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While I usually enjoy reading Chris Trotter's column, and often agree with him, last week he was most certainly out of his depth when trying to analyse the rise of the right in Germany and the former eastern block states.
Actually, I am not really sure if he tried to do this, but lets say that this is the only sense I could make from it... The general assumption that Germany has always feared the best is an overstatement at the best, and quite frankly I am not sure what it is based on other than the Nazi Propaganda from the time after the Hitler- Stalin agreement.
Certainly Germany has not inflicted the terror on its neighbours that it feared they would inflict on it for the last 1000 years. While the main reason for this might be that there was no Germany before 1871.
Even if we consider the loose union of German states from 1815, that just bring us to about 200 years. To see the root of the rise of the far right in Europe as the result of the inherited fear of the east is based on a complete lack of deeper insight into Germany's recent history.
The root for this is far more likely to be the more recent history of an authoritarian socialist regime, which never took responsibility for its nazi history, and deployed very much the same mechanics of domination and surveillance of its citizens as the powers before.
Looking at the results of the last federal election it is easy to see that the far right AfD had only strong support in the formerly East German states. And, to round it off, no one, really no one would identify Syrians as coming from the east.
So, please Chris, concentrate on what you are good at, stick to contemporary New Zealand politics; and leave in depth analysis to Gwynne Dyer.
- Richard Vinbrux