Saturday, 17 June 2017

in memoriam

Everyone is entitled to their opinions on terms limits and the scope and tenure of soft-powers and could probably summon up a dozen vexing counter arguments—but I think it can be said with confidence that if Helmut Kohl was not allowed to remain chancellor of West Germany from 1982 to 1990, the reunification probably would not have occurred.

The US and the UK preferred a weaker, divided Germany but the statesman was willing to throw his own economy in turmoil by a goodwill gesture to East Germany which dignified both powers and helped usher in an end to the standoff of the Cold War.   Had Kohl not then gone on to govern the whole of Germany for another eight years, the European Union as we know it with its trade partnerships, labour integration and common currency may have never been formed at all—and for keeping true to the course of geopolitics in a steadfast fashion whose alternatives seem rather unthinkable, Herr Kohl is owed a great debt of gratitude. We’d do him an honour in remembering how fragile such institutions are considering their precarious roots that only grit and resilience brought them about and the same qualities are essential in saving them.