Germany’s Political Crisis

Tim Sloan/AFP/Getty Images

Germany’s Political Crisis

Germany’s governing coalition is caught in a crisis that may lead to a dramatic change in the form and style of governance in Europe’s most powerful nation.

In a metaphor for the state of her governing coalition, Chancellor Merkel was recently forced to change offices within what has been described as Berlin’s “ramshackle” Chancellery building. “A former site manager told [Der Tagesspiegel] the enormous building is ‘full of cracks’” (The Local,January 17). A more apt description of Merkel’s own government could hardly be imagined.

Following the German election on September 27 last year, the Trumpet forecast that Chancellor Merkel would face difficulty on two fronts: first, the incompatible personalities and ideologies of her vice chancellor, Guido Westerwelle, and Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg; and second, Germany’s deep-seated economic challenges and the war in Afghanistan.

Barely three months into its shaky existence, Chancellor Merkel’s coalition government is breaking apart. Crisis looms for the chancellor. Party members bicker within a rising stream of criticism over Merkel’s hands-off style of coalition leadership. The whole scenario is, as predicted, exacerbated by the huge ideological disparity between her vice chancellor, Westerwelle, and prominent minister of defense, Guttenberg.

Added to this is Germany’s insecure financial state and a strong euro hitting Germany’s export-based economy hard amid deep party divisions on tax policy. Then there’s the war in Afghanistan, with the German military elites push for the Bundeswehr’s role to be more clearly and assertively defined meeting resistance from Merkel’s coalition partner, the Free Democratic Party (fdp).

As Chancellor Merkel fights to preserve her political influence, one source opined, “The more her status as chancellor wanes, the more dangerous things will get for Merkel. Her rivals haven’t given up. They’re just waiting in the wings” (Berliner Zeitung, January 11). Seizing on the chancellor’s poor showing in recent poll ratings, the Telegraph ran an article under the headline, “Most Germans are unhappy with Merkel.” “A majority of Germans see Chancellor Angela Merkel as a weak leader, a poll has suggested, as a bitter row over tax cuts and fiscal discipline in Europe’s biggest economy rocked her ruling coalition,” it said (January 15).

The Chancellery has even had to deny rumors of Merkel actually quitting office. “Rumors about Merkel’s resignation are just pulled out of thin air,” government spokesman Christoph Steegmans explained (Reuters, January 15). Reuters reported that it was unclear where the rumors originated. But, as the old saying goes, where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

These problems will dog Angela Merkel during what increasingly appears to be the waning days of her leadership. Her first term in office was in essence blessed more for a whole raft of propitious coincidences that played to her favor, than for any real strength of distinctive leadership ability. The chancellor now faces the most formidable test of her political career as forces that have largely hidden behind the scenes now seize the moment of a Germany in crisis to begin to assert their influence.

These forces are significantly Roman Catholic, elitist and strongly nationalistic, committed to propelling Germany forward into a hegemonic imperialist mode, leading the European Union into a globally dominant role.

Our readers will be well acquainted with the Trumpet’s persistent forecasting that a coming crisis in Germany will cause a change of mindset not only within German politics, but also within the whole German nation. Under crisis, Germany, since unification under Bismarck, always reverts to type. It did so in 1871, in 1914 and, most recently, in the 1930s. Perceptive historians recognize the origins of today’s Germany in the ancient nation of Assyria. They can track the habitual rise, under certain conditions, of the spirit of nationalism and militarism—a spirit deeply embedded in the German psyche—throughout the history of these powerful people from the time of ancient Nineveh and the Assyrian empire on through that nation’s dominance of the various resurrections of the Holy Roman Empire. Our booklet Germany and the Holy Roman Empire summarizes this history.

So great is the crisis of leadership in the German government that the chancellor called a behind-closed-doors meeting with her coalition leaders for Sunday, January 17.

Some months before last year’s federal election in Germany, our editor in chief told our audience to “watch the September 27 election this year in Germany. It could very well produce the political leader of the Holy Roman Empire—and through devious means. The Bible prophesies that this man will come to power with deceit and flatteries.”

Should Germany’s present political crisis result in the coalition government becoming literally unworkable, it could destroy Angela Merkel’s chancellorship and result in representation to the German president, Horst Kohler, to appoint a leader to mind the governance of the country till an alternative government can be elected. Such a situation would lend itself to presidential appointment of the only bright and shining political star in Germany, the very man the Trumpethas urged its readers to watch, Germany’s most popular politician: Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, baron of the Holy Roman Empire.

There is something else to watch in the midst of Germany’s current political crisis: the Christian Democratic Union’s (cdu’s) sister party, the Bavarian Christian Socialist Union (csu). The junior partner of the cdu/csu alliance, the csu has played mediator in numerous spats between the cdu and fdp since Merkel cobbled this unwieldy coalition together. After Edmund Stoiber stepped down as party leader in 2007, csu popularity slumped 25 percent, with the party exhibiting its worst result ever in the 2008 Bavarian state election. The party even had to bring back Stoiber—himself being far from a spent force, politically—to the hustings to rev up support just prior to that election.

The csu is currently governing Bavaria in coalition with the fdp, an uncomfortable partnership. Should support for the csu continue to wane in Bavaria—the traditional base of Germany’s right-wing Roman Catholic support—we may yet see another leadership change at the head of the party. There are whispers that the Bavarian Baron Guttenberg would jump at the offer. Both Stoiber and his mentor, Franz Josef Strauss, separately held the csu leadership while concurrently fulfilling federal ministerial portfolios.

As our editor in chief has highlighted in the February edition of the Trumpet magazine, Guttenberg is the man to watch in Germany as the vacuum for real leadership of the imperialist European Union continues in the wake of the recent appointment of a political non-entity as its president. Ever since the nation of Germany was united under Bismarck, history has shown that whoever emerges as the dominant leader in Germany will, in turn, dominate European politics.

The admonition to watch Guttenberg’s rising star can only be strengthened in the wake of Germany’s current political crisis as Chancellor Merkel’s star wanes. We repeat Gerald Flurry’s admonition: Continue to watch Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, baron of the Holy Roman Empire!