Angela Merkel is the image of Germany today: excessively moral, pudgy, and childless.

Merkel was elected ‘person of the year’ by Time magazine. But is she really? Is she an incarnation of Rhine capitalism, or of the old Pan-Germanic demons? Or is she just the Mrs Bogeyman of budgetary elegance?

Angela Merkel is the image of Germany today: excessively moral, pudgy, and childless. Having been elected Chancellor for about twelve years now, she has imposed herself with little noise, triumphing bit by bit over all scepticism, until she came to play a role of the first rank, as we saw in the Ukrainian affair, the Greek crisis, or more recently in the opening of the borders to migrants. She has imposed it in a peaceful fashion, becoming an exemplary figure of the Muttistaat, or the ‘maternal state’, which reassures the Germans (‘Keine Experimente!‘ as they said on the other side of the Rhine in the 1960s.) The unctuous hand, the pursed lips, the heavy eyelids: she perfectly embodies this woman without qualities, in the sense that Robert Musil gave this expression, who sometimes poses as the guardian of monetary orthodoxy and budgetary austerity, and sometimes as the vestal of humanitarian welcoming.

Unruffled, opaque, and stripped of affectation, this pastor’s daughter still pushes her country bit by bit towards the values of Protestantism. Germany, since the reunification, has a growing weight more than a genuine will. She assumes a leadership that she doesn’t really want – such that the Briton William Paterson called her ‘the reluctant hegemon’, unwilling hegemony.

With the affair of the migrants, is her popularity still falling?

It started because, after a phase of orchestrated euphoria, a part of her electorate began to seriously fear this influx of ‘refugees’: only 16% of Germans today regard the migrants as ‘opportunities’ for their country. It’s above all true that in the former German Democratic Republic, less marked than the länder of the West by the liberal and ‘Western’ ideology, but also in the ‘Free State of Bavaria’, which is today on the front line facing the flood of migrants and whose Interior Minister, Joachim Hoffman, just announced (in an interview with Welt am Sonntag that went totally unnoticed in the French press) that he will henceforth assume the control of its borders himself, rightfully making use of an essential aspect of the federal principle.

Angela Merkel remains at least at a level of popularity that would make the other heads of state or government envy her, starting with ours, because 60% of Germans think that no other political leader would manage the situation better than her. Moreover, no one seeks to replace her, including those who imprudently present themselves as her competitors, that is the Social Democrat Sigmar Gabriel, the Minister of Finance Wolfgang Schäuble, or the President of the Bavarian Christian Democrats, Horst Seehofer.

And the famous ‘Franco-German couple’, which has always been described as the motor of Europe, where is it?

The fruit of a marriage of convenience, the Franco-German couple rests on misunderstandings that nothing could overcome. The history and the political culture of the countries have been different since the treaty of Verdun in 843, and which divided the ancient Franks into two, into a Roman  and a Teutonic part. On one side there is a nation-state, where politics has always ordained spectacular initiatives taken by grand actors; on the other is a country of the imperial-federal tradition, where they have never understood the essence of politics very well (they advocated de-politicisation by law) and where they consider that, after the Jacobin parenthesis of the Third Reich, it is important above all else to guarantee the respect for norms in order to guard against all dramatic events. On one side we have functionaries and graduates of the École nationale d’administration; on the other, parlementarians and jurists. We are not astonished that the German mentality remains as incomprehensible to the French as the French political institutions are to the Germans!

Albeit neighbors, the French and the Germans know little about each other, and understand it poorly. As for the Franco-German friendship treaty that General De Gaulle initiated in 1963, his dispositions in favour of a better understanding between the two peoples remain dead letters. The rule, which is seen in France as a limit and a constraint, is perceived in Germany as a factor of order and freedom. A Frenchman is French thanks to the state; a German is German thanks to his culture. France privileges its internal market and its purchasing power, while Germany privileges its competitiveness and exports. The first has a president at its head, the second a parliament. In Europe, both have opposed ideas – one utilizes it as a lever to hide its weakness, the other as cover to hide its strength – which explains why souverainisme (referring to those ‘republican nationalists’ who are opposed to the European Union as well as any other form of pan-European organisation; they want to close the national borders and restore all the previous forms of European national sovereignty-Ed.) and populism have not had the success in Germany which they have in France.

In brief, divorce is not on the horizon, but the couple is still having problems: in the European train, the locomotive is out of order. What is necessary to remember is that the Franco-German disequilibrium doesn’t come about as a result of a Germany that is too strong, but from a France that is too weak. The new Germanophobia in the fashion of Mélenchon (French socialist politician-Ed.), that wants to see the reincarnation of Bismarck in Merkel, falls totally flat from this point of view.

This interview with Alain de Benoist was posted in French on 4 January 2016, on the Boulevard Voltaire Website. Nicolas Gauthier was the interviewer. It was translated by Eugene Montsalvat.

On the Brink of the Abyss: The Imminent Bankruptcy of the Financial System

This book is a collection of essays written in response to the international financial crisis of 2008 and its aftereffects. The problem with most discussions of the crisis, Benoist notes, is that they focus on attempting to reform the present economic system in order to prevent such disasters from recurring. This is a mistake, he […]

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Manifesto for a European Renaissance

This manifesto remains the only attempt to date by GRECE, the primary New Right organization in France, to summarize its principles and key concepts. It was written in 1999 by Alain de Benoist, GRECE’s founder, and Charles Champetier on the occasion of GRECE’s thirtieth anniversary. It offers a strong argument in favor of the right […]

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The Problem of Democracy

The Problem of Democracy is the first of Alain de Benoist’s book-length political works to appear in English. It presents the complexity and depth which underlies all of de Benoist’s work and which is often neglected by those who seek to dismiss him by oversimplifying or distorting his arguments. De Benoist shows how democracy is, […]

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Beyond Human Rights

Beyond Human Rights is the second in an ongoing series of English translations of Alain de Benoist’s works to be published by Arktos. Alain de Benoist begins Beyond Human Rights with an examination of the origins of the concept of ‘human rights’ in European Antiquity, in which rights were defined in terms of the individual’s […]

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About The Author

Profile photo of Alain de Benoist

Alain de Benoist is the leading thinker of the European ‘New Right’ movement, a school of political thought founded in France in 1968 with the establishment of GRECE (Research and Study Group for European Civilisation). To this day he remains its primary representative, even while rejecting the label ‘New Right’ for himself. An ethnopluralist defender of cultural uniqueness and integrity, he has argued for the right of Europeans to retain their identity in the face of multiculturalism, and he has opposed immigration, while still preferring the preservation of native cultures over the forced assimilation of immigrant groups. He has authored dozens of books and essays on topics such as immigration, religion, philosophy and political theory. In 1978, he received the Grand Prix de l'Essai from the Académie Française for his book Vu de droite [View from the Right].

  • Merkel muss weg

    I would contend that the idea of Merkel as a leader is very popular but does not take into account her boundless opportunism. Merkel seems to be seen and revered as a leader only because she again and again has sold out Germany’s
    national interest to foreign and domestic lobby groups, in the process consolidating her own position as chancellor. Everybody loves Merkel because she makes sure that the Germany can be ripped off in every imaginable and even unimaginable way, so she is termed a “leader” and even becomes “person of the year.” This sad state of affairs (bad pun intended) only points to a deep undercurrent of hostility towards and hatred against Germany that still underpins how its supposed partners within the developed world view it: We like you as long as you give everything to us; we crush you as soon as you show the slightest inclination of pursuing your own national interest. In this sense World War II has never ended. Right now we may be seeing its final act being played out in the form of the manufactured refugee crisis.

    * In 2008 Merkel caved in to the banks, and later continued on this path by putting Germany on the hook for rescuing the Euro. The guarantees she gave put Germany on the hook to the tune of many hundreds of billions of dollars. Ordinary Germans continue to pay the price to this day due to a lack of investment within the country, abysmally low interest rates on safe ways of saving money, and being paid their wages in Euros while a return to the German Mark would have provided them with much more purchasing power abroad. The Greeks, in their turn, now hate Merkel and Germany because they believe that they have been dispossessed. The reality is that Merkel sold out the interests of ordinary Germans and Greeks alike to rescue the banks that had lent money to Greece, to shield the wealthy and well-connected in Greece from shouldering their fair share of the country’s economic crisis, and to provide some crony-capitalists within the German economy with cheap loot extracted from Greece. No leadership here. Merkel was the harbinger of economic death.

    * In the wake of the Fukushima accident Merkel took the almost split-second decision of abandoning nuclear energy in Germany. This decision turned out to be another one of her unmitigated disasters. Not only that Germany is hardly any safer from nuclear accidents, since large numbers of nuclear power plants continue to be operated in the countries surrounding Germany, wind power turbines have now been erected to such an extent that vast tracts of Germany’s countryside have been devastated. The beauty of the various German landscapes hardly exists anymore and bird populations suffer severely. Then, the complexities of accommodating unstable wind and solar power have made the electrical grid exceedingly vulnerable and prices for electricity have gone up to such an extent that energy-intensive industries are leaving the country. These prices have also led to hundreds of thousands of cases where poor German households had their electricity cut off since they could not pay up anymore. The interest groups profiting from all of that are subsidized home-owners that supply the electrical grid with solar power from their rooftops, suppliers of wind turbines and ruthless developers that sell wind power projects to local, small-time investors who do not know what they are doing and more often than not end up with nothing but losses. Needles to say that renewable energy lobby groups provide considerable amounts of donations to the political parties that support Merkel’s energy policies. Again no leadership, nothing but opportunism.

    * The Merkel government stood behind the line of presenting Ukraine with a “civilisational choice” between Russia and Europe, supported the Maidan coup
    and the war against Eastern Ukraine in deeds if not in words, and continues to push for sanctions against Russia. This whole complex has shown more than anything else that Merkel is nothing but a stooge for and a consul of US interests. Again, no leadership.

    * Her extremely muted reaction to Snowdon’s revelation that she had been eavesdropped on by the NSA was nothing but a national disgrace. What honor does this woman have in herself? Needless to say, Merkel was and continues to be totally indifferent towards the whole German population being subject to mass NSA surveillance. Again, no leadership.

    * Last but not least, the whole refugee thing. Merkel caved in to everybody who wanted to be a “Gutmensch” (goody person), the left, the asylum industry and powerful foreign interests of which Soros and Erdogan are the post prominent proponents. With that, she may well have provided Germany with its coupe de grace, if anything turning out to be a leader in the worst sense of the world, a leader who leads her people an her country into the abyss. Not that Merkel will suffer personally, as she is rumoured to have acquired a finca in Paraguay. Nevertheless, she may, as yet, go down in hstory as the worst leader that Germany ever had, even worse then Adolf Hitler, who was far less effective than her in ripping apart Germany from within.

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