After Trumps victory, which propelled political science into a considerable methodological crisis, Angela Merkel congratulated Trump raising an exhorting finger.
“Germany and America are connected by values of democracy, freedom and respect for the law and the dignity of man, independent of origin, skin color, religion, gender, sexual orientation or political views,” she said in a statement, adding: “I offer the next President of the United States close cooperation on the basis of these values.” (NYT)
Following an old pattern of routine antipatriotism of the left, most critiques of her snotnosed approach were pointing at history, not at the presence. Merkel „as a German“ should shut up, especially on November 9th. But wouldn’t it be a huge progress, if Germany had indeed turned into a true bulwark of anti-fascism, wagin war on genocidal regimes, and now teaching a USA gone proto-fascist? The problem is not Angela Merkel being a German chancellor, but her hypocrisy, her double standards, her likeness of Trump.
While being celebrated by the New York Times as some sort of modern Mother Therese, the real Merkel acts as a the benign face of the proto-genocidal European policy. Since the 1990’s she has been taking part in shaping and planning the conservative agenda towards refugees. Only for a very short time of her reign and only under tremendous public pressure she has finally agreed to allow for the unavoidable and only legal option: not pushing back some hundreds of thousand refugees coming through Austria, Italy and Hungary. At that time, any other measure would have been a gross violation of many human rights, it would have been simply illegal or unfeasible. Adhering to the „Drittstaatenregelung“ would have crashed the relations with Italy, Greece and Spain and it would not have reduced the total number of refugees.
But as soon as public sympathy for refugees waned, as soon as the number „one million“ loomed, as soon as some criminal offenders attacked some women in cologne, Merkel hastily dropped any support for refugees. Hungary and Bulgaria shut their borders with barbed wire and Merkel condoned. Boats kept capsizing, killing thousands in the past months, but Europeans got used to it – again. The flow of refugees has ceased, especially after the deal with Turkey. There is no way left into Europe than boats to Italy. But still the New York Times treats Merkel like a saint, „letting the refugees in“ – a forged picture, playing in the hands of the Trumpist and Putinist right-wing competitors of Merkel, the CSU, the AFD and PEGIDA.
Merkels policy has not only returned to what it has been for years – a cynical decimation campaign, a death race through the mediterranean imposed on any asylum seeker. Underhand it also aggravated the status of asylum seekers, pushing back refugees even to Afghanistan, deporting even traumatized and suicidal patients, pushing back Roma. Her party-associate Horst Seehofer, representing the extremist fringe of the Bavarian conservatives, keeps insisting on a limit, the „Obergrenze“. This is just another term for being prepared to commit outright genocide against refugees, once a certain number is reached – i.e. letting undetermined numbers starve in the desert or drowning them in the Mediterranean sea, as it has been the accepted standard of european policy for decades. Most conservatives in Europe set the bar of this limit at „some thousand“ humans seeking asylum, others imagine, they could take some hundred or no refugees at all and many dream of getting rid even of their immigrant citizens.
If some conclude that Trumps victory will boost Europes lunatic fringe, they paint a rosy past indeed. The opposite is true: Trump is the effect of decades of surging right-wing movements in Europe and the intellectual and diplomatic agony of the European Union. There is no reason to blame future efforts of fascist parties on Trump and „the Americans“. Europe didn’t want to intervene, it didn’t want the refugees,it didn’t want effective development aid. All it wanted and got, was a wall around Europe and fat profits from exploiting nature and labour in countries beyond that wall. Now everyone blames Trump for outlandish claims: a wall, deportations, letting others pay for wars – in short: the essence of European policy in the past.
Merkel and her even more extremist party associates like Seehofer, are in no way different from Trump once refugees are concerned. They lie, they promise economic growth to Europes southern countries, they can’t stop climate change and they haven’t reduced their ecological footprint – Germany is still importing more than half of its wood and most of its paper, the European biofuel-boom has ravaged Indonesias rainforests for palmoil. There is a wall around Europe. And like the US, right-wing extremists patrol the borders hunting refugees in sadistic joy. In most of his issues Trump has learned from Europe that such policies are accepted nowadays, not the other way round.
As Germanys neighbor Hungary turns fascist, Merkel is bereft of any plan to reeducate Hungarian „conservatives“, she might not even see any need for that. Australia, waging a total war against refugees for years now, is charged of torture and maltreatment of the few refugees it keeps in concentration camps for the deterrence. Merkel never questioned cooperation with Australia. She never questioned cooperation with Saudi-Arabia, despite some occasional critical statements.
The coming eight years will be a nightmare for minorities in the USA. Trumps agenda is proto-fascist. To his followers he promises nothing less than armed pogroms against immigrants, LBGT and finally democrats, while under a clear neoliberal agenda distributing wealth from the bottom to the top. He might not be able to fulfill all of his plans, but he was elected for promising them. That would be half as bad, if he had not experienced democratic leaders like Merkel getting away with drowning refugees for decades, and then being hailed just for not outright murdering those few who managed to reach Germanys border.