The German Mahner

“Their approach demonstrates that their entire Middle East policy has been a total failure. It is now necessary to do serious analysis about the havoc the Americans have wreaked especially in Iraq when they started the war based on false claims (of weapons of mass destruction).”

Statements made in response to the dramatic military gains made by ISIS-forces in the Middle East by Peter Scholl-Latour – the recently deceased elder statesman of German foreign correspondents and author of many books, especially about that region.

A closer look at the quote reveals characteristics typical of the German Mahner – from mahnen: to give friendly earnest advice or encouragement to; but also to warn, rebuke, chide, reprimand, reproach.

Before the Mahner can raise his index finger and issue a rebuke, he must have deep subject-matter knowledge and expertise. This includes having done serious and thorough analysis of the matter at hand.

The German public held Scholl-Latour in very high esteem. Time and again he was able to convince his readers and listeners of his point of view based on his almost awe-inspiring presence, on his many years of professional experience in several regions of the world, and on his broad and deep understanding of cultures and politics.

For nothing persuades the German public more than an expert who combines theoretical knowledge of a complex subject with many years of personal experience dealing with that subject.