What is the most powerful foreign policy
Even the “most powerful woman in the world” started out as an apprentice in diplomacy. It was 1995 and Angela Merkel was still "Kohl's girl". The then environment minister managed the Berlin climate summit. A diplomatic event that is especially exciting for professionals. It was about obliging the countries of the world to commit to climate policy. Today this foreign policy marathon has reached the Kyoto Protocol. "160 countries, I really got revived," said the young politician at the time.
Merkel does not make a breakthrough, but negotiates a convincing compromise. For the first time, she is shown respect on the international stage. This is how Stefan Kornelius describes it in "Angela Merkel - the Chancellor and her world". There is no steep thesis like a “Merkel Doctrine” of foreign policy in this book. Instead, the head of the foreign policy department at the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” drafts a foreign policy biography of the Chancellor. Among other things, the reader learns why the GDR era had a lasting Anglophile influence on Merkel. Or why the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is one of Merkel's favorite statesmen.
The development of Merkel's international vita on the Poles of German diplomacy is shown.
The chancellor's work in the euro crisis forms the tension. The whole thing is elegantly written and reads very fluently. The impression conveyed: Here a certain type of politician has found his perfect job in foreign policy. Merkel is described as a “post politician”. In other words, the woman works between Washington and Beijing just as she does at home - as a tactician. There is no such thing as grand design for Germany's role in the world. Merkel has the self-confidence and the claim to see through individual problem structures in foreign policy in such a way that she is sure of the necessities of her actions. For Merkel, these necessities then form a picture that could be described as a “mandatory consensus without alternatives”.
Pitfall for Merkel
Foreign policy is understood as a work program that has to be worked through flexibly and free of ideology in order to be successful in the end. The euro crisis is to be resolved through a “stability union”, through treaties between the nation states. An EU federal state with the Commission as government is no longer applicable, as Merkel believes that it cannot be implemented - the route via Brussels seems too complicated and tedious to her. The author is visibly fascinated by whether Merkel will stumble over the eternal pitfall of German leaders: managing the relative hegemony of the "solitary" in Europe. Germany is too weak to absolutely dominate the continent, but it is still the relatively strongest power in the EU. The euro crisis is escalating this problem. Kornelius trusts Merkel that she will master the task. As the reader reads it, the reader realizes that the author has a lot of respect for this woman's political work.
But his work is not adulation. For example, Kornelius Merkel's eye-catching rejection of the new French President Hollande in the election campaign is an avoidable wrong decision, which to this day makes cooperation with the most important EU partner unnecessarily difficult.
Crown or tombstone
Kornelius ’conclusion: Merkel is" definitely the most powerful foreign policy leader that has ever existed in the Federal Republic ". Whether the chancellor fails or wins the euro crisis, decides on the gravestone or crown for her political career.
At the end, Cornelius suggests a third variant, but does not carry it out. It can be paraphrased with the political end of Winston Churchill. As premier, he steered Great Britain through World War II and became a political star in the process. As soon as the war was over in 1945, his compatriots voted him out. Churchill's nimbus as a helmsman in the crisis had disappeared with the very same, the people were tired of him.
by Björn Müller
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