Angela Merkel’s values

Written By: - Date published: 8:00 am, November 19th, 2016 - 30 comments
Categories: Europe, International, us politics - Tags: ,

angela-merkel

You could not find a more sober, rational, and clear minded leader than Germany’s Angela Merkel. She alone has opened the doors of Germany to Syrian refugees, and willingly paid the political price for it. So her message of congratulations to Donald Trump upon winning the US election was quite different from most he received. It went like this:

Germany and America are bound by their values; democracy, freedom, the respect for the law, and the dignity of human beings, independent of their origin, skin colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or political conviction. On the basis of these values, I offer the future President of the United States, Donald Trump, close cooperation.”

Clearly, maintaining a good relationship with Germany – and by implication all of Europe – required some pretty basic values to be upheld. Whether the US under Trump’s leadership remains committed to these values remains to be seen. But Germany remains committed to the same values that America taught it after World War 2. Merkel is also underscoring the choice that the new president has in putting the North Atlantic alliance in question.

We are about to find out whether Angela Merkel – sober, conservative, principled, immigrant-supporting Angela Merkel – is now the primary world elected leader in sustaining such values.

It’s also President Obama’s final tour of Europe coming up. Omaba and Merkel now appear – in comparison to the leaders that are now emerging – like two of the last principled elected leaders standing. There are plenty of differences. They include Germany refusing to back NATO intervention in Libya a few years ago. Call that Germany partly vindicated. Then there was U.S. NSA surveillance of Angela Merkel’s own phone. Not good ground for a lasting compact.

But Russia has focused them together. Despite Russia interfering repeatedly in the domestic politics of Western countries, testing the limits of NATO, advancing proxy troops into the Ukraine and Georgia to stop further EU member expansion, and essentially taking over Syria’s government, neither European nor Transatlantic unity faltered. The great confrontation Putin expected, didn’t occur. US and EU responses and sanctions remains in lock-step.

Germany also joined the US led coalition against the Islamic State as early as September 2014. It also provided arms and equipment to Kurdish fighters, but also sent troops to Turkey’s border. Merkel responded to the mounting wave of European terrorist attacks at source, despite massive temptation and pressure for greater martial authority within Germany.

She also kept Germany open to refuges from mid 2015. Merkel defended this as a moral obligation, when most world and EU countries put up walls fast.

Neither Merkel nor Obama are idealists. But both have acted towards long term goals. Since the UK is exiting shortly, Germany is well and truly the leader of Europe. Germany under Merkel will remain greater in its moral authority than its middle-power status suggest, in the new world we face. I hope she is not the last.

30 comments on “Angela Merkel’s values”

  1. One Two 1

    To, ‘appear’…

    Appearances can be deceiving

    This article is full of ‘appearance’!

  2. Siobhan 2

    Interested to hear your views on Merkels ‘moral authority’ in relation to her treatment of Greece and her long term goals (other than keeping the German Banks afloat, of course).

    • Ad 2.1

      Run the counterfactual for me.

    • AB 2.2

      Yes.
      To say that you believe in “the dignity of human beings, independent of their origin, skin colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or political conviction” while supporting an economic ideology that appears to totally disregard that dignity seems strangely schizophrenic (or dishonest).
      I think it might best be called a “politically correct speech act” that is essentially meaningless

  3. Draco T Bastard 3

    Clearly, maintaining a good relationship with Germany – and by implication all of Europe – required some pretty basic values to be upheld. Whether the US under Trump’s leadership remains committed to these values remains to be seen.

    So far it isn’t:

    In the week following Donald Trump’s stunning presidential victory, Republicans elected to lower-level offices across the nation have pushed forward some radically right-wing legislation, including a total ban on abortions and the sanctioning of protest as “economic terrorism.”

    So, yeah, the US has gone full on fascist. But we shouldn’t be surprised – that’s what the far-right-wing have wanted for a long time.

  4. mikesh 4

    A good article on the whole, but I think you are doing Putin an injustice. Putin may have expected a confrontation in instances you quote, but I’m pretty sure he was not seeking one; or “testing the limits of NATO”.

    • Ad 4.1

      Depends which side you view it from.

      As a social Democrat, I don’t view it from putin’s side.

      Anytime you see EU troops rolling into Ukraine or Georgia, let me know.

      • mikesh 4.1.1

        “Anytime you see EU troops rolling into Ukraine or Georgia, let me know.”

        I thought Georgia WAS part of the EU these days. But I don’t think they’ll be invading South Ossetia again any time soon. Not with Russia around to defend the latter’s independence. As for Ukraine, who would decry anyone helping out Russian speaking Ukrainians in defending themselves against the fascist, racist and illegal government’s attacks.

        • Ad 4.1.1.1

          Can you cite when Georgia became a member? It would surprise me.

          On your second point, you might want to better ask the Ukrainians whether they wanted to be invaded by Russia again.

          • mikesh 4.1.1.1.1

            Georgia may not be part of the EU, but it’s pro West.
            If Russia had wanted to invade Ukraine, the country would, by now, be once again part of Russia. But why would they bother. Ownership of Ukraine would be an economic liability. Russia is only interested in protecting Russian speaking Ukranians from the country’s fascist government.

  5. Zed 5

    Utter nonsense and on so many levels:

    1. definition of a refugee does not apply to so-called Syrian refugees:

    “A person who owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it..”….. United Nations High Commission for Refugees.

    Actually, according to the above UNHCR definition; ISIS can be classified as ‘refugees’ if they escape Syria and its ‘brutal’ regime

    2. By announcing that those who make it to Germany will not be turned away; Merkel has purposefully encouraged people to make the dangerous crossing to the southern shores of Europe risking their lives and the lives of their children; all those who drown -including the Kurdish child Alan- are victims of a deranged woman who is not only responsible for their deaths, but for the yet-to-come disastrous results of the social engineering of German society.

    • Anne 5.1

      Merkel has purposefully encouraged people to make the dangerous crossing to the southern shores of Europe risking their lives and the lives of their children; all those who drown -including the Kurdish child Alan-are victims of a deranged woman who is not only responsible for their deaths, but for the yet-to-come disastrous results of the social engineering of German society.

      Utter piffle. If that is what you believe then YOU are the one who is deranged.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 5.2

      Anne’s right:: you are twisted by bile and hate.

    • Ad 5.3

      It’s a rich people having their doors forced open by policy to poor people.

      All good.

  6. pat 6

    ” But Germany remains committed to the same values that America taught it after World War 2. Merkel is also underscoring the choice that the new president has in putting the North Atlantic alliance in question.”

    pedantic perhaps, but Merkel spent her formative years in communist GDR and was only “educated” to American values in a reunified Germany, age 35…..suspect her outlook has much more to do with her personal qualities and the influence of her (religious) Minister father and upbringing…..which may also be problematic when dealing with Trump.

    • Ad 6.1

      I said ‘Germany’ not ‘Merkel’in that sentence.

      • pat 6.1.1

        indeed you did…..which Germany?the Germany of AfD?…. and which America? …the US of Trump?

        “You could not find a more sober, rational, and clear minded leader than Germany’s Angela Merkel. SHE ALONE (my caps) has opened the doors of Germany to Syrian refugees, and willingly paid the political price for it.”

        • Ad 6.1.1.1

          All, of course.
          Was and now is one.

          Merkel gets societal rebuilds as her parents lived through one, and she was brought up through both Cold War and re-unification. That’s how her values were tempered.

          It’s her leadership about refugees in Germany, alone, tha makes her leadership values so clear.

          • pat 6.1.1.1.1

            Merkel does indeed appear to have many positive attributes as a leader, but to suggest this equates to a national commonality of purpose /culture with a diverse US is stretching it IMO.

            Merkel would not have been able to implement the refugee policy without sufficient support from others and on the basis of national interest just as she was unable to overrule Schaeuble’s (and Bundesbank) plan for Greece.National interest (often erroneously) comes first, second and always.

            The best you can say is it was helpful that the leaders of two important international players had a good personal relationship…..a situation that may well have now changed.

            • Incognito 6.1.1.1.1.1

              Very good comment, thank you.

            • Ad 6.1.1.1.1.2

              With Obama gone and Trump in, Brexit proceeding, Merkel on a probable final term, the left dying or splitting worldwide, you will look back at these centrist but principled figures in two years and see them as beacons of idealism compared to what now awaits us.

  7. Benby 7


    Someone please tell bloggers whst corruption looks like

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