Behind the ‘boring’ German election are four deeply disturbing trends – The Washington Post

Here’s a perceptive article from the Washington Post. It argues that the big winner in the German election is a far right party which is reviving some of the language of Nazi Germany.

Source: Behind the ‘boring’ German election are four deeply disturbing trends – The Washington Post

The four key tends identified include:

  1. The CDU won but it still did really poorly
  2. But at least the CDU did better than the SDP
  3. The extreme right did very well
  4. The rise of the extreme right has far-reaching consequences

In terms of the neo-Nazi AfD’s historical win of 13% of the vote, propelling it to the status of Germany‘s third largest political party, the Post warns:

The AfD is a Far Right party, whose leaders regularly make openly racist and Islamophobic statements and minimize Nazi crimes and who continually claim they will “take their country back” from its purported enemies.

As for the consequences, Angela Merkel has won a fourth term but she’s likely to see the AfD as the real opposition party, with widespread public support for greater immigration controls and concerns over security. The other issue cited by the Post is that Merkel has no obvious successor, triggering an eventual fight between supporters of the Right vs. the Center.

Angela Merkel has shrewdly offered to listen to the concerns of those who voted for the AfD.

For many German and international observers, the relative success of the AfD will bring back memories of Hitler‘s Nazi Party. Sadly, Brexit supporters will argue, ‘See, we’re better off out of an EU, where the Far Right has increasing political leverage’. For now, the AfD is a small minority part but tied to an engine of populism that could change quickly, especially as German industry is slow to adjust to technology trends like electric cars.


Opinion – German Results Reflect European Unease Over Identity, Economy – WSJ

In an astute article, the WSJ reports that Germany’s election result confirms the overriding trend of European politics in the past year – namely, the crumbling of the Continent’s established parties in the face of voter anxiety over economics and identity.

Source: German Results Reflect European Unease Over Identity, Economy – WSJ

I particularly liked the following observation:

The future direction of the EU and its major nations is now up for grabs in a fluid contest between internationalists and nationalists, incumbents and insurgents.

It’s interesting in Trump’s government, the power fight is simply between the nationalists and the globalists.

But in the last UK election, the two majority parties gained over minorities who had done well in the previous election.

In practical terms, the EU will now be dominated by Merkel and Macron but both will suffer from widespread pushback of their domestic policies. Many would argue that there’s less appetite for further EU political integration.

It will take Angela Merkel probably until Christmas to for a new government, so the UK’s Brexit team should not look to concessions from post-election Germany. Macron meanwhile will increasingly struggle with left-wing challenge to his Labour reforms, so he too is unlikely to upset French audiences with handouts to the UK.

But there are some dots to be linked. There are increasing concerns about security in Europe, most significantly from Russian aggression in the East and Islamization within. Theresa May shrewdly played a strategic alliance over security and defense as pivotal for the post Brexit settlement with the EU.

Whilst the UK & the EU are way behind Trump’s latest intervention to ban people from eight high risk countries as a nationl security threat, European security will be increasing important for the twenty-seven members (excluding the UK).

This leads me to an open question:

Now that the French and German elections are decided, will strategic issues about defense encourage the EU to cut the UK a special deal on Brexit?