Is it too late for her?
Since 1949, Germany has elected eight chancellors. Six of them were able to advance German interests. Angela Merkel is not one of them. Merkel is not a bad person, but she is failure.
Germany, along with much of Western Europe, has four major domestic problems: (1) an unsustainable welfare state, (2) low birth rates, (3) a large and growing Muslim population that has not assimilated to Western values, and (4) a cowardly political class that will not even acknowledge that the combination of these problems is destroying Europe from within.
It is not too late for Germany to turn things around. In 1945, Germany’s problems were far worse than today. It was a devastated country. Millions of Germany’s working age men were killed in the war, approximately 20 percent of Germany’s housing was destroyed, and economic output in 1947 was only a third of what it was in 1938.
Chancellor Konrad Adenauer (1949-1963) and his immediate successor Chancellor Ludwig Erhard (1963-1966) created the German “economic miracle” (Wirtschaftswunder) by ending price controls, instituting currency reform, and lowering marginal taxes. In 1948, Erhard replaced the Nazi-era reichsmarks with far fewer deutsche marks.
The tighter monetary policy reduced shortages because the money supply was more in line with the goods available. Erhard believed in the German people. He believed that they would work harder with the right incentives such as lower taxes.
Twenty years after the war, the West German economy was the envy of Europe. The Soviet-dominated East Germans had to build the Berlin Wall because 3 million of their citizens fled to West Germany from 1948 to 1961.
When Adenauer first ran in 1949, it was the first election in Germany after World War II. His opponent, Kurt Schumacher of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), was opposed to West Germany’s entry into NATO, the Council of Europe, the European Coal and Steel Community, and the European Defense Community.
They had their differences, but both of them believed that their ideas served the interests of the German people. Neither one of them would have said, “It doesn’t matter whether the policy benefits Germans or not, it only matters if the policy is politically correct.”
Following Schumacher’s death in 1952, Adenauer praised his political opponent, “Despite our differences, we were united in a common goal, to do everything possible for the benefit and well-being of our people.”
Can anyone say that about Angela Merkel’s refugee policy? In 2015, she allowed 1.1 million refugees into Germany.
On New Year’s Eve 2015-2016, 1,200 women in Germany were assaulted by 2,000 men. These men were predominantly Muslims from North Africa who came to Germany in the last few years.
These women were raped and/or assaulted because Angela Merkel did not properly vet these people. This was preventable. There was already enough data to conclude that some countries have cultures that are more likely to condone rape than other countries.
As early as 1996, the Swedish National Council on Crime Prevention (BRA) published a report that from 1985-1989, Swedish women were 17.5 times more likely to be raped by men from North Africa (Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, and Libya) than a native-born Swedish male.
From 1985 to 1989, 77 percent of women raped in Sweden were raped by foreigners. Proper vetting is politically incorrect, but it is necessary.
In certain ways Merkel has known this all along. In 2010, she acknowledged that multiculturalism has “utterly failed.” Yet she also believed that if Germany became anti-immigrant, “Companies will go elsewhere because they won’t find the people to work here anymore.” In the end, if Germany fails to assimilate its refugees, Germany’s security and demographic problems will only get worse.
Regarding security, the country had a six terrorist attacks in 2016. The first occurred in February 2016, in Hanover, when a teenager named Safia stabbed a police officer on “orders of ISIS.”
On July 19, 2016, Riaz Khan Ahmadzai, a Pakistani asylum-seeker, stabbed five people on a train near Würzburg. He was killed by the police as this terrorist attempted to charge to them with axe reportedly yelling “Allahu Akbar.”
Also in July 2016, a knife-wielding Syrian refugee killed a pregnant German woman in Reutlingen. A German-born Muslim teenager with a history a mental illness named Ali Sonbody, went on a shooting rampage in Munich. He killed 9 people and wounded 27 others. This attack actually killed German Muslims. There was also a suicide bombing in Anbach where a 27-year-old Syrian refugee, Mohammad Daleel, killed one and wounded 15 others.
The worst terrorist attack in 2016 was in Berlin. Shortly before Christmas, a Tunisian asylum-seeker, Anis Amri, killed 12 and wounded 48 in a truck bomb.
Beyond security challenges, there are demographic challenges. Even before these refugees arrived, a third of babies born in Germany came from immigrant families. Every year since 1972, the country has had more deaths than births. Immigration was the only reason the population was ever growing. In recent years, even immigration couldn’t curb population decline. From 2000 to 2013, Germany’s population declined from 82.53 million to 81.8 million.
Germans are living longer and having fewer children. The German government will not be able sustain their vast welfare state without more pro-Western immigrants as well as sufficient economic growth.
In 2015, Merkel pointed out that the German workforce will decline by 6 million workers over the next 15 years. By 2030, the number of workers will be equal to people dependent on pensions and welfare. Merkel seems to understand the depth of this problem, but is either unable or unwilling to do anything about it.
Germany has had better leaders. Adenauer was unapologetic about anchoring Germany into the West. He brought West Germany into NATO in 1955. He signed the Élysée Treaty of 1963 with French President Charles de Gaulle, ending centuries of hostility between their two countries.
He also visited the Soviet Union in 1955 to free the remaining 10,000 German POWs from Soviet labor camps. Of the 2.8 million German troops captured by the Soviets, over 350,000 died at hard labor. The rest of them returned to Germany from 1945 to 1955.
Adenauer eventually established relations with Israel in 1965 while providing reparations to Israel and Holocaust survivors. In 2015, German leaders in Bavaria were debating in their state legislature whether all eighth and ninth graders should be obligated to visit a Nazi concentration camp.
One legislator praised the idea, but also wondered if some Muslim students would need special preparation or an exemption. The idea being that some German Muslims might be too offended to acknowledge the existence of the Holocaust or accept a rationale for the existence of Israel.
One of Merkel’s best speeches was in Israel in 2008:
The mass murder of 6 million Jews, carried out in the name of Germany, has brought indescribable suffering to the Jewish people, Europe and the entire world. The Shoah fills us Germans with shame. I bow my head before the victims. I bow before the survivors and before all those who helped them so they could survive.… Ladies and gentlemen, I most firmly believe that only if Germany accepts its enduring responsibility for the moral disaster in its history will we be able to build a humane future. Or, to put it another way, respect for our common humanity is rooted in our responsibility for the past.
If a German Chancellor echoes that sentiment in the future, it will require a different immigration policy. In the first week of 2017, Germany arrested a Pakistani man accused of trying to assassinate a pro-Israel German politician.
Along with immigration, political correctness has infected Merkel’s foreign policy as well. Germany has had leaders that were far more skilled in foreign affairs. For example, Chancellor Willy Brandt (1969-1974) won the Nobel Peace Prize for signing treaties that improved relations with East Germany, Poland, and the Soviet Union.
In contrast, Merkel foolishly weakened Germany’s leverage over Russia because she decided to phase out nuclear power out of Germany. In 2011, Germany had 17 nuclear reactors that produced 25 percent of its electricity. By 2017, the country has 8 reactors that produced 14 percent of its electricity.
As Germany became more dependent on Russian gas, then Angela Merkel supported sanctions against Russia. She had no intent to reverse her decision on nuclear power, which could have strengthened her hand.
In 2014, Germany imported 61.4 percent of its energy consumption. This was above the average among EU members of 53.4 percent. In 2014, Germany depended on Russia for 35 percent of its natural gas and 39 percent of its oil.
While Merkel’s decision to phase out nuclear power was popular, it was unwise. She should have followed the example of Chancellor Helmut Schmidt (1974-1982), who resisted popular pressure, when he supported America’s deployment of Pershing missiles on German soil if the Soviets didn’t withdraw their SS-20 missiles.
Chancellor Helmut Kohl (1982-1998) reunited Germany in 1990. Angela Merkel pushed a refugee policy that compelled the United Kingdom to leave the European Union. While international law certainly requires compassion toward refugees, no Western country should be tolerant toward Islamic intolerance.
The last two German Chancellors have been awful. Gerhard Schröder (1998-2005) is the only post-war Chancellor worse than Merkel. Merkel put political correctness above German interests while Schröder put his personal finances above his country’s interests.
In office, Schröder negotiated with Putin to build the Nord Stream gas pipeline from Russia to Germany through the Baltic Sea. He was rewarded with a seat on the shareholder committee on Nord Stream AG.
Schroeder celebrated his 70th birthday in St. Petersburg with his friend Vladimir Putin. He is an apologist for Putin’s regime.
For decades, Germans have elected a number of great leaders. For many Americans, it is difficult to be critical of a German politician because even the most incompetent and/or corrupt German leader looks great compared to Hitler. Which in the end makes Angela Merkel’s failure a tragedy of awful proportions.