We always take something from the media and, we discuss what we think is not clear. Today we will do the same. According to the media before and after the elections in Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel is seeking a fourth term in office, but the election race may not see a clear winner. Coalition building may prove interesting.
Even before the 2017 election, Angela Merkel showed a knack for neutralizing or sidelining politicians who got in her way. This applies as much to members of her own party as to rivals in other parties. For example, Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Sigmar Gabriel.
How good it is for Merkel, we see it now, as she has already won the election, but how good it is for Germany, that is a question for the future. There are, however, other aspects of the global agenda which should command the attention of German politicians and German society. There are two of them to be studied: external affairs with the US and external affairs with Russia. In both cases, external affairs are not perfect.
We know Trump is not satisfied with the EU payments to NATO. The new NATO operational funds would clearly be more equitable than the current system, is what he thinks. Miss Merkel still wants to downsize NATO operations, and even seeks to build a European NATO, which already worries the Pentagon.
Relations with Russia are another hand-tying issue for Merkel. Today, Russia is the most active player in very important world war crises. Russia, indeed, is an actor on the agenda of the UN, which is no longer confined to the traditional issues of world politics offered by the US. Russian’s influence is very powerful in Syria, very important in the North Korean crisis, and, of course, in Ukraine. These are the three most formidable predicaments and all three of them are under the Russian veto.
The US is participating indirectly to resolve the issue in Ukraine. They are not even formally present in the Normandy format or the Minsk protocol. The Russians are about to use a veto against the North Korea bombing, and are about to throw US allies out of Syria. And again, Russia had introduced a draft resolution at the most recent session of the United Nations Assembly regarding the deployment of a peacekeepers’ mission in Ukraine to guard the OSCE mission.
So we see how important Russia is for the European Union today. In addition, there are sanctions imposed against Russia and this is not just a Russian national issue, but a problem faced by all of Europe, Germany, and even Angela Merkel herself before all.
And now we need to see what will happen in Germany since the CDU needs a coalition. The SPD leads the opposition after the election.
Germany’s Merkel clings to power amid a far right surge. “We don’t need to beat around the bush,” Merkel told supporters at party headquarters on Sunday evening. “We wanted a better result – that is clear.” She’s just lashing out at anyone close to her.
The problem, however, is that the CDU cannot find the right coalition – different parties have begun talking about ending sanctions against Russia. Therefore, Russian-oriented politicians will be inside the cabinet and this is a challenge for Miss Merkel. We can go even further. These Russian-oriented politicians are first of all German-oriented politicians; they are not the clients of Russian hackers. The Germans voted for them.
For Miss Merkel it would be better if Russian hackers intervened in the election process. She could blame the Russians, but now what? Blame the Germans? It’s impossible. So she will need to clarify her new post-election political position regarding Russia.
And in this case Merkel will be between the external and internal threats. On the outside, we know Macron wants to lead the European Union. From the inside, Merkel will see pressure from her own ministers and political advisors.
We also need to remember that in the first half of 2018 Bulgaria will take over the presidency of the Council of the EU. The Bulgarian prime-minister, Boiko Borisov, said he will begin hearings on the lifting of sanctions against Russia.
In this case, Merkel needs to find her place against Trump’s aspirations. Additionally, the German media says: This election sent a clear message: no more business as usual. And it had two clear losers: the Social Democrats (SPD) and Chancellor Angela Merkel. The SPD slipped to a historic low of 20 percent and Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) — together with its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU) — lost around 8 percent.
It’s the kind of setback that in normal times would be a reason for the chancellor to consider resignation. But these circumstances are not normal times for Germany. That is reflected by the success of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, which will enter the Bundestag with roughly 13 percent of the vote. It is the first time in over half a century that a right-wing populist party will sit in Germany’s parliament. The German media is assuming that nothing has ended with the elections, and that Germany is waiting for a new fight. Guess who will win the next presidential race? It will not be Merkel, not Trump; and it will not be in four years, but in 2018.