Angela Merkel has triumphed again, winning her third term as chancellor in Germany’s national election on Sunday, September 22. She is widely being celebrated as the most influential and most popular political figure in Europe. Not only is she the de facto head of the 27-member European Union, but also a top power at the G8, G20, IMF, World Bank, and the United Nations. Forbes has listed her as #1 on itslist of the Most Powerful Women in the World for seven of the past 10 years. On its 2013 list of the Most Powerful People in the World, Forbes rates her as #2, behind only President Barack Obama — and ahead of Vladimir Putin, who came in at #3. Cameron Abadi at The New Republic writes:
Germany has more power today than at any time since World War II. Merkel is prima inter pares in the European Union, capable of determining the shape of the bailout packages given to the continent’s ailing economies and, thus, capable of determining the shape of their national economies for years on end. Even the ostensibly independent European Central Bank seems to take its directions from the chancellory in Berlin, afraid to get too far ahead of Merkel’s plans.
According to an IFOP poll, in neighboring France, French voters are also enamored of Merkel, with 56 percent saying they would vote for her if they were German. By contrast, according to the same poll, French President Francois Hollande’s approval rating is at an all-time low of 23 percent, only one point above the lowest ever score for a French president: Francois Mitterand’s 22 percent approval rating in 1991.
Angela Merkel’s double-speaking and flip-flopping on EU bailouts, EU control from Brussels, support for U.S.-backed foreign wars, Germany’s disastrous energy policies — and much more — should have insured her defeat, but the German chancellor’s powerful allies in the media, banking, and politics have shielded her with a Teflon coat.
The New Republic’s Abadi remarks:
Over the course of the euro crisis, Merkel has spoken out against any intervention by the European Central Bank, a permanent bailout mechanism, centralized economic governance for the EU, and a banking union. In each instance, she eventually reversed course, without any evident hand-wringing — and without personally suffering any evident penalty.
The "Merkelvellian" Chameleon
But why did Merkel not personally suffer any political penalty? Abadi and other commentators credit her seemingly miraculous staying power and popularity to her “low-key style” and her “Machiavellian genius” for working quietly behind the scenes and manipulating others to do her dirty work. This trait of quiet cunning and backroom dealing — referred to as “Merkelvellianism” by some political commentators and pundits — undoubtedly explains some of Merkel’s political longevity. However, John Fund at National Review gets a little closer to the heart of the matter in his election post mortem. Fund states:
She benefited from the tacit agreement of all the major establishment players in German politics (the media, the major political parties, and big businesses and the banks) that the euro crisis shouldn’t be a major campaign issue. That saved her from having to directly confront the eurozone crisis during the campaign.
The statement is obviously true; the major establishment players — not only in Germany, but globally — did indeed shield Merkel from a multitude of thorny euro issues that would have cost her dearly had voters known (or been reminded of) her true positions, true loyalties, and suspicious connections. The political/business/financial/media elites assisted in presenting her as both a rock of stability and a comforting mother — as all things to all people. They amplified and popularized the image crafted by her political handlers and public relations wizards, dubbing her both “The Iron Chancellor” and “Mutti” (the German equivalent of “Mum”), sending the message to German voters that they should keep her steady hands on the helm of state as Germany and the EU navigate the tempestuous economic seas ahead. (Never mind that the twice-married, once-divorced chemist and former propagandist for East Germany’s Communist Party has never had children and, therefore, has no real Mutti experience to draw on). Giant billboards displayed only a pair of hands, instantly recognizable as hers, the opposing thumbs and fingers forming her famous “Merkel rhombus” or “Merkel diamond.” No text was needed; everyone knew whose hands they are and knew the programmed slogan, “A safe pair of hands,” that argued for keeping Merkel for another term. To this was added her ubiquitous image — on television, billboards, and posters — with the alternating slogans, “Strong Economy,” “Steady Jobs,” “Solid Finances,” “Stability and Prosperity.” Her victory is another example par excellence of the triumph of image over substance, of marketing smothering issues.
The globalist political/business/financial/media elites definitely see Merkel as essential to advancing “The Project,” which the EU’s ongoing political-economic merger is fondly referred to as by its architects and promoters. Merkel is viewed by these forces as vital to many parts of their global one-world program, which includes:
• EU Convergence — Despite her strategic flip-flops, timed to electioneering and playing off of populist sentiment, Merkel is committed to full economic, political, and social “integration” of Europe, and, despite her occasional rhetoric to the contrary, its ineluctable consequence: the end of national sovereignty and complete subservience to EU rulers in Brussels.
• Transatlantic Convergence — Merkel is key to promotion and consummation of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which she has helped launch with President Obama. The TTIP envisions entangling the United States in the EU’s same deconstructive/reconstructive/transformative integration process.
• East-West Convergence — Merkel, as the head of Europe’s economic engine, has made major strides in pushing not only Germany but the EU into further political and economic convergence with Russia and China.
• Global Economic Convergence — In spite of expedient rhetorical reversals and reported tiffs with the International Monetary Fund, Merkel has remained solidly behind expansion of the IMF’s remit, powers, and funding, ultimately aimed at transforming the IMF into a global Federal Reserve.
• Global War and Military Convergence — Merkel has wavered, temporized, and flip-flopped on support for UN, NATO, and U.S. wars, playing alternately to the “war on terror” theme, and then to the war-wariness and war-weariness of the German voters. After losing the 2002 election for, in the view of many analysts, supporting George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq, against the wishes of the majority of Germans, Merkel has taken a much more “nuanced” position on global wars, supporting (minimally) the U.S.-NATO wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. With this year’s elections in view, she opposed Obama on the invasion of Libya and played coy on Syria, initially opposing war with Damascus, but eventually condemning the Assad regime as responsible for the deadly Ghoutta gas attack — after Obama had provided her with political cover in the form of suspicious “evidence” of Assad’s guilt. Now that she is safely reelected, we can expect that she will more openly support German-EU-NATO-U.S. war with Syria — and maybe Iran as well.
• Public-Private Convergence — With the Nazi-fascist label still hung like a perpetual albatross around Germany’s neck, few Germans would openly endorse fascism. But Merkel’s corporatism is clearly fascism in modern, dressed-up guise. One of her most obvious insider corporatist ties is to Goldman Sachs, which Matt Taibbi appropriately described as “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity.” Merkel’s support was critical to securing the presidency of the European Central Bank (ECB) for Mario Draghi, former managing director of Goldman Sachs International. Her support was also key to the bailouts of Goldman Sachs and the other private banks that had enabled the profligate government spending that brought on the financial crisis.
• Conservative-Progressive Convergence — As leader of the “conservative” Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Merkel is regularly touted as the leader of Germany’s pro-business, pro-free market, socially and religiously conservative elements. She has also co-opted the eurosceptics, stealing their thunder with comments that falsely indicate she will fight to preserve national independence. In the wake of her victory, many analysts are writing epitaphs for Eurosceptic parties and movements on the continent. Not only that, but we can expect that Karl Rove and other neocon gurus will cite the wild success of Merkel’s “flexible” pragmatism and “Big Tent” philosophy as the final word on why Republicans and Conservatives must “move to the center” (which really means move to the left) to more warmly embrace Big Government, Big Business, Big Media, and downplay or abandon pro-life, pro-family, pro-Christian positions and policies.
“Boring” Election Hides Burning Issues
According to the MSM thought cartel, Germany’s election this year was a complete yawner. As the Financial Times put it, “It has simply become too boring.” One can see the same theme at the CFR journal Foreign Affairs (here) and the New York Times (here).
But Germany’s just-concluded national election should have been anything but boring; there were/are many crucial issues that could have — and would have — ignited heated national debate, had German and globalist political/business/financial/media power brokers not colluded to keep important issues out of public discussion and public consciousness during the election campaign cycle. Here are some of the issues that could have upended Merkel’s “miracle” had they been allowed to receive the kind of attention they deserve:
• Bailouts — Merkel has been allowed to maintain the pretense of taking a hard line against Greece, Italy, and other profligate spenders, to appeal to fiscally conservative German voters, while supporting bailouts for her banking insider friends and pushing for more power and control for the banking cartel, i.e., the ECB, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS in Basel, Switzerland), the Federal Reserve, Goldman Sachs, and the other privileged banking houses. Now that she's safely in, expect more bailouts to follow.
• Eurocrisis — Various polls show the financial eurocrisis was/is the top issue in the minds of German voters. Merkel stood to lose hugely if she were forced to clarify her fuzzy positions on euro-finance and many other related EU issues that will have very negative impacts on Germany’s economy. On the political side, the eurocrisis came into sharp conflict over the EU Constitution, which voters repeatedly rejected when allowed to vote on the matter in referendum. Merkel played a key role in circumventing the voters and ramming the EU Constitution through disguised (though barely) as the Lisbon Treaty. She supported this vast grab for centralized power while telling German voters she would fight to stop usurpations of power by Brussels.
• Energy debacle — Merkel used the immediate panic generated over the 2011 Fukushima disaster (which was caused by a tsunami, a danger that doesn’t threaten Germany) to shut down eight nuclear reactors and schedule all remaining nuclear power plants to be closed over the next decade. They will all be replaced, she said, by wind power. Initially hailed as a glowing success for renewables, it is now being widely recognized as a disaster that could cost Germans more than $1 trillion and completely destroy Germany’s already faltering competitiveness. (See here and here).
• Communist background — In May, journalists Ralf Georg Reuth and Günther Lachmann came out with an explosive biography of Merkel entitled (in English), The First Life of Angela M, which provides evidence that she was Secretary of Agitation and Propaganda for an important arm of East Germany’s Communist regime before Germany’s reunification. Rather than put her on the spot and force her to deny or explain precisely what her role was in that post for a very harsh, totalitarian regime, the German and global MSM allowed her to shrug off the book’s claims and to leave that murky area of her life as murky as she prefers to leave it. This is in sharp contrast, of course, to the treatment one can expect when a supposed skeleton — real or completely contrived — is “discovered” in the closet of a genuine Conservative, or even in the closet of the Conservative candidate’s great uncle’s cousin’s brother-in-law’s fifth-grade teacher. In that case it remains at the top of the news cycle for days, weeks, months — with breathless “new developments” invented hourly. But it’s considered gauche to bring up Merkel’s service to Erich Honecker, East Germany’s brutal despot and the Kremlin’s slavish Communist lickspittle.
• NSA Surveillance — As we have reported, various news revelations indicate that Merkel has allowed the NSA and other surveillance agencies to collect and store metadata, including billions of telephone calls, e-mails, and Internet connections, of German citizens, in violation of German law. The pro-Merkel MSM decided that this was not an issue worth roiling the “boring” election waters with.
These and many other issues might have rescued the German elections from unnecessary boredom, but they also would have upset the Merkel bandwagon favored by the globalist political/business/financial/media elites. Do not be surprised if the Merkel ballots in Germany soon lead to U.S.-NATO bullets (and missiles, drones, and warplanes) flying in Syria. And don’t be surprised if Merkel makes another big reversal — on Turkey. Merkel has played to the overwhelming German sentiment against granting Turkey membership in the EU; Germans know they would soon be flooded with millions more Turkish migrants. However, Turkish accession to the EU has been a long-term goal of the Bilderberg Group, the secretive cabal that threw its powerful support behind Merkel in 2005, guaranteeing her first major electoral victory. We can be sure that many more Merkelvellian surprises are in the works.
Photo of German Chancellor Angela Merkel: AP Images