What foreign policy will the new Chancellor of Germany pursue?
- Dawn's Early Light thinks that Merkel is subtly distancing Germany from France and Russia.
von Essens says
- "Under Merkel, Germany's foreign policy focus will free itself of Schroeder's shortsighted French fixation, and she will desist from the anti-American posturing which so disfigured Schroeder and Fischer's tenure. ... But the important socialists in Merkel's government, such as the rabid anti-capitalist demagogue Müntefering, who is vice-Chancellor, will probably see to it that she can't book any notable successes on these fronts. This is a dispiriting but fair reflection of Germany's election results, which didn't give Merkel the mandate to do more."
Zin, who follows developments within Iran, notes that Merkel will not
have a free hand. Her next foreign minister -- foisted on her by coalition
partners -- is none other than one of Schroeder's old buddies.
- The BBC has a profile on Steinmeier. "Correspondents say his role as Mr Schroeder's behind-the-scenes enforcer ... He was involved in Germany's response to the US-led "war on terror" after the 11 September 2001 attacks and in the implementation of Mr Schroeder's controversial Hartz IV welfare reforms."
Dawn's Early Light in comparing Merkel to Bismarck made a suggestive comparison. Bismarck unified Germany: what might she do for Europe? Although the European Union draft constitution has fallen into a coma, its departure did not permanently answer the question of what Europe should be. The German Marshall Fund says that for 'European leadership' to have a meaning Europe itself has to have meaning in geopolitical terms. The French tried to create a leadership cadre centered around France and Germany. Yet they inevitably met opposition from Britain, that other European powerhouse, and the larger second tier nations (Poland, Spain and Italy) who objected to being dealt out. The enlargement of the European Union further weakned the self-proclaimed Franco-German leadership because it increased the number who needed to be included in the decision-making process.
Henry Puschmann of the Henry Jackson Institute argues France was knocked out of the leadership equation when it rejected the EU Constitutional proposal. "With France out of the game, that leaves only Britain and Germany. Thus Anglo-German cooperation is the only way to ensure the long-term success of the European Union, something that is essential for the maintenance of stability and prosperity on the continent." And in that phrase lies one the strangest justifications for the EU at all. As Paul Berman points out in the New Republic, France has credited itself with putting an end to 150 years of war with Germany and 150 years of European war. One hagiographer of the European Union gushed:
Try to imagine what historians will write about Europe in the year 2100.
Did integration succeeed in preventing a Third World War - as was the hope of the founders of the European Union? How stable was the Union after expansion to include many former Eastern bloc nations? What was the outcome of major showdowns between The Federal States of Europe and America through 2020-2030? How did the Union cope with massive influx of foreign nationals? What happened to national parliaments, laws, markets, languages and cultures?
Now it is doubtful whether the European Union will be around in the year 2100 at all. Significantly the Germans did not share the French illusion of thinking the Second World War and the Cold War that followed was won from the Elysee Palace and Brussels. Germany knew that the fourth leading nation in Europe was located across the Atlantic. Puschmann noted, "It may not be immediately obvious at present, but Germany does, at least potentially, share Britain’s positive outlook on the transatlantic alliance. Post-war Germany has historically been an Atlanticist nation, standing firmly by the side of the United States and the United Kingdom". If Merkel sees Europe within the wider context of the West, rather than through the fantasy prism of the Euroleft, she will at least have Bismarck's breadth of vision, though not perhaps, his opportunities.