It has been 200 years since the birth of Otto von Bismarck, the Iron Chancellor who unified Germany.
Otto von Bismarck emphasized the importance of good relations with Russia. “The secret of politics? Make a good treaty with Russia”, he said. Bismarck was convinced that a European security system without Russia would be impossible and war with Russia would be disastrous. Bismarck had been Prussia’s ambassador to the Russian Empire. He was no Russophile, but he had an understanding of the geopolitical situation that almost no politician today possesses.
Let’s imagine that Bismarck left a letter to the following rulers of Germany, Merkel in particular — an experiment proposed by Strategic Culture Foundation’s Dmitry Sedov. Given the current situation in Germany, it’s obvious that she completely misinterpreted everything in his message. For instance:
You should also take into account, Angela, that a Russian harnesses his horse slowly but rides fast. Putin’s patience has its limits. Once he starts to act you’ll be in a deep trouble. Nothing could be more stupid than to collude with the Anglos.
They turn a blind eye to the fact that Yeltsin’s Russia has been replaced by a new Russia headed by Putin. It’s not weak and pliant anymore. Russia is strong again and ready to stand up for itself. You should realize who you are dealing with. Reread what I wrote:
Do not think that taking advantage of Russia’s weakness will produce permanent dividends. Russians always come for their money. And when they come, do not rely on agreements. They are not worth the paper they are written on. With Russians, play fair or don’t play at all.
Otto von Bismarck left his descendants an important recommendation: never wage war on Russia. And also: “Stupidity is a gift from God that should never be used.”
By Xenia Zinoviev