Easter is Europe’s most important holiday. While churches are empty, restaurants, clubs and boutiques are packed with visitors and residents. Northern Spain is racked by record unemployment and a deep recession, but armies of British, French and German tourists are back in the south and the mood is upbeat.
To Spaniards, the dangerous fracas over Ukraine seems remote and unimportant. Western Europeans are taking this nasty business calmly. There is none of the media hysteria and patriotic drum beating found in North America. No one that I’ve met thinks Ukraine is worth a war, even a small one.
To paraphrase the great statesman Bismarck, Ukraine is not worth the life of a single Prussian grenadier. I recalled this famous maxim at dinner the other night here in Marbella where I’m a house guest of the Bismarck family, which is reunited here for Easter.
Prince Bismarck would never have allowed Ukraine to boil over and set the United States, its appendage NATO, and Russia on a collision course. He would have been horrified to see Washington foolishly making enemies of Russia and China at the same time. Divide your enemies and set then against one another was the essence of Bismarck’s brilliantly effective diplomacy. Had Kaiser Wilhelm II retained Bismarck as his premier foreign policy advisor, Germany may have avoided blundering into the horrors of World War I.
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