Friday, November 13, 2015

German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt on the Plague of Europe-Wide Politics

“Wir haben es da mit einer Zusammensetzung von Außenministern und Regierungschefs oder Staatschefs zu tun, von denen die größere Zahl Dilettanten sind, was die Europapolitik angeht.”

“We’re dealing with an aggregation of foreign ministers and heads of government or state, of whom the majority are dilettants, in matters of continent-wide politics.”

Helmut Schmidt was West German Chancellor from 1974-1982. Prior to that, the Social Democrat (SPD) had served as defense and finance/economic minister. At one point, the “Superminister” simultaneously ran BOTH ministries for six months.

As chancellor, he eventually saw the folly of state management of the economy, and moved closer to his governing partner, Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher, the head of the Liberal (read: Libertarian) Party. The SPD rank-and-file recoiled in horror from Schmidt’s turn right, and declared war on him, which cost the SPD power for many years.

Chancellor Schmidt died on Tuesday, six weeks shy of his 97th birthday (December 23, 1918-November 10, 2015).

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