Geopolitical Notes From India
M D Nalapat
EMPIRICAL evidence shows that any party or individual assisting German Chancellor Angela Merkel loses out very soon, whether they be in her own party or outside. The Social Democratic Party lost a quarter of its potential vote share because its leader, Martin Shultz, seemed to be ambivalent about joining hands with the CDU-CSU after the polls. These were SPD supporters who did not under any circumstances wish to see Angela Merkel remain as Chancellor, even with Shultz as her deputy, and either abstained from voting or went over to the Left Party or to the Green Party. While the Left has not been offered a role in any future Merkel-led coalition, the leaders of the Green Party seem to be willing to exchange their principles for ministerships and a chance at governmental patronage for the first time since their formation.
This will dismay the many supporters who regard the CDU-CSU and especially Merkel as toxic, and almost certainly assures the Greens a decline in their vote share by the time the next elections roll by. The Free Democratic Party (FDP) paid substantially for its earlier role of being a tail of the CDU-CSU, but so strong is the pull of ministerial office (including the Foreign Ministry) in a context where German foreign policy (including that related to the European Union) is decided only by Chancellor Merkel and those who could be expected to follow her lead in such matters.
As for the SPD, the hunger of Martin Shultz for the privileges of office will get met through his becoming the Leader of the Opposition, although in reality the opposition to Angela Merkel will come from the Left Party and the Alternative for Germany (AfD). Despite months of demonisation of the party by the corporate-controlled media in Germany, the party broke through the 5% barrier with ease, and seems set to overtake the CDU in voter support, especially if Merkel remains in charge. The German chancellor cannot admit to her mistakes, and hence is likely to double down on them, including the opening of the door to citizenship or at the least residency to up to four million family members of the million refugees from North Africa and the Middle East that were admitted into Germany during the past three years, in the expectation by her backers that this would win for Chancellor Merkel the Nobel Peace Prize, no matter what the consequences for the population of Germany.
In fact, the UK and France ought to have admitted such a large number rather than Germany, for the reason that it was Paris and London (together with the Clinton supporters within the Obama administration) who led the implementation by NATO of the policies which led to the refugee exodus President Donald Trump appears to be getting increasingly distant from the views expressed by him on the 2016 campaign trail. He has shed his pre-election adoption of geopolitical stances of visionaries such as Franklin Delano Roosevelt and instead embraced the fossilised Euro-centric views of the Clinton and Bush White House years. It was dismaying to watch Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy hark back to the years of Spanish colonisation of South America and speak almost as the overlord of Venezuela, to approving bursts of comment from President Trump.
Certainly Nicholas Maduro is not the most suitable leader for that country, but to seek to roll back the social progress that was made under Hugo Chavez in the manner desired by Rajoy is to anchor policies to a past that has no chance of returning. Whether it be in Mexico or in Venezuela or in several other South American countries, the monopoly of money and political power in the hands of the Euro-elite are dissolving, although this seems to have escaped the attention of the Trump administration. President Trump was presumably not referring to the mass murder of indigenous tribes and the sadistic exploitation of human populations by Spanish conquistadors, when he spoke about the glories of Spanish history side by side with Rajoy, who leads a country that is bankrupt and kept fiscally alive only by the IMF and by unwary investors from the Middle East and East Asia.
The country has changed since the 1930s, and the leaders of the AfD are nowhere close in mindsets to what the Nazis were. Indeed, the head of the party has a live-in relationship with a person of the same sex as herself, and that too, from Sri Lanka and not from Germany or from the Nordic countries, which would have been the case had she been a racist. Demonizing the AfG is having diminishing returns, and that party is likely to grow further, now that its bete noire (Merkel) has been given another chance at office because of the ineptitude and uninspiring qualities of the Social Democratic Party leadership. Both the FDP as well as the Green Party are certain to lose popularity, once they accept ministerial positions in the CDU-CSU government. The Green Party and the FDP will only be supporting players, unable to change the direction of policy while being held responsible by the electorate for the failures of Chancellor Merkel.
In contrast, those opposing her will rise, including the SPD, now that it has made ir clear that it will not join hands with the CDU-CSU, a stance that ought to have been made equally explicit before the polls but was not, because of the hunger for office of some SPD leaders.Hopefully, the party base will assert itself over its presently weak leadership, and ensure that the party returns to policies that are more in tune with its instincts than was the case during the years spent as the junior partner of the CDU-CSU. Chancellor Merkel will not only have her majority in the Bundestag dependent on the Green Party, but will face opposition not only from the left (Der Linke and SPD) but – for the first time – the right as well. The AfD will make up in intensity what it lacks in numbers, and can be relied upon to figure prominently in newspaper headlines, as befits a party on the way up.
—The writer is Vice-Chair, Manipal Advanced Research Group, UNESCO Peace Chair & Professor of Geopolitics, Manipal University, Haryana State, India.
Geopolitical Notes From India