1989 Revisited

Tuesday, May 31, 2005 10:44 AM

I missed this revealing item from earlier this month. How did London and Paris ignite WWII? In a word, Poland. With a good bit of egging on by Washington. Below we see the "conservative" Margaret Thatcher and the French "socialist" Francois Mitterrand trying to use Poland once again as a pawn--this time to stop German reunification in 1989!

It should be clear in retrospect that the goal all along, both in 1939 and in 1989, was not freedom and democracy for Europe, but the emasculation of Germany at any cost. Hitler was the bogeyman and the excuse for war, certainly, but insofar as London and Paris were concerned, the real danger was Germany itself--its commerce and industry. The benighted, shortsighted attitude of Thatcher and Mitterrand demonstrate that. On what moral grounds could London and Paris oppose German unification in 1989? Were not these two European capitals of "democracy" in favor of freedom and self-determination? In a word, no.

Likewise today in another venue, America's nominal leaders are supposedly interested in promoting democracy in Iraq and freedom for the Palestinians. That's what they proclaim with a straight face in public. Anyone who believes this bunk is willfully ignoring a magnificent track record of hypocrisy and duplicity going back across two world wars to the Spanish-American war of 1898. The trend spans three separate centuries. The secret agenda is the only agenda. The purpose of all this wasted time and misdirected effort is another matter.


Kiss and tell, eastern bloc-style

Luke Harding in Berlin

Wednesday May 4, 2005

It was a sign of communist solidarity, performed whenever the Soviet bloc's rulers met in public. But yesterday the former communist leader General Wojciech Jaruzelski revealed that the worst part of his job while he was running Poland in the 1980s was not dealing with challenges to his rule but having to kiss Erich Honecker, his East German counterpart.

"He [Honecker] had this disgusting way of kissing," Gen Jaruzelski, now 81, said yesterday. "We used to hug each other. Back then he already had negative characteristics in my eyes, this dogmatism," he added in an interview with the German newspaper Die Welt. Honecker is better known for kissing the Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev. But Gen Jaruzelski's remarks suggest that almost all of the communist leaders who visited Honecker before his country disappeared in 1990 suffered the same embarrassing fate.

Gen Jaruzelski - who declared martial law in 1981 with the aim of stamping out Poland's Solidarity movement - also recalled how Margaret Thatcher invited him to Chequers in June 1989. At the time eastern Europe's communist regimes were all crumbling. "She grabbed me by the buttons of my jacket and said to me urgently, 'We cannot allow German reunification! You have to protest against it very loudly!' President Mitterrand said the same thing, if less decisively and openly."

The general, who resigned from power in November 1990 after presiding over Poland's peaceful transition to democracy, also denied spying on the late pope. Contrary to reports, Gen Jaruzelski said he knew nothing of attempts to bug Pope John Paul II or Polish opposition leaders.

Yesterday Norbert Pötzl, a biographer of Honecker, who died in 1994, confirmed that kissing between communist leaders was normal. "Whether Honecker was a particularly sloppy kisser, I don't know. But it's clear that the two men didn't like each other."

© Guardian Newspapers Limited 2005