[Vladimir] Putin wants to keep [Bashar] Assad in power and expand his own military base in Syria, whatever the cost. I even believe he has an interest in more and more people fleeing the country. The flow of refugees improves his negotiating position toward the West, including the German chancellor.
I'm a person who acknowledges reality. I don't get up every morning and ask myself: What would I do differently if I were chancellor in a black-and-yellow (Christian Democrat and Free Democrat) coalition? The SPD (Social Democratic Party) and the (Christian Democrat and Christian Social) Union stand to weaken their own positions if they don't make this coalition a success. And we both want success.
The Chancellor, the late Chancellor, was only partly correct, he was obsolete. But so was the State, the entity he worshipped. Any state, any entity, any ideology that fails to recognize the worth, the dignity, the rights of man, that state is obsolete. A case to be filed under 'M' for mankind... in the Twilight Zone.
The role of the opposition leader differs from that of the chancellor. If this government is to be successful, I have to take the emotional state of all partners into account. Besides, the Social Democrats didn't exactly present me with the motto "Let us dare to have more freedom" on a silver platter.
Some people say 'what would happen if we had a Communist Chancellor of the Exchequer?' I would ask in reply, 'what would happen if he had a lot of Fascist or Mosleyite bank chairmen?' In that event it might be thought disadvantageous to have publicity.
The way some German politicians have lashed out at Greece when the country fell into the crisis has left deep wounds there. I was just as shocked by the banners of protesters in Athens that showed the German chancellor in a Nazi uniform.
History's villains are more easily recognized in retrospect. In an article published in 1935 and reprinted in 1937, Winston Churchill expressed a curious ambivalence towards the German chancellor prior to the outbreak of war: We cannot tell whether Hitler will be the man who will once again let loose upon the world another war in which civilization will irretrievably succumb, or whether he will go down in history as the man who restored honour and peace of mind to the great Germanic nation. . . .