Many thanks to Nash Montana for translating this op-ed by Alexander Wallasch published on Roland Tichy’s site about a recent softball interview with Angela Merkel that aired on the German television network ARD:
The Merkel Mantra
by Alexander Wallasch
Rarely ever was a declaration of bankruptcy wrapped into such a shallow, trivial package. Not one outcry, no indignation, no outrage. No anything. Two German dames chatting away comfortably in a studio, while reality was left at the door. And most of the media is rejoicing.
At any other time, this could have been a nice and neat little chit chat that Merkel and Anne Will delivered on last Wednesday evening’s show. But unfortunately, we have a suitcase full of problems.
The younger of the two dames started the evening with her signature farouche charm, which in days past has at times been irresistible. And Angela Merkel came across as much more relaxed than the seriousness of the situation should have allowed. Mostly because just hours before she superlatively survived her walk to Canossa with Hollande in the halls of the European Parliament without any serious incidents. Apart from the smack down she received from Le Pen, which the French president Hollande vehemently retorted to, with his small arms flailing about; one could be seriously concerned that he might accidentally K.O. the portly German lady sitting next to him. It was an example of micromanaging in German-French relations.
Grand production, weak content
Very relaxed in the Here and Now, the two girls sat across from each other in comfortable big leather lounge chairs at the Berlin ARD studio. Angela still wore the union blue blazer she had on in Brussels, and Anne came in exciting high heels and a dark oscillating pantsuit in a skintight size.
What the world had already said about Merkel last July could easily have been the opener for the show: “not limited emotionally, only verbally.” Already after the first few minutes, the audience was stricken with difficulty remembering that there was on the table nothing less than a landmark turning point, a watershed moment, for Germany. If there were any expectations, they were probably not met. What was Anne Will thinking? In question after question one could feel a peculiar inhibition, which was reminiscent of the hypnotic tableau right before the snake eats the mouse. Only that this time the final bite failed to materialize.
It couldn’t have been pity for the chancellor dame. Probably more of a mutual basic sympathy. But what was Anne Will’s real assignment to begin with? It could have been about nothing less than a simple analysis of the current state of affairs, a critical analysis of root causes and a perceptive contemplation of the problems at hand. About liability, responsibility, obligation and the incapacity to act accordingly. In other words: yesterday, today, tomorrow. Fiddlesticks! It was immediately agreed upon that the collaborative problems surrounding the refugee crisis are ‘forces of nature’ or ‘catastrophes’.
No bite into the problem area
It was a huge mistake. Because right in there was the chance of the the moderator: to first and foremost determine the root causes for the refugee wave, and to secondly unearth the blatantly wrong decisions and the past neglect/dereliction of the German government. What was that about Syria? What about the US engagement in the Middle East? What had German foreign affairs done to stop this catastrophe? Nothing.
And when Berlin did not dare to say or do anything to condemn devastating US military policy, exactly when was it decided to instead play the European card to end the carnage? Never! Already forgotten? The potentates of the Middle East were the much-courted European dialogue partners over many decades. All ties cut, and chaos ensued!
And we arrive at the present time: that would have been the moment of truth. And it came. Perfectly summed up by Focus online in one shattering sentence: “Clueless, not weak.” Pointedly stated: No clue, no plan, but still gaga-content.
In the vast ocean of purposelessness
And then, out of the deepest depths of armchair politics, shot from the stomach into the throat, this little brother of a 9/11-emotion, this feeling of paralysis as we sat there in front of TV screens and watched airplanes slam into buildings and we couldn’t at that moment possibly know what it meant or realize the depth of consequences and the kinds of catastrophes that single act had on the world.
That look at children playing with hand grenades, as if they were little baking moulds. Angela Merkel unreservedly clueless. Freely planless. Contentedly perspective-less. The person socialized in Western Germany at least still has an idea of the notion what it means to integrate millions of mostly Islamic-culture shaped people. The 60’s to the 90’s have left a lasting impression of understanding on the BRD-German. But Merkel cannot possess that same understanding. Merkel cannot possibly have that same understanding based on experience. And it was she, after all, who in 2010 declared that a German multicultural society is doomed to fail.
And so we get to a perspective for the future, of which little or nothing was mentioned between the two dames in their comfy leather armchairs. How exactly, please, is the litany of ‘we can do it’ going to give us any inclination what the future holds? No, the most obvious gigantic consequential problems were not talked about at all!
Ah yes, possibly the construction of new Home Improvement markets and new apartment buildings — Merkel even promised some concretes: A de-bureaucratization of building and code regulations — can take place. But sufficient housing is at the very beginning of a long chain of massive integration problems against which the integration expenditures of the past will look like a child’s birthday celebration.
No concern about flooding of skilled labor market
One thing is for certain: there will be no flood of skilled laborers among the newcomers, overflowing the German workforce. Most of them would need those precarious jobs that were available in abundance in the ‘60s but which are virtually non-existent in 21st-century Germany. And even if they still existed, they would have all been moved to minimum-wage-free countries by now anyway.
No, we now have to imagine a horde of millions of people, who will for years from now on depend on welfare. This was the reality that hung over the entire show like an invisible cloak, all the while in the background only Merkel’s selfie was shown with the “snuggling Syrian” (Anne Will).
And what all this will do to societal relations, especially for our future generations, we know all too well. Germany will change. But so completely and so very different from what these oblivious politicians tied so fatally into daily business ever would think possible. Rarely ever was a declaration of bankruptcy wrapped into such a shallow, trivial package. Not one outcry, no indignation, no outrage. No anything.
On the other hand, rarely was there any applause in the audience. It was an almost deafening silence. Yes, even a few tiny few Madam Chancellor tears over her own failure could not have possibly drawn a hurricane of audience approval. There was at least one thing though that this entirely inconceivable dismantling of political incapacitation has shown us: In this moment of truth, this moment of absolute clarity: “We can do it!” is not a statement of confidence, it is a slogan to persevere, a litany, a mantra.