Great powers commemorate First World War, and plan the next one
11 January 2019
Over the past weekend, the leaders of the world’s great powers met in France to commemorate the official end of World War I. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and US President Donald Trump pulled long faces, hugged each other and gave speeches lamenting the “horror” and “tragedy” of a war that claimed more than 16 million lives.
But their talk of “tragedy” and “suicide” could not hide the fact that they are all engaged in active preparations for a new and deadly world military conflict.
Trump, as usual, did not feel the need to hide his love of bloodshed. His speech at the Suresnes American Cemetery just outside Paris was a jingoistic rant. Trump praised the “great warriors” who “fought through hell to turn the tide of the war” and lauded the “ferocious” American marines who were termed “Devil Dogs” by the terrified German soldiers.
Unlike Merkel and Macron, the American President did not give an inch to the idea, universally acknowledged throughout the world since the fall of the Third Reich, that World War I was a disastrous mistake, in which millions were slaughtered either through the ignorance of generals or the avarice of politicians and industrialists. It was, in the words of Trump, a “noble” struggle to bring “peace” and defend “civilization.”
The speeches of Macron and Merkel betrayed the same bloody sentiments merely covered over with a dirty layer of dishonesty. Macron styled his speech as a condemnation of “nationalism,” while Merkel lamented the war as a “hideous labyrinth of merciless battles,” as “senseless bloodshed” caused by “national arrogance and military hubris.”
But Macron’s speech…