Monday, October 18, 2021


Born in the DDR (the former East Germany), educated under Bach's spell, chosen by Helmut Kohl, she quitely invaded the EU's foreign and financial policies to such an extent that the will of Berlin became law. Her unabated trust in the Franco-German co-leadership role in Europe was responsible for years of progress on all fronts. Lately the rise of maverick leaders in mostly Hungary and Poland put a dent in the EU machinery.

Without restarting an Ostpolitik she was still the only European leader who could talk business with Russian. This granite chancellor led the opposition of most Europeans to Trump by the sheer force of her contempt. She never relied on theatrics to win over the opposition at home or abroad.  She just stared it down.

Lately she found in the French president an ally who, contrary to some of his predecessors, had no problem in letting Gemamy lead. 

If her party, without her leadership, lost the last elections, the galant victory of the opposition stays in sharp contast with the histrionics in London. Germany became a blueprint for democratic governance.

She took risks (refugees, Nordstream 2 gas pipe line with Russia ) but even those who had misgivings were proven wrong or uninformed. She resisted moves to translate Germany's weight in military might. Probably she remained still over- conscious of history to be tempted by former aberrations.

The new chancellor will probably be Olaf Scholtz, a Social Democrat, but the world will not notice a major change in policies. Angela Merkel's style is embedded in Germany's psyche for the years ahead. It is important that the center hold, while the UK choses noise over substance and France enters the troubled pre-presidential election waters. If pre-Merkel equals post-Merkel, the same cannot be said about France. Emmanuel Macron is a formidable president but a very isolated one. It remains to be seen if he can re-galvanize his supporters as before. Even in his own ranks a Ballo in Maschera scenario cannot be excluded.

The European pendulum veered eastwards under Merkel. The EU machinery caught a bad cold. If it doesn't act against the Visegrad "oilspill", Germany might as well force its hand. The dwarfs in Brussels had better act fast before Berlin obliges it to do so.

Since the historic embrace between de Gaulle and Adenhauer, the road has often  been a difficult one. Let's not forget that President Mitterand had a difficult time agreeing with Germany's reunification. Human frailties can derail better intentions, as Brexit made perfectly clear. Prime Minister David Caneron will be judged in history books.  Angela Merkel will be lauded. Her inheritance should never be allowed to fall into the hands of fools.  It is safe...for now!

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