But German unification and national Social Security aside, Bismarck was probably best remembered for his skills as a diplomat. Yes indeed, a Prussian had reinvented himself as a peacemaker. So with tongue firmly in cheek, Mr Sedov writes what he believes Bismarck would tell Frau Merkel—the most backward, arrogant, and belligerent German leader since 1945. Sedov wants to remind us that there was once a German who actually believed that diplomacy could achieve more than threats and bullying.
Open Letter to Angela Merkel from Otto von BismarckMerkel has totally mismanaged German relations with Russia. Now Bismarck offers some much-needed counsel from the grave
Dmitriy Sedov Dec 2, 2014
This article originally appeared at The Strategic Culture Foundation
My dearest Angela:
You know, I have always disagreed with ladies’ presence in public affairs and to this day have not changed my view on this. I've been lucky twice in life: First, I lived when ladies were absolutely barred from politics. Second, I was born on April Fools’ Day, and did justice to that fact by becoming a diplomat.
So, mein beliebt Frau Bundeskanzlerin, I have been watching you rule the country from the family vault and my patience is finally exhausted. You have to listen to what I tell you from my estate in Friedrichsruh. A pity you never visit my grave to seek my counsel. It does seem as though I did the right thing sending the grenadiers to give the Poles a rough ride because no one else in Europe deserved a good thrashing more than they. Yes, you got it right, I mean your grandfather, a Pole by origin. He inherited the national traits of his tribe and made you inherit them too.
Now I’d like to make you remember the rules I introduced for German diplomats a century and a half ago. Breaking them boded ill for the nation.
This is the first rule, Angela: Stupidity is a gift of God that should not be used.
To put it bluntly, a stateswoman should not be more stupid than her loving citizens. The most serious form of stupidity is to believe that you are smarter than they. Think then say—how many Germans endorse your alliance with the Anglo-Saxons? How many of our people approve of your enmity to Russia? Are you sure you see the difference between a big political game and a woman’s intrigue?
Let me remind you the second rule of German politics so that you would not get confused: The only sound basis for a large state is its self respect, not fiction.
Where is our country’s pride in your policy? Is it in your commitment to kneel to the US President? What hope against hope. Whatever you sacrifice to placate Obama, it will bring bad luck to Germans. Americans have a reason to stir up trouble in Europe, do not help them. Do not forget the third rule of German politics: Whatever is at rest should not be set in motion. A government must not waver once it has chosen its course. It must not look to the left or right but proceed straight ahead.
Germany has once chosen Ostpolitik and that was the best choice. But after the collapse of the Soviet Union you fell victim to greed. You wanted Russia to be pushed further and further. Now you and the Americans are turning Europe into an armed camp.
Germany’s dear soldiers stepped on inoffensive Serbia. You forgot what I said: "The whole of the Balkans is not worth the bones of a single Pomeranian grenadier. One day the great European War will come out of some damned foolish thing in the Balkans."
You spent billions on Kosovo. The first thing I would do being in your shoes is to hang those Albanian murderers that you brought to power. There is nothing to expect from them but deceit and plunder.
Finally, you messed with the Russians having forgotten the main secret of German politics: Keep the peace with Russia.
You should read my memoirs and learn by heart what I said in my time: "Never fight the Russians. All your cunning will be answered with their unpredictable stupidity. This inviolable state of the Russian nation is strong in its climate, its spaces and the scarcity of its needs."
You should also take into account, Angela, that a Russian harnesses his horse slowly but drives fast. Putin’s patience has its limits. If he does react you’ll be in a deep trouble. Cease colluding with Anglo-Saxons. Nothing could be more stupid.
Those dangerous fools cannot grasp that Yeltsin’s Russia is gone. A new Russia has appeared headed by Putin. It’s not weak and pliant any more. Today’s Russia is strong again and ready to stand up for itself. You should realize who you deal with. Read once again what I wrote: "Do not expect that once we have taken advantage of Russia's weakness, we will profit forever. Russians always come for their money." And when they come—do not rely on agreements signed by you, trusting girl. They are not worth their paper. Therefore, with Russians you play fair or do not play.
Angela, perhaps you opted to provoke them into the Ukraine mire because you remember my words that in order to deprive Russia of its power, you need to separate it from Ukraine? Please! You cannot formulate a concrete goal if it is based on flawed speculation. Many European politicians say that without Bavaria Germany will become a weedy castrate, but nobody is going to try it, no matter how many idiots are dreaming of secession from Germany.
You follow Anglo-Saxons who don’t think about depriving Russia of its imperial status. They want to destroy it. Do you really believe Germany would benefit if there were no Russia in Europe? Do not buy the baloney about European values and common interests. Remember I was rebuked for not forming coalitions. A French newspaper said I had nightmares over Germany becoming part of a coalition. True, I was afraid of coalitions because I could not sleep at nights scared my partners would steal our possessions. I was also accused of creating a secret fund to bribe the press and of calling journalists semi-literate alcoholics and poisoners of wells. You know what I thought of them. A journalist is someone who has mistaken his calling. They persecute people because of inferiority complex. I bribed them to make German wells safe for drinking. These creatures have poisoned German minds, as well as yours I’m afraid.
No need to take seriously those diplomatic dumbbells trying to reshape the world so it would look like a Christmas tree in a Prussian barracks. Believe me, the world wants no reshaping, and there is no need to do so. Politics is the art of the possible, the attainable—the art of the next best no matter how abhorrent it may seem. In Russia I learned the word nichevo, "it is nothing", used when they face really hard times. This word connotes with great wisdom and patience the qualities you yourself should acquire, Frau Reichskanzler, and that would be my last advice to you.
Your Otto more