An Alternative for Decency

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

In Alexander Gauland’s opinion “the concert of superpowers” which he would like to revive entails “greater respect” for the rights and interests of Russia, but, not surprisingly, it would also seal the expansion of German influence over Europe.

It is a well-known fact that Kremlin and its policy towards Ukraine (also in a broader sense: towards the entire post-Soviet influence zone, the reclaiming of which remains Moscow’s dream) is applauded by many extremist right-wing parties in Central and Western Europe.
In some cases (especially when it comes to the Hungarian Jobbik) it is a friendship bought with tangible petrodollars. However, in other instances there are real alliances based on a shared ideology. Usually Moscow strengthens this support network by appealing to the unity of ultraconservative socio-ethical views. Western extreme-right politicians dream of being able to use tools similar to those implemented by Putin in their fight for the reinstatement of the “natural” order, a “healthy” society, discipline and a clear hierarchy of values. Even some hierarchs of the Polish Catholic Church, led by Archbishop Michalik, have succumbed to this temptation. Their cooperation with Putin’s Orthodox Church – an alliance aimed against European liberalism – is probably unintentional, and fortunately they played only a temporary role in Kremlin’s strategy.

However, there is also a third way, other than clientelism or a shared fascination with repressions. It’s the road of genuine love. While several European politicians would probably agree with this ideology, none of those I know express their opinions in such sickly-sweet and romantic colours as the co-leader of the German Alternative for Germany party, Alexander Gauland.

Gauland is an old-fashioned man – a fact that finds an amusingly adequate expression in his views. This great admirer of Otto Von Bismarck and his policies speaks as if he had lived in those times himself, even if only as a youngster. Gauland, to put it simply, postulates making a large step backwards and throwing away almost all the achievements in the field of international relations of the past 70 years (or even longer, if we recall the ill-fated League of Nations and the ideas it was based on). Most notably, he would like to reject the notion of universal security and return to a “concert of superpowers”, with all the “imperia” trying to maintain a fragile, yet precious stability among them, which unfortunately from time to time ends with one of them lashing out and causing nothing but conflagration.

Even the most diligent students can draw completely false conclusions from history lessons. Moreover, stupidity doesn’t characterise only boorish youngsters, whereas parochialism and outdated views are quite often problems of elderly men. All the above-mentioned characteristics constitute Alexander Gauland’s problem.

In Gauland’s opinion, the “concert of superpowers” to which he would so gladly return would have to entail “greater respect” for the rights and interests of Russia, but – not surprisingly – it would also seal the expansion of German influence over Europe, the influence which until now has been visible mostly within the EU structures. (Of course, Gauland would not so much get rid of the Union, but would rather limit its powers; first of all, he would put it under real control of its strongest member state, which is – of course – Germany).

Gauland’s parochialism and old-dated views are conspicuous inasmuch as he seems to believe that in the 21st-century world any single European state could participate in the “concert of superpowers”. In what alternative reality must be living someone who, while postulating such a solution, assumes that in the new edition of the “concert” states such as Germany, France, Russia, Great Britain and the United States would be asked to be a part of it? But don’t laugh, that would be inappropriate.

What is appropriate is to put Gauland in the pillory for the consequences that implementing his theories would have for states such as ours. From the world’s perspective a concert with participants such as Russia, Germany and France would be nothing more but a murmuring of some insignificant backing singers. However, its scale would nevertheless suffice to harm the interests of Poland and many other states on the Old Continent. The best proof of this are Gauland’s views: he claims that the West should be blamed for the escalation of the current conflict with Russia. Why? Because the West is breaking the promise allegedly made to Kremlin by Helmut Kohl: the vow that – besides the German Democratic Republic – no state of the former socialist block would become part of the Western integrative structures (mainly NATO). Let’s not even discuss whether such a promise was really made during unofficial talks. It’s not relevant, since the German chancellor was not authorised to make such declarations on behalf of other Western states, including the U.S., therefore his words would have been be pure hogwash. Moreover, no one was authorised to make such strategic decisions regarding future political and military alliances on behalf of Central European states, which were just reestablishing their sovereignty.

What remains is the moral aspect, but, since the outcome of such an evaluation is clear, let’s better not get into it. Alexander Gauland is quite obviously a cold-blooded, ungrateful scoundrel and an egoist. He has no scruples to benefit from the freedom which the German Democratic Republic received only as a by-product of the Polish “Solidarity” efforts. In spite of that, for the sake of his own well-being he would gladly throw the offal of the heroes who fought in those times to the predator, just to appease it and make sure no one will disturb them while they make further prosperous business together. Such an approach and such a mode of reasoning are utterly reprehensible. But never mind aesthetics. The important thing is the question: How many people in Germany share his views? Is that number decreasing or increasing? The support for AfD is certainly raising, but surely not every member of this party shares Gauland’s views on this subject. And finally, the question whether CDU/CSU – tired of being in a coalition with SPD and deprived of their natural partner: the liberal FDP – will not cave in and enter into a coalition with AfD? For if that happened, Gauland or his slightly younger version could become the minister of foreign affairs and the vice-Chancellor…

Translation: Marzena Szymańska-Błotnicka