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Germany wants Merkel out

SPD conference unenthusiastically backs grand coalition talks with Merkel

Alexander Mercouris

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The German parliamentary elections last September made obvious the growing disillusionment of more and more Germans with the stagnant government presided over by Germany’s perpetual Chancellor, Angela Merkel.

The two parties which made up Merkel’s government – the CDU/CSU and the SPD – suffered the worst results they have each experienced since the Second World War.

A new party – the AfD – gained prominence, so that Germany’s two ‘non-system’ parties – the AfD and the leftist Die Linke, which is the inheritor of Germany’s very old and very strong Communist and left wing tradition – now between them command around a fifth of the vote.

The proper outcome to such a result would have been for the two party leaders who presided over this debacle – Angela Merkel and the SPD’s Martin Schulz – to go, making room for some of the impressive younger politicians to be found in both their respective parties.

If it still proved impossible to construct a government after those two leaders had gone, then new elections should have been called, as regularly happens in all other mature democracies.

Certainly there was no cause to treat the situation as a crisis, and it was absurd to treat the result as one.

Instead Merkel and Schulz are still there, and despite previous promises that he would not do so, Schulz allowed himself to be strong armed into negotiating with Merkel to reconstitute what despite denials is effectively the same government that did so badly in the September elections in order to avert a ‘crisis’ the threat of which never existed.

The paradox is that it is precisely this course – undertaken purportedly to avert a crisis which was never threatened – which could potentially create a crisis in Germany.

It should be said clearly that in effect denying the verdict of the elections is the worst possible response to the elections in September.  Inevitably and rightly, it will be seen by much of the German population – including many of the grassroots members of the SPD – as an establishment stitch up against the voters at a time when the voters are becoming increasingly angry and disillusioned.

Far from bringing stability to Germany, a government reconstructed in such a way would be bound to be weak and unpopular, and would be unlikely to survive very long.

In effect, by trying to extend the existence of Merkel’s ‘grand coalition’ government beyond its natural life, Germany’s political establishment is undermining the very political stability in Germany which they say they are consolidating.

The result is an all but certain eventual unravelling, leading to fresh elections, which will result in a further significant increase in the votes for Die Linke and the AfD, which will make formation of a government by the traditional ‘system’ parties – the CDU/CSU, the SDP and the Free Democrats – much more difficult, setting the scene for a real crisis in Germany.

The primary blame for this unhappy situation rests with Merkel and the conservative establishment of the SPD.

In Merkel’s case the results of the September election and the subsequent failure to create a ‘Jamaica’ coalition with the liberal Free Democrats and the Greens should have made clear to her what was on any objective analysis obvious: that her time as German Chancellor – like all things – is over and she should go.  It was the moment when she should have stepped aside and made room for someone else.

In the case of the conservative establishment of the SPD – which includes the nation’s President Frank-Walter Steinmeier – it ought to have been obvious that their party was in need of fresh thinking and new leadership, which it could only successfully achieve in opposition.

Instead Merkel – all too characteristically – has chosen to cling on, though the September election revealed the degree to which she has lost support and is now bereft of ideas, whilst despite Schulz’s protestations to the contrary the conservative establishment of the SPD comes across as far too comfortable in government and far closer ideologically to Merkel than it is to the SPD’s grass roots and its voters.

It is still not certain that this conspiracy by Germany’s neoliberal political establishment against the wishes of most German voters – which is what this proposal to revive Merkel’s ‘grand coalition’ effectively is – will succeed.

The SPD conference which voted to support Schultz’s proposal to negotiate the terms of another ‘grand coalition’ government with Merkel gave him only tepid support.

Not only was Schulz received unenthusiastically at the conference – there were even moments during his speech when he was actually booed – but the conference appeared evenly divided on the issue, forcing a ballot which Schulz won with the support of only 58% of the delegates.

With the SPD’s youth wing strongly opposed to a coalition deal with Merkel, and with powerful sections of the SPD in places like North Rhine Westphalia also opposed – it is far from being a foregone conclusion that if or when a final coalition deal is put to a ballot of the SPD’s membership – as it must be = they will approve it.

Needless to say if the SPD votes against a coalition deal with Merkel, then I would expect her to resign and after a short time a new election to be called.

It is to be earnestly hoped in Germany’s and Europe’s interests that this is what happens.

The view that because the German economy appears at the moment to be doing rather well political instability in Germany does not matter is far too complacent.

Firstly, I doubt that Germany’s present economic good times will last for much longer.

Secondly, one of the reasons why I doubt they will last for much longer is precisely because of the stagnation of policy which has been the hallmark of Merkel’s long reign as Germany’s Chancellor is allowing problems to accumulate.

What Germany needs is new strong leadership that can chart a clear course ahead, not a prolongation of a rejected and increasingly discredited status quo.

Whether they realise the fact or not the intensely risk averse neoliberal political establishment in the name of ‘stability’ is creating the conditions for a future political crisis in Germany

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What Lies Behind the Malaise of the West?

Prime Minister Theresa May was just forced to pledge that she would not lead her party in the next election — to survive a no-confidence vote in Parliament.

Patrick J. Buchanan

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Authored by Patrick Buchanan via Buchanan.org:


Is it coincidence or contagion, this malady that seems to have suddenly induced paralysis in the leading nations of the West?

With lawyer-fixer Michael Cohen’s confession that he colluded with Donald Trump in making hush money payoffs to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, America’s stage is set for a play that will run two years.

As Democrats test the waters for a presidential run by savaging Trump, the establishment Trump detests and defeated in 2016 will use every weapon in its considerable arsenal to break and bring him down, as it did half a century ago to Richard Nixon.

By spring 2019, Americans will be unable to escape the vitriol on cable and social media. And the outside world will see America again as a house divided. Our politics will be even more poisonous than now, and it is not easy to see what would bring our warring tribes together again.

Consider, then, the situation of our old ally Great Britain.

Prime Minister Theresa May was just forced to pledge that she would not lead her party in the next election — to survive a no-confidence vote in Parliament. A third of all Tory members voted to throw her out.

The no-confidence vote was called after May had to cancel a vote on the Brexit plan she had negotiated with the EU, when it was evident that a coalition of Tories and Labor would vote to kill her plan.

May has been humiliated. Yet her humiliation solves nothing. The clock is running toward a March deadline for concluding a Brexit deal. And no plan acceptable to both Parliament and the EU is on the table.

The possibility exists that Britain could simply crash out of the EU, causing severe economic damage to both.

Realizing this, Brussels has left the door open if Britain should vote in a second referendum to remain in the EU. But calling and carrying out that referendum would be a betrayal of the 52 percent of the British people that voted to restore full national independence.

While London wanted to stay in the EU in 2016, England voted to leave. Northern Ireland wanted to stay, as did Scotland, though 45 percent of Scots had earlier voted to declare their own independence from Great Britain.

In France, after four Saturdays of anarchy, arson, looting and vandalism of her national monuments, President Emmanuel Macron capitulated to the rioters. He withdrew the fuel tax that triggered the uprisings. He agreed to have his government add $113 a month to those earning the minimum wage, and to let workers get overtime pay and Christmas bonuses tax-free, and to revoke higher social charges on modest pensions.

The cost of Macron’s retreat is estimated at $11 billion, 0.4 percent of France’s GDP. Saturday will tell us if his appeasement bought peace.

The political collapse of Macron has been extraordinary.

In 2017, he won almost two-thirds of the national vote, and his La Republique en Marche! won an absolute majority of the National Assembly.

Today, one poll puts Macron’s approval at 21 percent. The idea that he can replace Angela Merkel as the recognized leader of the EU seems ridiculous.

As for Merkel herself, hailed as leader of the West in the time of Trump, her party and coalition lost so much support in the recent election that she stepped down as leader of the CDU and pledged not to run for another term as chancellor.

Europe’s fourth-largest economy, Italy, is now led by a coalition of the populist-left Five Star Movement and populist-right Lega party. The coalition seeks greater freedom on spending than Brussels is willing to allow, and a halt to migration from across the Med.

With Poland and Hungary at odds with Brussels over alterations in their political systems, the EU has never seemed less united.

What are the underlying causes of these 21st-century crises of Western democracies?

Certainly, globalization, with its creation of ties among transnational elites at the expense of nation-states and their indigenous peoples is one. Capitals — Washington, London, Paris, Berlin — seem ever more distant from the countries they rule.

Then there is demography. The native-born of almost all Western nations are aging, shrinking and dying. Death rates exceed birth rates. While peoples of the West are living longer, they are producing fewer children to replace them.

At the same time, Western elites have welcomed foreign workers and left borders unsecured against mass migration. And the people coming in, almost all now from the Third World, are not assimilating as the children of 19th- and 20th-century European immigrants to the USA had largely done by 1960.

A consequence and related cause is the rise of tribalism, or ethno-nationalism, the search for identity and community with one’s own. Loyalties to family, tribe, neighborhood, culture and country appear paramount, rising above intellectual and political alignments.

The heart has reasons of which reason knows nothing, said Pascal. And so it does.

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Petro Poroshenko and Theresa May: failed leaders on the same disastrous trajectory (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 37.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a quick look how UK PM Theresa May and Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko are willing to destroy their country in the pursuit of pleasing their globalist masters, while retaining what little power they still hold.

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https://soundcloud.com/user-901836666/petro-poroshenko-and-theresa-may-failed-leaders-on-the-same-disastrous-trajectory

Via Zerohedge


Ukraine’s president has recently warned Russian tanks are amassing along the border between the two countries amid increasing tensions. The comments came late last month after three Ukrainian naval boats were seized in the Kerch Strait by Russia.

President Petro Poroshenko has allegedly shown images of what he claims to be hundreds of tanks preparing for an invasion.

He told Sky News:

“This is the tank base just 18km from our border, this was happening in September, October, and now.”

“This is 18km from my border, this is the same warehouse where they have their ammunition, the same where they have multi-rocket launch systems, we should be prepared to protect my country.”

Satellite imagery from Google Earth taken sometime in November from the Defense Blog has verified Poroshenko claims. Photos show hundreds of Russian main battle tanks at a new military installation in the Kamensk-Shakhtinsky region.

The Russian base is about 18 kilometers (11.1 miles) away from the rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine. Images show hundreds of main battle tanks, with thousands of military trucks, support systems, artillery pieces, tankers, and troop transport vehicles.

Russia has been quietly building up its forces near the border with Ukraine since late summer and now has a military force greater than 2014, the year Moscow annexed Crimea, Viktor Muzhenko, the commander of Ukrainian armed forces, told Reuters in an interview last week.

In front of us is an aggressor who has no legal, moral or any other limits,” he said. “It is very difficult to predict when it will occur to him to begin active combat actions against Ukraine.”

“This (the Kerch Strait incident) was an act of aggression from regular forces, the border service (of the Russian Federation) in relation to the Ukrainian armed forces,” Muzhenko added.

Eric Zuesse via The Strategic Culture Foundation, made a great point in October that Washington is now treating Ukraine as if it were a NATO member, donating warships and military equipment to the country for use against Russia. This is the latest indication that America’s military-industrial complex is shifting to Ukraine as the epicenter to start World War III, and from which the nuclear war is to be sparked against Russia.

There is a reason why Russia is amassing hundreds of main battle tanks on the Ukranian border, that is because the next geopolitical flare-up is right around the corner, likely to occur during the next global recession.

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Canada PM Justin Trudeau in way over his head with Huawei CFO arrest

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 36.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a quick look at Justin Trudeau’s response to U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese officials over of stories around the arrest of Huawei’s CFO in Vancouver and the detention of a former Canadian diplomat in China.

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Follow The Duran Audio Podcast on Soundcloud.

Via Zerohedge


China Arrests Former Canadian Diplomat As Government Fears Reprisal For Huawei CFO
Is this one of the “severe” reprisals threatened by Beijing when it summoned Canada’s ambassador to Beijing for a meeting over the weekend?

According to Reuters, former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig has been detained in China. Kovrig’s employer, International Crisis Group, is working to secure his “safe” release.

The reason for Kovrig’s detention wasn’t immediately clear, and Beijing has refused to comment on his detention. However, Reuters noted that the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou has “stoked fears of reprisals.”

“International Crisis Group is aware of reports that its North East Asia Senior Adviser, Michael Kovrig, has been detained in China,” the think-tank said in a statement.

“We are doing everything possible to secure additional information on Michael’s whereabouts as well as his prompt and safe release,” it added.

China’s Foreign Ministry and Ministry of Public Security did not respond immediately to questions faxed earlier about Kovrig’s detention.

The exact reason for the detention was not immediately clear. The Canadian embassy declined to comment, referring queries to Ottawa.

Kovrig, a Mandarin speaker, has been working for the ICG as an in-house “expert” since February 2017. Prior to that, he served as a diplomat for the Canadian government between 2003 and 2016, with stints in Hong Kong and Beijing.

And while it’s possible that the timing of Kovrig’s arrest is purely coincidental, the timing is certainly suspicious.

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