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From Beethoven to Rammstein: How Germany fell out of love with optimism

The German state was built on optimism. Today it is consumed with pessimism and by extrapolation, all of Europe is also.




A region’s most powerful country generally shapes the entire region’s culture. In the age of hegemonic American globalism, this has generally tended to mean that much of the world has become Americanised. These trends however are slowly being scaled back as multi-polarity is allowing the renewed super-powers as well as important regional powers to put their stamp on the identities of their respective spheres of influence.

Typically a country must form before it is able to identify, solidify and export its culture (whether by force or by broad influence). This has certainly been the case with America.

But 19th century Europe was a different story. At the dawn of the 19th century, France was the most powerful European state militarily *, yet a new rising culture was coming to dominate Europe, although for most of the 19th century, it was not represented by a united state.

German culture throughout the 19th century became Europe’s unquestionably dominant political force. German culture was teeming with a particularly Germanic brand of optimism for much of the century.

Beethoven’s 9th Symphony proclaimed a brotherhood of man, set to music wherein Germany helped stake its claim as the culture that would create the ‘new sound’ of European music.

Fichte, Hegel and later Marx, each spoke of an optimistic push for a better world if only certain steps could be taken.

That is indeed the essence of German optimism, the idea that one must diagnose the reason for social, spiritual, intellectual or wider cultural malaise, thereafter solving it by presenting a template which if followed will result in an improvement of conditions.

This is distinct from Anglo-Saxon optimism which is more of a straight forward push towards a supposed ideal of individual freedom, as distinct from a collective push towards striving for an objectively noble and ‘correct goal’. In the Anglo-Saxon world, even the Protestant search for God is highly individuated.

It is also different from the Russian spirit of pious consistency which values tradition and the continuity of community as the best possible means to achieve peace and security.

Put simply, Anglo-Saxon thinkers found freedom in individual sovereignty, Germans found it in state sovereignty, Russians found it in the sovereignty of traditions which were bigger than the individual or any political/philosophical apparatus.

It is this spirit that has allowed Russia to endure in spite of centuries of being attacked in war, it is this spirit which has made the English speaking world so adept at capitalism and it is what has made Germany a nation that represents a series of Hegelian dialectics in geo-politics. A kind of ‘trial and error’ has dominated German thinking for much of Germany’s modern existence. The question is, has this now change and if so how?

The spirit of optimism which guided the great thinkers of late 18th to late 19th century German culture helped give German leaders the impetus to finally forged a united German state (with the exception of German speaking Austria-Hungary) by 1871.

Yet it was at this time that many German thinkers witnessed the triumphalism of German statehood and wondered ‘where do we go from here’. Panic and malaise set into the Germanic mind.

The fraternal, almost lay secular optimism of Beethoven had given way to the stagnation of Wagner’s late works whose triumph was in past glories. Once Germany achieved its present, Wagner came to represent an artist looking to a mythical past.

While vulgar political figures looked to a combination of nationalism, hyper-industrialism and increased state control over the lives of individuals, Germany’s great late 19th and early 20th century thinkers began to witness new problems with this reality.

Schopenhauer and Nietzsche like their predecessors, diagnosed modernity’s problems through the prism of modern Germany, but their solutions reflected deeply un-optimistic and therefore un-Germanic conclusions.

In their own way Schopenhauer and Nietzsche found that modern society had become vulgar, populist and overly legalistic. Their solution was not for a new revolution which could right these wrongs, but rather for a combination of sublimation and revelation.

Schopenhauer recommended music and meditation as a means to escape the violence of the modern world without succumbing to it while Nietzsche recommended living an isolated life of a philosopher king, detached from the politics and ideally the body-politic of society. Attempts to vulgarise Nietzsche after his death, tend to distort Nietzsche’s utter disdain for any kind of popular political movement, such as the fascism that rose after his death.

But for a German state founded on the iron-clad optimism of Fichte, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche’s solution of withdrawal was simply too spiritual and not analytical enough for the German political programme.

The rusty optimism of Wagnerianism would continue until 1918, a spirit of modern means to communicate the ancient ideas of Empire. It was tired rather than vibrant Germanic optimism.

History proved that the Wagnerian medicine to the initial diagnosis of Fiche failed. 1920s Weimar Germany was consequently a long period of self-diagnosis with competing doctors each offering a cure.

Spengler and Freud offered the option of balance as defined both in Spengler’s geo-political model based on deterministic trends and Freud’s notion of the pleasure principle, a kind of conservative yet modern optimism.

Liberals offered the option of becoming Anglo-Saxon in respect of lurid individualism.

Old conservatives offered the corpse of Wagner and Hitler offered a strange combination of a Wagnerian mythological past combined with a Marxist-industrialist futurism that was exorcised of both the spiritual tendencies of Russianness (as best defined by Pushkin and Dostoevsky) and the individualism of Anglo-Saxon liberalism.

Hitler’s catch all failed miserably when his mythology combined with futurism came in contact with a Russian spirit which in spite of its political adoption of Marxist-Leninism, was still greatly governed by the spirit of actual tradition and an aversion to wild mythology as well as futuristic histrionics.

In spite of Russia’s military victory, the Russians did not become anything else after the war, they remained Russian. America by contrast was ready to adopt elements of Germany. America’s Operation Paperclip which saw some of Germany’s top Nazi minds move to the states after a pseudo-rehabilitation, was perhaps the most famous example of capitalistic reverse engineering in modern history.

Post-1945 Germany was a great deal like post-1918 Germany with one exception. Self-examination through anger and resentment became self-examination through contrition and attempts at atonement.

West Germany adopted liberalism in order to become more Anglo-Saxon and consequently atone for its Nazi sins whilst East Germany adopted Marxist-Leninism as a sign of contrition which amounted to, ‘since our attempts at choosing our own destiny failed, we shall become loyalists in the cause of a Germanic philosophy as adopted by a Russian Soviet Union. This was German optimism through collective psycho-analysis.

When Germany reunited in the 1990s, there was a brief moment of new-old optimism that resembled the spirit of the pre-1871 Germanic lands. Beethoven was back, Wagner was a relic, Richard Strauss who represented both the early triumphs and ultimate failures of self-examination was pushed to the side.

The political manifestation of this was the Maastricht Treaty creating the modern European Union, complete with Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’ from the 9th symphony as its anthem.

But then something happened. The 1990s was an era when all of Europe fell totally under America’s hegemonic rule. Germany dominated Europe once again, but only as a geo-political tributary of America. The only exceptions to this have generally been the Hellenic, Southern Slavic and Turkic parts of Europe which have never truly been part of a ‘central European mindset’.

Germany today finds herself caught between the resurgent Orthodox Russia whose unbreakable tradition remains a guiding force. Likewise, America’s individualism has become so great that it leaves little room for German collectivism to have its own individual voice (however ironically).

Today, Germany and consequently Europe is struggling. East Germany could take solace in the fact that Russia had adopted Marxism which is a thoroughly Germanic ideology and then reintroduced it back to Germany. West Germany, was too busy atoning for its sins to notice creeping Americanism.

Now though that Americanism is in Germany and Europe with a vengeance, many Germans are finding themselves doing one thing they hadn’t ever done: succumbing to complete pessimism.

To borrow terms from Spengler, Germany has gone from culture to civilisation with one of the shortest interim summers in all of history. Europe is now the grey shadow of America sitting beside the timeless Orthodox spirit of Russia that is as foreign to Europe as obedience is to Americans.

Russia maintains its stability, America maintains its hyper-individualism that the rest of the English speaking world has adopted without question and with total ease. German dominated Europe has lost its ability to be optimistic. They are simply second class Americans.

This is one of the reasons why a German dominated Europe has now welcomed the anti-Russian rhetoric that was once largely confined to Poland and the Baltic states. Latent anti-Orthodox sentiments have become a catalyst for Europe to try and bring Russia to its knees. Russia, however can not be brought to the same post-modern levels of nihilism  as Europe without first breaking the indelible link between Orthodoxy and the Russian national spirit, something which is nearly impossible as history has shown.

America has given Europe the tools of ideological warfare with which to voice age old hatreds.

In an age of pragmatism, waging war on Orthodoxy would be unacceptable. In an ago of ideology, it is perfectly acceptable so long as the war on Orthodoxy is defined as a war for liberalism rather than a war against  Orthodoxy. That’s the American opportunism doing the talking for the silent minds of Europe.

As such Raamstein’s bleak post-industrial sound is the new ‘sound of Germany’ a country whose open borders represent something other than a failed policy. It represents a political manifestation of a nation and region that is no longer aware of how to exist. It is pessimism as policy.


* For the purposes of this discussion and more generally Russia is considered Eurasian and Britain considered outside of continental Europe’s political and cultural influence.

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America’s wars are against American’s interests

War is a racket

Richard Galustian



To advocate wars are good is insane!

For one, Afghanistan is about a ridiculously flawed US government foreign policy. it is not about ‘winning’ a war as Erik Prince describes in his video.

There is no reason for the US to be in Afghanistan.

Something Mr. Prince seems to fail to understand the reader can judge by watching Prince’s presentation promoting war.

That said, what Erik Prince explains about the military industrial complex is correct. Weapons purchases must be curtailed.

However more importantly, what he fails to say is America must stop its ‘’regime change policy’ and avoid future wars, is the real issue.

To provoke war for example with Russia or China is absolute insanity producing eventually only nuclear armageddon, the consequence is the destruction of the planet.

Trillions of dollars should not be spent (and wasted) by the Pentagon but that money should be used to build America’s roads; expand railways; build hospitals and schools, etc.

Especially also to pay much needed disability benefits to disabled vets who wasted their lives in past pointless wars from Korea to Vietnam to Iraq et al. Americans soldiers need to ‘go home’.

Withdrawing its unnecessary US bases worldwide; a left over outdated idea from the end of WW11, such as America’s military presence in Korea, Japan, Germany; the Persian Gulf, even in the UK.

Foreign military interventions are adventures pursued by ‘elites’ interests, ‘using’ NATO in most cases, as its tool, only for their (the elites) profit at the expense of ordinary people.

“War is a Racket” to quote the much decorated hero and patriot, US Marine, Major General Smedley Butler.

We can learn from history to understand America’s current predicament.

Brown Brothers Harriman in New York in the 1930s financed Hitler and Mussolini right up to the day war was declared by Roosevelt following the attack on Pearl Harbour.

A little taught fact in America’s colleges and ivy league universities is that Wall Street bankers (with a degree of assistance from the Bush family by the way) at the time had decided that a fascist dictatorship in the United States would be far better for their business interests than Roosevelt’s “new deal” which threatened massive wealth re-distribution to recapitalize the working and middle class of America and build America’s infrastructure.

So the Wall Street bankers recruited the much respected General Smedley Butler to lead an overthrow of the us government and install a “Secretary of General Affairs” who would be answerable to Wall Street, not the people; who would crush social unrest and shut down all labour unions. however General Smedley Butler only pretended to go along with the scheme, then exposed the plot. The General played the traitors along to gather evidence for congress and the president. When Roosevelt learned of the planned coup, he initially demanded the arrest of the plotters but this never happened because Roosevelt was in effect blackmailed by those same US bankers; another story!

Read the words of Major General Smedley Butler who explains what exactly happened.

“I spent 33 years and four months in active military service as a member of our country’s most agile military force — the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from second lieutenant to major general. and during that period I spent more of my time being a high-class muscle man for big business, for wall street and for the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. “I suspected I was just a part of a racket at the time. now I am sure of it. Like all members of the military profession, I never had an original thought until I left the service. my mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of the higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the military service. Thus I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the national city bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of wall street. the record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-12. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that the standard oil went its way unmolested. During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. I was rewarded with honors, medals and promotion. Looking back on it, I feel I might have given Al Capone a few hints. the best he could do was to operate his racket in three city districts. I operated on three continents.” —

General Smedley Butler, former US Marine Corps Commandant, 1935.

We need peace not wars.

We need infrastructure building in America and Europe……not wars.

Somebody should explain this to Mr. Prince, and perhaps to his sister too…..who happens to be part of President Trump’s administration!

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Theresa May goes to Brussels and comes back with a big fat donut (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 39.

Alex Christoforou



The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a quick look at Theresa May’s trip to Brussels to try and win some concessions from EU oligarchs, only to get completely rebuked and ridiculed, leaving EU headquarters with nothing but a four page document essentially telling the UK to get its act together or face a hard Brexit.

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Via Zerohedge

Any confidence boost that might have followed Theresa May’s triumph this week over her party’s implacable Brexiteers has probably already faded. Because if there was anything to be learned from the stunning rebuke delivered to the prime minister by EU leaders on Thursday, it’s that the prime minister is looking more stuck than ever.

This was evidenced by the frosty confrontation between the imperturbable May and her chief Continental antagonist, European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker, which was caught on film on Friday shortly before the close of a two-day European Council summit that descended into bitter recriminations. After offering token praise of May’s leadership, Brussels’ supreme bureaucrat criticized her negotiating strategy as “disorganized”, provoking a heated response from May.

Earlier, May desperately pleaded with her European colleagues – who had adamantly insisted that the text of the withdrawal agreement would not be altered – to grant her “legally binding assurances” May believes would make the Brexit plan palatable enough to win a slim victory in the Commons.

If there were any lingering doubts about the EU’s position, they were swiftly dispelled by a striking gesture of contempt for May: Demonstrating the Continent’s indifference to her plight, the final text of the summit’s conclusions was altered to remove a suggestion that the EU consider what further assurances can be offered to May, while leaving in a resolution to continue contingency planning for a no-deal Brexit.

Even the Irish, who in the recent past have been sympathetic to their neighbors’ plight (in part due to fears about a resurgence of insurrectionary violence should a hard border re-emerge between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland), implied that there patience had reached its breaking point.

Here’s the FT:

But Leo Varadkar, the Irish premier, warned that the EU could not tolerate a treaty approval process where a country “comes back every couple of weeks following discussions with their parliament looking for something extra…you can’t operate international relations on this basis.”

Senior EU officials are resisting further negotiations — and suggestions of a special Brexit summit next month — because they see Britain’s requests as in effect a bid to rewrite the exit treaty.

Mr Varadkar noted that many prime ministers had been called to Brussels “at short notice” for a special Brexit summit “on a Sunday in November,” adding: “I don’t think they would be willing to come to Brussels again unless we really have to.”

In response, May threatened to hold a vote on the Brexit plan before Christmas, which would almost certainly result in its defeat, scrapping the fruits of more than a year of contentious negotiations.

Given that Mrs May aborted a Commons vote on her deal this week because she feared defeat by a “significant margin,” her comments amounted to a threat that she would let MPs kill the withdrawal agreement before Christmas.

Mrs May made the threat to German chancellor Angela Merkel, French president Emmanuel Macron and EU presidents Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk as the two day Brussels summit descended into acrimony, according to diplomats.

“At the point where there is no prospect of getting anything more from the EU, that’s when you would have to put the vote,” said one close aide to Mrs May.

If this week has taught May anything, it’s that her plan to pressure the EU into more concessions (her preferred option to help her pass the Brexit plan) was an unmitigated failure. And given that running out the clock and hoping that MPs come around at the last minute (when the options truly have been reduced to ‘deal’ or ‘no deal’) leaves too much room for market-rattling uncertainty, May is left with a few options, two of which were previously ‘off the table’ (though she has distanced herself from those positions in recent weeks).

They are: Calling a second referendum, delaying a Brexit vote, pivoting to a softer ‘Plan B’ Brexit, or accepting a ‘no deal’ Brexit. As the BBC reminds us, May is obliged by law to put her deal to a vote by Jan. 21, or go to Parliament with a Plan B.

If May does decide to run down the clock, she will have two last-minute options:

On the one hand she could somehow cancel, delay, soften or hold another referendum on Brexit and risk alienating the 17.4 million people who voted Leave.

But on the other hand, she could go for a so-called Hard Brexit (where few of the existing ties between the UK and the EU are retained) and risk causing untold damage to the UK’s economy and standing in the world for years to come.

Alternatively, May could accept the fact that convincing the Brexiteers is a lost cause, and try to rally support among Labour MPs for a ‘softer’ Brexit plan, one that would more countenance closer ties with the EU during the transition, and ultimately set the stage for a closer relationship that could see the UK remain part of the customs union and single market. Conservatives are also increasingly pushing for a ‘Plan B’ deal that would effectively set the terms for a Norway- or Canada-style trade deal (and this strategy isn’t without risk, as any deal accepted by Parliament would still require approval from the EU).

But as JP Morgan and Deutsche Bank anticipated last week, a second referendum (which supporters have nicknamed a “People’s Vote”) is becoming increasingly popular, even among MPs who supported the ‘Leave’ campaign, according to Bloomberg.

It’s not the only previously unthinkable idea that May has talked about this week. Fighting off a challenge to her leadership from pro-Brexit Conservative members of Parliament, the premier warned that deposing her would mean delaying Britain’s departure from the European Union. That’s not something she admitted was possible last month.

The argument for a second referendum advanced by one minister was simple: If nothing can get through Parliament — and it looks like nothing can — the question needs to go back to voters.

While campaigners for a second vote have mostly been those who want to reverse the result of the last one and keep Britain inside the EU, that’s not the reason a lot of new supporters are coming round to the idea.

One Cabinet minister said this week he wanted a second referendum on the table to make clear to Brexit supporters in the Conservative Party that the alternative to May’s deal is no Brexit at all.

Even former UKIP leader Nigel Farage is urging his supporters to be ready for a second referendum:

Speaking at rally in London, Press Association quoted Farage as saying: “My message folks tonight is as much as I don’t want a second referendum it would be wrong of us on a Leave Means Leave platform not to get ready, not to be prepared for a worst-case scenario.”

Putting pressure on Brexiteers is also the reason there’s more talk of delaying the U.K.’s departure. At the moment, many Brexit-backers are talking openly about running down the clock to March so they can get the hard Brexit they want. Extending the process — which is easier than many appreciate — takes that strategy off the table.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has continued to call for May to put her deal to a vote principally because its defeat is a necessary precursor for another referendum (or a no-confidence vote pushed by an alliance between Labour, and some combination of rebel Tories, the SNP and the DUP).

“The last 24 hours have shown that Theresa May’s Brexit deal is dead in the water,” said Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. “She’s failed to deliver any meaningful changes. Rather than ploughing ahead and recklessly running down the clock, she needs to put her deal to a vote next week so Parliament can take back control.”

The upshot is that the Brexit trainwreck, which has been stuck at an impasse for months, could finally see some meaningful movement in the coming weeks. Which means its a good time to bring back this handy chart illustrating the many different outcomes that could arise:

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Ukraine’s President Says “High” Threat Of Russian Invasion, Urges NATO Entry In Next 5 Years

Poroshenko is trying desperately to hold on to power, even if it means provoking Russia.



Via Zerohedge

Perhaps still seeking to justify imposing martial law over broad swathes of his country, and attempting to keep international pressure and media focus on a narrative of “Russian aggression,” Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko denounced what he called the high “threat of Russian invasion” during a press conference on Sunday, according to Bloomberg.

Though what some analysts expected would be a rapid flair up of tit-for-tat incidents following the late November Kerch Strait seizure of three Ukrainian vessels and their crew by the Russian Navy has gone somewhat quiet, with no further major incident to follow, Poroshenko has continued to signal to the West that Russia could invade at any moment.

“The lion’s share of Russian troops remain” along the Russian border with Ukraine, Poroshenko told journalists at a press conference in the capital, Kiev. “Unfortunately, less than 10 percent were withdrawn,” he said, and added: “As of now, the threat of Russian troops invading remains. We have to be ready for this, we won’t allow a repeat of 2014.”

Poroshenko, who declared martial law on Nov. 26, citing at the time possible imminent “full-scale war with Russia” and Russian tank and troop build-up, on Sunday noted that he will end martial law on Dec. 26 and the temporarily suspended presidential campaign will kick off should there be no Russian invasion. He also previously banned all Russian males ages 16-60 from entering Ukraine as part of implementation of 30 days of martial law over ten provinces, though it’s unclear if this policy will be rescinded.

During his remarks, the Ukrainian president said his country should push to join NATO and the EU within the next five years, per Bloomberg:

While declining to announce whether he will seek a second term in the office, Poroshenko said that Ukraine should achieve peace, overcome the consequences of its economic crisis and to meet criteria to join the EU and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization during next five years.

But concerning both his retaining power and his ongoing “threat exaggeration” — there’s even widespread domestic acknowledgement that the two are clearly linked.

According to The Globe and Mail:

While Mr. Poroshenko’s domestic rivals accuse him of exaggerating the threat in order to boost his own flagging political fortunes — polls suggest Mr. Poroshenko is on track to lose his job in a March election — military experts say there are reasons to take the Ukrainian president’s warning seriously.

As we observed previously, while European officials have urged both sides to exercise restraint, the incident shows just how easily Russia and the West could be drawn into a military conflict over Ukraine.

Certainly Poroshenko’s words appear designed to telegraph just such an outcome, which would keep him in power as a war-time president, hasten more and massive western military support and aid, and quicken his country’s entry into NATO — the latter which is already treating Ukraine as a de facto strategic outpost.

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