THE COMING BATTLE OF BERLIN…December 14, 2016
Geopolitical fallout from the wave of anti-globaloneyism that appears to be sweeping the West continues. In just the last week, we've seen the House of Commons in the U.K. vote overwhelmingly against the "remoaners," i.e., against the Europhiles who want to sabotage the BREXIT vote; M. Hollande has indicated he will not run for the French Presidency again; Nicholas Sarkozy was crushed in early primaries within his own party for another stay in the Elysee; Dutch opposition party leader Geert Wilders was convicted of "discrimination" by a Dutch court in what can only be viewed as a purely political attempt to derail him; Marine Le Pen's party in France has a strong position in the polls as France heads into an election year, and Europhile Matteo Renzi suffered a crushing defeat in the Italian constitutional referendum.
But at the center, as the old pre-war song goes, of all these upcoming battles is Berlin, as outlined in this very significant article that was shared by Mr. V.Z.:
Chancellorin Merkel has squandered her once mighty political capital over the immigration (and southern European austerity) issues with such a reckless abandon that one can only wonder whether or not she engineered it. The short answer is, probably not, for she now shifting positions faster than the particles in the hadron collider(but Merkel's PhD is, after all, in quantum chemistry, so it's not surprising); yesterday she issues encyclicals about Muslim female attire being inappropriate for Germany (I was under the apparently false impression that the dress code had been abandoned in 1945), and today she lectures Germans on how they should all "integrate" into her multicultural paradise (and the last time I looked, I don't recall Lederhosen were standard apparel in Libya, Turkey, or Syria, but I digress).
Now, stop and ponder that one for a moment: you're a German, and being lectured by your furchtlose Fuehrerin on integrating into your own country! No wonder so many Germans are chanting Merkel muss weg! (Merkel must go!) One can hardly blame them. We haven't seen such a disconnect between a politician and average people since Darth Hillary.
But behind the scenes, as this article points out, a big political battle is looming, and the stakes are globaloneyism and the "Europrojekt" itself. Frau Merkel has been shuffling her cabinet in hopes of staving off a rejection at the polls in next year's coming German elections. The problem is, she now faces stiff opposition from her coalition partner's party, the Social Democrats, and from former EU "parliament"(in quotations, because of course it has no real power) President Martin Schulz:
European Parliament President Martin Schulz is quitting his job in Strasbourg and aiming for higher office in Berlin. Schulz, who, in 2003, was likened by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to a Nazi concentration camp guard, appears ready to take the helm of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) in a gambit to prevent Germany from joining the ranks of the anti-European Union nations in Europe.
Schulz, sensing that Angela Merkel, Germany’s Europhile Christian Democratic Union (CDU) chancellor, is in political trouble even as she announced plans to run for a fourth term in 2017, is striving to eventually take over the reins of the SPD from Merkel’s coalition partner Sigmar Gabriel. For the time being, Schulz will be happy to assume control of the Foreign Minister portfolio from the SPD’s Walter Steinmeier, who opted to become Germany’s ceremonial president.
Schulz returns to Berlin as a politically-wounded politician. The EU Parliament was about to reject Schulz for a third term as president. The European Commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, the often-inebriated champion of a federalized Europe and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, threatened to resign his own post if Schulz was rejected by the Strasbourg assembly. Schulz, sensing defeat, opted to continue the fight for a united Europe as a member of the German Bundestag and a member of Merkel’s «grand coalition» between the CDU and SPD.
Worse, for Merkel, is the opposition within her own party:
However, the lukewarm-at-best coalition supporter of Merkel, Bavarian Prime Minister Horst Seehofer, may harbor plans to challenge Merkel for chancellor. Seehofer is a fierce critic of Merkel’s migrant policy that opened Germany’s borders to over a million mainly Muslim refugees from war zones in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Africa. Merkel, Schulz, and Gabriel continue to support the open-door migration policy even as German voters. Seehofer has crafted an anti-migration alliance with leaders of neighboring Alpine countries, particularly Austria. Austrian Freedom Party (OVP) presidential candidate Norbert Hofer, who is opposed to the EU and Merkel’s migrant policy, recently expressed his own views of Merkel during a presidential election debate with his pro-EU Green Party opponent. Hofer said Merkel «inflicted considerable damage on Europe when she opened the borders to refugees and, as a result, hundreds of thousands of refugees, including terrorists, have moved through Austria».
Seehofer has more in common with the Austrian Freedom Party of Hofer and its leader Heinz-Christian Strache than his supposed political ally Merkel. The only thing that continues to bind the anti-migrant Seehofer to the open borders champion Merkel is the rise of Germany’s nationalistic counterpart to the OVP, the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party. The anti-migrant AfD has eaten away at CDU-CSU support across Germany, with Bavaria being a notable exception. The AfD has won seats in ten state assemblies and risen to 15 percent support in political opinion polls. This «marriage of convenience» between Seehofer and Merkel may be coming to an end as the Bavarian Prime Minister sees an opportunity to challenge Merkel for leadership of the CDU-CSU union and lead an anti-migrant conservative coalition to challenge the Euro-fanatic Schulz on the national stage.
As the article also points out, Herr Seehofer has sought international alliances with anti-globaloneyist forces elsewhere, reaching out not only to Hungary's Viktor Orban but also to the transition team of President-elect Trump. The stakes are high for all concerned, and the article concludes - in my opinion correctly - on the following note:
If Seehofer can take over the chancellorship of Germany from the discredited Merkel, there will be a final battle against globalization and the EU in the halls of power in Berlin. This battle will pit Seehofer and his anti-migrant and anti-EU allies against the forces led by the «concentration camp guard» Schulz. That political struggle will determine not only the future of Europe but the entire world.
So, how is Merkel to save her Chancellorship? (Herewith my high octane speculation of the day.) She must, if she is to survive, abandon the Darth Hillary approach of not listening to her own "basket of German deplorables", which for Merkel now apparently includes all Germans opposed to her policies, particularly on immigration, but move to embrace their concerns as a part of her policies and agendas, and not just rhetorically. In other words, she stands at a crossroads, but also has a tremendous opportunity, to embrace those concerns, for by making them her own, she can in the process, refashion the entire EU and even reform the globaloneyist vision itself. If she does not do so, even if she should win, her government will be a weak and probably short-lived one at that. If she does do so, however, the ripple effects in the rest of Europe, particularly in Austria, Italy, France and other countries chafing under the influx of Islamic immigration, will be almost immediate and far-reaching, and she could emerge from the process with her halo not only firmly back in place, but all nicely shined and polished. And she is a clever enough politician to do precisely that. Berlin, in other words, may not be the Mittelpunkt der Welt as the old song has it, but it's still the Mittelpunkt of Europe.
Here Merkel's political instincts will be in direct opposition to her ideological proclivities, but the opportunity is there to reshape the European vision if she reaches out in a genuine fashion to the growing opposition, which may indeed be the only way to save the European project.
Will she do so? At this juncture it's difficult to tell, with her statements shifting positions faster than photons. She will attempt to move her rhetoric gradually to the right in hopes of repairing the damage she has already done to herself and her coalition. But she must match that rhetoric with actual action prior to the German election, otherwise, my bet is, the Germans will not buy her rhetoric any more. And with Schulz now maneuvering within the Social Democratic Party, she must do something to distinguish her Europhilia from that of Schulz, and the only way to do that is to reach out to the growing opposition, and incorporate their concerns into an entirely different approach to Europe. The bottom line: the Second Battle for Berlin is coming, and it's going to be a big one, with high stakes.
Rhetoric will not be enough; lecturing the German people will not help. Only real action will. And there must be real action, the concerns of the opposition in Germany must be addressed, or otherwise, it is not going to go away, but only grow.
See you on the flip side...