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La vision et l'héritage d'Helmut Kohl

HAMBOURG – Avec la mort d'Helmut Kohl, « la plus importante figure du continent européen depuis des décennies » nous a quittés, pour reprendre les termes de Bill Clinton dans sa description de l'ancien Chancelier allemand. Kohl était pourvu de la plupart des talents qui font un bon politicien : ambition, caractère impitoyable, ténacité, tactique ainsi que d'une perception de la tournure d'esprit des gens ordinaires. Contrairement à ses deux prédécesseurs, Willy Brandt et Helmut Schmidt, il n'avait pas de charisme (Brandt en avait beaucoup), ni de facilité pour les bons mots. Mais il avait, contrairement à ses successeurs, une vision claire de l'avenir de son pays. C'est ce qui a permis à Kohl de réaliser ce qui était auparavant inimaginable : la réunification de l'Allemagne au sein d'une Europe unie.

De nombreuses personnes, en particulier en Allemagne, se souviennent de ces mois extraordinaires de la fin de l'année 1989 et du début de 1990, où le contrôle de l'Union soviétique sur l'Europe a cessé : ces personnes semblent toujours surprises que cet homme soi-disant provincial et normal jusqu'à l'ennui, ait su saisir la chance d'unir son pays divisé et de manœuvrer habilement ses opposants. Kohl, ont-ils l'air de penser, a eu la chance d'être au bon endroit au bon moment.

Mais les heureux résultats en diplomatie sont rarement une affaire de chance : la chance se mérite. Au cours de l'été 1989, Kohl a été tout aussi surpris par la rapidité des événements que tout le monde. Mais il a employé son temps, depuis son accession à la fonction de Chancelier en 1982, à se préparer aux signes éventuels de l'histoire.

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