Berlin Election Outcome Signals Merkel’s Tenuous Grip on Chancellorship

Yves here. We’ve been saying for some time that Merkel’s hold on power was weakening. As this Real News Network video shows, the recent election results confirm this slippage.

Notice that this interview fails to mention that the huge influx of refugees into Europe is the direct result of the US creating failed states in the Middle East.

GREGORY WILPERT, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Gregory Wilpert, coming to you from Quito, Ecuador.

Last Sunday Germany’s governing Christian Democratic Party, the CDU, suffered a tremendous electoral beating in the elections for the parliament of the city of Berlin. Also, the far-right anti-immigrant party, Alternative for Germany, jumped from no representation in the legislature to 14.2 percent. A clearly diminished Chancellor Angela Merkel had the following to say to the press after the results were announced:

ANGELA MERKEL: Yesterday’s vote for the Berlin City Parliament was displeasing and disappointing for the CDU. After the last not-so-good results, the CDU now lost another 6 percent. The Grand Coalition has lost its majority and that is very bitter.

WILPERT: Another victor, aside from the Alternative for Germany in these elections was the socialist party, Die Linke, which increased its share of the vote from 11.7 percent in 2011 to 15.6 percent on Sunday.

Joining us from Berlin, to analyze these results and what they mean for Germany and beyond, is Victor Grossman. Victor is author of “Crossing the River: A Memoir of the American Left, the Cold War, and Life in East Germany”.

Thanks for being on The Real News, Victor.

VICTOR GROSSMAN: Thank you for inviting me.

WILPERT: So, the election result in Berlin is actually just the latest defeat for the Christian Democrats which are led by Chancellor Merkel. Because there have been a series of regional votes in Germany over the past year. Also, the success of the AfD, the right-wing Alternative for Germany, this is their fourth or fifth consecutive success. What is going on in Germany? Is the country moving to the right as a whole?

GROSSMAN: It looks that way. Whereas at first when Angel Merkel opened the doors to the large, large number of immigrants of refugees, about half the population opened their arms and were very, very welcoming. But about half the population were not. Because the media have been picking up every bit of dirt they can about this person or that person who’s a refugee who’s stepped across the line and done something nasty which is obvious with a million people and a lot of them young people without families it’’s bound to happen.

But they’ve built this up and the anti-feeling, the counter feeling, actually the racist feeling has grown so very much that Angela Merkel has actually been losing popularity at such a rate that she has to be afraid that she may not get chosen again as head of the party or of course as Chancellor again. It’s a dangerous situation and this was reflected in Berlin as well. Not as badly as in some of the other states, bigger states. Berlin being a city-state is somewhat more open and liberal than the larger state but 14% as a starter for the first time is really a dangerous element and the whole picture especially if you look around Europe where this is happening in one country after the other, it really is disturbing.

WILPERT: So why would you say is the AfD being so successful? Also tell us a little bit about what it stands for?

GROSSMAN: AfD stands for Alternative for Germany. It’’s a young party, about 2 years old. It’’s built basically on racism. There are definite parallels to a certain candidate of the United States whose name I needn’t mention. It builds on fear, especially on the part of people who feel insecure in their lives and this is an awful lot of people by the way. More than East Germany and more than East Berlin than in the west. Insecure, will they keep their job, will they be able to keep their pension when the job is finished, will they be able to pay their rent?

These problems are worrying people and the suggestion from the media and in general, nationalist conversations is yea. Those immigrants are getting all kinds of good treatment and it’’s at your cost. Which is not true but really gets around and gets enough people frightened that they say all the other parties are betraying us. We have to break out and work for our own party which is not breaking with us with is completely new and we’ll vote for them for this AfD and that has brought them very, very good results.

WILPERT: In a recent article of yours, you mention and you also just now said that suggested as much that it is part of a larger trend in Europe and that there is some kind of leadership role so to speak going on from Eastern Europe. Can you explain that a little bit as to how does this fit into a larger pattern that you’’re saying is beginning or has its leadership being led from countries in Eastern Europe?

GROSSMAN: Yea actually I shouldn’t really have stressed Eastern Europe because the danger of this right wing group mostly in the form of parties which is by the way it gets its votes by being anti-immigrant, anti-foreigner, and especially anti-Muslimism. That’’s their big call. The Islam is taking over our country, taking over our Europe, taking over the world, which is of course pure bologna. But this feeling and the parties which have grown out of it, started really to get strong in France with La Pen, in Britain, in the Netherlands, it’’s strong in Scandinavia.

But in some countries especially Hungary and Poland and the three little Baltic countries, it’’s basically taken over and their main line is we don’t want any of these refugees at all. We don’t want any of these–first of all has to be Christian, we don’t want any Muslims, we don’t want any troubles with refugees and don’t let them in. This has pushed the large majority in Germany where of course they have the same effect because the Germans said we don’t want to take them all. One is being played against the other all at the cost of these poor million and 2 million refugees. Many, many of them women with children with babies. Lots of young men too who’ve had nothing at home but war. What’s being done is one group being played against the other. In Eastern Europe it’’s become especially successful.

WILPERT: Let’’s turn to looking at more of the other side of the political spectrum. Die Linke, or Left Party, is apparently in a difficult position. That is on the one hand, it will be able to form perhaps a coalition government with Social Democrats and the Greens in the city of Berlin. But, even if it manages to win larger representation in the national legislature, in the Bundestag next year, it’s unclear if it will be able to form a coalition government on a national level. Tell us a little bit about what’s going on there. That is the challenges that Die Linke is facing currently, nationally.

GROSSMAN: First of all, in Berlin, of the 6 parties that are now in Berlin in the legislature, 3 lost. That was the Christian Democrats of Angela Merkel. That was the party which is strongest in Berlin which has the mayor job, that’s the Social Democrats. And the little Free Democrats who’ve managed to squeeze back. I’m sorry, the Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats lost. The Greens lost a little. The ones that won asides from the small party were the very far right wing Alternative for Germany, AfD, and the Left surprisingly. The Left came in as third strongest. And this seemed a very happy result but it means that in Berlin it will basically have to be part of the government.

No government can exist with only 2 parties because you need 50% and no two parties can make 50%. So it means that probably the Left will be in the government of the city-state of Berlin. Next year they are going to be national elections and the Social Democrats and the Greens see the only chance for them to gain the government is if they work together with the Left. 10 years ago this would’ve been impossible. Nobody wanted to even talk with the Left Party. Now this has changed. Of course it has changed in part because there are parts in the Left Party who are willing to make compromises to get into these governments in the city level and on the national level.

The big question is, and it’’s an open question. Should you make compromises and if so how many compromises and how far should you go giving up basic principles in order to get into a government position with all the perks and the new conditions and better conditions that that involves. It’s a difficult question and there are certain principles that some people on the Left do not want to give up on.

For example, on the national level they say, no German troops should be sent outside of Germany. There are many already that are in Afghanistan and many other places. But that should be stopped. Germany troops have done enough damage in the last century, they shouldn’t be sent anywhere. They’re not there for a good purpose.

However, the other two possible partners, that’’s the Greens and the Social Democrats say, unless the Left gives up this principle which it has, we will never accept any coalition with them. The question is should the Left give things up? Should it make compromises? Should it not? And this is a question which is being fought over and debated within the Left on the city level and on the national level, what to give up to get into a stronger position. How much should you stick to your principles even if it means not so much power and where will you lose the voters?

In my view, the only real correct way to win votes is to put up a fight, not on the government level so much but on the local level. On the street. In other words, to demonstrate against higher ranks. Against cutting pensions. In other words, making pension delaying them. Cutting jobs. There are many, many jobs. Germany doesn’t have a very big unemployment but an awful lot of the jobs are these temporary jobs, halftime jobs. Jobs which are not set and low pay jobs. People are worried. The thing that the Left Party should be doing most is fighting on those issues. It has joined in on fighting this big trade treaty in the United States and Europe. It’’s called TTIP. It’’s joined the fight on that. That’’s the direction it should be going strongest in my view.

WILPERT: That’’s actually what I was going to ask you about next. There was a major demonstration the day before the election last Saturday against the free trade agreements with the United States and also with Canada. But the big stumbling block in a way, especially since we’’re talking about the possibility of forming a coalition on a national level between the Left Party and the Greens and the Social Democrats is of course, especially the Social Democrats are in favor of all these free trade agreements.

So I’m just wondering what’s going on there with the social democrats? They seem to have been losing votes, continuously but still maintain these relatively what seem to be unpopular position with regard to free trade. What’s your interpretation of what’s going on, on the Social Democratic side of the political system?

GROSSMAN: Well, first I’d like to say that the big, big demonstration in Berlin or the parade started off right below my window and there were estimated 70,000 people taking part. That’’s an awful lot of people when you’’re in the middle of it. It was really very, very inspiring. It started in pouring rain but soon the skies cleared. Everybody was happening. Thousands and thousands of flags and bannisters all against these trade deals. The one with the United States, the one with Canada. It was very inspiring especially because we heard there were also bid demonstrations in Hamburg and Frankfurt and Stuttgart, in Munich, in [Lubitsch], it was a good feeling.

But the Social Democrats the next day on Monday, a few days ago, voted in secret as to whether to back this, first this Canadian one. That’’s the first one to come up and voted in favor of it which was really betraying the wishes of an awful lot of its members. A lot of the members of the Social Democratic Party which is strongest among the unions by the way. That’’s where they get their votes. That’’s where they get their strength. A lot of them are against these phony deals.

But the perdition is to support the Social Democrats and the Social Democrats have to keep more or less a leftish pro worker image if they want to get any votes. They’re trying to balance their way through on the one side not sounding right wing to keep their union people and their left wing people. But at the same time not to really take left wing oppositional positions. Positions really for the everyday working man woman in the country.

Their courses are very wavy. Towards election day they sound more and more left wing. Then if they get elected and they get into the government they tend to forget some of their promises and make a lot of compromises. We’ll see what happens in this year that’’s coming. They’ve been moving further and further away from Angela Merkel but when the chips are down it looks often as if they don’t stick to the guns that they propound.

WILPERT: Well unfortunately we’’re out of time but we’ll definitely get back to you about what’’s going on in Germany in terms of the politics and the movements and so on. So thanks again so much Victor for having joined us on the Real News.

GROSSMAN: Thank you.

WILPERT: And thank you for watching the Real News Network.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. Pavel

    Yves: It’s amazing how infrequently this point is made in any political debate or news coverage. (Jeremy Corbyn being one rare example of someone who brings it up.):

    Notice that this interview fails to mention that the huge influx of refugees into Europe is the direct result of the US creating failed states in the Middle East.

    If there were any justice, the refugees would be swamping the UK, US, and France in huge numbers, as those are the countries that cooked up the Libya failed state and also most active in Syria. Crazy or stupid (your choice) Hollande vowed to increase the French warfare in Syria after the recent terror attacks in Paris and elsewhere. As though MORE BOMBS ever managed to decrease terrorism, right?

    Though Merkel made her own bed with her “let them all come to Germany!” invitation, and now she is sleeping in it. Good riddance when and if she goes.

    1. Dirk77

      Yes. As many have said, critical thinking in DC went out the door with 9/11. Those in DC who shouldn’t be in jail, probably should at most be mopping floors at McDonalds.

      1. knowbuddhau

        Hey now. I mop floors. I know people who mop floors. Those perps, sir, are not fit to mop floors. Unless it’s in prison. And even then I’m sure they’d suck. Takes integrity to do a humble job well.

    2. Hayek's Heelbiter

      This quote is the “yang” to the “yin” of Yves’ column posted on September 21, 2016: Negative Effects of Immigration on the Economy

    3. fds

      WHo cares? SInce when did we live in a democracy? How many people wanted the Syrian and Lybian conflcits? If I recall, war was averted in parliament and congress.

      Do we all have to die in poverty because our leaders (in the case of these wars, Zionist) pushed war clandestinely?

    4. Nelson Lowhim

      Funny how that logic is never applied to others who are attacked (victims of our foreign policy). They should act like saints and we should bomb more (or, rather, commit genocide). Maybe might makes right, but then say it and stop masquerading as some burdened savior.

      as James Baldwin said: “aching, nobly, to wade through the blood of savages.”

  2. hemeantwell

    Thanks for posting this Grossman interview. One facet of the development of the far right that Grossman hints at, and maybe can only do so because there isn’t much data, is its transnational quality. This summer we visited some lefty friends in Lund, Sweden where each year they hold a large May Day rally. At this year’s celebration a couple of people were badly injured by Ukrainian rightists who reportedly fled back to the Ukraine, escaping justice. And, as I recall, there was a recent report of a French rightist who had received bomb materials from Ukrainians. As I think about, there’s an ugly resonance with Yves’ noting the refugees are substantially a result of US policies. The development of a rightist terrorist potential in the Ukraine has the same general source.

    1. Skip Intro

      I recently read accounts of the rise of neo-nazi and right-wing extremist groups in the former DDR after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Apparently they were substantially infiltrated by US and German intelligence services and, as a result, enjoyed a certain level of impunity and de facto financial support from these governments. They were also linked to members of the ‘stay behind’ organizations (see Operation Gladio), and were ‘useful’ in violently opposing left-wing groups as well as punk rockers. The modern AfD is strongest in the states of the former DDR, and are the ideological if not logistical heirs of these right-wing groups. But to conflate 15% of the electorate with semi-pro neo-nazis and racists is a bit of a stretch. While they are surely motivated by a strong nativist impulse and anti-immigrant fervor, their voters also represent the kind of disaffected and disenfranchised populations that carried the Brexit vote to victory.
      On the other hand, the link between US ‘intelligence’ and Ukrainian neo-nazis is reasonably well established and is unlikely to have sprung into existence moments before their Maidan mobilization. That they would now use their safe harbor in Ukraine as a base for operations across Europe should not be particularly shocking.

      1. fds

        No, the AfD is not linked to the CIA. It is a pro-social welfare, anti-TPP group that also wants fair migrant exchanges, that is not just to Europe. It is pestered and censored in Germany. Just expressing support in ways a security agent deems ‘offensive’ gets you fined and ostracized.

  3. Norb

    The fight over private property rights continues. Liberal Democracy has failed around the world due to the unholy alliance with corporate power. Unchecked corporate power has been unmasked as the destructive force that it truly is.

    The left needs to evolve into a political force that can shape the consciousness of the masses away from individual greed toward the undeniable benefit of cooperative action. The right will use fear to drive people into some sort of trembling mass and only by combating this fear can movement be made.

    The compromise the left needs to make is to use any means possible, not to seize the means of production form existing owners, but to start building alternative ones. It is all too easy for the right to bring out their tried and true methods to hold power. It is time to starve the beast, and one way is to not participate and build in another direction.

    Corporate power is what needs to be broken. From my limited view, the left has always been a reactionary force. It needs to evolve into a proactive one, literally building something in the real world. Another major mistake by the left is to reject and confuse the power of religion. Neoliberalism is a new religion and gains much power by the use of unquestioning faith. The left has failed to counteract this religious faith because they have not even tried to counter it with their own. Just as finance has evolved into a military weapon, it can be argued that religion, in essence, is a military force.

    The political landscape is being reshuffled into defining what we are willing to fight and die for. Until the left starts offering coherent answers to these questions, the status quo will continue to pick from the low hanging fruit.

  4. Anvil

    I agree with Norb above, I say greed is a mental illness reaching epidemic proportions worldwide.

    I do NOT agree that the USA and it’s policies in the world are the CAUSE of all global problems, but rather one of the responses, effects of, global challenges, and that maybe our responses were not always as well thought out or executed as they could have been, but when time is critically short and choices limited to very few good outcomes, sometimes the best is not good enough.

    If you claim otherwise you are being intellectually lazy by pointing fingers at the softest target, of course the USA does LIKE ANY OTHER NATION promote it’s own vision of how people should conduct affairs economic and in governance, but to claim the Arab Spring and the ensuing chaos throughout the whole region stretching from Morocco to Pakistan was fomented intentionally or otherwise by US policy is ludicrous.

    And worse than that it is paternalistic by assuming that the peoples living there respond only to anti American stimuli, that they have no other motives or desires but to root out governments that might have been responsive to American interest. To blame America is to assume nothing can happen in this world without American input. It is in it’s way a nasty form of demeaning the humanity of the people there to the status of simplistic serfs that will peacefully reside in squalor and submission until they are motivated to anti American protest and violence. Please, I have seen better thinking from small children.

    Was Bush wrong to topple Saddam and lie America into the Iraq war part 2 for what now appears to be a personal vendetta? Of course, but for every stupid failed intervention on the part of the US I can name three cases where intervention might have been called justified but in which we did NOT act, starting with the Iranian War of 1979 that never was. And the Iranians had committed an act of war by the taking of our embassy and the hundreds of staff within, that would have been a justified war had it happened. In fact, I have heard from some on the fringe far left that the USA should have been the leader of the Arab Spring LONG AGO toppling dictators and monarchies who systematically suppressed peoples through the whole region.

    Again, that is just flat out silly. The USA cannot win, either we are guilty by our actions or we are guilty by our inactions. No matter what we do we will be called at least cultural imperialists, no matter what we do not do we will be said to support dictators.

    The argument that US policy is the sole causative effect of all things Islam or Arab also ignores the fact that other players with their own agendas play on the same field. Iran is a good example. If you want to point fingers at a destabilizing influence why do you NOT EVER excoriate them? Oh, I know, it is because everything Iran has ever done was rooted in US policy. Russia? What is their interest in the region? They have their own oil so the only interest they have is by driving up the price of their largest export, and if that happens to hamper American interests then all the better. And never you mind that their happiness over this means that millions are displaced and maimed or killed. To argue that ALL is the fault of American policy let’s people like Assad off the hook for his crimes, it let’s Russians off the hook for supporting the man in his war on civilians.

    Last I want to say this, I have NEVER read a treatment of US Middle Eastern foreign policy which is scathing to the US which does not at some level a core of anti-Semitism.

    What bothers me most is that this often hidden driver of the criticisms of American policy is denied. Hey, you want to hate Jews that is your right, but whining to us decade after decade about insoluble problems and never coming up with a viable alternative system of policy decisions is wearing a tad thin. If you want Israel extinguished and handed back to the Muslims then just say so, own that, but do not try to delude yourself that your answer is anything other than genocide of the Jewish people.

    1. Rosario

      Okay, I have some serious problems with this. One, Israel is not just Jewish in its composition. Two, not all Jewish people live in Israel. Three, Jewish people lived along side Muslims and Christians for hundreds of years in that region before Britain, the USA and some useful idiot Zionists decided to make a geopolitical springboard in 1948. You may be right that every nation pursues its own agenda, but I’m not concerned about that, I’m concerned about the nation or nations pursuing their agenda(s) that have the most wealth and the biggest bombs. I’m concerned about the ones running the empire, and Israel is a useful servant to that empire.

      Israel is a nation state. Identifying as Jewish is another matter altogether. Israel is a colony that was formed at the wrong place and the wrong time. They could have pulled it off in the 18th or 19th century (see USA, Canada, Australia, the entire Western Hemisphere), but doing so immediately after a global war that was largely the end result of nation’s colonial ambitions was a big no-no. The window of opportunity for such shenanigans had passed and the British, US, and Zionist progenitors of Israel knew better.

      In addition, it is nonsense that we have normalized the formation of a nation state around a single ethnic or religious identity. Particularly after the Holocaust (the irony of this never ceases to amaze me). Would we have the same sympathies for the the countless indigenous ethnic groups in the Americas who, per capita, had even worse genocides inflicted on them, all documented, all accepted as inevitable or necessary in most histories of the Americas? Israel is a contorted hypocrisy that has to either embrace heterogeneity of disappear. Ideally as an inclusive country that is no longer a colony as it has been for hundreds of years. The fetish that is Israel has been an unfair burden to all people living in the Middle East and Jewish people the world over that are forced to (through the sheer force of political dogma) shackle their identities to a racist, rogue state.

  5. oho

    ” AfD stands for Alternative for Germany. It’’s a young party, about 2 years old. It’’s built basically on racism.”

    Got more important things to do than rant about the above statement….

    Just will quote basic Sun Tzu via Star Trek—know your opponent, know yourself and victory will be yours.

    If AfD opponents simplistically think that the AfD are a rabble of angry closet Neo-Nazis…..boy their moral/intellectual smugness is going to be shattered at the ballot box in the upcoming years.

    The core of AfD are the German equivalent of ol’ time bottom 90% FDR Democrats.

    1. Felix_47

      And on the other side Sarah Wagenknecht, a leader in the left, hit a lot of flak from many in her party when she said there needs to be an “Obergrenze” or limit on the number of refugees. It would hard to call her racist since she is half Persian. It really is a conflict between those who cannot think realistically….those who are supported or secure enough not to have to take responsibility for anyone, and those who will need to make the world function. As a Socialist she apparently is aware that you cannot have a strong social net and combine that with open immigration from places that have astronomical birthrates that are outgrowing their resources without destroying that net. I recall Hillary and the open border people attacked Bernie on that as well. I thought it was unfair and it is this pandering, among other issues, that will keep me from voting for her. There is a lot of commonality between AfD and the Linke. Don`t forget that the notion of German population replacement had some currency during and after WW2 in order to permanently solve the German problem and we may just be actualizing it now.

      1. Ben Groves

        In fairness, US immigration policy has slowly been getting tougher over the last 16 years. Immigration policy in the US goes beyond dialect. I doubt Clinton would be overly “easy”.

        1. fds

          It’s easier. Apart from the new Obama rule to issue visas to H1b holders, effectively tripling the numbers issued but still under the cap, to a myriad of other programs, it’s much easier.

          Of the several foreign students I’ve dated, it gets easier every year. Back in 03, one had to have an accountant degree with CPA certs, and even then, you often were slave labor in Chi-Town until you hooked up with an American company. Now the black market foreign industry is so large, that a mere B.A. is enough. The gov doesn’t care. Everyone is approved, save the cap.

    2. bmeisen

      spooky quatsch comment from oho – hard to tell what oho means with “90% bottom- line fdr dems”. The very diverse FDR / Dem majority coalesced during and in response to economic crisis. The AfD has emerged during a German boom. It is successful in East Germany, which in the wake of economic collapse immediately following reunification has been the beneficiary of massive inner-German transfers. And it is successful in West Germany much of which is effectively at full-employment. Its core supporters are the 10% of any populazion that is racist, nationalist, and ignorant. You might try to argue that there is a uniquely irrational fear in Germany, something associated with its position on the left edge of Eurasia maybe, a heterogenous cultural unit without convincing access to the sea, trapped if you will and vulnerable to human flows. Sounds silly but it’s hard to account for German fear.
      The AfD is using this irrational fear for political gain. FDR was supported largely by voters with very real fears.

      1. lin1

        FDR was probably the only American president who was not entirely the servant of the capitalist ruling class. His reforms were for the benefit of American workers and he dragged the Democratic party along with him in creating the American social welfare system. He truly favored cooperative competition with the Soviet Union. Believing his vision of liberalism to be superior to Soviet socialism he had none of the knee jerk fear and hatred of them that has always characterized the American ruling class’ relationship with Russia – even now 20 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union. He was entirely confident the working class would choose his vision . His reactionary political enemies, concentrated in finance capital, had no reason to be so confident. Their fear and loathing of the working class was/is legitimately earned.

  6. Plenue

    “Notice that this interview fails to mention that the huge influx of refugees into Europe is the direct result of the US creating failed states in the Middle East.”

    That’s typical of all MSM (not saying TRNN is mainstream) coverage of refugees. There’s lots of discussion and hand-wringing about accepting refugees, but exactly zero about why they’re refugees in the first place.

    1. Felix_47

      Yes the US has had a lot to do with destabilizing Asia and Africa but a lot of it has simply been a continuation of British policy after WW2. As Britain shrank its foreign involvement the US expanded. But the real cause is the inability of our politicians and leaders to face up to the reality that population growth is hitting the limits of resource availability in Asia and Africa and to institute realistic ways to control population. Absent the population explosion in these regions in the last decades we would not be seeing the poverty and anger and constant confllict because there would be enough for all. As much bad press as China has gotten for its population policy it is one of the few bright spots in world economic development. Interestingly China does not seem very interested in accepting millions of third world refugees.

  7. Vikas

    I’ve always assumed the costs of the Syria intervention — geopolitical insecurity, refugees, etc. were seen as a useful collateral dampener on the rise of a Germany-dominated Europe. Perhaps not sought after, but when those costs were put in the calculus and were seen to affect the European states the most, the cost-shifting became a net enabler.

  8. Micky9finger

    In my naïve point of view it hit me last year that it was a brilliant stroke of Angela Merkel to grab as many refugees as she could before any other country.
    They are a tremendous natural resource. One that many modern countries are beginning to see a coming shortage of. Many countries, like Germany, France, etc are looking at population shortages in the working age groups. Merkel’s grab of this mass of human resource was maybe an accidentally brilliant idea.

    1. oho

      can’t tell if the above comment is satire or astroturfing or naivety?

      Merkel’s migrants have zero higher-level first-world skills. AfD is strong in ex-East Germany because there is popular resentment as ex-East Germans get austerity shoved down their throats while Merkel unfurls the red carpet for migrants.

      in der Frage nach festen Arbeitsplätzen für Flüchtlinge ruhen die Hoffnungen zunehmend auf mittelständischen Unternehmen und Handwerksbetrieben. Denn wie eine Umfrage dieser Zeitung ergab, hat die große Mehrzahl der im deutschen Aktienindex (Dax) notierten Konzerne noch keine Flüchtlinge eingestellt. Einzig die Deutsche Post gab an, bis Anfang Juni 50 Flüchtlinge und damit eine nennenswerte Größe fest angestellt zu haben.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Not true. Syrians are very highly educated. Very good public education and high average attainment.

        But Merkel was an idiot if she actually did recognize that Syrians were high potential workers yet did nothing re how to integrate them, most important, acquisition of German and jobs matching.

  9. Ben Groves

    The fact capitalism is a ponzi scheme is a key here. When the Aristocracy bowed to the Sephardic bankers, they created this mess. They were the same idiots that bowed to the Christians 1500+ years before.

    Maybe it is time for a new aristocracy. If you want to build internally, you have to abolish capitalism and its market based scam. That is why “right wingers” won’t last without the Sephardic banks via market expansion. They run the scheme and always have. From their immigration into the Iberian trails during the 15th century, to their financing and eventual leadership into the protestant reformation, to the first capitalists scheme at Amsterdam to bribing William the Orange into taking it into old England.

  10. Jeff

    Let me see if I understand this:

    1. Most of the refugees arriving in Europe are Syrian. The US did not act to topple the Syrian dictator and did not create a new Syrian government. The United States is responsible for these refugees.

    2. A portion of the refugees are Libyan. At the urging of its European allies (not just the UK), the US helped topple the Libyan government, but has not created a new government. The US is responsible for these refugees.

    3. A portion of the refugees are from Iraq or Afghanistan. The US toppled the old governments and installed new ones. The US is responsible for these refugees.

    4. A significant portion of the refugees are from African countries including Nigeria and Eritrea. I assume that these aren’t included in the statement above as they are not Middle Eastern.

    So, in other words – the US is responsible whether or not we intervene and whether or not we then attempt to set up a government? I wonder under what circumstances you would not view the US as responsible?

    I would suggest, that given the situation in the Middle East and the fact that the results are similar regardless of US actions something more basic is at work. Most of the nations of the Middle East and Africa were artificial creations of primarily Britain and France; they are nations derived neither from ethnic homogeneity nor the consent or shared history of the governed. Whatever, the United States did or does, they would ultimately have shattered in one way or another and refugees would have headed for Europe.

    1. knowbuddhau

      Nope, you don’t. The US and its Gulf state “allies” are indeed trying to oust Assad and, if not set up, at least allow the creation of a Salafist regime.

      The US Road Map To Balkanize Syria

      By Pepe Escobar

      September 22, 2016 “Information Clearing House” – “RT” – Forget about those endless meetings between Sergei Lavrov and John Kerry; forget about Russia’s drive to prevent chaos from reigning in Syria; forget about the possibility of a real ceasefire being implemented and respected by US jihad proxies.

      Forget about the Pentagon investigating what really happened around its bombing ‘mistake’ in Deir Ezzor.

      The definitive proof of the Empire of Chaos’s real agenda in Syria may be found in a 2012 Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) document declassified in May last year.

      As you scroll down the document, you will find page 291, section C, which reads (in caps, originally):


      The DIA report is a formerly classified SECRET/NOFORN document, which made the rounds of virtually the whole alphabet soup of US intel, from CENTCOM to CIA, FBI, DHS, NGA and the State Department.

      It establishes that over four years ago US intel was already hedging its bets between established al-Qaeda in Syria, aka Jabhat al-Nusra, and the emergence of ISIS/ISIL/Daesh, aka the Islamic State.

      It’s already in the public domain that by a
      willful decision, leaked by current Donald Trump adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Washington allowed the emergence of the Islamic State – remember that gleaming white Toyota convoy crossing the open desert? – as a most convenient US strategic asset, and not as the enemy in the remixed, never-ending GWOT (Global War on Terra).

      It’s as clear as it gets; a “Salafist principality” is to be encouraged as a means to Divide and Rule over a fragmented Syria in perpetual chaos. Whether it’s established by Jabhat al-Nusra – aka “moderate rebels” in Beltway jargon – or al-Baghdadi’s “Califake” is just a pesky detail.

      It gets curioser and curioser as Hasaka and Deir Ezzor are named in the DIA report – and directly targeted by the ‘mistaken’ Pentagon bombing. No wonder Pentagon chief Ash ‘Empire of Whining’ Carter took no prisoners to directly sabotage what Kerry had agreed on with Lavrov.

      No one will ever see these connections established by US corporate media – as in, for instance, the neocon cabal ruling the Washington Post’s editorial pages. But the best of the blogosphere does not disappoint.

      The rest is just blame-shifting that conveniently let’s the US off the hook.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Have you not read any press in the last 5 years, or do you just make a habit of making shit up? The US has been trying to topple Assad for God only knows how long. What, for instance, do you think the desperate fig leaf of trying to claim that we are supporting non-existant “moderate Syrian rebels” is about?

  11. Noonan

    “the danger of this right wing group mostly in the form of parties which is by the way it gets its votes by being anti-immigrant, anti-foreigner, and especially anti-Muslimism. That’’s their big call.”

    Sounds like a winning platform to me.

Comments are closed.