, whoever loses, all Europe will suffer.

The last day which I spent in Europe, summer before last, I was in the ruins of Pompeii. When the ship left the European coast, a dark cloud was hanging over Vesuvius and it looked as if the crater might break and endless masses of lava once more flood over the gay, flourishing villages. All the peoples of Europe have settled and toiled on the slopes of Vesuvius, and the crater has erupted, and the glowing torrent is again pouring over the homes of peaceful men. Will Europe, the beautiful, become a great Pompeii?

If the armies of six nations join to make war on two, the moral qualities of the war are pushed into the background. Three football teams against one would be no real test for the outnumbered party. The allied nations cannot prove any higher qualities and therefore cannot possibly earn any honors in this European Avar, as their final victory would mean only a quantitative superiority, the power of inexhaustible combined resources. If one stood against one, if France and Germany were left to fight the war alone, nobody could even now, only five weeks after the declaration, have any doubt that the energies of the German empire proved much superior to those of the French republic: the army stands near the gates of Paris and no French soldier is on German soil in spite of Belgian and English help. If it were only a Franco-German War, as a generation ago, France would be completely defeated today. When future historians study the underlying conditions and factors of this European war, they will, no doubt, recognize that this superiority of the German army indeed does not result from a merely outer professional war technique, but comes because the German army is the embodiment of the national soul with all its intellectual and moral energies.

It is the same soul which in peaceful hours works toward science and industry, toward literature and social reform. “With scientific exactitude every detail of the campaigns has been worked out and prepared; with unfailing thoroughness the strategical ideas have been carried through; with iron self-discipline the millions have been forged together into one powerful machine; with unswerving loyalty the nation has rallied to its leader and has stood by its ally; with moral enthusiasm the whole people have known only the one thought: to sacrifice all for right and for honor. The true story is nowhere better told, nowhere more sincerely and without any retouching than in the personal letters which friend writes to friend. Nothing there is made up for public use. They are documents of spontaneous emotion. It is marvelous how they agree in their view of the situation and as to the temper of the German people. I have before me the letter of a young man in the Rhine valley to his American fiancee. The handwriting shows his inner excitement. I may render a translation here, as it is so typical.

“You simply cannot imagine how sad and yet how inspiring everything here is. Since an hour ago I have known that England too has declared war on us. It will be a struggle of life and death. From all sides they fall upon us. We might have left Austria alone; then we should have had peace. And yet not a single man wavered even for a second when the question came to us whether we ought loyally to keep faith with Austria or not. Our people is going into this war with such moral earnestness and is so deeply impressed with the feeling of its right and of its duty and with such indignation at the frivolous, long prepared breach of peace and the deceitfulness of our enemies that you cannot imagine it at all. The people rises with its tasks to a tremendous height; men become better and nobler; all the good instincts become wide awake. No faintheartedness—no narrowmindedness—no timidity, but at the same time no boasting, no arrogance! Everything is done with a quiet, earnest feeling of responsibility.”

It is inspiring to see this enthusiasm, with which all hurry to the standards, to hear those roaring cheers with which they are brought to the railway trains which go to the front. Even the poorest give every bit which they have. There are no longer any political parties in Germany; all are one. Then again you see scenes which make your heart break. I saw yesterday a mother who took leave of five sons. Women and children hang weeping upon the father of the family, whom the fatherland calls.

But everyone feels: we shall win—because we have not only the might but the right on our side. This will be the most terrible war which the world has ever seen. Hundreds of thousands will have to die, and a tremendous sorrow will go through the lands. But we shall win over unscrupulous force, over hatred and envy.

When you receive this letter the first battles will have been fought. At this time the mobilization of our armies is going on in perfect calmness. All is running smoothly like a machine. We shall send millions into the field. The sons of the Emperor and of all the other German princes go to the front, many as simple lieutenants. I myself have not served in the army and should be called only if the last man is needed. But I shall certainly not wait until that time comes. Tomorrow I shall put myself with my motor car at the disposal of the army and hope sincerely that there will be use for me. You will not blame me for it, I am sure. I love life a hundred times more since I have found you, but here the fatherland calls me.

Writer on writer says exactly the same. This morning I got from my best friend in Berlin a letter which begins as follows:

War! The years of our youth were inspired by the ideas of the great time which created the German empire. Today a new furor Teutonicus has burst out. To live through this is worth a lifetime.

Our nation has been torn from the deepest peace and we have seen a rising of the people such as the world has never seen before. Every German felt that the existence of Germany as a cultural world energy was at stake. With a solemn enthusiasm, without oratory and without jingoism, the whole nation stood by the Kaiser like one man. There were no longer any Catholics or any Social Democrats, not even Poles and Alsatians, but only Germans. They felt themselves as bearers of civilization against the barbaric Pan- Slavism, as bearers of ideals against the selfish commercial spirit of England, as bearers of sober efficiency against the phrases of France. There was not a single deserter, and millions of volunteers. Everyone wanted to offer his life. This iron will to win must lead to victory. In Germany not a soul thinks of the possibility of a defeat. The spirit which animates the whole nation is simply marvelous and admirable. There is no reckless overconfidence, no drunkenness of spirit, but a sober, proud consciousness of inner strength and of a righteous cause.

Indeed every letter reiterates this moral enthusiasm, this new inner unity of the nation, and one thing above all, the tremendous increase of the monarchical conviction. The complete failure of the American press to grasp the true historic meaning of this war and its inner consequences will later be recognized perhaps in no point more strongly than in the absurd persistency with which it repeats the prophecy that the war will weaken the monarchical idea and create a popular desire for an imitation of republican government. So far only one great historic fact stands out, that the German nation and the Emperor were never more one than since the hour when the war against Russia broke out, and that in the twenty-seven years of the Kaiser’s reign the love for the Emperor and the conviction that the monarchical state form is the ideal form of government for the great German nation was never so deep and penetrating as today.

It is as if the great leaders of the German nation had risen from their graves, Bismarck and Moltke planning again in the headquarters of state and army. It is as if Schiller had come to life and was inspiring with his ethical idealism the troops which are defending their home land in the west, as if he called to them once more: Infamous is the nation which is not ready to give everything for its honor… And it is as if at the eastern frontier at the town of Konigsberg a little old-fashioned man had left the grave, Immannel Kant, and whispered into the heart of everyone: There is only one thing worth while in life, and that is the moral will. And all are ready to give their lives to protect those boundaries against the Russian onslaught. Never was the moral will of the nation more alive and more pure.

Even the poems of the day affirm it in all its solemnity. Everyone has read those English poems cabled over the world which the war has brought forth. But all which they had to say was boastful pride in England and hatred for the enemy. No tone of that kind was heard in Germany. One poem after another is filled with the moral meaning of the world event. The controlling idea is that of self-discipline. We have taken life too lightly; we have lived too much for the joys of the day, and the pomp of the outer world; now the hour of sacrifice and of need and of sadness has come to us. May it make us purer in heart and deeper in thought and more ideal in action. The whole meaning of life is to do one’s duty, and suffering may help us to become better. I may pick out of many similar songs one by Richard Dehmel. I know he has always felt the pulse-beat of the German nation. My daughter translated his short poem. It may be the closing word of this first part of my little diary:

Hour of steel, thou art a blessing
That at last unites us all.
Friend and foe, still peace caressing, Trembled in suspicion’s thrall.

Now comes the fight,

The honest fight!

Greed with blunted claw has meanly Bartered for its pomp and lust;
Now we all are feeling keenly
^hat can save our souls from dust:

The hour of need.

Of blessed need!

Truth will blaze, through darkness smiting, Over dust and powder’s smoke.
Not for life we men are fighting—
Fighting till the fatal stroke:

For then comes death,

Divinest death!

Led by faith, thy land defending,
People, for thy spirit fight,
Heroes’ blood for honor spending!
Sacrifice be our delight—

Then victory,

Hail victory!

The first papers of this diary were written in the first days of the war. They were based, of course, on the knowledge available at that time. I have not changed them afterwards, because I wanted to preserve the inner truth of the immediate impressions. But attention ought to be drawn to one point which now appears entirely different.

I have emphasized that the war was forced on Germany but acknowledged that technically Germany declared the war. We know now that even this is not the case. Even the technical war-making was begun by Russia and France. The Russian and French troops crossed the frontiers and made prisoners before Germany took any warlike step. After Russia’s actual starting of the war, Germany simply declared in its ultimatum that if these hostile movements did not stop at once it would consider itself in a state of war. They did not stop and, therefore, Germany withdrew its ambassadors.

Since it has become absolutely clear that the war was started by Russia and France and that Germany was in no way responsible, the anti-German press has suddenly discovered that the question of the origin of the war is very unimportant. Historians will judge otherwise. They will be unwilling to disburden the allies so easily. It is very important to understand who started this war of wars and to know that Germany was loyal to her policy of peace till the enemies actually crossed her frontiers.

Featured image: “Germania,” by Philipp Veit, painted in 1848.

A German Europe?

A single question seems to recur throughout modern European history and it is known as “The German Question.”

Is it a black swan or a red herring? A white Horse, a blue moon, or yellow-bellied?

Whatever your answer, it appears to have arisen again in the present context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Or as Biden refers to it, a “minor incursion.”) Berlin once again finds itself on the opposite side of Washington on important matters of regional security. Equally troublesome is the Biden crime family role in this unfurling and belligerent scenario.

Karl Marx’s bias toward the “specialness” of the German nation had more pragmatism to it than history would allow—Russian serfs would provide a more fertile ground for sowing proletarian revolutionaries, far more than the reactionary Bismarckian factory worker that curdled into fascism. Maoism would ride this insight into the rice fields of China, repeating a vanguard-led peasant’s revolt against urban elites.

Marx, you will recall going all the way back to at least 1845, was trying to win elections while laying the foundations of communism with Germany, front and center. Germany remained a locus of problems during World War I, the Russian Revolution, the Versailles Peace Treaty, the rise of Hitler, World War II, the Holocaust death camps, the division of Germany thereafter, the Cold War, Germany’s reunification, the elevation of a German EU, and now with the eventual breakup of NATO. What is it about Deutschland and the Germans themselves?

Marx and Engels’ analysis of German society can be fruitfully viewed as a materialist adaptation of earlier romantic views on German special development, with an undeniable debt to Bismarck—as per Marx’s own debates with the Russian anarchist, Mikhail Bakunin, where he ceded on the essential question of the pre-existing Kaiserian police state, a bite of Fouché’s statist apple which would flower into the NSDAP’s SA brownshirts. Marx’s fantasy was that the relatively prosperous Germany’s pattern of development differed markedly from the general theory outlined in part one of his infamous manifesto.

If the bourgeoisie could not further the development of society, that task necessarily fell to the all-critical German proletariat, thereby placing them at the head of the international workers’ movement—with Marx at the pinnacle. Thus, the initial relative backwardness of the German working class could be transformed into a position prior to that of England, the country that industrialized first, and France, where the most complete bourgeois revolution had occurred.

Germany was the lynchpin, the central actor in the European theater. And problematically, so it remains.

The Communist Manifesto contained the fullest exposition of the important Hegelian materialistic conception of history, which set out to show how, historically, societies had been structured to promote what was termed, the interests of the economically dominant class. But the work found no publisher and remained unknown during its authors’ lives, as it wasn’t published until 80 years later. The German Question however did not rest and continually assumed center stage, as it has yet again.

There are today two dilemmas that put Germany in the spotlight.The first disclosure goes back to the very founding of the European Union. The later situation of more recent newsworthiness, revolves around NATO.

Exhibit 1: The European Union

Already in 1952, Jean Monnet, one of the leftist French minds behind the European abduction candidly said, “Europe’s nations should be led towards a superstate, without their people understanding what is happening. This can be accomplished by successive steps, each disguised as having an economic purpose, but which will eventually and irreversibly lead to federation. Germany is the key.”

The European Union and its antecedents were a product of ideologues and continentalists opposed to all English Lockean traditions and common law who, instead, followed Rousseau’s notion of a “General Will.”

European Rechtsstaat ideas of collectivism, statism, protectionism, and corporatism are not so apparent as the Blitz and the Wehrmacht, which is the reason they were successfully established in Europe under the garb and false pretense of the all-powerful administrative European Union. The Fabian strategy of avoiding conflict while grabbing as much power as possible worked for over four decades.

Since the end of World War II the Brits, among others, were bamboozled and its leaders acquiesced, even appeased, into the promotion of European, then German integration, against their better judgment and national interests. Many surrendered their citizenship wanting instead to be members of a global elite and “European.”

Recall at first, France’s Charles De Gaulle treated the Brits as supplicants and vetoed their application to join the clubby European Project. Battered Britain licked its wounds until she was finally allowed in, in 1973. The animosity between Germany and Britain has only grown and is even deeper today.

The anti-democratic European Project was created in the name of preventing the spread of Soviet-style communism but instead became a halfway house for it. Brussels never had as much power over its member states as Moscow did, but the leftist, socialist influence drew them ever closer. It was soon the nexus of more and more centralization and illiberalism, aptly named the EUSSR by many of its critics.

Britain, largely because of American pressure, allowed Europe to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. The United States actively promulgated the plan and pushed it on its allies, more or less forcing the Brits to join Europe. This has had adverse consequences, including an anti-American prejudice, which is utterly counterproductive. It has unintentionally set up a major adversary to America with Germany at its core—diplomatically, economically, politically, and militarily—in spite of supposed NATO defense obligations (with which the Europeans still don’t comply). The unipolar moment America enjoyed after defeating the Soviet Union in 1991 was the breathing space needed to try another alternative.

Finally, after decades of strained and mostly one-way trans-Atlanticism, Trump turned the course, upset the tables like Jesus in the Temple, and altogether disrupted the ancien régime.

In fact, the deep roots of the European Union lay bare its darker and true orientation.

As Jacques Delors, the former president of the European Commission himself once quipped, “Governmental elites should be involved on the central decision-making process and increasingly identify with it . . . the process is not, in itself, democratic.”

This led to the real iron cage which should not be overlooked, namely: German hegemony.

The EU was always to be a way to both contain and expand the bogeyman of Europe, an uncontrollable Germany. The German Bundesbank itself admitted such throughout the latter 1990s. After reunification, they proudly pronounced: “The Federal Republic will ultimately be the country which profits most from European unity, even if this is not immediately visible.”

The essential truth is that American statesmen nurtured this European Movement and enmeshed democratic, common law, individualist, and Anglo-tradition bound Britain into an undemocratic and socialist, statist, foreign hyper-organization. By suborning democracy, the CIA in particular submerged Britain’s national interests (ironically) to those of Europe as a whole. The deep state, even then, always thought it knew best.

The promise of prosperity, security, and commercial advantage proved illusory.

Fortunately, Britain avoided the debacle of the Euro, the fake currency that lies at the heart of the European disaster. Nigel Farage got his start in populist agitation in the campaign against the Euro. The instability of the European system is reflected in its stagnant economies, grossly rigid structures, high unemployment, and low growth. To the extent that leaving the EU was possible, the victory of Sterling over the Euro in spite of Tony Blair’s premiership, was the vital turning point in this history.

Pity the poor(er) southern European states, faced with an economic crisis after having surrendered both fiscal and monetary policy to the EU—fighting against Germany’s economic might with both hands tied behind their backs.

Of course, if the Euro fails, Europe fails.

So, it is noteworthy that Chancellor Angela Merkel repeatedly reminded us that, “We have a Treaty under which there is no possibility of paying to bail out states in difficulty.”

And many there are. Their loss is Germany’s gain.

The EU is either a European Germany or a German Europe. Take your pick. Yes, Europe always seems to revolve around the so-called German Question, i.e., assertiveness and dominance by the former Prussians.

The 19th century German idealist philosopher Johann Gottlieb Fichte perhaps said it best: In Germany, freedom was transcendental, and that nation had a “special destiny” (besonderes Schicksal) in history to march toward it. Even if this romanticism meant imposing its will or eliminating others in the process, so be it, at any and all costs. Germany needed Lebensraum.

Remember, it was the intellectual and upper classes that allowed the emergence of the Third Reich due, in large part, to what later came to be known as the “authoritarian personality,” a.k.a., transfigured Nazis.

German tutelage still saturates all of Europe and is consolidated though the single currency, single market, dominance in interest rates (ECB), strict industry standards and protocols, overly bureaucratic laws, and panoply of regulations. In the German language this haughtiness is translated as, hochmütig, the bitter envy and disgust for the “other”—and lesser beings.

Of all this, Britain is thankfully now free. The Stockholm Syndrome of hostage taking is over and Britons no longer need to love their captors. Like Gollum breaking the spell of the “One Ring to Rule Them All,” nothing more than an act of will to turn back and say “no,” was necessary.

Brussels, it turns out, is after all a non-place—generic, dysfunctional, technocratic, cosmopolitan, and completely dystopian.

Free of the EU, the UK now has an historic opportunity. A new Renaissance beckons. The “Great” is being put back into Britain, as Trump would say.

Trade and innovation are flourishing, again. As a free-trading nation state, the UK is making its own way (on taxes and tariffs), secure in its own borders and laws, defending itself and experiencing much greater prosperity. The German Question was answered in the negative. Nein danke.

In a few short years, let alone five or 10 years on, Britain will become a real beacon—a light of freedom and all of Europe would be well advised to follow in her footsteps. The irreformable, anti-democratic German-centric Leviathan must be tamed or slain.

Auf Wiedersehen EU, and good riddance. Yet German domination did not die with Brexit: It rolls on and on.

Exhibit 2: NATO

Now we see Germany, a full (but free-riding) member of NATO and a huge beneficiary of its defense and protection for generations, walking back from that institution in the throes of Russia’s third invasion of Ukraine.

Yes, third. The first was in the Donbas with “little green men” eight years ago, and the second, while Obama slept, was Russia’s annexation of Crimea—without so much as the lifting of a finger and barely a protest.

This time with far more than 100,000 Russian troops and tanks amassed on three sides, Ukraine will totally fall and a puppet Russian government will soon be installed in Kyiv. NATO could do more than huff and puff or consider a bunch more damaging sanctions, but Germany won’t let it. The 30-nation organization (28 in Europe, plus Canada and the United States) is being torn apart by the German Question.

The Germans won’t defend Ukraine, send armaments or support, and have banned other countries (members of the same alliance) from using their airspace or ground transport to do so. Germany has broken with NATO and insisted on a pro-Russia approach and said it will not go along with some of the proposed Biden sanctions. Most important among those is the SWIFT financial payments system. Banning Russia from using it would be a crippling sanction with some teeth. Germany says no.

The new socialist government in Germany is further left of center than ever before and closer to Russia. Many of its primary cabinet members are Ossie’s—from East Germany, the former Soviet colony and coincidentally the place where Vladimir Putin was stationed when the Berlin Wall fell.

The real reason Germany is acting against NATO is selfish interest. Germany has expanded its empire eastward and to Russia in trade and investment over the last three decades. It sees this as their economic zone, exclusively.

In energy policy Germany has gone green, killing its nuclear power stations, failing to provide more than a small fraction of its needs from alternative sources, shuttering its coal plants, and making a total commitment to the carbon based natural gas option. With no supply of its own it is dependent on imports. And from where do those imports come? Russia.

The former socialist chancellor of Germany, Gerhard Schröder, is now conveniently the chairman of Russia’s Gazprom. The pipeline to ship that gas runs through Ukraine but a better solution might be a direct link from Russia through the Baltic Sea to Germany cutting out the pesky Ukrainians. There you have it: Nord Stream 2.

Germany is entirely dependent on Russian gas, so it can’t upset the provider—with whom it is in bed.

Oddly, Joe Biden, after shutting down the Keystone pipeline here to placate his party’s progressive, anti-fossil fuel wing, removed the sanctions and allowed Russia to complete its Nord Steam 2 gas pipeline.

With the arm twisting of former Clinton chief of staff Mack McLarty and his lobbyist firm, including former Reagan ambassador to Germany, Richard Burt (an anti-Trumper), they got Biden to do what the Russians and Germans had long wanted.

They were paid handsomely for their work. It didn’t hurt that Hunter Biden also received $3.5 million in a wire transfer around the same time from a Russian oligarch close to Putin and tied to the mayor of Moscow. For what? Likely for the same benefit as his $85,000 a month from the Ukrainian gas company that allowed his decadence and likely bribed his father.

The bottom line is that the Ukrainians voluntarily gave up nuclear weapons on our promise to protect them from nuclear blackmail. What will Moscow tell them if they demand for them back, or make another set? The American nuclear umbrella is still the world’s foremost means of preventing nuclear proliferation and that is still a good thing.

If the Germans want to get in the way of that, then the German Question forever remains the boogeyman of Europe.

Theodore Roosevelt Malloch, scholar-diplomat-strategist, is CEO of the thought leadership firm The Roosevelt Group. He is the author of 18 books, including The Plot to Destroy Trump and, with Felipe J. Cuello, Trump’s World: GEO DEUS. He appears regularly in the media, as a keynote speaker, and on television around the world. This article appears through the kind courtesy of American Greatness.

Contra Merkel – The Climate Argument

With Angela “Mutti” Merkel’s coming resignation, a minor industry of (capital-L) Legacy “valedictory” salutes has come out of the woodwork. Who knew she was owed so many favours? In any case, a politician’s legacy is rarely decided during or immediately after her tenure – history’s sweep is long and unforgiving of all but the best propaganda.

Needless to say, Merkel’s career is far from over – she now graduates to that coveted elder statesman role – and will likely be following her old friend and fellow European Council member António Guterres (now UNSG) to lead some international body. In the interest of the polemic, however, such a candy-floss maquillage campaign should not be allowed to stand unchallenged – Merkel’s record is full of things to criticize, from her dawdling “strategic patience” to her worrying Ostpolitik with Moscow.

Lesser criticisms of Merkel’s tenure would focus on the migration crisis during which she allowed the indiscriminate entry of a 7-figure amount of mainly men of fighting age. Her Jupiterian command of other countries’ governments (and their budgets) during the Euro crisis is another focus of criticism. The details make for worse reading: censorship of sex crimes committed by migrants, the defenestration of Silvio Berlusconi and his Merkel-selected replacement. The blatant disregard for Greek democracy.

There are certainly better grounds to assail her record from: Merkel’s inability to bring Germany’s armed forces up to scratch remains a huge unaccomplished objective which can only really be explained by malice at this point – the consensus is that incompetence doesn’t explain any of her record, after all. Her forays into 4th generation warfare as a replacement (in Libya but especially in Ukraine) have met nothing but humiliation.

I do want to focus on one particularly rich vein of criticism of our beloved Ang – her failure to keep Germany’s climate commitments. The same Germany that was selling emissions-cheating cars to the rest of the world (including, especially, China, but I’ll allow a better pen than mine to cover Angela’s red tendencies) leads the industrialized laggards on decarbonization – all the while installing an unbelievably wasteful amount of solar and wind generation capacity. Breaking the famously efficient Energiewende, the grid now peaks at the wrong time and doesn’t have anywhere near the storage capacity necessary to make the most of the times the renewable generators do peak.

Much like Japan, Germany’s overreaction to the Fukushima Dai-Ichi meltdown resulted in political force being applied against the German nuclear industry, shuttering down perfectly safe (and clean!) base load generators that would end up replaced by much dirtier fossil fuel generation. Worse, a generation of nuclear talent – the most specialized kind of workforce you can imagine – has been wasted just when we need to roll out miniaturized nuclear reactors all over the world to rapidly decarbonize the world’s base power load.

That is certainly one regret I hope Merkel dedicates the rest of her career to ameliorating. It is clearly too early to be considering her legacy – Her multiple failed succession plans, from Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, through Ursula Von Der Leyen and now Laschet’s second-place finish in the election are just as much part of her record as taking credit for Mario Draghi’s good work at the ECB. I’d certainly hope our Kanzlerin will consider the lesser institutions of the international order, like the IAEA, where she can still try to make up for her Schulde in both energy policy and her beloved Iran.

This moment is valedictory for Merkel only in the sense that one graduates from the Gymnasium to the Universität. Her work is not done.

Felipe Cuello is Professor of Public Policy at the Pontifical university in Santo Domingo. He remains an operative of the Republican Party in the United States, where he served in both the Trump campaigns as well as the transition team of 2016/17 in a substantive foreign policy role. His past service includes the United Nations’ internal think tank, the International Maritime Organization, The European Union’s development-aid arm, and the office of a Brexiteer Member of the European Parliament previous to the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. He is also the co-author and voice of the audiobook of Trump’s World: Geo Deus released in January 2020, back when discussing substance and principles were the order of the day.

The featured image shows a postcard of Angela Merkel.

A Euro-Chinese Redux: The Curious Case Of Viktor Orbán

Brussels can be a strange place. Where one day you see a Merovingian Christmas market, another day you’ll find farmers driving tractors to block a busy intersection in protest against some legislation. Kurdish and Uyghur groups take turns demonstrating against visiting dignitaries from their respective imperial capitals. And yet, while no mainstream eurocrat hesitates to condemn the alleged autocrat that rules Budapest, the only presence of the Hungarian tricolore belongs to that nation’s stately offices and official vehicles. For a country that commands as much attention as Hungary has over the last decade or so, it is a telling absence.

Going on his second decade at the head of that post-Soviet Republic, Orbán is often accused of being Trump-aligned – if only in superficial generalizations: Duterte-Bolsonaro-Erdogan-Putin strongman something-something. Incoherent as the criticism may be, remember that Orbán precedes the MAGA movement by over a decade. His highlight reel includes kicking out George Soros’ Central European University (despite taking his money as a young anti-Soviet agitator), winning multiple elections in a row, and setting the agenda for pro-family policies worldwide.

That being said, his government recently wielded the veto in Brussels’ byzantine voting mechanisms to protect Beijing from a number of Human Rights condemnations that Biden’s Washington expected no trouble with. China has long been able to wield such allies in the Brussels bubble, through the same mechanisms of elite capture they deploy in Washington – bribery and blackmail that would make Stalin’s spooks blush. Greece was once the primary vehicle for such lobbying back when taking copious amounts of Chinese money and selling off pieces of your country was still kosher – and when they really needed the cash.

For perspicacious readers looking for an answer as to why an anti-communist activist of the 1990s would flip on Washington so baldly, it helps to take a detour through another nominally “pro-Atlantic” European country: Germany. Angela Merkel – the only other leader whose rule compares to Orbán’s in (overlapping) chronological length – supposedly hates old Viktor. Strange as it might seem, their political parties shared – until just a few months ago – a caucus in the European Parliament. The European People’s Party, an umbrella of squishy center-right parties (most of them left of the DNC, but bear with me) really did all they possibly could to avoid losing Orbán’s meagre handful of seats. Just as well, since the European President (Angela Merkel’s former “defense” minister) couldn’t afford to lose 4 votes in 2019 when she was voted in.

As an illustration, consider Silvio Berlusconi’s loyal presence in that same EPP (for whom he is now an MEP). It didn’t halt his defenestration from the head of Italy’s government. Nominally felled by a sex scandal, signore bunga bunga’s famously libidinous antics came on the heels of an early (2011) refusal to accept responsibility for waves of migrants landing on Italian shores, after Hillary Clinton ruined Libya for no reason. Orbán, on the other hand, deployed barbed wire on his own border, forcing the Turkish migrant route to detour through the Balkans… and somehow managed to stay in place as Prime Minister through all that time.

Listen to the rhetoric from Merkel’s CDU politicians in Brussels and you might believe they really don’t get along. And yet, that pesky investigative shorthand ¬– cui bono? – points the finger at Berlin yet again. Hot on the heels of a hard-fought political victory over the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, Merkel’s stratagem of prioritizing Economics Über Alles bore fruit – at Kiev’s expense. Why would she stop? She’s winning so much; and while everyone is tired of it, Merkel’s only sign of stopping comes in her promised resignation after elections this year.

What’s curious is that Hungary won’t suffer at all, if Beijing starts commercially punishing the EU the way it has Australia and other pesky countries that don’t toe Xi Jinping’s line. Some window dressing about a Fudan University campus in Hungary shouldn’t fool anyone – Orbán knows full well what a terrible idea that is; and anyway it represents a minuscule economic gain, even for a relatively small economy like Hungary.

Germany, on the other hand, has its largest export market to lose. Over human rights? Bitte.

One is forced to consider that the expulsion of Orban’s Fidesz party from the EPP could have been all for show. Acting as a cat’s paw for Berlin’s economic interests, the severed link serving to point all fingers to that populist bugbear when useful idiocy must be deployed. Seeing as mainstream Washington is finally coming around to Germany’s clearly terrible record as an ally of the United States, one can only hope that the full story of these two Soviet-raised European leaders someday comes to the fore.

Who knows, maybe that whole showdown with Soros was all Kayfabe as well.

Felipe Cuello is Professor of Public Policy at the Pontifical university in Santo Domingo. He remains an operative of the Republican Party in the United States, where he served in both the Trump campaigns as well as the transition team of 2016/17 in a substantive foreign policy role. His past service includes the United Nations’ internal think tank, the International Maritime Organization, The European Union’s development-aid arm, and the office of a Brexiteer Member of the European Parliament previous to the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. He is also the co-author and voice of the audiobook of Trump’s World: Geo Deus released in January 2020, back when discussing substance and principles were the order of the day.

The featured image shows, “Budapest – Parliament,” by Gyorgy Lantos, painted in 2017.