Germany without Angela – Jamil Matar


I was often asked a question that was not often innocent. I asked and I am still asking, are we now facing a “European” Germany or a “German” Europe? In other words, did we emerge from the experience of the post-war German leaders, the first of whom is Konrad Adenauer and the last of them, Angela Merkel in Germany, who were imbued with “European” values, temperaments, aspirations and concepts, or did we leave Europe with German colors and characteristics until it seemed to us now like a complete fruit of German efforts, experiences and aspirations?
Germany does not have much credit for the birth of the European unity project. The greatest credit goes to a French thinking who founded and formulated the theory of unity, I mention specifically the credit of Jean Monnet. The project was born with attractive qualities and immediately became popular upon application with supernatural charisma. The project is based on a combination of important components, such as the painful history that is replete with many devastating wars, such as the stages of colonialism and the competition between its forces over colonies or external influence. It also rises based on common values ​​that are sometimes applied and often neglected, including human rights, democracy and respect for basic freedoms. It also rises on a joint German-French leadership that inspired a message calling for a long-term European peace and economic renaissance supported by the United States of America.
Americas credit for Germany’s renaissance cannot be denied or understated. But other elements deserve credit for the development of German economic power and thus for its unique leadership in Europe. I will mention from these elements, in random order, the type of political leadership in Germany and its impact also on the emergence of a distinguished political elite. We now admit that it entered a period of stagnation and perhaps decline or, let us say, a change in priorities. Another essential element is the fall of the Berlin Wall and the unification of the western and eastern parts of Germany. In my view, the most important element, and exciting at the same time, is the most important element in the last stage of Chinas renaissance, is globalization. Without globalization and the free trade movement that accompanied it, Germany and China might not have been able to achieve the Great Economic Leap that moved them quickly to an advanced position.
Angela Merkel was the first woman in German history to hold the position of chancellor, a position in which she spent sixteen years. She was also the longest-serving chancellor in this position, longer than Adolf Hitler, who had spent no more than twelve years, about half of which were wars. During her rule, Merkel faced four major crises, the global financial crisis in 2008 and 2009. The second is the Syrian migrant crisis in 2015, the third is the Brexit crisis in 2016, and the fourth is the ongoing and ongoing Covid-19 crisis since 2019. All of them are acute, complex, and revealing crises of the capabilities of the clutch on the decision-making process in Berlin, which dominates decision-making processes in Brussels, the headquarters of the European Commission. I was drawn to, and undoubtedly by many others, the complexities of the financial crisis, the problems of the eurozone, and the facilitation proposed by Merkel to settle the crises of Greece, Spain, Portugal, and others. These facilitations had a significant impact in shaping German public awareness regarding Germany’s role in Europe and the relationship between the countries of North and South Europe. He also drew attention to the firm, and rare, stance of Mrs. Merkel when she allowed the reception of one million Syrian and Middle Eastern immigrants. This crisis broke chains, unleashed currents and re-ignited the concept of German nationalism. The following year, the Brexit crisis erupted, raising doubts as old as European history about the intentions of Great Britain towards the countries of the continent and threatening the stability of the loyalties of Eastern European countries towards Brussels. Here, I know that Mrs. Merkel felt the necessity of preparing for a new situation in the leadership of Europe, a situation that depends on the end of the leading troika, which included Germany, England and France, and the need for a new leadership to replace it. Then, in Germany, as in others, the Covid-19 crisis befell, a crisis that revealed more than others the poor performance of the European unity apparatus.
The German character has special qualities that give the Germans a unique kind of mystery. We often hear that the Germans will not accept this or that situation, or that they will not accept for themselves the reputation of foolishness and extravagance in aid and various aspects of government spending. There is no ambiguity in the matter. The German people achieved a general consensus during the years since the World War. The consensus, which is binding so far for Merkel and those who came before her, and will most likely continue to be binding on those who come after her from her party or from the Green Party, focuses on three essential matters: the first is adherence to the policies and principles of the Atlantic Alliance, and the second is not deviating from the macroeconomic policies that Merkel followed, especially on its aspects Conservatism, third, Germany’s role in Europe is certain and guaranteed, and the various German governments must adhere to it. Note, however, that this general consensus that has prevailed for many years does not reveal itself through election campaigns or in voting patterns in general elections. Foreign policy rarely imposes itself on domestic politics.
There in Germany the source of concern lies in the steady progression of nationalist currents in Germany, especially in Europe and within the European Union. At the same time, feelings of revulsion grow at every call to glorify the German flag or to stir up notions that refer from near or far to German nationalism, and to the repeated talk in recent years about German nationalism and the linking of foreign policy to concepts of national interest. Specialists in the development of nationalist movements in Germany believe that the main reason for the awakening of nationalist sentiments is the Syrian refugee crisis and Merkel’s position on it. Since then, there have been many calls for the necessity of redefining who is German, and how Germany allows the German identity to expand to accommodate immigrants, knowing that any definition will exclude sectors while trying to include sectors. At that time, those who proposed to formulate a culture somewhat different from the prevailing German culture came out and called it “light culture or fat-free culture,” according to the name of some of the light-hearted.
The task of succeeding Merkel will not be easy. Take, for example, that for the first time Germany will work in the European field without an American cover, and according to one of the specialists, without the rock on which modern Germany is based. America is different after it descended. Take another example. China was not there when Germany started its rise. Now China has become an obsession, obsession or giant whose footsteps in Europe and other international arenas cannot be ignored.
I imagine that Angela is completely unsure about the future of what she has succeeded in establishing in Germany.

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