In her political career to date, Angela Merkel has demonstrated a distinct sense of power, which has enabled her to outmaneuver domestic political opponents. It has also successfully stood up to foreign political opponents – even egomaniacal autocrats. The fact that Trump is gunning for them has to do with these qualities he begrudges (strong) women. The chancellor has a superior mind and the ability to evaluate political processes from their presumed end. This worked blindingly well until the chancellor abandoned this rationality and gave free rein to her emotions: in the memorable September 2015, when she opened the country's borders to the stream of refugees marching in via the Balkan route.
Angela Merkel claimed a moral emergency for this short-term surrender of state sovereignty – securing the national border is a core of sovereignty: "Should we have left the people in the wretched conditions at the Budapest train station?" – That's about how she justified her gesture of helpfulness, which then led to the "welcome culture" whose images went around the world: Countless volunteers flocked to the train stations and waved to the refugees; huge depots of clothes and toys were set up; teachers came out of retirement to give language lessons to the refugees. One felt transported to the paradisiacal state that Heinrich von Kleist depicts in his novella "The Earthquake of Chili": "…As if it had been the valley of Eden…As if the general misfortune had made everything that had escaped it into a family". Kleist uses here the subjunctive irrealis, which indicates that everything is only a fiction, which would soon be caught up by the merciless reality. How the novella ends is known. Even from the welcoming culture only the "as if" remained.
No one, except for a few experienced officials in the security agencies, gave much thought in the fall of 2015 to the dangers that lay dormant in the influx of a million people from civil war countries like Iraq, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Tunisia. The fact that the refugees also came from countries where the "Islamic State" still controlled large territories and its recruiting power was still unbroken was not considered. It could have served as a warning that more than 900 young Muslims from Germany had gone to Syria to support the "IS".
The euphoric mood changed when terrorist attacks were carried out in Paris, Brussels, Nice, London, Barcelona and Berlin, killing hundreds of people. Now it became clear that terrorists had also infiltrated the European Union, ready to carry the "holy war" against the "infidels" into the centers of Western way of life. Many "sleepers" felt animated by the attacks and in turn carried out attacks, in the absence of firearms and bombs mostly with rented trucks. Already in the first year after the influx of refugees, crime increased significantly. The number of shopliftings, robberies and violent crimes – often committed by refugees against refugees – increased significantly. The increase in "crimes against sexual self-determination," i.E., sexual assault and rape – often with fatal outcomes for the women and girls – was striking. It became increasingly clear that refugees from Muslim countries also brought with them their cultural "baggage," which included disrespect for women. The New Year's Eve in Cologne was the warning sign for a new threat situation, whose victims are the women in our country until today.
Of course, Angela Merkel did not want all this. It is strange, however, that no official from the security authorities, no prominent interior politician from the CDU, who should have known better, spoke out in warning. Only when the AfD achieved dreamlike results in state elections did concern stir in the two governing parties, the CDU and SPD. One could certainly get the impression that they were more concerned about the lost votes than about the fears of the population. The SPD even managed to completely omit the most controversial issue – the refugee crisis – from the 2017 federal election campaign. Thus, the field was left to the demagogues of the AfD, who used the opportunity to enter the German Bundestag.
It is fair to say that the failures since the refugee influx, especially the shortcomings in the registration, identification and expulsion of migrants not eligible for asylum, have severely shaken citizens' trust in government and the state. Renate Köcher, head of the "Institut für Demoskopie Allensbach" (Allensbach Institute for Public Opinion Polls), draws the following conclusions in the FAZ of 18 September. 07. In 2018, a worrying conclusion: "The migration issue has become the epitome of state impotence".
The damage in the field of political representation is also enormous. The chancellor has contributed to fragmenting the party system, which has been stable for years, in a similar way to what we already know from other European countries. The CDU is only able to retain 30 percent of voters, and the SPD has sunk to levels that seriously call into question its status as a popular party. The state's failure in refugee management and internal security has contributed to the AfD, which before the refugee crisis was a splinter party with only 3 percent approval, becoming the strongest opposition party in parliament. One may speak of "European normality," as some political scientists do. It is not pleasing because the AfD is poisoning the social climate with its agitation that touches on racism.
Germany's handling of the refugee influx has also caused great damage in Europe. If the Federal Republic of Germany had decided to accept the refugees, most of whom only wanted to come to Germany anyway, in our country had it not been for the damage done to the European house. The chancellor, however, prevailed on the European Commission to distribute incoming refugees among all European Union countries according to a distribution key. This ignited a fierce dispute between the Commission and the countries unwilling to accept refugees, especially those of the Visegrád group (Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia), which continues to this day. The governments of these countries persistently refuse to accept refugees from Islamic states because they fear for the cultural identity of their nations. The people are on the side of the heads of state, as the results of the elections in the four countries show. The refugee issue touches on the primal fears of people who – unfamiliar with a multicultural society – do not want to accept alienation and the loss of their homeland. The fear of foreigners is so great that the majority of people even accept the dismantling of the rule of law by Orban and Kaczynski, because they see in the "strong leader" at the head of state the best guarantee for steadfastness in the face of the EU Commission. Angela Merkel's reputation in the Eastern European states has sunk to a low point. They accuse her of a "moral imperialism" that again calls into question their right to self-determination, which they finally wanted to enjoy after the collapse of the communist empire. It is one of the tragic moments in Angela Merkel's political career that the woman who steered Europe so successfully through the euro crisis will go down in history as the one who divided Europe in a way previously unimaginable. British political scientists believe that the Brexit would not have been possible without Angela Merkel's refugee policy. The rise of right-wing populist parties across Europe must also be added to this negative account.
Sometimes the chancellor throws her political wisdom overboard in ways that are difficult to comprehend. It stubbornly refuses to see the Russian Nordstream 2 gas pipeline project as a geopolitical maneuver on the part of Vladimir Putin. She downplays it as a "purely economic project," which not only irritates the states affected by it, such as Poland, Slovakia and Ukraine, but causes all Kremlin cognoscenti to shake their heads. Gazprom is a semi-public energy company, it owns the export monopoly for Russian gas and is the Kremlin's money printing machine. Why Angela Merkel recently urged Putin not to stop gas transport through Ukraine after the pipeline was completed? Should the German government have intervened with the Russian president in favor of Ukraine if it was a purely economic project between companies? Again, the Chancellor's ill-advised policies have contributed to the divisiveness of European neighbors. In a time in which the American president is eager to dismantle alliances such as NATO and the EU, the solidarity of the European states should be the top priority for Germany.
If a country is committed to refugees in the way Germany has been since 2015, the question must be allowed whether the money spent has been used sensibly in the sense of the intended humanity. I don't even want to talk about a benefit for Germany in this project, which was born out of charity. Migration researchers have made a simple calculation: What could have been done with the 100 billion spent so far on integrating refugees to effectively help people in their countries of origin? Development aid spending in the 2017 federal budget was 8.5 billion euros. You don't need to be an arithmetician to realize that the money spent on integrating refugees in Germany would have been more usefully applied if it had been used to promote the economic development of the countries of origin. One could have built countless schools, hospitals, social welfare centers, training centers for apprentices, etc., but one would not have done so. Can build. This would also have corrected the social Darwinist imbalance that lies in the fact that we are now alimenting the assertive young men who have made the leap to Europe, but not the poor and needy, especially women and children, who have been left behind in misery.
The refugee policy of Chancellor Angela Merkel is a political lesson about the relationship between politics and morality. That moral imprints (they can also be Christian) serve politicians as an inner compass should not be questioned by anyone. But when it comes to protecting and increasing the well-being of the state that has been entrusted to one through elective office, a sober, realistic policy of interests should be in the foreground. It is the highest duty of statesmen and stateswomen to act responsibly and ethically.