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Why the media is having a meltdown over DACA

The MSM’s attempt to slam the President over alleged language covers up the real matter that Democrats offered a bum solution for immigration reform

Seraphim Hanisch

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For three days now, the MSM has been screaming bloody murder about an alleged (and denied) vulgarity spoken by President Trump in a closed-door meeting about immigration reform and DACA.  We have covered this media meltdown extensively in pieces you can link to here and here. But now, let’s have a look into what the REAL news about DACA is, and we might even understand why the MSM is having such a meltdown.

On January 12th, the American radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh noted during his program that although there was not any detail about this known yet, the apparent issue was that President Trump was outraged over the Democrats trying to hand him a total nothing-burger deal about immigration.  We have to remember that one of President Trump’s wishes is to get the United States to adopt a “merit based” immigration position, where the US screens people who want to come to live in the USA in regards to what they can and will contribute to the well-being of this nation.

This is not a strange or barbarous position to take on immigration.  Canada does it. Australia does it, Germany, Hong Kong, Denmark, New Zealand and other nations in the world probably do it as well.  In fact, the United States itself ran with such a system up until the year 1952.  Such a vetting process may go far in reducing the chance that elements who get in to a given nation will then attack it and its people.

What was proposed by the Congressional representatives that started this?

From a January 11 piece run on Vox.com, this was the basic outline of the proposal. Please note that it is a framework, and not extremely specific (though it may appear so on first reading:)

Allowing young unauthorized immigrants who came to the US as children to get legal status — and eventually citizenship:The deal would allow hundreds of thousands of unauthorized immigrants who came to the US as children, and meet other requirements (which aren’t yet clear), to apply for provisional legal status in the US. After a certain number of years, they’d be eligible to apply for green cards — and after another three or five years, like other green card holders, they would be able to apply for US citizenship.

Legalization wouldn’t just be open to the 690,000 immigrants who were protected under the DACA program when Trump started winding it down in September; it would also include immigrants who qualified for DACA and never applied (or whose protections expired without renewal), or who meet the requirements set forward in the bill, as well as immigrants under 15 who weren’t able to apply for DACA. And unlike DACA, it would be permanent.

Preventing “chain migration” by preventing parents of DREAMers from becoming US citizens: In order to make it impossible for people legalized under this bill to sponsor their parents for citizenship, the bill would make parents of DREAMers ineligible to get green cards, making it impossible for them to naturalize. It would instead provide them with a form of legal status that could be renewed every three years.

By putting the restriction on parents of DREAMers, rather than directly restricting DREAMers’ ability to sponsor relatives after becoming citizens, the bill could avoid a constitutional pitfall. But it could end up locking out immigrant parents who have both a DREAMer and a native-born US citizen in the family — who would currently be eligible for green cards when their citizen children turned 21.

Eliminating the diversity visa lottery and reallocating the 50,000 visas currently used for it: As first reported by Politico’s Seung Min Kim, the proposed DACA deal would kill two birds with one stone. It would eliminate the visa lottery. But instead of just allowing 50,000 fewer immigrants into the US legally each year, it would reallocate those visas. Some of them would go to immigrants from underrepresented countries, just on some non-lottery basis; other visas would go to immigrants whose Temporary Protected Status is about to expire due to the Trump administration’s aggressive moves to end the program. (Right now, people with TPS can’t get green cards; under this deal, they could.)

A few billion dollars for the border: NBC’s Leigh Ann Caldwell reported that the deal as presented to Trump would have included $1.6 billion for physical barriers (which Caldwell called a fence but the White House would probably call a wall), surveillance tech, and agent training — and another $1.2 billion for “other priorities” on border security. Those numbers are roughly in line with what the White House asked for for a single year on the border in its 2017 supplemental funding requests.

But these sound like good proposals.  Why is President Trump so angry about them?

If we take each of these points at face value it is easy to see why President Trump would strenuously object to them.

The first proposal shows zero movement towards merit-based vetting. In fact is at the very least, DACA repeated and with possibly more liberality as there are “unknown” criteria used. The fact that it extends DACA provisions to people who have never applied for citizenship since the order was made in 2014, more than three years ago.  In other words, people who did not care enough about getting legal to even file are getting a chance they ought not have.

The second proposal does indeed prevent parents of “Dreamers” from receiving US citizenship, but it does provide them with a renewable permit to stay in the US, presumably with no change. This comes down to a formality-based amnesty.  No one gets deported from breaking the law in this scenario.

The third proposal again starts with the right words “eliminating the visa lottery”, but then offers it in a different way with “reallocate the 50,000 visas in some other way, to ‘underrepresented countries'” – well, so what are we saying?  Is it a lottery or a random giveaway? – in other words, there is NO difference here.  The move to merit based naturalization cannot involve free giveaways of American visas.  Believe it or not, there are plenty of people who would come here to take advantage the opportunity to do so and game the government who gave these out, but if we asked the question of “do you want to go to America to succeed, to build a good life and support your new land” in the process, most of these people would rather stay home.  This is still a freebie and utterly unchanged in the nature of the policy.

Finally for the fourth proposal, “a few billion dollars for the border.” While this would seem to be what President Trump wants, so he can complete the wall / fence along the Mexican border, the combined weight of the first three proposals makes the wall’s existence all but pointless. It is an expensive equivalent perhaps, of telling a grown man that he may go ahead and play with his blocks as long as everyone else gets what they want.

The net loser in this is the United States.  Her sovereignty is not supported in any possible way by these proposals.

And in that context, it would seem that even if Mr Trump did use a vulgarity, it was probably absolutely correct in context with what he was presented.  The Congressional salesmen and women tried to treat the President, an extremely astute businessman, like a chump, and he wasn’t having it and he let them know it.  Since it was a closed-door meeting, it would seem that it would have not been unseemly for plenty MORE expletive language to occur.  By the President’s own admission, there was indeed tough language.

CNN tries to stir up opposition to Trump by broadcasting illegal immigration protests… from Mexico!

Media and Trump opponents spin and spin…

The media has tried to portray this as racism and prejudice.  But it really is not.  It is a nothing-burger proposal that met a very blunt end, hopefully, and Trump’s call probably aggravated some bleeding hearts.  That is what this is.  When it comes down to it, probably 90% of adult Americans use this alleged language and far worse.  CNN made sure the whole world knew that they say things like this! As happened with Judge Roy Moore, the media has attempted a “moral” play, but hopefully the American people are wise to this nonsense and will reject it for the hypocrisy that it is. However, for those who dislike everything Trump, they will, and have, eagerly eaten the junk food the press has offered them these last three days.  And, in classic fashion, attention has been deflected from the immigration issue itself.

So, let’s take this a little farther.

What are the actual issues at hand?.

The liberal hold on American domestic policy has been very strong over the last several decades, most significantly so in the time of Presidents George W. Bush and Obama, with Obama in the clear lead in terms of liberalized policies that all “family based” immigration, which leads to the phenomenon of “chain migration,” where once a family sets up some foothold in the US in which to live and work, the other relatives come too, to try to find the same experience. This sometimes has a very bad side effect, in that it allows criminal elements in just because “they’re family” and sometimes those criminals commit crimes in their new home, like this one.  The story goes that after this point in the early 1950’s, the government authorities began to shift the policy on immigration toward “family” based ideology, which came to mean that if one member of a family emigrated to the USA the rest could more easily come, too.  However, this became “rigged” as a tool by the political party that supported it, because it could be used to manipulate the group of incoming immigrants to support that party which supported their own family migration into the country.  In recent years this has been held to be a Democrat mechanism for securing their own power whilst not really helping the American nation as a whole. Further breakdowns in American society and governance, for very interesting and subtle reasons, have led to an immigration policy that appears to be largely powerless to stop waves of illegal immigration, because people who get deported manage to get back in the country and live here while easily avoiding of the authorities.  This has led to sad stories such as this one, and there are far worse ones as well.

 

The State of Arizona fully supports California’s sanctuary state status.

What the United States has now appears to be a situation of near anarchy with regards to immigration.  California declared itself a “sanctuary state” and there are many US “sanctuary cities” where federal immigration law enforcement is disregarded.  There are many good people caught up in this because it has been drilled into the minds and hearts of many Americans that we must never turn away anyone who wants to come to this country, because to do so is not compassionate, or it is racist, or cruel in some other way; it’s not fair, after all, our ancestors or ourselves came in… and so on.

As the reader can see, this is truly an emotionally-charged political debate.  Sometimes it invites the desire to talk about issues that seem parallel, but are not (as printed in Russia Today here), but if we look at the situation without all the stormy emotions, it comes down to one or two real issues.

One issue is the concept of national sovereignty – that assumed right of any nation or state to define its own boundaries, and to make and enforce its own policies within those established boundaries.  The second issue is security – the execution of policies needed to keep said nation or state safe from intrusion, invasion or otherwise subversion. Both of these concepts are the true center of the debate.

But the emotional center is the matter titled “fairness and compassion.”  The alleged vulgarity by the president certainly would be seen as a terrible affront to the idea of being compassionate.  But it has gone much farther.  For decades now, the running narrative about immigrants coming into the United States was the repetition of “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free / the wretched refuse of your teeming shore…”, from Emma Lazarus’ historically important sonnet.  This is truly a noble sentiment. Further, though, the incredible luxury of American life has also been turned into a tool used to provoke a sense of guilt – and a sense that America does not have the right to enforce its own sovereignty over its borders because we have it so good that we owe the rest of the world something. We also get such heart-rending photos as this one:

Mexican-American mother and child, as caught on camera.

While no one who is sensible wants to be cruel, the notion that by enforcing the law we are being cruel is is a classic liberal trope, and it is based purely in emotionalism and not in logic.  It leads to very misleading comments like this one, taken from the New York Times’ recent piece on this matter (emphasis mine):

And lawmakers are already facing a difficult fight over the politically volatile subject of immigration, with the fates of hundreds of thousands of young immigrants hanging in the balance. Adding to the uncertain picture for those immigrants, the Trump administration resumed accepting renewals for the program over the weekend, under orders from a federal judge who is hearing a legal challenge to Mr. Trump’s dismantling of the program.

The emphasized line is a lie. It would be accurately presented if it said, “with the fates of hundreds of thousands of illegal alien immigrants hanging in the balance…”  Because these are not people that are going through the naturalization process.  They are people that have not done this, and may not be doing it now.  However, if they were in process of becoming citizens, or at least legal visiting workers, then this does not apply to them.  This is a prime example of misleading writing pulling heartstrings of people who are not being intellectually honest about this topic.

Now, there IS a place where these ideas must necessarily meet, and that meeting place is precisely what President Trump has been working towards achieving.  The televised meeting with the Congressional representatives showed this in an enormously successful way.  However, the next meeting featured the liberal elements giving Trump a proposal for how to deal with immigration and Trump was outraged because the offered idea was no kind of a solution at all.  Apparently it was a free-for all for simply continuing things as they were before, which has been the problem in the first place. Now, President Trump took fire for three days with reporters blasting him for the alleged vulgarity, only for him to make a statement simply saying he never said anything of the sort in the meeting.  But he also said this:

Continuing food for thought

As this piece draws to a close, the reader is invited to compare three ideas regarding immigration.

For most of us, when we think about allowing immigrants or refugees into our nation, we feel compassion and pity for the people who are fleeing some really bad place (any words come to mind?) and to come to our land which is a really lovely, prosperous nation.  It sounds great and right, we say; they should be able to come.

Then we start investigating where we will put them.  It still remains a kind and pleasant thought when we hear or read about the same refugees being located in Texas, or California, or New York, or Arkansas, or Wyoming.  It’s a great idea especially in the minds of people who do not live in these places.

Then we get to cities.  With a few exceptions, perhaps, this is where the resistance truly begins.  The idea of creating government housing in Chicago for a new set of 10,000 Syrian refugees is something that will not appeal to Chicago residents, for example.  And this disapproval will happen at street level even in Sanctuary Cities.

Although this is an improbable situation, it still begs thought:  Now, what about hosting these refugees in your own home.  After all, they need help, and we said we should be compassionate.  So, how can we show it?

Most of us do not want our lives interfered with by the influx of total strangers who may or may not be responsible for themselves, who may or may not be law-abiding people, who may or may not be safe for our wives and children to be around…

It is not to say that all immigrants are bad.  It IS to say that immigration should be conducted in such a way as to protect the nation they are immigrating to. That means vetting, interviews and that great question: “What will you do for your new nation to make it worth the while for us to adopt you?”

While this question may be repugnant to a liberal, I would ask that same liberal how many illegal aliens they support in their own home.  Probably not too many.

The saying is “liberals have great ideas about how to spend someone else’s money.” This seems to be true here.

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The conclusion of Russiagate, Part II – news fatigue across America

The daily barrage of Russiagate news may have been a tool to wear down the American public as the Deep State plays the long game for control.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Presently there is a media blitz on across the American news media networks. As was the case with the Russiagate investigation while it was ongoing, the conclusions have merely given rise to a rather unpleasant afterbirth in some ways as all the parties involve pivot their narratives. The conclusion of Russiagate appears to be heavily covered, yet if statistics here at The Duran are any indication, there is a good possibility that the public is absolutely fatigued over this situation.

And, perhaps, folks, that is by design.

Joseph Goebbels had many insights about the use of the media to deliver and enforce propaganda. One of his quotes runs thus:

The best propaganda is that which, as it were, works invisibly, penetrates the whole of life without the public having any knowledge of the propagandistic initiative.

and another:

That is of course rather painful for those involved. One should not as a rule reveal one’s secrets, since one does not know if and when one may need them again. The essential English leadership secret does not depend on particular intelligence. Rather, it depends on a remarkably stupid thick-headedness. The English follow the principle that when one lies, it should be a big lie, and one should stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous.

If there has ever been a narrative that employed these two principles, it is Russiagate.

A staggering amount of attention has been lavished on this nothing-burger issue. Axios reports that an analytics company named Newswhip tallied an astounding 533,074 web articles published about Russia and President Trump and the Mueller investigation (a number which is being driven higher even now, moment by moment, ad nauseam). Newsbusters presently reports that the networks gave 2,284 minutes to the coverage of this issue, a number which seems completely inaccurate because it is much too low (38 hours at present), and we are waiting for a correction on this estimate.

Put it another way: Are you sick of Russiagate? That is because it has dominated the news for over 675 days of nearly wall-to-wall news cycles. The political junkies on both sides are still pretty jazzed up about this story – the Pro-Trump folks rejoicing over the presently ‘cleared’ status, while of course preparing for the upcoming Democrat / Deep State pivot, and the Dems in various levels of stress as they try to figure out exactly how to pivot in such a manner that they do not lose face – or pace – in continuing their efforts to rid their lives of the “Irritant-in-Chief” who now looks like he is in the best position of his entire presidency.

But a lot of people do not care. They are tired.

I hate to say it (and yes, I am speaking personally and directly), but this may be a dangerous fatigue. Here is why:

The barrage of propaganda on this issue was never predicated on any facts. It still isn’t. However, as we noted a few days ago, courtesy of Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, at present, 53% of US registered voters believe that the Trump campaign worked with Russia to influence the 2016 election.

That means 53% of the voting public now believes something that is totally false.

Many of these people are probably simply exhausted from the constant coverage of this allegation as well. So when the news came out Sunday night that there was no evidence of collusion and no conclusive evidence, hence, of obstruction of justice by the Trump Administration – in other words, this whole thing was a nothing burger – will this snap those 53% back into reality?

Probably not. Many of them may well be so worn down that they no longer care. Or worse, they are so worn out that they will continue to believe the things they are told that sustain the lie, despite its being called out as such.

C.S. Lewis wrote about this peculiarity of human nature, in particular in the seventh book of his Chronicles of Narnia. After a prolonged and fierce assault on the sensibilities of the Narnians with the story that Aslan, the Christ figure of this world, was in fact an angry overlord, selling the Narnians themselves into slavery, and selling the whole country out to its enemy, with the final touch being that Aslan and the devilish deity of the enemy nation were in fact one and the same, the Narnians were unable to snap back to reality when it was shown conclusively and clearly that this was in fact not the case.

The fear that was instilled from the use of false narratives persisted and blocked the animals from reality.

Lewis summarized it this way through the thoughts of Tirian, the lead character in this tale:

Tirian had never dreamed that one of the results of an Ape’s setting up as a false Aslan would be to stop people from believing in the real one. He had felt quite sure that the Dwarfs would rally to his side the moment he showed them how they had been deceived. And then next night he would have led them to Stable Hill and shown Puzzle to all the creatures and everyone would have turned against the Ape and, perhaps after a scuffle with the Calormenes, the whole thing would have been over. But now, it seemed, he could count on nothing. How many other Narnians might turn the same way as the Dwarfs?

This is part of the toll this very long propaganda campaign is very likely to take on many Americans. It takes being strongly informed and educated on facts to withstand the withering force of a narrative that never goes away. Indeed, if anything, it takes even more effort now, because the temptation of the pro-Trump side will be to retreat to a set of political talking points that, interestingly enough, validate Robert Mueller’s “integrity” when only a week ago they were attacking this as a false notion.

This is very dangerous, and even though Mr. Trump and his supporters won this battle, if they do not come at this matter in a way that shows education, and not merely the restating of platitudes and talking points that “should be more comfortable, now that we’ve won!”

The cost of Russiagate may be far higher than anyone wants it to be. And yes, speaking personally, I understand the fatigue. I am tired of this issue too. But the temptation to go silent may have already taken a lot of people so far that they will not accept the reality that has just been revealed.

Politics is a very fickle subject. Truth is extremely malleable for many politicians, and that is saying it very nicely. But this issue was not just politics. It was slander with a purpose, and that purpose is unchanged now. In fact things may even be more dangerous for the President – even risking his very life – because if the powers that are working behind the people trying to get rid of President Trump come to realize that they have no political support, they will move to more extreme measures. In fact this may have already been attempted.

We at The Duran reported a few months ago on a very strange but very compelling story that suggested that there was an attempted assassination and coup that was supposed to have taken place on January 17th of this year. It did not happen, but there was a parallel story that noted that the President may have been targeted for assassination already no fewer than twelve times.  Hopefully this is just tinfoil-hat stuff. But we have seen that this effort to be rid of President Trump is fierce and it is extremely well-supported within its group. There is no reason to think that the pressure will lighten now that this battle has been lost.

The stakes are much too high, and even this long investigation may well have been part of the weaponry of the group we sometimes refer to as the “Deep State” in their effort to reacquire power, and in their effort to continue to pursue both a domestic and geopolitical agenda that has so far shown itself to be destructive to both individuals and nations all over the world.

Speculation? Yes. Needless? We hope so. This is a terrible possibility that hopefully no reasonable person wants to consider.

Honestly, folks, we do not know. But we had to put this out there for your consideration.

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Parliament Seizes Control Of Brexit From Theresa May

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Schaeuble, Greece and the lessons learned from a failed GREXIT (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 117.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris examine a recent interview with the Financial Times given by Wolfgang Schäuble, where the former German Finance Minister, who was charged with finding a workable and sustainable solution to the Greek debt crisis, reveals that his plan for Greece to take a 10-year “timeout” from the eurozone (in order to devalue its currency and save its economy) was met with fierce resistance from Brussels hard liners, and Angela Merkel herself.

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Via FT

“Look where we’re sitting!” says Wolfgang Schäuble, gesturing at the Berlin panorama stretching out beneath us. It is his crisp retort to those who say that Europe is a failure, condemned to a slow demise by its own internal contradictions. “Walk through the Reichstag, the graffiti left by the Red Army soldiers, the images of a destroyed Berlin. Until 1990 the Berlin Wall ran just below where we are now!”

We are in Käfer, a restaurant on the rooftop of the Reichstag. The views are indeed stupendous: Berlin Cathedral and the TV Tower on Alexanderplatz loom through the mist. Both were once in communist East Berlin, cut off from where we are now by the wall. Now they’re landmarks of a single, undivided city. “Without European integration, without this incredible story, we wouldn’t have come close to this point,” he says. “That’s the crazy thing.”

As Angela Merkel’s finance minister from 2009 to 2017, Schäuble was at the heart of efforts to steer the eurozone through a period of unprecedented turbulence. But at home he is most associated with Germany’s postwar political journey, having not only negotiated the 1990 treaty unifying East and West Germany but also campaigned successfully for the capital to move from Bonn.

For a man who has done so much to put Berlin — and the Reichstag — back on the world-historical map, it is hard to imagine a more fitting lunch venue. With its open-plan kitchen and grey formica tables edged in chrome, Käfer has a cool, functional aesthetic that is typical of the city. On the wall hangs a sketch by artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude, who famously wrapped the Reichstag in silver fabric in 1995.

The restaurant has one other big advantage: it is easy to reach from Schäuble’s office. Now 76, he has been confined to a wheelchair since he was shot in an assassination attempt in 1990, and mobility is an issue. Aides say he tends to avoid restaurants if he can, especially at lunchtime.

As we take our places, we talk about Schäuble’s old dream — that German reunification would be a harbinger of European unity, a step on the road to a United States of Europe. That seems hopelessly out of reach in these days of Brexit, the gilets jaunes in France, Lega and the Five Star Movement in Italy.

Some blame Schäuble himself for that. He was, after all, the architect of austerity, a fiscal hawk whose policy prescriptions during the euro crisis caused untold hardship for millions of ordinary people, or so his critics say. He became a hate figure, especially in Greece. Posters in Athens in 2015 depicted him with a Hitler moustache below the words: “Wanted — for mass poverty and devastation”.

Schäuble rejects the criticism that austerity caused the rise of populism. “Higher spending doesn’t lead to greater contentment,” he says. The root cause lies in mass immigration, and the insecurities it has unleashed. “What European country doesn’t have this problem?” he asks. “Even Sweden. The poster child of openness and the willingness to help.”

But what of the accusation that he didn’t care enough about the suffering of the southern Europeans? Austerity divided the EU and spawned a real animus against Schäuble. I ask him how that makes him feel now. “Well I’m sad, because I played a part in all of that,” he says, wistfully. “And I think about how we could have done it differently.”

I glance at the menu — simple German classics with a contemporary twist. I’m drawn to the starters, such as Oldenburg duck pâté and the Müritz smoked trout. But true to his somewhat abstemious reputation, Schäuble has no interest in these and zeroes in on the entrées. He chooses Käfer’s signature veal meatballs, a Berlin classic. I go for the Arctic char and pumpkin.

Schäuble switches seamlessly back to the eurozone crisis. The original mistake was in trying to create a common currency without a “common economic, employment and social policy” for all eurozone member states. The fathers of the euro had decided that if they waited for political union to happen first they’d wait forever, he says.

Yet the prospects for greater political union are now worse than they have been in years. “The construction of the EU has proven to be questionable,” he says. “We should have taken the bigger steps towards integration earlier on, and now, because we can’t convince the member states to take them, they are unachievable.”

Greece was a particularly thorny problem. It should never have been admitted to the euro club in the first place, Schäuble says. But when its debt crisis first blew up, it should have taken a 10-year “timeout” from the eurozone — an idea he first floated with Giorgos Papakonstantinou, his Greek counterpart between 2009 and 2011. “I told him you need to be able to devalue your currency, you’re not competitive,” he says. The reforms required to repair the Greek economy were going to be “hard to achieve in a democracy”. “That’s why you need to leave the euro for a certain period. But everyone said there was no chance of that.”

The idea didn’t go away, though. Schäuble pushed for a temporary “Grexit” in 2015, during another round of the debt crisis. But Merkel and the other EU heads of government nixed the idea. He now reveals he thought about resigning over the issue. “On the morning the decision was made, [Merkel] said to me: ‘You’ll carry on?’ . . . But that was one of the instances where we were very close [to my stepping down].”

It is an extraordinary revelation, one that highlights just how rocky his relationship with Merkel has been over the years. Schäuble has been at her side from the start, an éminence grise who has helped to resolve many of the periodic crises of her 13 years as chancellor. But it was never plain sailing.

“There were a few really bad conflicts where she knew too that we were on the edge and I would have gone,” he says. “I always had to weigh up whether to go along with things, even though I knew it was the wrong thing to do, as was the case with Greece, or whether I should go.” But his sense of duty prevailed. “We didn’t always agree — but I was always loyal.”

That might have been the case when he was a serving minister, but since becoming speaker of parliament in late 2017 he has increasingly distanced himself from Merkel. Last year, when she announced she would not seek re-election as leader of the Christian Democratic Union, the party that has governed Germany for 50 of the past 70 years, Schäuble openly backed a candidate described by the Berlin press as the “anti-Merkel”. Friedrich Merz, a millionaire corporate lawyer who is the chairman of BlackRock Germany, had once led the CDU’s parliamentary group but lost out to Merkel in a power struggle in 2002, quitting politics a few years later. He has long been seen as one of the chancellor’s fiercest conservative critics — and is a good friend of Schäuble’s.

Ultimately, in a nail-biting election last December, Merkel’s favoured candidate, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, narrowly beat Merz. The woman universally known as “AKK” is in pole position to succeed Merkel as chancellor when her fourth and final term ends in 2021.

I ask Schäuble if it’s true that he had once again waged a battle against Merkel and once again lost. “I never went to war against Ms Merkel,” he says. “Everybody says that if I’m for Merz then I’m against Merkel. Why is that so? That’s nonsense.”

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