Germany in crisis

Por José Antonio Friedl Zapata

One of the many biographers of Angela Merkel defined her political style as eminently pragmatic, opportunistic, trying to solve everyday problems in a way that was convenient for her image, and to maintain her power fiercely. She effectively lacked a vision of the future for her country and for Europe, she lacked ideas to formulate strategies for the future. The Merkel era has definitely ended and her legacy, her image is collapsing, shattering, precisely in these dramatic moments for her country and for Europe facing what we could call a perfect storm. Added to the danger of an imminent war, for Germany in particular, is the dramatic crisis of dependence on energy sources from Putin’s Russia, at almost 60%. To her successor, to her favourite, the social democrat Olaf Scholz had no choice today but to sweep away the legacy of Merkel and make a 180-degree change in the country’s future energy and foreign policy strategy. But his negative legacy is not only limited to not having foreseen or proposed better alternatives for the energy future of his country.

The mistakes made in his 16 long years in office are many more and of great importance at a European level, not only in Germany. It is quite true that the Merkel era was also characterized by stability and economic growth. For the professor of Political Science, Jan-Werner Müller, from Princeton University, many Germans have considered her as an enormously reliable public employee, but too dependent on public opinion.

His close, friendly, collaborative relationship with Russian satrap Vladimir Putin is well known. 26 times they have met face to face, always in a friendly atmosphere and smiles, and Putin did not stop receiving her with a bouquet of flowers. And now, in the midst of this crisis, wouldn’t she have been the ideal mediator for Europe to deal with Putin? But no, shut up, she doesn’t intervene. She would have been the right person because of her long friendship with the Russian tyrant, her knowledge of Eastern Europe, given that she grew up and studied in Communist Germany, the GDR, and is fluent in the Russian language and would have been able to talk face to face in her own dictator’s language But no, she doesn’t suit him. She is largely responsible for the current European crisis. How could she not foresee Putin’s criminal intentions, after it invaded Crimea in 2014? However, he decides to deliver his country and Europe to energy dependence on Russia by already supporting the construction of the Nordstream 1 gas pipeline and a little later the Nordstream 2 gas pipeline.

The situation is even more serious if we consider that the current Foreign Minister Olaf Scholz has been a fervent supporter of these energy projects. But Germany’s strategic errors do not only focus on the responsibility of Merkel and Olaf Scholz, but also on the responsibility of former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, who has acted for several years as Putin’s personal adviser on economic issues, being awarded by him with the direction of the largest Russian gas company, Gazprom, a position he still holds. A true shame for a democracy like Germany that acted only on the basis of economic advantages without thinking with whom it did business, and without considering the blackmail of which it could be a victim at any time. What a lack of strategic vision for the future that has mortgaged democratic Europe!

What a great guy Vladimir was for Merkel, for former Chancellor Schroeder and also for current Chancellor Scholz, who now have to swallow the bitter pill that Putin has brutally invaded Ukraine and is scaring the world with a nuclear attack! Only now do they come to discover that he is a villain, a tyrant, a bully. But without any scruple they took advantage of this relationship to make the German economy the great power of Europe, albeit dependent on the Kremlin. During the last years of her mandate, in order to continue governing, Merkel yielded to the forces of the ideological left of her country, gathered around the Green Party, Die Grünen, and it was thus that her country was cut off from the possibility of becoming independent. , even if only in part, on the energy issue. She dismantled the state-of-the-art nuclear energy that the country had, it shut down most of the existing reactors that provided 12% of the electricity used in Germany and declared emphatically that by 2030 there would be no more coal-fired power in the country ignoring the fact that Germany has huge reserves. A real shame, for an energy-hungry Germany.

But Merkel not only ruined Germany’s independent energy future, she brought other serious problems to her country and the European continent. We are referring to your decision back in 2015 to open the doors of your country and therefore of Europe to millions of economic immigrants from the Muslim world, without having previously consulted your citizens and your European partners, a real misstep of which Several countries are still suffering from the difficult and almost null integration of these immigrants. And why did she do it? Because her image in Europe was declining and she wanted to present herself to the world as the “mutti” genre, as the protector of the dispossessed.

And now let us also consider that with his selfish, opportunistic style of doing politics, he has managed to destroy his own party, the CDU, which in the last elections has obtained the lowest voter turnout in its recent history. He preferred to support the candidate Olaf Scholz of the SPD instead of Friedrich Merz of his own party, dismissing and harming him. A few weeks ago, Merz was elected by a large majority as the new head of the CDU party, a clear revenge for Angela Merkel’s attitude, seeking her party to once again play the role in German politics that it deserves as guarantor of a solid democracy.

The current German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, of the SPD socialist party, considered the natural successor of the Merkel era, is involved in the whole mess of energy dependence on Russia. That is why even today he is the most lukewarm in condemning the criminal Putin for his terrible massacres in the Ukraine. The German press gave him the nickname of Smurf, Schlumpf, that comic caricature created by the Franco-Belgian cartoonist Peyo, in 1959. In real life, Scholz is not blue nor does he live inside a mushroom like the Smurfs, but many Germans they swear and perjure to see him similar to those animated characters. The interesting thing is that Scholz himself has taken over the joke, stating that although they are small, they are very lively and always win. Will Germany be happy to enter a Smurf era?

Very different has been the policy of the French leaders in recent decades when betting on nuclear energy in order to achieve energy self-sufficiency. Macron is an emphatic follower of this policy and has just announced that the country projects for the next few years the construction of up to 14 new reactors and the modernization of most of the existing ones, while Germany this year would close the last reactors following the Merkel’s plan approved in 2011.

French President Macron, 44, obtained 27.8% of the vote in the elections held on April 10, compared to Marine Le Pen with 23.1%, with which he goes to a second round scheduled for April 24. of April. His chances of winning the elections are high. His victory will surely give Europe a different course, a new Europe, more independent from the US, united not only economically but politically.

Macron and Scholz veiledly struggle to be the future benchmark of a new Europe. Olaf Scholz is not a charismatic leader and bears the burden of having been directly involved in the entire strategic disaster of his protector Merkel. Macron, on the contrary, if he wins the next presidential elections in his country, he will have an even greater weight as the new European leader.
Angela Merkel, angel or devil for her country and for Europe? The near future will definitely decide.

Political Scientist – Latin Americanist – International Journalist
Author of several books on Latin American themes

“The opinions published here are the sole responsibility of their author.”