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Repeating Perilous History

Franco-Prussian War
Written by Cindy A Matthews

Mainstream media headlines often bring an uncomfortable sense of déjà vu to an armchair historian.

It’s that sense we’ve been here before, and we’re about to jump off the same cliff to experience the same–if not worse–consequences of making such a move. It keeps me up at night.

Otto von Bismarck, the noted German Chancellor, said: “People never lie so much as after a hunt, during a war or before an election.” Bismarck knew what he was talking about. In 1870, when his newly-unified Germany showed signs of falling apart due to internal dissent, he picked a fight with France, then considered the most powerful nation in Europe. Germany won the war and reshaped the course of history.

That it actually took a series of wars, and many thousands of deaths, for Bismarck to solidify his new Germany is inconsequential.  Bismarck is revered as a master statesman and the common soldiers who marched to their deaths are, for the most part, unknowns, mourned only by their friends and families. Of course, the outcome of an aggressive German state in Europe at the end of the nineteenth century had nothing to do with mounting international tensions at the beginning of the twentieth century, leading to two devastating world wars, right?

History demonstrates that whenever a government suffers from conflict and internal division, the preferred way to solve this problem is for its leaders to blame their troubles on another country and pick a fight to provide distraction. The rationale is that good old patriotism will bring their fellow countrymen back into line. Sure, blood will be shed–even Bismarck acknowledged that unfortunate outcome–but it won’t be the blood of the upper classes. Only the peasants or, as we call them in America, “the working classes,” are at risk of death or great suffering whenever a government decides to hide its faults through saber-rattling.

So, why am I losing sleep? There’s nothing to worry about using war as a distraction. Bismarck did it successfully. The U.S. has lots of unemployed and underemployed who could use the work, right? Make them soldiers. (Think millennials.) The sooner the U.S. goes to the war, the fewer people we’ll have to deal with.

There’s no need to institute universal health care or provide free college if the working classes are decimated. Certainly, the few remaining workers might complain and put up a fuss, but, following Bismarck’s example, the U.S. could always start yet another war. Problem solved! It’s one way to get rid of undesirables, either through battlefield casualties or collateral damage such as death through starvation and disease. European warfare wiped out whole villages and ethnic groups that way.

Or we could simply militarize our police and announce it’s open season on killing minorities, leaving buildings intact. Call it “urban renewal” or “gentrification.” The international military-industrial complex (the cabal President Eisenhower warned us about in 1961) will make huge profits by selling arms to all sides, further swelling the coffers of the upper classes. It’s a win-win situation. The only people who lose out in such a scenario are the poor working stiffs. And who really cares about them? 

You may think I’m being facetious, but I’m not. The Democratic Party, the Obama Administration and Hillary Clinton all have egg on their faces. The Wikileaks emails of Clinton Campaign Manager John Podesta and others in the DNC do not lead anyone to believe they’re acting in the public’s best interests, only their own. We’re witnessing intense saber-rattling from these corporate Democrats to distract voters from the DNC’s numerous faults and possible criminal wrongdoings. It seems they’re so desperate to cloud the issue of their election rigging that they’re pushing for war with a country that could rain nuclear warheads upon us all.

And that’s a different sort of “cloud” altogether, isn’t it?

Troubling still, there is no evidence of any Russian government involvement in these hacked emails. Accusing an entire government for what might be the work of a handful of “hacktivists” operating outside of any governmental influence (and some claim it’s at least one DNC insider and/or the NSA involved) is sheer madness.

Even Otto von Bismarck would hesitate to use war as a distraction method if he understood nuclear war meant the total annihilation of humanity. Thank heavens, we have a sane champion in our corner–Jill Stein of the Green Party. Dr. Stein proposes using diplomacy over aggression to solve problems and supports upholding human rights and international law, rather than indiscriminately bombing our neighbors on this planet to create more wealth for the one-percent. It’s another reason intelligent voters are voting Green in 2016.


Bio: Cindy A. Matthews is a freelance writer, novelist and editor of Our Revolution Continues–The Bernie Blog: http://bernie2016.blogspot.com


  • Sing it: “War! Uh-huh! What is it good for? Absolutely nothing! Say it again!”

    I guess if you make billions manufacturing ballistic missiles, drones and nukes you’re pro-war, but you’re pretty much an idiot since you could die in the radiation along with the rest of us poor folk.

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About the author

Cindy A Matthews

Cindy A. Matthews is a freelance writer, novelist and editor of The Bernie Blog. http://bernie2016.blogspot.com