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History Repeats Itself

Coen Van Wyk

Posted on April 8, 2022 16:54

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The news these days show remarkable similarities with the events of more than a century ago. The personalities resemble each other, the build up is the same, and the results, at least so far, horrifyingly similar. Let us hope the outcome will differ

I was going to write about the mountain gorillas in the Bwindi forests of Uganda and the Congo, how they are surviving the COVID pandemic, and the challenges they face. Please do read the article. But events compel me to write about a primate that is less pacific than these forest giants. 

Otto von Bismarck, veteran Foreign Minister for Prussia, remarked that Emperor Wilhelm II was bent on war. "That young man wants war with Russia, and would like to draw his sword straight away if he could. I shall not be a party to it." he remarked to an aide. And the Kaizer set out to do just that, believing that the situation was an existential crisis for the Germanic people.. 

He claimed that "... we have conquered for ourselves a place in the sun. It will now be my task to see to it that this place in the sun shall remain our undisputed possession, in order that the sun's rays may fall fruitfully upon our activity and trade in foreign parts..." to justify a fleet to equal that of Great Britain and an active colonial policy. He justified an aggressive foreign policy on perceived foreign threats, and claimed that the German peoples were being encircled and threatened.

He believed in force and the survival of the fittest, and used every pretext to play a game of brinkmanship. This "risk theory" of Admiral von Tirpitz, based on forcing Britain to accede through naval threat was supported, as was the Schlieffen plan, a proposed sweep through neutral Belgium and encircling France.

A short, decisive campaign that would see the victorious German forces take Paris, then entrain to face the Russian enemy in the east. Germany never believed Britain would honor their treaty with Belgium, nor that the French would hold out.

Under Wilhelm II Germany believed in creating ethnic unity to the point of ethnic cleansing of Poles and raising a National Army of Germanic people. Fake news of a 'yellow eastern peril' threatening the western civilization was part of the plan. 

Russia is using the presence and so-called oppression of Russian peoples to justify a war that will deny the humanity of any opponent. Sergey Karaganov, advisor to several Kremlin administrations explain how the Kremlin sees the present situation as an existential crisis that threatens the very soul of the Russian peoples.

He does not believe NATO will invoke Article 5 and come to the support of smaller members to avoid the risk of a major confrontation with a nuclear-armed state. And there are many reasons why the Kremlin misjudged the west. 

Watching the scenes of wanton destruction, the killing of civilians, yes, also in the Donbas region, makes me relive the run-up to the Great War. 

Gorillas can tear you limb from limb, yet they rarely attack humans. They do fight for territory and for dominance, but rarely do they kill. 

Lowland gorillas in the Congo. My wife on the right. Author's photo

 

 

Coen Van Wyk

Posted on April 8, 2022 16:54

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Source: FOX News

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