Originally appeared at A-specto, translated by Borislav exclusively for SouthFront
Angela Merkel satisfied the desire of her party and supporters, to run for head of the German government next year. Western media, which still can not accept Trump’s victory, enthusiastically endorsed her decision, explaining it almost as her desire to be an opposition to Trump in Europe, which was agreed at the meeting with Obama. Norbert Retgen, head of the Foreign Policy Commission in the Bundestag, said that her candidacy would guaranteed the “liberal world order” the existence of which, Trump puts into question.
Away from media however, remained Merkel’s decision to nominate Social Democrat Frank-Walter Steinmeier to the presidency of the republic. That is the highest office in Germany, but the media is not paying any attention to this nomination. For Merkel, this move predetermines her political future. Her bid for the chancellor post was not certain without this step. But a guarantee for that now, is the already agreed distribution of senior posts between the Social Democrats and the Christian Democrats.
Steinmeier is known as a supporter of dialogue with Russia. His public position often served as a reason for clashes with supporters of a more antagonistic perspective in regards to Moscow, both in German and international political circles. So why did Merkel nominate for president, a man with views opposing her own in regards to German foreign policy? Apart from the fact that it ensures her next government mandate, something else that makes an impression is that Merkel nominated Steinmeier for president after Trump won the presidential race.
In terms of foreign policy, Steinmeier perfectly fits into Trump’s concept for a new world order, as well as relations with Russia. On the other hand, as a defender of the liberal model and globalization, Merkel will play the role of a transmitter of American neo-liberal interests in Europe. That is to say, Germany will always be in line regardless of whatever wind blows from the US.
Trump’s victory caused a serious crisis in the EU. Up to now, according to the current globalist model, Germany acted as a hegemon of the European Community. After Merkel’s recent political steps, the EU will be in the unique situation of serving two hegemons. One is Germany and the other – the United States. For the export-oriented economy of Germany, it is very important to not lose either th European or the US market. With its position of a hegemon in the EU, and a president that supports the new Washington course and dialogue with Russia, Germany will ensure this continuity.
Let not forget that relations between Germany and Russia have in the past produced a symbolic precedent in the face of former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, who after the completion of his mandate, became a consultant to the Russian “Gazprom”. Thanks to that, Germany today receives gas at preferential prices through the “Nord Stream” pipeline, which will soon be duplicated. Today, major German corporations continue to maintain close ties with their Russian partners. Their corporate relations are dynamically developing, leading even to the exchange of assets between the parties. At one of the conferences of the council on global policy, neoconservative George Friedman said: “The alliance between German technology and capital, and Russia’s natural resources, represents a unique combination that has threatened the United States for centuries.”
This is because the Moscow-Berlin axis can form a new economic and financial pole, able to claim world leadership.
In the current situation, Merkel acts more with her political intuition rather than a thought-out strategy. Her latest step to elevate her candidacy for chancellor, speaks for her efforts to implement simultaneously two opposing concepts. On one hand, to reset relations with Russia in the emerging new period of dialogue between Moscow and Washington, which the new president will ensure. On the other hand, reposition the current liberal model in order to preserve Germany’s hegemony in Europe, a step which she herself will take on as a chancellor. This step is actually the backup “plan B” for Merkel, if the EU begins to crumble due to turbulent forces.
Even now, after the formation of the Visegrad Four, peripheral European countries are beginning to negotiate other regional groupings and alliances. In the near future, such unions by European countries may set the foundations of any further federalization of the community, or as is sometimes stated, the EU begins operating at two or three speeds. But no matter what changes will occur in the EU, the new political model assumes that Germany will continue its rapid development in one form or another. Whether engaging in the composition of the reformed EU, or alone. In both cases, it can be assumed that Germany will not rely only on its current hegemony in the European Union, but will look for opportunities, economic and financial, to strengthen its dominant position within continental Europe. If we trust Friedman’s statement, a strong future partnership between Russia and Germany is likely to cause not only admiration, but also serious grievances.