RDo you remember how the world, especially the American media, adored former German Chancellor Angela Merkel?
Worship was so over the top that in 2015 Time The magazine actually named Merkel its “Person of the Year.” He described her as the “Chancellor of the Free World”.
Time owes all the readers he left a solemn apology. Today, Germans are suffering the bitter fruits of almost every major economic and geopolitical decision taken by Merkel as chancellor.
Let’s start with the German economy she tried to reset for the 21st century, reminiscent of how President Joe Biden tells inflation-weary voters that we’re going through “an incredible transition.”
But Merkel’s Germany was ahead of us in its “transition”. Today, the German economy is in tatters. A recent title from Business Intern summed up the chaos: “German industries could collapse due to cuts in natural gas supplies from Russia.” The The telegraph of the day recently described Germany as “the sick man of Europe”. Things are getting so desperate that the Germans are now considering rationing gas for their main industries to keep the lights on.
How did one of the five richest countries in the world end up so quickly in this economic abyss?
This was Merkel’s vision of a new Germany. Merkel is the one who made the decision ten years ago to steer Germany away from fossil fuels and nuclear power and “go green”. His crusade for green energy, which environmentalists held up as a model for the world, nearly bankrupted Germany’s manufacturing economy until the entire solar and wind power debacle was scuttled. (Unfortunately, Biden apparently never received that memo.)
It was Merkel’s decision, against the advice of then-President Donald Trump, to build the Nord Stream pipeline. When Trump wisely warned in 2018 that Germans would miss the day they became overly dependent on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s energy, Merkel’s administration openly scoffed.
Putin is not the only one getting rich from Merkel’s blunders. She brokered trade deals with China, blatantly undermining Trump’s strategy of economically isolating the threat from Beijing. She chose to align Germany with rogue and militaristic regimes in Russia, China and Iran. This helped undermine NATO’s and Germany’s close ties with the United States after World War II.
She refused to fork out the 4% of GDP Germany owed NATO for the defense of Europe, and she bristled when Trump demanded it. Perhaps if the Germans and Europeans had heeded Trump’s advice, the Ukraine debacle would not have happened.
The US media, all the while Merkel steered Germany off a green energy cliff, took Merkel’s side in her open dispute with Trump. Susan Glasser of New Yorker sniffed in 2018 that Trump had “made war on Merkel and Europe” and that NATO countries were “running out of patience with Trump.”
This statement makes no sense today, given the collapse of the Euro and the economic slowdown across the continent.
Even as an environmentalist, the savior of Europe was a flop. Merkel tied German industries to expensive and unreliable “renewable” energy by rejecting natural gas and shutting down nuclear power plants. The experiment failed miserably, and now Germany is dramatically increasing the share of its electricity that comes from burning coal. This is not a strategy to stop climate change.
Under Merkel’s weak leadership, the euro was supposed to soon replace the dollar as the global currency. Instead, the euro is a collapsing currency. Even the Russian ruble is stronger.
Merkelism can be summarized as a strategy of condescending with enemies and alienating allies. Now, with a 20/20 hindsight, it is clear that the legacy of Merkelism is a chaotic world and a diminished Germany.
It turns out that peace through weakness is a failed national and economic security strategy. If Merkel was the “Chancellor of the Free World”, why isn’t the world today safer?
It’s not cleaner.
It’s not freer.
And it’s not a more prosperous place.
In short, every major decision she made regarding world affairs made the world more dangerous, less free, and less prosperous. She was to Germany what Biden was to the United States – a complete and dismal failure.
Hopefully we’ll figure it out faster than the Germans.