The terrorist attack in Berlin that occurred on December 19 has confirmed that both the EU and US political circles were absolutely right in perceiving Angela Merkel as a colossus that is standing on clay legs, and that “colossus” is about to collapse at any given moment.
As the terrorist attack in Berlin made clear, such tragedies only serve to expose Merkel’s vulnerabilities. Even while police were still inspecting the truck that mowed through a crowded Christmas market, killing 12 people and leaving many more injured, her rivals were piling the blame at the Chancellor’s feet and denouncing her alleged openness toward refugees for effectively importing terrorism. There was not much that Merkel could do to evade such attacks especially after police identified the suspect as a migrant, and ISIS claimed that one of its “soldiers” had carried out the attack.
While Berlin was busy fighting a sanction war against Moscow, Angela Merkel was reluctant to make any steps to take down international terrorism that continues to threaten the European Union. There’s no doubt that such policies affected the performance of the German intelligence services that missed the attack. According to the former State Secretary of the Minister of Defence of Germany, Willy Wimmer, the failure of the German authorities to take measures to prevent acts of terrorism in Europe created preconditions for the Berlin tragedy.
Merkel’s critics say that under her authority Germany stayed away from any counter-terrorism actions, limiting its commitment to the fight against international terrorism by providing six Tornado reconnaissance jets to the US-led coalition operating in Syria, and that was pretty much it. At the same time, Merkel has repeatedly subjected the Russian operation in Syria to harsh criticism, even though this operation is yielding real results, not just imagined ones.
All this resulted in a massive anti-Merkel public campaign being launched in Germany, with both the political forces, journalists and civil activists urging Merkel to leave.
As it’s been noted by the Time, it had been her decision to let hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees apply for asylum in Germany last year after fleeing the conflict zones of Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Many of them came without so much as a passport to help police identify who they are and where they came from. And a few arrived in Germany with terrorist intent or were quickly radicalized, such as the Pakistani teenager who wounded five people with an axe and a knife in the town of Wuerzburg in mid-July, or the 27-year-old Syrian who set off a bomb outside a bar in Ansbach, wounding more than a dozen people the following week. Both of those attackers used Germany’s openness toward refugees to enter the country. And both of them claimed allegiance to ISIS after they arrived.
When Merkel accepted the Christian Democratic Union nomination earlier this month to run for another term, she promised the party members that she would never allow last year’s influx of asylum seekers to happen again. She also pulled a page from the anti-Islamic playbook of her rivals in the AfD by pledging to impose a ban, “whenever legally possible,” on Muslim women fully covering their faces in public. But such belated pandering to the nativists within her coalition did not exactly make for an electrifying platform.
But the German Counselor is not just losing support within the country, but at the international stage too. As it’s been noted by the Foreign Policy journal, a sort of a consensus has emerged among foreign-policy elites that the departure from the international stage of her former supporters Angela Merkel as the only person capable of upholding the tenets of the global liberal order. The last hope for the free world, they suggest, rests on Merkel’s reelection in the fall of 2017. Those hopes are dangerously misguided. The urge of giving Merkel the mantle of moral leadership is based on a misreading of her past eleven years in office.
The blind and mindless following of the American dictates, the blatant disregard of economic and socio-cultural interests of the German population, and the stubborn continuation of the “suicidal” migration policies along with the reluctance to fight international terrorism, those are Merkel’s ingredients for a political failure. As it’s been recently suggested by a number of international experts, Europe will remain a fading power that many can easily ignore, if it remains under Merkel’s misguided leadership.
Grete Mautner is an indepenent researcher and journalist from Germany, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”