Unpublished and written sometime ago…
German Chancellor Helmut Schmitt died a few weeks ago at 96.
I had not read much about Helmut Schmitt before his death but after reading a bit about the man I found him be an interesting person. German Chancellor between May 1974 and October 1982 he seemed to be moderate, a realist and pragmatic. From the left of center Social Democratic Party (SPD) he was still under no allusion to the situation in east Germany (GDR). The history is not that old but I sometimes remind people that they would shoot you for trying to leave the GDR. Some people seem to be confused about that.
Schmidt was mostly positive about the USA military presents in Germany and aggressively pushed to shut down the Red Army Faction organization. He did not seem as concerned about social issues or big ideas saying “if you have a vision go see a doctor”. He seemed most concerned with good management and keeping the economy functioning. At the same time he was able to raise retirement and unemployment benefits.
Today I assume he might have more difficulty rising to the top of the SPD. He called population growth a bigger problem than global warming and was sympathetic to Vladimir Putin’s intervention in the Crimea. I am not sure if he was the German Chancellor today he would be Time Person of the Year like the current Angela Merkel with her stance on refugees. His view on Turkish immigration to Germany was it was a mistake and said “The concept of multiculturalism is difficult to make fit with a democratic society” . This I am sure would not get him the SPD vote.
Hard to see where he would fit into an American political party today or even German.
I’m sort of impressive how he was a chain smoker till the end. Here is a video of him smoking away at a panel discussion with Henry Kissinger.