Angela Merkel has become the German Chancellor at a critical moment for this country due to its economic problems. With regard to the European construction, Germany is trapped between its traditions and the need of transforming the Atlantic Alliance. When I saw the elections’ results, I thought of an irreversible blockade, but I no longer think that way. The two great parties need to work together so as not to lose strength when faced with the small parties in the next elections. The new Chancellor’s dynamic personality is also a promising element. From being an obscure scientist in East Germany she has become the Chancellor of reunified Germany in a very short period of time.
Foreign policy will be a key element in the assessment of her actions. During the Cold War, Europe needed the United States. The trauma caused by WWII forced Germany to re-intregrate itself into the international community, turning it into an ally of the United States, a member of the Atlantic Alliance and a supporter of European integration. The Soviet threat is no longer there, a new political generation has put an end to the emotional dependency on the United States and Gerhard Schröder could even make two electoral campaigns based on direct opposition to Washington. In view of this alienation trend, George W. Bush’s unilateralism is not there for pleasure. However, there’s a will for rapprochement between Germany and the United States today.
Merkel is clever and she won’t choose between Europe and the United States. She won’t move away from France or Russia. Therefore, her foreign policy will be aimed at covering all these in a coherent way.
“Will Germany’s Coalition Work?”, by Henry A. Kissinger, Washington Post, November 22, 2005.