Op-Eds on the Importance of the EU

Kissinger had an interesting op-ed in the Wall Street Journal:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-man-who-saved-europe-the-last-time-1493417446

I thought it was interesting history, but at first I wondered why he wrote it.  I guess it’s in the WSJ because of the French election and what Kissinger says about the importance of a united Europe.  It also sounds like he has a personal fondness for Adenauer that he wanted to get on the record.  Kissinger is unique.  He has written a relatively long piece about Germany just after WW II and does not mention the Holocaust once, despite being an ethnic Jew.  He has high praise for Adenauer and by implication the Germans who worked with him after the war.  My experience is, especially after my Poland tour, that as soon as you mention WW II to a Jew they start talking about how horrible the Holocaust was, and often think the US let the Germans off too lightly despite the Nuremberg trials.

The one time I met Kissinger was on a Sunday afternoon while I was working in the current intelligence office of the State Department operations center in the 1970s.  We got a highly classified report that Anwar Sadat, who was at that moment in the US on an official visit, was going to be assassinated.  (They just got the time and place wrong, but it’s like the stopped watch that is going to be right sometime.)  Anyway we decided we should probably tell somebody about this report; so, I took it the 50 yards down the hall to the Secretary’s office in a locked pouch.  There was nobody there but his private secretary, who said he was in a conference room in the back. So I walked another 25 yards down a warren of corridors to a little conference room where he was sitting with Assistant Secretary Philip Habib.  I was going to hand him the report, but he said just tell me what it says.  So I told him; he said thanks, and that was it.  I think Sadat was around for several years after that.  Ford must have been President at that time, and Kissinger was his Secretary of State.

There’s another interesting historical piece in today’s NYT on Central Europe:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/05/opinion/robert-kaplan-european-union-balkans.html?_r=0

It’s probably interesting to me because of the Polish connection — King Sobieski’s defense of Vienna against the Turks.  It’s another pro-EU article before the French election.  He calls the EU “the necessary empire.” The EU can theoretically help knit together the ethnic rivalries of old Europe – Roman Catholic Slavs, Russian Orthodox Slavs, Muslims, etc., but I’m not sure it is up to the task at the moment if it can hardly keep the French on board.  Nevertheless, the history of the Balkans is interesting.  A more assertive Russia and Turkey versus a weakening EU could presage a resurfacing of these old rivalries.

 

 

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