02 May 2021 ~ 1 Comentario

Angela Merkel, the Chancellor Who Was Not a Model

By Carlos Alberto Montaner

Angela Merkel has the best academic mind in the global political universe. She holds a PhD in Quantum Physics from the University of Leipzig. She graduated with a thesis called “Influence of the spatial correlation of the biomolecular reaction rate of elemental reactions in dense media.” Faced with that title, I feel totally lost.

Goethe and Friedrich Nietzsche went to that university. When she graduated in 1986, her Alma Mater was called “Karl Marx,” a name it carried from 1953 to 1991. When the Berliners brought down the Wall and the communist madness ended, it was renamed “University of Leipzig.” Fortunately, the institution was only a victim of “nominalism,” that superstitious mania that ‘revolutionaries’ have of changing the names of squares, streets and buildings that have a certain importance. The French revolutionaries in the 18th and 19th centuries did more; they changed the names of the months.

In 2018 Angela Merkel announced that her fourth term, which ends in 2021, would be her last. She is keeping her promise. So far, she has left the leadership of the CPU, the Christian Democratic Party. At the head of the party is Armin Laschet, a centrist, as was Mrs. Merkel, a person far from any political extremism, which led her, at the time, to clash with Donald Trump.

When, under normal circumstances, voters in any country are asked to show their preferences on a table where the extreme left is designated with the number 1, and the extreme right with the number 10, the vast majority are between 4 and 7, that is, in the center. Sometimes center-left and sometimes center-right, but in the center of the political spectrum.

Moderation is vital. Germany is the most important country in Europe. The country that, with just over 83 million inhabitants, has the largest population. Although its territory (smaller than the American state of Montana) is substantially smaller than that of Spain or France, it is the country that exports the most. The one that innovates the most. The one who researches the most. (Few people know that the American university reform of the 19th century followed the German model, not the British one.) It is, therefore, the head of the European Union, along with France.

But the far right and the far left threaten the very existence of the European Union. Why? Because both coincide in anti-Europeanism, protectionism and anti-globalization. What seemed like a French rarity with Jean-Marie Le Pen, later continued by his daughter “Marine” Le Pen, has multiplied and consolidated in Matteo Salvini’s Northern League, in the “Alternative for Germany” and, among others, the Hungarian “Fidesz” of Viktor Orban, who began as a young man following moderate liberal principles and then moved to the extreme right due to his rejection of immigrants from Syria.

Meanwhile, the ultra-left supports the socialists in Portugal, Spain, and Finland, and their parliamentarians support the Swedish and Danish governments, but they have less weight and energy than the far-right formations that are growing exponentially.

This phenomenon stopped in Angela Merkel’s Germany, perhaps because of the unwavering honesty of the retiring Chancellor. Knowing that she lives in the same apartment as always, and that she doesn’t even have a domestic service because she says she doesn’t need it, pleases the Germans. On one occasion, a journalist asked the Chancellor why she wore the same dress at different ceremonies. Amazed, Merkel looked at her and replied, “Because I am not a model, but a Chancellor.” For answers like this the Germans applaud her and love her.

One Response to “Angela Merkel, the Chancellor Who Was Not a Model”

  1. Rita Lorenzo 3 May 2021 at 2:30 am Permalink

    Angela Merkel will be missed for ther very same reasons you mention in your writing.
    Now that we begin anew with President Biden at the helm of this divided nation, having a centrist leader in Germany could make a great difference in our accomplishments in Europe.
    Nonetheless, we have all been blessed to have had her on our side during the most tumultuous times our country has ever faced.
    Having had a self- centered child in charge of our republic was somehow kept in check by leaders like Merkel and Macron.

    Thank you.

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