…IS IT FRAU MERKEL THAT’S IN TROUBLE? OR EUROPE?
I almost hesitate writing this blog today, because it is bound to be misunderstood by someone, somewhere. But if the truth be told, I've been watching the political debates going on in Europe for some time, and if one is honest, it is mirroring, in some respects, the concerns being voiced by some segments in the American political scene, although being voiced with considerably less measured tones, and that is the immigration crisis that is unfolding across Europe, a crisis that is, to some extent, to be laid squarely at the feet of Chancellorin Merkel, and, if one digs more deeply into some internet rumors, squarely at the feet of Washington. Indeed, some of those internet rumors have it that the immigration crisis has been driven by Twitter feeds emanating from America, inviting people in the war-torn Middle East to immigrate to Europe.
Well, whatever is going on, Europe is in crisis, and it may have just come home to roost in Frau Bundeskanzlerin's chicken coop: Frau Merkel has laid an egg, and it's about to hatch, in spite of all her clucking and dirt scratching to the contrary, in this article sent by Mr. V.T.:
Now, lest one think that this is all some sort of neo-fascist backlash - though that's certainly the way The Independent wants us to think - this is really about the Islamization of Europe, and the increasing demands of some of these refugees to live under the laws and norms of their own culture, rather than those of the secular states of Europe. Already in Great Britain there are sharia courts and "Muslim" patrols on the streets of some cities. Here's the way that The Independent is phrasing the German opposition which scored such successes against Mama Merkel's Christian Democrats:
By the end of next year, after federal elections, Ms Merkel may still be in the saddle as Germany’s first woman Chancellor and leading her third consecutive grand coalition government. But her hitherto unblemished record may be stained. AfD seems certain to repeat its local success in a general election - in which case Ms Merkel’s critics will see her as the German leader who paved the way for a racist and nationalist party to gain a toehold in the national parliament for the first time since 1945.
There you have it: opposition to Mama Merkel's disastrous policy is now racist and "nationalist", as if Islam was a "race" and not a religion embracing many ethnic groups from Indonesia to the West and all points in between, and as if wanting to defend European culture and traditions was "nationalist." In point of fact, The Independent's views are are completely contrary to the historical facts, for by implicitly raising the spectre of Nazism, it conveniently forgets that Nazism was a friend and sponsor to the very sort of radical Islamic terror groups that the current opposition to Merkel opposes. One could go so far as to say that it is because of that support that moves of reform in Islamic countries such as Iran were set back decades. Add to that the US overthrow of King Farouk and Mossaddegh - events accomplished with postwar help from that same group of Nazis and other Fascists...well, you get the idea. In addition to this, this is hardly a movement confined to Germany, and hence the nationalist label is disingenuous at best, since similar opposition parties have risen in Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Sweden, and France. In the case of the Netherlands, its primary spokesman has been the former Dutch parliament member Geert Wilders, who was recently invited to speak in Vienna (at the Hofburg no less!) To be sure, there is a danger of a kind of fascism in these movements, but in Wilders' case at least, one encounters a man who is very frank not only in defending European culture's Judeo-Christian basis but its humanistic and Enlightenment basis as well. (If you understand German, Wilder's remarks at the Hofburg in Vienna are here:)
All this aside, I cannot help but think there are deeper darker forces driving all this process, ala the classical Hegelian dialectic "drill" of thesis, antithesis, synthesis. But for the moment, Merkel's problems have only just begun. This opposition will not go away, and as the problem grows, this opposition will also grow, as the rather large crowd of Austrians gathered in the Hofburg attests. This is not a group of goosestepping, armband wearing Fascists dancing away to the Radestzsky Marsch and singing Wir wollen unser alte Kaiser Franz Josef wiederhaben. And thus, in my high octane speculations of the day, unless Frau Merkal presents substantive responses to this opposition, it will grow and potentially upset her coalition government. (Indeed, Wilders points out in his speech in the Hofburg that it is, rather, the radical Islamicists in Europe sporting swastikas and shouting "death to the Jews" that are the real fascists.) So what happens if Merkel's government falls? It will bring into power in Berlin the Social Democrats, and they will certainly be less inclined to play second fiddle to Washington, to its sanctions, and will revive what Washington so dreads: a viable Ostpolitik, not just with regards to Russia but with regards to Turkey and perhaps the wider Middle East.
So while The Independent is optimistic about her ability to survive, I am less inclined to be optimistic about her chances, for we need also to remember that in addition to these "populist" voices and movements of opposition in Europe and Germany, there are also voices of discontent over the whole policy toward Russia. This is the volatile mixture that, I suspect, will lead to a reevaluation among the Social Democrats of the utility of their participation in that coalition.
And then there's my other high octane speculation: namely, that the whole refugee crisis may have yet another purpose entirely, namely, to cement and create a "European identity" to hasten the further cultural integration of Europe, and Islam presents itself as the scapegoat to that purpose, and this, too, now appears to be confirmed in some of Gilders' remarks in the Hofburg. This movement is one to watch carefully, and particularly in the critical and crucial nations of Mitteleuropa. The dangers are there, as are the dangers of ignoring the problem.
See you on the flip side...
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