Friday 24th of March 2017

huis clos...

stasi HQstasi HQ

BERLIN — He was skinny in his trim, dark suit, an almost lupine figure, nervous and unexpectedly youthful for a president of Russia. Taking the lectern beneath the dome of the restored Reichstag, Vladimir V. Putin soon shifted to German, with a fluency that startled the German lawmakers and a pro-West message that reassured them. The Cold War seemed over.

It was 2001, just weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, and Mr. Putin pledged solidarity with America while also sketching a vision of Russia’s European destiny. He was the first Russian leader to address the German Parliament, and lawmakers jumped to their feet, applauding, as many deputies marveled that he could speak their language so well.

Except for Angela Merkel, then the relatively untested leader of the opposition. She joined the standing ovation but turned to say something to a lawmaker who had grown up in the formerly Communist East, as she had. She knew how Mr. Putin’s German had gotten so good.

“Thanks to the Stasi,” Ms. Merkel said, a reference to the East German secret police Mr. Putin had worked alongside when he was a young K.G.B. officer in Dresden.

Fast-forward more than 15 years, to a world where the Cold War seems resurgent, which has seen a procession of American and European leaders try and fail to engage Russia, and only Ms. Merkel and Mr. Putin remain. Their relationship, and rivalry, is a microcosm of the sharply divergent visions clashing in Europe and beyond, a divide made more consequential by the uncertainty over President Trump’s policy toward Russia and whether he will redefine the traditional alliances of American foreign policy.

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I'm a dork! Get me out of here!

No Exit (French: Huis Clospronounced: [ɥi klo]) is a 1944 existentialist French play by Jean-Paul Sartre. The original title is the French equivalent of the legal term in camera, referring to a private discussion behind closed doors. The play was first performed at the Théâtre du Vieux-Colombier in May 1944.[1] The play begins with three characters who find themselves waiting in a mysterious room. It is a depiction of the afterlife in which three deceased characters are punished by being locked into a room together for eternity. It is the source of Sartre's especially famous and often misinterpreted quotation "L'enfer, c'est les autres" or "Hell is other people",[2] a reference to Sartre's ideas about the look and the perpetual ontological struggle of being caused to see oneself as an object from the view of another consciousness.[3]

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Picture at top: Former Stasi Headquarters in Berlin (picture by Gus Leonisky), now the home of the Soho Club, Berlin. All this to say that we all are dependent of others, even those we don't like because there is some historical baggage with the "greater" relationship of ideas and cultures, though the relationship of people should not be a struggle. We are mostly people in search of better ways to live in peace. Our means to peace may differ, but we should not be in hell yet.


they are not trying...

"procession of American and European leaders try and fail to engage Russia, and only Ms. Merkel and Mr. Putin remain"...

Really? All America and the European have tried to do was TO TRY TO STEAL FROM THE RUSSIANS. As well, contrary to the agreement made with Gorbachev, the west has encroached into the former Soviet Union countries, to a point now, where NATO is doing military exercises less than 15 kilometres from the Russian border. The Russians which are now led by Putin do not have any choice but prepare for the eventuality of war. The Russians won't start it, but the West will fabricate a false flag event to poke the Russians enough for a possible retaliation. There are still some agreements in place regarding the Black Sea, but the Americans and the NATO ships flaunt this agreement every day. Most likely that after the next German elections, only Putin will be left standing. The West has been trying to do what it can to get rid of him. Russia is not a bad country. Russia is not hell... Hell is only in our own head and it's full of shit. 

meanwhile, dealing with the potomac sewer...

The world already knows how Angela Merkel feels about Silvio Berlusconi. The former Italian prime minister allegedly sought pleasure with underage prostitutes, he wasn't particularly fastidious about the rule of law and he sought to grin away his country's problems. Italian newspapers also reported a few years ago that he made some rather untoward remarks about the German chancellor's posterior in a telephone conversation. Berlusconi was precisely the kind of politician Merkel abhors.

Nevertheless, she usually got what she wanted from him. At an EU summit in December 2008, she deployed a mix of charm and toughness to secure his agreement on her climate policies. It was a fabled event, and diplomats still tell stories today about how she wrapped the vain Italian leader around her little finger. 

Merkel's people are hoping for some similar magic at an upcoming encounter that will be even more sensitive. On Tuesday, she will meet with U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington, D.C. It will be the first in-person meeting between the two since the U.S. election in November. And it could be the most difficult meeting Merkel has ever faced as chancellor.

The two couldn't be more different. On the one side is an unsophisticated yet self-absorbed political neophyte who has made it clear that there is nothing he won't sacrifice to achieve what he sees as America's interests. On the other is one of the most experienced leaders in the world, one who many see as being the last defender of democracy and Western values -- a view that Merkel herself considers to be a dangerous misjudgment given the limits of German power. Indeed, she calls it "absurd."

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