"As older societies, we tend to think of ourselves as more experienced in the way societies evolve, and we tend to be skeptical of Americans who seem to think that if you believe hard enough, and you muster enough resources, you can change the world."
"In the last year or so, as we've engaged in discussions about the transformation of the Middle East and democracy, I have told my American friends that the region in this world that has seen the most transformation and change is Central and Eastern Europe--without shedding a drop of blood. So don't preach to us."
---German Ambassador to the United States Wolfgang Ischinger, as quoted in The New Yorker, May 30, 2005 edition, page 70.
Photos from Central and Eastern Europe:
Peter Fechter: Bled to death all over the base of the Berlin Wall after being shot in the back attempting to escape in August 1962. Around 200 others shared his fate. The last victim in Berlin, Chris Gueffroy, was shot to death by border guards in February 1989.
Soviet "liberation" of Eastern and Central Europe 1944-45. Millions were left dead or in prison camps. From 1945 to 1989, millions more ended up in prisons for alleged political crimes. Many never made it out alive...including scores of Americans.
Berlin Uprising 1953: Soviet tanks crushed German protests. Over 100 were left dead after the protests were put down.
1956 Revolution in Hungary: Between 25,000 and 50,000 Hungarians were killed by attacking Soviet forces bent on suppressing a popular uprising.
Prague: The True 1968 Revolution: Crushed by Soviet troops along with troops from several other Warsaw Pact nations, including East Germany, leaving over 100 dead and ending hope for democracy in Czechoslovakia.
April 9, 1989: Will forever be remember as "Bloody Sunday" in Georgia. Soviet troops broke up a peaceful anti-regime demonstration, killing twenty participants.
Timisoara, Romania, December 1989: Scores of anti-Ceaucescu demonstrators were gunned down in cold blood by government forces. Many of them are buried in the graveyard above.
How upsetting it must be for Ambassador Ischinger when his American friends preach to him about changing the world. If only more people would listen to him they would realize that appeasing dictators is far preferable to confronting them. Just look at the bloodless transformation in Eastern Europe. Of course the fall of the Berlin Wall came about almost entirely because of Willy Brandt's Ostpolitik. The American military was a mere provocation standing in the way of European Socialist brotherhood and unity.
And it really is too bad that George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Marquis de Lafayette didn't have the sort of historic vision of the older, wiser European societies. They would have known that believing you can change the world if you just muster enough resources is a futile, utopian idea. After all, we could all be living under wonderful totalitarian monarchies and dictatorships today!
Think about it: The world would be far better off today if America just hadn't interfered so much in German and European affairs with its confounded idealism over the past hundred years. After all, those older, wiser, more experienced societies were evolving quite nicely without America getting in the way. What was so bad about Fascism, Communism, world war and mass genocide? It was all just a part of the nuanced, complicated European thought process...don't you get it you arrogant Yankees? And now you want to interfere again in Iraq? When will you ever learn to respect European wisdom?
So get over yourselves! Why ever try to change the world for the better? Is being jaded and cynical really that difficult? Get with the times...you preachy Americans!
(Article by Ray D.)
Note: Those wishing to contact the German Embassy to comment on Mr. Ischinger's remarks, can best do so here. We suggest readers select "German foreign policy" as the subject of their inquiries/comments. The German Embassy's contact information can also be found here.
Update: Check out the Ambassador's outrageous response in "Without Shedding a Drop of Blood" - Part 2.