How Love For “Routine” Destroys The World
In my notes, I found an excellent example of how political actors can simultaneously perform actions that are directly opposite in effect to each other.
So, 1918. Count Harry Kessler, a German officer, serves in Ober-Ost (command of the Eastern Front), where he helps to negotiate with the Bolsheviks.
Kessler is not a career diplomat or some special expert on Russia – he is, how shall I put it, an intellectual and an art lover. At the front, almost under Russian bullets, he read War and Peace, and before the war he was friends with Diaghilev and Stravinsky.
Apparently, the logic of Ober-Ost looked like this: “it’s better than nothing.“
The negotiations went well. The Eastern Front, which took so much strength from Germany, was about to disappear – which meant that all resources could be thrown to the Western, and finally won.
In general, when everything was already in the ointment, Kessler found out that the German military was secretly supplying weapons to various anti-Bolshevik forces. And not only to some national movements (it was still understandable), but to the most terry whites.
Kessler appeared in Ober-Ost and made a scandal.
Is it profitable for Germany to close the Eastern Front?
Still like, the only chance to win, in fact.
Is it profitable to ally with the Bolsheviks and trade quietly?
Profitable, Germany suffocates in the British blockade.
And if the Bolsheviks find out that the Germans are supplying weapons to the whites, then won’t the whole plan collapse?
So what are you bastards doing, Kessler asks the generals from Ober-Ost, you understand everything, you yourself started these negotiations, and they themselves transferred me here.
And then the generals, looking down, explained: yes, the whites, Kornilov there, Denikin, and so on – enemies. And they oppose reconciliation with Germany.
But these are some understandable enemies, familiar.
For half our lives here we are neighbors with them, then we are at war.
They are the same military personnel, just like us.
But the Bolsheviks, even if their policy is beneficial to Germany – this is something incomprehensible, frightening, a plague and an infection, they dream of destroying the old world and burning everything familiar in the fire of the world revolution.
Well, how can we not give Kornilov guns?
So Kessler could not convince anyone of anything.
And this, as I said already, is a good illustration of how the criteria of “logic” are sometimes inappropriate for the reconstruction of the past (and the present too). You never know what seems logical to us from the outside; the same people may want one thing, be afraid of another, do everything and at once in all directions, and not correspond to our vision in any way.
Writer Irina Mirochnik is the President at IMMER Group & Doctor of Philosophy in Law(PhD)
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