Sigmar Gabriel, SPD
Claudia Roth, The Greens
We have been trying to decipher since September 2015 the considerations and the strategy behind German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s attitude towards migrants. Explanations have so far centred on the Chancellor’s good heart or Germany’s need of manpower as well as the demographic emergency behind it. Based on Angela Merkel’s past in her capacity as party leader and Chancellor we can surely discard the idea that she took her decision to dump an uncontrolled mass of Muslim migrants onto Germany and thus Europe as a result of a flurry of sudden emotions. She’s a person of well-planned and cool-headed strategic moves. We should not therefore seek any kind of altruistic waves or sudden emotional shocks behind her decision. Merkel is a person who likes procrastinating, burring things in the sand and carrying out long-term strategies consisting of a long series of tiny moves put into practice with relentless toughness. Improvisation and emotional politics are as alien to her as an elegant suit would be.
States on the road of faithlessness
Are in fact on the road of resignation
This is not the same “C” any more
When in the spring of 2010, after 13 years of Labour rule, British voters forced the Tories to form a coalition government for the first time since World War II, the Tory candidate for prime minister, David Cameron reportedly asked Angela Merkel to advise him about what coalition government was about. The Chancellor explained to him in excitement how a coalition would offer an opportunity not only to keep one’s own fellow party politicians at bay, but also effortlessly to grind down one’s junior coalition partner. Liberal party leader Nick Clegg thus became a coalition partner and Deputy Prime Minister, only to become the greatest loser of the next elections. Just like it had happened in Germany. At the end of the CDU-CSU-FDP coalition, the FDP was voted out of Parliament and the Grand Coalition replacing the previous one appears to be irreversibly weakening the standard competitor of the CDU-CSU – the German Social Democratic Party. Since the CDU-CSU routinely gets somewhere between 35 and 44% of the votes, it always needs a coalition partner.
Merkel herself has formed two such governments – in 2005 and 2013. At present, the CDU-CSU and the SPD have a two thirds majority in the Bundestag with 67.2% of the mandates, just like in 2005-2009, when the grand coalition amended the constitution 40 times. As early as in 2013, when the incumbent government coalition was formed, the idea emerged in certain CDU circles to opt for the Greens rather than the Social Democrats. And since then Merkel has been tenaciously grinding down her traditional competitor and former challenger, that her past and present coalition partner, the SPD, while she kept dismantling brick by brick the wall dividing her party from the Greens. As a first step of this strategy, in a sudden and apparently irrational and abrupt decision reminiscent of her move to invite migrants to Germany, she banned nuclear power stations in Germany. By doing so, in addition to depriving the Greens of their most important policy issues which are so vital for their identity, she also removed the main obstacle dividing their two parties.
Merkel has been working on a shift of paradigm since 2011 with the aim of de-Christianizing the Christian Democratic Union and changing the meaning of the letter “C” in her party’s name from Christian to Central. The new Merkellian de-Christianised Central Democratic Union has become a party aimed at attracting atheist and other non-Christian, i.e Muslim masses. Muslims are important for Merkel among others because in addition to stepping in for voters disillusioned with the CDU, their ever-growing numbers may keep Merkel continuously in power. Identifying migrants as refugees; arguing in terms of human rights; urging a value-neutral dialogue with Islam are thus messages addressed to the Greens and the media elites rooted in 1968 on the one hand and the newly settling Muslim communities on the other. In other terms, her re-positioned and de-Christianised CDU allows Merkel to find a new coalition partner in case the demise of the social democrats who have been left without messages ends with their passing away and also to offer a home to the increasing number of new, mostly Muslim voters. The alliance of the new Central Democratic Union or CDU II with the Greens may result in unprecedented power concentration. In fact, while being supported by the defining actors of the market that is the business elite, it can also enlist the support of the full media, academic and expert elite thanks to the alliance with the Greens. The Greens are valuable because of their monopoly in defining and in interpreting the topics of the day, because by now the traditional left-wing has lost control over public discourse, which is now in the hands of the 68ers sympathising with the Greens.
Man is not the creature of circumstances, circumstances are the creatures of men.
Atheism transforms life into a grey dish mop.
What kinds of values?
In the Western world there is a tangible tendency to efface Christian values and to denigrate Christian believers under the keyword of “value neutrality”. Today’s politically correct canon prioritises atheism and non-Christian religions. When in to remain in power or rather in order to expand her power Merkel sacrifices the Christian character of her party as well as German national interest which has also become useless ballast for her, she is also building her own leading role in Europe. Rather than being national and Christian, the kind of Europe she has in mind is globalised and atheist. Rather than being Christian Democratic, it is Liberal; rather than being populist, it is elitist and rather than being democratic, it is bureaucratic.
We do not know anything about the more or less 2 million newly arriving migrants in Germany. No statistics have been released by the German authorities either about their exact numbers, or their structures by gender, age, education or professions. One thing is sure however – most of them are there to stay and sooner or later we’ll be joined by their families. Thus their numbers may well increase to 10 million before long. The EU elite controlled by Germany has promised visa free travel to Turkish citizens, which is expected to add further masses of new settlers to the already five million strong Turkish minority in Germany. (European and German elites had better forget their haughty approach to the Turkish visa issue based on the hope to be able to sabotage the matter by raising bureaucratic obstacles. If that is to happen, the Turks will open the borders again and flood the countries of the Union with migrants. With the visa arrangements that will take place in a more regulated way.) Germany may have a 20 million strong Muslim minority within a few years. They will become a political reality to reckon with and will be king-makers as well. They will either organise themselves into a separate political force as they have already tried to do in Vienna, or will join, as planned and hoped by Merkel, her by now Muslim-compatible new party. However, while the Merkellian CDU II is giving up all the values of the founding fathers – anti-Communism; Christian democracy; the protection of the family; press freedom et cetera, the Muslims of the new migrant wave are by no means ‘value neutral’. They will demand polygamy, sharia, burkas and veils. They would restrict women’s rights and outlaw homosexuality. They would demand an end to pro-Israel policies. For the moment it is sufficient to hand over the heads of comedians to the president of Turkey or again cancel a reminder to the Armenian genocide from the title of a concert in Dresden, but the rest will faultlessly follow in due course. For people who have solid value systems based on and fed by belief and conviction, like the overwhelming majority of the Muslims arriving or already living in Europe, will find it quick and easy to rush through insecure unbelievers who have no value systems to follow. And at that point, they won’t need Merkel’s neutralised central and green party any more.
Destiny rightfully punishes those who break with the values of the past
Herkunft aber bleibt stets Zukunft
Merkel must have feared that her master plan might prematurely be revealed, when Viktor Orbán was visiting Germany the other day. There is no other way to explain why Germany’s rectified press that eats from Merkel’s hand got so excited to hear that the Hungarian Prime Minister was planning to pay visit to Helmut Kohl, the 86-year-old former German Chancellor. All that was so the more incomprehensible, as the former Chancellor has been otherwise almost completely ignored by Merkel’s new media. Reports on the celebrations of his 85th birthday were low-key enough to arouse consternation throughout Europe. Orbán paid a visit to Adenauer’s former home; met former CSU chairman Stoiber; as well as the aged former Chancellor, which made it evident to the general public that rather than Merkel who has given up calls legacy, it is him, Hungary’s Victor Orbán who was considered by these two statesmen as their political heir whom they expect to bring their legacy forward.
As early as in his speech at Baile Tusnad on July 28th 2014, Orbán made his readiness clear to continue the legacy that had shaped Western Europe’s post-war decades into a golden age. His stance on illiberal democracy was a clear expression of his continuing faith in the value-shaping power of Christian Democracy and Social Democracy and of his determination to try and transfer their basic values into the 21st-century. Meanwhile, his detractors on both sides of the Atlantic believe that the only possible democracy is the liberal one. They consider Christian Democracy and Social Democracy equally intolerable although both of them comprise liberal values as well, while today’s liberal democracies refuse to represent either Christian or social values. They even increasingly hinder the respect of traditional liberal values, including free speech, the freedom of assembly and of the press. Let’s just consider their hate speech laws; the series of debates banned at Western universities; the German cities that switch street lighting whenever demonstrations are being held by forces they dislike; or again the silencing of the German press after the wave of sexual harassment in Cologne on New Year’s Eve. In the language of the 68ers, however, democracy is either liberal or is not; or rather it is either liberal in the way they expect it to be or is no democracy at all. Today’s politically correct elites are the most rigid of all: German 68ers reject the idea of a social market economy as well as the Christian Democratic legacy that brought about German re-unification as equally invalid. The performance of successful politicians doesn’t mean anything for them. But for our region the legacy of European statesmen like Robert Schumann, De Gasperi, De Gaulle, Adenauer, Kohl, Stoiber, Vogel and the rest continues to be a source of inspiration and a valuable tradition worth developing further. The Merkellian masterplan, on the other hand, is aimed at reaching a compromise with the Greens and at winning over Muslim masses, while giving up those values and standing up for anti-Christian value neutrality and an ideology which is hostile towards the family and the nation under the disguise of a boundless defence of human rights. Fully as this approach complies with the culturally and politically correct 68er canon; modern as it may seem, we are not fond of it. It is precisely this value system that Central and Eastern Europeans are unable and unwilling to accept. What is creating a distance between the two halves of Europe is a disagreement over the validity of Christian Democracy and the social market economy. While according to the Western half of Europe their validity has expired and they have no future, the citizens of our own region believe that they do have one – and will have one. That disagreement has been brought to the surface by the crisis created by the Muslim invasion of 2015 which has been deepened by the arbitrary decision taken by the Chancellor of Germany who tries to impose the consequences on the whole of Europe.
It is passing in this very moment;
I let it go
Central and Eastern Europe
A visit to Europe by Barack Obama, the outgoing President of the United States is eloquent proof of what he has proved time and again during his eight years in office – that he doesn’t understand Europe nor is he particularly interested. It is striking however that he demonstratively avoided meeting anyone else apart from the leaders of ‘old’ Europe. Germans, French, Italians, Brits and Americans. Just like a hundred years ago when the ’peace’ treaties of Versailles were signed. The victors and the Germans. Is this supposed to be Europe as seen from Washington?
Central and Eastern Europe
Even in the strictest sense of the term, Central and Eastern Europe is a region of 65 million inhabitants, while in a broader sense it is inhabited by a hundred million people. It is a huge and dynamic area whose economy has been growing faster than the Western hemisphere for years. If Great Britain decides to leave Europe, which cannot be deiscarded at all, then Europe’s centre of gravity will shift towards the east. Russia’s role will be revalued because in order to compensate Germany’s overweight, France will routinely turn towards Moscow. Fearing to be caught in the pincers, the Germans will find it essential to tighten their ties with Russia, a move they have already started with the preparations for Northern stream II, also called the Stalin-Hitler gas pact. What will this region thus become? If it is true that the USA was strategically interested in both world wars to prevent an autonomous i.e. German-led Europe to take over the legacy of the British Empire and thus become America’s challenger; that is if it wanted to rule Europe guaranteeing, following the British example the balance of power, then it cannot be interested today in seeing a Russian-German alliance crystallising. The only way to prevent it is to insert itself in between by allying itself with our region. There will be perhaps someone who will tell the new president that in 21st-century Europe it is not sufficient any more to strike deals with the Brits, the Germans, the Italians and the French.
The nearly 50 years spent under Communist dictatorship empowered the nations who spent the second half of the 20th century under Soviet occupation with a shared historic core experience which suggest them to consider their churches and the long banished Christian values as forces essential for survival. They also refuse to relinquish their hard-won independence, democracy and liberty either for the sake of a new ‘vanguard’ or of bureaucratic elites in Brussels. They would not appreciate if in a way reminiscent of the darkest Communist dictators, their leaders received 10 minute long standing ovations at party congresses, as the dedicated membership did with Angela Merkel at the latest CDU party Congress. Such scenes remind us routinely of intimidation, violence, hypocrisy and dictatorship. What do they remind former GDR citizen Merkel of? Honecker? Ulbricht?
Mária Schmidt (born in Budapest, 1953) is one of Hungary’s best-known historians and a leading adviser to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. A holder of the Széchenyi Prize, a recognition of those who have made an outstanding contribution to academic life in Hungary, she has been Director-General of Budapest’s House of Terror Museum since its foundation in 2002. She teaches at Pázmány Péter Catholic University, her main areas of research extending to the history of Hungarian Jewry since 1918, Hungarian history under totalitarian regimes and twentieth-century dictatorships. She is chief curator and professional head of the House of Fates project, an under-construction Budapest museum dedicated to the children who fell victim to the Holocaust.
photo: János M. Schmidt/nol.hu